Everyone Has A Story – So What’s Yours?

Do you like this story?

Post written by David J. Singer.

Within the last two years my brother and I each published our first books. Shortly after my book was published last fall, my dad handed me a stack of old yellowed paper and said, “Well, I guess you and your brother get it from me. Here’s the book I wrote.”

He told me he had started on the project a long time ago and had never finished it. He said he had looked for it after my book was published and thought I would want to read it.

He was right. I immediately started reading My Story by Alvin Singer, which was comprised of about 30 handwritten pages and covered the earliest part of his insurance career in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

After reading about a third of the pages, I stopped because I knew that I wanted to type them up and figured I would read them as I typed them. I put the papers in a zip-lock type bag for safekeeping and left them on my desk at home where I looked at them weekly for the next few months procrastinating, because I didn’t feel like doing the typing—in general, and because I knew it would be hard to read his handwriting. (Having worked closely with my dad for nearly 25 years, I’m one of the few people who can decipher his hard-to-read handwriting. Horrible penmanship may be another genetic present I received from my dad.)

Recently I’ve started to make good use of Siri on my iPhone, so one Saturday morning, when I found myself awake much earlier than I had planned, I decided to type up the notes—or more accurately, have Siri type them as I dictated.

If my dad were to write a complete memoir, it would be very long. He has experienced a great deal and would have much to say. My Story by Alvin Singer is only 10 double-spaced pages long. What’s amazing to me is how much he had to say in only 10 pages, and how much wisdom he had already accumulated and was interested in sharing when he was just 29 years old. (The papers were not dated, but in one section he refers to something that he was planning for “next year in 1965.”)

Here are seven interesting pieces of wisdom from my dad’s “book,” followed by seven thoughts about the value and opportunities regarding writing your own story.

7 Lessons From My Dad From 1964

My section headings are in italics with his words in quotes.

1. It Can’t Hurt to Ask

“Here we are outside. If we ring the bell and they let us in, great; if they don’t, the result is we’re right where we are now—outside.”

2. Thinking Big and more about It Can’t Hurt to Ask (about the times he tried to sell insurance to movie stars and other famous people)

“My philosophy was I don’t insure them now, and if after I see them I don’t sell them I’m right where I am now. I wasn’t successful in getting them as clients, but I achieved great confidence in the ability to see anyone big or small.”

3. Acting Big

“Think big, act big, and give the impression that our company IS BIG. Example: My partner’s parents owned a boat and let us paint the name of our company on the boat. We interviewed a prospective employee and his wife on the boat. They were very impressed, and we hired him.”

4. Lifelong Learning

“Continual education and self study is extremely important. Knowledge is essential for success and it commands respect in dealing with executives and business owners. You need this respect as a professional.”

5. Persistence Pays

He told several stories where persistence (not giving up) resulted in sales.

6. Empathy for Success in Selling

“Study one’s needs and then put yourself in his shoes. Then do what you yourself would do in a similar situation.”

7. Delegation

“If you are the best typist in town and also the best insurance salesman, it pays to hire a typist and use all of your talents for selling.”

So now that I have shared with you part of my dad’s story, and the things that I have learned from it, let me share with you how you can begin to write your own story – because every one of us has a story to tell.

Now Here Are 7 Lessons About Writing Your Own Story

1. Everyone Has a Story

Your story can help others. Everyone has a story worth telling. Someone will find your story to be of interest and/or helpful for their progress.

2. Focusing On Positives Is A Proven Strategy For Happiness

Whatever you decide to write about yourself, be sure to include positives—your lists of achievements and what you are grateful for will help you to be happier.

3. Better Writing

Everything gets better with practice. The more you write, the better you get. This has absolutely been the case for me. I’ve become a much better writer.

4. Learning about Yourself

Even though it’s your story, the more you write about yourself, the more you learn about yourself. Again, this has been the case for me. I’m amazed at how much I have learned and grown because of my investment in writing.

5. Our Memories Are Not Infinite

If you don’t journal, there’s no way you will remember all of the details later. My father’s “book” is a priceless find for our family, nearly 50 years later.

6. It’s Easier Than Ever To Write

I told you that I used Siri to dictate my dad’s story. (I am not a shill for Apple. Just telling it like it is. And I do know that results can vary with Siri—I may be fortunate to have a good voice for Siri.)

7. It’s Easier Than Ever To Publish (If You Want To)

We all know about blogging. That’s where you are reading this piece. If you want to turn your memoirs into a paper “book” to give to family and friends, there are plenty of easy and relatively inexpensive ways to do it. And if you want to produce an e-book, it’s even less expensive. And making it available to the public is easier than ever in today’s world of publishing.

What’s Your Story?

Are you writing your story? If so, or if not, what are some lessons from your story and/or from the experience of writing it?

David J. Singer is the bestselling author of Six Simple Rules for a Better Life and blogs at SixSimpleRules.com


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