3 Ways To Find the Truth—About Yourself

This is a guest post by LaRae Quy. She was an FBI agent, both as a counterintelligence and undercover agent, for 25 years. She exposed foreign spies and recruited them to work for the U.S. Government. Now she uses the skills she learned as an FBI agent to help others develop personal leadership strengths via her blog, Empower the Leader In You. You can also follow her on Twitter.

The quickest and surest way to get fired as an FBI agent is to lie. Proven lack of candor is automatic dismissal—truth is a precious commodity in an organization whose primary purpose is peeling back layers of deceit to expose cold, hard facts.

A Woman Writing Notes in Her Journal - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/petrograd99, Image #3584474

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/petrograd99

Many of us have a love/hate relationship with truth. We tell ourselves we want to know the truth, but we’re very selective about the kind of truth we seek. About others, yes—and usually about world events and situations that impact us directly, but we are less receptive to revelations about ourselves.

In fact, self-knowledge is a two-edged sword because we might find out something about ourselves that we would rather not know. We’ve carefully packaged ourselves to look and act in a manner that ensures success in the world. Our ego has dressed us up for so long that many of us don’t even know how to begin to peel back the layers of illusion to expose cold, hard facts about ourselves.

The Book of LaRae was quite short for many years. I, like most others, lived in co-dependent dramas by acting out the role and living up to the identity I’d given myself. There was little of substance because I hadn’t taken the time to excavate the significance of my own stories and experiences. I had the form but little else.

This is ironic because peeling back the layers to get at the truth was my job. Yet I had never applied the same science to my own life. As a counterintelligence FBI agent, I identified foreign spies operating in the United States and tried to recruit them to work for the FBI. Identifying them was the easy part; I surrounded them with people and other informants that alerted me to their every move.

A successful recruitment, however, means digging deep and finding what gives their life meaning. It is helping that person explore their choices in life so they can make better decisions.

By encouraging people to be truthful about their dreams and goals in life, I empowered them to change direction so they would be moving toward something that had true meaning for them.

When did the Book of LaRae start to thicken up? I was selected as spokesperson for the FBI in Northern California after working in counterintelligence for twenty years. It was a great opportunity, but in a way that I didn’t expect: it gave me the space to reflect on how to use those same counterintelligence skills to look at the role and identity I’d given myself as a way of competing—successfully—in a very competitive world.

As we age, it becomes even harder to keep up false pretenses. It’s why baby-boomers are starting to experience emptiness as the identities they’ve given themselves crumble into layers of fat and wrinkles.

Here are three ways that I encouraged foreign spies—and ultimately, myself—to dig down and discover what gives life meaning:

  1. Life Assessment

    One of the quickest ways to bring more truth into your life is to conduct a quick assessment. Assign a numerical number between 1 and 10 to each area listed below. 1 means “not at all satisfied with my life” and 10 means “completely satisfied.” Remember that a 10 doesn’t necessarily mean “perfect.”

    Area of Your Life Your Rating (1-10)

    The most difficult numbers are 5s and 6s because they mean you’re not unhappy enough to do anything about it, but a long way from being satisfied, too. In other words, “you’ve settled.”

    Delete every number that is not an 8, 9 or 10. Either you have what you want or you don’t. Anything below an 8 means that you don’t have what you want but you haven’t faced up to it yet.

  2. Ask Great Questions

    If you want a great life, ask great questions. Questions can help because they are catalysts that get you to thinking about your own stories and experiences. The secret of an FBI stealth interrogation is to never ask direct questions. Instead, come from the side.

    For example, questions like, “What is my purpose in life?” Or, “What do I want?” are too broad to produce a meaningful answer. Instead, ask yourself stealth questions like “What would excite me?” “What looks, feels, and sounds like an adventure?”

    Other questions to ask yourself:

    • Who is the happiest person you know?
    • Who are the people you like and respect the most? Why?
    • What are you curious about?
    • When does time seem to fly?
    • What bores you?
    • What makes you different from other people or members of your family?
    • How do you want to be remembered?
    • What is in your bucket list of things to do in life?
  3. Keep a Journal

    Journaling is a powerful way of excavating the significance of your own stories and experiences. It’s a very effective way of coaxing out thoughts, questions, and insights into your patterns of behavior.

    It’s important to keep track of events in your life. This means more than the “Dear Diary” approach we learned as kids. Journaling is like homework; only you can do it and it only works if you put your mind to it. You can only see the significance of events, people, or circumstances by looking backward. Memorialize the triumphs but look closely at the failures, losses, and disappointments. Only by examining your life in its entirety—the good, the bad, and the ugly—can you gain a deeper understanding of your experiences.

    More importantly, you give yourself the opportunity to change direction, if needed, so you can explore your choices in life and make better decisions in the future. Journaling was the tool that gave me the space I needed to look back at my life and see how I could move from form to substance.

As you being to tear away at the packaging that your ego has wrapped you up in for so many years, you’ll find something very powerful inside: you. The real person is empowered because you’ll have no need to impress others. Or lie to yourself.

