Journaling as a Professional: Nava from Better Future tells her journey

As not many of you probably know, Paper on the Rocks makes custom notebooks for companies as well. Better Future (a B Corp consultancy that helps companies become future proof by activating their business as a force for good) has been using our Rockbooks since…2016! So it’s no surprise that some diehard journaling fans are hopping around the Better Future office. One of those fans is Nava. In this blog post she tells why journaling is so important for her.

Hi Nava! Can you tell a little bit about yourself?

Hello! I work at Better Future in The Netherlands as Senior Advisor on Diversity and Inclusion (D&I). Given my own diverse background and international upbringing, working on D&I issues is a calling rather than a profession; I am half German, half Iranian, and was raised in Paraguay, England and Zimbabwe. Over the years I have worked in Spain, Colombia, South Africa and Egypt on various areas of human rights and diversity. Since working at Better Future, it has been both inspiring and fun to be a member of a dynamic and motivated team that has a deep-rooted belief in the power of purpose-driven leadership to bring about positive transformation.

How did you get into journaling?

As a child, with all the travelling and moving that I did with my family, I was encouraged by my mother to keep a journal as a way of processing the changes and adjustments that I seemed to have to make continuously. It was not until I reached early adulthood that I came to appreciate the power and effectiveness of my journaling habit as a way to organize my thoughts and often to process mixed emotions. As life got busier in adulthood, I often strayed away from my daily journaling regime and soon enough found that my thoughts and emotions became agitated.

What happened then?

Eventually I decided to commit to journaling at least one page on a daily basis regardless of how inspired or enthusiastic I was about the prospect on the any given day – even if it meant writing the word “blah” a few dozen times to fill up a page. At one point I remember writing several pages on how much I did not want to journal that day and another time all I could think of to write was a detailed list of what I ate that day! There were also days where I had more substantial and difficult subjects to write about which would flow to more than ten pages. Over time, I witnessed how I gained clarity on decisions I was struggling to make, I gained deeper insights into my subconscious thoughts, and I felt more alignment between my thoughts and actions. What I learnt from that process was that journaling is a muscle and like any muscle, for it to develop, it must be strengthened regularly. If one perseveres, the muscle becomes a powerful tool and the rewards are profound.

Are you journaling at work as well?

Yes! At Better Future, journaling is not only encouraged, it is often an integral part of our team’s reflection process, both personally as well as collectively. We also use journaling with our clients on journeys and I have seen the benefits even in the short-term including in people who are not in the habit of journaling. One participant shared that after only 5 days of journaling, he finally understood why his wife enjoyed it so much and as a result, he changed his previously skeptical and dismissive view on journaling.

In your opinion (because, well, we’re biased), what makes journaling in a Rockbook so special?

Since being introduced to the beautiful Better Future Rockbook, I have been taking it with me on all journeys both for leisure as well as with Better Future clients. I really like the silky texture of the pages which makes the pen glide seamlessly – it makes writing even easier! In today’s digitally focused world, I still prefer to write down my thoughts and ideas. There seems to be an added wisdom in having to slow down my thinking processes to match my writing speed and not being able to edit or gloss over what is on my mind. I also find that the Rockbook is a great conversation starter with strangers I meet on journeys which inevitably leads to a discussion on the intersection between sustainability, innovation, and design.

What would you say to people who didn’t experience the journaling eureka yet?

For those who are doubtful about journaling or who, like me, often find themselves too lazy or busy to do a journal entry, my advice is: do it anyway! Journaling does not need to start with beautiful prose or profound thoughts. Start with a simple page on literally anything that is on your mind. After all, “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” (Laozi).

See our collection of notebooks to start your own journaling journey!