In a world that often creates ideals to live in a specific way and strive to be a certain type of person, we can get pretty lost and miss out on what it is that truly makes our soul sparkle. Life is full of events that surprise us in every moment. We can make endless plans, but very rarely we can completely predict these. I used to start my days with a list of goals which I will achieve for the day. I would set targets for myself and most of the time I would get these done. But what I learned by doing so is that although I would tick everything off the list, I was also missing on being present in the moment, because I was constantly focusing on an outcome. Now I start my day with affirmations, with kind words towards myself and with gratitude for this day. My life has changed tremendously since. I still get things done, but with an encouraging approach, empowering myself to believe in my abilities, to be open to possibilities and to explore each moment as a special experience instead of pushing myself.
I have learnt that in life we should find something we love doing, something that brings us and others joy and spread this happiness everywhere we go. Sometimes it’s not that easy to identify what you love doing, especially if you haven’t done some self-development work to really go within and figure out who is behind the mask of your physical self. Asking yourself the following questions will challenge you to discover yourself in a whole new light, to be open to explore new avenues and share your talents, skills and abilities with the world.
*For this you will need a blank piece of paper or a notebook and a pen. Read the questions below and before you answer, allow your true self to come out by giving yourself time and space.
1. What is it that you are passionate about?
Being passionate about what you do is very important for your overall wellbeing. You might think that this will not help you make a living, but that’s not the point for this question. Simply identify what it is you are passionate about. Passion brings your feelings into what you are doing and when you attach positive feelings to an action, everything seems better and you completely stay in the moment with true intentions. Write down at least two or three things that you love doing. This could be anything like painting, writing, building things, running, speaking, selling… Whatever it is you love doing, just write it down. Try and find at least 2 different things and no more than 8.
2. What would you do every day if money was not an issue?
I know it can sound very cliché, but if you think about it, most of us are currently doing or have previously done jobs we don’t really enjoy but we do so just to get money. I completely understand that this is important, after all we need to survive and have a roof over our head. But if money wasn’t important, what would you be doing? Ultimately the happiness an action brings you should be the primary objective behind it and not money. Write down at least 2 different things and no more than 5.
3. How do you express yourself?
Freedom of expression in everything we do is an important component to being true to ourselves and also to allow others to see this. By expressing our ideas freely, we learn to communicate openly with others and truthfully. How do you express yourself to the world? For example, for me a main way I do so is through my writing. All the ideas that I have, I can easily put down on paper and write, turning them into a story/blog/article. Maybe you are a painter, a musician, a teacher, a great public speaker,….What is that allows you to completely express yourself freely and to share your ideas with ease? Write down at least 2 different things and no more than 5.
4. What are you good at?
This in my opinion is one of the most important discoveries we can make about ourselves. Finding something we are really good at can open doors to other aspects of self-expression and lead us purposeful living. Some people are great at sales, others are really good with technology, with people, creating strategies, inspiring leaders etc. Admit to yourself at least one thing you are really good at and see if you love it. If it’s something you know you do really well, but don’t really enjoy doing it, is there another way you can express this? Chances are there are various paths to doing what you are good at and incorporating this into something that could potentially become beneficial for you. Write down at least 2 different things and no more than 5.
5. What are 3 unique qualities that you have?
Everybody is unique. We all have abilities and skills that set us apart. It’s not about comparing ourselves to others, but simply a way of acknowledging our unique self. By finding these qualities, you can also learn to appreciate those parts of yourself and become more confident and loving towards who you are. I know it can feel a little bit strange to answer this question, because often we tend to be better at criticising ourselves rather than embracing our qualities, sometimes identifying these unique traits as flaws. It's sad to think this is the case but we can change this approach and learn to value our unique self. Take some time to think about this question and when you are ready, write down at least 2 different things and no more than 5. As you write these down, bring your awareness to how each quality makes you feel as you identify it. Stay in this moment and learn to bring appreciation for it.