What are you discovering about yourself? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • http://garridon.wordpress.com/ Linda Adams

    Mike, this was a great post, and I was going to follow LaRue on Twitter — but the link is broken!  

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Sorry about that. It is now fixed. Thanks!

  • http://www.BillintheBlank.com/ Bill Blankschaen


    Excellent thoughts here. Hard-hitting, but needed. I must confess to feeling nervous leaving a comment given your background at getting to the truth about people. Fingers shaking…

    Seriously, so glad you have made the transition in life. That’s the scary part really, isn’t it? I’m curious, which part of your life was more difficult, recruitng foreign spies or being honest with yourself?

    Thanks for pointing all of this out and giving us practical steps to move forward!

    • LaRae Quy

      Hi Bill

      HaHa . . . those days are behind me so your secrets are safe with me :-)

      Transitions are hard, though I sensed God prodding me to move into something that would deepen my understanding of both the Holy and myself. Being honest with myself was, and is, a far more difficult task than recruiting spies. Although, a real recruitment takes the target through much of the soul searching that I went through at a later date. Many people are not up for it, and if they’re not, they’re not good recruitment targets. I think the same could be said of me; when I was ready, I moved forward. It’s been a good, albeit painful experience at times primarily because I needed to throw away my prompts.

      Glad you liked the post!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Robert-Neff/100000638109159 Robert Neff

    A very good and important article. Very difficult due to the honesty required.  This is not an alternative approach.  It is just an old adage: If you want to discover your faults, Marry.  If you want to discover your virtues, Die.  Journaling is far superior.

    • http://www.LaRaeQuy.com/ LaRae Quy

      Hi Robert

      I hadn’t heard that adage before – thanks for sharing. It’s surprising how difficult honesty can be when it comes to ourselves . . .

  • http://chrisvonada.info/ chris vonada

    lol… this is like one of those posts that deep down many people really don’t want to do… or know! Being authentic… with ourselves… that’s really the core of self-improvement and growth. I would add that having a good understanding of my own Myers-Briggs personality type would be very valuable to peeling back many layers and finding the core… and truth!

    • http://www.LaRaeQuy.com/ LaRae Quy


      I love both the Myers-Briggs and the Enneagram . . . both are tools that I use, especially when journaling, because they help me interpret and understand my behavior. So many are automatic and I often don’t know where they come from, then I look at my Enneagram type and the lightbulb goes off. Journaling + Enneagram or Myers-Briggs = a powerful tool for self-growth.

      • http://chrisvonada.info/ chris vonada

        LaRae, I took the Enneagram this morning, thanks for sharing this as I didn’t know about this one, very helpful!

  • http://missionallendale.wordpress.com/ Joey Espinosa

    Years ago, I put together an anonymous survey for my co-workers (about 12-14 people). I asked them to rate me in about 6-8 different areas, on a scale. It was eye-opening, humbling, and in many ways, encouraging.

    • http://www.LaRaeQuy.com/ LaRae Quy

      Hi Joey,

      What was the most encouraging?

      • http://missionallendale.wordpress.com/ Joey Espinosa

        In a few areas (I think it was about “parenting” and “marriage”), I got overall good ratings from my peers.

  • http://actuallykatie.com/ Katie McAleece

    I love the depth and yet simplicity of this. It strikes the perfect balance of helpful and thought provoking. Well written, and a lot of great advice. I especially like the tip on journaling- my sister and I were just discussing how emotionally, physically, and spiritually healthy it is to journal, just last night!

    Thank you for writing and sharing this with the world!

    • http://www.LaRaeQuy.com/ LaRae Quy

      Hi Katie

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts! Journaling helps a person slow down and become more grounded. For me, it was the perfect place to get in touch with my inner voice. I think we always have the answers, deep down–it’s just that they get buried beneath all the activity we call life.

  • http://sparkvoice.wordpress.com/ DS

    It’s quite interesting how writing or journaling can provide the opportunity for reflection and growth.

    I’m learning about how much I enjoy helping others, and other aspects of life that fully charge my life with passion.

  • http://www.LaRaeQuy.com/ LaRae Quy

    Hi DS,

    We are most fully ourselves when we help others . . . it can many of us several years to get to that level of understanding. Congrats – its sounds as though you’ve found your passion!

  • http://www.thegeezergadgetguy.com/ Thad Puckett

    A very interesting topic, and a well written post.   As I grow older I continue to find things out about myself.  Some good.  Some not so flattering.  I guess self-discovery is not something you ever stop doing (or at least shouldn’t be). 

    • http://www.LaRaeQuy.com/ LaRae Quy

      Hi Thad

      I don’t think self-discovery is something we should ever stop doing because there is always more to be discovered! That’s both the good and the bad . . . at some point in my life, I decided that the truth had more heft than the illusion. That’s been a blessing because, for the most part, I wasn’t fooling anyone other than myself.

