Is it possible to be a woman who offers grace in the business world?
It is possible to receive grace in the business world?
Do you continually find yourself in situations where you are judged for errors or mistakes?
Ask yourself, is it you that continually makes many mistakes or is that many people have little tolerance for mistakes? In other words, is it you or is it them?
If it is you, then of course it’s important to get a handle on why you make a lot of mistakes in your work. Do you take on too much? Is your environment one where it’s difficult to focus? Are you doing tasks that aren’t in your skill set?
Think about this. In relation to the plethora of tasks you do in a day do your mistakes outweigh the things you do right? Or do the people you are involved with have little tolerance for mistakes making it feel like you can never do anything right? Mistakes happen all the time. Some are minor; some are major. But one thing is certain; finding grace in business (or in life in general) is possible. It just needs to be fostered collectively; perhaps it can start with you.
What is Grace?
First, it’s important to define grace. Grace is receiving the unmerited favor of someone; you may not deserve it but they give it to you anyway. A graceful woman will realize that she isn’t perfect and will feel empathy for another person fully realizing that there may be a time in the future where she will need grace as well.
Finding grace in a relationship, business or personal, means that you can be yourself and you aren’t judged for your mistakes. I believe, when a person can feel free to be themselves, fewer mistakes are made. A woman that provides grace in a relationship is one that is self-confident and doesn’t feel the need to point out another’s mistakes in order for her to feel good about herself. Grace is kindness. Grace is favor. Grace is dignity. Grace is also beauty.
A woman exhibits grace when she overlooks a wrong done or a mistake made. Instead of angry confrontation, a graceful woman will engage in a respectful conversation and calmly discuss the wrong. Or she might sit down over a cup of coffee and discuss what went wrong with a situation or why an expectation wasn’t met. She will realize that the person who did the wrong or made the mistake is already feeling bad about the situation and she chooses to extend kindness. Grace is not making someone feel worse; grace is inviting them to embrace their humanity and accept that fact that we, as human beings, are not perfect. We will always make mistakes. We need to learn from them, but we will never stop making them. Never!
Finding favor with someone despite having made an error or having inadvertently caused hurt to someone is one of the greatest gifts we can give another person. To find favor with someone is to bestow a privilege on them and what better privilege is there than to find grace at the end of making a mistake. People often experience feeling cut off in a relationship because they made a mistake, not just in the business world but in their personal lives as well. Cut off by people who don’t give second chances; cut off from being cared about; cut off from having another opportunity; cut off from being included; cut off in feeling valued as an intelligent human being.
Everyone has dignity! We are all of great worth and value. When a person provides grace to someone who has made a mistake, they ascribe dignity to that person. They unconsciously say to that person “you are important to me.” I have been in situations where when a person’s worth was discounted after they made a mistake and you could almost feel their opinion of themselves going deeper into the pit of despair and unworthiness as they take on the humiliation of the mistake.
A friend of mine has written a wonderful book on how to redemptively resolve conflict in business and personal relationships and he says, “By extending grace you give the gift of dignity. This means you look at the person as a person, not an object…a person with dreams, feelings and needs.” ~ Dr. Bill Graybill
Finally grace is beauty! A person of grace exudes beauty from within. They radiate acceptance and that shows on their countenance. Not only does their own beauty show but they transfer that beauty to the other person. Have you ever seen a person who feels awful after making a mistake be transformed like a beautiful butterfly because someone provided them with grace? When we can feel at liberty to be ourselves there is great freedom. There is freedom for both the person who made the mistake and the person who shows grace.
Is it possible that a person who can’t show grace is a person who may be locked up inside with bitterness perhaps from their own lack of receiving grace throughout their lifetime? I’m not a psychologist so I don’t know this to be a fact. I just know from life experience that people who can’t extend grace usually haven’t received it themselves.
The next time you make a mistake and find yourself on the receiving end of a graceless person, rather than entering into a shell of self-doubt which is completely counterproductive, consider kindly asking the person if they’ve ever made a mistake and how did they feel about it? Yes, that takes courage and strength and it will not be appropriate in all circumstances. However, just asking that question might enable them to think about how you are feeling and you might just unlock a tiny portion of what they may have felt when they didn’t receive grace. It could also open up an opportunity to build or strengthen a friendship. I personally believe that in most circumstances grace nurtures grace. And that can be a beautiful thing.
Finally, to answer my own question: “Is grace possible in business?” I believe, in many cases, we can find grace in business. If we have developed healthy emotional intelligence, we can learn to confidently manage our emotions and the emotions of others. We can’t create the expectation in our mind that we will always receive grace, but we can offer it. When we offer it, we just might receive it back.
“Take chances, make mistakes. That’s how you grow. Pain nourishes your courage. You have to fail in order to practice being brave.” ~ Mary Tyler Moore