Last week you assembled all the loud and pushy facts that want to be told about who you are and what led you to where you are today. Now that you’ve set aside “just the facts, ma’am”, you’re ready for the good stuff.
Here’s part 2 of this multi-part post on how to write a bio:
Step one: grab a digital or any other recording device, or download an app to record your interview. Even in interviews with other people, subtleties missed in the moment of telling are often distinctly heard in playback. If you are playing both roles in this interview, you will definitely want to play a purely listening role after the fact. Your interview should run about an hour but can run as long as 90 minutes.
A trusted friend might play the role of interviewer, but it’s not necessary. If you find it awkward to play both roles try recording the questions first to play back while recording your responses.
These questions are designed to map out a grid to reveal what makes you tick and what is significant for others to know about you. *Important*: read each question *aloud* and give as full an answer as if you were speaking to a stranger.
1. How do you define success?
2. What was your experience at school (i.e. made friends easily, bullied, academic excellence…). How do you feel about it today?
3. What was your most significant insight, piece of knowledge or breakthrough in life? In your career (if multiple careers, one for each)?
4. How do your answers to #2 and #3 differ and how are they similar?
5. If you were *not* doing the work you do now, what work would you *choose*?
6. What impresses you most about people when you first meet them? Are these qualities you share or aspire to?
7. Describe your relationship with (or what you know about) your grandparents. How do you feel about them?
8. Which describes you*best*: pragmatist; optimist; pessimist AND (choose one): superstitious, religious, spiritual, none of the last 3.
9. Do you sleep well? If you are awake at 4 a.m., what are you usually thinking about? What do you do about it?
10. Have you ever felt afraid? What insights can you glean from any childhood fears?
11. What do or did you admire about your parents? Siblings? Children? Grandchildren?
12. What do you dislike or resent about your parents/siblings/children/grandchildren?
13. Do you recognize any similarities in yourself to answers to #11 and #12?
14. How has your career path progressed from its earliest beginnings to where it is today (max. two-word answers for each step or career change).
15. What do *you* see as your greatest strength? Greatest weakness?
16. Are any of your answers to #15 reflected in the work you do today? Would you like to make changes to your work based on those answers?
17. What *one* character trait of yours would you change? What would the second change be?
18. What would the effect (including none) of those changes be on the work you do or plan to do?
19. List in 1-word answers how you believe others see you.
20. List in 1-word answers how you would *like* others to see you.
Once you’re satisfied that your answers are complete, go back and identify any sensory details: sight, sound, touch, smell, taste. These often lead to significant insights.
Next week we’ll crack open what your answers say about how you measure and share yourself—and your work—with the world.
See you January 18 for Part 3: Defining *who you say you are* in relation to your work, your passions and your life.