  • http://www.ericamcneal.com/ Erica McNeal

    I am learning I am passionate about many, many things… and in order to be effective, I must prioritize those passions.

    • http://www.LaRaeQuy.com/ LaRae Quy

      Hi Erica

      Good for you! So many people have trouble identifying their true passion and life purpose. Prioritizing them is a great way to see what is truly important to you. All the best!

      • http://www.ericamcneal.com/ Erica McNeal

        I am a huge people-pleaser and want to make others happy, so, learning how to say “no” was key for me!

        • http://sparkvoice.wordpress.com/ DS

          I fight that same battle…and saying “no” still isn’t easy.

        • Mrs. Hill


          I find that I am passionate about many things and I’ve also been a people pleaser, too. I don’t know if it will benefit you, but I carry a timer with me and have one in my browser to help me be more effective an deter me from wasting time which I’m finding I’m very good at. It helps me to evaluate where I need to say no and things that are important. When my timer goes off, I typically ask myself if what I’m doing is productive or if it needs more attention at this time.

          One of the revelations I’ve had is that God’s creation is a living, breathing thing. This includes relationships, work, finances, community, the nation we live in, the church and so much more than just the physical things we see as living, breathing things. All living things need to not only be fed (which sometimes we neglect to do) but also to be cared for and nurtured or is becomes weak, ill or even dies. This is what I mean when I ask if it is something that needs attention at this time. We sometimes get so caught up in our passions, what other people think, and the whole busy-ness of our lives that we truly get distracted from what is important. As Christians what is important is our personal real living relationships with the Trinity and being fruitful and multiplying that we have the fruit that REMAINS!

  • http://www.delemares.wordpress.com/ sandra delemare

    I’m currently following the 40 Soul Fast: your journey to authentic living by Cindy Trimm. It covers much the same ground as this – only obviously in more depth. I’ve just finished week 2 of 8 (we get the w/es off – in case the maths was bothering you). – there’s a journal to go with and questions to answer – and answering the questions truthfully (and you’re only cheating yourself if you don’t) reveals stuff that you’d rather not know.
    Just one quote from many great ones: ‘One of the primary reasons for pursuing a soul fast is to regain balance in life.’ – I’d already identified lack of balance in various areas of my life before I read this quote.
    I’m posting weekly progress updates on my blog.

    • http://www.LaRaeQuy.com/ LaRae Quy

      Hi Sandra

      Thanks for sharing . . . it sounds as though you’ve made great progress! The lack of balance in various areas of life is like a wheel with uneven spokes . . . it can make for a bumpy ride :-)

      • http://www.delemares.wordpress.com/ sandra delemare

        Thanks, LaRae. I hope I didn’t seem to be stealing your thunder.
        Another thing I’ve identified is that I need to get on and put what I’m learning into practice.
        Great post btw

  • http://www.danapittman.com Dana Pittman

    Quite a bit. I’m going through this onion process intentionally. I’m peeling back the layers. I recently sat and wrote out random things about myself…good, bad, etc. I then started considering how I wanted to spend my time with those things in mind. Well, the past year or so has been a dozy.

    To your question, I love helping people but those interactions tap me out. Weird huh?   I’m now learning how to be most effective with this knowledge. Time will tell.

    • http://www.LaRaeQuy.com/ LaRae Quy

      Hi Dana

      My husband finds that helping others taps him out as well, but we both think that is because he’s an introvert and not because he doesn’t find fulfillment in helping others . . . don’t know if that applies to you but I suspect that you’ll find the answer – knowledge is a powerful tool!

      Thanks for sharing.

      • http://www.danapittman.com Dana Pittman


        Your husband and I are like in that respect. I find fulfillment in it. Love in fact. In response, I’m learning to pace myself and have various methods of interaction to satisfy my work and keep myself in a good head space.

        Thanks for the post. Have a great weekend.

  • Mrs. Hill


    This is a wonderful article. Many people go about life like a feather in the wind, simply reacting to the world around them until they reach a certain level of maturity. Some were fortunate enough to be born into families and surrounded by others in their environment who were great role models to follow. However, no matter our experiences in life we still find that God prompts us to live even more richly. Life in this physical world, no matter how great, continues to reveal our need for Christ and God’s sovereignty.

    Scripture tells us that we are to be wise and disciplined which requires us to see ourselves in truth. Too, God repeated tells us that we must remember! It is so easy in a busy world to forget our revelations of truth, losing focus of what the Holy Spirit has taught us and “drop the ball”, so to speak, in applying it to our lives. Journaling, in a sense, helps with this, too. As we go back and review our journals we can see the changes in our lives as we grew. Personally, I take the revelations I’ve experienced and compile them in a separate journal I now refer to as my Book of Remembrance. It is something I wish to pass down to my kids and future generations. It’s so apparent how all of these aspects are inter-dependent when God has been revealed to us.

    By the way, have you read the book “Under Cover” by John Bevere? The author really grabs your attention leading you to live within God’s ordained order and as an example for others like an undercover agent for His Kingdom.

