How to Begin Your Self-Discovery Journey: 16 Best Questions


As part of this process, we must not only search to determine what constitutes our true selves, but let go of objects of identification we’ve long mistaken for ourselves, requiring a balance of introspection and new experiences.

So let’s set sail.

In this article, we’ll give you a range of powerful questions to help you along your journey of self-discovery and point you toward further reading and resources.

Before you continue, you might like to download our three Meaning and Valued Living Exercises for free . These creative, science-based exercises will help you learn more about your values, motivations, and goals and will give you the tools to inspire a sense of meaning in the lives of your clients, students, or employees.

This Article Contains:

What is self-discovery according to psychology, fostering self-discovery skills: 10 examples & tips, why is the process important, a look at self-discovery coaching, 3 exercises, games, and activities for adults, best worksheets and journal prompts, 16 questions to ask yourself or your clients, helpful books & apps for your journey, tools from, a take-home message.

Drawing often from the field of philosophy , psychologists point to the illumination of our daimon (or ‘true self’) as the ultimate goal of self-discovery.

Formally defined, this true self is

“the central inner force common to all human beings and yet unique to each, which is the deep source of growth… [that is] free, healthy development in accordance with the potentials of one’s generic and individual nature.”

Horney, 1950, p. 17

As part of the process of searching for our true selves, we are ultimately working to identify three things (Waterman, 2011):

  • Personal potentials
  • Our purposes for living
  • Opportunities to act upon those potentials and purposes in living

The search for our true selves, therefore:

“refers to those processes, both intuitive and reasoned, by which those [personal, purpose-related] potentials are discovered and come to attain the status of personally concordant goals that are to be actualized.”

Waterman, 2011, p. 360

According to this view, a person’s true self essentially lies beneath the surface, and our task is to find, recognize, or understand that which already exists. Once you have, you can then make choices about your life and identity that are more consistent with this self-knowledge (Waterman, 2011).

Self-discovery support

Seek a supportive atmosphere

The more time we spend in the presence of supportive family, friends, lovers, and communities , the sooner we will be likely to discover our true nature. This is because warm and encouraging atmospheres facilitate feelings of inner security while providing the freedom to have our own feelings and thoughts (Horney, 1950).

To this end, here are some ideas to consider:

  • Seek quiet spaces and time out to facilitate reflection or journaling .
  • Join a social group whose interests and passions align with your own, such as a painting, writing, or poetry group.
  • Find a coach or therapist for a safe space to pursue self-discovery.
  • Set boundaries with people who discourage your individuality, negatively affect your emotions, or put you down.
  • Seek the company of people who inspire you, make you feel positive, and challenge your perception of yourself.

Identify your drifts

Pay close attention to the things you naturally love doing, or drifts, particularly those that are personally expressive . By paying attention to the subconscious pull of these activities, you can allow them to guide you toward your true self, stemming from your genetic makeup, upbringing, and experiences (Pagedar, 2021).

  • Our drifts tend to emerge when the mind is still, so try selecting a quiet day to do some meditation or practice some relaxation techniques.
  • Try to notice activities that cause you to slip into the state of flow , as these often point us toward our drifts.
  • Consider which activities you possess a natural aptitude or talent for, perhaps using a strengths-finding exercise .
  • Think about which activities you find intrinsically motivating . These are the activities you would undertake in the absence of external rewards, such as money or the approval of others.
  • Notice times when you feel a strong sense of personal responsibility to do something or have a unique vision about how something should be carried out.

3 meaning valued living exercises

Download 3 Meaning & Valued Living Exercises (PDF)

These detailed, science-based exercises will equip you or your clients with tools to find meaning in life help and pursue directions that are in alignment with values.

Download 3 Free Meaning Tools Pack (PDF)

By filling out your name and email address below.

To understand why self-discovery is so important, we must consider the consequences of failing to identify our true selves.

According to Horney (1950), when a person experiences a large discrepancy between their lived and real selves, they are likely to experience a sense of alienation from themselves. This remains true even if the person is successful in their activities and receives external rewards.

Such a person may often notice themselves wondering, “ Why am I doing this when it’s not who I really am? ” The consequence is a feeling of guilt or dissatisfaction if we fail to live up to an idealized version of ourselves that we cannot be.

Besides this negative emotional toll, the problem with pursuing such an ideal is that it will be rooted in externally derived standards of worth.

To illustrate, here are some examples:

  • A student feels pressure from their parents to pursue a prestigious career in law, even though this line of work does not inspire them.
  • A famous musician has mistaken their true self with their like of the status, prestige, and social validation they receive while performing.
  • A woman’s family talks her into finding a husband and settling down when she’d rather travel the world with her friends.
  • A son feels obligated to take over the family business when he’d prefer to start his own venture.

When we cannot live in alignment with our true selves, we must spend energy attempting to deny and distort our experiences to make sense of a pervasive lack of happiness and personal fulfillment. This ongoing effort can go so far as to produce psychological states and conditions such as depression (Waterman et al., 2010).

This is why self-discovery is so important.

Our goal in life should not be to pursue imagined or externally derived ideals, but rather to develop a more realistic understanding of our strengths and limitations. By doing so, we can avoid negative psychological states and self-actualize , feel contentment, and make better contributions to the world.

Self-discovery coaching

A growing trend in coaching, self-discovery coaching is about looking beyond specific goal pursuits (e.g., “I want to improve my self-esteem ”) to discover how we can live authentically and be truly happy .

Self-discovery coaching has many components, including (Elevate Life Project, n.d.):

  • Exploring your values to live in congruence with what’s most important to you
  • Discovering grounded confidence, centeredness, and strength
  • Identifying your abilities for making easier decisions

The role of a self-discovery coach in this process is to act as co-pilot on a client’s journey toward authentic fulfillment by challenging them, imbuing them with courage, and showing compassion.

If you or your clients are looking to set off on a self-discovery journey, consider the following fun and insightful activities to get you started.

This exercise is a useful starting point for viewing yourself clearly in terms of values, beliefs, and more. The exercise guides users through a two-step process of considering themselves from the perspective of others, followed by a consideration of their self-perceptions at different times in their life.

Spontaneous collage

Collage is a fun and cathartic method of self-discovery that helps people bypass the socially protective aspects of the mind and reveal aspects of their authentic self. Best of all, no previous art experience is required.

For a great resource, check out Shelley Klammer’s 12-week online course and check out the #collageforselfdiscovery hashtag on Instagram to get inspired by others’ collages.

Kokology: The Game of Self-Discovery

Created by famous Japanese psychologists Tadahiko Nagao and Isamu Saito, kokology , the study of kokoro (“mind” or “spirit” in Japanese), is a fun and sometimes hilarious game for learning about yourself.

The game invites players to answer questions about seemingly innocent topics, such as the color of an imaginary bird that has flown in their window, to reveal profound insights in their answers.

Self-discovery journaling

Journaling and worksheets can both be hugely helpful for this purpose.

To help, look at some of the following free resources from our site:

  • Self-Awareness Worksheet for Adults This worksheet poses a series of 15 questions to help you discover more about your true self. Specifically, the questions tap into topics such as your talents/strengths, values, and barriers to living more authentically.
  • What Are My Qualities and Traits? This worksheet invites you to identify your top five and weakest two qualities from a list of 100 strengths. It then invites you to consider how you might shape, develop, and use your toolkit of identified strengths to better your life.
  • Reflecting on Three Things This worksheet invites you to explore what defines who you are. These reflections can include statements, objects, roles in life, people you admire, and ambitions.

If you’re more into journaling, see if any of the following prompts might inspire some of your upcoming entries (Hollis, 2019):

  • What things have you been doing lately that may be positively or negatively affecting your mental health ?
  • What ways can you touch or move your body that makes you feel good?
  • If you could spend the day doing anything, what would you do?
  • How do you show love to other people?
  • What are some things about you that you wish other people knew?

How to discover your authentic self – at any age – Bevy Smith

For more ways to get started on your journey of self-inquiry, consider the following questions, drawn from leading books designed to guide you toward self-discovery (see Helpful Books & Apps for Your Journey ):

Mindful self-discovery questions

  • What’s going on inside your body at the moment (e.g., sensations, flows of energy)?
  • Is there joy, ease, and lightness in what you are doing at the present moment?
  • Do you really have any problems right now in this present moment ?
  • Is there anything you can do to change, improve, or remove yourself from a present dissatisfactory situation? If not, how can you move toward accepting your present circumstances?

Exploring values

  • What are your top five personal and professional values?
  • How are you living outside your values?
  • In what areas do you feel a personal sense of responsibility to better the world?
  • How are you living outside of your integrity?

Questions about fear and courage

  • What do you fear the most?
  • What fears have actually come true in your life?
  • What would happen if you treated the actions you fear as an experiment?
  • For which pending decision could you use 10% more courage?

Considering worthwhile experiences

  • What has made your childhood worthwhile?
  • What lessons did you learn last week?
  • What makes life worthwhile for you?
  • What trip have you always wanted to take, and how could you make this trip happen?

More questions for self-discovery

For even more powerful coaching questions, be sure to check out some of the dedicated articles throughout our blog:

  • 73 Powerful Coaching Questions to Ask Your Clients
  • 100 Most Powerful Life Coaching Questions [+PDF]
  • Self-Coaching Model Explained: 56 Questions & Techniques for Self-Mastery

Here are some of our favorite books and apps to support greater self-insight and discovery.

1. The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment – Eckhart Tolle

The Power of Now

A critical first step toward greater self-insight involves ceasing to confuse your true self with the endless stream of thoughts flowing through your mind.

The bestselling book The Power of Now  takes readers on a journey to find their deepest self through the lens of mindfulness and spirituality.

The book guides the reader through steps to help recognize and free themselves from ego in the form of defense mechanisms, automatic negative habits, and over-identification with thought. From here, readers can then discover their true nature and lasting contentment, rooted in the present moment.

Find the book on Amazon .

2. Self-Discovery Questions: 155 Breakthrough Questions to Accelerate Massive Action – Barrie Davenport

Self-Discovery Questions

Not all of us have the resources to employ a self-discovery coach, making it all the more important to know what questions to ask on your self-discovery journey.

Barrie Davenport’s book of 155 powerful questions is a perfect companion for self-reflection and journaling, helping readers become less reactive and take charge of their lives and destiny.

Once you become acquainted with your answers, you can strengthen self-awareness , break out of automatic patterns, and feel empowered to make positive new life changes.

3. The 365 Self-Discovery Journal: One Year of Reflection & Development – Created by 21 Exercises

The 365 Self-Discovery Journal

Journaling remains one of the best ways to pursue self-discovery and greater self-insight (Charles, 2010).

This book provides journal lovers with a year’s worth of challenging and original questions to guide self-discovery.

By combining each prompt with thought-provoking poems and quotes, this book is an excellent tool to help steadily expand the reader’s comfort zone and curiosity across domains ranging from career and finances to love and relationships.

4. The Quenza app

Quenza Telepsychology Example

Quenza was designed by our very own team as a one-stop resource for coaches and psychologists wishing to remotely support their clients’ self-inquiry between scheduled sessions.

The app links with an online dashboard and growing library of science-backed activities you can customize and send directly to your clients’ smart devices, including audio meditations, guided visualizations, and many thought-provoking reflections.

Try the app, platform, and entire library of pre-built activities for 30 days for just $1.

5. The Waking Up app

Waking Up

While Western takes on meditation tend to emphasize health and stress reduction, there is much more we can discover about ourselves through this powerful practice.

Waking Up , developed by philosopher and neuroscientist Sam Harris, features a rich array of audio-based meditations, exercises, and conversations with leading experts and teachers to help you make profound discoveries about the nature of your own mind.

This app is a top-rated resource for those seeking to dismantle illusions of the self and rediscover their true nature and purpose.

6. The Reflectly app


With the growing recognition of journaling as a tool for self-insight, new technologies are emerging to support this powerful practice.

Reflectly is a modern journaling app for self-care and greater happiness. Drawing on evidence-based approaches from positive psychology, mindfulness, and Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, this app serves as an AI companion to help you manage negative thoughts and find greater happiness.

Among its personalized functions, the app includes daily quotes, a mood tracker , and personalized insights via its reporting features.

Throughout this post, we’ve discussed the importance of clarifying values to better understand what brings meaning throughout one’s journey of self-discovery. To this end, we invite you to check out our free Meaning & Valued Living Exercises Pack .

This pack features three of our top tools from the Positive Psychology Toolkit©, all of which center on the theme of values-based living:

  • The Top 5 Values This exercise draws on key principles of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy to help clients begin brainstorming their values. Following this, clients will then prioritize these values in a list to identify those most central to who they are.
  • Self-Eulogy This exercise invites clients to consider how they’d like to be remembered at their funeral as a means to identify and clarify values. Based on this, they can then consider how well they are living in alignment with these values.
  • The Scoreboard Metaphor This exercise helps clients recognize how to enact their values through goal-setting. In particular, it draws on the metaphor of a basketball game to illustrate how living into one’s values is an ongoing process and that the paths by which we pursue our goals are opportunities to enact our values in daily life.

You can access all three exercises for free by downloading our Meaning & Valued Living Exercises Pack .

If you’re looking for more science-based ways to help others discover meaning, this collection contains 17 validated meaning tools for practitioners. Use them to help others choose directions for their lives in alignment with what is truly important to them.

journey of discovery self

World’s Largest Positive Psychology Resource

The Positive Psychology Toolkit© is a groundbreaking practitioner resource containing over 500 science-based exercises , activities, interventions, questionnaires, and assessments created by experts using the latest positive psychology research.

Updated monthly. 100% Science-based.

“The best positive psychology resource out there!” — Emiliya Zhivotovskaya , Flourishing Center CEO

Self-discovery is an ongoing process of stripping away that which is unimportant, reviewing our core values, and seeking to live in greater alignment with these inner truths.

Importantly, anyone can take steps toward greater self-knowledge . All that’s required is an attitude of curiosity and regular time out for meditation, reflection, or self-questioning.

We hope this article has left you feeling equipped for your journey of self-discovery, and if you decide to try out any of the tools or exercises we’ve explored, be sure to let us know in the comments.

We’d love to hear from you.

We hope you enjoyed reading this article. Don’t forget to download our three Meaning and Valued Living Exercises for free .

  • 21 Exercises. (2018).  The 365 self-discovery journal: One year of reflection & development.  Author.
  • Charles, J. P. (2010). Journaling: Creating space for “I”. Creative Nursing , 16 (4), 180–184.
  • Davenport, B. (2015).  Self-discovery questions: 155 Breakthrough questions to accelerate massive action.  Bold Living Press.
  • Elevate Life Project. (n.d.). Self discovery coaching . Retrieved October 11, 2021 from
  • Hollis, B. (2019, July 16). Who am I? Journaling prompts for self-discovery and self-reflection. Learning to Be Free . Retrieved October 11, 2021 from
  • Horney, K. (1950). Neurosis and human growth: The struggle toward self-realization . Norton.
  • Pagedar, A. (2021). Finding awareness: The journey of self-discovery . Author.
  • Tolle, E. (2004).  The power of now: A guide to spiritual enlightenment.  New World Library.
  • Waterman, A. S. (2011). Eudaimonic identity theory: Identity as self-discovery. In S. Schwartz, K. Luyckx, & V. Vignoles (Eds.), Handbook of identity theory and research (pp. 357–379). Springer.
  • Waterman, A. S., Schwartz, S. J., Zamboanga, B. L., Ravert, R. D., Williams, M. K., Bede Agocha, V., … Brent Donnellan, M. (2010). The Questionnaire for Eudaimonic Well-Being: Psychometric properties, demographic comparisons, and evidence of validity. The Journal of Positive Psychology , 5 (1), 41–61.

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What our readers think.


This is a great article for self-discovery, I recommend it to all, it’s a must read for the young minds.


Thanks to a great counselor. I appreciate your encouragement and efforts that have served as an eyes opener to self discovery and other resources that is helpful.

Morning Upgrade

You have some great resources listed here in this article. Thanks for the great read! -Ryan

Koot van Nieuwholtz

Appreciated, Nicole, for insight well done to start kicking where need be. Keep up te good work!

Linda Berlach

Thanks Nicole. I will explore some of the resources which sounds great. I work with medical students, some of whom are at the very beginning of learning reflective approaches to enhance their self knowledge. The challenge is always to find a variety of ways to promote engagement. You have given me some helpful ideas.

James Fox

Thank You Dr, Nicole.

I have left you a message on LinkedIn.

Radha Ganesh

Thank you so much for this wonderful article. Very useful and helps in the journey of self awareness and so helpful to the therapist and counselors who are using these resources to support clients. Heartfelt thanks and gratitude for all the resources that benefit the clients and counselors who otherwise would not be able to access such great quality articles and resources. Thank you. As a counselor who is doing a lot of free counseling these resources and articles are so helpful, cause I cannot afford them otherwise. Thanks for supporting the counselors and therapist and clients who ultimately benefit.

Oliver Tian

Thanks, Nicole … you shared a very interesting set of perspective.

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insideout mastery create a life you love

Insideout Mastery

Create a Life You Love

Self-Discovery Journey: 17 Best Ways to Get Started

October 3, 2023 by Mick

Do you feel disconnected between how you show up in the world and your inner experiences? And do you struggle to find out who you are and what you’re meant to do in this world?

You’re not alone.

For the longest time, I felt the same way.

And I was looking externally for answers. I thought that getting rich, having a girlfriend, and accumulating more friends would make me happier.

But I was wrong.

Instead, I had to search within first. 

Embarking on a self-discovery journey provides answers.

Self-insight leads to clarity and inner harmony.

Your life’s quality increases when you align your actions with your personality, core values, needs, and strengths. Every aspect of your life becomes more meaningful when you pursue what matters most to you.

The self-discovery process is key to success and fulfillment.

So, let’s take a step back from the hustle and bustle of life. It’s time to explore your essence to unravel your most authentic self .

Let’s dive in!

What is self-discovery?

Why is it important to discover yourself.

  • The 2-step self-discovery process

How to start your self-discovery journey?

This post contains affiliate links, so if you buy something through my link, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Note that I only endorse products that I’ve personally bought and enjoyed

Self-discovery is a lifelong process of learning who you are, what you want, and why it all matters to you.

What is self-discovery

This includes many aspects like your values, beliefs, desires, emotions, strengths, weaknesses, passions, purpose, and more.

But why care about self-discovery?

The self-discovery journey leads to self-knowledge, self-acceptance, and a clearer understanding of your life’s path. And aligning your actions and behavior with your true self leads to more meaning, fulfillment, and joy.

Here’s why you should embark on self-exploration:

  • Authenticity : Discovering yourself reduces the need for external validation and leads to congruent decisions, actions, and behavior.
  • Self-awareness : Recognizing triggers and behavioral patterns allows you to respond to life’s challenges more effectively.
  • Personal growth : Self-discovery allows you to better navigate your strengths and weaknesses, enabling you to reach your full potential.
  • Fulfillment : Pursuing activities, relationships, and career paths that align with your passions and values increases life satisfaction.
  • Self-confidence : Unraveling your strengths, values, and passions fosters self-belief in your ability to navigate life’s challenges.
  • Purpose and meaning : Doing what matters most allows you to find deeper meaning in your actions and contributions.
  • Healthy relationships: Understanding your communication style, needs, and boundaries sets the basis for effective communication and better relationships.

Self-discovery enables you to reinvent yourself and live a more intentional life. Let’s find out how you can make it happen.

2-Step self-discovery process

There are 2 general steps to the self-discovery process:

  • Take action : Try something new and explore interests and ideas.
  • Self-reflection : Reflect on your actions, behavior, feelings, and emotions to learn about your needs, preferences, and styles. Here’s an extensive list of questions to ask yourself .

Repeating those two steps leads to deeper self-understanding.

And if you do something related to each step every week, just imagine how much you’ll learn about yourself over the course of a year.

2-Step self-discovery process

Now, let’s uncover…

Most people do one of three things:

  • They take consistent action but rarely reflect.
  • They reflect often but rarely try something new.
  • Or they neither reflect nor take consistent action.

What most fail to realize is that self-discovery requires consistent action and continuous reflection. These two steps are essential if you want to discover yourself fast.  

The next section provides ideas. Develop good habits or a daily routine around a few of those items to promote consistency.

Now let’s get started:

#1: Map your archetype

Trying to be like someone else is a recipe for disaster. And exploring your inner world is the only way to live a truly fulfilling life. 

It took some time for me to understand that.

My extroverted friends got all the girls at school, whereas I struggled with introversion.

But being an introvert wasn’t my problem.

Instead, I was trying to be like my extroverted friends. I felt fake and inauthentic. And the girls smelled it from miles away.

I kept struggling with myself until I discovered my strengths as an introvert. Rather than trying to be the life of the party, I had to learn to be myself. And to have fun in my own way.

That’s sexy.

And not just in relationships – but in all areas of life.

