The Dance of Grace
It’s often a rarity, yet needed abundantly. The word isn’t uttered in the board room, yet if the principle were applied, it could transform the organization. It starts with one thought, one act, and one person. If everyone practiced it, conflict would be more tolerable, forgiveness would come sooner, and peace would rule.
Am I in “la la” land? No, I’m confident I’m onto something that’s as old as the creation of man, but often forgotten. It’s that one act we all need to give and receive more of – grace.
What is Grace?
Depending upon whom you ask it can vary slightly. After reading the Christian, Islam and Buddhist definitions, the meaning of grace boils down to one theme – “unmerited favor.” It’s getting the break we really don’t deserve. It’s meaning it and not just a habit when we say things like, “No problem” or “No worries.” It’s NOT a problem or a worry because we get that we are one small move away from taking a misstep ourselves at any given time. It’s a couple of tiers above empathy, an absolute pre-requisite to forgiveness and one chess move away from mercy.
The tragedy is not only do we hide and hoard it from others, we rob ourselves of it as well – which is where it needs to start. Only when we are gracious to ourselves, can we understand what it means to show grace to others.
Why has this principle chased me for the past few months? What’s shown up for me as a Mom, friend, neighbor, athlete, but especially as a business owner and coach that has pursued me relentlessly to write about this rarity in behavior?
Well, I’ve had to learn to cut myself some grace. I’ve made a decision or two lately that I regret. The choice? Forgive or not forgive. Before I could do that, I discovered, I had to first dish up some grace to myself before I could begin to forgive.
Business Case Studies in Grace
This personal challenge has been accentuated by some case studies in business. I have recently studied how both the imparting and the deprivation of grace have played out diametrically in a couple of organizations.
In another organization, a top leader is typically cynical, untrusting and doesn’t believe or at least profess the belief that everyone is genuinely giving their best. So, consequently, he doesn’t give praise for success or failure. Instead of focusing on improving himself, he is more purposed at improving others. There is mistrust, doubt and constant micromanagement. The tether from action to consequence is short and often fierce. This organization is driven by fear, and the former driven by desire. Big difference.
Live from Grace – in Life and at Work
Where does grace start?
1- Believe that you and everyone else is worthy of understanding and receiving it;
2- Be certain that everyone is doing or at least wants to do their best based on the gifts and tools they have been given; and,
3- Practice intrigue. If we operate from a position of being intrigued and simply curious about the person or his performance, we can only have a positive position and the curiosity to learn more.