A couple weeks ago we discussed being “In the Zone“, and ways to maintain that big and at times hard-to-achieve energy. So, what might be the opposite of that space? I often encounter client sessions that ask that very question. 

Not too long ago I had a session with a leader in what he described as a “bad place”. He didn’t put up any walls or pretend to be in a better place than he was feeling. He just shared his most raw and honest self – he wasn’t trying to say anything else other than the truth about the hard to process things happening with him and his life. Too often we see the opposite in people in positions of authority: they are reluctant to admit their pain. This honest divulsion was not only genuine but beautiful. How powerful it is when people are being vulnerable versus focused on being impressive.  

Unpretentious is in. These days, people are more and more hungry for that kind of raw honesty. I know I am!


Experiment with being deliberately unpretentious. Initiate three conversations with people with whom you feel safe and ask them to hold a space for you to try something different than your normal mode of expression. Speak about something going on in or around you that feels negative or unimpressive. This works especially well when you feel like you are in some kind of a ‘bad place’. A little off, sad or anxious. Speak about what it is like to be in this aspect of you. No need to present yourself in any way that is more than just you. Explore the power of being vulnerable over being impressive. I suspect you will discover that you are transmitting a relatable humility that is inspiring in a totally different way than most of us are used to.

Too many leaders underestimate the power of showing up unpretentiously. They tell themselves stories about how they have to look successful to live out their life’s destiny. It’s great to have big goals. If you have big goals however, you’ll also have failures. When you feel like a failure, or in a down place, don’t underestimate how beautiful it is to let people feel you there. We all have these moments. It makes us relatable and frees us from trying to be someone we are not. 

All the best,

David Lesser