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Living and Leading with G.R.A.C.E.


Living and leading with G.R.A.C.E. is born from a combination of the practices, teaching’s and science of living a grateful, resilient, aware, compassionate and empathetic life.  G.R.A.C.E.ful living invites us to see the beauty in the minuscule moments of life, to feel grateful for the abundance we have, to choose to fully feel, embrace and care for the pain and suffering within ourselves and to see and care for the pain and suffering in others, to give ourselves permission to slow down, to stop rushing and to tap into our own inner resources for strength and resilience.

Living with G.R.A.C.E.fulness is the recipe that allows us to live our best life. As an AFL player I have had the great fortune to mentor calls it, we can become the “best version” of ourselves.

The themes you will explore, experiment with, learn and grow in a Living and Leading with G.R.A.C.E. workshop, or better still the full Living and Leading with G.R.A.C.E. 6-week program, are: Gratefulness, Resilience, Awareness, Compassion, Empathy.

To book or find out more about a Living and Leading with G.R.A.C.E. workshop for your school or business workplace, or your community group, please be in touch:

For a description of each component of G.R.A.C.E. please keep reading below:


Living gratefully means we are appreciative of the abundance in our lives in any given moment. The abundance of clean air, fresh water, food, transport, opportunities, people, resources of all kinds, the natural world...Br David Steindl-Rast says "it is not joy that makes us grateful, it is gratefulness that makes us joyful'. When we are grateful we have a greater sense of ease, satisfaction, appreciation, joy and happiness.

The Benefits of Grateful Living

Psychological evidence shows intentionally being grateful every day brings a remarkable collection of benefits:

  • More optimism

  • Happiness

  • Greater self-worth

  • Less envy, anxiety, and depression

  • More compassion, generosity, forgiveness, stronger relationships, and less loneliness

  • Better sleep

  • Greater Resilience


We each have an inner well of resiliency resources, sometimes we need to intentionally ignite or top up the well, perhaps adding new resources. Resiliency allows us to bend with the winds of change, to weather the inevitable storms of life.

The Benefits of Building Resiliency Resources

According to some of the experts G.R.A.C.E.ful qualities of resilient people include:

  • Confidence in your strengths and abilities – seeing the gifts you have – Gratefulness

  • Optimism – capacity to lean into the good – positivity bias - Resilience

  • The capacity to manage strong feelings and impulses. Calm under pressure. Able to regulate responses in a stressful situation. Understands thoughts are not facts, they are simply thoughts, and one does not have to be ruled by them. – self-regulation through mindfulness skills – Awareness

  • A positive view of yourself - being on your own side – Altruism: willing to help others with no sense that you must be rewarded in return – Compassion in action

  • Emotional Intelligence – able to understand others view - Skills in communication – mindful speaking and listening - Empathy

(Adapted from APA Help Centre n.d. and Glenn Schiraldi (2017)


Through mindfulness practices, that is the cultivation of present moment awareness, allowing you to be awake to and responsive to the whole of your life, with patience, peace, ease and joy.

The Benefits of Cultivating Greater Self-Awareness through Mindfulness Practices

The research demonstrates that regular mindfulness practice:

  • Lowers stress and anxiety

  • Improves sleep quality

  • Improves emotional regulation

  • Improves immune system function

  • Helps us to:

    • Make better decisions

    • Stay on task

    • Problem solve

    • Be more creative and innovative

    • Be more compassionate and empathetic


Compassion: is the capacity to treat yourself and others with understanding, concern and friendliness.


The Benefits of Compassion Training

People who motivate themselves with self-compassion rather than self-criticism:

  • Are more optimistic and happier with their lives.

  • Suffer less anxiety and depression.

  • Are more connected to others and suffer less social comparison.

  • Enjoy the process of change and working hard towards it.

  • Have a natural joy of learning and take more pleasure in the process.

  • Are less likely to procrastinate.

  • Can take feedback and take responsibility for their actions.

  • Use setbacks as a way of connecting to goals.

(Kelly McGonigal, The Neuroscience of Change, 2012)


Empathy: is tuning into and understanding other people, it's about conducting yourself with a great sense of emotional intelligence.

When you take care of you, treat yourself with care and compassion and have the self-awareness and capacity to regulate your own emotional responsiveness to the waves of life, both at work and at home, you are more likely to have the capacity for showing empathy without getting overwhelmed by the suffering of others.


Key Points for Connecting to Others with Empathy:

  • Empathy is different from sympathy.

  • With empathy we put ourselves in the same position as another – we see things from their side.

  • Empathy does not require us to fix or provide a solution – with empathy we simply provide understanding.

  • Empathy is heartfelt.

  • Empathy connects you to another.

  • Empathy requires a letting go of judgement.

  • Empathy requires us to take another’s perspective

What people are saying

The Living and Leading with G.R.A.C.E. workshops have been received a fantastic response so far:

"We've had really good feedback from our staff about the half day of learning about Living and Leading with G.R.A.C.E. Karen is an inspirational, authentic speaker who really knows her stuff and easily and gracefully connects with her audience." School Principal 2021

"After Karen spoke at our conference we've had a lot of interest from school leaders wanting to explore different parts of GRACE in more depth with Karen. Many have also asked for Karen to bring Living and Leading with G.R.A.C.E. to their school staff." Conference Organiser 2021

To book or find out more about a Living and Leading with G.R.A.C.E. workshop for your school or business workplace, or your community group, please be in touch:

"Its not joy that makes us grateful.

It's gratefulness that makes us joyful."

Br David Steindl-Rast

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