You must understand who you are and what makes you tick to design your best life.

So what helped me to get unstuck after years of frustration? 

I learned about myself through the best personality tests . These insights changed everything. And that’s why they’re my most recommended tool for people who’re just starting their self-discovery journey.

Here are my favorite options from Truity :

  • 16 Personalities Test
  • Enneagram Test
  • Big 5 Personality Test

Once you’ve mapped your personality traits, it’s time to…

#2: Discover your superpowers

You excel in life when you work from personal strengths .

Of course, you should upgrade any weaknesses that interfere with your work and personal life. But for the most part, you’ll experience more joy and achieve better results when you lead with your superpowers.

Here are some questions to find out what you’re good at :

  • What do you happily spend money on?
  • What did you achieve, and how?
  • What provides you joy?
  • What gives you energy?
  • And what compliments do you get often?

Use these questions to brainstorm. In addition, you can conduct a personal SWOT analysis . And then supplement your findings with a strengths test to gain a different perspective, such as the HIGH5 Test .

#3: Unravel your personal core values

Your personal values serve as the governing rules of your life. 

You feel congruent when you make decisions and take actions that align with your core values.  

And you’ll feel disconnected when there’s a mismatch.

Mapping your values can explain your emotions, feelings, and behaviors in certain situations. It helps you navigate challenges. And it guides your decision-making processes.

Below are some questions to unravel your values:

  • What do you value most in life?
  • When do you feel happy and most fulfilled?
  • What areas of your life do you value the most and why?
  • Who inspires you, and which of their traits inspire you the most?
  • Finally, select what resonates from this list of core values .

Brainstorm a list of all the values that come to mind. 

Then, delete the least important values until a top 10 remains. Finally, prioritize these 10 from high to low.

Consult your top three to five values often to live congruently.

#4: Make a list of interests

Unraveling your personality traits, strengths, and values is a great first step on your journey of self-discovery.

And I hope you did the exercises.

The next step is to list your interests. 

What would you like to explore?

Write down everything that comes to mind. 

This is your mini-bucket list, something to try at least once.

Create your bucket list

Here are some questions to inspire your list:

  • What piques your interest already?
  • What are potential passions you want to explore?
  • What topics would you want to read a book about?
  • What new skills do you want to learn ?
  • What outdoor activities do you want to try out?
  • What sports have you never done before?
  • What new hobbies would you like to explore?
  • What instruments would you like to play?
  • What places would you love to visit?

Trying new stuff makes life more fun. It also teaches you a ton about yourself. And you might just stumble upon a new passion or career path like me.

Once you’ve got an extensive list, it’s time to…

#5: Create personal quests

Personal quests are your life goals .

And perhaps you already set personal goals . But if not, pick the most appealing items from your list of interests.

What would you like to explore first?

For example, say you want to travel through South America for a few months. And you want to learn Spanish in the next 2 months.

And perhaps you want to find meaningful work after your travels. So you decide that you’ll spend 6 months learning a high-income skill when you get back.

Now, you’ve already got a year’s worth of personal quests.

Even if you’re unsure about your long-term plans, you should set short-term goals and get moving. 

That’s much better than dabbling or waiting around.

For starters, setting and achieving goals is a cure for boredom. But remember that taking action is what provides self-knowledge and insights, enabling you to set better and more meaningful goals.

Some questions to clarify your options:

  • What skills would you like to master?
  • What do you want to become an expert in?
  • If money was no issue, what would you do?
  • What would you like to achieve in life?
  • How would you like to make a difference in the world ?
  • What experiences would you like to accumulate?
  • What places would you like to travel to?
  • And what does your ideal self look like?

Write down everything that comes to mind.

And don’t forget to…

#6: Embark on a solo adventure

Backpacking by myself through Australia was one of the greatest catalysts for self-exploration. 

Create your personal quests

Solo adventures accelerate personal growth, independence, and self-awareness. Besides learning about yourself, you’ll learn a lot about others and the world around you too.

Backpacking was the best decision I ever made.

But you don’t have to travel for months. 

Consider these solo adventures:

  • Go on a hike by yourself
  • Do a floatation tank session
  • Go to a wellness center for the day
  • Enjoy a holiday abroad by yourself
  • Visit a silence retreat for a few days
  • Make a little road trip by yourself
  • Or travel alone for extended periods

Traveling alone can feel awkward and scary. But discomfort is okay. In fact, pursuing discomfort is the catalyst for personal growth. 

And there’s nothing wrong with a solo adventure. 

Quite the contrary.

You’ll unlock your greatness when you…

#7: Embrace solitude

There’s great power in silence.

But in a world that glorifies extroverted traits and constant connectivity, solitude may seem intimidating. 

Yet, moments of aloneness are essential to turn inward. Tune out of external distractions to deepen the connection with yourself. 

Solitude is the secret sauce to connect with your inner self.

Many successful people embrace periods of solitude for deep thinking and self-reflection. Think about Albert Einstein, Steve Jobs, Warren Buffett, J.K. Rowling, Mahatma Gandhi, and many more.

And there are many ways to embrace solitude.

Going on a solo adventure is an excellent option. But also consider the following practices and habits:

  • Deep breathing
  • Walking in nature
  • Riding your bike
  • Creative thinking
  • Observing sunrise or sunset
  • Engaging in creative acts
  • Reflecting on your goals
  • Disconnecting from technology

Schedule time for solitude. Although it may feel uncomfortable initially, exploring your inner world can lead to long-term success and happiness.

Appreciate and enjoy periods of solitude

But you can also take a different approach and…

#8: Volunteer somewhere

Volunteering can lead to self-awareness while positively impacting others and the community. It exposes you to different perspectives and viewpoints you might never consider on your own. 

It also provides a sense of purpose. And you’ll undoubtedly meet some amazing people in the process.

Here are some volunteering ideas:

  • Environmental conservation such as community clean-up projects. 
  • Mentor or tutor (unprivileged) others and share your knowledge.
  • Care for animals in need of love and attention in animal shelters.
  • Help organize charity events, fundraisers, or community gatherings.
  • Provide support and resources at homeless shelters.
  • Organize or assist in creative workshops.
  • Spend time with seniors at nursing homes.
  • Volunteer at hospitals or healthcare centers.
  • Get involved with organizations supporting social causes. 
  • Join disaster relief teams or organizations to assist communities affected by natural disasters.

There are many more volunteering opportunities. Perhaps your work has connections to volunteering organizations too.

Try it out and reflect on your experience.

#9: Start a writing practice

Something happens in the brain when we write. 

The art of writing stuff down provides greater clarity – especially when you write with pen and paper. Having a writing practice is a transformative way to promote self-discovery for many people. 

And yet again, there are many different options:

  • Keep a journal to explore your thoughts, fears, and reflections. 
  • Daily goal-setting to create clarity and maintain focus.
  • Keep a gratitude journal to appreciate the little things in life.
  • Try creative writing , such as poetry, short stories, or fiction.
  • Write letters to yourself, others, or your future self.
  • Use mind-mapping techniques to organize thoughts and ideas.
  • Compose a personal manifesto that outlines your core principles.
  • Reflect on significant events or milestones in your life.
  • Rewrite your story by crafting the perfect next chapter of your life.
  • Write Morning Pages , a concept from The Artist’s Way . Write three pages of free-flowing thoughts every morning.

Putting thoughts into words clarifies your emotions, feelings, beliefs, needs, goals, and aspirations.

If you need some help, you can…

#10: Use self-reflection cards

Do you lack the inspiration to sit down and journal? If so, you might enjoy daily journaling prompts to get you started. Use these reflection cards to tap into the benefits of journaling .

Self-reflection cards for introspection

Grab a new card each day and answer the question.

You can answer it out loud. 

But again, there’s magic in writing stuff down. Writing slows your thought process, forcing you to sit with each thought a little longer.

These unique questions help you to think about different aspects of your life. And they also encourage you to ask the hard questions.

So definitely try this tool on your journey of self-discovery.

And for the dreamers…

#11: Visualize your perfect life

Visualization is a great technique to manifest success and abundance .

But it’s also very effective to explore opportunities.

Lay down and close your eyes for the next 5-15 minutes. Imagine yourself achieving and having everything your heart desires. 

  • What do you see? 
  • How do you feel?
  • And who are you with?

Then imagine that you did everything there was to do, bought everything you wanted to buy, and visited all the places you wanted to see. 

What would you do next?

Exploring your ideal life is fun, fosters a positive mental attitude , and ignites a greater sense of purpose beyond the superficial stuff.

Another idea is to go back in time and…

#12: Dig into your childhood

Your past is a goldmine for self-discovery.

It holds valuable clues to the building blocks of your identity. 

Childhood memories, experiences, and influences shape who we become as adults. And delving into your past can reveal patterns, beliefs, and values that still influence you today. 

Here’s how to revisit your earlier life:

  • Gather memory triggers such as items, photographs, old diaries, or any objects that remind you of your childhood.
  • Begin with your earliest memories and gradually work your way through various stages of childhood. Remember moments of joy, challenges, fears, and significant events.
  • Reflect on your emotions as you recall past experiences. They’re powerful indicators of what mattered to you during those times.
  • Identify influential people throughout your life and consider how they shaped your thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors.
  • Identify patterns in your thoughts and beliefs. And evaluate whether they still influence your actions and decisions today.
  • Journal your discoveries to record insights and realizations.

Remember that personal growth and self-discovery is the goal of exploring your childhood memories. So, make sure you celebrate positive memories and learn from any challenges.

This practice may uncover the roots of many beliefs and behaviors.

Alternatively, try…

#13: Walking meditation

Walking through nature is one of my favorite ways to become self-aware.

And I occasionally plan a long hike to connect with myself.

I’ll grab a bag, pen, and my favorite self-help journal . And I’ll pack some of my favorite snacks and drinks. Then, I’ll go far out to explore a new place on foot. 

I usually split my long walk into sessions:

  • Listening to podcasts
  • Listening to music
  • Immersing myself in nature
  • Brainstorming new ideas
  • And exploring my thoughts

Regardless of what I’m doing, thoughts and ideas always arise. And when they do, I’ll explore them or write them down to explore later. 

Feel free to give your spin to it.

But be mindful of what you do during your walk. If you listen to podcasts 100% of the time, you still distract yourself from your inner voice.

Long nature walks to gain clarity

#14: Learn new skills

Skill development is a fantastic way to make yourself more valuable and attractive to the marketplace. And the process also unlocks self-insights and new possibilities.

For example, I started my blog to crystalize my thoughts and deepen my personal growth journey. But blogging also taught me more about writing, marketing, web development, and search engine optimization (SEO).

Although I didn’t know about SEO before, I found it fascinating. 

So I quit my finance career to pursue an internship with my new long-term goal to become an SEO consultant.

And today, I’m a freelance SEO specialist. I love what I do and I’ve the freedom I always desired to work from anywhere.

All because I decided to start blogging.

Where can you start?

Here is some inspiration:

  • Brainstorm skills you already want to learn more about.
  • Browse the catalog of Udemy to explore interesting skills.
  • Explore high-income skills you can learn from home .
  • Read my list of new skills to learn at home .
  • Learn a new language with Rocket Languages .
  • Start a personal project, like a blog, podcast, or YouTube channel.
  • View the book categories on Amazon and dive into subcategories to discover new topics.

Schedule time in your week to learn a new skill or upgrade existing ones if you want to unlock your wildest dreams and aspirations.

#15: Try something new – and do so often

When was the last time you did something new?

We often are too busy or scared to try new things. And we fail to see the immense value of engaging in novel experiences.

But there are many benefits of stepping out of your comfort zone and seeking new experiences.  

Trying new things to gain self-awareness

It’ll improve your confidence, creativity, and resilience. 

And it’ll make your life much more exciting and interesting.

Finally, it boosts self-awareness.

So challenge yourself to engage in novel activities regularly.

In your downtime, you can use the following…

#16: Self-discovery questions to raise self-awareness

Our greatest gift is to wonder.

And self-questioning is an effective tool to become curious about your thoughts, feelings, needs, values, goals, and aspirations.

Here’s a list of questions to ask yourself:

  • How am I living in alignment with my core values?
  • What currently brings me the most joy and fulfillment?
  • What are the activities or environments that drain my energy?
  • How do I define success and happiness?
  • What are my biggest fears, and how do they hold me back?
  • What are the greatest obstacles that keep me from my goals?
  • Is there anything I should change about my current situation?
  • What do I like best about myself and my situation?
  • How did I cope with recent stress and challenges?
  • What activities or hobbies make me lose track of time?
  • What are some self-limiting beliefs I hold about myself?
  • How did I handle criticism and feedback from others?
  • What are patterns or recurring themes in my daily life?
  • What are my most recent accomplishments?
  • How do I want others to see me?
  • Which relationships do I want to invest more time in?
  • What are the things I need to let go of to move forward?
  • What are some past experiences that shaped who I am?
  • How do I define my identity and sense of self?
  • What do I want to learn or explore more in life?
  • What kind of legacy do I want to leave behind?
  • How do I ensure consistent personal growth?
  • What are my favorite ways to express creativity?
  • What lessons did I learn last week?
  • How did I recently take care of my physical, emotional, and mental well-being?

Frequently asking yourself these self-discovery questions fosters self-awareness , continuous self-improvement , and self-esteem .

#17: Accept yourself fully

Accepting yourself is crucial for well-being, success, and happiness.

And here’s how you can cultivate self-acceptance:

  • Treat yourself like a good friend in distress.
  • Identify and challenge negative self-limiting beliefs . Replace them with positive affirmations and constructive statements.
  • Acknowledge and celebrate your successes, no matter how small.
  • Strive for progress, not perfection.
  • Set realistic goals to gain momentum.
  • Express yourself authentically through activities you enjoy.
  • Forgive yourself for past mistakes and learn from them instead.
  • Spend more time around people who support and uplift you, rather than those who bring you down.
  • Seek support if you struggle to accept yourself. A therapist can guide you through the process and provide a fresh perspective.

Recognize that accepting yourself is an ongoing process. 

And it’s normal to have ups and downs along the way. 

So stay patient and self-compassionate. 

What’s next?

The process of self-discovery is transformative and unlocks authenticity, inner harmony, and personal fulfillment. 

Gaining deeper insights into your values, desires, and beliefs empowers you to make better decisions. And it’ll open doors to better opportunities, meaningful relationships, and a more purposeful life.

Key takeaways:

  • Self-discovery involves exploring your personality traits, strengths, values, desires, interests, purpose, feelings, emotions, and more.
  • Take consistent action and try novel things often to expand your comfort zone and uncover what you like and dislike.
  • Self-reflect often and embrace periods of solitude.

Challenge: I encourage people who are just starting to take a personality test . And if you already did then challenge yourself to do something new this week.

Also, check out the following resources to dive deeper into self-discovery and personal development:

  • The best guided journals
  • The best personality tests
  • The best books on self-awareness
  • The best books on finding your life’s purpose

Finally, are you ready to embark on a journey of self-discovery and unlock your true potential? Sign up for weekly insights for personal growth and living an authentic and meaningful life!

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Mick is a personal growth enthusiast and was able to use it to transform his life. He now helps others pursue their dreams, create positive change, and build better lives through self-improvement.

LaToya Rachelle

Where Women Thrive

Finding Yourself: The Definitive Guide for Your Journey of Self Discovery

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Do you sometimes feel like something is missing in your life and that you are searching for the answer? That despite your best efforts, you just can’t seem to find yourself or the path that’s right for you?

Have you ever felt that there’s more to you than meets the eye? That there’s more lying within the depths of your being, waiting to be discovered?

Well, gorgeous, if you’re nodding your head in agreement to any of these questions that means it’s time to embark on a journey of self discovery.

And while a journey to self discovery can be a little intimidating to start (we’re going to dive deep ), I don’t wan’t you to worry; I’m here to guide you through it.

Consider this post as your trusty compass, your handy guidebook packed with clear, actionable steps, and your personal cheering squad all wrapped into one.

This journey is sooo worth it.

Let’s get started!

self discovery questions

See What's Inside

Why Go on a Journey of Self Discovery?

Unraveling your true self & embracing your uniqueness, navigating the journey, ready to uncover your authentic self grab our self-discovery journal & workbook for free, #2 – practice mindfulness and meditation, #3 – try new experiences, #4 – practice self-compassion, #5 – make self-care a priority, staying open to change & growth, building your self-discovery support network, 7 ways to cultivate authenticity while on your journey, celebrate your progress, final thoughts, understanding self discovery.

So, what’s this journey all about?

It’s about embarking on a treasure hunt within your own heart and mind.

It’s recognizing that you’re not just a passenger in your life; you’re the driver .

You get to choose the route, set the pace, and decide which turns to take.

It’s a path of uncovering your hidden strengths, passions, and dreams.

It’s understanding your quirks, facing your fears, and growing into the best version of yourself possible .

You may have heard the old saying “Know thyself” – this is exactly what embarking on a journey of self-discovery is all about.

journey of self discovery

The truth is, if you don’t invest in getting to know yourself, no one else will — and you’ll forever be living a life that isn’t in alignment with your truest self.

You deserve to know exactly what makes your heart sing.

And you deserve to live a life that’s uniquely yours.

A journey of self-discovery will bring clarity and empower you to make better decisions in both your personal and professional life.

It will help you to form deeper connections, build stronger relationships , and find a sense of belonging in this world.

Ultimately, it will unearth parts of yourself that have been hidden away for far too long — allowing you to become the version of yourself that you were always meant to be.

Plus, I can guarantee that self discovery will grant you a level of inner peace and understanding that’s unlike anything else.

You know what’s amazing?

You’re not just another puzzle piece in this world; you’re a one-of-a-kind masterpiece.

And there’s no better time than right now to start uncovering your magnificence.

When you embrace introspection and explore your authentic self , you start to uncover what makes you a masterpiece and understand yourself better.

You learn more about what makes you tick, what strategies work best for you in different situations, and who you want to be.

This process of unraveling — it’s empowering and humbling all at the same time.

I want you to think of yourself as an onion (minus the tears, of course).

Each layer you peel back reveals a new facet of your being.

Start with a little self-reflection ➡️ What are your passions? What are the moments that have defined you? What are the dreams you’ve been nurturing deep within?

As you unravel these layers, you’ll likely discover a bunch of strengths you probably didn’t even know existed.

For example, maybe you’re a great listener, a creative thinker, or a problem solver.

Embrace these strengths – they’re your superpowers on this journey. 💪

And don’t forget, acknowledging your weaknesses is just as crucial; they are opportunities for growth.

Don’t be afraid to unravel what those weaknesses are. Facing your fears is an essential part of this journey.

To uncover those, you might ask yourself ➡️ Are there aspects of myself I’ve been avoiding? Are there challenges I’ve been hesitant to take on?

Acknowledge them.

When you confront your fears, you’re not just conquering them, you’re empowering yourself.

Setting your intentions is an important first step in this process.

Ask yourself…

  • What do I want to discover about myself? (Is it a hidden talent, a sense of inner peace, or a deeper connection with your passions?)
  • What changes do I want to make?
  • Where do I want this journey to take me?

Write your responses down.

The answers to these questions and others you come up with will give you direction and purpose.

During this process, make sure you remain curious and have an open mind.

Curiosity will lead you to ask more questions, to dig deeper, and to explore the unexplored corners of your thoughts and feelings.

And an open mind will allow you to consider new perspectives, even if they challenge your current beliefs

Now, it’s important right about now to acknowledge that this journey won’t always be a smooth one.

There might be moments of doubt, fear, and uncertainty.

Sometimes negative self talk might try creep in and attempt to throw you off track. Just know that that type of self-sabotaging behavior is a temporary distortion of your thinking. Don’t let it stop you!

When you encounter a limiting belief, pause, question it, and challenge it. Replace it with a positive affirmation or a truth that reflects your capabilities.

These tough moments are a part of the process.

Look at these feelings as an opportunity to pause, to reflect on what you’ve been through so far, and to move forward with greater clarity.

5 Tools & Tips for Self-Discovery

Now that you’re navigating your journey with clear intentions and an open mind, I’m going to equip you with some powerful tools and techniques to make this expedition even more transformative.

#1 – Self Discovery Journaling

Journaling is an incredibly effective way to explore and understand your inner world, unlock your creativity, reflect, discover, and achieve clarity. It’s a great way to show up for yourself every day .

And guess what? I have a special treat for you! A free Self Discovery Journal , designed to help you to get the most out of your journey.

the journey of self discovery

It’s packed with prompts, activities, and thought-provoking self-discovery questions that will spark insights and bring clarity into what matters most in your life.

journey of discovery self

Receive your free printable and other resources sent directly to your inbox!

Check your inbox. 💌

You won’t be able to get in touch with your inner self if you’re constantly pushing through life without pausing for a moment of reflection.

Mindful living is about using all of our senses to become aware of our thoughts, feelings, and experiences without judgment or attachment to them. It’s living in the present moment and tuning into our inner wisdom.

