Please enjoy this transcript of my chat with Tracy Winchell! Tracy is the Founder of Roaman Journals. A teacher of daily journaling practices to others, Tracy is a self introspective person when it comes to facing ourselves in writing. And when introduced to Roam, she has started implementing the tool into journaling.
In this episode, we talked about:
- Life before Roam Research: her time as a journalist, within broadcasting and more
- Her workflow for journaling and introspection in Roam
- Our relationship with the creator/higher power
- The intricacies of daily journaling and how Tracy approaches it
- The three selves, and how we should confront them
For the full shownotes, click here
Norman Chella: [00:00:19] In this episode, we talk with Tracy Winchell, who is the founder of Roaman journal. A teacher of daily journaling practices to others. Tracy is a very self introspective person when it comes to facing ourselves in writing. And when introduced to Roam, she has started implementing the tool into journaling.
And really resurfacing up previous emotions, previous struggles, previous memories in order to strive towards a future intended version of herself. So in this episode, we talked quite a lot
about life in the dark times, before stumbling into Roam research, the tool, our relationship with the creator or a higher power.
The intricacies of daily journaling and how Tracy approaches it, both in her coaching practice, as well as comments and conversations with other people,
the three selves, and how should we confront or even interact with them and much more. Just to let you know that there is a part one and part two to this episode, because there are some technical difficulties. So halfway through, you might hear a little bit of a disconnect, but I will let you know.
So without further ado, let's dive into my chat with Tracy Winchell, the founder of Roman journals.
Tracy Winchell: [00:01:36] Well, I'm in Western Arkansas and so I'm about 20 miles from the Oklahoma border. So this is the old West and I live in a rural community. There are more cows and horses than there are humans in this little town, so it, it should be quiet except that we're, about 10 miles from a national guard training facility and they fire artillery and they happen to be firing artillery today. And so if you hear a boom, we're not under attack, it's just normal.
Norman Chella: [00:02:22] Uh, I will, uh, I'll leave that in there because I think that will set the precedence for a very fascinating conversation. It's just casually having artillery blowing things up in the background while we are talking about Roam. So quite excited for this.
Tracy Winchell: [00:02:38] It is, it's probably 20 miles away, on a military reservation, but you can feel it under your feet.
Norman Chella: [00:02:49] Oh, okay.
Tracy Winchell: [00:02:51] yeah. Yeah.
Norman Chella: [00:02:52] So you get a lot of
Tracy Winchell: [00:02:53] the windows sometimes.
Norman Chella: [00:02:54] Ah, okay.
Tracy Winchell: [00:02:55] And you know what, since COVID, we haven't had a lot, so. It's something that we normally just, you know, they're training over there, but it's been so long since I've heard it that today I've been going, whoa, so.
When I was a reporter years and years ago, I spent a lot of time out there, uh, um, covering just the war games. So I have a really good understanding of what's going on out there. And we actually went out a couple of years ago and when we fired those guns, my mom and I did. And so it's pretty normal. It's not a.
You know, it's not a scary, big, crazy thing. I know. I used to know a lot of those guys. It's been a long time though.
Norman Chella: [00:03:45] Wait, did you just say you used to fired them? As in
Tracy Winchell: [00:03:49] I did once. My mom did once. That one time.
Norman Chella: [00:03:57] Wow. Okay. What interesting start to this. We are, well, well, welcome to the show because there's nothing more fascinating than being told that a, that you fired artillery or at least you have been dabbling in the usage of large guns. So that's, that's always been interesting. So if we're going that far back and might as well, in nd the context of, uh, doing a little time travel and really looking back at the dark times, which is what I would call anything and everything before Roam, from firing tons of guns or large guns as a reporter and war games to now, uh, what is really your origin story? How did you actually stumble upon this tool of Roam and started on this journey of doing, um, journals in Roam? Because that's quite a jump from, you know, being a reporter and in war games to.
Tracy Winchell: [00:04:58] Oh, well, there's just so much more to that.
Norman Chella: [00:05:02] Please.
Tracy Winchell: [00:05:04] I accidentally ended up, uh, in front of a microphone. I worked in radio and, just doing production work. And in one of the guys said, man, you have a great voice. If you'd lose the accent, we'd put you on the air. So I worked really hard on my voice. You know, this is 1984, so obviously I've gotten some or a lot of that accent back.
Um, but I ended up on the air and was, um, like. Sick into the trash can. Every time I keyed the mic there for a few Saturday, uh, then I saw I was always going to be in television. It was never going to be on television. That became an experiment. I moved to Meridian, Mississippi from little rock Arkansas and, uh, got my first on air job.
And then I moved home to Arkansas, uh, the Fayetteville area, which is in the shadows of Walmart. And it just turned out that, uh, this guy, uh, who was the governor, who everybody knew, decided to run for president. And so I got to cover, pieces of bill Clinton's first campaign. I was there when he announced and I was there the night that he won and that wasn't even the most fun part of my, my journalism experience, but I'll fast forward after Clinton was inaugurated. I decided, okay, it doesn't get any better than this. And I decided I would do the next logical thing for my career, which is to go into the financial services industry. So I did that for nine years and dabbled back in radio because man, I love radio Norman.
It's just so much fun. So I did some, uh, financial services, like stock reporting and stuff like that. But I also had a, uh, a night shift at KMAG a country station. We were good. So after nine years of that, I decided to do something different. So the next logical progression was to go to work for a local municipal government in special projects.
And I eventually became the communications manager Uh, after 12 years, uh, as happens in local government, um, elected officials use their prerogative to say we're going to shake things up. And a whole bunch of us, uh, were either retired early or, uh, were just let go. And my position was eliminated.
And so ever since I've been working for myself.
Norman Chella: [00:08:07] Oh, wow. Okay. This is quite a roller coaster ride of events, uh, leading up to now. And well you've had, you've touched on all these fields and I see that you still dabbled in radio, like over and over again. And then coming back in and now you're working for yourself. What are you working on right now, now that you're working for yourself?
