Recently I had the honor of being interviewed by my friend and colleague Gemma on the Work Wife Wine Time podcast. 
We talked about journaling for business (among other things). 
Listen to our conversation to hear an overview of my past working life (if you want to hear my origin story)

You’ll also learn: 

🌸  Why we all get to decide for ourselves what we mean by a journaling practice
🌸  I dispel the ‘rules” and assumptions of journaling
🌸  How I use journaling to solve problems in my business
🌸  Tips for starting a journaling practice as a beginner
🌸  Examples of journal prompts you can use in business (and in life)
🌸  Why I love collaboration and find it so helpful

And so much more! (Scroll down below to see a lightly edited transcript of our conversation)
You can hear my interview of Gemma on the Release Your Resistance podcast here: How Gemma is Done with Dull

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The Transcript of our Conversation

My 1st Southern Hemisphere Podcast

Gemma Lumicisi  

We have another international guest today, literally from the United States of America. So it’s very exciting that we’re expanding. So worldwide. So thank you so much for being here.

Bex Beltran  

I’m so excited to be on. This is my first southern hemisphere podcast. 

Gemma Lumicisi  

I wouldn’t have even thought of that. But let’s talk a little bit about you. Tell our beautiful listeners: who you are and what it is that you do.

Bex Beltran  

I’m a resistance coach, a podcast host and a journal and notebook creator. Those are three different kinds of three different things but for me, they all match together and they all go together perfectly. 

What is a Resistance Coach?

Whenever I introduce myself, people usually say, “What do you mean resistance coach?” We all have thoughts in our heads that cause us not to go for what we want or do what we want. Those thoughts might sound like, I don’t know how or I’m too old or I’m too young or people wouldn’t like it. If I did this thing that I’m thinking of doing. All of those thoughts are resistance. So maybe it shows up in relationships, maybe in our business, maybe just in our self care content. It can show up in so many ways.

That’s what I help clients do is notice that resistance and then release it so that leads to the second part, which is a podcast in the podcast is called release your resistance and it’s me sharing my stories about how I have learned to recognize and release resistance and other people’s stories, and then some extra fun things that I like to do which leads me to journaling. 

What is a Journal Evangelist?

I am a journal evangelist and love journaling. If it’s changed my life, I haven’t always been a journaler In fact, I may have had some resistance to journaling in the past. But now I love it. I do it daily. It’s non negotiable for me. Last year I created a journal and notebook shop so now I love sharing the benefits of journaling and helping people use journaling in their lives to help them get what they want.

Gemma Lumicisi  

Can you tell us a little bit about your past working life and why you decided to start your own business?

Bex Beltran’s Past Working Life

Bex Beltran  

I was always very eager and ready to work. Even as a teenager, I was ready to make my own money and my own lifestyle. 

I’ve always enjoyed working. I’ve always enjoyed being an employee. I’ve always thought of myself as a good employee or a good worker, you know, and I’ve enjoyed that. I like being productive and I like doing a good job. 

In my 20s I did all the jobs and tried every career you can imagine. I’ve done it, I’ve tried it. It jumped around a lot and I had a lot of fun and I learned a lot and then towards the end of my 20s I was like wow, I’m done with this. I want to be solid and secure and no more jumping around and I want to be more stable. I started working at a university and I stayed there for the next 16 years. I still jumped around inside, which was great because it gave me a lot of different experiences and worked with a lot of different people and tried a lot of different roles. 

What Happens After a Corporate Career

Throughout the end of my corporate career I was very interested in business. I was always on the lookout for what could I do on the side or what could I do in addition to this because I am a person who likes to be productive and work and do a good job. things happened in my role and in my team and it just worked out to be the perfect time to leave. luckily I had created a lifestyle for myself throughout the last couple of years of my corporate career that I didn’t have to get a brand new job right away or I didn’t have to start a business right away. 

I did dabble and I played around and I did a few different things. I did some volunteer work. I did some contract teaching. I tried a little business for fun, and I did play around a little bit. I did play with being retired for a little while too which did not suit me very well. 

Manifesting the Perfect Job

Then I decided to go back to work. But by then I already had some non negotiables in my life like journaling and a few other things. I decided I would only work and I had this list of things I wanted, you know, it had to be a pretty place it had to be within 10 miles of my home. I only wanted to work between 11am and 4pm. I didn’t want to work weekends. I mean I have this whole list and I manifested the job I found it. Then I got this amazing opportunity to work in a very diverse environment, doing a lot of different things, meeting a lot of different people. 