    • http://www.LaRaeQuy.com/ LaRae Quy

      Hi Mrs. Hill

      Thanks for your insightful response . . . I love the idea of a Book of Remembrance! It’s important to identify and memorialize those times in life where God showed up in a special way or we gained insight into God’s pattern in our life. That can go a long way in sustaining us when things are not as clear.

      Thanks also for the book recommendation . . . I’ll check it out.

      Have a great weekend.

  • http://www.faughnfamily.com/ Adam Faughn

    Wonderful post! The questions you suggest are truly thought-provoking. To that list, I would add, “What brings you joy?” (as opposed to simply happiness)

    • http://www.LaRaeQuy.com/ LaRae Quy

      Hi Adam

      I agree . . . I like “What brings you joy?” It’s a deeper emotion (I think) than happiness. Thanks for the suggestion.

  • http://twitter.com/chadro12 Chad Miller

    LaRae and Michael,

    Incredibly well written post! This topic of being brutally honest with ones self haunts so many individuals. I appreciate the call to action in the steps that you outlined to find our true identity. Very empowering.


    • http://www.LaRaeQuy.com/ LaRae Quy

      Hi Chad

      I’m so glad you found it empowering . . . brutal honesty is just that – brutal. But, it’s time to stop playing dress-up and become the person we were really meant to be. That is what makes us authentic. THAT is what is empowering!

  • http://www.ibloom.us/ Jthorne2004

    I love LaRue’s perspective on life.  I am currently in week 24 of of 52 week journey that I am taking with the help of a book called “iChoose2 Love My Life”  written by our iBloom team (www.ibloom.us).  It is helping me to analyze my life and make adjustments in small steps to live a life with purpose and hopefully leave a legacy that I can be proud of.   Trying so hard to be intentional so that I have no regrets.

    • http://www.LaRaeQuy.com/ LaRae Quy

      Hi J

      What a great goal! I like your approach – small steps. Small steps allow us to look before we leap and when we’re facing the unknown, it’s a good way to move forward. The best of luck – it sounds as though you’re making great progress.

  • Douglas Stewart @SalesRhino

    Michael, thank you for sharing LaRue with us! Very challenging concept. Following after God and His truth is the most challenging/rewarding thing a person can do.

    Thanks again!

  • http://www.love-laugh-learn.com/ Deanna

    I love that you are using what you learned as a spy to help us uncover what we hide from ourselves! 

    btw, I had to think long about your first question…  
    surprisingly, the number of people I know who are really happy are few. My goal is to be one of them!

    • http://www.LaRaeQuy.com/ LaRae Quy

      Hi Deanna

      The more we understand the person God made us to be, the better we like ourselves. Happiness is a by-product of living authentically, I have found. The best of luck – have a great weekend.

  • bp

    Can one person truly be so frightfully fearful of being successful to the point that procrastination is the only form of denial???

    • Ltraylor11

      I think I am!

    • http://www.LaRaeQuy.com/ LaRae Quy

      Hi BP

      Procrastination . . . I do it as well. Your point is well taken since my procrastination revolves around writing my book . . . mmmm, you’ve given me something to think about.

    • Mrs. Hill

       This is not as simple of a question as it seems on the surface, bp. God breathed into His Creation being fruitful and multiplying each after our own kind just like He spoke “Let there be light and there was light.” We automatically multiply each after our own kind. This is huge in light of the fact that God told us that He will visit the sins of the father on the third and fourth generations. This not only applies to our DNA including physical and mental attributes and behaviours from our ancestry, but in societies and communities as well. We each have an individual “link” to the eternal past as well as the eternal future. Our personal eternal past in blood relations, our raising as children, the environment around us throughout our short physical life, the culture and society, communities, even churches. Some people had a good foundation to begin with, while others have to overcome adversity and transition becomes harder path to forge. I thank God every day for giving mankind Jesus for the strength it takes to be courageous when I’m weak. So, yes, people (a person) can be truly frightfully fearful of being successful to the point that procrastination is the only form of denial. That’s where we need Jesus to give us the strength when we are determined to shed that fear and accept the revelation that God really loves us and wants us to be successful in all areas of life.

  • Andrew Inge

    Great post! My question is off topic, but I am a subscriber, and my computer crashed. I lost my Life Plan book, which I really have found indispensable . Is there any way I can get another one? I’ll gladly pay for it.

  • Eretreats

    Ouch!  I scored far below five for everything except charitable and spiritual.  My challenge is always, how do I make the necessary changes and still support myself?  I feel stuck in a job that brings me little to no fulfillment, I’m divorced, my only child has moved away and I don’t have friends that can help me.  My family is very small and I’m doing better than most of them, so they depend on me a lot to help with their problems.  I honestly don’t know how to change my life.  I pray and things happen, but nothing that brings any real and lasting change. 

    Thank you for this post.  I showed me where I really am….

