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Self Discovery Questions

Awareness is the first step in the creation process. As you grow in self awareness you will better understand why you feel what you feel and why you behave as you behave. That understanding then gives you the opportunity and freedom to change those things you’d like to change about yourself and create the life you want. Without knowing who you are, self acceptance and change become impossible.

Be As Specific As You Can

General answers will only give you a general sense of who you are. The more specific your answers, the more impact they’ll have on your life and you’ll have a much clearer picture of yourself. I can not emphasis this enough. Be specific. Be specific. Give specific answers. When you think you’ve been pretty specific, make it even more specific.

Questions, Not Judgments

Don’t ask yourself  these questions with a judgmental tone. They’re not accusations, or calls for you to defend yourself. They’re questions to help you discover who you are. Be honest, gentle, and nonjudgmental. No one has to see your answers. This is between you and you, and no one else.

Letting It Flow

If while answering the questions you come up with your own line of questioning, then definitely follow it. (You’re the expert here.) Also, if you answer, “I don’t know”, to any of the questions, give yourself the freedom to take a wild guess. The guess will allow you to continue. You know more than you think you do!

Be Totally Honest

Honesty leads to true awareness, but it requires courage. It’s the courage to face what you fear or find difficult to accept about yourselves. When you summon the courage to take ownership of your actions, thoughts, and feelings, you will recover the blueprint of your life. You’ll be able to face your fears and find the inaccurate beliefs that created them.

“We make our world significant
  by the courage of our questions,
  and the depth of our answers.”

– Carl Sagan

When answering the questions below, see if you are substituting rationalizations for your genuine feelings. Check inside and see if you are asking yourself  “How SHOULD I feel?”, rather than “How do I really feel?”. Monitor if you are speculating intellectually about the answer, rather than getting in touch with what you are thinking or feeling.

Know that in the past you had reasons for being dishonest and that those reasons may no longer be useful or serve you. Know whatever you discover about yourself, you can handle with ease and acceptance. Trust that the information you uncover will in some way lead to a greater sense of peace about yourself. That the answers to the questions will take you by the hand, and lead you to where you want to go.

Becoming honest is an act of self renewal. What a sense of freedom you’ll feel when you’re able to admit to yourself…”I want this, or think this, or feel this because I’m afraid that…[fill in the blank]. This is the first step toward discovering hidden fears. What a wonderful place to know where you are! It’s difficult to reach a destination, when you don’t even know where you’re starting. You need only to gather your courage and look for your beliefs you have about yourself and your world. The rewards of doing so will lead you to places of happiness you never knew existed.

This page is filled with questions. I’ve divided the questions into the following categories: Social, Emotional, Significant Relationship, Spiritual/Ethical, Financial, Career, Personal, and Personal Definitions. They’re worded in a way to help you get a clearer picture of who you are. Clarity is the goal here, but remember, have fun with the questions. This isn’t intended to be a struggle!


What type of people do I enjoy spending time with?
(intelligent, open-minded, out-going, self-righteous, reflective, quiet, funny, a bit sad, optimists, readers, pessimists, thinkers, sports-minded, active, perceptive, debaters, joke-tellers, etc.)

Why do I enjoy those specific qualities in people?

Do I seek out people similar as I, or different from me? Why is that?

Do I have many friends as I just described? Why or why not?

How many close friends do I want based on the amount of time I have?

What would those close relationships look like? What would be the biggest aspects? (talking, shared activities, working on projects together, laughter, storytelling, playing games, etc.)

What are two of the most favorite things I enjoy doing with others?

Where have I met most of the friends I currently have?
(family, work, community, childhood, online, etc.)

What does where I met these friends tell me about myself?

Why am I still friends with those people?

What is the single biggest attitudinal change I’d like to make when with people? (be more myself, be more out-going, be more honest, initiate more conversations, be more comfortable, be more open, be funnier, interrupt less, initiate more activities, etc.)


List three situations and/or times when you were the most happy in your life. Specific instances…What elements were present when I felt that way? How was I feeling about myself during those times?

What do I fear most in my life right now? Why? What would it mean if that happened?

When do I feel the most angry or frustrated? What is it about those situations that I feel that way?

What is my definition of love? (not Webster’s)

What are my primary beliefs about love? (it’s easy, scary, short-lived, feels good, not possible, difficult, etc.) Where/when did I acquire those beliefs? Do I still believe them? Why or why not?

Do I have much control over my emotions? Why or why not?

What emotions do I want to feel most of the time?

Significant Relationship

If NOT currently in a marriage/life partnership/relationship

What specific characteristics do I want my ideal life partner to possess? (generosity, open-mindedness, funny, gentle, strong personality, quiet, organized, similar beliefs about politics, finances, parenting, etc, fun, honest, similar goals, attractive, playful, out-going, etc.)

Why do I want them to have those characteristics?

How would I feel if I never had a life partner? Why would I feel that way?

If currently in a marriage/life partnership/relationship

Am I happy in my current relationship? Why or why not?

What is the biggest problem I see in the relationship?

In what way would I like my partner to change? Why is that important to me?

Could I be happy if that person did not change? Why or why not?

What did I appreciate about this person when I first met/knew them?

What do I appreciate about them now?

Why are those qualities important to me?

What is the single biggest attitudinal change I could make that would enhance this relationship?

Spiritual / Ethics

Do I believe in God? If not, how do I believe the universe operates? Why do I believe that?

How has my childhood effected my beliefs about God/or lack there of?

What characteristics do I believe God possesses? Why do I believe that?

What is my relationship with this God/Universe?
Is it the relationship I want? Why or why not?