Tracy Winchell: [00:08:28] Well, I started a podcast called the reboots podcast. We're in right now. It's, it's dormant. I've done a couple of episodes this year, but I'm working on this Rome project and journaling inside Rome. So I've hit the pause button on the podcasting, but I thought it would be interesting to talk to people about, um, changes that they have either chosen in their lives or careers or that they have been forced to make in there lives or careers.
So, I've done, Oh, probably at a hundred interviews or so I've got several more in the can. I just need to publish them, but it's been a fascinating journey to, uh, learn about how people have made changes. they've been forced to make changes or they've chosen changes in pretty often when we're forced to make changes, we may not realize it, but we have another choice to go along with that.
Is it like, how are we going to respond to that? So what I, what I've learned through all of that is that almost every positive change we make in our, in our, in our life or our career. Revolves around a decision in, in recovery, we call that a moment of clarity and then we make a series of daily and sometimes moment to moment choices to back up that decision. So it's this whole concept of one day at a time.
Norman Chella: [00:10:04] And through this podcast, you are on this mission to advocate for that one day at a time mindset, or at least the pursuit of that, or trying to uncover that from each and every guest. How did that result in you discovering Roam the tool?
Tracy Winchell: [00:10:23] Uh, well, everything else that's logical in this life, Twitter. Well, when I first started podcasting, um, I decided I wanted to be everywhere in social media and it was too much and late 2019. I decided, you know what, I'm just going to do one thing. Well, and I put my Facebook account on pause. It was still there. I just chose not to look at it every day. And I put my Instagram on pause. I put my, Podcast Twitter account on pause. So that the only thing I was doing was hanging out on my personal Twitter account. I met my dear friend, Steve Austin that way a year or so before. And I figure, well, that's where lasting changes occur. My Facebook account is where I have my real friends, but my real real real friends have my phone number and they can send me a text. So real relationships weren't happening on Facebook.
Real relationships started happening on Twitter. And I can't even remember. Where I first saw someone talk about Roam. I just know that my first Rome entry was on my way into town. My mom was driving My first Rome entry said something like interesting. What is this thing? And then. I don't think I messed with it very much for a while after that, but there was a progression through, anonymous' videos, some Shu Omi videos. And then I started following Conor and I thought he was fascinating. And that there must be something to this. And then there was just this snowball effect.
I really liked the people who hashtagged roamcult. They were interesting and engaging. They were curious and kind, and there was just this oasis. In the middle of a pandemic that intrigued me and energized me. And so it was the people of Roame that I decided if I'm going to hang out with these people, I need to figure this thing out.
Norman Chella: [00:13:11] Okay, this is interesting because it was only after you saw the community interacting with each other. And after you seen proof of their curiosity or their pursuit of intellectual engagement, or even just the strange ness or the interesting personality of Conor himself that you decided upon yourself.
Wow. I should dive deep into this tool more often because there has to be some sort of commonality and that commonality is this tool. And it's just a matter of really just uncovering that or discovering that. Would you say that. The decision to pause or to make all the other social media platforms for yourself, inactive to be considered a moment of clarity because you have now realized, or you have now clarified a place for you to want to belong to, because that is the place where these interesting people are.
Tracy Winchell: [00:14:06] Yeah I think so. I think so.
Norman Chella: [00:14:09] I like that because that's a, that's a really great like reflection of one's character. Especially when we look at the different discussions between Roamcult. If you just follow the hashtag, it's an amazing rabbit hole where everybody who's using the hashtag is just willing to add to the conversation and is willing to add to the curiosity, And as someone from looking from outside, looking in and going like, Oh, I want to be part of this.
It makes it really attractive. from there, you chose the direction of the Roaman journal, or at least through Rome. The angle at which you decided to, you know, give back to the conversation or add to the conversation is self-introspection, which is a huge topic that I would love to dive into from your angle. Why did you pick that topic?
Tracy Winchell: [00:14:58] Well, because it was working for me. It was, it was the thing that most engaged me on about Roam and, you know, The interesting thing is, is that I have done the Evernote thing I have done. I've tried the, second brain piece. I tried DEVONthink, and once I started to understand, Oh, wait, Roam lets me throw things to my future self. Wow. Roam lets me naturally do all of these linking things that I was trying to do in DEVONthink, but instead it just became a pile of junk that I threw things into and got so overwhelmed with that. I didn't know what to do with it. So the community kind of got me there. But I started to see the power of Roam in some of my journaling techniques and, and gosh, Les Kristoff's those kids with their, with their amazing Rome tutorials on YouTube simplified things for me.
And one of the girls posted how she journals when she's upset. She calls it in my feels. And I can't tell you off the top of my head exactly what that technique is like, but I realized, Oh my goodness, I can take some of my journaling techniques that I use that I rotate through and that I teach others how to do.
I can put that into my Roam database and I can practice with that. And what it became was a way for me to communicate with myself in, in written form. So I struggle with negative self talk like, Oh, you idiot, you goofball. What'd you do that for kind of thing. When I'm encouraging myself, I'm usually talking to Mr. Winchester, my 13 year old Shih Tzu like, Hey, Winnie, maybe we should try this, or blah, blah. You know? Well now Rome lets me just put that kind of conversation in through my fingertips, into my Roam database. It helps me tell myself the truth and uncover lies and. So I'm thinking if this is working for me, why wouldn't it work for the people of Roam?
And so, yeah, this is something I can give back to because I've taught it before, outside Roam and I still teach it outside Roam, but now then I'm finding success with it in Rome. So yeah, let's start giving back.
Norman Chella: [00:18:01] Oh, I love this because beyond the tutorials of adding queries or creating complicated diagrams or, you know, business models and whatnot, those are great. And those are useful. But what I really like about this is that you are touching on the most humane aspect. That Roam can provide. And that is a platform for us to talk to ourselves there.
