We’ve seen many people come and record their Lifeys this year, and we are thrilled to be able to offer this service to the public! It makes us so happy to see the fruits of this resource and how Lifeys have been able to bless families.
Most people we reach out to are happy and willing to share their life’s experiences and insights. However there are a few who don’t take advantage of this valuable opportunity, even when it has been presented to them. Here are a few thoughts that we hope will help you to overcome any obstacles to recording your life story.
Here are 5 things we’ve noticed that often prevent people from recording their Lifeys:
1. Devaluing your story
You may think that you don’t have much to share. Or that your life story is not worth sharing. But nothing could be further from the truth! Everyone has experienced a myriad of trials and setbacks, curve balls, triumphs and adversity, humorous episodes, joyous moments, lessons learned, and perspective gained.
Everyone has a story, and I believe that each individual’s life story would be fascinating to read. You may just have to delve a little deeper into yourself to find those stories and bring them to light. Journal-keeping can help greatly with this, or you can ask those closest to you to help you identify the stories from your life. Even stories about the seemingly mundane can be worth sharing– the thing that makes your story interesting is not how grand or spectacular your experiences are, but your unique perspective and how they have shaped you into the person you’ve become. You have insights gained from your wealth of life experiences that can benefit those in your circle of influence.
“People often use the excuse that their lives are uneventful and nobody would be interested in what they have done. But I promise you that if you will keep your journals and records, they will indeed be a source of great inspiration to your families, to your children, your grandchildren, and others, on through the generations. Each of us is important to those who are near and dear to us.” (Spencer W. Kimball)
“Never doubt your story has value, and merit, and by sharing it you could help someone else you have never met come to terms with something in their life. No one’s life story is boring.” (Holly Salsman)
2. Feeling Self-Conscious
Being “camera-shy.” True, some people are just naturally better talking in front of cameras, and maybe you aren’t one of them. (I can relate with that, because I’m not one of them either. I hate hearing myself talk- I often fumble over my words, and sometimes feel awkward in my delivery). But think about it– your children and grandchildren aren’t going to care if you’re perfectly eloquent and poised on camera. In fact, did you know that by being vulnerable and real, you actually become more relate-able, even more lovable to other people? Letting our true “raw” selves show, endears us to others.
And plus, just think– if only the most articulate people did Lifeys, how many wonderful stories and perspectives would the world miss out on! Sharing your story adds value to the world, because there is no one else whose story is exactly like yours. And the most beautiful part about it is– when you put yourself out there, it has an effect of encouraging others (who may be just as shy as you) to do the same.
“Your playing small does not serve the world. . . We are all meant to shine. . .and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same” (Marianne Williamson)
It may be easy to let self-consciousness prevent you from recording a Lifey. But remember that it’s not about you. A Lifey is not for you. It’s a service. A way to serve your children and grandchildren, who will be grateful you set aside your hesitations for a moment, in order to give them a great gift. Wouldn’t you give anything to have something like this of your own grandparents and great grandparents talking about their lives and sharing stories and insights, and to be able to hear it coming from their own mouth? So if you’re feeling a little bashful. just do it for the sake of those who love you.
I have a great grandmother who had a habit of always covering her face whenever anyone tried to take a picture of her. Maybe it was because she was self-conscious without make-up or something, I don’t know. She probably thought at the time that she was just being modest/cute by not wanting to be photographed. But now what we’re left with are a whole bunch of family photos of her with her hand held in front of her face. I’ve often heard my grandma lament at how her mother would do that. As much as you may cringe at being in front of the camera, let yourself be known. It’s the truly humble & unselfish thing to do.
If it helps, maybe don’t think about recording your Lifey as such a formal thing- it’s really not. Just think of it as one of those heart-to-heart conversations around the kitchen table, where you are simply sharing a few stories from your life and talking about the things that matter most to you, with the people you care most about.
3. Not thinking it’s urgent
It’s that old “I’ve got plenty of time” mindset. I’ll do it, but there’s no rush. I’m only 45. But that may not necessarily be true. Think of how many lives are cut unexpectedly short- car accidents, cancer, heart attacks, etc. Or even just life circumstances changing unexpectedly, making it much more difficult to make it happen. You may have a stroke that will leave you with a speech impediment. Or a head injury that wipes out your memory. Your mental, emotional, or physical health could go down the drain. Life may get unexpectedly busy, or you may move away. Etc.
“Ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” (James 4:14)
“Tomorrow is never guaranteed to anyone, young or old. Today could be the last time to see your loved ones, which is why you mustn’t wait; do it today, in case tomorrow never arrives.” (Gabriel García Márquez)
None of us know what the future holds, so why not take hold of today and live as if we won’t get the chance to do it tomorrow?
4. Thinking that you need to wait until you’re older
This is a common one we see from middle-aged people who want to record their Lifey, but don’t want to do it yet because they “haven’t lived all of life yet.”
Here are a few reasons why we think you should rethink that approach:
- Your memory is good now. Your ability to remember clearly is likely to deteriorate as you get older. Better to do it now when you still have a good memory/recollection of things as they transpired.
- Why not do it now, before you’re old and gray? You’re posterity would love to see you in the prime of your life – and who knows how your health will be down the road and how much stamina you’ll have to sit and talk for hours in front of a camera.
- Don’t diminish the huge reservoir of life’s experiences you already have accumulated. We’ve recorded Lifeys for quite a few young college students, and even they have a wealth of experiences that can be shared and their Lifeys can be inspirational and interesting.
- Don’t forget that you can always come back and add on to your Lifey in a few years, after you’ve lived more of life.
This is a big one. It could be easy to let perfectionism prevent someone from recording their Lifey. It’s not because they don’t think it’s important, but because maybe they care a little too much about it. They care so much about making it just right, absolutely comprehensive, etc. that they postpone it endlessly, making it quite likely they’ll never get around to it. If we always limited ourselves to those actions that reach a perfectionistic standard, we’d likely never get anything done. Better to do it then not at all. You don’t know how much time you have left.
Another thing that may help in alleviating stress and overcoming perfectionism when recording your Lifey: Maybe don’t think of it as “your one and only shot.” Just do it, come in and start recording. You can always come back and add more later- or even redo certain clips if necessary- later down the road.
“Many people become concerned about ‘doing it right,’ yet they also recognize that a voice on tape is better than nothing at all. So they try just a simple interview, just talking to someone for an hour. Ten years later such people are thankful that they made the effort, and those who did not …well, they have regrets.” (Judith Moyer)
Just some food for thought that we hope will be helpful to anyone still sitting on the fence. We hope to see you soon as you come in to record your own Lifey!
We promise it will be one of the best things you’ll ever do, and something your children will thank you for someday.