I always thought of myself as an extrovert.

I lead classes, speak to large audiences, film videos and coach large groups of people – and I truly love it. It fills me up.

But there is another side of me that is an introvert.

I have only recently realized this, and it has made a big difference in my life. I need quiet alone time to write, study, contemplate and learn. When I don’t have that time I find I feel very out of balance.

I realized that rather than being one or the other, I am both: an extroverted introvert.

I just came back from Soul Camp, a sleepaway camp for adults where we focus on our own wellness, happiness and growth. I have the pleasure every year to kick off Soul Camp to hundreds of people with intenSati, lead morning practices and share my story. I absolutely love it. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to meet and teach to so many people.

But I also need the time and space to recharge in solitude. I need to climb under the covers and rest, take a walk alone and contemplate, read a book and re-inspire myself or talk one-on-one with a good friend and talk about mundane things.

While I was at Soul Camp, people wondered why I needed this time alone, thinking there was something wrong or I that I was simply not interested in participating.

I used to feel badly about that, until this year when I had an a-ha moment in a workshop from my dear friend Terri Cole called Boundary Bootcamp. She talked about the importance of boundaries and being truthful about what is okay for you and what is not.

It was so empowering and freeing to realize that creating boundaries is not only better for me but for others as well. To be able to say “No, I am not able to do that right now; it doesn’t work for me” instead of feeling like I had to give an excuse, made it a win-win situation for everyone.

I felt empowered. I felt that I was honoring myself and my work and that it was truly okay to recognize what I was willing and not willing to do. Before I would have worried about hurting others people’s feelings and not honoring my own.

Here are six signs that you might be an extroverted introvert like me:
You need time alone before and after socializing
You are very selective with your social calendar
You make friendships easily, but have trouble maintaining them
You want true connection. You are not a fan of small talk
You are quiet in a crowd
You always have an escape plan

Does this sound like you?

The better you know yourself, the easier it is for you to draw your boundaries, say what you need, and be clear so that others aren’t offended when you need some time to yourself.

The better you know yourself the better you can authentically ask for what you need.