Self awareness is critical to our success — educational, financial, and emotional.

It’s highly important to understand who we really are and what we really need to thrive in any scenario.

Do you need to take a walk to calm down and think? Do you get energy when you’re surrounded by lots of people? Do you need tasks or a blank canvas?

If you stay up late talking to your best friend, will you sacrifice an hour of sleep that might throw off your whole day? Or would that conversation ground you, bringing peace of mind as you head to bed?

A few weeks ago, I wrote about energy. I asked, “if we really audit our time and energy usage, does it fill us up or zap us out?”

It’s a critical slice of self awareness.

Knowing what gives us energy and what takes it away lets us know when we need to retreat, or what we need before a major event like a test, presentation, or wedding.

This knowledge informs how we move through space and time so we can intentionally be at our peak when we need it most. It lets us know what we can’t compromise on.

Once you understand that you need alone time or a hearty laugh or to get your heart rate up once a day or twice a week, your daily challenges become less daunting because you know what you need to survive it.

How am I going to get through these all-day meetings? I’m going to meditate in the morning because I need some time to think. Then I’m going to phone a friend this afternoon because I need to laugh and make fun plans for the weekend.

This insight is important for every aspect of our lives. Once we gain it, we can put ourselves in a position to succeed in our relationships, studies, and business if we communicate our truth.

To effectively communicate it, it has to be true. We have to feel totally grounded in it. It takes time, trial and error, mistakes, and balance to discover what is true for you, as opposed to internalizing the expectations of others.

Once you can identify your truth it will be easier to confidently communicate it because you’ll feel it throughout your body. It has moved from a feeling to a belief.

And once the people around us understand that we come back stronger after taking some time to ourselves, for example, they will provide the space for us to do so.

There isn’t an easy answer or a straightforward process for this kind of self discovery. There isn’t a template for self awareness.

But a major factor is empathy.

The ability to understand those around you and to forgive yourself for not being able to be there for everyone all the time is a crucial first step.

The fact is, we all have a role to play in our society. But to know your role, you have to understand yourself and the roles others are playing around you.

In a very real sense, the empathy revolution starts with you.

Originally published at