Towards the end of that time of my life, which was just under two years, I realized, “Oh, I really want to work for myself.” By then I had already completed or it was just Yeah, I had completed my life coach certification. I was already seeing my practice clients like I already had my podcast started so I was like oh, this is perfect timing. I left and I’ve been doing my own thing now ever since.

Gemma Lumicisi  

It’s wonderful. Before we jump into it, tell us a little bit about you. What, what do you love doing from journaling? Of course.

Bex Beltran  

Yeah, I do. I mean, that is kind of like my number one thing. That’s the thing that I would tell people: “Oh, I won’t not journal in a day.” 

Having Fun and Living My Life

I really just love having fun living my life and that can mean a lot of different things and it changes. So two years ago, if you would have asked me what’s my favorite hobby? 

What do I do? Outside of journaling? I would have said Zumba. I love dancing. I made it part of my lifestyle to go every day but then when the gyms closed, I really had to go through this you know, period of what do I do now? I figured it out. But that’s not as big of a part of my life as it was before but I still love it. 

I love spending time with friends. I luckily have some friends that we really make sure that we make time for each other. You know, like standard times to go out for drinks or take a girls trip girls weekend. I’m very lucky in love. I have a wonderful husband so we love spending time together too. I have a great family. So yeah, I just think the thing that I’m hearing myself as I describe how I like to spend my time is just spending time with people I love.

Gemma Lumicisi  

Wonderful. That brings us into, of course why we’re here today, which surprise surprise is to discuss and talk about journaling. Of course specifically journaling for your business and all about I guess what the heck journaling even is! How it’s going to benefit your business. So straight up. Tell us what is journaling?

What is Journaling?

Bex Beltran  

Such a great question because there’s probably an assumption that everybody knows exactly what it is, but not necessarily. We all get to decide that for ourselves. 

When I talk to people about journaling, a lot of times people say, oh, you know, I wish I could but I can’t or I don’t have the time or I can make it into a habit or a practice. In answer to your question, none of those things are required for journaling. I like to talk about 3 different types of journalers. I’ve been all 3 types. 

The non journaler is someone who doesn’t journal, doesn’t see the benefit or can’t see it for themselves,  just doesn’t do it’s not on their radar. 

Then the journal curious – maybe they’ve tried journaling. They know that other people journal and they think there’s probably some good benefits there but they don’t have the time for it or they can’t make it into a habit or a practice or they don’t know what to write about or they don’t know how to do it so that it’s beneficial to them. Then they don’t do it consistently or ever. 

The journal lover is someone who uses journaling, specifically to get benefits, those benefits plus lets their journaling practice evolve. In my case (this isn’t what I’m telling everyone they must do) I journal daily. It’s the most important part of my day. I use it to solve my problems in my business and my life. I use it to brainstorm. I use it to see patterns. 

Scientific Benefits of Writing in a Journal

There are so many scientifically researched benefits of journaling, you know, it can improve your cognition, and your memory and your immune system. So there’s just a lot of really good benefits from putting pen to paper. But even that, it’s not a rule. 

You don’t have to necessarily do it in a notebook. If you want to do it digitally. That’s an option. too. 

I just really want to remove any barrier or resistance that someone might have against journaling, because they think it has to be in a little notebook that has a little key on it and  write with very pretty handwriting and all the thoughts are very pretty. That’s not required in any way.

Gemma Lumicisi  

Did you have the little key diaries? As a little kid?

Bex Beltran  

Yes, it was very important to me to have that and I was so excited when I got that you know with a little key and I had to hide the key somewhere very special. Now, my journal is out in the open. I need quick access.

Gemma Lumicisi  

What if someone is journal curious, sort of where are they at? What are they thinking and how would you tip them over the line?

Bex Beltran  

I let everyone self identify. I’m not telling you or someone “Oh, you’re this or you’re that.” Certainly people self identify. 

When I’ve talked to people about journaling, I share my 3 categories. Sometimes they’ll self identify one way and then as we talk more, they’ll say oh, no, actually I am the other one. It’s all good. 

Creating a Journal Writing Practice

But for someone who does recognize the benefits of journaling, but you just haven’t made it a practice for yourself and you think you should or you would or you could but then you just haven’t.

Or for someone who says “Well, I would like to journal but I just don’t know what to write about.” Or “I have tried journaling and it doesn’t really work for me. I just don’t get those benefits that I hear.” 

