An alphabetical approach to exploring values is valuable because it explores ordinary words to find extra-ordinary meaning. For example, the word grace, when used as a noun, is defined as simple elegance or refinement of movement. As a verb, it means to do honor or credit to someone or something by one’s presence. What would it be like to approach our business relationships with grace? What if we felt honored by the contribution of our colleagues and clients, and they were honored by ours?
I lived and worked in Los Angeles for 19 years, much of it in the entertainment industry. Although grace was not a common core value of Hollywood, I was fortunate to have worked with quite a few people that embodied grace. In addition to an inherent kindness, they all had a confident awareness of their impact on others and a humble acceptance of responsibility for that impact.
One of the most memorable was Carol Burnett (pardon the name-dropping). I didn’t work closely with her but had the opportunity to observe her on the set of her lesser-known variety show Carol & Company (1990-1991). She understood what the audience wanted…which was to see her and her cast mates laugh and break character. As a consummate performer with 40 years of experience, she and her cast mates could have whipped through the sketches to film a 30-minute show in only 30-minutes, yet, week after week she never failed to fail. The cast would do one take perfectly to get it “in the can,” and then for no other reason than to entertain the audience for another hour, they would do three or four more takes, cracking each other up by improvising in ways that would never air on television. Her grace was even more evident in the way she treated people, from her co-stars and producers to the camera operators and extras, she treated everyone with equal respect and genuine gratitude for their presence. Although that series did not last long, I will forever be appreciative of being able to witness grace in action and feel honored to have been graced by her presence.
Want to welcome more grace in your life and work? Here are some reflective questions to help.
- How do you define grace?
- When you look out into the world, where do you see grace?
- What was a time in your life when you remember experiencing grace?
- Using the acrostic GRACE (generous, reflective, appreciative, compassionate, ease), which value do you most associate with grace and why?
- For the next 7 days, what action or attitude do want to adopt to invite more grace into your life? Keep a mental or written account of the impact grace has on how you act and react.
Stacey Zackin, PhD, MSW, PCC (Manager, WORK_SPACE)