Questions for self-discovery that will help build your self-awareness.
If I told you that there are seven simple levels to build your self-awareness, would you be interested? What happens if I gave you a 22 Question game that took you on this self-discovery journey?
Self-discovery is a never-ending process, but it’s a vital one. Through self-discovery we can learn about ourselves, find our purpose, and bring more joy into our lives.
However, self-discovery isn’t easy.
When I was growing up, I took countless “Career Quizzes” online. I hated the uncertainty; I just wanted Google to tell me what I wanted to do in life. I was so obsessed, my parents even offered to pay for a in-depth career analysis. After hours of careful consideration over each answer, I waited impatiently for my results. I thought they would give me the truth about myself that I was desperate for.
Finally I received an email with my “top 15” professions. And you know what? They didn’t provide me with any more clarity than I had before.
Too often we look outward for self-discovery. In reality, self-discovery needs to be an inward process. One that starts with asking the right questions.
How Does Self-Awareness Fit into Self-Discovery?
Self-awareness is your ability to understand yourself. There are two types of self-awareness: internal and external.
Internal self-awareness is your understanding of how your thoughts, feelings, and values affect your behaviors. External self-awareness is your understanding of how others perceive you.
In her well-received book Insight, Tasha Eurich breaks down these two types of self-awareness into seven categories:
Each category allows you to question and understand one aspect of yourself in greater clarity.
Think of them as the seven wonders of the world, except for it’s like the seven wonders of understanding yourself. But with fewer tourists and less publicity.
Once you tour them all, you can make your way to greater awareness and, ultimately, greater happiness.
How self-aware are you? Take our fun and easy self-awareness test – it’s totally free.
22 Questions for Self-Discovery will help build your awareness of each level
If you ask yourself the following questions, you will be tremendously closer to possessing a greater self-awareness. Then, you can find the purpose in life that you’re looking for.
Level One: Values (Internal Self-Awareness)
Values are your core and deeply held beliefs about how to live and what is important. They help guide you through your decisions and actions. For this reason, values play a critical role in your life.
1. What recurring principles guide your decisions, both in the day-to-day and large scale?
2. What person do you admire, and what values do they possess that you are inspired by?
3. If everyone described you by your top values, what would you want them to say?
But exploring value questions for self-discovery is essential in building your self-awareness.
Level Two: Passions (Internal Self-Awareness)
Passions are the things in your life that make you excited. Too often, people use passion as a buzzword, or they associate “passion” with “career.” Instead, I want you to think of a passion as something that you enjoy doing.
4. What are the interests that you lose track of time while doing?
5. If you were given a 25th “free” hour every day and had to do something during that hour, what would it be?
6. What would you do for nothing?
Do you feel like everyone around you knows “exactly what they want to do in life”? And you’re sitting here in a passion-less puddle of mundanity? Don’t – you’re not alone.
Passions aren’t like lightning bolts that strike you into a sudden epiphany. They can come and go, develop over time, and change throughout your life. Don’t get caught up believing our cultural myths about passions and purpose.
Level Three: Ambitions (Internal Self-Awareness)
Ambitions are the things that you want to experience and achieve in life. They typically require some amount of determination and hard work to complete them.
While ambitions are often tied to jobs and careers, this perspective can limit you into neglecting all of the other ambitions that we want in our lives.
7. When you die, what do you want to look back on and be able to say that you’ve done?
8. What would you be willing to suffer for to achieve?
9. What accomplishment would you most want to share with the person you look up to? Or share with the person who looks up to you?
Ambitions will also change throughout your life. Sometimes you’ll even be surprised by how unfulfilled you’ll feel after realizing your ambitions (humans are pretty flawed, remember?).
It’s being aware of your ambition-minded growth, and questions for self-discovery about this growth, however, that will give you a greater sense of purpose.
Level Four: Fit (Internal Self-Awareness)
Fit is the environment around you and how you feel in it. It goes well beyond “fitting in,” but instead refers to an environment’s ability to make you feel happy and engaged.
