Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you truly are.


When he was in his twenties, Pat was an overly polite and eager sales executive. He always wanted to please others while also behaving and speaking like the ideal leader—to a fault because it actually interfered with his client work. His boss would often chide him, saying, “Pat, don’t be so uptight, relax. It’s OK. Just be the person you are when we go out for a drink together.”

Though we only spoke briefly, Pat’s experience resonated with me as a common challenge for people working to develop their executive presence. Have you had a similar experience, ...

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