When I was in high school, I met a great man named Dr. Earl Reum. Dr. Reum gave inspirational speeches at schools and leadership events, impacting people at this critical juncture in their lives. I was intrigued by what he said and diligently went through the workbook he handed out, filled with self-discovery questions. The things he said perfectly matched what I knew to be true and the process of writing, based on the self-discovery prompts he provided, changed my life. I now realize that I can trace my confidence and path in life, back to the personal writing work he inspired and nuggets of advice he shared, including the following:
“Wishing will not bring success, but planning, persistence and burning desire will accomplish anything.” —SUCCESS by Barbara Smallwood & Steve Kilborn, 1981.
Through his self-discovery writing prompts, I defined my self. I developed a great appreciation for who I was and clarified what I wanted to do with my life. Not that my life has been constantly glorious since, but that process sure helped. People can do this at any stage of life and revisit the self-discovery process many times through out life. We are constantly changing and getting better so how a person answered these questions at 17 is very different from how one would at 47.
Now, it is time for you to begin writing. Write about yourself. It is you who identifies who you are and where you want to go with your life. No matter where you have been, who you grew up with, what your circumstances are or were, it is YOU who can stand strong and move forward any way you choose. Identify your dream or perfect life; write it down and define it physically, and then spread the word about your new self and intention. Really own it. Define. Refine. Move. Announce.Here are 150 writing prompts that will help with the process of self-discovery. They are in no specific order and are not intended to work you through a dynamic process of thought. These are just for fun, to get you thinking and help you begin to write and define yourself. Have fun with these prompts.
Who am I?
Why am I here?
Where am I from?
Where am I going?
Clearly define your goals. Write them out. Develop a detailed action plan for achieving them. Set deadlines, visualize the results.
Do “your thing” expertly. Describe “your thing.” What you are really “good” at?
What really moves you? What speaks to you from deep within?
What you are going to do to answer that deep calling and share those talents with the world?
When I am alone, I feel . . .
If I were a boss, would I hire me?
How can I improve the outer me? (Appearance, clothes, speaking voice, mannerisms, posture)
What does the inner me look like?
Sometimes I pretend to be . . .
- If I were an animal, this is what I would be . . .
- If I were a banner, I would read . . .
- If I were a tree, I would be . . .
- If I were sound, I would be . . .
- If I were a color, I would be . . .
- If I were a taste, I would be . . .
- If I were a super hero, I would be . . .
- If I were a country, I would be . .
- If I were a food, I would be . . .
- If I were a bird, I would be . . .
Now, here is what I am already . . .
Here is what others see me as . . .
Seven of my finer qualities, gifts, talents and characteristics, are . . .
I have a few limitations right now, they include . . .
I am going to overcome these limitations by . . .
Something I have done lately that really turned someone off is . . .
Something I have done recently that really inspired or energized someone is . . .
Identifying the problem often gets us very close to finding the answer to the problem. Today, my biggest problems include:
Write a message in a bottle that you would like someone to find.
Quick answers to:
- Mission in life:
- Dreams for someday:
- Best advice received:
- Best advice given:
- Most valued idea:
- Urgent challenges:
- Most fun day ever:
- Happiest moment lately:
- Who am I really?
Yesterday, I was:
Tomorrow, I will be:
If I give my life purpose, what purpose will I give it?
What I need to become is the real me, in the real world, making a real difference. What does this look like?
My parents would like me to be . . .
A stranger’s first impression of me is . . .
I typically base my decisions on . . .
Record here memories of embarrassing moments. How might I handle this situation differently next time?
Record here memories of magnificent moments:
People I will never forget include:
Here is a description of the most exciting thing that has ever happened to me:
This was the worst experience ever:
The most significant event of my life:
The single, most significant learning experience of my entire life was . . .
How I handle crisis:
A crisis I am now facing and what I am doing about it:
My dreams for the future:
Who or what inspired these dreams?
Who can help me achieve my dreams (teacher, friend, relative, pastor, mentor):
In what ways have I brought peace or joy into the my world so far?
In what ways have I brought frustration and sorrow to the world so far?
My accomplishments so far include:
What must you do before it is too late?
The three best things about school:
The three best things about my relationship:
The three best things about my job:
These are the people around me that bring out the very best of me:
If those around me reflect back something in myself, what is it about that other person that I see in myself?
These are the people around me that bring out the worst of me:
Why am I choosing to keep these people in my life?
If everyone around me reflects back something in myself, what is it about me I do not like that keeps these toxic people around me?
Three things I wish people knew about me:
Three significant things I need to accomplish
Seven things I love to do:
A listing of my favorite things:
These things I value . . .
If I should lose this precious thing, I do not know what I would do.
These are my most treasured possessions:
“The real secret to success is to actually use every bit of advice we give to other people.” – paraphrasing of Sherman Jackson. What advice do we most often give to others?
These are the people I trust:
My field of interest for the future is . . .
Acquired skills of mine that would help another are . . .
Failures that have ensured my future victories include . . .
If there is such a thing as a “next life,” what do you want to do in the next round? How would you do things differently?
Here is how I will transcend my limitations and be better than those who have come before me . . .
Best advice from my mom . . .
Best advice from my dad . . .
Title of my book:
“If you can’t do great things, do small things great.” — Dr. Earl Reum. Here are the small things I can do great:
The best advice I ever received was . . .
Three things I desperately want to know more about:
If I was the star of a TV show, it would be about . . .
Quick answers to:
- This person makes me the happiest . . .
- This person understands me best . . .
- This person listens to me completely . . .
- This person is truly my best friend . . .
What famous person would you like as a friend?
Will I want my children to love me the way I love my parents?
My parent’s greatest strengths are . . .
What do my parents expect from me?
I expect from my parents . . .
Am I as considerate of my parents as I am of my friends?
Do I treat my family as the most important people in my life?
Are they deserving of that?
This is what I will never say to my kids . . .
The person I wish to be like most is . . .
My heros include . . .
Sometimes we need others to help us find our glory, who are those people that will help you find what is best about you?
Superhuman qualities and the people who represent that to me:
- Sense of humor:
When I am with close friends, I am . . .
Here is what I would like to change about me . . .
When I am with adults, I am . . .
During discussions, I am . . .
I probably need to do this . . .
When I am alone, I am . . .
If people depend on me, I need to be . . .
When I enter a new group, I feel . . .
When I meet new people, I feel . . .
When I am in the car by myself, I . . .
When I am really at ease, I . . .
I feel most helpful and needed when . . .
The last time I complemented someone was . . .
The last time I received a complement was and how did it make me feel?
Some of my personal gifts and talents I can share to show someone that I love them are:
If I were in charge of the world, this is the problem I would solve . . .
If I were in charge of the world, these are the people I would help first:
I spend my spare time doing the following:
I spend too much time . . .
I don’t spend enough time . . .
And now, here it is, what I am seriously resolving to accomplish . . .
What do I spend my money on that is irresponsible . . .
If I could have one talent gifted to me by the universe, it would be . . .
Now that I have contracted with the universe to accomplish this, here are the first steps to get me there:
I have been creating this list for a long time and do not know if I made them up or found them some place, likely a combination of both. Many writing prompts come from Dr. Earl Reum’s workshop workbook: A Place to Stand While Putting Yourself Together. I had the great pleasure of sitting behind Dr. Reum in church the last five years of his life. He never stopped inspiring and empowering people. What a treasure he was!