The Personal User Guide: Your Most Essential Instruction Manual

User GuideDo you get excited for valuable free stuff?

Me too!

Do you get really excited when the value is way more than expected?

I do too!

With that in mind…

Here’s how you get your own free Personal User Guide!

Sign up for instant access or read on if you want to learn more.


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What a Personal User Guide Is

The Personal User Guide is an organized instruction manual dedicated to you. Think of it as a framework for you to build what’s important in your life.

Better yet, this template explains why the important things are important and how you go about getting them. Completing this will make it simple to communicate many things to others (and to yourself when you need a reminder) like:

  • The belief systems you follow and the significance of certain relationships
  • How you want people to engage you and how you like to engage others
  • Your goals, areas of growth, and triggers for certain feelings or actions

And once this is complete, you have a package of information to share with someone that would otherwise take forever for them to learn.

It’s also simple, easy to navigate, and… did I mention enjoyable?

Why The Personal User Guide Exists

In my corporate days, I was the guy who wrote unofficial user guides for the systems and processes used by co-workers. The problem was they were technical, overly detailed, and hard to follow.

Basically, there were flaws that made the user guides a questionable use of time:

  1. Nobody else wanted to maintain the document
  2. The user experience was “meh”
  3. People were overwhelmed and didn’t know where to find the key information
  4. The legitimacy was questioned since they weren’t created by the owner of the system or process

Eventually, I thought about how other people in my life would appreciate a user guide about me. After all, I was certainly more complex and confusing than a business system or process.

Plus, I had changed just about everything that previously defined me and made me tick during my personal renaissance.

Plain and simple: most people just didn’t get me anymore.

I thought:

Could a personal user guide concisely communicate who I am now, why I am who I am, and how it came to be this way?

I had to find out.

The problem was there weren’t templates for a Personal User Guide or instructions on how to create one.

So I took on the challenge of what it would look like, how detailed it would be, and what I would gain from the experience. I suspected that, after I finished my own personal user guide, other people would enjoy and benefit from the same experience.

And as a result, The Personal User Guide was born.

This was created to help you make sense of your world and to help others get the best experience from interacting with you. Although it’s intended for everyone, it’s especially useful if you’re an introvert, struggle with misunderstandings, or often feel people don’t “get you.”

Basically, it’s the best resource around to demystify you. Interested?


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How This Benefits You (and Those Around You)

User Guide

Before I created my own personal user guide, I asked myself these questions:

  1. What kind of a person needs a personal user guide?
  2. Why would I want to share personal details with someone I may not even know?
  3. What kind of a person wants to spend time completing a personal user guide?
  4. Is the burden of keeping the content current and accurate too much of a time sink?
  5. How can completing a personal user guide be enjoyable, thought provoking, and actionable?
  6. Are the rules for how we operate so contextual that generalizing them is worth the effort?
  7. How can I make this more than a biography – unique from facts shared on social media websites or blogs – and totally unlike anything else?

The goal here wasn’t to answer all questions, potential issues, and have this be totally comprehensive. After all, nobody is so simple that what makes them tick can be fully explained in a few pages.

But I was able to answer all these questions… and the result was amazing!

So how does this benefit you?

  • Give yourself the gift of awareness by giving others a window into what makes you tick
  • Help others learn about you so that you can also learn about yourself.
  • Boil down your essence to concisely communicate what makes you unique
  • Create the framework to logically document what is seemingly unexplainable about you

And that’s just for starters. You’ll probably think of many more benefits after completing this valuable template.

What’s In The Personal User Guide

Here’s an insider look into the table of contents of the user guide:

  1. How I Interact with the World
  2. Belief Systems and Blueprints
  3. The Role of My Relationships
  4. The “Do”s and “Don’t”s of Communicating with Me
  5. My Schedule
  6. How to Make Me Feel or Act…
  7. Goals and Areas of Growth
  8. Things I Like to Do and Why
  9. When Trouble Occurs
  10. Special Notes
  11. Create Your Own Section


Do This for You

Results will vary (like anything in life), so I don’t want to over-promise what you’ll get out of this. And I doubt you’ll find enlightenment from completing The Personal User Guide (but if you do, let me know).

I just want you to do something nice for yourself. If it’s valuable to other people too, bonus.

By subscribing for free access to the Refuge of Simplicity and newsletter, you’ll get much more than just The Personal User Guide. You’ll also get instant access to the full Spreadsheet Spotlights, the bonus Value of Simple Declaration images, early versions of products and services, direct access to me, and the ability to shape this community we’re building.


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You and everyone else win by celebrating what makes you tick.

Photo credit: gogoloopie
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7 Responses to The Personal User Guide: Your Most Essential Instruction Manual

  1. LoriLynnSmith says:

    I completely understand your alignment with processes and systems.  After working in the IT field for over 12 years, it is sort of second nature to always thing logically.  
    Love the idea of creating a personal user guide… I think that my future husband would like it as well!

    • Hey Lori,
      If/when that future hubby of yours picks it up tell him to let me know what his experience with it was. As for me, I’m still getting deprogrammed to think about things less technically and more intuitively. It’s tough after 10 plus years, right?

      • LoriLynnSmith says:

        You better believe it, it takes a while! I think there is a balance, some times a good “how to” article needs it! And other things you can just write from your heart!  Both are good, they are just different.

  2. clairekerslake1 says:

    I suspect one of the greatest gains of creating a personal user guide will be the insights you learn about yourself as you said.  What a great resource for people

  3. Zach Loggins says:

    How do you create your own? The PDF you send is just about you and i can’t do anything with it other than look at it. Is there a way to edit the file?

    • Hi Zach,

      Right now, the PDF version of the Personal User Guide is not interactive. I have plans to update it in the future so that it’s not read only, but I don’t know when I can make that happen just yet. This is the main reason why I recommend the Word document version right now.

      If you can’t work with the Word version, send me an email to joel at valueofsimple dot com and I’ll see what I can do.

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