Mexican author, Don Miguel Ruiz is most famous for his book, The Four Agreements, which uses ancient Toltec wisdom to offer readers a powerful code of conduct to free themselves from self-limiting beliefs and find personal freedom, happiness and joy.
Whether you’ve read or heard of it before, you’ll find that it offers great insights for improving all areas of our lives including our relationships, our work, health and overall well-being.
This article, however, relates specifically to how the four agreements can be applied to create better results in the workplace. Here we go.
The First Agreement: “Be Impeccable with Your Word”
Miguel says, “It is through the word that you manifest everything… What you dream, what you feel, and what you really are, will all be manifested through the word.”
What he means is that words speak both internally to yourself and externally to others, is what ultimately determines who you become and the world you create around you.
Thus, your word is a double-edged sword: it can either create everything you’ve ever wanted, or it can make your life a living hell.
The word “Impeccable” means that you don’t do things that go against yourself. When you’re impeccable with your word, you, therefore, speak only those words to yourself and others that are congruent with the vision you have for your life.
In the workplace, the first agreement can be applied by watching your thoughts and words. Maintain communications that are not hurtful or derogatory but are uplifting and add value to your interactions with others. Most importantly, aim to discard all aggressive communication from your life.
The Second Agreement: “Do Not Take Anything Personally”
Miguel says, “Whatever happens around you, don’t take it personally… Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves.”
If someone says to you, “you’re a terrible person,” don’t take it personally, because the truth is that that person is only speaking out their own feelings, beliefs, and opinions.
If you were to take it personally, then it means that you agree with it. If you agree with it, then you’ll start believing it. If you believe it, then you’ll start acting in the world based upon it. Thus, the other person’s garbage has become yours.
On the contrary, if you take nothing personally, then you are immune and free to create your own beliefs.
In the workplace, the second agreement can be applied by learning from your differences with others. Don’t take things personally, but communicate your feelings with others. Realize that other people have their own troubles and their behaviors or words aren’t always a reflection of their character.
The Third Agreement: “Don’t Make Assumptions”
Miguel says, “Whenever we make assumptions, we’re asking for problems. We make an assumption, we misunderstand, we take it personally, and we end up creating a whole big drama for nothing.”
The reason we make assumptions is that the human mind feels a need to justify and understand everything in order to feel safe. We attempt to read people and situations in order to draw quick conclusions.
However, if we begin to think that those assumptions are real without having checked, then our beliefs and behaviors will be incorrect.
The way to keep ourselves from making assumptions is to ask questions. The clearer you communicate and understand something, the closer you’ll be to the truth and the more appropriate will be your behavior.
In the workplace, the third agreement can be applied by asking more questions, being more patient, spending time in reflection and connecting better with people. Avoid assuming by applying active listening and clear communication. Focus on the facts and don’t make decisions abruptly.
The Fourth Agreement: “Always Do Your Best ”
Miguel says, “Just do your best — in any circumstance in your life. It doesn’t matter if you are sick or tired, if you always do your best there is no way you can judge yourself. And if you don’t judge yourself there is no way you are going to suffer from guilt, blame, and self-punishment. “
The message is simple: If you just do your best, then you miss the question of “what if?” You will remove the need to blame or judge yourself and will be peaceful and content.
So, in the workplace, the fourth agreement can be applied by striving to give and become a little more each day. Don’t just judge yourself for the results you get but the effort you give.