Why should we take the time to discover ourselves? Isn’t that just psychobabble language for wasting time and not acting? What exactly does it mean to discover ourselves anyway? The answers to these questions depend on what you are looking for.
For our intents here, the answers to these questions will lead us to determining the best work for ourselves. If you have been looking for new opportunities, the best first step is to determine who you are and why that will matter to the work you choose. So, how do we go about doing this? Let’s take a look.
The first question to ask yourself when discovering who you are is “what do I love?” This can mean anything depending on the person. Is there an activity I love more than any other? Is there an idea I love to discuss with others? Is there a subject I can’t get enough of? Or, as Jeff Goins puts it in his course on Intentional Blogging,
Is there a subject other people constantly ask me questions about?
Obviously, he is discussing this in terms of creating a blog, but there are other uses for knowing these things about yourself. If you know what you are passionate about, you will have a better understanding of what you want to do with your time. A great way to answer these questions is to start a journal. You can start by asking yourself questions and answering them, or you can do freestyle writing where you write whatever comes to mind. Either way, putting these thoughts down on paper gives you something to look back on, and gives you a little more accountability.
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Another great question to ask is “How much am I able to motivate myself?” Are you the type of person that can set out your plan and follow a schedule, or do you need prodding from others to get work done? Maybe you are somewhere in the middle of these two options. Knowing the answer to this question allows you to determine how independent you can be. If you can follow a self-made schedule and stick to deadlines on your own, you will be able to work more independently. If you are someone who must be reminded to do something regularly, or you like to put things off until the last minute, you may need the safety net of a supervisor or partner. If you are somewhere in the middle, you may be able to incorporate practices that will help you stay on task. Whatever the answer is here, this will help you determine the setting you need to do your best work. It is important to be honest with ourselves on this one.
Something that is often either over-looked, or looked at from the wrong perspective is “am I an introvert or an extrovert?” What setting makes you feel more comfortable? Do you thrive on interacting with people, or do you feel more comfortable being alone or in small groups? Just because you are an introvert will not mean you need a job where you sit in a corner by yourself only interacting with a computer screen or book. This just means if you do something that involves a lot of interaction, you will need to schedule time to recharge. On the other side, being an extrovert doesn’t mean you must constantly be out and about. If you have a job that involves little interaction as an extrovert, you just need to plan times where you can interact with others. All the same, knowing the setting that makes you most comfortable will help you determine the best fit for you. As a bonus, this can also help you determine the best way to market yourself.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of the questions we must ask to understand ourselves, but I think this is a good starting point if you are just starting out on the journey to your dream work. Always remember, it is helpful to get input from others, but your best answers will come from yourself. If you are pursuing new avenues, you might want to check out my entrepreneur resource page. This is where I collect helpful resources, including interviews with entrepreneurs and those with home businesses of different kinds. If you don’t yet know what you are looking for, perhaps you will get some ideas here.
So, do you know who you are? If not, there’s no better time to figure that out than now. What other questions would you add to this list? Let me know in the comments.