An 11-Step Guide to Strengthening Self-Awareness and EQ in Your Hustle

Barbara DiGangi
Sep 15, 2016 · 8 min read

Audit Thyself.

As someone whose full-time gig has been focused on mental health and wellness for almost 10 years, I vehemently appreciate and co-sign Gary Vee’s emphasis on self-awareness. From resolving global problems to your bottom line, the world needs a heavy dose of it. Big time. And we needed it yesterday.

I learned in Episode 226 of the #AskGaryVee Shooowww that many Vayniacs are seeking answers on how to strengthen self-awareness. As you’ve probably Googled — there’s either a ton of fluffy resources out there or a ton of tests that will just put you in a box. So pulling on what I’ve learned through my profession, I created my own worksheet as a starting point to help you guys to execute from (found below or click here for printing).

So how does one actually STOP bullshitting themselves?

To borrow from GV:
you have to shut up and do the damn work.

Do you have what it takes?

Self-awareness is like a muscle. There’s no magic pill or quick fix. You have to continuously exercise it. You have to dig deep, go into those dark places and apply the “hustle” you claim you have — to your insides. Sure, some may have a greater disposition for self-awareness based on the way they were raised or their life experiences yet, you have to integrate it into your routine and your habits. You have to use that muscle until it becomes your autopilot, your compass, your lifestyle.

The good news is — it’s worth it. How are you supposed to lead others, to navigate relationships, and do business if you don’t know yourself first?

YOU are 50% of the dynamic baby. And YOU are 100% stuck with that person in the mirror. You need to pull up a chair, take a seat and get comfortable with yourself — for better or worse, in sickness or in health.

Do you know what forcing yourself to be self-aware means? Do you know what that process entails? Drinking a shitload of humble Kool-Aid. — Gary Vee

Now, let’s get into the #realtalk.

P.S. Check your ego at the door. There’s no right or wrong answers here. There’s only you or not you. The key to answering these questions — if you really want to build self-awareness — is being a honeybadger about it. Be ridiculously honest and write what first comes to mind. It’s less about the kind of answers you give. It’s more about the work and the processing.

BONUS POINTS: Feeling brave? Do it with a friend you trust and swap your answers. Then provide feedback on common themes and learnings.



Jot down two specific goals you’ve set and reached that were extremely memorable for you.

For each one answer:

  1. What were the reason(s) that you reached that goal?
  2. What was the process like for you (i.e. very challenging, easy, long, quick, planned out, etc.)?
  3. What does the goal you listed have to do with (i.e. is it a monetary goal, a career goal, a fitness goal, etc.)?
  4. WHY was it memorable?

Jot down two specific goals that you HAVE NOT reached and are disappointed about not reaching.

For each one answer:

  1. What were the reason(s) you did not reach that goal?
  2. What was the process like for you (i.e. very challenging, easy, long, quick, planned out, etc.)?
  3. Were those reasons things that were not in your control or were they reasons that could have been in your control?
  4. What percentage of the time are these the reasons for other things you haven’t achieved?
  5. What does the goal you listed have to do with (i.e. is it a monetary goal, a career goal, a fitness goal, etc.)?
  6. WHY is it disappointing to you?

Compare and contrast the two steps above? What are the differences? Similarities?


  1. How many hours per week do you actually spend alone with your own thoughts?
  2. List key decisions you’ve been able to make independently without consulting others.
  3. List the things you do completely alone. Are you finding you always need to do things with other people?
  4. Schedule at least 15 minutes of each day for tuning-in and being PRESENT with yourself. Some ideas for fueling that connection are: going for a walk each day, spending time in nature, meditation, writing, being creative or doing something you love (alone). Many times it’s too noisy in our lives to hear our inner voice or intuition (which is where our greatest ideas, creativity, insights and best choices come from). Our intuition, our gut, is like a radio station — you need to tune in.


  1. In the past week, how many times did you say YES to something when you really wanted to say NO?
  2. What were they?
  3. Make a list of things (people, places, activities, media) that make you feel DRAINED, NEGATIVE or BORED. Then commit to phasing as many of those things out of your life as you can.
  4. What are the boundaries you set when it comes to keeping your work life and personal life differentiated?


  1. Complete this sentence as it applies to your work. I feel good/happy when others ______________________.
  2. Complete this sentence. When I was younger, ______________________ was the thing that got the most attention and praise in my home.
  3. I feel MOST fulfilled when I ___________________________.
  4. The kinds of Key Performance Indicators / outcomes that make me feel on a high are ________________.
  5. WHY do you do what you do?
  6. The TOP THREE things I value most in life are…
  7. Create a mission statement for yourself.


A word that bugs me sometimes is “intention” and “intentional.” Being intention can be great but only if it’s tied to getting desired outcomes. It only matters if you’re being CONSISTENT.

