Written by Jim Babb

When I was a teenager I decided to keep a journal. It was a small, vinyl-bound, black book. It proceeded to gather dust on my shelf for months. How could I write something smart? Something good enough to be the FIRST PAGE of a document about my life?

The weight of a blank first page is heavy.

While the first page doesn’t bother me (as much) anymore — you can always rip it out later ;) — I understand the struggle. The first page represents the definitive moment from going from the infinite possibilities of a grand vision to the cold, hard concrete of reality. We often feel that we limit or define ourselves from day one. This is it. This is all we’ll ever be.

That pressure is intense. It’s bad mojo and it prevents the creation of many a great thing.

Well, shit dude. How do you get past that?

No worries pal, I’ve got you. Below is an activity, that can get you unstuck and filling up that first page in no time. Trust me, the second page is much easier.

Start with what you’re not, rather than what you are.

Life is full of grey, but it’s also full of clear black & white dichotomies. Writing down a list of the obvious things you/your organization is not will help clarify what you are. Whether it’s your values, brand, tone or purpose, list off the things you’re not.


Find that difficult? Try adding a point of comparison. Know that competitor, employer, organization or dude, who is a real jerk? Start with them.


Once you’ve got a list of what you’re not, you’ve already started to fill in that first page of what you are.

Don’t limit what you can be, limit what you don’t want to be.