Practicing Grace Makes the World Better

“Grace is the opposite of karma, which is all about getting what you deserve.

Grace is getting what you don't deserve and not getting what you do deserve.

We live in a world of earning, deserving, and merit, and these result in judgment.

That is why everyone wants and needs grace. Judgment kills. Only grace makes us alive.”


I love this definition of grace from the Mamrelund Evangelical Lutheran Church. I suggest we allow ourselves and others some latitude of grace. We can start by assuming that people have positive intent and are trying their best. I’m not saying we shouldn’t hold people accountable, and I am dismayed when we twist definitions to allow abusive or immoral behavior but to err is human. When mistakes are made (and always are, especially when stretching our capabilities and trying new things), we should focus on learning and growth over punishment.


Grace allows us to take risks
Jan Johnson, President and CEO of Jordan Johnson, Inc. described grace this way on our Seasons Leadership Podcast, “to succeed, we need to take risks. When we take risks, we make mistakes. The key is learning from our mistakes and not beating ourselves up too long. This goes for how we treat others as well as ourselves.” Jan attributed her success to the grace that her mentors gave her. When she made a mistake, her mentors coached her. She grew through the new knowledge and the support of her mentors. Her mentors' grace allowed her to take risks that advanced her career. We talked about how the world would be a better place if we all allowed for more grace. More people would stretch and grow through this kind of support.


Resilience and grace are part of a virtuous cycle
Another podcast guest touched on the importance of grace in our lives through the concept of resilience. Reverend Canon Liz Easton didn't talk directly about the word grace but shared the perspective that resilience is the opposite of fragility or weak ego. A person with a fragile ego might be inexperienced and not confident – something that we all are at one time or another, as it is just part of being human. A fragile person with a weak ego sees criticism as wounding instead of productive, and their defensive behavior prevents feedback from others that can be helpful. Fragile people think others are out to get them and assume negative intent. This mindset creates suffering in the workplace and our personal lives. Resilient people are okay with being wrong; they can apologize and learn, be flexible, and hold space for other people's dissent. A resilient person can fail and learn. Liz's opinion, like Jan's, is that our failures at work fuel our later success.


It strikes me that these concepts of resilience and grace are interconnected. If we want more grace in the world, all of us must strengthen our resilience. And to be resilient, we need to invite grace into our lives – for ourselves and others. It's a virtuous cycle, one that we can start practicing now.


Great leaders give grace
What does grace have to do with leadership? Leaders who exhibit grace are humble enough to be wrong. And when they are wrong, they know when to apologize, learn, and move on. Resilient leaders hold the space for others to disagree and challenge them because their egos are strong enough to consider alternate perspectives. They provide the grace for themselves and others to take risks and grow. They do this not because they are saintly people but because they see potential and even greatness in others – and the drive to achieve a goal is bigger than their ego.


Let's do our part to make the world a little bit better by practicing more grace with ourselves and each other. The world would be a small place if we only got what we deserved. By giving grace to others, we can be more resilient and as the beginning quote states more alive.

Art by Kimberly Adams Tremper

Susan Ireland draws on 30+ years of leadership experience in corporations to help people positively impact the world. As an ICF-Certified Professional Coach, Susan works with executives, entrepreneurs and leaders at all levels to enhance their leadership and business acumen, encourage self-discovery and turn challenges into positive results. Her belief in the unique value of individuals and appreciation for the wonder and awe of their journeys inspires enduring, transformative change.

Join Our Community

Thank you for joining our community!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Most Recent Posts

See All

Seeking feedback on your communication will enhance your leadership presence today

Have you ever thought that you did a good job communicating something only to find out later that what you thought you communicated is not what people thought you meant to communicate? You are not alone. Many people think that they communicate clearly and get frustrated when they don’t get the results for which they were hoping.

Read More

Own your leadership journey

What I didn’t realize early in my career was that I could take ownership of my leadership journey – I just needed to know how. Our working definition of leadership at Seasons Leadership is, “the ability to inspire and motivate yourself and others to action.”

Read More

Mirroring the Metaphor of Spring in Ireland

Spring is a season of awakening—to new energy, creativity and possibilities. It's a time to elevate our thinking, clarify our vision and explore new plans.

Read More


Are you wanting to learn more before you dive in? We created these tools to help support your growth and success. Whether you join our yearlong program or simply use these resources on your own, we're honored to be a part of your ongoing development.

Bad Bosses

While there are definitely bad bosses out there, luckily most bosses want to be good bosses and to do the right things. How would you rate yourself as a boss?


Community & Relationships

When we develop relationships, we build community. To do this intentionally and with purpose results in a conscious community that can nurture each other and “rise” together. That’s why it is important!


Leadership & Principles

Do you know what your values are? Do you have an explicit set of operating principles for your team or organization? If not, it is never too late to get started!


Relationship Matrix

Even if nurturing relationships is easy for you, to successfully network, one helpful practice is to create a “Relationship Matrix.” The matrix is a list of people that you want to build and nurture a relationship in business with.


Goal Setting

Are you the person who intends to accomplish a goal next year but “next year” keeps sliding to … the next year? We have a better way to set you up for success!