The Single most powerful conversation we can ever have with anyone is the one where the partner that we were talking to is the mirror. It's just us. Right? What do we write down as a reflection of who we were before and what are we sending to, to our future self? So that either the serendipity or the connection or the result from those two people, like those two persons of yourself meet in the future.
Can they meet and can they be friends? Or can they meet and can the pest self help with coping with the negativity of the future self or something along those lines?
Tracy Winchell: [00:19:09] Yeah, I just done an interview. Uh, just prior to, to, uh, the, the pandemic. I just done an interview with Ben Hardy and he was, doing a crazy podcast tour. And I was lucky enough to snag him, uh, ahead of his book personality isn't permanent. And I walked him through the chapters of the book as a reflection of the entire serenity prayer, not just the first three lines, but the entire serenity prayer, the real power of the serenity prayer is the last few stanzas, not just the courage changes, the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. So I walked him through all of that. And Ben said, you know, one of the most powerful things we can do is learn that our three selves are different people and to recognize them as such and to make peace with them. So when Rome came around, And I realized I can project to my future self and pretty quickly go back and review my past self and celebrate those victories and be reminded that I made it through the struggle of anxiety or depression or frustration. Well, now that I'm living out what. Ben is talking about, and that's what journaling is about.
It's just that Rome makes it even more intuitive and easier to just call up a review when we need it. it's not a process of going through my notebook. And sitting down with it. Um, I know a lot of people do that and I want to want to do regular reviews, but I don't. I do just in time reviews, like, you know, um, Tracy, you answered this question this morning, almost like you did the last one.
Well, now I'm going to go back and have a look at my backlinks and figure out what's going on there.
Norman Chella: [00:21:26] Yeah, I look at it as the different steps in wanting to make the comparisons between either your future self or your present self or your past self. Roam is really good at outsourcing the recall part of it, which is the initial, the initial obstacle, which is also the biggest obstacle in that if we were trying to do this manually on pen and paper and like you, I would have notebooks.
I think I have a drawer back there that has all my notebooks from four to five years ago. I can totally do everything that Roam can do. But the amount of time, the amount of effort, the chaos and mess that you have to go through and the ability to articulate it in these contexts. And in this case, it will be these notebooks.
Where was I when I was writing these et cetera, as opposed to one standard or consistent environment, like a Roam graph. Rome just makes it a lot easier for you to get past that step and go straight to the introspection, which is the most important thing. And take it that you were trying to do this with other apps as well.
Like you previously mentioned, um, even some apps where to have certain levels of rigidity or at least some levels of order or structure. It's great for many use cases, but sometimes when you want to reveal yourself, you might prefer something a little bit more seamless, a little bit more.
Shall we say, allowing for anyone to write notes each and every day, and to be able to recall them over time, because in the end, the way that you and I would write notes to talk to our future selves will be vastly different, but we want it to be valuable all the same. So
Tracy Winchell: [00:23:13] Yes. Outsourcing the recall. That is brilliant. Norman.
Norman Chella: [00:23:19] Thank you. if you are using that, uh, in your, uh, in your course on teaching people on writing a note to your next day self, uh, do let me know, and I will be, uh, really grateful that you can use that. And on that note, not to make a pun out of it. I know that you have your notes to next day self, which is something that I see quite a lot of, uh, tweets, uh, talking about it, which is fantastic, but let's just zoom out a little bit from there before we dive into something very specific like that system.
What is your general workflow actually for using your Roam? Do you have a specific ritual where you start using it or is there a specific time to the day or is there really a template that you prefer to use?
Tracy Winchell: [00:24:04] I start with a, it's a pretty complex, daily notes template. And I don't recommend that new users start with something with such great complexity. In fact, I've had to think about, uh, do I trim some things out because Oh, earlier this month I was spending too much time journaling and not enough time actually working.
So I had to say, okay, we're going to put some time constraints on this thing. And if I can't do this in 20 minutes every day, then some of my prompts have to go, even though they're effective because journaling creep is a very real thing and we can become addicted to the journaling piece and then we're not actually doing the work or living the life that journaling is supposed to let us live. So with that caveat, I'll share with you that my next day journal. Begins the afternoon before with my afternoon prompt. And I'll just go ahead and make out my template for the next day. I'll write the note to my next day self.
And like you said, we can kind of get into that later, so that the next morning when I get up, I do my morning ritual, make the bed, give the dog his medicine. Talk to my mom. You know, all of these, I call a prelaunch sequence, get some good blood flow in with my body and my old bones and make my coffee. And then when I get all that done, I sit down for what I call my launch sequence.
And the first thing I do is read that note to my next day self. And then I have a couple of prompts that. Kind of get my brain moving the way I just got my body moving. The first thing is a note about today. Sometimes it's the weather sometimes. It's how I slapt. Um, sometimes it's, I don't know, just some kind of random this morning was a little awkward because Winchester had a couple of issues.
And so I make note about his health. Uh, and then, and then I have, uh, uh, three morning prompts. The first thing is what are you looking forward to? And the second is what are you dreading and why? There are days when I get up in the morning. And the first thing I'm thinking about is that thing that I'm dreading today.
So I know how I'm going to yeah. Answer that one. But if I, if I answer the other question first, which is what are you looking forward to for whatever reason. This is a pattern I uncovered in Roam. I can say I'm looking forward to being finished with whatever that thing is. I'm dreading and all of a sudden, Oh, wait, I can actually finish this thing and get it off my plate and stop writing about it.
How exciting is that? So the next morning prompt is a dear ABA. I just write a letter to my creator and that's usually where my gratitude for the day kind of manifests itself. It's an opportunity for me to get outside myself, to pray for people I love. To pray for myself throughout the day. Uh, and then the next thing that that I do in the morning is a really quickly go through readwise.io that feed talk about a magnificent journaling prompt.