    • http://www.LaRaeQuy.com/ LaRae Quy

      Hi Eretreats

      Awareness is huge . . . you’re much further along than most folks just acknowledging which areas of life need to be looked at. Take a look at Michael’s Life Plan, if you haven’t already. It’s a great way to focus on what is really important to you in life and develop strategies to make it happen. Also, the first thing I do when I know that my life is out of balance is work on developing a strong network of friends . . . they become my personal board of advisors and always point me in the right direction. If your spiritual life is on target, God will surround you with the right  people.

      Good luck. 

  • http://twitter.com/JoshuaWRivers Joshua Rivers

    This is a great post. It’s hard to look in the mirror and be honest about what we see. I have been working on this for a little bit as I’ve been reading through “Quitter” by Jon Acuff and “48 Days to the Work You Love” by Dan Miller. Dissatisfaction at work filters into other areas of life. I have been working at restricting that flow while trying to pave a new career path.

    • http://www.LaRaeQuy.com/ LaRae Quy

      Hi Joshua

      I know what you mean about work – I’m an overachiever (a 3 on the Enneagram) and my self-worth has always been defined by my work. What I have found is that what is difficult to look at in the mirror often has a flip side . . . so many times it is our strengths that become our biggest weaknesses when they go unchecked – the very thing that I did not like looking at was something that could be changed by simply becoming aware of it. For example, I’ve not been proud of the way I walked all over other agents in order to get the best case or assignment. I’m now embarrassed by my behavior, but understanding that this came from a deep need to achieve helped me understand that behavior so I could change it.

      The best of luck in finding a new career that utilizes your talents and gives you a sense of purpose . . . that is what is most important.

  • http://thekevinedwards.com/ Kevin Edwards

    Thanks LaRae!  I am both excited and terrified by this post.  However, we only get to live this life one time and seeking out the truth about ourselves is the only way to make sure we live it to the fullest.

    • http://www.LaRaeQuy.com/ LaRae Quy

      Hi Kevin

      Life is either an adventure or it is nothing! Approaching life with that attitude will enable you to get excited about how you can live life to the fullest.

  • http://twitter.com/aaronlage Aaron Lage

    I’ve learned that it wouldn’t be called “being deceived” if you’re aware of the deception. It’s easy to believe “I’m” not deceived.  It’s never easy to allow yourself to face the truth that I could be deceived or moreover that I may have permitted the deceit in my own mind – consciously or not.

    The line, “Believing the lie empowers the liar”, seems to hold true. Thanks for sharing and encouraging us to seek out truth – even when it’s self effacing.

    • http://www.LaRaeQuy.com/ LaRae Quy

      Hi Aaron

      Seeking the truth about ourselves is empowering. It strips away “the old man” and allows “the new man” to emerge. This is a spiritual journey, and as Christians, we’re so much better equipped to pursue what is true than others. I truly believe that what is authentic about ourselves is much stronger, and more beautiful, than the lie that our ego has persuaded us to believe for years.

    • Mrs. Hill

       That is the truth isn’t it Aaron! Very well said.

  • Christina

    This is so very true I actually went through this personally spiritually and everything this is saying is the truth if you want to get to the button of your life find yourself by doing this! 

    • http://www.LaRaeQuy.com/ LaRae Quy

      Thanks, Christina! I appreciate your support.

  • http://blog.cyberquill.com/ Cyberquill

    What I’ve discovered in my life so far is that being “me” is the road to disaster. So either I’m fundamentally mistaken about who I am and what I want, in which case assessing my life is pointless, as I always reach the same erroneous results anyway, or I’m correct about myself, in which case knowing myself doesn’t seem very helpful.

    • http://www.LaRaeQuy.com/ LaRae Quy

      Hi Cyberquill

      Assessing our life is never pointless, though what we find may not always be what we expect to find. This is where I’ve found the Enneagram to be so helpful to me in getting to know myself. Once I could identify my basic fear and my basic desire, I could make peace with myself and see both my strengths and weaknesses. The key is to nourish your strengths (and you do have them) and manage your weaknesses, not worry about converting or changing them . . . simply manage them so they stop sabotaging your life. 

  • http://kevinmartineau.blogspot.com Kevin M.

    I strongly believe that getting to know ourselves is a critical aspect of our discipleship which is often ignored.  I recently wrote a post about this subject as well. 

    Here are 4 steps to knowing yourself better (1) Pay attention to your interior in silence and solitude (2) Find trusted companions (3) Move out of your comfort zone and (4) Pray for courage.

    You can read the rest of the post here: http://kevinmartineau.ca/4-steps-to-knowing-yourself-better/

    • http://www.LaRaeQuy.com/ LaRae Quy

      Hi Kevin

      I agree with your 4 steps . . . they’re excellent suggestions for getting to know yourself better. Many times in our spiritual life we’re hesitant to use the “self” word because it’s been so badly used by pop-psychologists over the past few years. Self tends to imply selfish . . . as Christians we’re admonished to be soulful instead. I agree, but we are to love others as ourselves, and that implies that we respect and love who we are. How else to do that unless we . . . get to know ourselves.