6. What is something that you would do most days, even if it meant missing out on social events?
FOMO (fear of missing out) is never an issue when you are engaged in actions you really enjoy doing. And if you find yourself disagreeing, maybe go back within and assess if what you are doing truly fills your heart with joy. Because when we have a deep guidance from within to do something, nothing can distract us from it. We only have FOMO when we are unhappy or dissatisfied with what we are doing or our current state. FOMO brings out our insecurities by perceiving what others are doing is so much better than what we are doing. It’s very common to compare our lifestyle with those of others, taking the approach of “the neighbours garden is much better than mine”. But what if your garden is truly beautiful and you are not paying enough attention to it, leaving it rot instead of bloom? Thinking about this question, find out what is it that you would be doing, even on the most beautiful sunny day, when your friends invite you out and you happily say no because you are committed and engaged to that one aspect you absolutely love. Keeping focused on our passions requires discipline and commitment. Keep true to yourself on this one and know that even if you are the most social butterfly on this planet, there is at least one thing that you can come up.
7. Write down the names of 3 people in your life that you admire, love or look up to and then write the reasons why for each one….
I love this one so much because it is a really good way for you to find out more about yourself. The qualities you admire in others are actually qualities within yourself that you may not yet be aware of or have not yet manifested in the physical realm. Identify why you admire these people, love and look up to them. Chances are, the reasons would be the same or similar for each person which will give you some guidance into your own qualities that you can bring to light. Write at least 2 reasons for each of the 3 individuals. Take your time for this one and really think about what attracts you to find these people interesting, loveable and admirable.
8. Write down the names of 3 people in your life that you don’t enjoy being around and write the reason why…
In order to grow emotionally, mentally and spiritually, we must look at all aspects of the self, the positive and the not so positive (I rarely use the word negative). Yes it might not be the prettiest sight to see, but that’s not the point. If you want to elevate, you must admit to yourself aspects of yourself that are not serving you. Once you identify these and come to accept them, find ways in which you can let go of or bring them in a more positive light. For example, if one of the reasons you don’t like to be around “Johnny” is because he is too loud and talks too much see why this bothers you so much. Is it because you want to express yourself that way and cannot, or is it because you want to also be able to be as open in a crowd as he is…Of course this is just an example, but you get the point. Always remember that everything we see it is part of our perception, so the way we perceive others to be is because we can recognise those qualities. One cannot see and identify something they are not familiar with. Highlight 2 reasons for each one without judgement, just observe, explore and identify these.
9. If your life was a painting, what would it look like?
The million-dollar question and one of my favourite ways of discovering my life’s mission. If you could paint your life, what would it look like? What colours would you use? Are there people in it, what places are in this painting? Where is it set? All these clues would give you an idea of how your life is looking like in this moment. Be open to look at all the details and be honest with yourself. Use your creativity to completely express your life in the now.
10. If your ideal life would be a painting, what would it look like?
An extension from the above, this question prompts us to look at the bigger picture of life, and how we would like to be living. Using the same outlook from the above, what colours would you use here? What is in it? Where is it set? What are you doing in this painting? Who is in it? Let your imagination come out and find your guidance from within, trying to not let your ego guide with desire. Once you have identified this, paint the picture in your own words and bring both scenarios together (question 8 and 9) and see what is the difference between the life you are living now and the life you would want to be living from your most authentic self? The difference between the two can give you clues about what you could change or introduce more into your life so it can lead to the latter scenario. What are some steps you can take to start moving towards the life you would want to be living? This idea of course is not to stir you away from the present moment, but to simply allow yourself to connect with that inner part of you which can guide you towards living as your most authentic self. Self-development is a practice we engage in daily. We cannot continue to go back to the moments we once lived and be stuck in the past, because those moments are now gone. Remind yourself with each inhale that you are part of a new experience, and then let it go with each exhale. Self-discovery and exploration of the self requires patience and openness for what we have failed to recognise or what we can further bring to light about ourselves.
Give yourself enough respect to honour your existence, respecting every part of yourself. Find what you have come here to be of service for, and enjoy the ride.