I'm able to go back through. Things that I've read in the past thought was important and then forgot about, and now I get to drag them up. And, Lucas with CortexFutura in his course talks about just in time reading and I've, I've kind of streamlined read wise.io. The things that I'm thinking about, the things that I'm writing about mainly human behavior and journaling right now, because those are the things that I'm interested in, uh, or the things that I'm emotionally struggling with.
So I'll pull those up and I'll write a couple of things. How can this instruct me today? How can this instruct me next week? And those, those are really powerful things that I do. And I'm, I, I forced myself to be done with that in 20 minutes. And then I physically get up, come back here. And do work for a couple of hours, like focus, work, and that focus work then leads me into interstitial journaling.
for me that helps me track how well I'm focusing. What's distracting me and really how long I've been focused. And, um, I keep an attribute for, next up or up next, something like that. when I'm really stuck or dreading something. I use that to create a sequence of ridiculously easy steps to get me started that usually begins with.
Open Ulysses or open this Google docs. The Google docs will take you through how to do this thing. And before I know it, my ADHD brain is in check that stuff off mode, and then I'm deep into the project. And then I don't, I leave Roam for awhile. And then when I come back to it, um, I've got that dopamine rush because I've made progress on a thing. So that's kind of how my morning and throughout the day in Roam looks like
Norman Chella: [00:30:03] Well, I am learning a lot here and I feel like I'm picking out a lot of behaviors and, or elements of your routine that I might pick up for myself, which, which is, which is fantastic. Cause I feel like I'm already learning a lot.
Yeah. Thank you really, uh, particularly about the up next system. I never thought about it that way. And I'm not one to say that I have add or anything like that, but I do find it difficult to get past step one of doing a task. I'm not sure if it's a combination of fear and that I don't want to do this, or I don't want to waste my time or I'm scared of failing.
I'm not sure. I'm not sure what it is, but whatever that reason may be exists and it is powerful enough that is stopping me from taking step one. And really it's just a matter of doing the easiest steps first, like open the software or open this file or just edit this episode. Oh. And even that is a bit too big because that happens to me a lot.
So I might, I might even take that this is wow. Like, I feel like you've just given me a great skeletal outline of your day to day work, which is fantastic. I love this.
Tracy Winchell: [00:31:19] Good. You know what else is interesting. Norman. I like to be a checklist, the kind of person, when I use a template, a checklist for podcast production or whatever, it just seems so overwhelming to open that template. But if I actually write out in my interstitial, what my next steps are in the moment. It seems that, that whatever that is, whether it's lack of clarity or resistance, uh, Steven Pressfield calls it, whatever that is, it starts melt away because I know next ridiculously thing is gonna, get me to where I need to go, rather than looking at this massive.
Checklist that I prepared months ago. And that just, that feeds my overwhelm.
Norman Chella: [00:32:19] And, and
Tracy Winchell: [00:32:20] I'll tell you this too, being diagnosed with ADHD at 50 years old was not fun, but it was also was also a relief because it, it explained a lot. And. In three to five year increments as I age, in some ways that ADHD brain gets more frustrating, but wisdom makes it easier because I have the tools to cope with it.
And sometimes I give into it.
Tracy Winchell: [00:33:01] Hi Norman,
Norman Chella: [00:33:02] All right, Tracy? Yes. Hello. We're back again.
Tracy Winchell: [00:33:05] I know, right. Let me close this blind. How are you?
Norman Chella: [00:33:10] Doing good. I just woke up 40 minutes ago, so it's like 6:20 AM.
And. You know, wake up, getting right into the Roam mood. So this is going to be a, this is going to be my coffee for the day.
How about you?
Tracy Winchell: [00:33:29] Well, my day is winding down. I've had a good focus day and, uh, Finished at a decent hour. I Finish the first draft of a guest post for Rome brain, uh, on the concept of our three selves. Uh, it still needs some work, but Francis is amazing and I love it that he, has that active hands-on editor role. You know, he, he doesn't just say.
Yeah. Okay. I'll publish it. He, he knows what he's looking for. And so I'm looking forward to working with him on that.
Norman Chella: [00:34:08] Yeah, he is very constructive in how he interacts with a lot of the writers for articles. Cause yeah, I, I sent in an article before and rather than the usual, Oh, change this or, Oh, let's just go with it. it was very conversational, at least from my point of view in that there were lots of suggestions and feedback and.
More discussions on certain sections. He was like, okay, uh, we can probably work on the intro a little bit more because of the following and, and then from there we could flesh it out and it was nice to know that instead of, vomiting out what we know, we are subject to our own biases when we are trying to teach people something, or we are trying to give a perspective, sometimes that bias can lead us to.
A little bit of a breakdown in communication, or maybe there are ways to improve and Francis is there to save us. So I really like how Roambrain does it.
Tracy Winchell: [00:35:05] Yeah. Yeah. I agree. Um, I'm looking forward to it. I I'm gonna learn a lot from the process. I've never made a diagram before, I'm kind of nervous about that, but he'll, he's good at it. And who better to teach me about that? So anyway, that's kind of, that's the bulk of my day. It's always good to start the week with a finish. I love that.
Norman Chella: [00:35:32] that's a great way to put it, Oh, I should write that down immediately. Oh, okay.
well, since we'll already write on it, it might as well.
so this, this article, uh, I am now interested here you have caught to my attention and as usual, uh, what I call my coffee for the day is my own method of articulating things that are so interesting that I just want to deep dive into learning about them more. So what are these three selves that you speak of in your upcoming article?
Tracy Winchell: [00:36:04] Well, it's our past self, our present self and our future self and, uh, Benjamin Hardy. Talks about it a lot in his book, personality, isn't permanent. when I started talking to him about this note, I write to my next day self. He gave me a pretty spectacular quote about when we learn to accept our past selves. And to know that even if we messed up in a colossal way, or maybe we just think we messed up, there's a big difference there, but they're both true. That once our current self accepts that our past self was doing the best we could. Now we have the opportunity to show a lot more empathy for our past selves. And I kind of ran with that, that idea in so doing, we learn to have empathy for other people, which. For me, resentment is a big deal. It's easy for me to resent other people and institutions and situations, frankly, that doesn't do anybody any good. So that relationship we have with our past self is a big deal.
