I’d like to hear the story of your life. Here’s why:
In recent years, I’ve had a number of unexpected pivots in my life – from life-threatening cancer to financial uncertainty to career reinvention. Sure, I knew that all these things were possible. But l didn’t expect them to happen to me, at least how they happened and especially when they happened. My life was supposed to take a predictable path. Now that path had disappeared.
I soon discovered I wasn’t alone. Everyone I knew was struggling with one defining transition or another – from failing relationships to failing companies, from lost limbs to lost homes, from switching religions to switching genders. The world, it seems, is full of disruption, disorder, chaos. Change, once a break in the normal, has become the new normal.
And it’s not going away. If anything, the unease we’re all feeling is part of a larger change.
In recent years, our understanding of how we all live has changed dramatically. We used to see human lives as rigid, full of fixed traits and unchanging identities, proceeding along predictable timetables. Now we know better. Everyone’s life is different, full of its own unique twists, pivots, peaks, and wobbles.
I’m trying to understand how we make sense of all this. Specifically, I’m undertaking a new project to figure out how we navigate these life changes. How we adapt and update our life stories to accommodate so many voluntary and involuntary interruptions. Everyone goes through them, yet some people seem to manage them more easily. How?
The heart of the project is a series of life stories I’m gathering – scores of them, from all walks of life, all regions, and all ages. I’ve already spoken to people who left careers and left marriages; survived unimaginable accidents and unbelievable childhoods; upended their lives for a host of mind-boggling reasons to devote themselves to serving the homeless, climbing Mt. Everest, winning gold medals, making comedic YouTube videos, and raising special needs, refugee children.
I’d like to include your story. In the dozens of interviews I’ve done, I’ve discovered one thing: Everyone has been through at least one remarkable transition. For many, the number is higher. Or, if you’d prefer, please recommend someone else who’s got a great story to share.
The Life Story Interview takes about two hours and can be done in person or via Skype. If you’d like to participate, or if you have any questions, please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, if you’d just like to browse some of the stories we’ve collected and lessons I’ve learned, check out my blog, or follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn.
In the meantime, thank you for reading, sharing, and joining. And tell me: What shape is YOUR life?