Unless we are conditioned by great counsel or training at an early age, many of us must make a lot of mistakes before we discover those essential values that we can rely upon to guide our lives and therefore our businesses. There are so many paths. There are so many confusing signals as we amble along. It is easy for things to be complicated. Having a singular focus can be a dynamic tool.
Several years ago at the annual meeting of the National Association of Hispanic Publishers, I had the great privilege of meeting author Don Miguel Ruiz. He was discussing the background and the power of The Four Agreements, the basis of his New York Times Best Selling book and an amazing philosophy that works well to balance all aspects of our lives and keep us congruent with a simple yet powerful set of values.
The Four Agreements
1. Be Impeccable With Your Word
Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.
2. Don’t Take Anything Personally
Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.
3. Don’t Make Assumptions
Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.
4. Always Do Your Best
Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.
Don Miguel shares:
“Everything we do is based on agreements we have made – agreements with ourselves, with other people, with God, with life. But the most important agreements are the ones we make with ourselves. In these agreements we tell ourselves who we are, how to behave, what is possible, what is impossible. One single agreement is not such a problem, but we have many agreements that come from fear, deplete our energy, and diminish our self-worth.”
According to Don Miguel, self-limiting beliefs rob us of joy and create needless suffering. When we are ready to change these agreements, these four deceptively simple yet powerful agreements act as guiding principles and a powerful code of conduct that can transform our lives and our businesses in positive and meaningful ways.
Following these principles will not stop us from making mistakes in our lives or in our businesses, but they may help keep us on the right path.