In what way does my spiritual beliefs effect my day-to-day life?

Do I have a code of conduct that I follow? If no, do I want one? Why or why not? If yes, what is it and why those codes?


What beliefs did I “take on” from my parents in regards to money? (it’s difficult to get, it’s scarce, you should only have so much, it’s easy to make, having it /not having it says something about me, live for the moment, give it away, I’ll never have enough, it’s a secret, saving is important, etc)

What does money mean/represent to me?
(security, aliveness, freedom, love, peace of mind, etc)

Do I feel peaceful or anxiety in regards to money?
Why do I feel that way about it?

How much money do I feel I deserve to make a year? Why that amount?

What would it mean to me if I made more or less than that amount? Why do I believe that?


What types of things did I enjoy doing as a child? (building things, drawing, sports, writing, solving puzzles, being with animals, my chemistry set, organizing games, talking, anything physical, playing house, cowboys and Indians, etc) Do I do anything today that has similar qualities to it?

How do I currently earn my livelihood? How did I come to be so employed?

What was present during the times I loved my work?
What were the elements present in those situations?

Am I currently doing the type of work I love to do?
If not, what type of work would I like to do?
If yes, what would have to change for me to enjoy it more?
What attitudinal change could I make to enjoy it more?

What has stopped me so far from pursuing the type of work I love? Do I want to continue allowing that to stop me? What could I do to change that?

What is my definition of success? (not Webster’s) that?


What skills have I acquired that I’m proud of?

What accomplishments am I proud of?

Beginning when I was a child, what are the 10 most significant events in my life? Why did I make them significant?

What period of my life do I like most? Why?
What period of my life do I like least? Why?

What are five of my greatest strengths?

What do I desire most right now? Why do I desire that?

If I was to receive an award, what would I want that award to be for? Why that?

If I was to pick out a general theme that showed up often while answering these questions, what would that theme be? What does it mean? How do I feel about that?

Personal Definitions

In addition to asking yourself questions, you may also want to investigate your personal definitions of common words. I know when I went through this process of self awareness, I found I only had a very general sense of the meaning of words. It wasn’t until I came up with my own precise and specific definitions, that their meaning became clear. Although my definitions were not that drastically different from the dictionary’s, the words had more impact on my life once I defined them myself.

What is YOUR definition of the following words?
– love
– success
– honesty
– happiness
– soul
– true
– acceptance
– inner peace
– trust
– appreciation
– knowing
– believe
– reality
– fear
– joy
– judgment
– anger
– mistake
– sex
– friend
– guilt
– intention
– responsibility
– myself

Copyright © 1997-2005 Jennifer Hautman

Categories: Resources
  1. Carla
    January 29, 2010 at 2:40 pm

    This is pretty much an awesome call sheet for life!

    • January 30, 2010 at 4:25 am

      Thanks Carla. We’ll be spending a lot more time on this blog in 2010 and will diversify to discuss many more topics. Hope you come back and visit!

  2. January 30, 2010 at 2:26 am

    Hi Im not sure if anyone gets this email anymore but I thought I would try anyway. I just stumbled upon your website and was curious if someone was around to answer specific question I might have along my self discovery ?
    I am having trouble deciding on a clean path in choose a career and purpose to my life. I like your website and will definatley imply your techniques and let you know my results.

    • January 30, 2010 at 4:20 am

      Brett, thanks for the message. I’ll get in touch with you tomorrow and see if I can offer any assistance, ok?

  3. April 15, 2010 at 4:07 pm

    Thank you so much for this… Its really comprehensive and it really works for me because ive been trying to find something like this since a while now… 🙂

  4. jibran hayat
    July 31, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    this self discovery page has really helped me a lot i will suggest to all my friend to have a look on this self discovery questions
    i am really happy after reading this page

    god bless you
    and thanks

    • August 1, 2010 at 7:03 pm

      Thank you Jibran – This course was written a couple of years ago now for my networking associates. It was designed to help them get through their self made barriers to success. I had never intended the course to be public and never imagined anyone would find it, but I am glad that it is helpful to those that stumble across it 🙂 I will post the last lesson for you and the others that visit…

  5. Deonie
    August 14, 2010 at 11:42 am

    This site is great, I’m in yr 12 and writing an essay on the process of self discovery. This has given me many ideas to work with. thanks

    • August 14, 2010 at 5:28 pm

      I am glad you found something of value! Feel free to use whatever you need in your essay and I’m hoping you get an “A+” 🙂

  6. cessenburg
    December 10, 2010 at 3:44 pm

    Hi Natalie,

    I’m teaching a college class and one of the things that I’d like to do is have students do some self reflection…and I love what you have done here. I’m wondering if you would allow a fellow teacher to use this tool in the classroom?

  7. Frank
    January 13, 2011 at 7:08 pm

    Hello there, i just found your site and i like it, am in my late 30’s and for awhile now my mind is busy trying to figure out life in general and my call or purpose in particular, I’m trying hard to find out: is what I do for living really what I love to do? If not, how do I find out what is it that I should be doing?
    I need to make peace with myself and get a clear focus and direction in life. Can u please help me by maybe recommending books, websites or anything to put an end to my confusion?
    Cheers and thank you

  8. Sarah
    August 23, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    Can I use these questions in a workshop?

    • December 5, 2011 at 8:43 pm

      Sorry for the late reply! I hope you went ahead and used these in your workshop 🙂

  9. pastor lawson r
    September 14, 2011 at 9:21 am

    thank you very much.for these impressive work you have given us lot of insight.bless you

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