What is your story? Everybody has one but who will tell it? Carve out some time to reflect on your past and shape the story of who you are, what you love to do, the relationships you enjoy, the accomplishments you achieve and the family you raise. Begin this story. Tout your own horn, pat yourself on the back, and recognize your strengths. There is only one rule for this exercise – no negativity! This applies to how you describe yourself as well as how you describe others.
Have fun creating this story. It is not a chore. It is a personal reflection and also a legacy. It’s a time to reflect on the past, consider your impact on others, possibly define your purpose, and maybe even chart a change of course.
Does the word “obituary” make you cringe? Change the vocabulary by shaping your own story and creating the narrative. Social media photos are only visual snippets. Words are essential for weaving these visual snippets into a story or book.
Looking for some guidelines to get your creative juices flowing? Here are some to consider:
1. Create a new routine. Start your day by taking 30 minutes to create 3 pages of longhand stream of consciousness writing. This tool for unlocking creative juices was introduced by Julia Cameron in her book The Artist’s Way. It is surprisingly effective. Write down whatever comes to mind. No rereading, no editing. no judging. Just fill 3 pages and then stop.
2. Start with some facts then recount stories around these facts. Think who, what, where, when, how. Such as – Where did you grow up, go to school, attend church? How did you learn to ride a bike, swim, play sports, dance or drive a car? Who was there and what was it like? Notice any patterns that emerge from this reflection.
3. Add some personality traits. What were you like then and/or now? What fuels your passion, your drive and interests?
4. Identify strengths and accomplishments. What skills and talents have you developed and how have these led to accomplishments?
5. Consider the impact of others. Who were the significant figures in you life such as your family, friends, relatives, teachers, coach or mentors? How did they help to shape the person that you are?
6. Consider your impact on others. Are you a son, daughter, spouse, partner, parent, grandparent, teacher, friend, or mentor? What are these relationships like? What values do you model?
7. Organize. Just as a book has chapters, so too does your story. Avoid becoming overwhelmed by breaking the goal into actionable pieces.
Where do you go from here? Let the process evolve and ideas for your next chapter will emerge. Share your story or keep it to yourself. It’s up to you. It’s your story.