Brainstorming Tools. I. Peaks and Valleys. Step 2: Put a star next to the top stories.

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1 Brainstorming Tools IMPORTANT NOTE: This document is to help you to get your creative juices flowing. You don t have to complete each exercise. Only do what resonates with you. We recommend getting a dedicated notebook and writing down any memories that come to mind. This will help you when you re crafting your content for your Lasting Legacy book. I. Peaks and Valleys A peak experience is something that was positive. A valley experience is something that was negative. The following exercises will help you to identify which of these experiences made the greatest impact in your life. Peak Experiences Step 1: List as many positive experiences as you can think of: Step 2: Put a star next to the top stories. LASTING LEGACY Copyright 2018 by Paragon Road 1

2 Step 3: Fill out the following for each of your top Peak Stories. Top Peak Story #1 What made it so good? What was my reaction? Top Peak Story #2 What made it so good? What was my reaction? LASTING LEGACY Copyright 2018 by Paragon Road 2

3 Top Peak Story #3 What made it so good? What was my reaction? Top Peak Story #4 What made it so good? What was my reaction? LASTING LEGACY Copyright 2018 by Paragon Road 3

4 Top Peak Story #5 What made it so good? What was my reaction? Top Peak Story #6 What made it so good? What was my reaction? LASTING LEGACY Copyright 2018 by Paragon Road 4

5 Valley Experiences Step 1: List as many challenging experiences as you can think of: Step 2: Put a star next to the top stories. Some questions to ask: What was challenging for you when you were a child? As an adult? What are some mistakes you made? When did you feel at your lowest? Is there a time you had to let go or experience extreme faith in the unknown? What are the greatest lessons you have learned in your life? Are there times you had to lean on others for support? LASTING LEGACY Copyright 2018 by Paragon Road 5

6 Step 3: Fill out the following for each of your top Valley Stories. Top Valley Story #1 How did I respond? What did I learn? Top Valley Story #2 How did I respond? What did I learn? LASTING LEGACY Copyright 2018 by Paragon Road 6

7 Top Valley Story #3 How did I respond? What did I learn? Top Valley Story #4 How did I respond? What did I learn? LASTING LEGACY Copyright 2018 by Paragon Road 7

8 Top Valley Story #5 How did I respond? What did I learn? Top Valley Story #6 How did I respond? What did I learn? LASTING LEGACY Copyright 2018 by Paragon Road 8

9 II. People, Places, and Things The people, places and things that trigger your best memories. Step 1: In this exercise, list the 3 most important people, the 3 most important places and the 3 most important things you value most in your life (you could also do this for each era of your life, such as childhood, young adult, etc.). Significant People Person 1 Name: Person 2 Name: LASTING LEGACY Copyright 2018 by Paragon Road 9

10 Person 3 Name: Other people of note: Significant Places Place 1 Name: Place 2 Name: LASTING LEGACY Copyright 2018 by Paragon Road 10

11 Place 3 Name: Other places of note: Significant Things Thing 1 Name: Thing 2 Name: LASTING LEGACY Copyright 2018 by Paragon Road 11

12 Thing 3 Name: Other items of note: LASTING LEGACY Copyright 2018 by Paragon Road 12

13 III. Values What values are important to you? Step 1: What words represent what you value? Circle no more than 10. Resilient Courageous Passionate Forgiving Blissful Curious Inventive Persevering Faithful Responsible Just Compassionate Loving Seeking purpose Persistent Optimistic Enthusiastic Striving for excellence Excited Meaningful Motivated by growth Joyful Creative Imaginative Unique Surprised Independent Community focused Limitless Diverse Innovative Entrepreneurial Enthusiastic Trustworthy Honest Engaged Committed Loyal Adventurous Insatiable Adaptable Happy Optimistic Zesty Gritty Bold Grateful Appreciative Self-controlled Well-mannered Hopeful Open-minded Wise Knowledgeable Brave Kind Leaders Humble Modest Prudent Spiritual Mindful LASTING LEGACY Copyright 2018 by Paragon Road 13

14 Step 2: Prioritize your values. Write a story about each of your top 5 values. Seed questions: Why is this value important to you? Is there a time in your life when you or someone else exercised this value? Who or what is the best representation of this value? What do you want your children or loved ones to know about this value? Value 1 Word: Value 2 Word: Value 3 Word: LASTING LEGACY Copyright 2018 by Paragon Road 14

15 Value 4 Word: Value 5 Word: Additional notes about values: LASTING LEGACY Copyright 2018 by Paragon Road 15

16 IV. Mind Map What ideas come to mind when you think about a life topic? Some topic ideas to get you started: Childhood; Family Memories; Parenthood; My Career; My Faith (Use a separate paper if you need to.) LASTING LEGACY Copyright 2018 by Paragon Road 16

17 Questions you ask to extract the best stories. V. Memory Prompts Step 1: Select the questions that resonate with you. Or create your own questions. Step 2: Write the question at the top of a page in your notebook and start writing about it. If you do better talking through the answers, you can record yourself on your phone or another recording device or have someone ask you the questions (make sure to record your responses!). 20 Golden Questions 1. What is the happiest time of your childhood? Can you remember a specific event that represents that time? Who were you with? 2. What were family meals like for you growing up? What did you eat? Who was around the table? 3. What one event disrupted your life and caused you to look at the world in another way? 4. Who were your heroes or mentors? 5. What makes you happy? Can you remember the most joyful times in your life? The saddest? 6. What advice would you give to your 20-year-old self? 7. What is the best gift you ve ever given someone? The best gift you ve ever received? 8. What is the best trip you ever went on? Why? 9. If you could only take one last vacation, where would you go and with whom? 10. What do you like most about getting older? Least? 11. What is the biggest mistake you ever made? What did you learn? 12. Who are your three closest friends? What makes them so dear to you? 13. What are the greatest challenges you have faced as an adult? 14. What kinds of cultural things inspire you? Is there certain art, music, or writing that you are drawn to? 15. What type of environment do you feel most comfortable? Where is the ideal place to live? 16. What career did you pursue and why? 17. Who or what is the love of your life? 18. What are your favorite hobbies? 19. What do you associate with the word fun? What makes you laugh? 20. Who are the most important people in your life and what do you want them to know? LASTING LEGACY Copyright 2018 by Paragon Road 17