If you find yourself often saying, “I didn’t intend to…” or “It wasn’t my intention…” perhaps you need more fine-tuning than you think. At some point, your actions fell out of alignment.

Try changing INTEND TO to WILL.

  1. How often do you set goals? How often do you check in on them?
  2. How often do you break down your goals into actionable steps/tasks to take?
  3. What goals do you want to accomplish within the next 30 days? For each goal, write at least 3 tasks to help you reach it and write a specific outcome you can measure. Hold yourself accountable or find someone who will.


Spirituality points to knowing and differentiating between two things: your EGO or FEAR-BASED thinking and your INTUITION or love-based thinking. The law of attraction tells us that taking your ego out of the driver’s seat eliminates resistance to getting what we want.


Anytime you’re operating based off of fear, negative thought patterns and a need to control, you are living from your EGO. Anytime you’re in tune with yourself, feeling positive, and in the flow, you are living from your intuition and inner-voice.

  1. What negative thought patterns can you get rid of?
  2. In what ways is your EGO getting in the way of what your intuition is telling you?
  3. In what areas are you trying to control an outcome instead of embracing and being invested in the effort?
  4. How do you regulate yourself? What calms you down and balances you out?
  5. Write down 3 affirmations to help you bust through times of ego. Examples of affirmations: All is well. Practice and all is coming. I will live out my purpose.


Who we are today has been built by the interaction of our genetics and our experiences. In order for the brain to develop in a healthy manner, it relies on certain cues (experiences) and not only genes. Our brains have neuroplasticity (the ability to change) — it’s not nature VS. nurture — it’s nature AND nurture. This is why we evolve, can strengthen our self-awareness, and learn new things. However, if unexamined, our thought patterns and perceptions can be often be rooted in the framework and blueprint instilled in us since an early age, influencing our social and emotional development.

  1. What did you learn from your parent(s) about the meaning of success? About work ethic? About achievements?
  2. How has this influenced you in where you are today?
  3. What have been key a-ha moments in your past that have shaped your work ethic?


  1. Audit a day in the past week. How many hours did you spend executing? How many hours did you spend socializing? How many hours did you spend that connect directly to your current goals?
  2. Are you a morning person or a night owl? At what time do you feel most in the flow (#executing)?
  3. How many hours do you spend per week doing activities that boost your energy, causing you to make the most of your time? (i.e. meditation, fitness, accountability calls, etc.)
  4. Open up your calendar and schedule yourself up for success. Block out time frames for execution. Schedule time for tuning-in and spending time doing things in alignment with who you want to be.


Sometimes we’re so on the go and hustling that we don’t realize how we FEEL is a clue to our biggest strengths and opportunities. When you’re grasping or find yourself forcing to make something work, it is often an indicator that this is not your groove — though it may help you grow. When you feel things are flowing,

  1. What tasks FEEL good when you’re doing it? When do you feel in the flow? For example, what tasks just come naturally for you?
  2. In what areas/tasks do you feel like you’re going uphill?
  3. What do you enjoy doing?
  4. What do you NOT enjoy doing?
  5. What triggered you (or what happened immediately before) the last time you got angry or frustrated?
  6. What triggered you (or what happened immediately before) the last time you got excited/hyped about something?


  1. Name people in your circle who make you FEEL good and high energetically? Who helps fuel (and not drain): your creativity, the person you want to become and your hustle? What kind of characteristics do they have?
  2. How can you go about surrounding yourself with these people or these types of people consistently?
  3. What value do you gain from your circle? What value do you GIVE your circle?
  4. Who makes you energetically drained after you are with them or speak to them? Commit to putting a boundary or distance on that relationship.


  1. After reflecting on the previous steps, make a list of what you think your strengths are and your weaknesses.
  2. Open up your email and MAN OR WOMAN UP. Criticism is the most powerful tool for you to grow.

Have two or three people you trust wholeheartedly, audit you with some tough love.

Suggested text:

“I am being audited and I need your help. Please be as brutally honest with me as possible and I promise I’ll love you more and not less.

1. What are my greatest strengths? What am I good at? What kind of value do you gain from me?

2. What are some of my biggest weaknesses and things I need to work on? Where can I do better? What’s the thing I do that is least valuable to you?”

I am a big fan of going all in on your strengths… and don’t give a fuck about what you suck at. It’s not only betting on your strengths, it’s accepting all of your shortcomings. — Gary Vee

Would love to hear how your audit went! Connect with me @barbaradigangi (IG, Snap, Twitter) or email me at

Women’s Empowerment

Elevating female voices.

Barbara DiGangi

Written by

I play where digital + intersectional feminism collide. Social impact strategist. Writer. Social worker. Activist. Views my own.

Women’s Empowerment

Elevating female voices.

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