And I'm not nearly as eloquent has as dr. Hardy was in our interview. And certainly not in his book. But here's, here's the point of his book is that once we show great impact for our past selves, now we can see how far we've come today. And as we accept today, as it is. And we see the great potential of our future selves because of the gap of who we used to be versus who we are now, our today selves now have this incredible opportunity to make good decisions in the moment to become our future selves.
That we see great potential in, and, and James Clear talks a lot about this, about how our identities are wrapped up in what we do today. Our habits.
Norman Chella: [00:38:39] Yeah, I really liked that section. Uh, I've also interviewed dr. Hardy. So I guess that we might have been, uh, in his really extensive and amazing podcasting tour. And. hearing Ben talk a lot about the future self, which is an incredibly difficult narrative to confront for any individual, because we can never reach our future intended selves without first, like you said, confronting the past and accepting it through our current selves.
Even thinking about. the future self is so difficult, like extremely difficult, and we tend to lower ourselves or fall towards a system where we can ease that burden of thinking about where do I want to be in the future? And it's to the point where we would outsource our narrative or outsource identity to other things like in the book, he mentioned lots and lots of personality tests and that there are myths and these are packaged identities that we just outsource our explanations of our lives to so that we can ease the burden of doing that ourself instead of try to create our own custom tests or instead of trying to fully sit down in a room, stay quiet and think, who am I? And why am I here? Which are very difficult questions to answer, of course, for anybody. It just looks like an attractive option or a better option to just outsource that to a test, as opposed to writing these ourselves.
And I guess that's where journaling comes in. So if you're thinking about your future self in that way, how does Rome fit into that workflow where you have to really reflect on where you want to go? I would love to hear your take on this, especially because there are so many ways to even consider, what's your take on going towards a great future self and how does a Roam fit into that?
Tracy Winchell: [00:40:43] Well, I think Rome fits because we have this amazing ability to, to just project forward things that we want our future selves to remember. So that's, that's kinda the first thing it's easy for me to stumble across in the future. Something that I've said. And I know there has to be a way for me to also intersect a future emotion and time with that.
I haven't figured it out yet. But smarter people are working on it and I'm going to jump on board when they figure that out, you know, just through tagging and pages and, and confronting emotions. So I think that's incredibly powerful.
It's evident in the note I write to my next day self, but it's also evident in my read wise.io practice.
I had all of these professional and personal and spiritual development books from years ago in my Kindle. these were things I was going to be and do and learn. And remember. And they got stuck, you know, Lucas with CortexFuture calls it, um, highlight dementia, right. And read wise.io suddenly gave me the ability to not just recall a few of those texts in bite sized chunks every day.
Which is a just-in- time reading practice. Thank you, Lucas. But it also gives me a just in time emotion so I can pull up a quote, paste it into Rome. And now I'm forcing myself to think about this wisdom from James Clear or Ben Hardy or Brennan Manning or whoever else. And I get to take a quote and say, wait a minute, how does this apply to me? And I'm building this series of, diagnostics, like here's an example.
Let me. And plan on pulling this up, but if you'd like, I'll show you an example from this morning, in fact, uh, let's
Norman Chella: [00:43:14] Sure. If you don't mind, Sometimes these tend to be vulnerable. So I, I tend to not ask people to share their screen, but if you're up for it.
Tracy Winchell: [00:43:25] Let me pull it up. I was really excited about the one this morning. It's it's a spiritual matter. And no, no know that's not everybody's thing and that's, that's fine. But, it met me where I was this morning. In fact,
Norman Chella: [00:43:40] Though that is the point of just in time wisdom, right? It's meant to meet you at the right opportune moment. And this is especially apparent when we have loads of. Different kinds of consumers of books or consumers are nonfiction where even if a book is amazing and full of insights, full of amazing wisdom, if you're not in the right moment to fully absorb it, then it's not that it's a bad book.
It's relevance is lower to you. as
Tracy Winchell: [00:44:14] compared ready. Okay. So I'm sorry, podcast listeners. You can't see this. But Norm can. And I called this my reflecting pool. So, uh, I get about three quotes and most of them actually make it into my Roam database from my read wise.io feed. Right now I'm doing it manually. I've been testing the integration feature, but manually just kind of really forces me to think about it. So I got this quote from Brennan Manning. The book is All His Grace. Brandon Manningham is a fascinating guy, by the way, he's a former United States Marine turned monk, or maybe it was in the reverse order. And anyways, just a fascinating guy.
So he writes. Carlos Caretto wrote we are what we pray. These are days of prayer without ceasing, help me have mercy on me and my father who is so very fond of him. It does .
well. One of my morning routines is a dear ABA letter. It's just a really quick letter to my creator. It's an acknowledgement there. What this quote led me to were these writings.
It's an interesting approach to reviewing my dear ABA prayers. So the first question is what have I been consistently praying for and about. Am I filled with Thanksgiving and gratitude. If I'm not, you know, that's a problem. Am I praying for myself? And that's, I need to Review that without judgment, it's not a right or a wrong thing, but if I'm praying for myself, what am I praying for?
Is it mindset or time management? Is it my attitude? That's pretty frequent, I think. Is it for growth of any sort? Is it that I'm feeling some sort of pain or fear or anxiety? Am I. Thirsty for spiritual growth. Am I saying seeking mental health or physical health? And then my last question question that I came up with in this reflection this morning are my prayers filled with lament.
Or hope or thoughts of others are my prayers filled with confusion, anger or frustration. And, and that's the thing in, in a spiritual practice. It took me my entire adult life to understand that if my God is my God and my creator, and I believe he is. Then isn't it. Okay. To take everything to him. Isn't he big enough to handle me being really pissed off right now. Can't he handle a few cuss words because I'm so emotional in the moment. And I think, yes, so. I was fascinated by this quote. And so this finally gets back to the other part of your question about who is the person I want to become. I want to become as fully aware as possible.
