Write a portrait about yourself

April 27, 2022


I hope you are doing well, you enjoy a beautiful spring, and you are happy and healthy.

During the last Easter weekend, I received an early birthday present here on Kauai. I am pleased and grateful that a 2 pages portrait written by Beat Meier about me, my passion for maps and mapping as a philosophy of life got published in the Swiss Orienteering Magazine.

Maps have fascinated me since my early childhood. When I was 12, I discovered the orienteering sport and three years later I created my first orienteering map. I also love running, and this past weekend I participated in a 10 km run during the 50th annual Maui marathon event.

Since then, I have created over 20 orienteering maps. After creating 3 maps in Colorado, I was most recently in Valais, Switzerland for 3 large-scale maps in beautiful and remote areas below and above the tree line. One of these maps will be presented this summer (July 23 & 24) as part of the Swiss O Days and used for the first time on the Col Du Sanetsch.

You can read the Swiss Orienteering magazine article here.

Having read a portrait written about me, I thought this could be a valuable writing exercise we can do for ourselves too. As you probably know, there are many benefits in journaling, which was something I did regularly before and after Joy’s passing and helped me process the experiences.

Writing a portrait about you is another form of writing that can give you many insights into yourself and provide others a valuable opportunity to understand you better. Here, you introduce yourself and write about you as a person, your life and your work. Unlike a biography, which usually tells the whole life story in more or less chronological order, your self-portrait focuses on a specific topic such as mapping in the portrait about me.

You can compare a written portrait with a portrait painting. While a written portrait gives a reader a description of ​​the characteristics and actions of the person portrayed, a portrait painting remains a snapshot of the portrayed person as interpreted by the painter and later by who sees the painting.

Since the publication of my book Hawaiian Rebirth, I occasionally receive messages from readers who got inspired to write their own book and ask for my support which I provide through my coaching services. I recommend writing a self-portrait as a great starting point if you are interested in writing.

Here are 6 tips for writing your self-portrait:

1) Choose a central topic.

Choose one aspect that runs through the entire text as a common thread and becomes the main subject of your self-portrait such as a special life event, an important goal, a hobby, a character trait, a decisive pivotal turning point in your life, or even a metaphor. This central topic is the basis for your self-portrait and you can build all other stages of life into this framework.

2) Write with variety in mind.

In one section you can go into your personality and in another section, you can talk about a specific life event. You can tell your life story by focusing on situations that fit your central theme. With a varied structure, you create an interesting, vivid story and make it less looking like a chronologically written CV.

3) Find an interesting entry point.

With an exciting introduction, you involve the reader of your portrait right from the start. In my book, I began by describing a healing miracle I experienced with the Hawaiian healer Paul in 2008. Describe a life event as realistically as possible so that the readers of your portrait have the impression that they were there themselves. At the end of your portrait, you can bring up the experience again and thus close the circle.

4) Think about how much private information you want to share.

Try to find a healthy balance between sharing unique personal experiences and being discreet. Reflect on what you would and would rather not read about a person. Ask yourself how much of your personal details you want to share with others and what you prefer to keep to yourself. And remember to try to stay on the central topic of the portrait.

5) Find pictures or graphics to support.

For me, a well-written portrait is complemented by suitable photos and/or graphics. In my portrait in the Swiss Orienteering Magazine, excerpts from some of my orienteering maps and a photo of my work in the field were used. Choose some pictures, drawings, or photos that support your self-portrait. Looking at photos related to certain life events or the theme for your portrait can also fire up new inspiration if you ever feel stuck in your writing process.

6) Write in the present and with mindfulness.

It is best to write your self-portrait in the present tense to convey topicality even when it comes to past experiences. Writing in the past can give the impression that it is a completed story. Writing in the present also brings more mindfulness. While writing your self-portrait, pay attention to your breaths as it helps you connect with your heart space. Words are output of your mind but your heart can be the director of your portrait.

I look forward to your feedback on writing your self-portrait, on any portion contained in this blog, or on the portrait in the Swiss Orienteering magazine. In my next blog, I will go deeper into the topic of mindfulness practices. And maybe we’ll even see each other this summer on the Col Du Sanetsch in Valais Switzerland. Until then, I wish you a beautiful and mindful spring.

With love and appreciation, Yves

Please leave me a comment below. If you are not on Facebook, click on WordPress to leave a regular comment. I will read and respond to every one. ~Yves Nager

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To live a life on purpose, acknowledge your thoughts andnemotions and redirect them toward your dreams.
~Yves Nager