Similarly, meditation is another incredibly powerful tool for self-discovery – helping to reduce stress and anxiety while promoting empathy and emotional intelligence.

The key takeaway here is that it’s important to prioritize some moments of sitting quietly with your thoughts each day and having regular moments of stillness and reflection during your self-discovery journey.

Ever wanted to learn an instrument, paint, dance, or cook a new recipe ?

Trying new experiences isn’t just about expanding your skill set; it’s about discovering facets of yourself you never knew existed.

Each new endeavor is an opportunity to explore your interests and passions.

Embrace new experiences to open your eyes to the world around you. This could be anything from trying a new activity or cuisine, learning a foreign language, or joining a club.

These are all great ways to challenge yourself and explore different parts of your identity.

Self-discovery is a lifelong journey and that can be tough, especially when you encounter setbacks. That’s why having self-compassion is so important.

Be patient with yourself and have the courage to accept your flaws, mistakes, and weaknesses. Remember that no one has it all figured out – everyone makes mistakes!

Treat yourself with the kindness you deserve.

By learning to practice self-compassion, you’ll be able to keep going on your journey of self-discovery even when the road gets tough.

Remember, the journey of self discovery is about growth , not perfection. So don’t be too hard on yourself and don’t compare your journey to anyone else’s.

The last tip is to make self-care a priority in your life. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and stressed out while on your journey of self-discovery, so it’s important to take care of yourself before anything else.

Take time for yourself – go for walks, give yourself some “me” time to relax or do something that brings you joy.

An added bonus to this is you’re likely to find new insights about yourself while doing something that you enjoy.

Related: 32 of the Best Self-Care Gifts for Women

self discovery journal prompts

As you start exploring and getting to know yourself better, it’s important to recognize that change and growth are not only inevitable, they are also going to be key parts of your self-discovery journey.

Instead of being fearful, I want you to embrace the idea of change and growth.

Accept that you are going to learn and become a different person as you go through this process.

Embracing these moments can be some of the most liberating experiences on your journey to discovering yourself.

Change invites you to step out of your comfort zone, where the magic of self-discovery often happens.

And growth provides the opportunity to learn and build upon new ideas, concepts, and skills.

Welcome the twists and turns of your journey, and know that even setbacks contribute to your growth.

Every experience, positive or negative, is a valuable lesson just waiting to be learned.

Now just a heads up, as you learn more about yourself it’s likely that you’ll find that some things no longer align with who you are and what you want. And you know what? That’s absolutely okay!

Don’t hesitate to let go of the things that no longer serve your growth. Instead, be open to the new ideas that will help you move forward in life.

The self-discovery journey can often be a lonely one. But it doesn’t have to be!

Find people who will support and encourage you on your journey.

Building a strong support network can help you stay motivated and encouraged during your journey.

Ask close family members or friends to check in with you as you make progress. Or consider joining a support group where you can connect with others who are embarking on their own journey of self discovery.

Surround yourself with positive, supportive people who understand what you’re going through. Having an encouraging circle of individuals can make all the difference on your self-discovery path.

Some Self-Discovery Support Network Examples:

*You are your most reliable support system

Building a support system isn’t just about receiving; it’s also about giving too.

Your unique experiences and insights can inspire others on their own journeys.

So engage in reciprocal support – share your discoveries, ask for the ok to offer advice, and be a source of positivity for those around you.

As you progress on your journey of self-discovery, it becomes crucial to wholeheartedly embrace your true and authentic self.

You might be wondering, “Well, what does that mean?”

Authenticity means being honest and true to yourself. It’s about being real, even when it feels uncomfortable.

It’s about honoring your thoughts and feelings without apologizing for them or feeling ashamed of them. And being aware of what drives you, how you react and respond to different situations and feelings.

Being authentic also includes integrating the new changes you experience into a sense of self that still remains true to you.

Here are 7 ways you can foster authenticity as you continue on your self discovery journey:

Authenticity thrives when you release the need to meet others’ expectations. Embrace the freedom to be yourself, even if it doesn’t conform to societal norms or others’ opinions.

Perfection is an illusion, and authenticity is born from embracing your imperfections. Instead of striving for flawlessness, embrace your quirks and vulnerabilities – they’re what make you beautifully unique.

Authenticity demands that you speak your truth, even when it feels uncomfortable. It’s important to remember that expressing your truth doesn’t mean being unkind or hurtful though. Share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences without fear of judgment. Your vulnerability can inspire others to do the same and foster an atmosphere of open communication and growth.

Setting and maintaining boundaries that protect your physical, mental, and emotional well-being is an act of self-respect. By clearly defining what’s acceptable to you and communicating it to others, you’re safeguarding your authentic self and fostering healthy relationships. This practice empowers you to create relationships that align with your true self.

Authenticity blooms when your actions align with your values. Reflect on your choices – are they in harmony with who you are? Seek activities, relationships, and pursuits that resonate with your authentic self.

Your journey, with all its triumphs and challenges, is part of your unique story. Embrace it with open arms. Owning your story, without shame or apology, is an act of authenticity.

Self-awareness is the cornerstone of authenticity. To be authentic, you must understand who you are. That’s why I’ve put so much emphasis on the importance of taking time for self-reflection throughout this post. Refine your understanding of yourself through questions such as: How do I want to show up in the world? What values drive my decisions? What parts of me need healing? Pay attention to how other’s words and actions make you feel too – it can help provide insight into what matters most to you.

Cultivating authenticity is an ongoing process, and it looks different for everyone. It’s about being true to who you are in each moment, without the need to hide or conform. As you continue on this journey, remember that your authentic self is your most valuable treasure.

It takes courage to embark on a journey of self-discovery. And while you’re on it, be sure to take time for moments of celebration and appreciation – you deserve it!

Give yourself credit for all that you have achieved along the way, no matter how small.

Remember those times when you faced your fears head-on? That’s something to celebrate.

Or that moment when you embraced your unique quirks instead of trying to hide them? That’s definitely a victory worth acknowledging.

Each step you take, every insight you gain, and all the hurdles you overcome are stepping stones to your growth.

So, how can you celebrate yourself?

Treat yourself to a day of indulgence – whether it’s a favorite meal, a relaxing bubble bath, or that book you’ve been wanting to read.

You could write yourself a heartfelt letter, acknowledging your progress and the qualities you admire in yourself. Or gather with friends who uplift you, and share your wins with them.

And don’t forget to take a moment in quiet solitude to honor your journey, appreciating the remarkable person you are becoming.

These celebrations aren’t just about rewards; they’re affirmations of your commitment and an expression of self-love.

discovering yourself

It’s never too late to start anew – you are the author of your own story.

Your journey of self discovery is about learning to understand, accept, and love yourself. So trust in the process.

You have all the tools and capabilities you need to create a fulfilling life story.

The journey is ongoing, with new experiences and revelations each day. And it’s not just any journey; it’s YOUR journey.

So stay curious, be brave, embrace change – and remember that wherever life takes you, authenticity will always be your superpower.

I sincerely hope that this guide proves to be invaluable to you as you embark on your journey of self-discovery.

May it provide you with the guidance and insight you need to take those initial steps towards uncovering your true potential.

But this isn’t the end; no, it’s just the beginning!

I invite you to download my FREE Self Discovery Journal .

This printable workbook will help you gain clarity about your life goals and values, uncover your passions, and find meaningful ways to express yourself.

You can download it here .

You are capable of anything you put your mind to – so believe in yourself as much as I believe in you. 😘

Until next time,

journey of discovery self

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About LaToya Rachelle

LaToya Rachelle, author and creator of, is dedicated to empowering women on their journey to self-discovery and personal growth. Through her writings, she shares insights on self-care, happiness, manifestation, success habits, and more, and provides invaluable tools to help you unleash your fullest potential. Join LaToya as she inspires and guides you to become the best version of yourself.

Subscribe @lovelatoyarachelle

Love, latoya rachelle.

Love, LaToya Rachelle is a lifestyle channel that provides quick, easily digestible videos full of tips and tricks to empower you to become the best version of yourself possible.

Love, LaToya Rachelle

Scott Jeffrey

14 Powerful Self-Discovery Activities for Your Personal Journey

OVERVIEW : This comprehensive guide outlines the three stages of self-discovery as a developmental model, highlighting the common pitfalls along one’s journey and offering tools and methods for each stage.


Know thyself— the famous aphorism from Ancient Greece.

No better phrase can capture the essence of self-discovery.

Let’s dive deeper into what this aphorism means …

What is Self-Discovery?  

Self-discovery is the process of learning about and finding oneself.

There are many different facets of this discovery process. In the earlier stages, you learn about   your personality type, what you value, your strengths, weaknesses, talents, dreams, shortcomings, aspirations, and interests.

In a later stage, self-discovery is about getting to know the parts of yourself that were “disowned” in childhood, commonly called the shadow.

The process of self-discovery is a continual movement from less conscious to more conscious, from less aware to greater awareness of oneself.

Similar to the hero’s journey motif, the self-discovery journey is the path toward mature adulthood.

Self-Discovery versus Self-Development

These two concepts are intrinsically linked together.  

On its own, self-discovery is simply about revealing what’s always there: who you are on a conscious level.

Self-development is about molding and growing in various areas, including physically, emotionally, cognitively, and spiritually.

Can you engage in self-discovery without self-development? Only on a very cursory level. Why?

In the act of getting to know yourself, you’re placing your attention on various aspects of your being. In doing so, development will likely take place.

Although there’s a large self-improvement industry that promotes ways of “bettering oneself,” the reality is that development is a natural process .

Early childhood trauma and conditioning hinder that process, but once it’s initiated in adulthood, it tends to take on a life of its own.  

As such, self-development is an integral part of one’s self-discovery process.

journey of discovery self

What are the 3 Stages of Self-Discovery?

The common stages of self-discovery outlined here largely mirror the stages of human development from transpersonal psychology but in a very simplified format.

Stage 1: Discovering Your Conscious Self (Personality)

Stage 2: Exploring Your Personal Unconscious (Shadow)

Stage 3: Returning Home (The Self)

First, we’ll examine each of these stages in more detail. Then, we’ll explore the self-discovery activities commonly used at each stage.

Before we dive into these three stages, let’s examine where we start: the persona.

Stage 0: Wearing Our Social Masks

In early development, we are mostly focused on adjusting to our environments and “fitting in” at home, school, and anywhere else we find ourselves.

Our identities at this stage are largely defined by “others” in a social context. That is, our identity is mostly a series of personas (social masks) designed to help us “fit in.”

When we’re in the persona stage we’re not technically in the self-discovery process yet.

We create our personae unconsciously and subconsciously. It’s the starting point from which self-discovery can be initiated.

journey of discovery self

Self-Discovery Stage 1: Discovering Our Conscious Personality

Stage 1 can be a fun stage for many individuals. It’s the part of self-discovery that many people associate with the term “self-discovery journey.”  

Stage 1 is marked by discovering one’s conscious personality including strengths, weaknesses, habitual patterns, drives, desires, and aspirations.

Self-discovery comes through our engagement with life. Like any good hero’s journey , life is filled with trials and tribulations. Setbacks and victories. Each experience provides a window into ourselves.

If we pay attention, we learn through our reactions and interactions with others and the world.

In this initial stage, we develop a strong curiosity about ourselves. It’s common at this stage to take a wide range of assessments.

Learning about your “personality type” is highly instructive: it highlights many of your greatest strengths and mortal weaknesses. It illuminates common behavior patterns that you may not have noticed.

You’ll discover a myriad of patterns that you spontaneously engage in without knowing why.   At this stage, you’re also likely to inquire about your core values to clarify what you stand for and what’s most important to you.

You might take up journalling, and begin capturing your big life goals, dreams, and even a vision for yourself.

This stage usually goes on for many years. In fact, many individuals never move beyond this initial stage of self-discovery.

Self-Discovery Stage 2:   Exploring Our Personal Unconscious  

The second stage of self-discovery brings you toward your inner world where the meaning of “self-discovery” vastly changes.

Stage 2 often begins either at midlife or after a major life event that rattles you to the core. This event could be a divorce, the death of someone close to you, physical illness, or some other crisis.

Psychiatrist Carl Jung often said this inward turn should happen at midlife: after you’ve built a healthy ego in the world (career, home, family, etc.). That is, the first half of life is meant to be more externally oriented while the second half is internal.  

In tribal cultures, at midlife, members of the tribe would go on extensive walkabouts or vision quests. They returned as different people, now taking up a more shamanic-type role as ritual elders of their tribe.

For us, this inward turn is more about engaging in inner work , addressing our childhood trauma, exploring our dream world, and getting to know our shadows . Here, internal observation, self-awareness , reflection, self-analysis, understanding, sensitivity, and inner honesty are required.

In stage 2 of self-discovery, we address our deep-seated internal tensions and splits within our psyche.

The self-identity that we created for ourselves in stage 1 becomes less codified and more fluid. As we move toward psychological integration, that self-identity moves further into the background.

This stage will also last many years depending on your life circumstances. For example, if you’re in midlife and still very active in the world, there may be less time available for self-reflection and inner discovery.  

self discovery quote joseph campbell

Self-Discovery Stage 3: Returning Home of the Self

In the third stage of self-discovery, an individual returns home to their Self (capital “S”).

The meaning of “self” changes greatly at this stage. The self in “self-discovery” when we set out on our path was our conscious personality. It starts to become a distant memory at this later stage.

This stage is marked by transcending an exclusive identification with the self (small “s”) and realizing one’s true Self (self-realization).

The ego we developed in the prior stages now must take a back seat so that the original Self can return.

In The Ego and the Dynamic Ground , professor of philosophy Michael Washburn called it “regression in the service of transcendence.” 

This stage requires us to strip away everything we are not so that our Original Nature can take its rightful place in the Center.  

In Taoist philosophy, they make a distinction between the conscious spirit and the Original Spirit.

The conscious spirit (ego or “acquired mind”) is what we develop in stage 1. This self-identity is a set of conditioning from the external world.

In contrast, the Original Spirit is our primordial Self that is unconditioned by the insanity of this world.

At this stage, the focus is on self-inquiry, self-observation, neutrality, stabilizing the mind, and moving toward inner stillness.  

In transpersonal psychology, they often call this stage integration . Maslow called it self-transcendence . Jung referred to it as wholeness —the final stage of individuation .  


Now, let’s review a series of self-discovery activities and exercises you might use at each stage of your personal discovery journey.

Self-Discovery Activities for Stage 1

Here are seven self-discovery activities and exercises you can use for Stage 1 of your journey:

myers-briggs assessment self-discovery activities

Myers-Brigg Personal Assessment (Common Self-Discovery Activity)

Personality Assessments

Personality assessments are one of the most common self-discovery activities most people use.

Any quality personality assessment will reveal different aspects of your personality. They can be very insightful—especially when you’re in the beginning stages of self-discovery. Three popular ones include:

  • The Enneagram
  • Human Design Engineering
  • Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

(Just do a quick search. There are many paid and free versions online.)

Values Assessment

Getting to know your core values is an essential self-discovery activity. Self-aware individuals tend to know what’s most important to them. Knowing your core values helps you make better decisions.

If you don’t know your values yet, you can go through my popular 7-Step Values Assessment .

Strengths Assessment

Getting clarity on your strengths and weaknesses is another excellent self-discovery activity..

While we learn our natural strengths and weaknesses by observing our life experiences, the VIA Character Institute offers a free survey to help you determine your strengths right away.

See my guide on authentic happiness for a primer on this topic from positive psychology.

Personal Vision Casting

A personal vision can help guide you through your self-discovery journey. It helps clarify what’s most important to you.

A compelling vision can also help you remove distractions and stay focused on your long-term self-development goals.

Get step-by-step instructions on how to craft your vision statement .

Wheel of Life Assessment

As you begin to flush out who you are and what you stand for, you’ll likely determine specific goals you have for self-development. It’s important to understand that we all have multiple lines of intelligence and areas of focus.

The Wheel of Life assessment is a good coaching tool to clarify your self-development goals for different areas of your life.

Active Journaling

Journalling can be a powerful aid in this stage and the next. A journal can be used to capture your dreams, ambitions, life lessons, and insights on the written page.

Self-Development Plan

Some individuals prefer to have more structure to help them proceed with their discovery process and self-development.

Creating even just a basic self-development plan with the data you gather above can help you reduce distractions and stay focused on your long-term objectives.

journey of self discovery jung quote

Self-Discovery Activities for Stage 2

What’s strange about Stage 2 is that it can seem like we’re going backward.

While we’re building our personalities and moving toward a vision in stage 1, in this stage, we need to take a step back and explore our past.

Getting to know our past is absolutely essential for deeper levels of self-discovery.

As such, the energetic striving we experienced in Stage 1 now gets replaced by a more self-reflective mind. We now have enough life experience behind us to observe major patterns that we couldn’t see before.

The self-discovery activities in Stage 2 different greatly from Stage 1. Overall, Stage 2 is less about tools and assessments and more about methods and exercises that support one’s inward discovery journey.

Observational Meditation

Many individuals will likely discover meditation in the first stage of their journey. However, the quality and function of meditation take on a different meaning in Stage 2.

Your journey through Stage 2 benefits from a reflective mind and a strong Inner Observer . To gain insight into one’s psyche, it helps to be able to carefully monitor one’s deepest thoughts, feelings, reactions, attitudes, moods, and impulses.

For some, developing this Inner Observer happens naturally. For others, it takes meditative training .

Shadow Work

One of the most remarkable aspects of Stage 2 is that you eventually realize that everything you built up in Stage 1 isn’t entirely accurate.

All prior personality growth and self-development were based on a sense of self (ego construct) that was never closely examined.

To function in the world in early life, we necessarily cut off and dissociate many parts of ourselves that get relegated to our personal unconscious. This creates a split in our psyche that leads to internal tension. This internal tension is the source of our moodiness, emotional instability, neurotic behaviors, and dis-ease .

Think of it like renovating an old house with lead paint. Sure you can paint over the lead with a new “eco-friendly” paint and add new furnishings, but you still have a house with lead paint.

When you reach the Inward Turn, you begin examining what’s been cut off and hidden inside of you.

Every aspect of yourself that was deemed “unacceptable” during childhood was relegated to your personal unconscious. Now, it’s time to bring the unconscious to consciousness. Shadow work becomes an indispensable self-discovery activity at this stage.

See my guide on shadow work here .

Inner Work (Active Imagination & Dream Analysis)

Getting to know your shadow is an integral part of inner work. Inner work is more of a general term for turning inward and examining aspects of one’s unconscious.

Jung used two primary methods for helping his patients harmonize the split within their psyche: dream analysis and active imagination.

Jung saw dreams as a primary means for the unconscious to speak to us—to our conscious minds. So by paying attention to our dreams, we bring to consciousness aspects of ourselves currently hidden from us.

Active imagination is another excellent self-discovery activity. It’s the process of inner dialogue with “parts” within our psyche.

The psyche is filled with a collection of semi-autonomous archetypes that constantly influence our behavior.

In the second stage of our self-discovery process, it becomes necessary to dialogue with or at least become conscious of these various subpersonalities operating within our psyche.

Trauma Release Exercises

In the course of exploring our past, we encounter numerous psychic wounds that need our attention.

Trauma plays a large role in our early development. Addressing this trauma is a necessary aspect of becoming whole.

While mental processes are useful, we also need to address the body directly where this past trauma is stored. (See Dr. Bessel van der Kolk’s The Body Keeps the Score .)

I cover the topic of trauma more deeply in this guide on repressed emotions .

There are a range of methods available to use from David Berceli’s Trauma Release Exercises (TRE) to Alexander Lowen’s Bioenergetic Analysis. All of these self-discovery activities can be highly therapeutic at this stage.

Regardless of the modalities you use for your journey, the key thing is that you release this stored trauma and build a stronger connection to your physical body. This is called body-mind integration. In No Boundary (2001), integral theorist Ken Wilber labeled it the Centaur Level .

Cultivating deeper levels of body awareness is an important, often overlooked, part of one’s journey to self-discovery and healing.

Self-Discovery Activities for Stage 3

In Stage 2, we put our house in order. The more we harmonize the opposites within us, the more internal tension we resolve. We move, slowly and patiently, from fragmentation to greater wholeness.

As this unfolds, we can hold to the Center with greater ease.

From the Center,  there’s no need to strive to become anything. Even the growth need of self-actualization begins to take a back seat.

The ego we’ve developed through the first two stages doesn’t go anywhere. But a different quality emerges from the Center. One’s true Self comes forth and gently guides us.

This stage takes us beyond Western psychology and into the realm of mysticism and sagehood .

This third stage is less about self-discovery activities and more about stabilizing one’s mind. Self-inquiry and the closer examination of one’s consciousness become more than just a daily sitting practice, but a continuous way of being.

Becoming versus Being

In the first stage of self-discovery, we’re in the process of becoming . The self-discovery activities above aid us in this developmental process.

