Know Thy Self: 46 Questions to Ask Yourself Right Now

By: Jim Murphy

Note: We are taking a break from the series on the 7 disciplines of Inner Excellence to share this special New Year questionnaire.


  • The easiest person to fool is yourself; few people take time to develop serious self-awareness.
  • Inner Excellence is a lifestyle based on routines of thought and action—one of those is to spend at least half a day (a full day is better) this week reviewing the past year and previewing the next one.
  • Get your journal, your latte, and your heart ready for some potentially life-changing introspection.

Happy New Year! Today is the first day of the best year of your life. Every year I pick a day generally around this week to review the year and imagine the next one. I put together some questions for you to develop self-awareness as well as review last year and imagine next year. First grab your journal, your latte, and your calendar (from 2020) so you can go through your year month by month to answer some of these questions.  I’d love to see your answers (completely confidential if you send them to me). I’ll send you mine if you wish as well.  

Love Jim
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Mentors and teachers
1. If you could have coffee with anyone past or present, who would your top 5 be? 
2. For coaches/leaders, if you could coach anyone in the world, who would your top 5 be?
    For golfers, who would your top foursome to play with be? 
3. Who are your top 3 teachers (people you follow, watch, listen, read, and/or just try to learn from)?

How you want to live and feel
4. What is your life purpose? (note: we clarify this at Inner Excellence retreats—these questions below will help)
5. How do you want to feel in your life?
    a. In performance? In daily life?
6. How do you NOT want to feel? 
7. Describe three experiences where you felt exactly how you want to feel. 
8. What would a perfect workday be like for you? 
9. What scares you most?
10. What are your top three values?

If anything was possible…
11. What would a perfect day off be like for you? 
12. What would a perfect vacation day be like for you? 
13. If you had unlimited resources, how would you spend the next six months?
14. Describe your dream office if you could design it any way you wanted with unlimited resources.
15. If you could travel anywhere in the world for two weeks (everything paid for), where would you go and what would you do? 
16. What are three things about yourself that you would change if you had a magic wand? 

Growing up and what you’ve learned
17. What experience(s) from childhood have impacted you today? 
18. If you could go back and talk to yourself as a high school senior, what would you say?
19. What is your greatest accomplishment so far?
20. Describe three experiences where you witnessed someone doing something (or heard about it), that inspired you or changed how you live.
21. What adversity have you faced that improved your life? 
22. List 3 books that had an impact on your life or that you just really liked (and one sentence why).
23. List 3 movies that had an impact on your life or that you just really liked (and one sentence why).

The quality of your life is based on 3 elements: your inner world; your frame of reference, and the quality of your relationships (see page XV from Inner Excellence – get it here).

24. Think about your 4 big relationships: 
      1. God
      2. self
      3. others
      4. work
      Are they in the proper place and priority in your life to live the life you were created to live? 
25. Where does your security come from?
26. Where does your identity come from?
27. Is there anyone in your life who you would feel uncomfortable in an elevator with? 
      a. Recalling the Inner Excellence principle that everyone does the best they can with what’s in their heart, how can you heal that relationship?

Review this last year
28. What were the three greatest things from the past year?
29. What were the top 3 things you learned this year?
30. What did you worry about most?
31. What have been your main coping mechanisms and what can you do to choose better ones?
32. What was your biggest weakness this last year?
33. Describe the past year in 3 words.

Imagine the coming year
34. What would you do if you had six months to live?
35. What is one thing that you will do different this year?
36. What is your one main goal for the year?
37. How does this coming year’s main goal fit into your big goal for the next 5-10 years? 

“Your religion is what you do with your solitude.”
– William Temple, Archbishop of Canterbury

38. How can you create more space in your life?
39. What routine do you admire most in others and/or want to start?
40. Describe your morning routine. What would you like to do or could do to improve it? 
41. How have you been in regards to being on time for things? What will you do to improve?

General self-discovery questions
42. If your house was on fire, and you could only grab one (inanimate) thing, what would it be?  
43. If you had one wish before you die, what would it be?
44. Would you rather own a $10m home on the ocean and have all the normal anxieties and stresses of a person with that life, or live paycheck to paycheck with no savings in an apartment, drive a rusty old car, and have deep contentment, joy and confidence independent of circumstance? 
      a. What if no one could ever see where you lived if you had the house on the ocean? 
    b. What if you lived in the apartment and also worked as a Walmart greeter or McDonald’s cashier the rest of your life? 
45. What good reason do you have not to change every single thing in your life right now?
    a. Go through the various aspects of your life, and ask that question. If there’s no good reason, should you change it?
      What are your options?
46. If you continue on the path you’re on, what will your life be like in 5 years (mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically)?

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