The key to developing your conscious self-expression.

Do you think before you speak? Or do you think out loud?

Some people feel that blurting whatever’s on their mind is the only way to be genuine and trustworthy as a leader. Others feel that careful consideration and self-moderated expression is the only way to be effective.

The problem with either of these is clear. On the one hand, you can end up spouting hurtful nonsense that you don’t even believe in. On the other, you can end up self-censoring yourself and hiding your gift from the world.

There’s a tension between these two extremes–and the truth lies somewhere in between. The question becomes: how do we self-regulate in a way that is authentic? This dynamic shows up in our emotions, communication, and overall leadership style. 

You might notice this tension in:

-Speaking up vs. Holding back

-Emotional processing vs. Logical analysis

-Concern for others vs. Expression of self

Nature and nurture both lead to different preferences in every one of us. We’re all born with a certain preferred way of being, our innate personality traits. And we all learn to either enhance or subdue them through our upbringing and socialization. 

It’s important to note that we all have a range. There is no one fixed point that is exclusively you. We humans are complex and multifaceted, with a capacity for infinite ways of being and forms of expression. Our range can vary based on the person we’re interacting with, the project we’re working on, or what our commitments and challenges demand from us. 

We also tend to have a center of gravity. You probably favor one of each pair above, and over time it becomes your strong suit. This comes more naturally to you and over time you’ve grown more skillful in using it.

This also means you have an underdeveloped side. It’s still there, just a little… awkward. You might notice that this part of you comes out when you’re reactive or under stress. It might also occur to you as an “uncontrollable impulse.”

The goal in developing ourselves and becoming more mature leaders is to integrate these competing forces so that we can be more intentional and strategic with our words and actions. Rather than instinctively blurting or filtering, we can consciously express ourselves.  

How do we consciously express ourselves?

  1. Acknowledge an impulse when it arises. The goal is to become aware of this in the moment. At first, you might not notice until a few hours later. But with practice it will become minutes and then seconds. Notice the thought, emotion, or sensation that arises. And without judgment, try to describe it. Give it a label or a name so you can work with it.
  2. Check-in with your goals and values. What are you hoping to accomplish in this moment? What’s most important to you? 
  3. What choice can I make and action can I take, in this moment, to create the greatest net value? This is the central question that I learned from Peter Demarest of Axiogenics. A simple and powerful tool that allows you to focus your efforts in the most productive way possible.

This is the key to authentic self-regulation: learning to train our impulses, developing emotional self-control, and channeling that energy productively towards our goals and in alignment with our values. 

What would be possible for you as a leader if you were to take your conscious expression to the next level? 

If you want individualized support and someone to guide and challenge you on your journey, schedule your free 20-minute discovery session now. I’ll help you create a powerful vision for your full, conscious expression, identify all the roadblocks that get in your way, and help you create a plan for success.