And we've talked about the serenity prayer and what that means to me. And if you don't mind, I'd really just like to say it. I'm not reading it. God grant me the serenity to accept the things. I cannot change courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference living one day at a time enjoying one moment at a time accepting hardship as a pathway to peace taking as Jesus did this sinful world as it is.
And not as I would have it. So that I know you will make all things right. If I surrender to your will so that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with you forever in the next. Okay. So I butchered that just for a little bit, but you get the idea if I can use journaling and Roam to become that person.
Who has the expectation of reasonable happiness. If I can be that person who accepts the world as it is not as I would have it, if I can learn to trust a power outside myself, then I'm going to have a pretty darn good life. No matter what the world throws at me. Right.
Norman Chella: [00:49:10] I see Roam really does help with reflecting one on, this prayer and two. Your relationship with the creator, which is pretty fascinating to me. because we're going to the point where we are not only facing our self in, how do we define the future version of ourself, where we want to go, but also where does this creator fit into our life and how does it influence our thoughts each and every day? And I like that you call it a reflecting pool. That's really important because being able to articulate that way as if it's a mirror, it's one way to prevent hoarding of quotes and or information and not really applying it.
Having a very high touch way of looking at this quote and thinking, how can I use it? It's very, very important, very, very important. Especially when you are using a quote, which looks like, Oh, well, it's quite obvious from the stream that is very relevant to how you start your day journaling, which is the most emotional, sensitive, vulnerable part of the day.
Yet this cook plays such a huge part of it. I love it. I love that. I love, I love being able to see the gradual deconstruction and the reconstruction of your thoughts and really facing your thoughts or facing these questions that you have in your head each and every day, beyond any religious factor or anything like that.
It, it it's just. Extremely healthy for the soul and Roam really that's helped with that. I love it.
Tracy Winchell: [00:50:47] I agree. And what's fun is I get to grab quotes from all sorts of people. You know, Ryan Holiday openly struggles with what his faith in a higher power looks like, but he's actually one of my favorite 12 step authors. Because he talks a lot about the 12th steps and a higher power and in Stillness is the key.
He talks a lot about the importance of letting go and finding a higher power, something outside yourself to believe in, even if you're not sure about God or who God is. He talks about how healthy it is to, to do that. And the interesting thing is that, uh, in this morning's reflecting pool, I have two Brennan Manning quotes.
Brennan Manning also was an alcoholic. And so this guy's lived a fascinating life, no matter what your journey is about and highly recommend, just kind of checking him out, but the other. Quote from this morning is Ryan Holiday, you know, stoic philosopher of, of the modern day. And I just love the ability to take all sorts of different ideas and they go together so well, they set the intention.
yeah, I think, you've articulated in a better way than I what this journaling practice does for me, it's hands on. How am I going to use this information today right now? And Rome gives us the ability then to throw this into my future, the way I've done with, with this diagnostic, like. I think we talked before about, I don't particularly like doing a review.
I want to want to review my work, but I don't actually like to review my work. I don't know. I just have a resistance to it. And so I now have the, the ability to force my future self. To have a look at some of these things. And I now have a template for some sort of review when I'm struggling.
Norman Chella: [00:53:10] yeah. And having this net to fall into, especially if you're struggling, helps so much like creating your own. What is the word for it, counselor or creating your own therapist? Um, it's great. Like having this tool here and on that note, since you've built this for yourself, the ability to one reflect on yourself and to pull in sources that add greater.
Power or a greater value to your daily journaling practice. How has it been for teaching this to other people? Like, were there a lot of, conflicts or struggles with introducing the system to other people and maybe that that had issues of how they have either viewed journaling or viewed journaling or self-introspection through Roam?
Tracy Winchell: [00:54:00] Well, that that's an ongoing dialogue. I have an email list of, of subscribers who are interested in my journaling habits. And I, I, I have no idea how to introduce this part of my tribe to Roam. there's a segment who is on Twitter. And so, they know I've got this thing going on they're asking occasional questions, but I'm clearly not articulating it well because they change this subject pretty quickly. So I'm just being honest. I don't, I don't know what that's gonna look like. The cool thing is, is that I can continue to teach journaling with a pen and paper or whatever, but I'm not sure where that's headed. I want it to go somewhere, but I'm not sure that it matters right now. Because inside Roam, there are a lot of people who are teaching me a lot of things. and it's really supercharging my journaling practice. And the beauty is that I can contribute in this community with a lot of curiosity in right now. I think that's enough.
Norman Chella: [00:55:27] Yeah, it's generally universal. Even if you try to do this through Rome, not everyone will be onboard with the tool or not. Everyone will agree with how it's done and that's perfectly fine. And it's nice to know that even if Rome did or did not exist, you can still teach other people to journal that's it's important.
Cause we've been doing this for thousands of years. Like. has been doing journal entries for himself through pen and paper. It's not like he had Roam to do some bi-directional linking between each of his,
uh, and different kinds of Rome and actual physical Rome. The, uh, itself, though, if you could have a graph that is as interconnected as a city, that will be a whole other story altogether, but being able to.
Consistently build the habit of journaling just as Marcus Aurelius would do, and also have such a profound impact on yourself through these entries is the end goal for any form of journaling practice. And I guess it's just a matter of trying to articulate that, right. how do I replicate this feeling in Rome through to pen and paper?
How do I make the connections? How do I connect the dots between the different days where I have this emotion. I think a few, a few episodes ago, Michael Ashcroft was introducing the system where you would have link references for specific phrases. So I don't know. I want, I feel fear and I am scared. Or even just scared or these emotions.
