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Ask the Expert: How Do I Say What I Really Want to Say?

It’s the eternal question we’ve all asked ourselves at one time or another. It often arises from an interpersonal quandary we are trying to address, and the question itself often adds to the quandary … but it doesn’t have to. There’s a reasonably simple answer: Self-awareness. 

Merriam-Webster defines self-awareness as “an awareness of one’s own personality or individuality,” Though that answer is simple enough, getting to it can be challenging – but it is essential, particularly as leaders, that we get there.

There are myriad reasons why nearly every human development strategy starts with self-awareness. Leaders are no different from any other human inhabiting this third stone from the sun. If we’re not clear with ourselves first, it’s unlikely that our communications, messaging and signal sending will be clear to anyone else. Getting in touch with self is the first and last step in conquering the dilemma of how to say what we want to say.

Identifying with our own strengths, preferences and characteristics - as well as our own challenges and perceived limitations - are key to achieving clarity and overcoming the psychological barriers we all have. If we truly know ourselves, we can craft a clear, impactful message. Self-clarity however does not guarantee our message will land well with others, but it ensures that we are delivering it authentically and accurately. 

And it answers, once and for all, that eternal question.