More than twenty years of working in the corporate arena exposed me to many of the processes used to identify company objectives. Executive management teams batted around various terms–mission, vision, aspirations, values, strengths, challenges–to ultimately craft a strategic plan that would move the company from a space of current complacency to a space of future excitement and growth.
In this environment, I learned that the crafting of a transformative strategic plan capable of bridging the chasm between these two spaces required yet another space to be incorporated: a space for grace.
As I experienced the discovery sessions of our diocesan strategic planning process, I was touched by the emotional texture of the conversations that shared rather intimate aspects of parish life. Throughout the conversations, there was an infused space for grace that was rich with authenticity, genuineness, and integrity of spirit. Space for grace created a sense of safety that extended an invitation to share both one’s beauty and one’s brokenness with boldness. Naming and claiming the totality of one’s being is a modeling of boldness that can reap many benefits–healing and growth.
I believe that everyone has a fervent desire to be heard, seen, loved, and connected. I also believe that these fervent desires are typically fervently kept secret because of our need to honor our projected image to others rather than being honest with the reality of who we really are. Intentionally infusing a space for grace into our conversations as we develop healthy relationships with each other enables a realization that whatever situation in which we find ourselves, we’re not in it alone.
Podcast host Sasza Lohrey reminds us that, “Knowing that you’re not alone–that all humans struggle–is one of the foundations of self-compassion and it’s a game changer.” As we embark upon our strategic plan, we, too, are called to be “game changers” by continuing to infuse a space for grace throughout our work. For in so doing, we not only enable the fulfillment of our strategic plan, but enable personal healing and growth as well.
The Rev. Dr. Robert T. Phillips
Senior Associate for Leadership Development and Congregational Care
Episcopal Diocese of Washington