The write way to landing your dream job


One of my childhood heroes was Laura Ingalls Wilder. She’s the author of the series “Little House on the Prairie.” I read all her books and watched all the TV shows — multiple times. I was in awe of the adventures and tragedies of a young girl growing up in the Wild West. She inspired me to write — starting my first journal when I was six. 

I was a prolific writer throughout my 20s and then I stopped. I don’t remember making a conscious decision — it was most likely one of those habits that faded away and was soon forgotten. 

Fast forward to January 2019. I started a mindfulness practice to gain better self-awareness, be a better coach and live my best self. I expected meditation to play a big role, but I was pleasantly surprised to learn that journaling was a key part of it too. 

Scientific research shows that journaling helps improve your mood, mindfulness and well-being. James Pennebaker, a renowned social psychologist, did extensive research on the outcomes of journaling. He said it helps organize events in our mind and make sense of our emotions. This helps us process the experience and sleep better. 

According to his research, laidoff professionals journaling about their feelings for five days found jobs at a much higher rate: 68% vs. 27%. Wow — that’s amazing, right? I’m going to make a not-so-wild assumption that journaling actually helps everyone find a new job. 

Journaling not only helps process emotions, but it helps clarify our thoughts. One practical way I use it is to set goals. I do a step-by-step process: 

  • I start by doing a braindump of everything I want to accomplish.
  • I read through my thoughts (which are typically all over the place) and then highlight the most important ones. Then I categorize and rank them. 
  • Once I’ve defined the most important goals, then I write a story. The story includes the outcomes, but focuses more on how I feel when I accomplish them. And here’s the exciting part — when you hold onto that feeling through the journey, you’ll accomplish your goals with speed, ease and success! 
  • And then I share them with a couple of trusted friends. By sharing my story, I’m putting it out in the universe, holding myself accountable and gaining support. 

I also ask our clients to do the same process for defining their dream job. I ask them to brainstorm, reflect, assess and then write a story that describes their new job and how they feel. And then they share it with me, their family and closest friends. It’s proven to be incredibly powerful and effective. 

Journaling doesn’t have to be reserved for the big ideas. It can be as simple as a 5 minute writing exercise every morning or evening. Set a timer on the phone and start with a prompt like: “what’s top of mind for me today” or “what I’m celebrating today” or “what I learned today.” 

Try it out. Buy yourself an inspirational journal or set a time on your calendar to write. 

Connect with me on LinkedIn and share your experience. I’d love to hear from you!