There are a couple of different things to help if you want to move into a journal lover or to really get the benefits of journaling. 

The first thing is I never push anyone into journaling or starting a journaling practice, unless they really have a belief that it really is going to be beneficial for them. Otherwise don’t.

Find something that you really believe in that’s going to be beneficial. There are so many things that are so beneficial to a healthy lifestyle: exercise, diet, social time, etc. 

If you believe that it’s going to get you benefits, do it.

If you suspect journaling will get you the benefits that you want, ask yourself if you are willing to really give it a try and you believe that it’s possible, then that’s great. 

How to Start Journaling

Then go ahead and get started. 

Allow yourself to be new and awkward and a beginner when you first get started. 

Don’t expect it to be amazing right away. 

Allow your journaling practice to evolve and improve as you go. 

Just because you started one way doesn’t mean you’re always going to do it that way. 

Maybe you want to experiment. 

For me, my best time is in the morning, but other people can’t even imagine waking up and spending the first couple of visits an hour but you know, whatever amount of time in the morning before doing anything else. Maybe they don’t have that availability in their schedule. So  experiment and try different things. If someone’s says “I don’t know what to write,” use journaling prompts. That’s an option. 

If someone thinks “well, I always tend to write about things and it’s not very helpful. I just tend to be negative and complain in my journaling.” Then you can use some standard journaling practices that really cause you to look for the positive or find the possibility. 

Whatever question you ask your brain, your brain will answer it. 

Whatever problem you give your brain, your brain will set to solve that.

If you ask yourself -even subconsciously- “What’s wrong?” your brain will find all the things that are wrong. 

Believe in the Benefits of Journaling

If you ask yourself “what’s going right? What do I deserve credit for?” your brain will find the things that you deserve credit for. What if you wrote those all down? That would be amazing! Have the belief. 

Allow your practice to evolve, experiment, and then find what works for you.

Gemma Lumicisi  

Who would have thought journaling would be so beneficial. Tell us a little bit of how you use journaling and how it’s changed your business.

Journaling for your Business

Bex Beltran  

One of the big topics that I journal about is my business. I’ll notice myself thinking sometimes, “I don’t know this” or “I haven’t figured this out yet, or this is a problem.” 

What I’ve started to do, like I said a minute ago, our brains will answer whatever question we give it. 

I’ve really started to write down the “problems.” They’re not necessarily problems – whatever the thing that I’m trying to solve, the thing that is unknown, whatever it is, the thing that I haven’t figured out yet, the thing that I think I can’t do – whatever it is, in my business.

I will write it down. I’ll ask myself, what’s not working? And then I can list all of those things down.I list them without judgment, and without editing or censorship.

10 Ways to Solve a Problem

I like to make them into a numbered list. I have the list there. In my journal. I don’t do anything with it. It’s just there. That allows my brain to disconnect a little bit from thinking of those problems, because now I know they’re, they’re on paper. They’re in black and white. They’re there. I can reference them whenever I need to. 

But I don’t have to keep on spinning on them because I have them written down. 

I have a belief that my best time and my most creative time is in journaling. That is the time that I can really tap into my intuition and my inner wisdom, and I can really get good answers and come up with great solutions. 

I just have that belief about myself. 

That hasn’t always been there. But I work on continuing to believe that and I work on finding evidence for that. 

With that belief, the next morning, I go in and I say let me find a solution to one of my problems back to the previous page.

What’s the problem I’m having and then I’ll write it on the next page. I’ll invite my brain. 

What’s the solution to this problem? How might I solve this? How might I figure this out? 

I can give myself different answers. 

Sometimes the way that I do it, is I will tell myself, I’m going to make a list of 10 possible solutions to this problem. I’m not going to use all 10. Probably. I’m not going to stop writing the answers until I get 10. Good, bad. Possible impossible. Doesn’t matter. Just 10.

The first 3 or 4 come right off so quickly, easily: I know I could do this. I know this is a possibility. I know this might work.

When I get down to 5,6,7 Now my brain is really stretching, really reaching, really looking. Sometimes coming up with something that is out of character for me, but I still go until I get to 10. Then we have a list of 10 things and I look at the list and see what I’m willing to try. I consider what I would experiment with. 

It’s just so amazing because usually there’s one or two in the list that are super easy for me to implement immediately, and then sometimes there’s something that I would have never considered and if I just try it maybe that is the gateway thought into the next thing that is the answer. 

