Lead with Grace, Live with Gratitude

Last year my agency adopted a new set of company values - GRIT, which stands for Grace, Resilience, Integrity, and Tenacity. Sounds simple enough and quite honestly most of us have heard of this acronym or some version of it before. However, what I quickly realized was that it was more challenging than anticipated. 


“There are levels”, as young people say. These words, even with thorough definitions and tangible “real world” examples, relies on an internal, deep and applied knowledge that I realized hadn’t been explored with great detail outside of work. And because we only live one life, it is hard to compartmentalize these actions into work versus home. They have to be lived out in every way. They are actions. 

The action I find myself leaning on the most is Grace. Extending mercy and honor to others as well as yourself is so much more than a notion, it is a requirement. Life is hard. And, it gets harder. We must learn how to find moments of forgiveness and mild correction; we need to explore our full range of emotions (maybe not in your supervisor’s office, though) and then develop tools that aid us in our awareness of what caused such feelings.   

The challenge is how unaware we are because we already experience grace in so many (weird) ways and don’t even fully recognize it. 

  • When you pull into a parking garage and realize that you can find cheaper parking on the street, you are given five to 10 minutes of grace before being charged.

  • When you go to pay your rent, you are given from the first to the fifth to pay before there’s a late charge. 

  • When you turn on your apple watch for a workout, it counts you down before you get started. 3...2...1...

These are all areas of grace that we see everyday. 

To go a step further, how do we lead with grace?

Leading a life with grace begins internally. It happens when you give yourself room to experience the challenges of life, explore compassion, and then appreciate that moment through gratefulness - when you can bless people in spite of their shortcomings, when you know that everything happens for you to learn a lesson or for you to teach a lesson. This mindset and then behavior change gives us the latitude to extend grace. 

Grace is the start but living with gratitude can be difficult. Not because you aren’t generally grateful - though I believe we can all double down - but because truly living with a deeper gratitude means you have to push deeper than we are sometimes willing to go. We have to apologize to the person in the mirror and the ones we love the most. We would have to show compassionate care in times of despair. We would acknowledge that we really do have areas at home and work where we are falling way short. Gratitude doesn’t eliminate these attributes but if you can find your way back to it, it can change the course of your day and life.

Practice grace and end up with gratitude. 

* Now let me give the caveat to extending grace. Like every wellspring of good, it must be replenished; it must be reciprocal., or else it will run out. *

How will you lead with grace?