And that is one of many angles in try to create a narrative or recognize the pattern between the days where you feel this way. And that could maybe help in trying to articulate that. Because to me, it looks like journaling through Roam is. one of the ways to have all the cards on the table and just view you all your emotions at macro level.
Normally with other systems, you tend to stick with one day and you're stuck on that one page for the entirety of the day. And then that's it. The, the limitations in connecting certain phrases or certain, certain key points of that day. They're not as extensive as they would with other tools like other network, uh, thought tools.
So that's where Rome has an advantage. Maybe there's a way to articulate that better than my current rambling, but we'll see.
Tracy Winchell: [00:58:05] Check this out. So these are some of my analog journals and you can tell I've gone to a lot of trouble to tag and flag some of my entries in there, there they're highlighted and all of this stuff. And I got these out the other day because I promised a coaching client that I would share with him, some of the things that are in here. And I don't want to look at them.
Norman Chella: [00:58:42] Why?
Tracy Winchell: [00:58:44] I don't know. It just seems too hard to browse and. Roam is incredibly different. Instead of me looking at a different colored flag and my own handwriting is kind of interesting. The idea is interesting, but I can actually do a quick search and know exactly what I'm looking for and what I said about what.
On what day and everything else I've ever put into Roam about that particular topic or emotion. This looks cooler, but journaling and Roam has much greater value to me.
Norman Chella: [00:59:34] I mean, having physical books has always been a better aesthetic than just staring at the screen where you just have lots of texts going down. Um, but I know what you mean by that. Uh, I have. Like all behind me, there's a drawer. And I have my notebooks from the last say five, six years. And there are different sizes.
They have post it notes in between maybe postcards, um, highlights, you know, the task list and reflection, then maybe pieces and poetry, et cetera, a lot, lots of different things. Uh, very rarely at most. it's not even a reflection. It's more like browsing for fun. the way that I would articulate it would be, I would like to meet my past self from 2015.
Maybe it was a triggered memory from this morning where I was thinking about. Like fond memories or a specific emotion that I felt during that time, or I was in a location where I felt more of myself. I just wanted to, you know, take a walk down memory lane and the best way to do that is through my notebook.
That's not really a reflective moment. it's very akin to Facebook's memory system. Where, Oh, like, you know, five years ago you were doing this or something like that, it's more like a little bit of euphoria, a bit of fun. And I'm looking back at it. It wasn't to the point where I wanted to reflect on the past five years, let's go through all of these notebooks and see what can come out of it.
I wasn't really, I'm never really in that kind of mood because the first step. To actually initiating that for me would be to write an entry now and then reflect back towards how I was back then a few years ago. And then maybe I might refer to the notebook maybe, but out of the, out of the 10 times that I did that, I think I would only do that like two times, like I would, you know, Had my laptop on, and then I'd be writing an entry about, Oh, who was I?
When I was in 2015, I was being like this. I was pretty immature. I treated people really badly, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Maybe I might have the notebook right next to me. And I would look at certain entries I might quote my past self. Like I wrote this and this, what was I really trying to say?
If we get really empirical, what was I really trying to say? What kind of emotions were, were being articulated at this point. What was I going through at that point in time? That compelled me to write the following in this old notebook. And how should I look at it now, which is going back to what Dr. Hardy was saying about accepting our past selves.
So it's this constant feedback loop of making sure that your past self is here with you and you are having kind of a meeting with them. really trying to understand what they're saying or what they were saying
Tracy Winchell: [01:02:39] Oh, I love that.
So, Holding these in my hand, these are pocket sized and fig note books, and they are full and they have tabs on them, little sticky notes and, and they're, they're just, it's a deeply satisfying experience, to look at them and to hold them and know that I worked hard on, on these, but I don't want to read them. I don't want to browse through them and look at them, but I'm going to have to, because I said I would.
Norman Chella: [01:03:17] is it less on reading about your past self and more on the friction of trying to find something of value? Because you have to flip through 200 pages of notes where the pages could have been about anything. Unless you have a really good format to like keep track of everything, but.
Tracy Winchell: [01:03:38] If, if I'm being honest, it's probably a little bit of both because I can do more than read my emotion. In my hand, writing, I experience my emotion. I'm remember generally where I was, because I add a little context in there. Um, was an, a coffee shop. Was I at home? Um, and, and I, I can experience that emotion through my handwriting. So I think it's probably a little bit of both that. That I may not want to have that visceral reaction. I may not want that trigger of the negative side. Don't get me wrong. There's a lot of good stuff in there. Um, and, and you know, what, if I'm being real honest Norman, maybe I don't want to experience the feelings of the, the hope because I'd much rather keep my head down and keep working to keep building that off that momentum. I have trouble celebrating victories. I always have in only in the past a couple of years have I started to work on that? So, yeah, it's, I think it's all of the above.
Norman Chella: [01:05:05] what does victory mean to you? If it makes it very difficult for you to celebrate it? Yeah, it's very difficult, even for me as well, but yeah, please go on.
Tracy Winchell: [01:05:21] You know, I don't know if you're a baseball fan or not, and I know not everybody is, but. My favorite baseball team is the St. Louis Cardinals and baseball is about stories. And yesterday my favorite pitcher turned 39 years old. That's an old man. When it comes to baseball, he threw a complete game. He threw 122 pitches and guys just don't do that anymore.
He gave up four hits, two runs and he pitched to a guy he's pitched to for 15 years. Who, who appeared in his 2000th game. Adam Wainwright is the pitcher. Yadier Molina is, is the catcher Yadier Molina in the interview later said he was so excited about catching his old friend, Adam on his birthday that he couldn't sleep the night before Adam Wainwright said after the win.
After the complete game, he went into the batting cage and he cried. That to me, encapsulates how I feel whenever I'm on a team or accomplish an individual thing, it is an emotional release and I'm not sure it's euphoria. It's deeply emotional. It it's satisfying, but all of the work that gets poured into a thing just comes pouring out. It just seems unbelievable. So that's my reaction. Every time I've experienced something overwhelmingly positive.