I really love using that problem solving technique and sometimes also using it with making a list of 10 possible solutions and it opens my brain up.

What Happens if You Don’t Journal for Business

Gemma Lumicisi  

I’m curious about what if you didn’t do that? What do you think would have happened in your business? 

Bex Beltran  

I know what has happened before I started it and it might be happening for some of your clients or listeners as well. 

My brain continues to spin on this problem and continues to tell myself, 

I don’t know how to do this. 

This is a problem that’s unsolvable. 

I’ll never figure this out. 

Instead of putting it down on paper where I can see it with a little bit of distance or I can see it in black and white with specific verbiage, my brain just keeps on spinning on it and believing it and thinking of it and worrying about it and not putting itself into solution finding. 

By using a “problem” as part of my journaling practice, it’s non negotiable. We are finding a solution. We are in solution finding mode. It is definitely solvable. 

But when it’s up in my head, it doesn’t feel like that at all.

Gemma Lumicisi  

Of course and then you continue. We can convince ourselves it’s not solving and wasting time right in your brain. So you’re not moving forward, and then it could be really hindering on other things, right because it’s almost setting up a block that may not need to be there if you could write it down and look at it, I guess even objectively.

Solving Problems with Journaling

Bex Beltran  

I tell myself on a Monday, “okay, let me write down everything I’m trying to solve for my business right now. Everything that’s kind of circling in my mind. Everything that’s bugging me.” 

I just write it all down, but I don’t try to solve it that same day. 

But the next day, I look at just one of them, not all of them. 

I have this freshness and a more open perspective about it because it’s not the same day where I wrote it when it was such a problem and the drama.

In that 24 hours or 48 hours later, I have a little bit of a more open perspective to look at it with a problem-solving mind.

Gemma Lumicisi  

Yeah, that’s a great tip. I really liked that because  the day you’ve journaled on it, you’re probably all in your head and everything’s such an issue, you hate world,

But look at it the next day. 

For me, what I really like to do then is go through what I’ve just dumped down on paper. Okay, what’s real here? Are there actually any, I guess, facts or what is actually real? Looking at everything from there is my interpretation. 

You know, what are the actual business facts here? what am I interpreting about those not so much to take the emotion out, but to really look at things objectively. 

Sometimes we do need to separate those because a lot of it is just us making problems out of nothing sometimes, right?

Noticing Exaggeration and Oversimplification 

Bex Beltran  

It’s so true. Even the act of writing it down (this might come with practice). It might not be when someone’s brand new teaching or brand new to writing things down. But I’ve noticed as I think to myself, “Okay, so what’s, what’s going on with me? What’s wrong? What am I thinking about?” 

Let’s say that I wrote down “no one is ever going to hire me or no one is listening to my podcast.” 

That’s obviously an exaggeration. Even as I’m finishing the sentence, I’m thinking “I could look it up and I can see how many downloads I have.” I could edit my thought to be a little bit more factual. 

The act of writing it out and having to put it in paper, instead of just letting it be in the air, it makes me think “Wait a second, how can I be more factual about this, or is this true? Am I using exaggerating language? Is this a hyperbole? Am I over complicating or over simplifying something here with the way that I’m thinking about it?”

Gemma Lumicisi  

I love how our brains generalize. So much. We’d always say “everyone, or no one.”

Bex Beltran  

“always and never.” Yes. 

Gemma Lumicisi  

It’s just interesting. You’re so right. If you write “no one ever listens to my podcast.” Well, you actually have a podcast. It’s out there. It’s available. But what if you did actually look up and see: “Oh, 400 downloads, why are you doing this, brain”?

Love that. Now, if you’re new to journaling, I would love to chat about if you are new to business journaling. What’s the best way to start?

Best Way to Start Business Journaling

Bex Beltran  

Well, if there’s any resistance or if you are a non journaler, you don’t even have to call it journaling. 

You could call it my business notes or my note taking or brainstorming or whatever you want to call it, whatever, allows you just to go ahead and start. 

Sometimes when people start journaling, they think they have to have the perfect journal or notebook or planner or set up with the perfect pattern, you know, they give themselves a lot of obstacles before starting. 

Go ahead and just start with whatever you have. 

You don’t have to wait until you have the perfect thing. 

It’s going to change anyhow as you go, you know, so just go ahead and start even with a piece of paper or even with a document on your computer and type if you need to. Whatever you’ve got, just start there. 

