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Prior Programming & Personal Growth

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There’s a funny thing about childhood. It’s seems like we make it through only to spend the rest of our lives either denying it or trying to recover from it. I wasn’t always willing to examine my childhood and how it has affected me long into my adult life, but I now realize that stories of personal growth help others see that they are not alone in our struggles.

When I was growing up, I had a wonderful family, but we moved a lot. My dad worked for IBM, which at the time people joked about it meaning “I’ve Been Moved.” We moved a lot. The longest place we ever lived was three years, and the shortest was nine months. By the time I graduated high school, I’d been to nine different schools.

The culture shock was, at times, dizzying. When I was twelve, we moved from Tulsa, Oklahoma to the Chicago area. Itprior-programming-and-personal-growth was like moving to a foreign country. The people talked differently, and it wasn’t just their strange accent I had trouble understanding. They used odd phrases like, “Do you want to go with?” Go with what? With whom? I kept waiting for them to finish their sentence and they never did. They called the restrooms “washrooms,” and Coke, which, for me, was the proper name for every soft drink in the world, was called “pop.”

Even the solar system was different. It got dark around 4:00 when I was barely home from school, when in Tulsa—even in the dead of winter—the sun didn’t set until around 5:30. And then there was the cold. It wasn’t just cold in Chicago. It was bitter, bone chilling cold, and the real temperature, which plunged to 21 below zero, felt like 40 below with the wind chill. When I walked outside to go to the bus stop, my nostrils froze shut. I was cold to the bone, summer and winter, the entire three years we lived there.

It wasn’t easy always being the new girl. Every place we moved was so different. What were the rules here? Who could I trust? Who should I be? The trepidation of walking into a new school on the first day was crippling. My stomach tightened, my bowels loosened, and my neck got stiff. As all eyes bored into me when I stood in front of the room to be introduced, I fantasized about being lifted up onto a cloud and transported away. I didn’t want to start over. And over. And over.

It was important that I figure things out before I shared any of myself in any way. I needed to learn the rules and customs and behaviors in a new place, so I could mimic them and fit in. I became a completely different person every time we moved, and I adopted new personas to match what I saw in others. That’s when I developed my three most crippling self-defeating beliefs:
1. If people know who I really am, they won’t like me.
2. No one cares about me.
3. I don’t matter.

My personal growth process progressed slowly but surely

It’s been a long time since I was twelve years old, and I wish I could say that those internal messages disappeared with my youth, but they did not. To the contrary, these became my core beliefs about myself, and they kept me in chameleon mode for far too much of my life. These negative beliefs caused me to neglect myself and my own needs, to marry an abusive husband, to work in a career that I hated, to be under-developed as a human being, and to live a life of crippling anxiety — always trying to figure out what to do, who to be, how to act.

With the help of some good therapy, journaling, and a daily practice of meditation, I’ve worked through these issues, and they no longer cripple me. But I admit that, on certain days, I have to work really, really hard just to justify my existence. On those days I feel like I don’t matter, that no one cares about me, and if people knew who I really was, they wouldn’t like me.

When you’ve built your life on a lie, it’s hard to overcome that thinking. The lie becomes the truth, and the truth becomes a lie. I believe it’s the lies we tell ourselves that prevent us from doing the things we were meant to do and for which we are gifted. The lies we create become barriers that block us from personal growth.

I don’t know what lies you’ve been telling yourself, but I do know the truth.

You do matter. You are important. You can help other people.

You may feel that you don’t have anything to offer that’s worthy of writing a book, but I disagree. Take a look at your life, what you’ve learned, what you’ve been through, what you’ve developed, what you’ve gleaned, what you’ve endured. Take a moment to consider your story of personal growth and all you have done to get to where you are now. You may not know everything else in life, but you do know your own life. You know your own patch of ground, and you know it well. What do you know and what have you learned that can change lives, save lives, or transform society?

You can do that, can be that voice of hope and help to others, and I’m here to help.


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autobiography vs memoir book coach which should i write

Autobiography or Memoir: Which should you write?

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autobiography vs memoir book coach which should i writeThe words “autobiography” and “memoir” are often used interchangeably in social situations – (and even on Amazon.com categories!) but the two terms represent vastly different types of work.

What is a memoir?

A memoir is a written story that typically covers a portion of someone’s life. This type of book is often written by “normal” people like you and me, and can start at any point within an author’s life. Historically, autobiographies tend to be dryer material – more factually researched and historical than memoirs, which can have a more emotional edge and a moral to the story.

Should I write my memoir?

As I often say, you are the only one who can tell your story! Here are some questions you need to ask yourself before you embark on the journey of writing your book:

  1. Do you have a story worth telling? If you have a story that others would be interested in – experiences you’ve had, circumstances that you’ve overcome, major accomplishments and the road to achievement – then there may be interest in your story. Oftentimes, the authors whose autobiographies perform best have been told by family, friends, and colleagues, “you should write a book,” for a number of years. Has this happened for you?
  2. Do you have a story that could help others?  I’m a firm believer that if your story has the potential to help others who face similar circumstances to yours, by bettering their lives or personal experiences, that you have a duty to share your story.
  3. Can your story be told with total honesty (absolutely no embellishment!) and how the readers’ attention? Often times, you’ll find that all of the little stories that make up the big story of your life can be interesting enough without added embellishment. You simply need to look at the language you use to impart your experiences.

What is an autobiography?

An autobiography typically covers the events of a writer’s entire life from birth to present. An autobiographical book typically focused on the total trajectory of an individual’s life and highlights many experiences from a personal point of view in chronological order. Authors typically highlight formative instances from childhood, adolescence, and their adult years. Autobiographies are typically written by celebrities, experts and people of significance, and contain highly researched and verifiable information.

Should I write my autobiography?

If you are unsure about whether or not you should write a memoir, I’d recommend that you ask yourself all of the same questions listed above and that you add one more:

Is your life so significant that someone would be captivated by the entire experience – from the beginning until now? 

Additionally, you should consider if the public’s interest in your story is more emotional or historical. Autobiography is clearly the more historical of the two types of non-fiction life writing.

Are you ready to write?

If, after you’ve considered all of the questions above, you believe you have a story that needs to be told, I’m ready to help you start writing and publishing your book. The success of your book – and how relatable it is to your audience depends on how well you tell it. As your personal book coach, I can help you craft your story and work with you when you to write a book that is beyond compare. Don’t let fear of writing keep you from sharing your story with the world!

If you need help to write your book, consider working with me as you write your first book. Details below!

 

 


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Featured Author - Helen Gennari had her book launch party for her first book, From The Heart of An Abandoned Daughter author, become an author, write a book, feature author, self publishing, book coach, nonfiction, non fiction, nonfiction writing, nonfiction book coach, helen gennari, book launch, book launch party, book marketing

Helen Gennari publishes inspirational survival story

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Helen Gennari is this month's Featured Author that recently celebrated with her book launch party for From The Heart of an Abandoned Daughter

Gennari’s autobiography launch party benefitted shelter for battered women

At the end of October my sweet friend and client, Helen Gennari, had a fabulous book launch party for her first book, From the Heart of an Abandoned Daughter: My Personal Journey Through Family Violence and Beyond, which benefitted Woman’s Place in St. Louis, a shelter for battered women. It has been wonderful to see her share her story about growing up with and surviving family violence and her desire to help others that struggle with similar situations.

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