Tracing Your Influences

By Lou Solomon

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This is the second of a three-part series, “How to Uncover, Own and Tell Your Story.”

In Part 1 of this series, you walked through your Backstory and collected the early circumstances of your life that influenced who you are today.

Your Adult/Recent Story

Now let’s look at the highlights and learnings from your Recent Story.

  1. Education.  What experiences at college—geography of the school, choice of studies, friends and professors—had an impact on you? If you chose not to attend college, describe your early career choice.
  2. Jobs/Bosses/Breaks.  Is there a memorable job/boss that has had a positive influence on your career?
  3. Relationships. Name the most significant events related to your personal relationships:  chance meetings, proposals, weddings and births.
  4. Travels.  What travels and adventures have made a mark on you?
  5. Your “Why?”  What makes your work meaningful? What drives you? Why do you do what you do?

In the same way that you selected events from your Backstory, notice which 2-3 of your responses from your Adult/Recent Story have the most “heat” for you.

For example, here are two of mine:

Life Choices and Circumstances

Outcome, Learning or Results 

Education – I was drawn to write, so I chose Journalism and Communications in my undergraduate studies. That choice set about a curious chain of events that ultimately led me to this work.

Choosing what has heat for you, what you do best, will lead you to your true place.

Jobs/Bosses/Breaks – In my first job, I was hired as an admin for WSM Radio Sales in Nashville, Tennessee. I worked so hard. Tom Griscom was the VP of Broadcasting. He was small in stature but he had a huge heart. When a position in the Promotion Department came open, he gave me my first big break.

Believing in people draws out their talent and giftedness. Don’t wait for them to prove their talent before you give them a chance.  Recognize the untold story.

This is a good start, but we have taken only a quick pass at your influences.  As you begin this work, more and more defining events will occur to you. For now, you should have 4-6 life events/lessons that have shaped your story.  These events can be about love, inspiration, winning, defeat or disappointment. The important thing is that they are meaningful markers in your story.

Coming up next, Part 3: The Hero’s Story, Connecting the Dots

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