January 28, 2013

Baggage Claim


Your stories are there… they are just locked up.

As we get older people have trouble finding their stories. Some don’t believe they have any stories. But, truth is, we are all story carriers. We all have stories in our past that have shaped and defined our lives. Life inside our skin is more than an album filled with people and places; it’s a layered collection of overlapping stories. These stories give color commentary to lessons learned and life lived.

Do you want anyone to remember you really lived?


Step 1

Searching for old memories and forgotten lessons.

Get a binder notebook (one you can add pages to). On the first ten pages write the following categories, one per page. This will become your “Storyboard” notebook.

1….My hopes and dreams
2….My musings and mysteries
3….My beliefs and values
4….My struggles and failures
5….My passions and perspectives
6….My miracles and wonders
7….My selflessness and selfishness
8….My experiences with fears and courage
9….My victories and defeats
10…My understanding of greed and grace

Now, over he next four to five weeks jot down ideas, notes, stories, and quotes that fit in each category (add pages as needed).


Step 2

Answering the question.

Every time you tell a story from your past, you unwrap secrets about your life and yourself. Do you want to do that? Why? Why do you want other people to know these secrets?

Is it because you want to be remembered? …your life to count? …how you want to pass on lessons learned?

The answer to the “Why” question is significant. If you have trouble answering the “Why” question, you will not go any further with your notebook (If you make it this far). And, if you stop, you will miss out on one of the greatest blessings of life.


Step 3

Storyboarding the right stories

There are at least 7 stories in your past that have ended up defining you. Add a page to your “Storyboard” notebook for each of these matrices. This process will help you find the seven events that shaped you into the person you are today. Each matrix has a defining story hidden within it. Some will jump out at you without provocation, others will have to be pulled out kicking and screaming. Copy the following matrices to your seven pages:

1. People who rubbed off on you, brought out the best in you
2. Marker events (positive and negative crisis times)
3. Milestones celebrated
4. Lessons learned the hard way
5. Principles/rules that shaped your choices, game changers
6. Sacred places that awed and/or silenced you
7. Discoveries—books, jobs, sights, adventures

Before you get started on these big seven, add a “doodle page,” call it Epilogue. It will be your…things to talk about…unfinished things–lists, wishes, questions, dreams, visions…and blessings—the good you see in the people you love. These notes will be more about who you want to be, than who you are…more about the future, than the past.

The secret that makes this work

Now, start with one of the seven, the one that seems to have stories near the surface, and identify the crisis of the story—every story has a crisis. Write down notes that remind you of what led up to the crisis, what happened, and what difference did it make. Make a list of the crisis stories in that matrix. Then schedule a time to share your stories with a friend. Ask your friend to help you identify THE story that has had the most influence on who you have become. This “friend feedback is crucial to the completion of this project.

Repeat the process for each of the matrices.

When asked what’s motivating this project Ron stated, “I’ve visited with hundreds of grieving families who in the days after death longed to hear stories of life lived, but it was too late.”


Use the following form to let us know how it’s going. And, if you get bogged down Ron is available to help dig you out.

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The Faith Coaching Network has an online “Storyboarding” course in development for 2013. This is just the beginning. Altogether, this project stands life on its ear; it shouts aloud, “Yes, I Really Lived!”

One Comment On “Baggage Claim”

  1. Oh wow Ron. We’re talking 78 on July 4th.

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