personal inventory

If you don’t know that you don’t know, then you don’t know.

This saying is so simple, but don’t be fooled. The more I think about it, the more I find within it.

Your body and mind want to be heard by you, all the time. So they send you signals. But if you don’t know to listen, how could you hear them? And how could you know what they have to say?

Think of your car. A little light goes on when you need to add oil to your car. But if you don’t see the little light, and you don’t think to check the oil, what happens next? One day you’re driving and the engine seizes up. That could lead to a car crash and a destroyed car engine. Very dangerous and very costly!

Missing these signals can lead to all sorts of what I call accident conditions. Depression and frequent anxiety are common. They’ve even been linked to chronic fatigue syndrome, and some autoimmune disorders.

Can you prevent depression and anxiety?

You can learn to hear these signals. You can teach yourself to hear what your body and mind need you to hear!

Invite your body and mind to communicate with your Self directly. You may notice that you get feelings of being off-balance.

The thing to do immediately is take an inventory of what you are noticing inside as well as outside.

Here are the questions to ask yourself when you start to get the first inklings that something’s up in you.

First, take your inside inventory

First take your inside inventory. That means asking about:

  1. Which parts are leading you right now?
  2. How do you feel physically?
  3. What are you dreaming about?

#1: Which parts are leading right now?

Who’s talking right now? These are the parts of you that are leading right now. Let’s say you realize your striving planning part is leading and you notice you feel afraid in the pit of your stomach. You often hear yourself criticizing yourself while comparing yourself to other’s achievements.

Response: Listen to each talking part. Write from them. Hear them tell you their needs and what they fear would happen if they quit doing what it is they’re so good at doing. Write down their needs.

Decide to give each part your Self Compassion. Read my post about why Self Compassion is so good for you, and how to do it.

#2: How do you physically feel?

Maybe you notice:

  • My joints ache
  • I feel a deep tiredness although I sleep enough
  • A part of me just wants to rest and another part is screaming at me to stop being so lazy

Response: Meet with each of your parts that are tugging and pulling. In this example it is the striver in you and the tired, low energy part. Maybe even blended with sadness.

Read this blog post to learn how to use Self qualities to help a tired part.

#3: What are you dreaming about?

You can learn a lot from your dreams.  Maybe you’re dreaming about driving your car and the brakes are not working properly.

See what this dream is telling you about your everyday waking life. Is it telling you to slow down? Or maybe it’s time for some actual car repair. You are the expert in this situation!

Response: Take time to put a journal by your bed to capture your dream world. Look for themes.

Second, take your outside inventory

Now it’s time to take your outside inventory. Look at your:

  1. Behaviors
  2. Routines
  3. Voids
  4. Judgments
  5. People

#1: What behaviors are you showing up in?

Does this sound like you?

  • I am being a responsible adult and making sure I do a “good job” at work
  • But I collapse at night on the sofa and drink a glass of wine to relax
  • I feel irritated with my partner for how little help I get
  • So I withdraw so there’s  less conflict

Response: What will it look like in the future when you have the support you need? Visualize everything, including what you’d be wearing. Then, see how you can create that visualization starting today. It could be as simple as going for a walk in the morning sun. Fresh flowers on the table. Playing a video game with your child.

#2: What are your routines?


  • Rush to get out of the house in the morning
  • Workout after work because “I should”
  • Letting the kids’ routines create my life for me

Response: Create emotional safety for yourself. How do we take care of an infant? We provide a calm environment with routines and predictability. Read my post to learn more about the healing powers of routines.

#3: What’s missing from your life?

What are the voids in your life? Maybe you’re not socializing with friends, listening to music, walking in nature. Listen to your daydream life for information.

Response: Daydream! Download my worksheet to learn how daydreams can help you create the future you want.

#4: What are you feeling judgmental about?

What are you judging on the outside? Because what you’re judging on the outside is something you don’t like about yourself. This judge is in reaction to a part of you it doesn’t like.

Response: Notice the judge inside yourself. What does it judge on the outside? What is it concerned would happen if it didn’t judge you for something. Is this true? Absolutely true? Can you update an old belief you hold?

#5: Who are you spending time with?

What types of people are you attracting in your life?

They may represent needs that you have now.

Response: Do a YOU turn. When you ask the question to yourself what do you hear?

  • Someone to save me and get me out of this mess I made
  • Someone to appreciate my efforts
  • Someone to have my back

This is what you need. What would it look like if you did this for yourself right now? Read my post and learn the 5 steps to make a YOU turn and the follow up return.

If you know that you don’t know…

If you know that you don’t know, you’re on the right path! Take a personal inventory and prevent engine failure from ever happening.


Image credit

Liverpool Discovers – Mythophone, St Lukes” by Flickr user Dark Dwarf is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0.