      • Mrs. Hill

         That’s a very interesting point, LaRae. A couple of years ago I was reading the Scripture where Jesus says we are to love others as we love ourselves. For some reason, it really stood out to me at that time that we do love ourselves in a way I never saw before and had the same thought. If we don’t know how we love ourselves, how will we ever know how to love another including Christ. It started me on a journey to get to know Him and me better. He’s teaching me how to have a really real relationship with Him and others.

  • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

    LaRae, your life assessment list is both simple and practical. Just perusing through the categories gave me an area I score low enough to want to do something about it.  Without seeing it in print, I’d have let something essential slip through the cracks.

    • http://www.LaRaeQuy.com/ LaRae Quy

      Hi T

      Thanks so much for that feedback! I really appreciate it.

  • http://www.margaretfeinberg.com/ Margaret

    Love the inside scoop on the FBI. Especially with the new Bourne movie coming out :)

    I would also include “spontaneity”  onto the 1-10 list

    • http://www.LaRaeQuy.com/ LaRae Quy

      Hi Margaret

      Spontaneity would be a good addition, though I figure “adventure” takes into account all of those fun and daring things that we so often don’t give ourselves permission to do . . . perhaps “play” would be another one.

  • Shamash

    great post.  Period.

    • http://www.LaRaeQuy.com/ LaRae Quy

      Thanks :-)

  • http://talesofwork.com/ kimanzi constable

    Another great guest post LaRay, the truth will set you free!

    • http://www.LaRaeQuy.com/ LaRae Quy

      I appreciate your comment. Have a great weekend.

  • Christa Allan

    Love this: “You can only see the significance of events, people, or circumstances by looking backward.”

    I also appreciate what you shared about examining failures, losses and disappointments for what they can teach us. 

    Thanks for this post, and I’m entirely impressed by your background!

    • http://www.LaRaeQuy.com/ LaRae Quy

      Hi Christa

      No one ever LIKES to examine their failures and disappointments but history is destined to repeat itself unless we can change some of our negative behavioral patterns, or at least recognize them for what they are.

      Thanks for your comment.

  • Steph Shackelford

    LaRae, this is such a needed post for today’s busy world. I also think this sort of reflection is needed to intentionally discover the truth about your marriage. My husband and I recently followed a process similar to this and answered these eight questions: http://beembraced.blogspot.com/2012/06/intentional-truth-set-free-in-marriage.html. Thanks your for post and encouraging healthy, self reflection!

    • http://www.LaRaeQuy.com/ LaRae Quy

      HI Steph

      I agree with you about the need for reflection in every area of our life . . . my husband and I have been married for 25 years and it’s so easy to take your partner for granted! Thanks for the web recommendation, and congrats on the way it’s been helping your marriage.

  • Anthony Barr

    An excellent post. As an employee inside the publishing industry, my work is centered on stories. But it is only recently that I started to view my own life as a story. This has given me a lot of perspective. I love how you share the importance of assessing your life, asking those ‘tough’ questions, and reflecting. 

    I think it is much easier to be honest with ourselves when we view our lives as a sub-narrative interacting with others (and their stories) in one big tapestry of ‘story’. When we examine and analyze our character within the context of ‘story’, it becomes much easier (and more enjoyable) to be honest with ourselves than if we were to compare ourselves with others. So the question I like to ask people is, ‘what is your story; and what would you like it to be?”

    Side note: As a kid, I dreamed of being an FBI agent or CIA spy, so it is kind of neat to read a post by a former agent of the FBI. Thank you for your service to our country.

    • http://www.LaRaeQuy.com/ LaRae Quy

      Hi Anthony

      I really appreciate your comment . . . and I loved working as an FBI agent for 24 years – I felt it was my calling. And now, perhaps, my calling is to share my story with folks such as yourself.

      You’ve really hit it on the head: every life is a story that should, and needs, to be told. We’re a much more complicated tapestry than we give ourselves credit for, and the adventure is mining the significance of those stories from our lives. We crave to learn lessons from life, and this something that all can give to others, no matter our background. The work is on our part, because it takes time and energy to excavate the significance of our own stories.

      Comparing ourselves to others is a waste of time . . . thanks for sharing.

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  • Gena Roberts

    Ummm…wow. I just tried rating myself and realized I can’t even do that honestly. I think I have some personal growth ahead. Yikes!

  • Dan Erickson

    I like this post.  It’s an interesting perspective: an FBI agent.  I like the quick survey and scored myself a 8 and above on most categories.  I especially like her last point: journal.  Journalling has changed my life.  I started as a songwriter, added journalling, and now write books, but that’s not what’s really important.  What’s important about journaling is that it can help you know and understand yourself better.  In my case it was very therapeutic as I was the child victim of a cult.  Several years before I wrote my recently published book “A Train Called Forgiveness,” I spent a year journaling about that experience.  And although my youth experience was traumatic, it and my subsequent willingness to face my past through writing has made me who I am, and who I’m still becoming.  http://www.danerickson.net

    • http://www.LaRaeQuy.com/ LaRae Quy

      Hi Dan

      I agree with you about the importance of journaling. It’s changed my life, too. Thanks for sharing your story – it was very encouraging to hear of the positive affect that journaling that had your life.

  • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

    LaRae Quy!  When it comes to  discovering about myself, I have tried to run away from reality. Often, I prefer ‘head-in-the-sand’ philosophy to dodge the uncomfortable inconveniences. Thanks for the eye-opening article this morning.

    • http://www.LaRaeQuy.com/ LaRae Quy

      Hi Uma

      Thanks – I’m flattered that you found my article eye-opening. I hope you will find the right tools to begin the adventure of self-discovery . . . and it is an ADVENTURE – not something to be avoided.

      The best of luck.

  • Wendyroste

    Hi there!  Enjoyed reading this.  I have been writing a blog about my life with bipolar disorder.  If you want to take the time to read some of it, you could let me know if you think I should publish it,  it is wendysupanddownlife.blogspot.ca.   (that is supposed to say Wendys up and down life)

  • http://www.2knowmyself.com/ Farouk

    i love the direct and to the point approach
    thanks so much for the tips & the post

  • http://www.williamsjim.com/ Jim Williams

    Self discovery is difficult. Most people have been told what to think of themselves, what they can do & what they can’t do. I have been discovering that I can do much more than I thought possible. I am also discovering that there are things in life I can’t do anything about; so I must accept them. I have also been discovering that my thoughts of myself aren’t often accurate; I need re-education. It seems to be a slow prices but I am discovering some unique things about myself. This post helps in that process.
    Thank you,

    • http://www.LaRaeQuy.com/ LaRae Quy

      Hi Jim

      You’re right – most people have been told what to think of themselves. The fact that you’re finding unique things about yourself is exciting – I like to refer to it as an adventure! As Helen Keller once said, “Life is an adventure or it is nothing at all.”

  • http://www.irunurun.com/blog/ Travis Dommert

    LaRae, incredibly timely post…I am working on a simple assessment to help people figure out “the things that matter most” to them, i.e. the areas of their work and life that need attention.  

    You hit the nail on the head with the fact that asking big questions dead-on can blind people.  Going around with tangential questions, however, can help with the big reveal.Thanks!…love the phrase “…move from form to substance”

    • http://www.LaRaeQuy.com/ LaRae Quy

      Hi Travis

      Let me know if you find other areas of life that need to be added . . . it’s always good to re-evaluate where we are in life. And yes, stealth questions are usually a more effective way to elicit the really important information.

      Ah, yes . . . double agents are always an issue when it comes to recruiting spies. They were assessing us in the same way we were assessing them . . . faith was always a strong component in my work and gave me a strong inner compass. The strong mind and savvy that was needed to navigate my way through deceptive and hostile environments came from a deep conviction in what I was doing. I always felt God’s hand on my shoulder . . . 

  • http://www.irunurun.com/blog/ Travis Dommert

    Separately, curious…how did you know that spies weren’t doing the same to you?  …making you feel that you were accomplishing your mission by ‘bringing them around’ when in fact they could be working as a double agent?  (Just watched the movie “The Double” last night!)  At some point is it a matter of faith?

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  • Kapil Sopory

    LaRae’s advisory is something which can help everyone to know one’s core. The process is going to tear off all our outer attires and show how much artificiality we embrace. The problem is that one knows much about others and very little about one’s own Self. In my view,therefore, the table prepared for assessing where we are should start with Self as the most important area of life.
    How much do we devote to find our real “I” – something beyond body, mind and intellect. There should be a quest to ponder on “WHO am I?”
    Truth is the key to a positive and meaningful life. The advantage is also that we do not have to remember events as we would say the same come what may.
    Another important attitudinal change for enjoying happiness is to always have Happy Thoughts, thoughts which are devoid of negativities of any sort. A truly happy person needs no reasons to be happy. He is happy because he is happy. No inconvenience, no pain makes him unhappy for he regards this as something happening as per His plan and hence the best for him at that point of time. Problems come to us to teach us and can become ladders for going up ultimately.

    Kapil Sopory

    • http://www.LaRaeQuy.com/ LaRae Quy

      Hi Kapil

      Thanks for your comments . . . I like your statement, “Problems come to us to teach us and can become ladder for going up ultimately.”

  • http://twitter.com/KristenLEvensen KristenLeighEvensen

    All three of these have been active in my life as of late, and boy, has a WORLD of purpose opened up since then!  In asking the deeper questions and putting aside pride to truly discover the deep desires within me, I have been led to a different career and ministry path.  Through this new journey, I was led to take a self-assessment–to face my weaknesses and then move forward to transformation.  Journaling has helped me put my thoughts on paper and leaves me with an encouraging account of the past, to speak into the present time.  Thanks for this!

