3 Tips to Write Your Own Biography

Bethany Eanes Yoga

Whether you’re writing a blurb for LinkedIn, a biography for a website, or an insert for your book cover, your “elevator pitch” is likely out there somewhere, and what does it say about you? Does it connect you with someone you’ve never met? Or, is it just a laundry list of things you’ve done? Try these tips to connect more and do less.*

  1. People care more about who you are than what you’ve accomplished. You may need to pick a few accomplishments to include, like your education or credentials, but listing these accomplishments alone doesn’t tell me much about you. If you studied at Harvard, what was most impactful about your time there? If you studied with Iyengar, what surprised you about his approach? Telling me that story will help me understand why this accomplishment makes you a valuable person for me to connect with.If you’re wondering what stories are valuable to tell, ask yourself, “What would I want to know about me if I met me? What would I find most useful or interesting?” Ultimately, you probably want to connect with people who have similar interests to your own. You may not know what they like, but you know what you like, and you can use that to take a good guess.
  2. People want to know the value of connecting with you before they invest their time. Have you ever had a lovely massage only to think an hour later, “Well, that experience passed, and I don’t really feel any lasting benefits?” Our time is limited, and we want to walk away from an experience with something that brings tangible value into our lives for an extended period of time. Did I learn something? Did I have a memorable experience? Was I challenged but also given a chance for rest and/or fun? What do I walk away with?Let people know what they can expect from time spent with you – either reading your book or working with you on a project – and then deliver on those expectations.
  3. Take a tip from Shakespeare and use your own words. Using your own words can be as simple as writing everything in the first person. I learned in copywriting class that “I/We” statements always work better than “Them/You” statements to connect with others. Talk about yourself with your own voice. And, if you’re really clever, you may even make up a few new words.Back in my sorority days, I banned the word “nice” as a descriptor for women rushing our house. We all know how to be nice. Similarly, all yoga teachers should be competent, should like yoga, should offer something “peaceful.” What do you offer that comes from who you are? Can you think of a word for it? If not a word, can you find a phrase?My husband once told me, “You sure do keep it real, even when keeping it real goes way wrong.” That’s what I offer in class. I call it “distinctly unsexy” yoga, because there’s nothing to entice you into thinking the practice will make you gorgeous, happy, thin, or orgasmic. That sounds like an exaggeration, but I honestly believe some yoga teachers imply orgasm with their description of yoga. Perhaps they deliver on it; maybe that’s why their classes are fuller than mine! My classes are uncomfortable, often awkward, analytical, and probably out of your comfort zone. As I read that sentence, I realize this also describes a conversation with me. Find a phrase that describes you and use it often.

Finally, a final tip: rewrite your bio every 6 months. You are growing and changing. Your biography should reflect that. Save the old ones as they will show you how you’ve evolved.

And, a final-final tip: keep it short. Three to five sentences is probably all anybody’s got time for.

My author’s bio:

Bethany Eanes is a yoga teacher, writer, and owner of The Yoga Harbor in Torrance, California. Life has taken her from a small town outside of Pittsburgh to the beaches of Los Angeles by way of St. Louis, where she met her favorite debate partner and turned him into her husband. She is equally enthusiastic about breakfast burritos and sausage dogs as she is parallel sentence structure and external shoulder rotation. You can find her telling stories in class or on the blog at TheYogaHarbor.com.

My personal website bio:

Bethany Eanes is a mostly-Buddhist yogi dedicated to making you very uncomfortable. As a child, Bethany was always trying to fit in, but she regularly said or did the exact thing that made her stick out. People called her aggressive and opinionated, and they often asked her to just be nice. She chose yoga and meditation as a personal practice and career. It was a terrible match for such a prickly person. One day, a student told her, “The highest compliment I can pay you is you’ve made me extremely uncomfortable.”

Bethany realized her worst qualities, with a degree of intention, could be her best. She dedicated herself to being authentic, messy, unsexy, opinionated, and kind at the expense of being nice, accepted, and popular. Simply, she dedicated herself to being herself. She invites you to do the same.

My yoga teaching bio as owner of The Yoga Harbor:

I became a business owner and a mother – two things I’d ached to be for years – in the span of 12 months. I entered true “groundlessness,” trying to succeed in two areas where the only true path to success is through failure. I’ve failed a lot at both, and I surprisingly still love all of it. My yoga and mindfulness practice guides me through the hard days that make up these sweet years, and I teach from this place of discomfort that leads to a strong sense of growth.

Every time I teach, my wish is to break down yoga as ”perfection” or ”bliss” and instead aim for honesty and progress. I’m known for a down-to-Earth approach to the practice. Through creative prop work and innovative sequencing, I aim to keep you interested by bringing you to your mat in continually new ways. I am sincerely unafraid to make you uncomfortable. Through this, I hope you will feel empowered to engage honestly not just with all the ”love and light” in the world but with the struggles and hard work that make you human.

*I’m talking about your bio, but maybe I’m not just talking about your bio.