Self-development and personal growth are integral to this stage as we do our best to cultivate healthy egos that can thrive in this crazy, chaotic world.

In developing our personalities, we are, as psychologist Abraham Maslow put it, actualizing our potential .

Some of us do this through our careers and vocations. Others do it through cultivating skills and various intelligences out of personal interest.

Eventually, however, there’s a shift in quality in one’s process of self-discovery.

The drive to “become” moves into the background while a quality of beingness wants to emerge. This represents the shift inward that marks stage 2 and reaches fruition in stage 3.

Self-Discovery Through the Three Gunas

In Yogic philosophy, they have what’s called the three gunas or qualities of consciousness:

  • Tamas : inertia, inactivity, darkness, and ignorance
  • Rajas : activity, passion, desire, energy
  • Sattva : purity, knowledge, beingness, truth

Those stuck in tamas (inertia) are unlikely to engage in their self-discovery journey. They sadly remain stuck in their personas. Self-discovery activities are likely uninteresting to them.

Stage 1 occurs when the active quality of rajas is present. Rajic energy is necessary for developing our personalities and fully engaging in life (the process of becoming).

The shift toward sattvic consciousness starts when we embrace our inner world in Stage 2. However, a sattvic state isn’t realized until we arrive home within the Self in Stage 3.

self discovery activities roadmap

Self-Discovery Activities Roadmap

7 Factors that Hijack Self-Discovery

Keep in mind that self-discovery is a natural process. Sages often refer to it as the “play of consciousness.”

However, many common factors can potentially stall our development. Maslow called this aborted self-actualization . When this occurs, the self-discovery activities we highlighted above either don’t come into play or they hold no meaning.

Let’s take a look at some internal and external factors:

Internal Factors That Can Hinder Self-Discovery

Numerous potential internal hurdles can stall self-discovery. When this occurs, one does not fully engage in self-discovery activities

Here are four potential hurdles:

Early Childhood Trauma

This is probably the most common culprit. A series of psychic scars in early childhood cause various shadow archetypes to take the helm in our conscious mind.

Childhood trauma leads to neurosis like anxiety and depression. Under these conditions, the discovery and awakening process may be thwarted. Instead, life becomes an endless struggle to meet their basic human needs and/or the pursuit of fleeting pleasures.

Trauma often triggers the puer aeternus archetype (eternal child), leading to the Peter Pan syndrome.

However, once brought to consciousness, trauma can be a catalyst for engaging in self-discovery activities.

A Fixed Mindset

Psychologist Carol Dweck’s decades of research presented in her bestseller Mindset (2007) reveals that a fixed mindset, conditioned into us in childhood, can have lasting consequences if not addressed in adulthood.

With a fixed mindset, individuals fear growth and have fundamental blocks to learning in adolescence and adulthood. In contrast, with a growth mindset , one naturally engages in self-discovery activities.

Misaligned Values of Society

The unspoken values of society include image, attractiveness, wealth, material possessions, competition, and “success.” When these are one’s ideal standards, it leads to neurotic behaviors and excessiveness (a feeling of never having enough).

In fact, many people engage in self-discovery activities when they realize how empty these societal values truly are.

As J. Krishnamurti said in Commentaries on Living :

Is society healthy, that an individual should return to it? Has not society itself helped to make the individual unhealthy? Of course, the unhealthy must be made healthy, that goes without saying; but why should the individual adjust himself to an unhealthy society? If he is healthy, he will not be a part of it. Without first questioning the health of society, what is the good of helping misfits to conform to society?

This is why it’s vital to discover your personal values . Your values will naturally help guide you toward self-discovery instead of “following the pack.”

A Strong Drive for Comfort

We all like being comfortable, but for various reasons (two of which are listed above), many individuals avoid risk while clinging to comfort. They have an unhealthy drive for safety and aversion toward growth—the exact opposite of self-actualizing individuals .

An excessive drive for comfort often degrades into addictive tendencies that result in a downward spiral. Endless distractions replace the natural drive for self-discovery activities.

External Factors That Can Hinder Self-Discovery

Here are three common external factors that cause us to withdraw from self-discovery activities:

Financial Restraints

We all have basic human needs and when we have difficulty meeting these needs, it creates a great deal of tension.

For example, how are you supposed to invest energy and attention into learning about your personality, when you’re worried about paying rent next month?

You don’t need to be affluent to pursue self-discovery, but it does help to have your “house” in order first. You just need an internal space for psychological safety where you are calm enough to pursue self-discovery activities.

An Unsafe Environment

Humanistic psychologist Carl Rogers points out in On Becoming a Person (1995) that psychological safety in our environment is an important condition for creativity and the development of positive mental health.

This lack of psychological safety can be due to an abusive relationship, socio-economic conditions, or some other factor. These days, just turn on the news: external psychological safety seems to be in short supply.

A Disempowering Peer Group

Being surrounded by destructive individuals or people with mental illness (including narcissism) can make it challenging to pursue self-development. Your peer group can act like “crabs in a bucket,” pulling you down if you try to get out.

This external factor is more of a concern at the early stages of discovery when you’re first building momentum.

When individuals first engage in self-discovery activities, for example, they often search for other like-minded individuals. Others, at least for some time, go it alone.

Self-Discovery: A Pathless Path

Ultimately, the path you take to self-discovery will be unique to you.

The above stages and self-discovery activities are mere guidelines, designed to capture the essence of the journey home.

Remember, too, that it’s normal to slide off your path at times and to experience major setbacks along the way. Tests, trials, and tribulations are a part of the journey.

As Jung often pointed out, the way is not without its dangers. As soon as you leave the conventional, ordinary world and enter the “special world,” you’re on your own. While this can be terrifying, it can also be liberating.

It’s only when you step back and view this self-discovery process from a 10,000-foot view that you can fully appreciate the play of consciousness expressing itself through a myriad of forms representing all of us. What a peculiar thing.

Travel safely. Or don’t.

Either way, stay alert.

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About the Author

Scott Jeffrey is the founder of CEOsage, a self-leadership resource publishing in-depth guides read by millions of self-actualizing individuals. He writes about self-development, practical psychology, Eastern philosophy, and integrated practices. For 25 years, Scott was a business coach to high-performing entrepreneurs, CEOs, and best-selling authors. He's the author of four books including Creativity Revealed .

Learn more >

Great Information! Thank YOU! BARB!

You’re most welcome, Barb.

Return to hOMe. Be Blessed.

Guía extensa, pero iluminadora. En mi caso, es un excelente enrutador, ya que me aclara situaciones que me agobian y me hacen detenerme sin rumbo definido. Esta guía me hace reflexionar y decidir qué camino debo seguir. Gracias Scott por tu valioso apoyo.

Sure thing, William.

Returning to Home and Self! The path is not without danger and suffering but it will be liberating. And I know I can do it.

Travel safety or not. Either way stay alert.

Thanks Scott a lot! Your writings and wisdom is making a lots of difference in the world, at least in my world.

Thank you for the feedback, Niimka.

Great to hear that the material is making a difference for you.

I have a a clarification regarding the content of this article , however, I might reference other articles on which my thought process is based. Please bear with me, as I try to make clearer sense of the “Sage Stage”.

In my view and based on experience/inner work it seems relevant to me to see three types of consciousness. Namely, Superconscious, Conscious, Subconscious, Unconscious.

In this article does the Sage stage refer to the “Consciousness arising from a leaning towards a Superconscious influence on an individual or is it coming from an archetypal “Sage” arising from the Subconscious/Unconscious?

I perceive inner work more aligning with Superconscious/Inner Guidance rather than Archetypal/SubConscious/Unconscious.

To seems to me, Spirit can interact with Soul-Ego(Human) only from a place of SuperConscious.

Please let me know how you perceive our internal construction that navigates self-discovery in relation to evolving consciousness? Thank you!

Personally, I don’t use terminology like “superconscious.” But I also don’t perceive that third stage in terms of a “Sage Stage.” I referenced “sagehood” as it links to the Sage archetype guide that’s relevant here. From a purely Jungian perspective, that’s accurate.

However, I’m not Jungian. To me, the Spirit isn’t an archetypal image as it is to Jungians.

“Returning home” doesn’t involve images. Navigating through images is the defining characteristic of Stage 2.

“Please let me know how you perceive our internal construction that navigates self-discovery in relation to evolving consciousness?”

So this is probably what may be different in our understanding. The transpersonal literature speaks about “evolving consciousness,” but wholeheartedly don’t agree with this. Sure, there’s the development of the ego. That’s why there are stages. But the “Return Home” is not evolutionary or developmental; it’s a function of stripping away what the Taoists call “mundane conditioning” to return what was there all along (hence, the “Original Spirit” or “Original Nature”).

Bringing order to the psyche (Stage 2) helps reduce mental illness. With less mental illness, there’s less neurosis. With less neurosis, the mind is more still. When the mind is still, one can be. If one can “just be” long enough, one’s energy stabilizes. As one’s energy stabilizes, the Spirit returns.

In this way, Stage 3 is more “alchemical” — not evolutionary or developmental.

Yes, I can now see the difference in views.

I had a very unique and personal experience in getting to come to know about the work of Sri Aurobindo. Although I am Indian, I did not know anything about him at all and his work on human evolution. It was through a personal sequence of synchronistic events in the last few years that were totally unexplainable that I came to know of him. In exploring his work I found a deep connection with my own personal “evolution of consciousness” making sense. The way he describes the process of moving from ego-centric mind to a higher mind has been very resonant with me at a personal level.

It fits accurately even within what you refer to as “sagehood”.

Because my personal experience is very valuable to me, I might like to perceive it as my consciousness is continuously evolving. Offers me the necessary motivation to stay on track even though inner work is hard.

Thank you for the clarifications.

It seems that the process on inner work being so non-linear in nature adequately covers the areas of de-conditioning and addressing neurosis as long as I stay dedicated to the discipline needed for inner work. It seems like the end is similar but being addressed in different ways.

To clarify, I did not suggest that “inner work” is non-linear. Sure, the psyche can be messy, and establishing order doesn’t necessarily follow a step-by-step process. Stage 2 of the self-discovery process is where inner work takes place. Stage 3 is more about contemplative practices that enable stabilization.

“The way he describes the process of moving from ego-centric mind to a higher mind has been very resonant with me at a personal level.”

Sure. But what I’m saying is that it’s incorrect to call this “evolution.” It’s the wrong word.

In the way I view inner work, I am considering messy and non-linear to be similar. In my mind it is similar to “not a step-by-step process”. I used the word non-linear to imply not in a straight line, sometimes straight, other times with repeats and new situations to navigate and explore…I see this as the “messy psyche” I am trying to “order” at some level.

The Indian word “Sadhana” that seems to align with Spiritual Contemplative practice to me is really what is most useful to me (as I have mentioned before I have a strong inclination towards spiritual contemplation). It could be different from other contemplative practices so sure. What is achievable through Sadhana is difficult for me to put into a few words. It is a state of being to which stabilization is definitely arriving. Also I’m over-simplifying everything here just to be concise.

The use of the word evolution is present in his literature aligning with a progressive movement. I think “awakening” applies here too. Is there a better word to describe the process?

“The Indian word “Sadhana” that seems to align with Spiritual Contemplative practice to me is really what is most useful to me”

Yes, Sadhana is the pathway of Stage 3.

“What is achievable through Sadhana is difficult for me to put into a few words. It is a state of being to which stabilization is definitely arriving.”

In the Indian tradition, especially the nondual schools, the focus is primarily on a transformation of consciousness — transcending the identification with the body-mind organism and moving beyond the “I am” (primary Maya). In the Taoist tradition, especially the Southern Reality School, the emphasis is on the stabilization of the energy within the body first. Then, they move to a transformation of consciousness.

“The use of the word evolution is present in his literature aligning with a progressive movement. I think “awakening” applies here too. Is there a better word to describe the process?”

Transformation and development both work.

Thank you for your time to clarify my questions and comments. It is very much appreciated.

Is the practice that is proposed by Jung for working with the unconscious mind “Active Imagination” suitable for all individuals?

The reason I ask is that some people have a predisposition towards “fantasy thinking” that utilizes imagination actively (not is terms of Jungian Active Imagination).

What I mean by fantasy thinking could be divided into two kinds, what I refer to as “Magical thinking, that goes like : I wish things would magically happen” or “Wishful thinking which is a active conscious thought process involving romanticizing reality, looking at life through rose-colored glasses or in some cases even dark fantasy that involves getting back at someone for wrong doing (even if it be in the realm of thought). The first two is something I seem to indulge in more easily. But I know people around me who indulge in (dark fantasy/more violent type) the later frequently. What I have described in this paragraph is a conscious active mental process.

I would say that based on knowing and studying myself as well as studying and observing others, some types (Enneagram in particular) have a greater predisposition towards fantasy thinking.

In fact I could even say that some “guided visualizations” that take people on mental journeys fall into a form of fantasy thinking process, that are more unproductive than useful. I find such guided visualizations very ungrounding and airy experiences. Please correct me if I wrong.

Makes me wonder if this is why hypnosis that takes a creative-imagination driven format with its practical applications works well only for some people.

Since active imagination is a way to tap into the unconscious would a person prone to fantasy thinking feel more ungrounded by engaging in it, without a clear sense of whether they have shifted into pointless imaginations or real useful work with their unconscious “parts”?

Is there a grounding practice that accompanies active imagination would support an individual to stay on track with “active imagination” vs. getting lost in imaginary conversations with parts (that they might be accustomed to given their fantasy-driven tendencies) that might produce useful, meaningful and desired results that tap into their psyche?

I hope my questions and background I have provided is clear enough.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

“In fact I could even say that some “guided visualizations” that take people on mental journeys fall into a form of fantasy thinking process, that are more unproductive than useful. I find such guided visualizations very ungrounding and airy experiences. Please correct me if I’m wrong.”

Yes, I generally discourage guided visualizations, despite how popular they are. Guided instructions can be useful as a learning aid, but guided visualizations serve little value in my experience.

“Since active imagination is a way to tap into the unconscious would a person prone to fantasy thinking feel more ungrounded by engaging in it, without a clear sense of whether they have shifted into pointless imaginations or real useful work with their unconscious “parts”?”

Not necessarily. Someone prone to fantasy may find active imagination very instructive as it can add a useful structure to their fantasies.

“Is there a grounding practice that accompanies active imagination would support an individual to stay on track with “active imagination” vs. getting lost in imaginary conversations with parts (that they might be accustomed to given their fantasy-driven tendencies) that might produce useful, meaningful and desired results that tap into their psyche?”

Yes. See these two guides:

Hi Scott, I’ve been considering the statement you mention “Not necessarily. Someone prone to fantasy may find active imagination very instructive as it can add a useful structure to their fantasies.” As someone who has not benefited in anyway in indulging in fantasy, I have not been able to use many of the practices that have been outlined by Jung. I don’t mean to dismiss or disqualify the validity and use of the practices…it might be extremely useful for certain individuals. I think I am very driven to focus on reality as it occurs and then try to connect it to fields of study. There is a neat distinction made by John Vervaeke (he may not be the originator), between “imagination” and “imaginal”. A website definition of this distinction goes as follows … Here it is important to differentiate between the imaginary (fantasy) and the imaginal, with the latter being seen as a crucial bridge between subjective and objective experience, as well as between perceptual and conceptual domains.” … It seems to me that Inner Work aligns well with “Imaginal” rather than “Imagination”. Personally, inner work continues to breakdown the hold of fantasy in my life…which continues to make inner work very useful. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to think through this via this discussion.

To clarify, inner work and active imagination are not about engaging in fantasy as such. What you’re doing is actively engaging in dialogue with semi-autonomous subpersonalities within the psyche. There’s no need to get hung up on definitions of “imagination.” You don’t have to “imagine” these inner voices. They are already there. It’s just a matter of whether or not you tune into them.

Also to clarify, inner work is not the same thing as sadhana. With inner work, you engage with the images in the psyche. With sadhana, you don’t. That is, Eastern practices are focused on going beyond the images (because, as you observed, focusing on the images can lead to fantasy — i.e. delusion).

The integral movement (including transpersonal psychology) places inner work practices at a lower stage as it relates more specifically to the personality and contemplative practices (sadhana) at a higher stage of development. Overall, I would agree with this structure.

Thank you for the clarifications Scott.

It definitely sounds more honest to tune into inner voices. I can relate to that. I don’t think I make a clear distinction for myself about the stages of development. I tend to use a broad term as “Inner Work” that is simply ongoing, placing awareness onto various aspects of my life.

I don’t even have any specific affiliation with people who call themselves “integral” or “transpersonal psychologists”. When something resonates and seems to match something in my reality it offers a little more clarity. Thank you for sharing your time and guidance with me.

Sure thing, Roopa. I also don’t have any affiliations with these various groups. I mentioned integral here in this context because before this “fifth wave of psychology” there wasn’t really a language or understanding to differentiate these different schools of thought — both East and West — and the levels of development they represent. And without this differentiation, there tends to be a lot of internal confusion. This type of differentiation itself is a function of developing cognitive consciousness.

Scott, your portrait shows you becoming more distinguished, retaining the handsomeness.

Forgive me if I seem to be repeating what you have said. I think writing it down helps me understand.

“Stage 1: Discovering Your Conscious Self (Personality)”.

Is this how people see you? Is this the unconscious that acts in your conscious? Is this the personality enneagram types and are they archetypes?

So far, I’ve asked about the persona as an unconscious part. Is it possible for our persona to be consciously developed? As a boy I emulated my father, then later years became an image (perhaps the persona mask). Can I say that I made my image and is this my archetype making me believe it’s me? What archetype I don’t know, you might have an idea which it is? Thank-you.

How people see you is a function of numerous factors that don’t necessarily align with Stage 1.

Yes, the Enneagram types are ultimately expressions of archetypes as I explain here:

“Can I say that I made my image and is this my archetype making me believe it’s me?”

Not really. No. The psyche is a collection of archetypes — not just one. And there are a host of factors involved here.

Also, you don’t really consciously develop your persona. It’s more of a reaction to your environment.

That said, we all do learn by observing the behavior of those around us — especially those we project onto like parents and other authority figures.

My understanding of the persona; is an Image we relate to others. Do you think we would rather be our true personality to others?

I think the persona is not far off compared with our personality. As you can see from this quote”The list shows how likely it is that you are each enneagram type.

Most people will be the type at the top of the list, however, your actual personality type might be somewhat lower in it (usually it’s in the top 3).

This is from an enneagram test, which tells my we are not willing to show our true personality. Don’t you think we would be more contented with ourselves if we were able to incorporate the persona with personality? Thank-you.

The social mask is something that’s subconsciously created as a response to one’s environment. It’s a reaction.

One’s true personality is not known until the individual builds consciousness via processes like shadow work. Until then, they are divorced from many qualities about themselves (positive and negative) and engaged in self-deception. The goal of individuation is to bring the individual to a sense of wholeness.

The persona falls away during this process.

Thank-you Scott for your patient reply. However, from the quote on the enneagram test “Most people will be the type at the top of the list, however, your actual personality type might be somewhat lower in it (usually it’s in the top 3)” and your comment quote “One’s true personality is not known until the individual builds consciousness via processes like shadow work”.

There seems to be a conflict, are you suggesting the enneagram test people are wrong?

Perhaps there is not a conflict, I may be seeing the comments in a black and white perspective. I would like you to detail both quotes for me. Thank-you.

There’s no conflict here. The Enneagram is a typing system. Like any personality typing system, it can only highlight general predispositions of particular “types.” If you read any good book on the Enneagram, for example, you’ll resonate with many of the type descriptions. That’s why many individuals have difficulty zeroing in on their type. Their singular type represents a “center of gravity” — it’s not codifying who they are. Plus, there are nine levels of development for each type — from least healthy (9) to healthiest (1). Most people are in the mid to lower range (unhealthy to average mental health). Finally, as you develop your personality through inner work, you actually move toward a different type in the Enneagram (“path of integration”). Ultimately, the more one moves toward individuation the less any of these types become relevant. That’s part of the reason Jung didn’t approve of Myers-Briggs (MBTI). In his view, it missed the point of what psychological types represent.

Ilike the expression you used “center of gravity”. You have answered where the enneagram fits in to the individuation process. It does seem useful to consciously stay in your enneagram type. Thank-you. Perhaps you might elaborate on the phrase “center of gravity” …

“Center of gravity” is a term used in the developmental literature. There are all kinds of developmental stage models, including the Enneagram’s 9 levels, Loevinger’s ego development, Erikson’s psychosocial development, spiral dynamics integral, Maslow’s needs, etc. It’s a mistake to pigeonhole someone at a certain stage of any model. It’s more accurate to say that a person’s “center of gravity” is at a particular stage as it reflects the reality that we are complex beings with many parts. For example, with spiral dynamics, a person’s center of gravity value structure may be “green” (sensitive self) but that doesn’t mean they don’t they don’t also express orange (achievement) and blue (right-wrong morality) under different conditions.

