“And you know, when you’ve experienced grace and you feel like you’ve been forgive, you’re a lot more forgiving of other people.You’re a lot more gracious to others” – Rick Warren
Many years ago, the company I worked for provided me with the opportunity to attend an incredible leadership course. During the course, one of the participants asked the instructor how to deal with negative or poor leaders above you. The workshop leader said, (And I apologize for the swear word—this is a direct quote) “There is an old saying. The higher the monkey climbs up the tree, the more his ass shows. You have a choice. You can point and laugh at the asses of the monkeys ahead of you, or you can realize that the monkeys behind you can see your ass. Always be gracious with the monkeys ahead of you in the hopes that the monkeys behind you will be gracious with you.”
I thought this was a great metaphor!
Gracious means, “marked by kindness and courtesy”, or “marked by tact and delicacy”. In essence, graciousness is a way of greeting the world with understanding and compassion and having kindness with the flaws or shortcomings of others. It is also a way of being courteous, that leaves the receiver feeling empowered and understood—rather than pitied.
One of the definitions of cultivate is, “to grow or raise something under conditions you can control”. I am a strong believer in the cultivation of skills, thoughts, knowledge, character, and ways of being in the world. We want to develop crucial skills, especially skills that have the potential to damage or improve our lives (like communication skills) in a way that minimizes risk. Let’s face it. All learning requires trial and error–success and setbacks–if we are really going to learn and grow.
In many situations, it is essential to our lives to minimize the impact of the errors and setbacks while we are learning. (Notice I did not say–avoid!) To me, cultivation means carefully choosing how and where to practice our fledgling skills. This way, we can still practice and reduce the risk to our careers or lives if this attempt happens to be a “learning opportunitity”.
“Cultivating graciousness” is a personal practice of deliberately crafting or honing our skills of kindness, courtesy, tact and delicacy in the world. Successful people cultivate graciousness.
This week’s success tip is: Cultivate Graciousness! This week, look for every opportunity to be kind, courteous, tactful and diplomatic. Find a way to bring others up with your words and actions. This week, deliberately cultivate a way of being that is gracious!
- Make a list of people or situations that you are irritated or challenged by. How can you cultivate graciousness in this situation?
- Stay on guard as you go through your week, for opportunities to cultivate graciousness.
- Assuming you were the “lead monkey” in the tree, how would you want others to respond to your flaws? How can you do the same for someone else?
- At the end of the week, use the weekly review process outlined in the About tab to review your progress.