“I think self-awareness is probably the most important thing towards being a champion.” [Billie Jean King]. I agree. Self-awareness is the genesis of success. It’s similar to what they say about history. If you want to understand the future, look to the past. If you want to figure out what you need to do to succeed, you need to look back and see what has worked well for you. And what hasn’t. Basically, you need to understand yourself—your strengths, your weaknesses, likes, dislikes, passions, etc.

Life is a series of journeys or passages (as author Gail Sheehy would describe it). You aren’t the same at age 30 that you were at age 13 or age 3. And you are unique. No one else in the universe—even an identical twin—has experienced the same things you have and reacted in the way you have. And although you will change and grow, your innate abilities already exist.

Who are you? What do you value? What do you like? Dislike? Who do you want to become? All of these are different aspects of self-awareness.  True self-development begins only once you gain a good understanding of who you are and what or who you want to be.

You may be thinking “I already know who I am.” But do you really? According to statistics, you probably don’t. One million students were asked to rate their ability in terms of how well they got along with others. 85% rated themselves in the top 50%. Perhaps even more surprising was that 25% felt they belonged to the top 1%. Obviously, misconceptions exist.

As Maxwell Maltz explains in one of my favorite books, Psycho-Cybernetics, your self-image is the key to a better life because all your actions, feelings, and behaviors are based on your self-image. What you think and do is based on how you imagine yourself to be. That means if you change your concept of who you are, you can change anything else. You have the power to change the way you act and react to what happens in your life. You can decide not to let the little things bother you. You can decide that you are worthy of success. Ultimately, you can accomplish those lofty goals.

Knowing that you can change your self-image can be empowering.  Visualize the person you want to be—that will help you figure out what you need to do to get there. And think of what a difference you can make in your life—and those of others. Don’t expect it to be easy. But anything worthwhile requires time and effort. The end result is worth it.   “Your future depends on many things, but mostly on you.” [Anonymous]