    • http://www.LaRaeQuy.com/ LaRae Quy

      Hi Kristen

      Glad we’ve connected on Twitter . . .

      You and I both have both benefited greatly from journaling, so thanks for your comments. I agree that it’s a wonderful tool to probe deeper and discover those deeper desires within. Beautifully stated, and thanks.

  • http://www.discoveringrebel.com/ Ryan Trimble

    Love this article.  Honest living requires effort in a world that encourages the wearing of masks and you’ve provided some great insights to help us remove those masks.

    • http://www.LaRaeQuy.com/ LaRae Quy

      Hi Ryan

      Honest living takes a LOT of hard work but that’s because we’ve spent so much of our life putting layers of masks over the real person within us. I’m still peeling off layers, but since we’re all works in progress, we have reason to celebrate!

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  • http://henryfiallo.wordpress.com/ Enrique Fiallo

    “As you being to tear away at the packaging that your ego has wrapped you up in for so many years, you’ll find something very powerful inside: you. The real person is empowered because you’ll have no need to impress others. Or lie to yourself.” This one paragraph is worth the price of admission. It’s Ego (Pride) that has gotten in my way, caused my fall, and continues to hamper my efforts to be fulfilled and happy. Isn’t it about time I did something about it? Thanks for the post.
    Enrique Fiallo

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  • Mike Sohm

    LaRae, very helpul ideas for a baby boomer who  needs to periodically do the self evaluation and invite questions which cause me to reflect on things of importance. Ironically, I do this often for others as a Life Coach yet am not in those same conversations about myself. Journaling does help but other than getting into another coaching relationship, any ideas on how to engage others to help me pursue honest conversations that might take me to places that feel scary at that time but are necessary? Again, great post.

  • http://www.gailsangle.com Gail

    I love this sentence: “It’s why baby-boomers are starting to experience emptiness as the identities they’ve given themselves crumble into layers of fat and wrinkles.” It is such an awesome word picture that it makes me smile visualising it. Although, it is very sad that people experience this.

  • Jaheath

    Great thoughts LaRae. I find journaling is a great way to be honest with yourself. It also helps to transform those vague ideas in the back of your mind into concrete goals. Putting your thoughts on paper enables you to distinguish between what you actually believe and what you think you think you believe.

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  • Kshousewrightcook

    Today George (my husband) and I sat at the breakfast table;
    yet another Sunday interrupted by pain from a fifteen months ago assault by an
    unhappy theatre student (just a glimpse of the story) and we just put our feet down, “We have to write
    it!”  “We have to write what
    God has done!  As crazy as it is, as
    weird to most of the world, there is no way God has brought us through so much;
    all for His glory and we just sit here with hurting from old injuries and let
    it idly pass by.  So I go out and I ask
    “Master Google” ‘How do we make the most of an epic life?”  And there you are.  So, starting today, July 22nd, 2012 George
    and I are journeying with you, and as God allows we will follow the outlines
    and processes God is ordaining through you to come out the other side with that
    illusive Life Plan toward bringing God glory and leading the most possible into
    His amazing spirit! 

  • http://www.manager-institut.de/ Yasmin

     Thank you for taking the time to post this. You posted some great information, and it’s been really useful to read so once again thanks.

  • Trovatofrank

    I have acknowledged the truth about myself. The irresponsible and considerate decisions I’ve made that had caused hurt & dissapointment in people that I love and who were a part of my life. I have difficulty in identifying any truth about admirable & loving things I’ve done. This all came upon me recently at once and had resulted in my relationship ending….badly. There is so much truth I don’t know or understand in regard to why…as applies to me & her. My issues are 2-fold…the truth about my past and about our relationship. The seperation of mind and emotion is vast for me….I’m not sure if it should be or how to close the gap…..i want to get so much off of my chest so I can give my feelings, thoughts and the truth, honest and corageous consideration (not blow them 0ff for the sake of moving on), to understand, accept and correct so I can move-on truthfully. Moving-on positively is too easy…I can pretend to do that. I can function responsibly but the hole I have in my heart and soul, would still be a hole…..Frank 

  • Envy

    Good post–but how many people can satisfy themselves in all these different aspects of life? I don’t think we’re perfect enough to achieve that

  • mike davis

    Now is the time: The time has finally come to see what has been hidden from us. It is time to put the pieces of the puzzle together so that people can see the truth and the life clearly and completely for the first time. The evolution of technology, such as the Internet and other forms of mass communication, has progressed enough to reach just about all of mankind.- from The Present, a free book at http://www.truthcontest.com
    What do you think about this? Agree or disagree?

  • mike davis

    Now is the time: The time has finally come to see what has been hidden from us. It is time to put the pieces of the puzzle together so that people can see the truth and the life clearly and completely for the first time. The evolution of technology, such as the Internet and other forms

    of mass communication, has progressed enough to reach just about all of mankind.

    – from The Present, a free book at http://www.truthcontest.com

    What do you think about this? Agree or disagree?