That’s right. The 1-Minute Memoir. Move over Book-In-A-Weekend. Sayonara Book-Proposal-in-a-Week. We’ve distilled the critical art of the personal story into the second hand of a stopwatch.
We’re back. Fresh from Suzanne Evans’s powerful Be The Change Event in Vegas where we busted our sponsorship cherry and launched our experiential Writers On Fire booth.
The lovely Paige Rolfe, our branding stylist and creative director, ushered conference goers into our booth. Then I gave instructions. After they finished, we took photos of the writers with their completed memoirs. Gave them their booklets to take home. The gracious Diana Needham helped them with closure on the experience and gave them an opportunity to book an appointment with me to continue the conversation. She kept the flow going.
That doesn’t tell the story though.
Not even close.
Something happened when people entered our booth. Something shifted. Never mind the conference was packed with 800 people. Inside our booth, the vibe was hushed. The atmosphere deep. The energy intimate.
Give us your heart.
We’ll give you your book.
Each person who entered, who opened themselves, added that possibility to the space. You could feel it. Over the four days, the space got stronger. Beware ye who enter. This is the power of intention.
I made sure to be present with each person, as best I could. We asked them to read the instructions. Some got it right away. I could see something rise to the surface. It showed in their eyes. Others, I moved in close and I read the instructions to them. “Think of it like a bedtime story,” I joked. Looked them in the eye. So many had trouble staying present. Their eyes would dart away. Or they would stare at the ceiling. Through me. Over my head. Anything but connect.
“Come back,” I’d say. “Be present with me. Here.”
Often times I would touch the person on the arm. Anything to connect.
“Break your heart,” I said. Break your heart so you can break mine.”
Then I’d see it. Something would rise up. Fill their eyes. Their bodies. And they would be ready to write.
We set a bright neon sports buzzer to one minute. People sat on a bench. Or a chair. They wrote. Many cried. Neighboring booths kept lending us tissues until we got wise and brought down a box.
Why? What happened?
So many of us have stories inside. Stories that need to come out. Stories that are strangling us, or making us stuck — or sick with secrets. Sad stories. Angry stories. Shameful stories.
I think people could tell — could feel — that I didn’t judge. We three all gave them permission to bare themselves. They didn’t have to show me what they wrote. They could, if they wanted. I read many. Such stories. So much challenge. So much courage. I wept with many of our visitors. Our writers. Our fearless entrepreneurs and conference goers.
Do you want to succeeed? Do you want to be your best self? Do you want to rewrite your own story? Then you must access your story. Through the heart, not the head. You must express the story with your authentic voice. This will free you.
This will clear the way for you to share your journey with others. If you want to be a leader, then you must understand your own personal story. Your journey. Including the dark parts. The low points. The things you don’t want to tell.
You must learn to be intimate with yourself.
Only then can you be intimate with others. Only then can you connect with people. Your clients. Your prospects. Your family.
Connection is what it’s all about. This is the modern world of business. It is about relationships. It is about offering experiencse.
I want everyone to experience the power of the One-Minute Memoir. So as a gift, I am going to share the instructions. All I ask is that you try it, and that you share the results with us. Write comments below. Deal? Here goes:
INSTRUCTIONS & TIPS
WELCOME! THIS IS YOUR LIFE!
TAKE A SEAT. SET THE TIMER. TELL YOUR TRUTH.
Tell the story you don’t want to tell.
Not that one.
The real one. The one that makes you blush. Or cringe. Or quake.
Go for the jugular.
Write the moment you f*cked up.
Or the instant your life chnaged.
And you made a decision you could never take back.
Tell us how you turned it all around, and became You. Today.
Give us your Raw + Real. Your heart. Your blood.
We’ll give you your book.
WRITE FIRST PERSON
USE PRESENT TENSE
RE-LIVE AND RE-IMAGINE
QUICK THREE-PART STRUCTURE:
PART ONE – BEFORE (1-2 sentences)
PART TWO – HINGE. YOUR DECISION (1 sentence)
PART THREE – AFTER (1-2 sentences)
[NOTE: You can write more if you want! If you’re quick! We’re just giving you the bare bones Power-Punch of Your Personal Story]
There you have it. Now — will you take the action? Will you go there?
If you’re good, we’ll give you 2 minutes. Even 3. No more. The timing, the frame, the ticking clock and then the buzzer — that is what makes this deep dive possible.
Free your mind. Unleash your 1-Minute Memoir.
I cannot wait to hear from you about your experience.
Yrs in truth,