Episode 44: Self-reflection is essential for all business owners and there are 6 easy ways to get started

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Self-reflection is essential for all business owners and there are 6 easy ways to get started

“Pain + reflection = progress.”
- Ray Dalio

I had the pain, but I didn’t have the refection.

We all have pain. We all go through sh*t. But many of us repeat the same sh*t over and over again. We often ask: Why me? Why is this happening again?

Well, no reflection = repeated pain.

I am no different. Mistakes, missteps, f**k ups, self-sabotaging actions. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.

Now, I could tell a story about how I overcame my party years in my 20s, or how moving to Canada 12 years ago gave me a ton of perspective, or some insight from the last 5 years.

But I want to focus on discussing the habit that has helped me leap forward mentally, emotionally, and physically over the last 18 months.

I can honestly say going deep with this habit has changed my life. What is this habit?


Really, journaling, Steve? Not hot yoga, cold showers, or eating raw liver, just journaling?

Yup journaling. The most powerful habit. If you do it right. And there is a right way to do it.

But first, let me tell a story; you like my stories, right?

I got journaling all wrong.

I look back at my journals from 2013 and 2014, and it’s like reading a random mess of ideas, goals, emotional dumping and rage journaling. While this can be a useful and necessary part of journaling, the lack of structure made journaling a chore.

Something I felt like I had to do because the gurus told me to do it.

I would look at my journal and beat myself up mentally for not using it. I would open it up, write the date, stare at a blank page, or write some nonsensical scribbles.

Then things changed.

Yes, only in 2021 and going deeper in 2022 did I start to master and deeply connect with the power of journaling. Now, I have always had a journal on the go, but I used to put everything into one journal. Emotions, business stuff, ideas, and my attempts at daily gratitude.

From 2016 to the end of 2021, I filled three journals with ideas and tracking my business; in just 2022, I’ve filled two, just with ideas and emotional work.

What was the big shift?

I created a journaling system. I call it the Tactical Journal system. It’s not complex at all. I separated my emotional and ideas journal from my daily productivity and business journal.

One journal for work and one journal for fun.

And it has worked. I’ve never journaled more. I track my business daily. And I track myself daily. With my business/productivity journal, I set my week up on Sunday, spending about an hour doing that and then glance at it for about 5 minutes each day.

With my emotional, ideas, or you could say ‘fun’ journal, I spend about 20–30 minutes minimum writing in it daily.

I do it for at least 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes in the evening.

Doing it like this has removed the friction from journaling, as I now have specific journals for specific parts of my life. Over the last year, I have been healthier mentally, emotionally, and physically, and have made more money online than ever before.

The secret to your next success is hidden in the pages of your journal.

Okay, you have your separate journals, but how to use them effectively Self-reflection is key to improving performance. But most people have no idea how to do it effectively.

Here are 6 key frameworks for performing self-audits that will improve your performance:

Reflection is a powerful mechanism. It helps you take experiences and translate them into learning.

But most people don’t take reflection seriously. If you want a leg up, pay attention, take notes and start taking it seriously.

Why do you want to self-audit? So you can see:

- Your bottlenecks

- Your current direction

- What you don’t want

- A clear path forward

To improve in life, you need to remove anything stopping you from daily deep work and growth.

You need frameworks to help you audit yourself.

Mental dumping:

The easiest self-audit technique. Write out everything on your mind. Positive, negative, neutral, anything you are thinking about. Write until you stop; you need to get it all out.

Because most of it is noise.

Open loops:

Use this audit to remove anything draining or distracting you. Ruthlessly go through your mental dump list and drop anything that is not serving you. Projects, people, environments, and stuff.

Close those loops

Break bottlenecks:

You are creating bottlenecks by not self-auditing. What is still blocking you? What are you struggling with? What can’t you drop or delegate? Get clear on whether the bottleneck is an internal or external issue.

You can’t fix it if you don’t call it out.

Fear busting:

99% of fears are irrational. What fears are distracting you, stopping you from taking action? Write out the fear; write out what’s the worst that could happen.

Then write out how you can overcome it; bust that fear.

Weekly review:

Get into the habit of asking yourself weekly audit and reflection questions. Here are the 8 I use:

1. The main struggle I faced last week?

2. If I was advising a friend, what would I say to overcome this struggle?

3. If I don’t take action this week, what will be the outcome?

4. Two things I learned about myself or others?

5. A decision that could have made last week better?

6. What stood out as the BIG win?

7. What ideas sparked something in me?

8. Accomplishments, KPIs and targets hit?

The evening review:

I used to just track 3 wins each day and plan the next morning.

Now I go a bit deeper and ask these questions recommended by Dickie Bush a few times a week:

1. What’s the biggest bottleneck to achieving each of my current goals?

2. Why aren’t I working on that bottleneck?

If you want to improve, you have to review.


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Make it a great one,