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  • Aug 21, 2023

9 Ways To Start Your Self-Discovery Journey

Written by: vivien roggero , executive contributor, executive contributors at brainz magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise..

Executive Contributor Vivien Roggero

Self-discovery is an intrinsic pa rt of personal growth . It allows us to delve beyond the surface of our identities and explore the depths of our being. Our personalities, behaviors, and beliefs are not set in stone; they are continuously shaped and reshaped by our experiences and perceptions. Let's embark on this journey of self-discovery and uncover the richness that lies within us.

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Exploring the concept of self-discovery

Self-discovery is an enriching voyage that sheds light on our authentic selves. This journey uncovers our hidden depths, revealing who we truly are beyond our conditioned identities. The path to self-discovery invites us to question, explore, and ultimately transcend the labels and expectations imposed on us by society.

Benefits of self-discovery

Embarking on a journey of self-discovery opens the door to personal growth, emotional healing, and self-transformation. As we gain a deeper understanding of ourselves, we develop a clearer perception of our passions, aspirations, and purpose in life. Moreover, self-discovery nurtures self-acceptance, fostering a sense of peace and fulfillment within us.

I present to you 10 insightful steps to initiate your self-discovery journey. Each technique is rooted in introspection, self-examination, and heartfelt exploration. By integrating these steps into your routine, you can progressively peel back the layers of your identity and connect with your true essence.

1. Reflecting on your past

Understanding the role of past experiences in shaping your identity.

Our past experiences play a crucial role in shaping our identities. They influence our beliefs, behaviors, and emotional responses. Reflecting on these experiences can unearth deep-seated scripts that operate unconsciously, shaping our perceptions of ourselves and the world around us.

Journaling prompts to explore childhood memories

Journaling provides a safe space for introspection and self-expression. It enables us to delve into our childhood memories, explore pivotal moments, and dissect significant challenges. Journaling prompts can guide our exploration, helping us unearth our unconscious patterns and behaviors. Here are a few prompts to start with: what is your earliest memory? What events from your past do you often revisit in your mind?

Acknowledging patterns and behaviors that stem from past experiences

As we reflect on our past, we often discover patterns and behaviors that stem from our experiences. Recognizing these patterns is a significant step in our self-discovery journey. It allows us to understand why we behave in certain ways and provides insights into areas of our life that need healing and transformation.

2. Practicing mindfulness and self-awareness

Exploring mindfulness techniques for staying present.

Various mindfulness techniques can assist us in staying present and enhancing self-awareness. Practices such as deep breathing, body scans, and mindful observation focus our attention on the here and now, anchoring us in the present moment. These techniques not only ground us but also train our minds to become more focused, aware, and accepting.

Cultivating self-awareness through meditation and self-reflection

Meditation is a potent tool for cultivating self-awareness. It encourages us to introspect and observe our thoughts and emotions without judgment. Complementing meditation with regular self-reflection can greatly enhance our self-understanding, bringing us closer to our authentic selves. As we become more self-aware, we gain deeper insights into our actions, behaviors, and motivations, furthering our self-discovery journey.

Noticing your thoughts, emotions, and reactions without judgment

Self-discovery involves observing our thoughts, emotions, and reactions with openness and curiosity, free of judgment or criticism. As we become more mindful of our inner dialogue, we begin to identify recurring patterns and themes in our thought processes. This non-judgmental observation is a cornerstone of self-discovery, arousing self-compassion and leading to transformative personal insights.

3. Setting intentions and goals

Defining what you want to achieve through self-discovery.

The journey of self-discovery is fueled by our desire to understand ourselves better. It's essential to define what we hope to achieve through this process. Whether we aim to heal past wounds, understand our values, or discover our passions, having a clear objective guides our exploration and keeps us motivated on our journey.

Setting both short-term and long-term intentions

Setting intentions for personal growth is a dynamic process that involves short-term and long-term goals. Short-term intentions focus on immediate growth areas, providing momentum and instant gratification. Long-term intentions shape our overall journey, guiding our long-term growth and development.

Aligning your goals with your values and aspirations

Aligning your intentions and goals with your values and aspirations ensures that your self-discovery journey is authentic and fulfilling. These goals provide a roadmap for your exploration, highlighting areas of focus and growth. In alignment with your authentic self, these goals become potent motivators, fueling your journey with purpose and passion.

4. Exploring your passions and interests

Identifying hobbies, activities, and subjects that ignite your curiosity.

Your hobbies and interests reveal what genuinely excites and motivates you. Whether it's painting, hiking, reading, or dancing, these activities offer a window into your values, desires, and passions. Identifying and nurturing these interests can provide profound insights into your authentic self, guiding your self-discovery journey.

Trying new experiences and stepping out of your comfort zone

Stepping out of your comfort zone and trying new experiences can play a pivotal role in self-discovery. Each new experience, though potentially daunting, offers an opportunity to learn more about yourself, your strengths, and your limitations. Embrace novelty, for it is in the unknown that we often discover the most about ourselves.

Recognizing how your passions can provide insights into your authentic self

Your passions are not merely activities you enjoy; they are reflections of your inner self. They can provide valuable insights into who you are and what makes you truly happy. Recognizing this connection can transform your perspective on self-discovery, turning it from a daunting journey into an exciting exploration of your passions and interests.

5. Seeking different perspectives

Engaging in meaningful conversations with diverse individuals.

Engaging in conversations with people from diverse backgrounds, cultures, and experiences can offer rich insights. These interactions can illuminate different ways of thinking, challenge our existing beliefs, and inspire us to see the world from varied perspectives. Each conversation is an opportunity to learn and grow, making our self-discovery journey more comprehensive and insightful.

Reading books, articles, and listening to podcasts on personal development

Dive into books, articles, and podcasts that delve into personal development topics. These resources can provide you with wisdom and insights from experts, thought leaders, and individuals who have embarked on their self-discovery journeys. The lessons encapsulated in these resources can enhance your understanding and guide you on your self-discovery path.

Challenging your beliefs and expanding your worldview

Self-discovery is an invitation to challenge your beliefs and expand your worldview. It involves questioning and reevaluating your long-held assumptions, making way for new insights and perspectives. As you open your mind and challenge your beliefs, you pave the way for a deeper understanding of yourself and the world around you.

6. Embracing self-care and well-being

Prioritizing self-care routines that nourish your body and mind.

Develop self-care routines that nourish your body and mind. This could involve anything from regular exercise and healthy eating habits to mindfulness practices and engaging in activities you love. As you take care of your physical health, you also nurture your mental and emotional well-being, creating a strong foundation for your self-discovery journey.

Engaging in activities that promote relaxation and well-being

Find activities that help you relax and rejuvenate. This could be spending time in nature, practicing yoga, or indulging in a creative hobby. These activities foster relaxation and well-being, creating a balance in your life and promoting mental clarity crucial for self-discovery.

Recognizing the connection between self-care and self-discovery

Self-care and self-discovery are intrinsically connected. By taking care of yourself, you show respect and love for yourself, reinforcing your self-worth and boosting your self-esteem. This mutualistic relationship ensures that as you discover more about yourself, you continue to nurture and care for your ever-evolving identity.

7. Keeping a self-discovery journal

Starting a dedicated journal to document your self-discovery journey.

Kickstart your self-discovery journey by starting a dedicated journal. This journal serves as your personal space for exploration and reflection, allowing you to document your thoughts, feelings, and insights. As you journey through self-discovery, your journal becomes a testament to your growth, marking milestones and chronicling your transformation.

Writing about your thoughts, feelings, insights, and progress

Use your self-discovery journal to express your thoughts, feelings, insights, and progress. The act of writing down these experiences encourages introspection and enhances understanding. It allows you to delve deeper into your psyche and uncover patterns and perspectives that you may otherwise overlook.

Using journal prompts to delve deeper into various aspects of your identity

Journal prompts can be instrumental in unearthing different aspects of your identity. They provide a starting point for your introspection, guiding your thoughts and encouraging deeper exploration. Use prompts such as "What values are most important to me?", "What is my happiest memory?", or "What fears hold me back?" to stimulate reflection and discovery.

8. Seeking guidance and support

Exploring self-help books, workshops, and online resources.

Numerous self-help books, workshops, and online resources focus on self-discovery. These invaluable tools offer guidance, evidence-based techniques, and motivational anecdotes to enrich your self-discovery journey. Leverage these resources to deepen your understanding and navigate your journey more effectively.

Connecting with mentors, therapists, or coaches who specialize in self-discovery

Connecting with a mentor, therapist, o r life coach wh o specializes in self-discovery can be immensely beneficial. These professionals bring their expertise and experience to guide you, provide feedback, and offer techniques to handle personal challenges. Their outside perspective can shed new light on your experiences, accelerating your self-discovery journey.

Building a supportive network of friends and like-minded individuals

Surround yourself with supportive friends and like-minded individuals who understand and respect your journey. This supportive network can provide encouragement, share their experiences, and offer fresh perspectives. As you navigate the waters of self-discovery, this support system becomes your anchor, providing stability and reassurance.

9. Embracing change and growth

Emphasizing the importance of embracing change and being open to growth.

Change is an undeniable part of self-discovery. As you learn more about yourself, your perceptions, beliefs, and behaviors may evolve. Embrace these changes as necessary stages in your journey. They denote growth and the shedding of outdated or unhelpful patterns, signifying progress in your journey.

Celebrating your progress, no matter how small, along the self-discovery journey

Celebrating your progress, regardless of its size, is a crucial component of self-discovery. Every insight gained, every negative pattern acknowledged, every positive habit developed is a victory. These victories, big or small, indicate your growth and deserve recognition and celebration.

Understanding that self-discovery is an ongoing process with no final destination

Remember, self-discovery is an ongoing process with no definitive endpoint. As you evolve, so does your understanding of yourself. Continue to explore, question, and learn with an open heart and mind. Welcome this continuous journey of self-discovery as a growth-centered approach to living, a path that leads to self-awareness, acceptance, and personal transformation.

Recap of the 10 Transformative Steps to Start Your Self-Discovery Journey.

We've journeyed together through ten transformative steps towards self-discovery: reflecting on your past, practicing mindfulness, setting clear goals, exploring your passions, seeking different perspectives, embracing self-care, maintaining a self-discovery journal, seeking guidance, and embracing change. Each step offers a unique path towards understanding and expressing your authentic self.

Encouragement to Embark on This Path of Personal Growth and Exploration.

Embarking on the journey of self-discovery is like opening the door to a new world – a world that existed within you all along, waiting to be explored. It can present challenges, but the rewards of this journey are incalculable: genuine freedom, a deeper connection with yourself, and a richer, more fulfilling life. As you traverse the path of self-discovery, remember that every step, every revelation, and even every challenge adds to the richness of your journey.

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Read more from Vivien!

Vivien Roggero Brainz Magazine

Vivien Roggero, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Vivien Roggero is a certified Executive & Empowerment Coach and Entrepreneur. After 15 years of professional journey, expanding from Sales to IT Executive in some world-class startups’, losing his father to COVID, and going through a high-conflict divorce, he decided to dedicate his life to empowering people so they can live a fulfilling life. Those experiences also inspired him to create the One Freedom™ Framework, freedom and purpose-centric approach to life that helps his clients to accelerate their life design process and sculpt growth. His focus is to help clients who feel stuck in their professional or personal journeys or find struggles to re-navigate life after major life-changing events.

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12 Techniques to Help You Start Your Journey to Self-Discovery

...because you’re so worth knowing.

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If so, take comfort in knowing that, just as self-love looks, feels, and unfolds in wildly different ways from one person to the next, so does the practice of learning about yourself. And while your journey might involve traveling across oceans or leaning into a spiritual practice like meditation , the quest for self-discovery isn’t as simple as collecting stamps on your passport or stretching across a yoga mat .

So if you’ve been thinking about pulling the lid off of your unmet dreams, desires, passions, strengths, and values, stay with us. We rounded up the experts and asked them to share their self-discovery rituals, techniques, and tools, along with some empowering ideas to keep in mind as you explore deeper realms of who you are and who you wish to become.

Start a morning journaling practice.

Julia Cameron, bestselling author of The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity , coined the now-famous ritual she calls “morning pages,” which is essentially three pages of stream-of-consciousness writing to be completed upon waking. “Morning pages are like sending a telegram to the universe that says, ‘This is what I like. This is what I don’t like. This is what I want more of. This is what I want less of,’” Cameron tells Oprah Daily.

Don’t put pressure on yourself to perform for the pages, though. Cameron emphasizes that they’re designed to access your curiosities. “This disciplined daily practice is private, sacred, and full of surprises. Many people begin to find themselves fascinating. This is because morning pages train you to see your own worthiness,” she says.

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Take an audit of your relationships.

Terri Cole, licensed psychotherapist and author of Boundary Bos s , suggests kicking off your self-discovery journey with a brave and honest inventory of your relationships—particularly the ones that might be draining or toxic .

“Ask yourself, Where do I feel resentful, unseen, or taken advantage of? Before you can more deeply know yourself, you absolutely must determine your boundaries with others . You need to become more discerning about who gets access to you. Because not everyone should,” she tells Oprah Daily.

Make a list of things that delight you.

“Make an ‘okay’ and a ‘not okay’ list. It might contain things that either enhance or hinder your sense of ease. These small shifts are important because they offer ways of showing yourself that you’re worthy of your own attention and consideration,” says Cole.

For example, you might decide that your home will feel more cozy and inviting if you fill it with softer light and scented candles . Or it could simply be a matter of deciding that you need to craft a thoughtful email to your boss about your lack of work-life balance.

“The idea is to stop doing anything that goes against your constitution. Making small adjustments will allow you to experience more comfort and peace in all areas of your life,” says Cole.

Lean into a daily spiritual practice like meditation or yoga.

Ryan Haddon , spiritual life coach and meditation teacher, says that engaging in a quiet spiritual practice helps you recognize that any negative thoughts you have, no matter how loud or persistent, don’t have to run the show.

“We have upwards of 30,000 unconscious thoughts a day, most of which are negative. By curating a spiritual practice like meditation or yoga, you’re able to choose uplifting thoughts, rather than be at the mercy of the negative ones that lead you into a downward spiral. That’s true empowerment because you realize you have influence over your own mental and spiritual states,” she says.

Have a thoughtful, loving conversation with your inner child.

No matter how long you live, there will always be a child inside you, tugging at your attention, hoping to be acknowledged and comforted. Cole says that revisiting your vault of childhood wishes and wounds is a key part of any self-discovery journey, though it’s the part that makes most people roll their eyes.

“It can be difficult, but I’ve observed that you have to go back to the scene of the crime in order to understand why you are the way you are and why you’re sensitive to certain things. The child inside of you needs to be heard so that you can give your adult self permission to stop hiding or doing whatever it is that may have kept you from fully knowing yourself,” says Cole.

Pay attention to what lights you up.

What have you fantasized about doing for so long that you never got around to doing? It could be skydiving, studying a foreign language , or launching a side-hustle designing business. Or following your inspirations might simply look like carving out time each day to indulge in the books, documentaries, and podcasts that captivate you, says Rachel Rodgers, CEO of Hello Seven and author of We Should All Be Millionaires ,

Whether it’s combing through your old bucket lists, banging around on a piano, or curling up with a cup of coffee and a rapturous novel, focus on what makes you feel the most alive, even if it's just for a few minutes a day.

Consider leaving your comfort zone.

One of the easiest decisions in the world is to stay where you are. Rodgers stresses that self-discovery happens only when you’re willing to step into the future that you can’t stop dreaming about.

“Sometimes we feel trapped by the space that exists in between who we’ve been and who we want to be. There might be something you want to explore or try, but you’re afraid to let go of what’s familiar. If something is calling you, whether it's an adventure, a life change, or a new business idea, listen,” says Rodgers.

Know that when you get excited about your own growth and self-discovery, everyone wins.

If you aren’t acting from a place of authentic joy and fulfillment (when that's possible, at least), no one in your life will ever link arms with the best of you. So, attempt to prioritize yourself—we know, it's easier said than done—because if you want to serve the world, you’ve got to start by standing tall in your truth.

“I recommend that everyone sit down and brainstorm about 25 ways that they, their loved ones, and their community will benefit when they start prioritizing their needs and desires. Then read, reread, and add to the list often."

Of course, there are stages with every self-discovery journey, and some are more pleasant than others.

Over the years, Cameron has observed some interesting stages as readers move through her Artist’s Way program. In the beginning, there’s often a feeling of elation, quickly followed by a stretch of anger upon realizing the ways they may have settled in their life. Next comes a period of bargaining, which is then followed by the peaceful acceptance of one’s newfound evolution. And, finally, if one persists through the disorienting stages, there comes expansion, which Cameron says is the beautiful realization that it’s safe to take risks and reach for higher realms of fulfillment.

“Years ago, I taught these workshops where the rooms had these low-hanging styrofoam ceilings. You’d enter the space and think, Oh, wow, the ceiling is quite low. But then you realized you could tap it and move it to the side and see that there was actually 10 more feet of space above it. This is sort of how I see self-discovery. We often go through life thinking we’re a certain height—creatively, intellectually, spiritually. But as you start to tap the ceiling, you’re revealed to be so much more than you ever imagined,” says Cameron.

Remember that this journey is about you, and that you’re the one in control.

Deep exploration often invites big revelations. You might suddenly feel a flicker of desire to live a life that’s more adventurous and colorful, or to feel more seen and understood in your relationships. Or, perhaps, you might realize that you feel like you’re a hostage to a career or a lifestyle. The process can be intense and overwhelming, and you might feel pressured to act upon those epiphanies with haste. If so, Cole says it’s critical to remember that you don't have to burn the village down, so to speak. In fact, much of self-discovery and personal transformation can happen with a whisper.

“Don’t fear the personal inventories and discoveries, because you don’t have to change or blow up anything right away. The process can be gentle, and can simply look like getting honest with yourself about the things that feel right and the things that don’t. You can even stay in a situation, if you choose, but you’ll be doing it mindfully. And that’s the root of all self-discovery,” she says.

Embrace the ongoing process of your personal evolution.

While it’s tempting to view self-discovery as some shining destination on high, that’s not reality. Self-discovery is more of an ongoing pilgrimage that we make throughout our lives—sometimes one that’s jagged and lopsided, with unexpected stops, disorienting detours, and restarts.

Rodgers says we should give ourselves grace and freedom to revise our needs as the seasons change and the years pass. “Never stop discovering new levels of who you are and what you want. Constantly reevaluate your schedule, your priorities, and your life,” she says.

Coles believes that, in essence, self-discovery is the audacious act of choosing to no longer be driven by the wounds of the past, and deciding to become increasingly self-aware and self-determined. It’s about seeking the progressive realization of your own happiness, and discovering that the only life you can ever truly save is your own.

“Knowledge is power, but self-knowledge is the most powerful. This whole journey is one long, beautiful inquiry—an inquiry about knowing you,” says Cole. “And, I promise you, whatever that entails, you are so worth knowing.”

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Lacey Johnson is a writer and editor whose has contributed to Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, Woman’s Day, POPSUGAR and others, and is the founder of The Wonder Report. She feels most at home in airports, and is a radical seeker of engrossing conversation. Also a coffee connoisseur.

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Uncovering Your True Self: The Path to Personal Growth

Are you ready to embark on a transformative journey of self-discovery? Uncovering your true self is the key to unlocking personal growth and fulfillment. In a world filled with noise and distractions, it’s crucial to find stillness and reflect upon your innermost thoughts and desires. Through this process, you will gain invaluable insights into your strengths, weaknesses, and true identity. So, take a moment to pause, delve deep within, and embark on a path of self-discovery like never before.

Table of Contents

Key Takeaways

  • Self-reflection and stillness are essential for discovering oneself
  • Understanding one’s true identity is more important than striving to be someone else
  • Identifying strengths and weaknesses through trial and error is crucial in self-discovery
  • Pursuing passion leads to a deeper understanding of oneself and drives continuous growth

The Importance of Self-Reflection and Stillness

Take a moment to be still and reflect on yourself; embracing silence and solitude can help you uncover your true self. The power of silence lies in its ability to quiet the noise of the outside world and allow you to listen to your inner voice. In the stillness, you can explore your thoughts, emotions, and desires without distractions. Embracing solitude provides the space for self-reflection, where you can dive deep into your thoughts and gain a clearer understanding of who you are. It is in these quiet moments that you can uncover your true self, separate from societal expectations and external influences. Embrace the power of silence and the solitude it brings, for it is in these moments that you can truly discover your authentic self.