18 Questions About Childhood / Teen Years 1. What were your favorite childhood activities? 2. What memories do you have about a favorite toy? 3. What was your first school called? Do you remember your first day? 4. Of all the schools you attended, what was your favorite? Least favorite? What was your favorite grade? 5. What did you like about school? What didn t you like? 6. What were your favorite school subjects? 7. What is a triumphant school memory that will always stay with you? What about a moment of disappointment or humiliation? 8. How did you and your family spend summer vacations and winter breaks? 9. What is the first trip you remember? 10. Who were your best friends growing up? Are they still in your life? 11. What clubs or organizations did you belong to? 12. How was your relationship with your parents? Your siblings? 13. Who taught you about money? What did they teach you? 14. What was your greatest childhood fear? Where did it come from? 15. In what situations has fear stopped you from doing what you really want to do? 16. Describe your teenage home (homes). What did your room look like? 17. What kinds of music did you listen to as a teen? Did your parents approve? 18. What happened on your first date? Who did you go with? What did you do? 19. What is your funniest dating story? 20. Who was your first love? Questions About Being a Young Adult (School and Career) 1. What plans for yourself did you make after high school? 2. Did you go to college? What was it like? 3. When did you feel like you grew up? Is there a time when you felt like an adult? 4. What was your first job? How old were you? 5. What was your strangest job? Or did you have a strange way that you got a job? 6. What was your social life like in your 20s? 7. How did you measure up to your parents and siblings achievements? 8. Did you give a lot or participate in charity work? Is there a time you remember giving to others? LASTING LEGACY Copyright 2018 by Paragon Road 18

19 Questions About Relationships and Marriage 1. What is your most-important romantic relationship? Describe how you met each other and how things progressed? 2. Describe your wedding day? Where were you married? What was it like? Who attended? 3. How did your relationship with your partner evolve over time? 4. Did your family like your partner? Did your partner s family like you? How were the family dynamics? 5. What do you think you did right in your relationship? 6. What kind of relationship advice would you give to others just starting out? 7. What are some of the most-difficult struggles you went through? How did you overcome them? 8. What are some of the best experiences you had together? Questions About Parenthood and Children 1. How did you feel when you first found out you were going to be a parent? 2. What were the best and worst parts of being a parent? 3. How do you describe your parenting philosophy? 4. What are some of your most memorable times experiences with your kids? 5. What are some of the most challenging moments as a parent? How did you get through it? What did you learn? 6. What advice would you give new parents? 7. What rules did you have in your home for your children? 8. How do you feel about the choices your children have made? Questions About Career 1. What career did you pursue and why? 2. Was your career fulfilling? 3. What are some of the best moments of your professional life? 4. What are your plans for the future regarding your professional life? Questions About Hopes and Dreams 1. When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up? 2. What dreams have you accomplished? 3. What do you still hope to accomplish? 4. Do you have a bucket list? If so, what s on it? LASTING LEGACY Copyright 2018 by Paragon Road 19

20 Questions About Community & Friends 1. What does community mean to you? 2. How do you connect with your community? 3. Who are your closest friends? 4. How important has friendship been in your life? Questions About Personal Philosophy 1. Do you have religious beliefs? What are they? 2. When do you feel disappointed in yourself? How do you remedy your bad behavior? 3. What makes life meaningful to you? How to Write Your Own Questions Be sure you know the difference between a closed and open question. Closed questions can be answered with yes or no. Open questions require your interviewee to explain. So, for example, here s a closed question: Did you eat dinner together as a family every night? The response can be yes or no. Here s an example of an open question: Can you tell me about dinnertime with your family when you were a child? In this case, you must explain what it was like a simple yes or no won t cut it. Avoid closed questions. The more you explain, the better. (Often, it works well to have someone interview you with these questions.) Example question syntax: How do you feel about? What do you remember about? Can you tell me about? What s your favorite memory of? LASTING LEGACY Copyright 2018 by Paragon Road 20

21 Writing about your life. VI. Journaling Stream of Consciousness Technique All you need is a notebook and a pen. At the top of your notebook write a life topic ( Childhood, Lessons Learned, Love Life, etc.). Then start writing down anything that comes to mind. Time yourself - write for 20 to 30 minutes straight. After, you can read through what you wrote and see if there is anything you d like to keep. Time Line Technique Split your life into chunks - early childhood, elementary, junior high, high school, college, being a parent, being a grandparent, retirement, etc. - for each period of your life, write about significant events, how you felt, your hopes and dreams, your challenges, fun vacations, your friends and so on. Memory Prompt Technique Flip to the questions in the memory prompt area of this document and answer them in writing. Or create your own questions. Talking Journal Technique Get a dictation app on your phone or tablet and begin talking about your project topic. Use the transcripted material as the base for your journaling content. LASTING LEGACY Copyright 2018 by Paragon Road 21

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