Excellence and grace. What comes to mind when you think of those 2 words together? Can they coexist? Are they related? Maybe they feel more like opposites. After all, most of us walk around believing that the only way to achieve excellence is by being hard on ourselves. Maybe you were taught that there was always something next, something better, that what you accomplished was never enough. Maybe you even believe that if you give yourself grace, you’ll lose your excellence.
First, let’s clarify the word grace. Simply put, it’s the ability to recognize your beautiful, flawed humanity. Grace allows you to see that you are OK, even when you make a mistake. Grace means that you recognize that doing your best looks different every day. It allows you to let yourself off the hook and to not pile self-judgment on top of an already challenging situation.
Excellence is another important word to consider. Excellence is NOT being perfect and always doing everything right. Excellence is the knowledge that you are doing your best, you tried your hardest, and you trust yourself to reach your goals and pivot when necessary.
The relationship between excellence and grace is a powerful one. It opens the door to an entirely new way of being, a new way of showing up for yourself, and a new way of showing up for others. Excellence and grace go hand in hand.
When we’re hard on ourselves, we know that our stress levels increase. When our stress levels increase, we know that we’re not able to perform at our best. We don’t make clear decisions and we can’t consider all of our options.
When we give ourselves grace, stress levels decrease. Calm, clear, coherent thinking returns. Our ability to consider multiple options is accessible. We can make decisions from a grounded place instead of a stressed place.
So why do we resist it? Why do we insist on being hard on ourselves or judging ourselves when we falter?
The answer is complicated, there are a zillion factors, and honestly, none of them matter as much as the choices you make now. Right now, you get to choose to try things differently. You get to offer yourself grace and begin to discover how it relates to excellence. You get to practice an entirely new way of being and discover that excellence actually increases with grace.