Integrating information into our lives (part two)

This week, we’re talking about how to integrate the information we consume into our lives, in honor of my friends (Emily and Kathleen of the Being Boss podcast) launching a book!

I’ve developed a method I’m calling Gather, Connect, Live. Two days ago, we talked about the first step: gather. (If you missed it, you can catch up right here.) Today, we’re on to the next one: connect. Let’s jump right in!

GCL Part 2 — CONNECT

 

At this point in the process, you’ve taken notes, done the exercises, and written down all your impressions.

Time to move on to the next book / class / workshop / whatever…right?

Sorry, but no. You can uncross your fingers—it’s not time yet. There’s more work to do.

In this step, you’ll review all your notes and look for patterns, make connections, and identify action steps to take next. Your aim is to figure out what's important to you and what you'd like to bring into your life and work!

Here's the process:

First, review your notes. As you do…

Write down anything else that strikes you.
Reading your notes as a whole will help you see the big picture (especially if you took notes over several sessions about a book or during a weekend retreat). As you take in all that you wrote down, add anything else that comes to mind.

Make note of what stands out.
Circle or underline anything that surprises you, feels overwhelmingly true, or otherwise moves you in some way. On a separate page or sheet of paper, make notes and lists about ideas or words or phrases that come up again and again, patterns you notice, and connections you make.

Take your time.
This step will probably take a little while, especially if you took a lot of notes. Go through them more than once if needed, or even walk away and come back if you feel a bit of space would help you out.

(I know. We live in a world in which we want to—and in fact, are encouraged and pushed to—move quickly. But you’ve invested time in reading or listening to or experiencing something. Why did you do that if you didn’t want to then bring the ideas into your life? This process can help you do that, but you have to put in the effort. I know this feels laborious, but I truly believe it will pay off.)

Then decide what you want to do with this information and choose action steps.
Now that you’ve familiarized yourself with your notes, it’s time to make some decisions. This all comes down to one big question:

How do you want to bring the information and ideas from your notes into your life?

This is where things can get a little overwhelming, especially if you read a book or attended a workshop—there’s a lot going on in your notes at this point.

But instead of giving up, it’s time to get specific and make a list of action steps to take. Review your notes one more time, and write down any action step that come to mind—don’t worry about how or when you’ll do them at this point; just get them down on paper.

Here are some example steps:

  • Create an affirmation to review daily.
  • Begin a new habit.
  • Make a phone call or send an email.
  • Schedule time for self-care.
  • Contact a therapist or counselor.
  • Sign up for a yoga class.
  • Order a book from the library.
  • Start a new practice.
  • Write more about an idea or concept that came up.
  • Ask someone to talk with you about what you discovered.
  • Work on how to let go of an old fear, doubt, or pattern that keeps cropping up.

There are so many possibilities and none are wrong. The point here is simply to decide how you  could use the information you took in (both from the material and from yourself!), rather than letting it languish on the page.

Now this week’s instructions might be shorter, but make sure you really do the work on this step. It’s where you move from consuming to integrating, and it’s the part that may feel hardest to many of us—because it’s where we’re breaking an old pattern. Instead of just moving on, maybe using 1% of what we read or learned, we’re digging deeper and trying to bring real change into our lives.

Be gentle with yourself, but also remember why you’re doing this!

Next time, in the conclusion of this series, we’ll talk about how to take those action steps—because there’s often a wide gulf between setting an action step and taking one.

Until then,
With much love,
Erica


P.S. I'm sharing this series in honor of my friends, Kathleen and Emily, who launched a book this week! Being Boss: Take control of your work & live life on your own terms is now out in the world, and it's incredibly beautiful. I can already tell how much of an impact it's going to have on my own work and life.

I plan to apply the exact tactics you’re reading about in this series as I read the book, and I'd love for you to do the same!

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Also: If you did end up buying the Being Boss book, I know they’d love for you to leave a rating and review on Amazon! It really helps to have ratings in the first week of a book’s publication, so if you are enjoying it thus far, consider helping Emily and Kathleen make an even bigger impact with their wisdom.


P.P.S. Want to get the next two installments of this series in your email inbox? Sign up below! You'll get weekly-ish emails from me, as well as instant access to a library of worksheets I think you'll find really helpful.