Understanding True Identity

Discovering who you truly are and understanding your true identity is more important than who you want to be. Exploring self-awareness and unveiling your true potential are key in this journey. To understand your true identity, it is helpful to take personality tests and StrengthsFinder tests. These tests provide insights into your strengths and how they fit into the bigger picture. Repeating these tests after a few years can offer new perspectives. Identifying your strengths and weaknesses is an important part of self-discovery. It involves trial and error and knowing when to quit, not giving up, but making room for something better. Focusing on your strengths reveals your true self. Pursuing your passion also leads to a deeper understanding of yourself. It drives continuous effort and produces results. Seeking feedback from others is valuable in the process of self-discovery. It provides insights, reveals areas for personal growth, and offers a different perspective on yourself. Remember, understanding your true identity is crucial for personal growth and success.

Personality Tests and StrengthsFinder

Embracing personality tests and the StrengthsFinder assessment provides valuable insights into your unique strengths and how they contribute to the bigger picture. By exploring your strengths and weaknesses, you can gain a deeper understanding of yourself. This self-reflection is crucial for personal growth.

  • Discovering your strengths: Personality tests and the StrengthsFinder assessment help you identify your natural talents and abilities. They provide a framework for understanding how your gifts fit into the bigger picture.
  • Recognizing your weaknesses: Self-reflection allows you to acknowledge areas where you may need improvement. This awareness is essential for personal growth and development.
  • The impact of self-reflection on personal growth: By taking the time to reflect on your strengths and weaknesses, you can make informed decisions about your future. Self-reflection allows you to align your passions and interests with your career and life choices. It empowers you to pursue a path that is authentic and fulfilling. Embrace the opportunity to explore your strengths and weaknesses, and watch as your personal growth unfolds.

Repeating Tests for Fresh Perspectives

To gain new insights, try retaking personality tests and the StrengthsFinder assessment. Repeating these tests can provide a fresh perspective on your true self and contribute to personal growth. Self-reflection is relevant in personal growth because it allows you to examine your strengths and weaknesses, identify areas for improvement, and discover your true identity. Seeking feedback from others plays a vital role in self-discovery as it offers different perspectives and reveals areas for personal growth and development. Feedback helps you understand how others perceive you and can enhance the quality of your relationships. By retaking these tests and seeking feedback, you can uncover new insights about yourself, refine your understanding of your strengths, and continue on the path to personal growth and self-discovery.

Identifying Strengths and Weaknesses

Identifying your strengths and weaknesses is essential for understanding yourself and making progress in your journey of self-discovery. It allows you to have a clear picture of who you are and what areas you need to work on. Here are three reasons why it is important:

  • Overcoming self-doubt: By identifying your strengths, you can build confidence and overcome self-doubt. Knowing what you are good at can help you silence those negative thoughts and embrace your abilities.
  • Embracing vulnerability: Recognizing your weaknesses requires vulnerability. It takes courage to acknowledge areas where you may struggle. Embracing vulnerability allows you to grow and learn from your weaknesses, turning them into opportunities for improvement.
  • Personal growth: Understanding your strengths and weaknesses is crucial for personal growth. It enables you to focus on your strengths, enhancing your performance and overall satisfaction. Additionally, it helps you identify areas where you can develop and improve, fostering continuous growth.

Trial and Error in Self-Discovery

Take risks and learn from your mistakes as you navigate the journey of self-discovery. Embracing a trial and error approach is essential in uncovering your true self. Learning from your mistakes allows you to grow and evolve into a better version of yourself. It is through these experiences that you gain valuable insights and discover what truly resonates with you. Embrace the uncertainty and embrace the possibility of failure, for it is in these moments that you learn the most about yourself. Embrace the lessons learned from your mistakes and use them as stepping stones towards personal growth. Remember, self-discovery is a continuous process, and each mistake is an opportunity for growth and self-improvement. Embrace the journey and embrace the power of trial and error in uncovering your true self.

Knowing When to Quit

Embracing self-reflection and stillness allows you to recognize when it’s time to quit and make room for something better. Knowing when to quit is a valuable skill that requires self-reflection and accepting limitations. Here are five reasons why knowing when to quit is important:

  • Self-reflection: Taking the time to reflect on your goals and progress helps you evaluate whether it’s time to quit or continue.
  • Accepting limitations: Understanding your limitations helps you assess if you’re on the right path or if it’s time to quit and explore other opportunities.
  • Avoiding burnout: Recognizing when to quit prevents burnout and allows you to redirect your energy towards more fulfilling endeavors.
  • Making room for growth: Quitting something that no longer serves you creates space for new experiences and personal growth.
  • Finding better opportunities: Quitting opens doors to new and better opportunities that align with your true passions and strengths.

Focusing on Strengths

When you focus on your strengths, you gain clarity on what truly makes you exceptional. Exploring hidden talents and leveraging strengths for success are essential steps in uncovering your true self. Take the time to discover what you excel at and what brings you joy. By understanding and embracing your strengths, you can maximize your potential and achieve greater success. Look for opportunities to develop and apply your strengths in various aspects of your life, whether it be in your career, relationships, or personal hobbies. Remember that focusing on your strengths doesn’t mean ignoring your weaknesses, but rather prioritizing your strengths to create a foundation for growth and fulfillment. Embrace your unique abilities and let them guide you on the path to self-discovery and personal growth.

Pursuing Passion

Following your passion allows you to explore new interests and gain a deeper understanding of who you are. Pursuing your passion brings numerous benefits and helps you find purpose in your life. When you engage in activities that you are passionate about, you experience a sense of fulfillment and joy. Passion drives your continuous effort and commitment, leading to personal growth and success. By focusing on your passion, you can uncover your true self and discover what truly matters to you. It provides a platform for self-expression and allows you to showcase your unique talents and abilities. Through passion, you can connect with like-minded individuals and build a supportive network. Ultimately, following your passion leads to a more meaningful and purposeful life.

The Benefits of Passion in Work and Life

Now that you’ve explored the concept of pursuing passion, it’s time to delve into the benefits of passion in work and life. Passion plays a vital role in personal fulfillment and can have a profound impact on both your professional and personal endeavors. Here are some key benefits to consider:

  • Enhanced motivation: When you’re passionate about something, you’re naturally more motivated to put in the effort and achieve excellence.
  • Increased resilience: Passion fuels resilience, allowing you to bounce back from setbacks and challenges with renewed determination.
  • Greater satisfaction: Engaging in work or activities that align with your passion brings a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction that can positively impact your overall well-being.
  • Unleashed creativity: Passion ignites your creative spark, leading to innovative ideas and solutions.
  • Improved performance: When you’re passionate about what you do, you’re more likely to excel, as you’re driven by a genuine love and enthusiasm for your work.

Seeking Feedback for Personal Growth

Asking for feedback from others can provide valuable insights and a fresh perspective on who you are and how you can improve. Receiving constructive criticism is an essential part of personal growth. Seeking feedback from mentors and coaches allows you to gain valuable insights into your strengths and weaknesses. Their guidance and perspective can help you identify areas for improvement and develop a plan for growth. Feedback from others can also challenge your assumptions and beliefs, allowing you to see yourself in a new light. Embracing feedback and being open to constructive criticism is a sign of maturity and a willingness to grow. So, don’t be afraid to ask for feedback and use it as a tool for self-discovery and personal development.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can self-reflection and stillness help in uncovering one’s true self.

Self-reflection and stillness unleash your inner potential. By taking time to be alone with your thoughts and flaws, you can uncover your true self. Embracing silence is the key to personal growth.

What Is the Difference Between Who You Truly Are and Who You Want to Be?

The difference between who you truly are and who you want to be lies in self-acceptance. Embrace your authentic self, accepting both strengths and flaws, to find true happiness and personal growth.

How Do Personality Tests and Strengthsfinder Tests Assist in Understanding One’s Strengths?

Personality tests and StrengthsFinder tests help you understand your strengths. They provide insights into how your gifts fit into the bigger picture. Understanding your strengths impacts career satisfaction and personal growth.

Why Is It Recommended to Repeat These Tests After a Few Years?

Repeating self-assessment tests after a few years is recommended to understand changes in your strengths and gain new perspectives. It helps identify evolving areas for personal growth and benefits your self-discovery journey.

How Does Focusing on Strengths Reveal One’s True Self?

Focusing on your strengths reveals your true self by highlighting your natural abilities and what brings you joy. It allows you to fully embrace who you are and align your actions with your authentic self.

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Unmasking Yourself Through A Journey Of Self-Discovery

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3 Simple Steps to Launch Your Self-Discovery Journey

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How often do you stop and think about what you want to do with your life? If you're like me, then you do it often. Understanding what you want to do with your life is less challenging when you focus on self-discovery—discovering who you are. While the journey of self-discovery is an ongoing process, meaning there is no final destination, there are some tactics you can use to start.

In this article, you'll learn of the three pillars of self-discovery from my forthcoming book, You Deserve This Sh!t: Flood Your Life With Consciousness, Step Into Your Power, and Become the Best Version of Yourself (get on the waitlist below with everyone else!). These are the pillars I developed and used to discover who I am and what I want in life. They can do the same for you, too.

What Is Self-discovery?

Self-discovery is a process of understanding your own character and becoming aware of your potential and motives.  It's not a journey to discover someone new, it’s a journey to break down the barriers within yourself to discover who your soul always knew you were.

If you discover yourself,  you’re able to tap into your passions, figure out your life’s purpose—the reason you get up in the morning—and learn what motivates you. Ultimately, discovering who you are and what you want to do allows you to unlock the best version of yourself.

Why Your Journey of Self-discovery Is Important

Without discovering yourself—understanding your purpose, passions, potential, and motives—you’ll never achieve something better than what you have now. You’ll choose to live a life inundated by unconsciousness and the pain that comes along with it. So, the ball is in your court, what are you going to choose?

Three Pillars of Self-discovery

One purpose of this article is to teach you the three pillars of self-discovery—awareness, comfort zones, and intentional living—you’ll need these tools for your journey. Learning about these pillars will help you discover who you are and aid you in the process of becoming the best version of yourself. When you discover who you are, you’ll be set free of taking the wrong paths in life.

1. Awareness

Do you take notice of all that’s happening around you, from significant to seemingly insignificant things? Or, do you let life pass in front of your eyes missing potential opportunities to capitalize on your growth?

Discovering and re-inventing yourself is a whole lot easier when you practice awareness and self-awareness. Awareness is the ability to recognize what’s happening around you. It lets you understand your character, feelings, and what inspires you.

Your awareness will help you begin to realize what moves you physically, emotionally, and mentally. It will most importantly allow you to see what you want to chase and follow. If we want to create change, if we want to design the trajectory of our life, we need to embrace our awareness. That starts now.

Tips to Master Your Awareness

  •   Start to journal: Journaling is my bread and butter. If you're familiar with my work, you know this is one tool I hope to instill in other people. Journaling lets you uncover areas of your life you didn't know existed, help you become aware of your thoughts, and allows you to self-reflect, which is key to becoming the best version of yourself.
  •   Look for the small things in life: Practicing mindfulness—the practice of being aware of something—is crucial when mastering your awareness. As you begin to take note of all the small things in life, you’ll begin to open a new door to your awareness and find ways to improve certain areas of your life. Sometimes those seemingly insignificant things can teach you a great deal about yourself and others around you.
  •   Ask yourself honest (and hard) questions:  The right questions are ones that hurt to ask and also hurt to answer. Begin to ask yourself questions about your life, happiness, stress, grief, and actions. This can be a way to learn more about yourself, as it allows you to examine your own actions and motives in life.
  •   Adapt to your surroundings:  As your awareness increases, you’ll start to realize that life may be urging you to move in a specific direction. Take notice of this and evolve with that urge. Don’t resist going where life is asking you to go. Most of the time we hit a growth ceiling because we are too weary of where life wants to take us and choose to remain the same. However, when we let go and adapt to our surroundings we can go to unimaginable places.
  •   Practice meditation: Similar to journaling, meditation is another way to look inward and learn more about yourself. When we silence our minds, we're able to have profound realizations. We live in an age where you can find endless amounts of guided meditations on YouTube that range in length. That is where I started my mediation journey, and it's the perfect place for you too if you're looking to take this step in your life.

2. Comfort Zones

Your comfort zone is the place you feel most comfortable. It’s a stress-free zone where you know there will be no unexpected surprises or events. Although it’s in our nature to retreat to this zone, it shouldn’t be in our best interest. Exponential personal and professional growth typically happens by putting ourselves in unique situations that will challenge us to become better.

These situations likely never exist in our comfort zone. It may be difficult to understand at first, but it’s crucial to chase something unfamiliar that keeps you on your toes. Constant newness in your life will allow you to adapt to your surroundings and learn how to overcome difficult situations, ones that push you further along in your journey.

Whether you believe it or not, achieving any goal—even the goal of living comfortably—will require you to put yourself in some sort of uncomfortable situation or position. Everything in life begins to flourish outside our comfort zones. That’s where the magic happens

Tips to Become Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable

  • Build trust with yourself: You are your own biggest critic, which sometimes makes it challenging to live outside your comfort zone. You must build trust within yourself first. To do so, you need to fill your mind with positive self-talk. It’s as simple as that. Tell yourself “I can and I will.” Feed your brain the mental nutrition it needs to realize that you’re not only in control of your destiny, but you trust yourself to stand for uniqueness.
  • Reject the normal:  Grasp the understanding that you need to live the life that you want and not how others think you should live. I’ve come to realize sometimes that in order to do that, you must reject what people perceive as “normal.” Don’t search for acceptance. Surround yourself with genuine people who support your journey, they will accept you for who you are.
  • Give yourself permission to be the beginner: Don’t get me wrong, being a beginner is never an easy situation. But, you must realize that being a beginner is part of learning anything new. It’s integral to gaining the skills you need to take a craft, hobby, or passion to where you envision it to go. Give yourself permission to be a beginner and begin to understand that it’s in those moments you’ll learn skills that will help shape your path.
  • Embrace your curiosity:  Curiosity is innate within all of us. However, it’s been trained out of us since a young age. As kids, we’re at a curious high—we explore everything and experiment with our environment. But as we get older, it’s looked down upon to try something new or different because you may fail. Forget about what society has made you believe. Embrace your inner child—your original or true self—and use your curiosity to your advantage. It changed my life, and it can change yours, too.
  • Learn how to use failure to your advantage:  Up until now, you’ve probably seen failure as a negative. However, with a simple mindset shift, you can leverage failure and use it to help you grow. See it as an opportunity to learn a lesson that will help you get to your next stepping stone. Failure is your teammate if you’re willing to lean into it.

3. Intentional Living

Do you want to make impactful decisions in your life that revolve around your beliefs and values? If you answered yes, then choose to lead a life of intentional living.

Intentional living consists of making choices that keep you connected with your life values. Choosing to live intentionally is a decision, it’s a commitment, it’s a promise you need to make with yourself. The decisions you make on a daily basis define you now and will define your future. With that in mind, this means you’re able to choose a life that matters—one that you want to lead.

Living intentionally doesn’t need to be complicated. It will only become complicated if you make it so. Instead, let go of doing it perfectly, stop overthinking, and trust your gut. Make decisions that feel right, the ones that represent the person you want to be or become. You can do it, trust me.

Tips to Live an Intentional Life

  • Form a routine: The easiest way to be in the driver seat of your day is to create a morning practice that gives you the keys. Morning routines can help improve your attitude, performance, and overall energy. So, why would you not have one? Be sure to create a morning routine that works for your goals and schedule.
  • Embody positive thinking:  Your thoughts are energy. They cause change both internally and externally—your mind and your actions. Your mindset truly matters, and it can be a powerful aspect to unlocking the maximum version of your character.
  • Consciously choose your life style:  Your choices and decisions can dictate your life’s path. If you want to chase a specific life or create change, you must take charge and create that world for yourself through a lifestyle developed by intentional choices. To do so, prepare to choose your lifestyle, remember the “why” behind your choice, evaluate the outcome, benefits, and repercussions, and always follow through with your choice.
  • Aim to create good, intentional habits:  We all have our personal goals, whether they relate to your journey of self-discovery, or something else. However, to achieve these goals we must form habits—a system—that help us get to where we want to be. You can form new, intentional habits by asking the right questions about what habits are missing and what (negative) habits need to go, incorporating the new habit into your life, evaluating its future potential for your life, and letting the habit become second nature.
  • Dream big, really big:  Anytime you create a vision for yourself, remember that your life will be as big as your aspirations—your dreams. Don’t be afraid to dream your wildest dreams, it’s these intentions that will take you to your highest potential. Don’t sell yourself short, aim high, and chase exactly what you want, regardless of how “impossible” it feels at first.

The Truth About Self-discovery

Now, I'm going to be honest because that's what any good friend would do. The journey of self-discovery does not have an ending, meaning discovering who you are is an ongoing process. I'm not saying you'll never discover your true self; however, there will always be more to learn and areas where you can dig deeper.

You will encounter different phases of your journey, and with each phase, you'll start to understand yourself more. Your journey of self-discovery will become the healthiest addiction in your life. Embrace the process because life becomes a whole lot more exciting when you're uncovering new parts of your soul.

Bottom Line

Self-discovery, or discovering who you were always meant to be, is an on-going process that begins by making a commitment to living the life you want to live. By using the three pillars of self-discovery—awareness, comfort zones, and intentional living—you can flood your life with consciousness, step into your power, and become the best version of yourself.

How are you going to start your journey of self-discovery? Let me know in the comments below.

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Expand Your Mind & Choose Change

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John Kim LMFT

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Your 20s: Embrace the Journey of Self-Discovery

A personal perspective: valuable lessons to learn during a pivotal decade..

Posted June 26, 2023 | Reviewed by Devon Frye

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Your 20s can be an exciting and transformative phase of your life. It’s a time when you’re expected to figure out your path, forge relationships, and make significant life decisions. However, amid all the pressure and uncertainty, it’s crucial to remember a few essential things.

So, let’s take a closer look at some valuable lessons to carry with you during this pivotal decade.

Firstly, don’t fret about where or who you’ll be in five years. Similar to how you reflect on high school with a desire for different choices, understand that you might feel the same way about your 20s in the future. Acknowledge this and use it as motivation to make different decisions today. Focus on the present moment and work on building a healthy relationship with yourself above all else.

In a world that often glorifies busyness and constant achievement, remember to slow down and appreciate today. It’s perfectly alright to not have all the answers or a concrete plan for the future. Instead of trying to prove something to others, seek personal growth and validation from within. Allow yourself to be vulnerable, shattering the veneer of perfection and embracing your true self.

Speak up and be heard. Your voice matters, and expressing your thoughts and feelings is essential for personal growth. Establishing clear boundaries is crucial for your mental and emotional well-being. Draw a line between what is acceptable and what is not, and don’t be afraid to enforce those boundaries.

Tap into your inner strength as much as possible. Cultivate your solid self —the part of you that remains constant, regardless of external circumstances. It will be your anchor during challenging times. Engage in activities that make you sweat, physically and mentally. Exercise, move your body, and embrace the power of endorphins. Additionally, consider seeking therapy or counseling as a means of processing your emotions and experiences.

Travel, if possible. Exploring new places and cultures can broaden your perspective, challenge your assumptions, and help you discover more about yourself. Embrace the discomfort that comes with the unknown and learn to adapt to different environments.

Avoid compartmentalizing people. Embrace diversity and inclusivity in your relationships. Connect with individuals from various backgrounds and perspectives, and learn from their experiences. Love fearlessly, even if you’ve been hurt before. Open your heart to new possibilities and allow yourself to experience deep connections.

Practice gratitude daily. Appreciating the small things in life can shift your focus from what’s lacking to what you already have. Adopting a clean and healthy eating lifestyle can have a positive impact on your physical and mental well-being. Remember that your worth is not determined by a number on a scale.

Take charge of your life and avoid playing the victim. Instead, cultivate forgiveness and compassion. Holding grudges and harboring resentment will only weigh you down. Forgiveness liberates you and allows you to move forward with a lighter heart.

Don’t let the opinions of others dictate your actions. Live life on your terms and step out of the line if it doesn’t align with your values and desires. Embrace your unique story, with all its ups and downs. Avoid chasing money for the sake of it; instead, seek truth, meaning, and fulfillment.

Lastly, be patient. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your journey will unfold at its own pace. Trust the process and believe in your ability to navigate the challenges that come your way.

As you venture through your 20s, remember that it’s a time for self-discovery, growth, and exploration. Embrace the lessons, take risks, and learn from your experiences. This decade will shape you into the person you’re meant to be.

John Kim LMFT

John Kim, LMFT , pioneered an online coaching movement called Lumia Coaching years ago when he started working in unconventional ways. He continues to ride his motorcycle to sessions all over LA, meeting clients in coffee shops, gyms, on hikes. He's a published best selling author and speaker.

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Exploring Identity: Embracing the Process of Self-Discovery

Exploring Identity: Embracing the Process of Self-Discovery

The journey of self-discovery is a profound and transformative experience that allows us to explore the depths of our identity. Through this exploration, we gain insight into our beliefs, values, and unique qualities. However, this journey can also be accompanied by challenges and moments of confusion. In this article, we will delve into the significance of exploring identity and the importance of embracing the process of self-discovery. Whether you're seeking to understand yourself better or facing identity-related challenges, this guide aims to shed light on the value of seeking support through Identity Problems Counselling in London  to navigate this journey with clarity and self-awareness.