Norman Chella: [01:07:24] It's akin to releasing a flood of tears, not from sadness, but from relief
Tracy Winchell: [01:07:33] Yeah, and it's probably is more relief than joy.
Norman Chella: [01:07:35] Yeah. Maybe that's your definition of victory then at that point or a success, not that you revel in the moment where it has been completed or it has happened, but rather that is the intersection where you have met your past self, who is someone who has worked so hard to get this this point and your current self, which has achieved this point.
So it's the realization that you can rest assured like you say, rest assured to your past self that we have reached our intended future versions by achieving this victory. Like this, this victory is now evidence that we were going in the right direction. And we cry from relief as a result rather than joy.
Tracy Winchell: [01:08:27] Well, and then yes, there is the, what do I do next? Because the pursuit is over that pursuit brought meaning to my life. And a couple of times I'm looking at a. A thing on my wall. That's evidence of a hard one victory with a tremendous team. And I can remember how depressed I was for about three months.
Cause I didn't know where to pour my, my energy into my emotions. And I think developing a consistent journaling practice since then helps me a lot. I think that's why it's so important. Um, you know, and I think it's why read a lot of stoicism, a lot of stoic philosophy because there is that importance of, yeah, just kind of staying even all the way through.
And that's important for me.
Norman Chella: [01:09:31] I'm see, I like this. I'm seeing these similar patterns of stoicism or of wisdom from, from religious sources, uh, all combining into one place to
Tracy Winchell: [01:09:42] isn't that fascinating.
Norman Chella: [01:09:44] it is. It really is. It's just making these linked references or connections or whichever word that we use to describe it. But. These pieces of knowledge glued together with the essence of our souls to propel us towards wherever we want to go.
And just hearing that through conversation is always so fascinating. Like no matter where you get it from, so cool.
Tracy Winchell: [01:10:07] Isn't that the fun part of Roam, because right now I'm doing a lot of connection between human behavior, mental health, um, and, and the, the, the faith and the philosophy. But. I think my next deep dive is going to be, uh, the sermon on the Mount stoicism and probably some sort of, faith that I'm not familiar with at all.
And I'm not sure what that third piece is going to be, but I want to do a trilogy of comparisons of. Teachings that keep us centered and, and Roam can help facilitate that. I think, you know?
Norman Chella: [01:10:59] Yeah. Being able to blend all of that into through your unique lens will make it a very interesting and unique, uh, rabbit hole to deep dive into. So I'm sure that in a couple of months, uh, once you have created this amazing summary or conclusion or reach the endpoint of this rabbit hole and crying out of relief, that wow. You have gone through such an amazing journey of learning more about. Ourselves, our human selves, the articulation of lessons that we should carry with us throughout life. I think they'll be pretty fascinating to see if we can revisit that in a later conversation. But, uh, for now I would love to close off this conversation with a few questions right at the end.
So, Tracy, first question, how would you describe Roam to someone who hasn't started using it yet?
Tracy Winchell: [01:11:57] Well, clearly, I'm not very good at that because every person I've tried to talk to about it, did you just, their eyes glaze over? I think for me, Rome is a place to play with ideas. It is an idea and word playground. And when we throw ideas and words into it, now we're dealing with, um, emotional energy and intellect and, all sorts of emotions.
So it's more to me than. Then words or ideas. It's deeply emotional.
Norman Chella: [01:12:40] And that is really tied into if the second question, which is what does Rome mean to you, but I'm assuming that the answers pretty much overlap, unless you have something to add to that.
Tracy Winchell: [01:12:51] Yeah, I think it's, I think, I think Roam is the center. It's the hub of a community of people that I just. I just have to pinch myself that people are finding value in my weird ideas. Wow.
Norman Chella: [01:13:14] Of course, uh, finding a place or a corner for ourselves to really convey the ideas that we have in our heads makes it a lot warmer, a lot more welcoming, especially with a tool like Roam, which is very versatile and very universal since you are doing it for journaling, we can be doing it for any other use case, but in the end, what we are doing, or what we are meant to do in this world is the pursuit of conveying everything that we are trying to, to do for ourselves.
So on that note, Tracy, thank you so much. If we want to reach out to you or to contact you about anything that we talked about in this conversation, which split the two parts, I'm going to try to blend it all together. What is the best way to do that? How do we contact you?
Tracy Winchell: [01:14:00] DMs are open on Twitter. T R a C Y P L a C E S.
Norman Chella: [01:14:07] okay. Twitter. It is. And I've never, I've never got to ask you this actually, even in part one or part two, but how do I say your last name? Winchell. Okay. Alright. Okay. Alright. Yeah. Standard operating procedure for podcasts is to ask how to pronounce. Your name, but I was so excited to talk to you that I completely forgot to do that, which is my bad.
That's. Okay. And, uh, on that note, is there anything that you want to add or if not, I'll see you on Twitter.
Tracy Winchell: [01:14:42] I'm humbled and grateful to get to hang out with you, Norman. It is so much fun to talk to you. And you're one of those guys where it, if. If I had just seen you on the interwebs, I would have thought there is no way I can hang with this cool cat. And here we are. We've had two conversations and thank you for bearing with our technical difficulties in, and, and I really look forward to watching you grow and learn and teach others.
And, um, what a gift it is to know you and so many other Roam people. Thank you.
Norman Chella: [01:15:23] Thank you so much. And I honestly really appreciate it. Roam cult to, to compel me, to make the show in the first place, because these conversations are liquid gold. Um, not only for myself, but to publish it to other people and just hearing these comments from other people, just, um, learning more about the tool or facing themselves in writing better, now that it unlocks more possibilities, uh, with, you know, not only journaling, but just writing down thoughts in general, the activity of writing down thoughts. So thank you for that. I really, I really do appreciate that. And, uh, on that note, uh, thank you. And I will see you on Twitter.
Tracy Winchell: [01:16:10] Thank you Norman.