Autobiography examples | Step by step template | samples
Writing an Autobiography - The Steps
Recent debates in the study of autobiography aim to analyze the relationship between a person’s life as it has been lived, and life as it has been expressed in words. We need, as a society, to understand from where individual’s perceptions of their actions and identity are emerging. It is a challenge to differentiate between the two especially since our own native experiences color the way in which we see the world and the way we interpret events, something from which it is difficult to separate oneself. These multiple levels of understanding will necessarily lead us to interpret information using our own frame of reference, thereby possibly distorting the meaning of that information from what may have actually occurred. How we write about our own experiences are also affected by the experiences and understandings of the individuals who are reading about those experiences.
Knowing these things, it may not be at all possible to determine whether a true story about one’s life actually can exist. We may, in this way, consider the fact that there are multiple versions of reality on which to draw, based on the social structure of experience. This is an epistemological theory which tells us that every individual is bound by the cultural or social norms of their community or their ideology. In this way, truth is not necessarily subjective, but rather objective within the context of each person’s base of experience in the world around them.
So, given this complex set of ideas, how do we actually drill down to what works in an autobiography?
1. Start with a very specific time in your life, or experience that you have had.
Example: My goals for this year are to learn how to develop better personal mechanisms for mitigating conflict, and to create ways of separating my emotional reactions from requisite business decisions.
2. Talk about your strengths.
Example: Most of my personal leadership experiences have been grounded in team activities rather than in the context of being in charge of a major project. My strengths as a team leader and member are linked to the fact that I am extroverted and have acquired great communication skills. These skills allow me to both inform others and collaborate on ideas.
3. Reflect on why these experiences have meaning to you.
Example: I enjoy talking through problems and making sure that everyone in the team has a voice as well. This allows me to make an impact on the project through my ability to bring ideas and people together, both when I am taking on a leadership role or when I am part of a group. I assist in reducing tensions and reconciling disagreements, facilitating the participation of others, and in being friendly and responsive to team members.
4. Back up your own experiences with research from the literature.
Example: My personal effectiveness would increase if I were able to better amalgamate differing opinions in considering decisions, and have the patience to listen despite my misgivings about a certain course of action. As Weitzel and Had (2001) note in their discussion of the feelings, opinions, needs, and ways of working, if information is repressed or ignored, it can “work invisibly against best efforts and create dynamics that destroy trust and lead to organizational conflict” (p. 52).
5. Be honest about your weaknesses.
Example: Strangely enough, my aversion to conflict and my propensity to control seem to both stem from my fundamental need for everyone to get along. I want to avoid feelings of unease when people are unable to connect on an issue, so my way of dealing with these challenges is to push ahead on my own agenda in order to move past my discomfort.
6. Think about ways your experiences will change in the future based on what you have learned.
Example: The challenge for me personally is that in order to deliver this type of dialogue with my team members, I must take a strong look at myself, how I respond to conflict and what responses this engenders in others. This means that I must develop patience not only with others, but also with myself as I take on this challenge.
All of these instructions in this step by step template need to be followed in order to succeed at your autobiography. We’re here to help. If you need assistance in getting through all of these steps, contact us. Let us help you create an effective autobiography based on your own needs.
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