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Still re-writing the note at a time.

Updated: Nov 7, 2023

I’m feeling a little nostalgic and a whole lot proud – it’s over ten years since my card set Note to Self was printed and packaged and put out on the shelf! And I’m happy to say that the wisdom within this deck and its origins still rings true.

note to self by Gena McLean

At the time of its creation “note to self” was a common phrase we were all using to remind ourselves not to repeat a so-called mistake.

Note to self…check the pockets next time!” would be stated with absolute frustration while hanging out freshly washed jeans splattered with wet tissue.

“Note to self…I should’ve left ten minutes earlier!” would be muttered with exasperation on the gridlocked freeway to work.

We were making mental notes about all sorts of regular daily duties, giving ourselves a psychological slap on the wrist not to repeat a certain action, and it got me thinking –

If we can remind ourselves about the so-called little things then what about with the big things…the things that really matter?

So I went to work, editing and distilling an already written 50,000 word manuscript into what I considered to be the absolute must-have reminders that we can all do with when we’re facing challenging times, or when we feel our feet itch for change.

I already knew first-hand just how scornful and sour the self-talk could get when something wasn’t going my way, and I deduced that if I was speaking harshly to myself then the chances were high that plenty of other people were too.

And voila!…Note to Self – Reminders for Life’s Choices was born.

I have choices is the first card in the set and is really the fundamental Note to Self that all the notes stem from – we all always have a choice, no matter what.

Even when we can’t change what is happening around us, we have the power and the choice to change how we see things and how we respond. It’s one of my favourites as it always leads us back to that one wise truth, that there is always a choice. Even not choosing is a choice!

Another personal favourite of mine is I am a work in progress.

I have used it so many times it’s not even a reminder anymore – its my mantra! It’s a gentle loving way of saying “Hey it’s ok…you’re learning – we’re all learning!” and takes the pressure off for me to be any other place on the journey than exactly where I am.

As I say in my preface in the accompanying booklet,

Note to Self is about using encouraging and supportive self-talk. It provides the opportunity for us to be kind, compassionate and forgiving toward ourselves and others. It promotes responsibility through acceptance and respect. It helps us resume control when we feel like we have none. And it offers hope.

Note to Self is not just a set of statements you can grab hold of when you need – each of the cards has three questions to help you dig a little deeper. They’re designed to journal with or use in a therapeutic counselling or coaching session, but you can definitely use them to coach yourself and to write your own ‘notes to self’.

Do I listen to my feelings? is a great question to ponder, giving us a moment to pause and reflect on something that we now know to be a really important factor in our wellbeing – our EQ or Emotional Intelligence.

Who is the person I really want to be? takes us into the depths of personal discovery, and could be applied to a situation or a junction in our life.

Another question that is very dear to my heart is What gives my life purpose? which appears on the back of the My life has meaning card. A big statement and a big question, but as we all know, this life is too short and too important to waste.

As I look through each of the cards which came into being more than ten years ago and savour the words in the booklet, I marvel at the timelessness and truth of this resource and feel a sense of wonder and gratitude for the creative power that moved through me to assist it into life.

So many people, so many lives, have already been touched, and I know that they will continue to be. No matter where we are on the journey, we all have the chance to rewrite the script we’ve been note to self at a time.

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