How would embracing grace and humility in our everyday professional lives change decision making and the culture of our businesses?

I took a fantastic yoga class the other day that got me thinking about the mind-body connection in a whole new way. The instructor kept asking us: “What would it look like in your body if you fully opened yourself to grace and humility?” That’s a pretty interesting question when you’re twisted into a pretzel and trying to keep your balance! But when I let my body answer, instead of my mind, I found my yoga pose went a little farther, the stretch was a little deeper and the exhilaration was even greater.


Being open to grace makes me roll my shoulders back, makes me lift my face skyward and makes me breathe more fully. It is an expression of confidence. It means embracing the idea that I’ll be taken care of, that everything I need is already at my fingertips. Being open to grace says, “Here I am” and “I can do this” and “Bring it on!” It takes me to a place of greater possibilities.


Conversely, being open to humility gets my ego out of the way. It makes me bow more deeply, makes me curl into myself and allows me to surrender. It’s an expression of gratitude and a reminder that I didn’t really earn any of the gifts I have in my life. Each and every good thing – my health, my family, my career, even my productive morning or shiny new belongings – have been bestowed upon me and could have easily gone to someone else. Being open to humility whispers “thank you” and “I am grateful.”


Holding these two thoughts in my head simultaneously and getting my body to express them can be hard work. It means embracing and internalizing seemingly contradictory ideas simultaneously. That’s not an easy task. Yet, in the moments you achieve this, you experience balance. You are firmly grounded yet uplifted. When a yoga instructor says “Ground down, reach out,” this is what I imagine she or he means. Grounded in humility, uplifted by grace. Difficult to achieve, but believe it or not, it’s one of the most natural and effortless yoga poses to hold.


The benefits of working toward this balanced state can be profound…and they readily transfer to my life outside of yoga class. That got me thinking, what if all of us embraced these concepts in our everyday professional lives? What would that look like? How would it change decision making and the culture of a business organization?


Just like my experience in yoga class, embracing these two concepts might help you and your team stay grounded as you push a little farther and open your organization to greater possibilities. It might lead to the type of flexibility that makes tackling even difficult tasks less taxing. It might create the type of balance that nurtures an atmosphere of efficiency and cohesiveness. These are no small accomplishments.


I’ve seen this happen in my own organization. We’ve collectively embraced a spirit of reaching for the next level of achievement without feeling entirely ready – trusting grace – and enjoying the feeling of the road rising up to meet us. We’ve also fully committed ourselves to a spirit of gratitude. I send handwritten thank you notes to clients and collaborators. We also surprise clients with small gifts. I blog and tweet about things I’m grateful for and appreciate every new Facebook “like.” Staying grounded in humility reminds me that without my colleagues and clients, I wouldn’t have a business at all. It’s not about me; it’s about the value exchange between us.


So the next time your professional life twists you into an uncomfortable position, think of the yoga pretzel and ask yourself: what would the situation look like if you embraced grace and humility? You might be surprised at how peaceful and exhilarating the answer can be. Just try it: “Ground down, reach out.”