Junk Drawer Journal

journalAs CEO of my business and my home I always had dozens of Post-it® notes stuck to the message board, my car dashboard, my computer screen, my bathroom mirror, etc… to remind me what my priorities were at any given moment and to record my random thoughts.  In fact, managing my Post-It notes was becoming a part-time job!  What a time-waster!  Until I discovered a simple trick that I incorporated into my daily ritual of journaling.  You are spending time, alone, in the quiet of the a.m. (and once more at night) with your thoughts on gratitude and big questions, aren’t you?   You’re not?  Hmmm, more on that later.

Here’s the answer to my Post-It Note overwhelm: I journal it!  It’s quite easy.  I have a self-created 2 pages p/day journal. The left side includes how I start my morning (Analog Only: no email, no screen-time, just sacred quiet time with my coffee and a book older than the Gutenberg press).  I also journal, pray and meditate.  Then I scribe Prayers for Self and Others, What I’m Grateful For, My Big Question of the Day (ask the what, not the why; e.g. What would happen if I…?” vs. Why am I not…?”), and a shortlist of the Top 3 Things That Will Make Today Great.  Is that not a great way to start the day or what? journalBut, on the right-hand side, I’ve titled the top of the page “JUNK DRAWER”. The sub-title is: Thoughts, To-Do’s, Scribbles, …   Why “JUNK DRAWER”?  Decades ago, to tame the paper tiger, I gave myself permission to have 1 junk drawer that I would put whatever-needs-attention in.   It could be dentist appointment reminders, coupons, quotes or thoughts on Post-It notes, gift ideas, etc. But, I would only get to it once a week or month. Or longer.  So, it became stuffed. The idea was good but the execution didn’t work for me because it was out of sight, out of mind.

The “Junk Drawer” Journal works because I write everything that comes to mind.  I don’t care how it looks or sounds. Its purpose is to just to get my to-do’s, my priorities, my worries, off my mind.  I’ve added my (short) grocery list, recollections about a gnarly conversation I had with Rick (my husband), list of calls to make, a cute memory of my children, household tasks that needed completing, conversations that need to happen at work, etc.  Sometimes I create 3 columns (1 for each business: CastCoverz! and Till Business Do Us Part and 1 for personal) and put what I need to do under each main category.  Sometimes I scribble a flow-chart or a picture of what I want my bathroom remodel to look like.  Most of the time it’s a combination.                                                                                                                                                                   smart-phone

But, here’s my secret to really make it work: I whip out my smartphone and take a picture of my 2-page journal spread.  That way, I can refer to the picture throughout the day!  FYI…this is for my eyes only and I don’t allow myself to judge me.   Caveat:  I still use an exhaustive daily planner.  Hey, no judging.  I have 2 businesses! 🙂 But, this works because my journaling is a random, free thought process.  Too many times, my “Junk Drawer” thoughts just don’t belong in my daily planner but they still took up space in my head.  Getting them out of my head and on paper in a structured, yet creative, format allowed my brain to focus on my important tasks.  

Journaling in your handwriting vs. typing sparks creativity.  Actually creating a journal in your hand is the very essence of creativity.  I would love to know how you keep track of your random thoughts, below.  Remember to always keep your comments family friendly, helpful and kind. We all need more of that.

BONUS:  Did you zoom in on how I end the day?  I write down nice things done throughout the day by me and others.  That always brings a smile to my face. Then I write down my failures and regrets (notice I intentionally don’t give them a lot of room).  Then I examine them, learn (from them) and turn (from them).  Then I give them over to God.  If I see a pattern developing of the same failure or regret, then I do some deeper soul-searching.   At then end of each night, I give myself the gift of an “Amish Hour” (and extended version of my 20+ minutes of Analog-Only A.M.)  No screen time in any form.  Just a good book.  But, I confess, I usually have classical music playing.  I sleep deeper, have more creative/less frightening dreams, and wake up refreshed, ready and excited to take on a new day!

Live, Love and Serve,

Annette de Lancey Giacomazzi

 

 

 

Business is redemptive

Business is redemptiveRedemption to some is a charged word. But, for me, it means new beginnings.  Redemption means literally to save.  But, it doesn’t have to mean saving others.  Flight attendants have taught us for decades to put on your oxygen mask, first, then turn and put it on others.  Why?  Because we can’t help others if we passed out, or more bluntly, died, from lack of oxygen.

