When we think about our family history, there are always a few nut cases to discuss. If you can’t determine the nut case in yours, well…

Someone once said that every family is dysfunctional. I don’t know about that, but I do know that every family is full of stories, characters and events; some for sharing in public and others for hiding in a journal. Time now to put on your creative hat and whip up a little eccentricity.

family-funnies-1Are there any well known family stories that you can include in your Legacy Bio? Are there stories about danger, intrigue, immigration, hardship, adventure? Are there any famous people in your family – famous or infamous? Give us the newspaper version – who, what, where, when and why.

What’s in the family closet? Everyone has a story or two lurking in the dark that is rarely talked about, kind of like the elephant in the room – what’s yours?

Who is the most eccentric member of your family? Describe their eccentricities and assume they will never read this.

Do you own any strange habits that other family members might describe as eccentric, weird, a bit off the wall, or otherwise nutty?

Is this something you would want to change or are you proud of your individuality?

What family members played a significant role in your life and how? Specifically, are there any cousins, aunts or uncles who fit this description.

Who were your favorites?

What was it about them that made them a favorite?

If you had the chance to act as a mentor to one of your younger relatives, who would that be and what would you do, say or model to guide and help them?

Add a note – a detail or two – about each of your siblings and cousins (something about their appearance, smarts, wit, talent – what is the one word that captures their essence).

Do you know what these same people would have said about you as a child?

Would those thoughts be any different now that you  are an adult?

When you consider your siblings and cousins – who was the


best looking



best behaved

black sheep

high maintenance

Mom and Dad’s favorite?

How fair or accurate were these descriptions?

How did these descriptions affect their lives and expectations?


Did you marry?

more than once?

names and dates?

Describe how you met your spouse(s) and how, where, when you got married.

Describe your honeymoon(s).

Describe your spouse(s).

Did you decide to have children? How did you reach that decision?

List the name and date of birth of each of your children (and date of adoption if applicable).

If you have no children of your own, are there any special children in your life?

What was special about each child’s birth?

Considering each child, what was the biggest challenge in parenting them?

What was your proudest moment for each child?

You can edit later but give it a try and write all the gory details as you work your way through this exercise. You can scratch out what you don’t want posterity to read (that in itself can raise some serious interest in your story) or you might decide to leave it in. After all, after you’re gone – what can they do to you for telling the truth?

If you are getting engaged in writing your Legacy Biography, give some one else the opportunity to do the same by sharing this website.



HAPPINESSThe 12 Hows of Happiness

People often ask me what *one* book I’d recommend if they could only read one book. I had a hard time answering that question until I read Sonja Lyubomirsky’s brilliant The How of Happiness where she outlines the 12 scientifically proven ways we can boost our happiness.

Here they are:

1. Expressing Gratitude

2. Cultivating Optimism

3. Avoiding Overthinking and Social Comparison

4. Practicing Acts of Kindness

5. Nurturing Social Relationships

6. Developing Strategies for Coping

7. Learning to Forgive

8. Increasing Flow Experiences

9. Savoring Life’s Joys

10. Committing to Your Goals

11. Practicing Spirituality

12. Taking Care of Your Body: Meditation+Physical Activity + Acting Like a Happy Person

P.S. One of the coolest points Dr. L makes in the book is the fact that, as we decide what happiness practices to focus on, we want to avoid the “shoulds” and pick the ones that really inspire us! Why? Well, we’re much more likely to stick to the intrinsic goals that have deep personal meaning!

P.P.S. So, as you get inspired by all the Ideas in this book, focus on the ones that REALLY light you up! Not the ones you think you *should* do. Cool? Cool.