Serengeti Skill #7
The graceful giraffe
The giraffe symbolizes the broad meaning of the word “grace”. While some see grace in human terms as one’s elegance or charm, for others it’s divine in origin and represents that indispensable gift for the development, improvement and expansion of one’s character and the ability to rise above the negative events of time.
The word “grace” tends to vary in meaning from one person or situation to another, often depending upon the context in which it is used. While many see the grace of the giraffe in human-like terms such as elegance, charm, or a positive attitude, others consider it to be divine in origin. They believe that it represents that indispensable gift for the development, improvement, and expansion of one’s character.
No matter how you see it, grace is a disposition that requires compassion toward others and the desire to extend goodwill. It incorporates the exercise of love and kindness—most importantly, to those who may not deserve it. Grace is as crucial in business as it is in life.
This truth is embedded in the fiber of who we are, what we believe, our appreciation, and the contribution we make to society. Gracious people exhibit the following characteristics:
- They seek to make others feel like they’re the most important person with whom they can spend time, and always put the needs of others first.
- They live according to personal standards that are higher than any given code of conduct, and incorporate dignity, honor, and respect in extending grace to others—even when things have not gone their way.
Whether it’s in our job or in personal matters, grace can open up a richer and more fulfilling life. It’s not an inherent quality that some people have and others do not; rather, grace is learned and acquired by observation and practice. It is first and foremost a skill that is centered on others—how we treat them and how we put their needs above our own without any consideration or expectation of a return in kind.
Our ability to develop grace isn’t based on what we have or don’t have. What matters in terms of grace is whether or not we appreciate what we do have, and how we interact with those around us.
Maximizing This Skill
The tone and approach you use with others impacts how you establish grace in your life. This quality comes through in your language, attitude and body movements – all of which express your true intent to others.
These qualities are acquired through a personal commitment to focus on changing your attitude toward others. They are evident in the workplace with changes from:
- Control to coaching
- Managing to mentoring
- Employing to empowering
- Style to spirit
Graceful individuals develop interdependent relationships that are fostered through patience, self-discipline, dignity, honor and respect. They accomplish this by recognizing others’ strengths and weaknesses, and attempting to build them up. They realize how vital it is to nurture others without expecting recognition for it.
Grace represents style, finesse, kindness, and above all, doing the right thing – a quality that will always advance our purpose in life, no matter what it is.