I am engaged in the occupation of interviewing people and recording their life stories and family histories. I create books and videos memorializing people's lives. As I share this project I rarely hear "objections" from prospective clients. Most objections, if they can be called that, consist of,"but I haven't led an interesting life." Objections generally don't bother me, but this one does because: (1) it evinces negative self talk; and (2) I refuse to believe your life isn't "interesting." If you have given any thought to recording your story or writing your memoirs, please don't be held back by this self-limiting belief. Ultimately, whether your life is interesting is besides the point, because you aren't recording your life story to entertain people.
Watch Your Self-Talk
The way you talk about yourself is a reflection of how you think about yourself. When you say you haven't led an interesting life, the subtext or implication is you aren't an interesting person. After all, your experiences are a reflection of your choices. If you have been telling yourself the story that your life is uninteresting, you will act accordingly. Having said that, you can always find a way to change or improve your circumstances, and you can always change your outlook. You can choose to regard your own life as interesting, or you can use that feeling to inspire you to become interesting. Just don't tell yourself your life isn't interesting.
Of Course Your Life is Interesting!
It cannot possibly be true that your life is uninteresting. Millions of sperm raced each other to find an egg to fertilize, and the winner of that race became you! You are a spiritual being inhabiting a physical body, living a short existence tethered by gravity to a spinning ball of molten lava, hurtling through space in the orbit of a yellow dwarf star. Your mere existence is an awesome thing, and you have memories, perspective and personality distinct from anyone else.
Think of all the challenges and hardships you survived; the lessons learned and wisdom gained; the education you've received and are hopefully still receiving; the lives you have touched. Your life is a compilation of overlapping stories and nobody knows them better than you. Do you have a special skill or talent? Have you created something - another person maybe?
Even if you remain convinced your life is not interesting, I guarantee you have kids and grandkids, or other lives you have touched, who disagree. Others may regard you with gratitude, reverence and respect, and they would love to hear your story.
Your story is not just about you. Eternal Roots delves into your family history, including your parents and grandparents, going as far back as your memory allows. A life story interview is an opportunity for you to continue old family stories, so your ancestors' memories may live on through you.
Forget Interesting, Just Be You
I can go on and on about how you shouldn't say your life isn't interesting because it's poor self-talk, and I can continue about how your life actually is interesting, but none of this is necessary. The point of a life story interview is to be remembered, to connect and to impact others, not to entertain. If you're contemplating whether to preserve your life story, don't worry about whether it is "interesting." It doesn't matter if your story wouldn't qualify as a screenplay, if you never won a Nobel prize, or if you never traveled the world. You lived your life, and that is worthy by itself.
When I conduct life story interviews, I guide you with organized and chronological questions to tell your story. You are never left on your own with open-ended narrative questions, and you are not expected to share your life in a stream of consciousness. Eternal Roots interviews are structured yet fluid, and we cover each phase of your life. There are thousands of memories tucked away in your brain, just waiting for the right trigger. As the stories come pouring out, you'll be amazed at how interesting your life really is. So too will your loved ones. This process is too important, for your ancestors and your heirs, to be silenced by false concerns about whether your life is sufficiently "interesting."
Do you use Facebook to connect with your family and close friends, but find your news feed cluttered with angry political rants and mind-numbing cat videos? Do you log in with the intention of viewing your kids' photos, but find yourself clicking on random links, causing you to wonder where the last hour went? Famicity has the antidote. Famicity provides a closed network where you can invite family and close friends to view and contribute content about your family. No random friend requests; no acquaintances you haven't seen since grade school; no political rants; and the only cat videos are your own.
I found Famicity on Instagram. We entered each other's radar, likely through the use of mutual hashtags, and started following each other. I checked out their website and was impressed with their service. The website is easy to understand and navigate, and it has a compelling video at the top. After a couple months of liking each other's posts, I sent them an email to introduce myself and explore the possibility of collaboration.
Famicity is based in France, although their service is not geographically limited. I heard back from Famicity's social media manager, based in the U.S., and we took turns interviewing each other through video conferencing. These mutual interviews, and the common interest in connecting families, helped forge a relationship. I realized Famicity is a great collaborator with Eternal Roots because we both help families share their stories and connect, yet our services are so different that there is no competition. In fact, people who work with Eternal Roots delve into their photo and video collections to create their custom documentaries, then they can share the content on Famicity and engage with their families about the content. In fact, Famicity is creating video uploading capability (available around June), with up to 1TB of storage, so you could upload your Eternal Roots video there to share it with your family!
Famicity was founded by Guillaume Languereau and Jerome Blanchard, who met in engineering school. Famicity's creation story is similar to Eternal Roots. Guillaume's grandfather was the family genealogist, and Famicity was initially created to provide a platform where his grandfather could share his genealogical findings. "We created Famicity for him, and for us because we'd like to gather our families online and there was no place for that." Famicity is a vehicle for families to preserve their stories, photos and even documents (soon audios and videos) to be shared with future generations.
Famicity has been in operation for 5 years. They recently finished a Kickstarter campaign so they can roll out enhanced features such as audio and video files. Right now you can upload photos, documents, and you can type stories. The content is organized by the date of the post. Famicity is even available on mobile applications in the Apple Store and the Google Play store.
Famicity is free to use! You can sign up for a free account and become the page administrator, and you can invite people to join the page. The content is secured in a closed network, so it is not accessible on the web. Famicity offers premium memberships that enable uploading videos, audios and the ability to preserve documents in pdf format.
Click here to learn more about Famicity. I am always happy to support projects that connect families through generations, especially one with a startup story so similar to mine. Famicity was conceived through a desire to connect with family, and the business concept came later. Eternal Roots was hatched the same way.
About the Blog
Here I write about the evolution of this project, the act of preserving life stories and personal development. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it.