So, then, how can we save ourselves? But, more importantly, why do we need saving? If you’re in a narcissistic, abusive relationship, you need saving.  You also need saving if your husband has poor communication techniques that leave you feeling drained, confused, and rejected. But, first, you need to discover who you are. Why? Because how can you save what you don’t know or isn’t there?  What better way to find out through full expression of creating something new or rediscovering what you’re about. Take, for example, Sophia, who owns a bakery.  Her head and her heart are divided between placating her husband’s constant negative doubts about her and her bakery or focusing on becoming the best bakery her town has ever experienced. What does she love to do? Bake. Not process payroll.  Not package the products. Just bake.  To do that, she needs to put the right people in the right positions.  Even if that means making difficult decisions such as letting some people go or scaling back the business.  She needs to get back to her passion so her business can grow to meet her vision. When Sophia synced with her passion, again, she knew her truth: she is the best baker and is creating the best bakery in her town.  She has a lot more confidence to respectfully defend her husband’s criticisms and intelligently engage in a difference of opinion.

Then, there is the story of Tessa, a vibrant young mother of 3 rambunctious boys, who is caught in the cross-hairs of a verbally and emotionally abusive husband and her desire to transition her exquisite silverware hobby into an income producing business.  Her husband actually said to her, “What makes you think you’re so special? I work hard. I don’t want to hear another word about your stupid silverware s**t, again. In fact, I don’t ever want to see it either.”  Tessa, bless her heart, foolishly thinks that she is doing something, anything to control the circumstances from making that ugly beast come at her, again.  She tries to manipulate the situation by literally putting her business in the closet before he gets home every night.  The truth is her creative, loving soul is tortured with self-doubt and self-flagellation stealing her creativity.   How can someone create something new, something great with messages like that filling her heart, soul, and mind? Without a doubt, Tessa is in a damaging, unhealthy, abusive relationship and needs to not only get out (so easy to say) but she desperately needs to be saved.  Creating her beautiful custom silverware, hearing her customers accolades, and building an environment of support and beauty may just provide the redemption she needs.  But, first, she needs to know her truth.  She needs to correctly label her relationship, so she can move away from it and quit trying to fix it or excuse it away. An alcoholic doesn’t fall asleep on the couch, they pass out.  Chronic complaining isn’t venting, it’s a poor attitude of the heart.  Tessa’s husband isn’t just having a bad day, he is an abusive man and they are in an unhealthy, destructive relationship.

Business redemptive? Absolutely! Hallelujah!

 

As a creative outlet, starting and growing a business is personal

Starting and growing a businessBusiness is one of the last creative bastions remaining. And for that, I am glad.  Every human being needs to express themselves in a unique way that revitalizes and emboldens them.  I don’t indulge in the traditional creative outlets, such as cooking, painting, or writing poetry, because I feel lacking.  My creative talents are expressed in a different, albeit, tangible way.  I produce products and services that meet my customers where they are and what they need.  I designed (well, verbalized it to a very good graphic artist) the look and feel of our brand.  I established the systems and processes that ensure a memorable experience for our customers.  I try to inject fun and surprise for my employees.  But, personal expression in business doesn’t have to stop there. In fact, we’re just getting started.

Business provides meaningful and productive work for people to do. Business creates goods and services that enable communities to flourish. But, it’s in business where you have the ability to intentionally develop a culture where customers and employees can be supported and encouraged.  When employees feel esteemed, respected and appreciated, their on-job performance and loyalty skyrockets.  Setting up systems and processes that center around customers that are welcomed, loved and listened to, manifests a built-in ambassador network.  

But, the crown of creativity is, by design, creating an environment, a culture, that you may not have at home.   I didn’t realize it, but by not feeling validated, appreciated or listened to, I poured what I wanted needed, into my customers and employees.  For example, when customers call with a complaint, they are typically on the defense because they expect a similar position.  But, I don’t offer excuses.  Quite the opposite.  I immediately offer empathy just by saying, “Oh, you must be SO frustrated.  You were looking forward to your order to give you x,y, z.  Let me fix this for you.”

Frustration dissolved, reconciliation begins.  I offered to my customer what I wanted needed: execution and empathy.  It became the internal “Care, Connect, Create” mantra of CastCoverz! and all employees are trained with this mindset.  By giving what I wanted needed, I filled a void, made raving fans of our customers, and built a blockbuster business.

Where else can you create something that epitomizes your personality, your brand, and your feelings, but in business ownership?  What have you created in your business to fill the void at home?  I look forward to reading your comments, below.