Fit can include the physical space, the people, and the culture, among other things.
10. What type of pace and energy do you thrive in?
11. If you could design a layout for your ideal interactions for a day, what would they look like?
12. What spaces or communities in your life do you feel happiest and most fulfilled in?
We can’t always choose our environments. Still, by possessing the self-awareness of your ideal fit, you can make more conscious choices to put yourself in better positions. Being self-aware is also essential for building strong relationships.
Level Five: Patterns (Internal Self-Awareness)
Patterns are our consistent ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving. These patterns might have to do with our personality, or our personal history, or a defeating societal mindset.
13. What are some of the emotions you experience most often, and what brings them about?
14. How does your mind work differently than others, in terms of how you think and view the world?
15. What experiences seem to repeat themselves in your life? (some of which you sought out, and some of which you want to stop)
Once you can identify your patterns, you can promote the positive ones and avoid the negative ones.
These questions for self-discovery will get you one step closer to identifying your patterns and making healthy changes.
Level Six: Reactions (External Self-Awareness)
Reactions are how we respond to the world. Because we often don’t control the initial cause (just our response to it), they tend to display our strengths, weaknesses, and capabilities.
16. When you’re presented with new information that is _____ (good, bad, exciting, depressing, horrifying), how do you usually respond?
17. When have you reacted in a way that you regretted, and what brought on this reaction?
18. Based on how you respond to situations, what would people most likely want to come to you about (as opposed to going to other people)?
Our reactions don’t exist in a vacuum; instead, they affect the people around us. Having the self-awareness to understand how we respond to different situations, therefore, will have enormous benefits for our relationships.
Level Seven: Impact (External Self-Awareness)
Impact, quite simply, is the effect we have on others. Our actions and behaviors will contribute to our impact, but they are not the sole determination.
Our impact is also determined by how others think, feel, and react. For this reason, being aware of our impact is classified as external self-awareness.
19. If you left for a year, whose lives would be affected, and how would they be affected?
20. How do you make others feel? (Try to put yourself in their shoes)
21. What impact do people have on your life, and in what ways are you similar? Different?
We can ponder these questions, but we can’t know the full truth without asking for feedback. We impact people in more ways than we realize with our words and actions.
The 22nd Question for Self-Discovery
Unless you’ve taken some sort of life-boycott against numbers in support of bringing Roman Numerals back (good luck keeping score of your mini-golf game), you probably noticed that I have only listed 21 questions so far.
Which is one question short for our 22 Self-Discovery questions.
I saved the most important question for last.
22. What impact do you want to have?
All seven levels lead up to this simultaneously complicated and straightforward question.
You must have a solid foundation of values guiding you, as well as a plethora of passions and ambitions to fill out pursuits in your life.
You need to be aware of the fit that you work best in and, subsequently, have the highest potential to influence other people in.
Self-awareness of your patterns will help you understand how you move throughout the world.
This understanding will allow you to control your reactions better, therefore giving you more control over your behaviors and how they impact others.
Once you can get through all seven levels of self-awareness, you might be able to answer Question #22.
And once you answer it, you might be able to go back through all seven levels of self-awareness to try to live that answer.
The journey to self-discovery is not a short one, nor is it easy. Quite the opposite, actually: it takes time, work, and a willingness to delve into unanswered questions.
There are seven levels of self-awareness:
- Values – principles that guide you
- Passions – interests that excite and energize you
- Ambitions – goals and experiences that you want to achieve
- Fit – the environment that you feel most fulfilled in
- Patterns – the consistent ways you think, feel, and act
- Reactions – how you respond to situations
- Impact – the effect you have on other people
By exploring each level in turn with these questions for self-discovery, you can begin to see the full picture of yourself in greater clarity.
Once you do, you can work to answer the question that drives them all:
What impact do you want to have?
Take the babiest, tiniest, most itty-bitty step toward self-awareness and post a comment below that answers one of the 22 Questions. Come on, don’t you want to play? It’s super-duper fun!