How to Start Writing Your Life Story in Two Simple Steps
Step 1: Unearthing Your Story
Take out a single sheet of paper, 8.5" x 11", and lay it out in front of you.
On the side facing up, simply jot words which represent significant moments in your life. The placement does not have to be intentional, leave some space between as other moments come to you.
Be honest with your words. Write everything. This is your worksheet!
Assuming you have read my story, you may have noticed that I used my location (DC, San Francisco, Chicago and finally back to my hometown, Columbus) as major areas of focus. I started with these words, others came as I narrowed my focus to these places.
Similarly, look at your words and circle the major areas that your story will focus upon.
Other words that would end up on my sheet of paper include my past and current companies, my loves, my losses, my mental illness and some key memories from childhood that shaped my life today. These are all major events, but they fit within the framework I created at the outset of my story-writing process.
Step 2: Shape Your Story
Turn the sheet of paper over.
Read this blog post I wrote on the 'Shape of My Story.'
This process or method of creating the shape of my story was powerful for me to see and visualize my own story -- very healing -- but has also been helpful in the community as others mention to me how useful it is to them.
Play around with what works best for you as an outcome for your story. I chose to focus on my Leadership Development because of the influence of Bill George's 'Discover Your True North,' but perhaps for you its character development or authenticity or wealth or spiritual growth or another gauge of progress. This is your story -- your worksheet.
You may want to try this a few times to see what works best. Add in the major areas of focus that you circled in Step One. Fill in the gaps. These can be individual data points (subjective, of course) and connect the lines after, or just draw the overall experience in one movement.
It's important to be true to your emotions as you re-connect with past experiences. I don't just mean the sad or negative emotions, but also the triumphs, happiness and successes.
Personally, it's taken a while for me to re-connect with the man I was before my Crucible. Only now have I been able to fully embrace the work I did at my first company, David All Group, as being great and another area of accessible creative genius.
If you do the work outlined in these two simple steps, you will be so much further along than you think. Your story will have unfolded before you in just a few moments of presence and re-connection with who you were and are today. You know what to do next. Write it.
If this process is helpful to you or you want to share what you created for my feedback, please email me at email@example.com.