1. Unraveling the Complexity of Identity

Identity is not a fixed entity but a complex and dynamic interplay of various factors. Our experiences, cultural background, and personal beliefs all contribute to shaping who we are. However, this complexity can sometimes lead to feelings of uncertainty or disconnection. Embracing the process of self-discovery involves accepting the intricacies of your identity without judgment. If you find yourself grappling with questions about your identity, consider seeking professional guidance through Identity Problems Counselling in London . A skilled counsellor can provide valuable insights, helping you navigate the labyrinth of your identity journey.

2. The Role of Therapy in Identity Exploration

Identity exploration can be a deeply introspective and transformative process. It's an opportunity to delve into your inner world, understand your emotions, and gain clarity about your values and goals. Identity Problems Therapy in London offers a supportive and non-judgmental space to explore your identity challenges. Through therapy, you can develop coping strategies and a deeper understanding of yourself, empowering you to navigate the journey of self-discovery with resilience and confidence.

3. Embracing Growth and Self-Awareness

As you explore your identity, remember that this journey is not solely about finding definitive answers but embracing growth and self-awareness. Self-discovery is a process of continuous learning and acceptance. If you encounter roadblocks or internal conflicts along the way, remember that seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness. Embrace the resources available, such as Identity Problems Treatment in London , to assist you on this transformative path. Treatment options tailored to your unique needs can provide specialized interventions to help you overcome challenges and foster personal growth.

Conclusion: Embracing the Journey of Self-Discovery

Exploring identity is a journey of courage, self-reflection, and acceptance. Embrace the complexity of your identity and seek support through Identity Problems Counselling in London  to navigate this path with clarity and understanding. Engage in Identity Problems Therapy in London to delve into your inner world and develop resilience along the way. Embrace the process of self-discovery with the support of Identity Problems Treatment in London , empowering you to foster personal growth and self-awareness. Remember that this journey is a valuable opportunity to embrace your uniqueness, celebrate your authentic self, and discover the person you are meant to become.

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Destiny's Odyssey

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Self Discovery

Self-Discovery is a lifelong journey of exploration through our inner self, trying to discover who we are, our potential, our purpose in life, and what core principles are guiding us to take different paths along the way. The journey starts with self awareness then explores personal interests as well as hopes and dreams for the future. The journey eventually leads us to self knowledge which will enable us to guide ourselves towards situations and experiences in which we will thrive.

Self-discovery is a fundamental component of personal growth. We must take the time to discovery who we are as a person. This is accomplished through self-reflection. Self-reflection allows us to think about and examine our actions, preferences, feeling, values, beliefs, emotions, and tendencies. Since we are all different in the way we think, feel, act, learn, and perceive the world, it is beneficial to take the time to reflect in order to gain a better insight into ourselves. Self-discovery is a way for us to explore our individual personalities, natural preferences, values, beliefs, preferred styles and tendencies. The ultimate destination of this journey is finding out who we are and what makes use unique.

“We must not cease from exploration and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we began and to know the place for the first time.” – TS Eliot

Self Discovery Quote

Process of Self-Discovery

The process of self-discovery is one in which a person is guided, through self-questioning and examination of one’s own thoughts, words, and actions, in order to reach his or her own conclusions regarding who they truly are.  Through the process a person gains a deeper understanding of his or her own self, character, values, and purpose in life.  He or she also becomes more aware of his or her potential.

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes

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The Process of Self-Discove ry   is broken down into four segments;

Self-Awareness  – Increasing understanding of who you are, your personal characteristics, your tendencies, your emotions, your needs, and your value.

Interest Awareness  – Establishing your personal interests

Hopes and Dreams  – Listing your hopes and dreams for the future.

Career Discovery  – Finding a career that corresponds to your personality and interest.

“The purpose of life is to discover your gift. The meaning of life is to give it away.” -David Viscot


The first step in the self-discovery process is self-reflection. You must make the time to stop and really think about who you are.  Quiet meditation and reflection will allow you to refocus your mind and concentrate on your inner self, and allow you to examine the way you “see” yourself.  Self-Reflection allows you to explore your individual personality, natural preferences, values, beliefs, preferred styles and tendencies in order to become self-aware. You can also reflect on your personal interests, your dreams, and what you would like to do for a living.  

“A man travels the world over in search of what he needs, and returns home to find it.” – George Moore  

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Solo Traveler

Solo travel tips, destinations, stories... the source for those who travel alone.

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A Journey of Self-Discovery: Be Good at Being You

Janice Waugh

November 17, 2022 by Janice Waugh

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Solo travel serves us in so many ways. As all travelers, we learn about the world. As solo travelers we also learn more about ourselves. A solo trip is a journey of self-discovery.

Let's face it, your longest relationship in life won't be with your parents, a sister or brother, partner or friend. It will be with yourself.

From birth to death, you are with you. You will keep your many confidences, your dreams of the night, and your dreams of daylight. Perhaps your missteps (you alone can really complete any forgiveness needed) and your victories (the ones that are huge to you but too small to share) will be held as well.

Your relationship with yourself is crucial to your happiness. It is fundamental to successful relationships with others. You need you as your best friend. You need to be good at being you.

This is what takes me to solo travel as a journey of self-discovery.

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What Is Self-Discovery?

10 Best this, Top 100 that: we live in a world driven by comparisons.

We tend to do the same in our personal lives. Caroline McHugh, in her 2013 TED Talk,  The Art of Being You , refers to the tendency to draw personal comparisons in real life and on social media as an addiction to approval. This addiction is distracting and uses energy that could be applied in more satisfying ways.

The journey of self-discovery is the process of understanding yourself without drawing comparisons to others. It's about knowing your values, interests, needs, wants, skills, and dreams. It's about knowing your personal characteristics, including your strengths and weaknesses.

Armed with heightened awareness through self-discovery, we are more conscious of our authentic selves and better able to make choices for more meaningful, happy lives.

This is where solo travel comes in. Extracting yourself from a world of comparisons by traveling solo, that internal dialogue that draws such conclusions falls silent. In the silence, the process of self-discovery has space to take place.

journey of self-discovery involves reaching into new interest areas

Solo Travel: A Journey to Self-Discovery

Traveling solo, one has time to gain perspective.

As you travel solo, you can see how you operate when no one is looking. You have more time to look at the intentions behind your thoughts, words, and actions. Because you are outside of your normal life, you can see these intentions, assess them, and tweak them to create the life that you want. It helps you be better at being you.

5 Steps to Self-Discovery As You Travel Solo

  • Choose a destination that feels physically and emotionally safe . If you want to focus on self-discovery, it's important to go to a place where you feel safe and secure. You can learn things when you are in challenging destinations but it won't be the type of discoveries we're talking about here.
  • Go to places of solitude . Parks, libraries, art galleries, and other places that invite you to be quiet and keep to yourself will give you time and space for contemplation on your journey of self-discovery. Seeing where your mind wanders when not engaged in anything in particular is fascinating to observe and revealing in itself. Your mind will naturally drift to topics of interest about which you may be unaware. You may even reconnect with the dreams of your younger self. Consider whether they continue to inspire you or may already have been realized.
  • Leave lots of unscheduled time on your itinerary . As you explore your destination, you will naturally find or learn about things that you want to explore that you hadn't previously known about. Leaving unscheduled time on your itinerary gives you the freedom to respond to opportunities as they arise.
  • Look for inspiration in new places . Are you a musician? Explore the local sports scene. Are you an artist? Go to a science center. As you travel solo, explore areas of interest that are not natural to you. Drawing inspiration from new places can take your thoughts and ideas into new directions.
  • Spend time reflecting. Whether you're a note-taker, doodler, or audio person, spend some time reflecting on and documenting your thoughts, strengths, interests, and discoveries.

There are a number of paths to self-discovery. This post on Self-Coaching will provide some insight for you on methods and questions to ask in your self-discovery process.

I encourage you to use solo travel as part of your self-discovery journey. Take the time to learn who you are now because you are not the person you were in your teens, a decade ago, or even last year. Solo travel also offers an opportunity to explore and practice who you want to be.

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The content of Solo Traveler and any resources published by Solo Traveler are meant for entertainment and inspiration only. Please note that while we have advertising clients promoting destinations, products, services, trips and tours on Solo Traveler and that we endeavour to only work with companies in which we have confidence, we are not responsible for the delivery or quality of their products or services. Every person and every travel situation is different. Your safety, satisfaction and fun traveling solo are your responsibility alone and not that of Solo Traveler, its publisher, editor and/or writers.

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50 self-discovery questions for getting to know the real you

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The benefits of introspective questions

Starting a self-discovery journey

50 self-discovery questions for 5 areas of your life, other ways to learn more about yourself, meet the most important person in your life: yourself.

When was the last time you checked in with yourself? 

Sometimes life becomes hectic, and you don’t have time to look inward. Without self-reflection , you might feel overcome by stress , start to self-pity , and lose track of the things you really care about. This is normal and can happen to anyone, regardless of occupation or level of happiness .

The good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way forever. Whether you’re experiencing burnout or imposter syndrome , taking the time to ask self-discovery questions and learn more about yourself can help you take steps to feel better . 

Practicing positive self-talk and self-care are some of the best ways to stay on top of your mental health. In fact, 75% of Americans believe self-care can alleviate stress , and integrating it into your life gives you more control over how you feel and react.

You might find that your feelings and emotions are hard to identify. When you make a mistake at work , are you angry at the situation, or disappointed in yourself? When you fail to communicate with your partner, are you sad, annoyed, or furious (or a combination of all three)?

Asking get-to-know-yourself questions, whether about a specific situation or your general feelings, can help you better identify your emotions and learn about the nature of your personal values , needs, and wants in all parts of your life. From there, you’ll discover how best to deal with inevitable bumps in the road.

Other benefits of pondering deep personal questions include:

  • Increasing self-awareness
  • Improving mental fitness  
  • Discovering and nurturing your uniqueness 
  • Learning how to identify and communicate your feelings
  • Developing healthy relationships 
  • Strengthening emotional intelligence
  • Improving decision-making skills

Learning more about your feelings takes more than just asking questions. The first step in a self-discovery journey is believing you’re worthy of the time and effort it takes to take care of yourself.

Overcoming automatic negative thoughts actually takes mental training . It’s impossible to completely eradicate judgmental self-talk, but practice is the best way to question those statements and remember your positive qualities. This is your chance to put your thoughts on trial and test them for authenticity : where are these thoughts coming from, and are they actually true? 

Stopping to think honestly about who you really are and what you really feel will help you take better care of yourself. You’ll recognize your strengths and weaknesses and find what a good self-care practice might look like for you.

Once you start, don’t stop. To unlock your true potential and live your most authentic life , you have to work for it. Self-discovery might seem like an overwhelming process, but this personal work can be fulfilling and joyful, despite the effort it takes. By committing to your well-being, you can find, define, and start walking down your path.


You might not find easy answers to these self-care questions. Some are big and theoretical, and some are more concrete — and each one will get you thinking about yourself, your life, and your choices. 

Try not to shy away from questions that make you uncomfortable. Sometimes, it’s in the most uncomfortable moments that you learn the most. 

Here are 50 different questions to ask yourself:


If you aren’t sure where to start your introspection, these basic self-care questions are a good jumping-off point. They dig into the fundamentals of who you are.

  • What kind of person do I think I am, and does that match what other people think?
  • What are my core values ?
  • What’s my personality type ?
  • When do I feel most like my authentic self?
  • What would it look like if I stepped outside my comfort zone ?
  • Which three words describe me best?
  • How do I find peace?
  • Where does my self-worth come from?
  • What’s a favorite memory that makes me the happiest?
  • What do I truly like to do?

Life obstacles

Everyone has bad days , but sometimes those days become larger obstacles. If this is what you’re facing, try posing questions about those roadblocks and how you want to get around them — whether that’s a difficult coworker , financial stress , or failure. 

  • What obstacles get in the way of my happiness?
  • When was the last time I was angry, and how did I handle it?
  • Where do my negative thoughts stem from?
  • What’s my level of financial wellness , and is it what I want it to be?
  • What is the most important part of my life?
  • If I could change one thing about myself, what would it be?
  • At what point in my life was I most self-confident ?
  • Do I have a healthy inner monologue when things go wrong?
  • What’s my definition of a successful life?
  • Do I learn from my mistakes?


Education is a lifelong process. Whether you’re in school or not, you’re always absorbing new concepts and learning new things . That’s why these questions are evergreen.

  • Are there any gaps in my learning?
  • Am I finished with formal education?
  • What did I truly enjoy about school?
  • Do I want to continue with more education at grad school , or can I find that learning elsewhere?
  • Do I feel stagnant?
  • What could I teach others?
  • What’s a soft skill I could brush up on?
  • Why do I like or dislike learning, and how can I practice that in day-to-day life?
  • Do I compare myself to others and their level of education?
  • What motivates me about learning?

Professional life 

Maybe you’re managing two jobs at once , or maybe you’re disappointed about not getting a promotion . Your professional self is a big part of you, and it also deserves self-reflection, especially if you’re ready to grow in your career .

  • Is my work enjoyable, and why or why not?
  • What do I expect my future self to be doing to earn a living?
  • What’s my 5 year plan ?
  • How do I manage my work-life balance?
  • Who inspires me at work, and why?
  • Is there any job out there that I would do for free?
  • What are my job’s greatest challenges?
  • When was the last time I made a mistake, and how did it make me feel?
  • Am I working to live or living to work?
  • Do I find purpose in my daily work?



Interpersonal relationships and social interaction take up a large part of not only your time but your emotional energy too. Nurturing your relationships with the people around you, whether they’re colleagues or romantic partners, can build up your support system and inform your own thinking.

  • What do I contribute to my relationships?
  • Who are my go-to friends or family members when I’m upset?
  • Do I have unfinished business with anyone, and would I benefit from talking to them?
  • What kinds of love have I shared or experienced?
  • How will my friends and family remember me when I’m gone?
  • Who is my greatest influence, and why?
  • Is there an unhealthy relationship I should let go of?
  • Is there a relationship I should strengthen, and how can I go about it?
  • Do my friends and family inform my decisions?
  • What kinds of interactions make me the happiest?

Self-reflection is an ongoing process, and it doesn’t have a finish line. Once you start your journey, find practices that make you feel comfortable and help you grow — which will be different for everyone. 

If you’ve maxed out your self-discovery questions or are ready to explore new methods of reflection, try these other activities: 

  • Journaling: Writing your thoughts down in a journal can help you work through and reflect on your emotions. Whether you’re writing a stream of consciousness or one careful word at a time, being open and honest with yourself on paper (or digitally) is a great way to explore.


  • Exercising: Getting the blood pumping releases chemicals called endorphins that regulate your mood and improve self-esteem . Though it may be difficult to get off the couch at first, exercise boosts your mental health and can clear your mind.
  • Eating a healthy diet: The food we eat has much to do with how we feel about ourselves. A healthy diet supports your body’s systems and gives you the energy you need to look inward. Try incorporating healthy foods for concentration into your diet.
  • Prioritizing sleep: Not getting enough sleep makes you feel irritable and unfocused , and when that develops into poor sleep hygiene , you might have difficulty concentrating and feeling energized throughout the day. Consider establishing a self-care bedtime routine to make sure you get enough sleep.
  • Meditating: Meditation reduces stress , aids emotional regulation, and gives you a quiet space for self-reflection. This can look like a formal meditation practice, or simply being mindful throughout the day. Whether you’re a beginner in meditation or do it every day, taking the time to be quiet and calm will reduce stress and help you relax .
  • Creating art: Art therapy can improve your self-esteem and self-awareness . Creating art, whether visual or otherwise, is about identifying and expressing your feelings. If you’re having trouble vocalizing your emotions, art could be a good alternative. 

Asking self-discovery questions has the potential to change your life, but it requires regular practice. Take time out of your day to check in with yourself, and find different ways to embrace self-exploration.

Once you look inward and take the time to look after your brain, you’ll continue the trip of a lifetime: the journey of self-discovery .

Discover your authentic self

Kickstart your path to self-discovery and self-awareness. Our coaches can guide you to better understand yourself and your potential.

Elizabeth Perry, ACC

Elizabeth Perry is a Coach Community Manager at BetterUp. She uses strategic engagement strategies to cultivate a learning community across a global network of Coaches through in-person and virtual experiences, technology-enabled platforms, and strategic coaching industry partnerships. With over 3 years of coaching experience and a certification in transformative leadership and life coaching from Sofia University, Elizabeth leverages transpersonal psychology expertise to help coaches and clients gain awareness of their behavioral and thought patterns, discover their purpose and passions, and elevate their potential. She is a lifelong student of psychology, personal growth, and human potential as well as an ICF-certified ACC transpersonal life and leadership Coach.

100 self-reflection questions to explore yourself

10 self-discovery techniques to help you find yourself, answer “how do you define success” like a pro, 18 questions to ask in a performance self-evaluation, land a promotion: prepare for these internal interview questions, how to set realistic goals: 11 tips to reach the clouds with your feet on the ground, 33 self-esteem journal prompts for confidence & self-compassion, what do you want in life 11 questions and tips to figure it out, 3 reasons investing in employee resilience pays off, similar articles, how to know yourself: tips for beginning your self-discovery journey, 50 deep questions to ask to build strong bonds, self-knowledge examples that will help you upgrade to you 2.0, get to know yourself through the act of self-reflection, 90 journal prompts for self-discovery to get the ink flowing, 75 shadow work prompts for self-discovery and acceptance, stay connected with betterup, get our newsletter, event invites, plus product insights and research..

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The ‘inside out’ leadership journey: How personal growth creates the path to success

Thousands of hours spent working closely with CEOs and other leaders of top corporations and nonprofits have revealed a fascinating business phenomenon: many leaders who have mastered all the right executive skills, including financial acumen, strategic and operational management, and system thinking, still struggle to link their aspirations with the actual performance of their organizations.

After a careful analysis of what was holding back these otherwise talented executives, we concluded that on a deep psychological level they were not reflecting enough about how to become a more human-centric leader who is able to connect authentically with themselves and their teams. That core insight is what led us to write our new book, The Journey of Leadership: How CEOs Learn to Lead from the Inside Out (Portfolio, September 2024).

Our experience and research demonstrate that leading from the “inside out” is the key ingredient to making a lasting impact with teams and the broader organization. This inside-out journey is nuanced and complex. It calls for personal growth, which means you must constantly be learning, listening, inspiring, and caring. Leadership is not only about those seemingly endless business-related tasks you need to take care of when you’re an effective CEO. It’s just as important to be aware of who you are, and what your shortcomings are, so that you can first change yourself and then lead others.

For over a decade, we have worked with more than 500 CEOs (including leaders of Fortune Global 500 corporations who have participated in our Bower Forum CEO leadership program.) We’ve discovered that leaders have no trouble defining or acquiring the logical, tangible, left-brained skills of leadership. However, when we ask how they can become both a left- and a right-brained leader—one who is more self-aware, humble, vulnerable, resilient, confident, and balanced—they are less sure.

We’re not suggesting that leaders abandon their hard-nosed leadership skills. The challenge is to balance those attributes with their so-called soft leadership skills (sometimes the most difficult to muster). This is a journey often traveled without much help or guidance. Some of the best leaders we have worked with said they were simply born with those qualities, while others said they were fortunate to meet some great personal coaches along the way. But no one could point to a clear road map to becoming a more human and authentic leader.

While most executives don’t spend enough time thinking about how their personal attributes inform their leadership skills, when they do, the results can be remarkable. Over the years, we’ve seen that the best leaders learn to become more self-aware and reflective. They realize that what’s holding them back as they push themselves and their organizations ahead is their own psychological conditioning, which is rooted in the very habits and behaviors that got them where they are.

A new kind of leadership

Of course, for many of the CEOs we’ve spoken with over the years, the world is likely a very different place from when they started their careers. There was a time in business when investors, boards, and the business press worshipped the imperial CEO. Larger-than-life leaders such as GE’s Jack Welch or Chrysler’s Lee Iacocca were household names. These all-knowing, tough-minded individuals made frequent appearances on television talk shows and wrote best-selling books. Their employees expected them to have all the answers.

The imperial CEO is no more. The world is now so complex and uncertain, and the pace of change so furious, that today’s leaders can’t possibly have all the answers. They are the nexus through which all business tensions flow—short-term goals and long-term strategy, social purpose, sustainability commitments, and financial performance, cultivating talent but letting people move on when the time is right, to name a few.

It is therefore imperative for leaders to develop the inner resources to navigate the demands of their many stakeholders in a fast-changing world. When leaders work on their resilience, empathy, humility, versatility, and authenticity, they are pursuing that inside-out personal growth that leads to human leadership. The challenge is to develop these attributes in tandem yet call on them in the right combination for whatever situation arises.