But I would also recommend, try and have the intention to compile it all in one place so you don’t have it on a sticky note here and a blank piece of paper there in a doc on your computer. Have the intention to have it all in one place. 

Because once you have journaled for a while, another benefit is that you get to look back over what you’ve written before. You get to see patterns, and you get to see progress. So if you are just starting, start where you are with what you’ve got with the intention of having it somehow collected together. 

So, for example, if you do decide right now, pause the podcast and open a document (or your notes app on your phone even) and start dictating. That counts! 

Just have the intention! Decide “I will print this off and I will type it into the journal or the notebook that I intend to use for this.” 

Using Journaling Prompts to Start Journaling

Another way to start is to and you can find days just by Googling or there’s a lot of ways you come up with your own but I think if you’re nervous about not knowing what to write, you could use journal prompts. The way that I use journal prompts is and I have some that I’ve used over and over again for years now. 

When I start a new notebook, before I really write in the pages I go through on the margins and I just flip through randomly every couple pages and I write in one of my prompts. So that way when I get to that page that prompts like appears for me and it’s the perfect path for that day. It always is. So you could think of some prompts or look up some prompts for journaling or journaling for business or just take existing other areas of your life and modify them to be about business and put them in your pre write them in your journal. 

Another way to do it is, for a while, I had prompts printed out on a sheet and then I made little slips like little fortune cookie slips. 

Every day I would pick out a new one. So it was kind of fun and tactical to reach into my little box and pick out a slip and open it and read it and then I could write about it. 

Whatever is going to make you feel like “Oh, I’m looking forward to this. This is going to be fun for me. I’m interested in this I think is going to be beneficial for me.” 

That can help you so.

Just start with the intention of collecting it all in one place. 

Different Routines for Journaling

Another thing that you can do is you can have different days of the week for a different journaling routine. 

Mondays are Manifesting Mondays. Every Monday I write down in my journal what I’ll manifest or what I am manifesting.

On Saturdays, I do my evaluation for the week, and I look back throughout the week to see what worked, what didn’t work, what I want to do differently or continue to do next week. So you could build in some kind of a schedule like that. 

On the 30th of every month I write down what I’m thankful for. I call it the Thankful 30th.  I write down 30 things that I’m thankful for. 

You could come up with a different thing that you want to do for yourself. Each day or however often you plan to journal so that you know what this time is going to be used for.

Gemma Lumicisi  

Love that you’ve come up with those different ideas and days and that’s a wonderful Yeah, I like it, mixing it up and keeping it what works for you.

Evolution of Journal Writing

Bex Beltran  

Right and I didn’t always do all of those. You know when I first started journaling, all I did was have a blank page in front of me. I didn’t have prompts. I didn’t have a weekly, you know schedule of what I did on which day I just wrote and then as I went and as I learned and as I figured out what I like, and as I heard what other people did, and as I tried things out, then I started incorporating and these are just the things that I happen to be doing right now. Maybe some of them will fall away and new things will take their place in the future which is totally fine.

Gemma Lumicisi  

Just out of interest to us – a couple of ideas have been for business Yes. Get our listeners started.

Bex Beltran  

One journal prompt that I love this business but also for anything is what have I learned in my life? Or what have I learned in my business? So it really causes your brain to recall and consider the things that you have learned that you didn’t know innately like you weren’t born knowing how to create a website or how to create a funnel or how to make a sales call or whatever, right? So these are all things that you’ve learned. 

By writing them down, and considering them then you can notice: how did I? 

Why was I open to learning it? So If you have that as a frequent prompt that you answer every six months or so, you can kind of notice you’re continuing to learn new things. 

It’s really powerful to train your brain in the belief that you’re always learning new things that help your business. 

Start writing about what you’ve learned and how you learned it and why you learned it.

Maybe those could be three different prompts. 

My favorite prompts that I love to use for myself and offer to other people is: what are 10 things you deserve credit for in your business, or in your life? 

We don’t celebrate ourselves enough and we don’t give ourselves enough credit for not only results, but also the actions that we take to get those results. 

You get credit for scheduling a podcast interview, you get credit for sending an email inviting someone to do something, you get credit for being on social media for a certain amount of time to look for a specific thing or to engage with your audience or whatever those are. 

Even if you can’t see those in your bank account. Those are all things you deserve. credit for. You should give yourself credit for that regularly and try to do different things every week. 

Don’t write the same 10 things every week. Find 10 new things every week that you deserve credit for in your business.