Every Monday, we post a manifesto from someone who has completed The Dig. During The Dig, each participant discovers the one word that best describes their purpose, and they write a manifesto about it. This week’s Manifesto was written by Sue Jacques – a speaker, author and former death investigator. Her word is grace. Sue is a graduate of the Speaker MBA program and spoke at Evoso Live in 2016. You can visit her website at http://suejacques.com.
GRACE, by Sue Jacques
She snuck up on me, and it took awhile for her to penetrate my persona. But before I knew it, she had captured my character.
I didn’t know what to call her at first. Lady Luck? Dame Fortune? Higher Power? None of those felt accurate, so I settled on Grace. Our journey together has been extraordinary.
Grace entered my life subtly, first introducing herself in the form of gratitude. Her gentle reminders to be thankful helped me realize how blessed my life has been. Soon it turned into a game…the more gratitude I expressed, the more blessed I became. The more blessed I became, the more grateful I felt. Around and around we danced, me becoming acutely aware of the power of appreciation, Grace showering me with blessings.
She gained my trust that way, and then Grace quietly began teaching me about respect. And she was smart about it, because she knew that in order to capture—and keep—my attention, she would have to get creative. So she positioned me in circumstances where I’d have no choice but to listen to my soul and discover my purpose. By providing obstacles, challenges, opportunities, and varying degrees of pressure, Grace taught me that in order to earn the respect of others it was imperative to foster genuine respect for myself. Only then did I learn how to respect fully.
Grace realized I was ready for more, so she gently revealed that I had unintentionally begun to misrepresent myself. I had started to portray an image of the person I thought others wanted to see instead of sharing my true nature. That’s when Grace challenged me to reclaim my authenticity, and over time I began to let my personality sparkle again. A little bit here, a little bit there. I had always been positive, outgoing, and confident, but somewhere along the way I’d allowed myself to become minimized, gradually shrinking so I wouldn’t outshine others. My spirit wouldn’t stand for that, so with Grace standing steadfast by my side I began climbing the mountain of my own magnificence.
Knowing how much I value kindness, Grace then positioned me smack dab in the middle of countless opportunities to provide compassion by leading me to a career at the medical examiner’s office. In performing the forensic medical investigation of thousands of unexpected and violent deaths I learned about the fragility of life. It was my privilege to investigate those deaths, and I proudly saw to it that every single person whose body I touched was handled with dignity. No matter how they were treated in life, I made sure that they and their loved ones were treated like royalty in death. Through it all, I gained a profound appreciation for the impact that being thoughtful delivers. It’s such simple gift to give.
And that’s when Grace introduced me to empathy. Through circumstances, synchronicities, and stories, Grace helped me understand that everyone is on their own journey, and she tutored me in the lesson that it’s not our place to judge. Rather, we are here to honor, hear, and help one another. She also exposed me to the fact that this miraculous experience we call life is not about right versus wrong or us versus them or me versus you. It’s about each of us developing the depth of character required to follow our own path while we support others on theirs.
In the years since I first met Grace I’ve evolved personally and transformed professionally. But lately, she has enveloped me even more with her charm. I see Grace differently now, with added clarity. She is bold and beautiful; dynamic and discreet; captivating and cool; elegant and eager; feisty and fun.
Who is Grace? She is the sage who dwells in my soul, my sacred spirit. Not only has she accompanied me on this incredible journey from corpses to Carpe Diem, she’s also presented me with a personalized invitation to share the life lessons I’ve learned along the way. It’s a big responsibility, and I’m up for the challenge. I will succeed by using her name as a guide: G for gratitude, R for respect, A for authenticity, C for compassion, and E for empathy.
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