Start With “Why?”

Now that you’ve decided when to record the LifeStories of your loved ones, it’s time to decide “why”. Stephen Covey, in his best-seller The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, wrote as Habit 2 “Begin with the End in Mind.” For us, the end in mind is directly tied to the “why” of recording a LifeStory. The answer to your “why” will guide all the other steps in the process.

In order to find your “why”, ask yourself the following questions: What will the finished LifeStory be used for? Is this an ongoing project or a one-time interview? Who will be the audience that will view the video? The answer to these and other “end in mind” questions you ask yourself should be answered before you go to the next step. As you can imagine, your next steps would be different if you were recording the stories for a university-type historical archive vs. for a family fun project.

The good news is that you, and only you, get to decide your “why”, and there are no wrong answers! Your “why” is your “why”. If other people want to chime in with their opinions, they can, but you are the ultimate decision maker. So I encourage you to explore the end in mind with great thought…and be sure to write down your “why”. You might need to reference it as we work through the process of recording a LifeStory.

In my following post, we will begin exploring the next step, the pre-interview process. The fun is just beginning!

When Do I Record Their Stories?

I am often asked when people find out about my work, “When do I record their stories? Mom and Dad are relatively young. Should I wait or should I do it now?” My answer involves a crystal ball and The Amazing Kreskin If I could look into the future like those who know how to use a crystal ball (allegedly) or The Amazing Kreskin (I used to like watching him on The Tonight Show when I was a kid), I would have a date in mind when a loved one should be interviewed for their LifeStories…but I don’t. Instead, my answer is, “Now.” My answer comes from experience.

On two occasions I was hired to capture and preserve a loved one’s LifeStories on video. The Pre-Interview meeting ( went well. During the time between the Pre-Interview meeting and the filmed interview itself, however, in both cases, the interviewees had a stroke. We were able to conduct the interview, but in both cases, the interviewee was “not the same person” she was before. Both memory and speech quality were effected by the stroke. When can we predict a stroke…or other illnesses…or even death?

Even if, and especially if, your loved ones are young and healthy, now is the time to capture their stories!

In the next few weeks, I will be sharing some hints on how to accomplish this yourself. Stay tuned.