Using the “Big Five” Questions to Outline your Stories

Five Big Questions to Flesh our Your Stories

By: Susan Deborah Schiller

I have been in the company of great women this week.  Each of these women has told me stories of triumphs over adversity in their lives, of lessons it has taken them a lifetime to learn, and it inspired everyone at the table.

With each of these women I asked, "Have you written your story down so that your children will have a record of these great life lessons you have learned?" The common response of all three women was, "Really? Do think this is important?" Sometimes we just need to be reminded of how far we've come along, and then a little kick start to begin writing. 

Here's a little exercise…

It originates from a recent contest that ignited people to share stories of success through overcoming incredible adversity.

Tony Robbins designed five questions that are simple, yet powerful. As you consider your answers to these questions, you may be surprised at the memories that return in how your overcame your challenge.

Here are the five questions:

  • What was your life right before the challenge or crisis hit?
  • What was the crisis you faced? What happened, and when it did, what did you feel and experience?
  • What pulled you through this difficult, unjust or impossible time? What was the trigger or catalyst for change? What is a belief, a strategy, a faith, a person, a tool? What made the change possible?
  • Once you turned the corner mentally or emotionally, what did you do to turn your life around?
  • How is your life better today because you lived through the crisis? How have you transformed? How are you stronger emotionally, physically, spiritually? What gifts do you have to give because of this?

As you consider the answers to these questions, think of a photo(s) that might go along with your story, or grab a video camera to record your journey on a video… your story will touch the hearts of your loved ones for many generations!

Even a seemingly tiny story can travel great distances!

Tell your story! See samples from contributors below:





My Full Story     What I Believe    Contact Me

With all my love,


Susan Schiller knows how it feels to lose everything: marriage and family, church and reputation, finances and businesses, and more. Susan's upcoming, interactive memoir, "On the Way Home," tells the story of how she came to be known as "the most abused woman" her counselors had yet met and how she learned to navigate to freedom and fullness.  
Today Susan helps people write their life stories, unearthing the treasures of their past and sowing them into their future, creating new family legacies.

Copyright © 2010 to 2015 Team Family Online, All rights reserved.   For reprint permission or for any private or commercial use, in any form of media, please contact Susan Schiller

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