I had the extreme pleasure of sitting at the feet of John Baldoni, speaker, coach and author of "Grace Under Pressure".
I learned that grace is an action not a feeling. Just because I'm not feeling very gracious does not mean that I don't act graciously. My feelings do not inspire the action. The action inspires the feelings. Compassion can drive grace. Kindness can drive grace. But true usage of grace, especially under pressure, has to come from a storage vault saved up over time.
Grace takes practice. Using grace with others in all situations means that I have to practice using grace with all people in every situation, not just the easy ones. Some people accept grace freely. Sometimes its easy to extend grace. Professionally, this is not always the case. How do I extend grace when its hard to? By practicing it. If I practice grace, then it will become more habitual and easier to routinely use from my toolbox even under stress or pressure.
I have to be gracious to myself first. How I treat myself under pressure will greatly determine how I treat others. Am I using self care? Am I breathing? Am I overcommitting? Am I speaking negatively to myself? Grace is an action that I must extend to myself when I am in crisis, juggling multiple things or overwhelmed by life or work.
Grace is larger than me. I must tap into my relationships, my wisdom, my experience, my tribe, and for some people, my faith, in order to build a resilient use of grace in my life. I must surround myself with people who practice grace so I can see it in action in other ways than my language. Grace looks and sounds many different ways. I can pick up different methods of dispensing it by watching those around me.
Grace goes both ways. Accepting grace from others is part of the exchange necessary to give it well to others. Reciprocity is a goal in a culture full of grace. It goes both ways. Learn to give and to receive.
Remember that grace can be given in silence, a gift, a thought, a well spoken word, no matter how big or small, grace is always an action. Thank you John, for the lessons in grace.