If you feel stuck and lost in life, a short self-discovery challenge can make all the difference.
A couple of years ago, I used to spend around three hours a day scrolling through photos of celebrities and memes on Instagram.
I’d outsource every single translation gig I got, go to the gym, take two naps a day, and spend as much time as possible on the app, wasting my time.
I felt like crap, to be honest. But I didn’t know why.
At the time, I was going to therapy once a week, and even though I had a lot to work on (and I knew it), I couldn’t put a pin on exactly what was making me feel so miserable every day.
It took me a couple of years to realize I didn’t like what I was doing for a living. It was a conflicting realization because I love languages and linguistics, so how come I don’t like translating anymore?
That thought was driving me nuts.
Now, when I look back, I understand that it was part of my self-growth journey.
But, at the same time, I know I could have saved myself from all that misery if I knew more about myself.
If only I knew how to understand my feelings and discomfort. If only I had the honesty to come clean and say I wasn’t happy.
But anyway, that’s in the past now.
I don’t know every little thing there’s to know about life, of course.
But one thing I know for sure: Trying to get unstuck in life without knowing where you’re standing is like trying to make it to an island on a boat by yourself without a compass.
I’ve come a long way, and I want to show you how you can discover what’s lying below your insatisfaction because I care. I care about you if you’re reading this, and I’m sorry you feel stuck, but don’t worry, I’ll help.
The Many Benefits of Self-Discovery
Self-discovery allows you to gain a deep understanding of yourself, your story, and the stories you tell yourself, your fears, your dreams, your motives.
Going through this process can be a lot of fun, and on the other side of it, you’ll find more peace, more purpose, and a lot more self-esteem.
What’s interesting about these exercises and activities is that they never end.
You’re constantly changing day after day, so there’s always more to learn and discover about yourselves.
Even though some things are part of our deepest nature, others keep changing.
In fact, I’d say we have several “mes” inside of us.
So, let’s say, for example, you have a “me” who loves Instagram. I mean, it’s addicting.
But you also have a “me” who loves writing.
Sometimes there’s friction between one “me” and another “me,” and that’s what causes indecision and conflict inside of you.
When you know it’s time to write, you can get these two “personalities,” for lack of a better word, come to the surface. One’s telling you to stay in bed scrolling through Instagram. The other one is telling you to get up and write.
Which one are you going to choose?
Self-discovery will help you decide which.
Knowing yourself is the art of understanding which things are more permanent to you and which change. It’s about knowing what’s best for you right now.
I strongly believe this self-discovery challenge will help you if you complete it with an open mind and honesty.
What’s the Goal of This Challenge?
This challenge’s main goal is to help you understand what your vision is, what you don’t want for your life, and your fears.
Is This Challenge for You?
This self-discovery challenge is for you if you feel stuck and like you need a change but don’t know where to start.
These exercises will help you get more clear about what you want and the reasons behind what you want, which will motivate you.
Plus, they’ll help you understand what’s holding you back so you can be more intentional about your fears.
3-Day Self-Discovery Challenge
1. Describe Your Vision in Detail
Let’s begin by understanding what you want your life to look like.
Don’t be scared.
I know it can be overwhelming to think about this.
None of us know what the future will look like, and I understand if it’s confusing to try to imagine it.
But you know what? This exercise isn’t about “telling the future.” It isn’t about being “right” about what will happen.
It’s more about uncovering your deepest desires and what you want your life to look like.
Awesome lives are rarely the result of chance; they’re often the result of working smart towards a vision deeply ingrained in your heart.
So, open your mind and go with the flow. There’s no right or wrong here.
When you think about the end of your life, your last days, how would you like to remember what you did?
How would you like to describe your life?
Was it exciting, calm, challenging, inspiring, quiet?
Don’t think about what’s expected or what’s glorified.
Don’t say you want an exciting life full of challenges and a lot of money if that doesn’t resonate with you.
And, most importantly, don’t think about how you’re going to get there. This step is just about the vision.
Maybe you want to have your own farm. Or a condo in Manhattan. Or a cabin in the woods.
Maybe you want to be famous or well-known in your industry. Or not.
Really use your imagination and be honest about it.
How do you want your life to look like?
If you have no idea, find inspiration in your own life.
When have you been the happiest and most fulfilled? What does that tell you about what you want?
Think about other people’s lives, with their pros AND cons.
Who’s life sounds interesting and appealing to you? Why?
If any of those lives sounds interesting to you, do you think they’re aligned with your personality?
What do you see yourself doing next year? In ten years?
Close your eyes when you’re ready and think about all those questions.
Then, and this is really, really important, grab pen and paper and jot down as many details about that vision as possible.
2. Your Deal Breakers
What makes you walk away from opportunities, people, relationships, lifestyles?
What makes you feel uncomfortable about certain types of jobs?
What’s something that makes you dislike people immediately?
Out of all the lives and life stories you’ve heard about, which ones sound the least attractive to you?
Based on your own stories, what are you sure you DON’T want in your life?
Be as detailed as you can.
Knowing what your “deal breakers” are and understanding where they come from can reveal your life values.
And if you’ve ever felt like there’s something off about what you do, but you couldn’t pinpoint exactly why, chances are you were going against your own set of values.
Again, grab pen and paper and start a list of every deal breaker you can think of.
3. What Holds You Back
Read your vision and think: Why haven’t I reached this yet? Or what’s stopping me from going after what I want? What’s standing between me and my vision?
This isn’t about judging yourself or blaming circumstances outside of your control.
It’s more about being very specific about your obstacles so you can overcome them.
If you’ve ever thought that lack of motivation and/or time is what stops you from doing what you truly want to do, think twice.
What’s holding you back is probably fear.
But don’t be hard on yourself.
Fears aren’t a bad thing. They’re there to protect you. If it weren’t for our fears and how the body responds to dangerous situations, we wouldn’t exist already.
Now, there are two types of fear: situational fear and psychological fear.
Situational fear is what keeps you and your body safe when you face danger.
Psychological fear is different from any concrete and true immediate danger. It is always fear of something that might happen.
We all have this type of fear. They can be big and small, evident, and not. They can be “rational” or not.
It’s okay to feel afraid, but if you’re letting your psychological fears (fear of things and/or situations that aren’t right in front of you or happening right now) control your decisions, watch out.
You may be afraid of failure. Maybe you’re not taking action because you’re afraid you don’t have what it takes to succeed.
Or maybe you’re afraid of success because you know your life’s going to change if you succeed, and you’re afraid of those changes.
So… what are you afraid of?
Are you afraid of what people will say/think?
What is it?
Close your eyes. Think about it. When you’re ready, make a list of your fears.
Knowing yourself means understanding your emotions and reactions, principles, and values, what you want, and the reasons behind what you want.
It’s also about knowing your weaknesses, fears, and flaws. We’re all human, and we all have a decent share of those.
The key isn’t eliminating them all; it’s becoming aware of them so you can tackle them and ask for help when you need to.
Besides, in my opinion, knowing yourself is key to setting goals that stick because only if you know what you want deep down in your heart, you’ll be able to stick to your goals no matter how hard it gets.
Give yourself the gift of self-discovery through journaling. Spend some time thinking about this and get into the habit of journaling for 5-10 minutes a day.
“Everything will line up perfectly when knowing and living the truth becomes more important than looking good.” — Alan Cohen