Back in 2018, I was capital L - O - S - T. No direction, no purpose, in a confusing place about who I was, who I wanted to be, and where I wanted to go. It's hard to be in your 20s, and have this feeling that you should have an idea about your life path and what you want to do. It's specifically difficult when you don't realize that part of your life path is experiencing the part when you have no idea what your path is.... read that again. Yeah, crazy stuff. Still livin' it.
Anyways, during my time of MASS confusion, (oh, and I still don't know what I'm doing... nobody does) I saw a blog post by Darrah Brustein. It outlined 9 questions "9 Questions You Should Ask Your Network." The intent in her post was to 'help find your path' and 'expand your network.' I found the workbook intriguing, and as a person that tends to think very deeply (sometimes too deeply) and gets lost in the details, I realized I could be missing a huge high level fact about myself that could help me significantly. And maybe that fact, that realization, could lead me down some sort of road that served my purpose.
I decided to ask my family, a few friends, and some coaches. After all, these people knew me best; they've seen me at my BEST and my absolute WORST. They've witnessed pure greatness beaming from my soul and my pure agony.
This exercise doesn't take much time at all. It's writing a few emails to your closest friends, family, coaches, teachers, explaining why answering these questions could help you.
When you're writing the emails/texts, here are a few notes:
- Be Personal. The emails don't have to be long, but spending the time to write why that person knows you best or why you treasure that person's relationship can go a long way. You'll also more likely get more meaningful answers.
- Be Open. Tell them to "be honest," recognize that you won't take anything personally, because this exercise will help you grow.
By laying it all on the line, you're giving people permission to be vulnerable too. You're not asking them to shit on you, you're asking them to help you out, you're recognizing they know you best, you value their opinion, and that by answering these questions, they could really take investment in your personal development.
So let's get down to it... what am I asking? Darrah had 9 questions, I added a few more just based on what I wanted answered. Feel free to do the same!
What are my key strengths?
What's the most unique thing about me?
What's something that bothers you about me?
When am I at my best?
When am I at my worst?
What's something you'd wish for me in the next year?
What do you rely on me for?
When am I most powerful?
When am I least powerful?
What's something you know about me, but I don't know about myself?
(for those who have known you for forever) When I was little, what did I love to do?
This is a vulnerable activity. I mean you're straight up asking "what bothers you about me?" This is tough! But it's so worth it. I was even thinking, isn't it kind of funny that we don't talk about these type of things more? I mean come on.... Your life path? Your purpose? This is the good stuff. This is the bread and butter of life. This contributes to our every day happiness. This stuff could help us radiate more love. So... that being said, this exercise not only helps YOU try to figure it out -- but it helps make talking about this stuff more normal. Maybe it's just me...? But I want my people to actively discuss these things. We all want to make moves, so why not bring each other up when we're winning and call each other out when we're not? I want people jumping at any moment to show me when I'm living in my full potential or when my energy is sucked dry.
What now? After you've written the emails, and before you read your first reply, answer these questions YOURSELF. What do you know about yourself? How observant are you? What is your awareness level? Answering the questions in depth can really let you get step out of your body for a moment and observe your own actions. It also is fun to compare and contrast your answers with your network's answers.
After.... collect the data. After I received all the answers from my friends and family. I copy and pasted them all into another word document, organized by question. I copy and pasted them anonymously so that wouldn't distract me in any way. It made it easy to compare and contrast the answers, and clearly see the trends. It made it easy to see, "Oh wow people really like my energy... how can I take advantage of that?" You begin to make connections and ask questions. For those of you that love data, and love clear answers, it also helps to eliminate any uncertainty you had about yourself with specific capabilities. You begin to recognize your strengths... "oh people see this too! I wasn't crazy" or maybe "okay -- I didn't even realize people see me as this confident!" etc.
All in all -- nothing bad can come from this exercise, it's brings awareness and clarity, and makes you ask questions about how you react to different scenarios. And even though I did this exercise 3 years ago, I still reference the answers from time to time, and learn something new every time I revisit. It's a gift that keeps on giving, and this exercise can even be repeated over time.
PEACE LOVE. Keep on full glass livin'