The essential prerequisites for this journey are self-awareness and self-reflection, which enable leaders to engage and inspire their colleagues and teams. Only then can they jointly navigate competing views and choices and find the confidence and clarity to make the right decisions. This is the kind of step-by-step reinvention of leaders that we practice in our Bower Forum CEO development program.

Sooner or later, every leader encounters a moment when they realize that success has as much to do with leading themselves as it does with leading others. At that crucial moment, they switch from the traditional leader they thought they should be to one who adopts a human leadership approach. They start learning and growing to meet the demands of their position and to fulfill their boldest aspirations for their organization, their teams, and themselves.

This shift to a more open form of leadership is happening because circumstances demand it. Today’s leaders must master complex issues such as digital transformation, inflation, disrupted global supply chains, scarce talent, a lack of diversity, cybersecurity, and climate change, as well as an awakened search for purpose among employees. This means that no one person, no matter how brilliant or capable, has the experience, knowledge, or temperament to tackle all these challenges alone.

Leading alongside AI and gen AI

There’s another reason why human leadership has become so crucial to organizations these days. With the rapid onset of artificial intelligence (AI) and generative AI (gen AI) in the workplace, an increasing number of routine and analytical management tasks such as market analysis, project management, budgets, customer service, decision making, and fact-finding will be completely or partially handled by AI algorithms, assuming the software keeps improving. If you are a traditional left-brained leader who’s great at numbers, planning, and analysis, your contribution as a leader might be threatened.

From now on, the differentiating factor will be human leadership that gives people a sense of purpose, inspires them, and cares about what they want to achieve. Many employees today believe that much of the technical and analytical guidance they need is more easily obtained from AI solutions. Indeed, a survey conducted by the research firm Potential Project found that employees already have more confidence in AI than in their human bosses in certain areas of leadership and in the management of certain tasks. 1 Rasmus Hougaard, Jacqueline Carter, and Rob Stembridge, “The best leaders can’t be replaced by AI,” Harvard Business Review , January 12, 2024. Why not, if they can get the job done without feeling neglected by their manager?

Tapping into AI and its various aspects alone, however, will not lead to high and sustained performance. What employees long for in their leaders is development, experience, care, empathy, authentic engagement, and wisdom.

The best companies will combine the analytical advantages of AI with leaders who have excellent people skills to propel their organizations to new heights. AI can offer a twofold benefit. By supporting or replacing analytical and technical tasks, it can free up more time for leaders to spend on human leadership. Second, AI can provide analytical and results-oriented insights on the effectiveness of human, right-brain-centric leadership, giving leaders constant feedback on the effectiveness of their human leadership style, on how they’re leading from the inside out.

A leadership approach that embraces a human-centric model, while leveraging AI, gen AI, and advanced leadership development offerings, can help CEOs succeed in their jobs and pay off financially. That’s because when human capital is managed the right way, the results translate straight to the bottom line.

According to a McKinsey Global Institute study of 1,800 large companies across sectors in 15 countries, businesses that focused on human capital development in addition to financial performance were roughly 1.5 times more likely than the average company to remain high performers over time and have about half the earnings volatility. 2 “ Performance through people: Transforming human capital into competitive advantage ,” McKinsey Global Institute, February 2, 2023. In fact, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, they maintained profitability and increased revenues twice as fast as companies that focused mainly on financial performance.

Cultivating inner and outer worlds

Learning, growth, and self-reinvention start with introspection.

Leaders first need to examine their inner selves and overcome their own barriers and biases. What is it you really want to accomplish? What behaviors do you want to model? What assumptions are you making—including about yourself—that stand in the way? This introspection requires leaders to assess situations in an unbiased manner, which will mean listening deeply to a network of stakeholders, including coaches, who can reflect the leader’s own needs back to them and offer advice.

With that inner work done, leaders can then more effectively navigate the competing demands on them to unleash the potential of individuals, teams, and systems. They can engage teams in a thoughtful and aspirational plan for change, get them to speak truth to power, enable them to be flexible when unexpected circumstances hit, help them feel a sense of purpose, and encourage them to go the extra mile to make the business a success.

In our work with CEOs, both at the Bower Forum and in other engagements, we’ve witnessed many success stories of leaders who followed this inside-out approach and reinvented themselves as human-centric leaders. These personal stories, which we go into more detail about in the book, include the following:

  • the president of a media company who cultivated “truth tellers” at every level of the organization
  • the head of a pharmaceutical company who used a deep learning technique to predict the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic, which gave his company a jump on producing a new vaccine
  • an admiral, leading US special-operations forces, who trained his teams to respond to changes in the terrain rather than stick to a preconceived plan
  • the head of a major hospital who succeeded in leading his employees by connecting with them on an emotional level
  • the CEO of a global automotive company who took the time to learn more about his top executives—their life stories and personal issues—before coaching them

Our ultimate goal is to encourage CEOs and other leaders who focus on financial performance to unleash their leadership potential in broader ways—to become someone who can see multiple possibilities for personal and organizational growth and generate holistic impact for all stakeholders. We invite command-and-control-minded executives to see the possibilities of acting as more human leaders and partners who collaborate in empowered networks.

We hope to help leaders who rule and control through their own sense of certainty switch to a mindset of self-awareness and self-reflection, combined with deep and fearless learning and discovery. And, finally, we’d like to persuade them to see the world in all its wonderful diversity and to be their best, authentic selves.

Some of the most successful CEOs we know have embraced the importance of the human side of leadership and have taken the time to go deep within themselves to build that capability. We believe this approach will be valuable to many others in all types of organizations as well.

This article is adapted from The Journey of Leadership: How CEOs Learn to Lead from the Inside Out (Portfolio, September 2024).

Dana Maor is the global cohead and European leader of McKinsey’s People & Organizational Performance Practice and a senior partner in McKinsey’s UK, Ireland, and Israel offices; Hans-Werner Kaas is codean of McKinsey’s Bower Forum CEO leadership development program and a senior partner emeritus in the Detroit office; Kurt Strovink leads McKinsey’s global CEO services and is a senior partner in the New York office, where Ramesh Srinivasan , also codean of the Bower Forum, is also a senior partner.

This article was edited by Barbara Tierney, a senior editor in the New York office.

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Home — Essay Samples — Literature — Into The Wild — Into the Wild Timeline: A Journey of Self-Discovery


Into The Wild Timeline: a Journey of Self-discovery

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Published: Jun 13, 2024

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Into the wild: the journey begins, the alaskan wilderness: a quest for identity, a tragic end: the legacy lives on, conclusion: reflections on the wild.

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'Rebel Moon' Image Sets Anthony Hopkins' Robot Jimmy on a "Journey of Self-Discovery"


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Here's What's Different About Zack Snyder's Director's Cut of 'Rebel Moon'

‘the fall guy’s global box office success proves universal jumped the gun putting it on digital, we finally know when we can watch 'megalopolis'.

Anthony Hopkins has played many notable characters throughout his career. He’s Dr. Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs , Odin in Marvel’s Thor franchise, and last year he bagged an Academy Award for his heart-wrenching performance in The Father . Later this year he’ll be voicing his most mysterious character yet, a robot named Jimmy in Zack Snyder ’s Rebel Moon . Now Empire Magazine has released a new look at his character for its upcoming issue. The image sees the robot sitting beside a girl who holds flowers in her hand. “Jimmy, I see him as a wild card,” teases Snyder. “He’s on a journey of self-discovery.” The image does a perfect job of reflecting the nuanced side of the character.

Who Is Anthony Hopkin’s Jimmy in Rebel Moon ?

The multipart sci-fi saga is set on a peaceful planet Veldt. When the Imperium forces arrive on the planet and demand its precious resources, the community tasks a female warrior, Kora ( Sofia Boutella ) to assemble other hardened warriors from across the galaxy to fight back the Imperium forces. The first part will see Kora, building the team to fight against the evil forces on her planet.

Jimmy was one of many identical droids assembled to serve the Imperium king in war. But now, he’s been repurposed by the Imperium to do their (literal) heavy lifting and was brought to the Veldt. For the director, Jimmy acts as an Arthurian element against the fantastical leanings of his sci-fi adventure, a sort of tonal contrast. “I’m a huge Excalibur fanatic,” Snyder says. “He’s Lancelot for sure,” he adds about the robot, “I was thinking about him, and how Milius [another hero, played by E. Duffy and named after Conan The Barbarian writer-director John Milius , and filmmaker Mike Mills ] is Percival.”

RELATED: Charlie Hunnam and Sofia Boutella Embark on an Epic Adventure in New 'Rebel Moon' Images

It'll be interesting to see how Jimmy’s arc plays out, given Rebel Moon has influences ranging from George Lucas ’ Star Wars to Akira Kurosawa ’s Seven Samurai . There’s no doubt that Snyder and Hopkins can craft a character arc with a journey of self-discovery but crafting it around a sometimes antler-wearing robot would be a first.

The movie has a stacked and impressive star cast including Sofia Boutella as Kora, Charlie Hunnam ’s Kai, Djimon Hounsou ’s General Titus, Doona Bae ’s Nemesis, Michiel Huisman as Gunnar, Staz Nair as Tarak, Ray Fisher as Darrian Bloodaxe, Cleopatra Coleman as Devra Bloodaxe, along with Jena Malone , Ed Serkin , and more. You can learn more about these characters here .

Rebel Moon drops on Netflix on December 22.

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#115 Healing Trauma with Compassion: Navigating Boundaries and Self-Love with Faryn Babbitt The Confident Mompreneur Podcast

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In this enlightening episode of "The Confident Mompreneur" podcast, host Kyrie welcomes the remarkable Faryn Babbitt for an intimate conversation on the journey of healing from trauma and the profound role of compassion in setting boundaries and cultivating self-love. Join Kyrie and Faryn as they delve into Faryn's personal experiences with trauma, including her relationship with her alcoholic father and the challenges she faced in setting healthy boundaries. Faryn shares her courageous journey of navigating through difficult family dynamics and finding strength in compassion for herself and others. Listen as Faryn opens up about her transformative work in trauma services and the invaluable lessons she has learned about the importance of self-compassion and boundary setting. Through heartfelt anecdotes and candid reflections, she offers listeners practical insights into fostering resilience and reclaiming agency in the face of adversity. Discover how Faryn's journey of healing and self-discovery has empowered her to prioritize her mental health and establish firm boundaries, creating a nurturing environment for personal growth and inner peace. Kyrie and Faryn explore the transformative power of compassion in breaking free from the cycle of trauma and fostering a deeper sense of self-love and understanding. Throughout the episode, Kyrie and Faryn share actionable strategies for listeners to cultivate compassion for themselves and set healthy boundaries in their own lives. From practicing self-care to embracing vulnerability, this conversation offers invaluable guidance for anyone navigating the complexities of trauma and healing. Tune in to "The Confident Mompreneur" podcast and join Kyrie and Faryn on a journey of healing, self-discovery, and empowerment as they explore the transformative potential of compassion and boundary setting in navigating life's challenges with grace and resilience. Find Faryn: @farynbrookie Find Kyrie: @theconfidentmompreneur --- Support this podcast:

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  • Kyrie Blaney

New York Tech

New York Tech

You'll Appreciate These 6 Stories of Self-Discovery to Celebrate Pride Month

Posted: June 17, 2024 | Last updated: June 17, 2024

journey of discovery self

During Pride Month, exploring narratives of self-discovery and acceptance is not only empowering but also enlightening. These heartfelt stories on Netflix capture the journey of individuals embracing their true selves amidst personal and societal challenges: Queen (2022) Renowned Parisian drag queen and tailor returns to his hometown in Poland after a long absence, seeking reconciliation […]

The post You'll Appreciate These 6 Stories of Self-Discovery to Celebrate Pride Month appeared first on New York Tech Media .

Credit: Netflix, Inc.

Queen (2022)

Renowned Parisian drag queen and tailor returns to his hometown in Poland after a long absence, seeking reconciliation with his daughter. As he navigates cultural differences and personal regrets, he discovers the power of forgiveness and acceptance.

Credit: Netflix, Inc.

All In My Family (2019)

A gay filmmaker in America documents his traditional Chinese family’s journey toward accepting his life choices and his own journey in building a family. This touching documentary explores the intersection of culture, identity, and love.

Credit: Netflix, Inc.

Coming Out Colton (2021)

Former NFL player and reality TV star Colton Underwood shares his personal journey of coming out as gay, navigating newfound authenticity in the public eye. His story sheds light on the complexities of identity and personal growth.

Credit: Netflix, Inc.

Alex Strangelove (2018)

High school senior Alex Truelove plans to lose his virginity to his girlfriend Claire, but his feelings become complicated when he develops an unexpected attraction to Elliot. This coming-of-age comedy explores love, sexuality, and the challenges of self-acceptance.

Credit: Netflix, Inc.

The Most Beautiful Flower (2022)

Confident and fabulous Mich strives to empower herself and others at her high school in Xochimilco. Through humor and heart, she challenges stereotypes and embraces her identity in a community that may not always understand her.

Credit: Netflix, Inc.

To Each, Her Own (2018)

Simone faces a dilemma when she falls for a Senegalese chef just as she plans to come out as a lesbian to her conservative Jewish family. This romantic comedy navigates cultural expectations, personal desires, and the complexities of identity with warmth and humor.

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  1. How to Begin Your Self-Discovery Journey: 16 Best Questions

    Here are some of our favorite books and apps to support greater self-insight and discovery. 1. The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment - Eckhart Tolle. A critical first step toward greater self-insight involves ceasing to confuse your true self with the endless stream of thoughts flowing through your mind.

  2. Self-Discovery Journey: 17 Best Ways to Get Started

    2-Step self-discovery process. There are 2 general steps to the self-discovery process: Take action: Try something new and explore interests and ideas. Self-reflection: Reflect on your actions, behavior, feelings, and emotions to learn about your needs, preferences, and styles. Here's an extensive list of questions to ask yourself.

  3. Finding Yourself: The Definitive Guide for Your Journey of Self Discovery

    LaToya Rachelle, author and creator of, is dedicated to empowering women on their journey to self-discovery and personal growth. Through her writings, she shares insights on self-care, happiness, manifestation, success habits, and more, and provides invaluable tools to help you unleash your fullest potential. Join LaToya as ...

  4. 14 Powerful Self-Discovery Activities for Your Journey

    The process of self-discovery is a continual movement from less conscious to more conscious, from less aware to greater awareness of oneself. Similar to the hero's journey motif, the self-discovery journey is the path toward mature adulthood. Self-Discovery versus Self-Development. These two concepts are intrinsically linked together.

  5. What "Finding Yourself" Really Means

    Embrace the adventure of self-discovery and live your truth. Remember, finding yourself is a continuous journey of self-discovery. It's about exploring, learning, and evolving as you navigate ...

  6. Finding Yourself: A Guide to Finding Your True Self

    Step 1: Break with harmful internalized thought processes, i.e., critical, hostile attitudes toward self and others. Step 2: Separate from negative personality traits assimilated from one's parents. Step 3: Relinquish patterns of defense formed as an adaptation to painful events in one's childhood.

  7. Self-Discovery Techniques: 10 Ways to Find Yourself

    Your journey of self-discovery will test your resilience and strength. It will also be inspiring, meaningful, and an excellent opportunity to grow. 10 self-discovery techniques. Maybe you have already decided to gain some self-knowledge, but you don't know where to begin. Here's the thing: there's no correct way to go about this journey.

  8. How to Begin Self Discovery: 11 Tips to Get Started

    The journey of self-discovery doesn't involve only thinking about the future. It asks you to take a look at your past, too. Spending time revisiting past feelings and experiences can be tough. Remember, it's okay to ask for help from your friends and family. Knowin g how to begin self-discovery is only the first step.

  9. What is Self-Discovery? 10 Tips for Finding Yourself

    Meditate. Mindfulness and meditation will help calm your mind. Make room for truths to emerge, and let go of negative thoughts. 5. Trust yourself. Self-discovery is a vulnerable and challenging experience. Practice self-compassion and self-love. Trust that you'll be able to get through this. 6.

  10. 9 Ways To Start Your Self-Discovery Journey

    Recognizing these patterns is a significant step in our self-discovery journey. It allows us to understand why we behave in certain ways and provides insights into areas of our life that need healing and transformation. 2. Practicing mindfulness and self-awareness. Exploring mindfulness techniques for staying present.

  11. How to Start Your Self-Discovery Journey

    Of course, there are stages with every self-discovery journey, and some are more pleasant than others. Over the years, Cameron has observed some interesting stages as readers move through her Artist's Way program. In the beginning, there's often a feeling of elation, quickly followed by a stretch of anger upon realizing the ways they may ...

  12. The Journey of Self-Discovery: Finding Your True Self Through ...

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  13. Uncovering Your True Self: The Path to Personal Growth

    It helps identify evolving areas for personal growth and benefits your self-discovery journey. How Does Focusing on Strengths Reveal One's True Self? Focusing on your strengths reveals your true self by highlighting your natural abilities and what brings you joy. It allows you to fully embrace who you are and align your actions with your ...

  14. Unmasking Yourself Through A Journey Of Self-Discovery

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  15. 3 Simple Steps to Launch Your Self-Discovery Journey

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  16. Your 20s: Embrace the Journey of Self-Discovery

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  17. Exploring Identity: Embracing the Process of Self-Discovery

    The journey of self-discovery is a profound and transformative experience that allows us to explore the depths of our identity. Through this exploration, we gain insight into our beliefs, values, and unique qualities. However, this journey can also be accompanied by challenges and moments of confusion. In this article, we will delve into the ...

  18. Self-Discovery

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  19. A Journey of Self-Discovery: Be Good at Being You

    Caroline McHugh, in her 2013 TED Talk, The Art of Being You, refers to the tendency to draw personal comparisons in real life and on social media as an addiction to approval. This addiction is distracting and uses energy that could be applied in more satisfying ways. The journey of self-discovery is the process of understanding yourself without ...

  20. Self-discovery

    A "journey of self-discovery" refers to a travel, pilgrimage, or series of events whereby a person attempts to determine how they feel, personally, about spiritual issues or priorities, rather than following the opinions of family, friends, neighborhood or peer pressure.The topic of self-discovery has been associated with Zen.. A related term is "finding oneself".

  21. The Journey of Self-Discovery

    The Journey of Self-Discovery. Articles from Back to Godhead magazine. Introduction. Chapter One: The Journey of Self-Discovery. Chapter Two: Superconsciousness. Chapter Three: The Pleasure Principle. Chapter Four: The Spiritual Master. Chapter Five: Yoga and Meditation.

  22. The Journey of Self Discovery: Uncovering Your True Identity

    Binge Bytes. The Journey of Self Discovery: Uncovering Your True Identity. Posted: June 19, 2024 | Last updated: June 19, 2024. Stop data brokers from exposing your information.

  23. 50 Self-Discovery Questions for Personal Growth

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    The essential prerequisites for this journey are self-awareness and self-reflection, which enable leaders to engage and inspire their colleagues and teams. ... combined with deep and fearless learning and discovery. And, finally, we'd like to persuade them to see the world in all its wonderful diversity and to be their best, authentic selves.

  25. ‎Rediscover your Inner Smile and Energy: Voices of Female Entrepreneurs

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  26. Into The Wild Timeline: a Journey of Self-discovery

    Into the Wild: The Journey Begins. The timeline of McCandless's journey starts in May 1990 when he graduates from Emory University. Driven by a desire to break free from societal constraints and immerse himself in nature, McCandless donates his entire savings to charity and sets out on a cross-country road trip.

  27. Mjolofontein: A journey of self-discovery and redemption comes to

    Get ready to laugh, cry, and be inspired by the captivating, delightful, romantic comedy Mjolofontein produced by the Multichoice Talent Factory, premiering on Mzansi Magic (DStv channel 161) on Saturday 15 June at 20:00. Starring the talented Dippy Padi (known for her roles in Adulting and Isibaya) as Keletso, a social media influencer, the movie follows her journey of self-discovery and ...

  28. 'Rebel Moon' Image: Anthony Hopkins' Robot is on a Journey of Self

    'Rebel Moon' Image Sets Anthony Hopkins' Robot Jimmy on a "Journey of Self-Discovery" Rebel Moon (2023) By Shrishty Mishra. Published Jul 2, 2023. Your changes have been saved. Email Is sent.

  29. ‎The Confident Mompreneur Podcast: #115 Healing ...

    Discover how Faryn's journey of healing and self-discovery has empowered her to prioritize her mental health and establish firm boundaries, creating a nurturing environment for personal growth and inner peace. Kyrie and Faryn explore the transformative power of compassion in breaking free from the cycle of trauma and fostering a deeper sense of ...

  30. You'll Appreciate These 6 Stories of Self-Discovery to Celebrate ...

    During Pride Month, exploring narratives of self-discovery and acceptance is not only empowering but also enlightening. These heartfelt stories on Netflix capture the journey of individuals ...