Life & Business According to The Four Agreements
My birthday was yesterday, but I’m still celebrating, fam! 🥳 Today, I’m sharing a take on one of my favorite quick reads, The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. This is no ordinary rundown, peeps. I’ll dissect what he outlined in the book and how it aligns with life and business. Yes, even yours! So, whether you read the book or not, you’re in for a treat.
I can’t be the only one who gets introspective and hella nostalgic when a birthday rolls around.
Typically during this time, we ask ourselves the following questions:
What did I envision myself doing at this age?
Did any or all of my goals come to fruition?
How happy am I…really?
What annoying pain is in my (insert relevant body part here)? 😆
But one of the biggest questions we ask is:
What did I learn over the last year?
Well, at least that’s the case for me.
I’m an avid reader, but since 2023 kicked off I have been on a roll! Currently, I’m reading three pivotal books:
Atomic Habits by James Clear
The 12-Week Year by Brian P. Moran and Michael Lennington
Finding Me by Viola Davis
OK, I lied.
There’s another book I've read several times in the mix right now. This book is a classic, as far as I’m concerned. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard of The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz.
Despite the transformative insight I’m gaining from the other three, I keep returning to the simplicity of Ruiz’s practical yet thought-provoking book. The philosophies, or agreements as he defines them, are as straightforward as they come. Most would even call them common sense.
So today, I want to parallel his book's four philosophies/agreements with personal and business life. Let’s begin, shall we?
Agreement One: Be impeccable with your word.
Have you ever heard the phrase, “Word is bond”? Made famous by rap culture, it’s a way of proclaiming, “I’m stating facts” or “I’m telling the truth.” One way to take that statement to the next level is to show you can be trusted because we all know — actions speak louder than words.
In the book, Ruiz states that being impeccable with your word is a simple concept but the most difficult to honor. And why wouldn’t it be? The term ‘impeccable’ in itself means flawless, perfect. It should come as no surprise that we, as humans, are perfectly flawed.
Nonetheless, he describes “your word” as a force and a powerful communication tool. He explains you can use it for good or evil. In one direction lives personal heaven on earth while the other direction is a personal hell.
Your choice, boo.
I couldn't agree more with his perspective. In fact, I wrote a blog post titled “5 Phrases to Avoid as a New Coach, Consultant, or Creative” that explores the idea of speaking the right words to produce ideal results. What you speak, you become. Tony Robbins, a prolific motivational speaker, supports this by saying,
“Throughout human history, our greatest leaders and thinkers have used the power of words to transform our emotions, to enlist us in their causes, and to shape the course of destiny. Words can not only create emotions, they create actions. And from our actions flow the results of our lives.”
I’ll do you one better. Proverbs 18:21 (NIV) says, “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”
Though the tongue is one of the smaller muscles in your body, it’s the hardest working one. Unlike other muscles like your quads, you can use the tongue ALL day, and it won’t tire. Imagine the damage you can do if not used properly. That’s why we can’t dismiss or minimize our words' impact on ourselves and others.
Now, let’s align this principle with our personal and business lives.
Everything you write or vocalize using your platform should align with your morals and values as a small business owner. No matter what type of business you own, keeping your word should be at the top of your priorities. Clients and customers seek your solutions because you seem credible. And credibility is established by your comments (and actions).
So, if you claim your goal is to help people transform into their best version, do it with integrity. If you claim to offer X, Y, and Z with your offer, make sure you deliver. If you gain clientele from an IG post that hitss home for someone, be who you “posted” to be. Your message should be founded on principle and truth, fam.
No gray areas.
Agreement Two: Don't take anything personally.
Cue Monica’s 1995 hit “Don’t take it personal (just one of dem days)” for this section.
Ruiz knew what was up. He even figured we’d slip up and roll over the first agreement. That’s why the second agreement exists. If someone decides to use their words against you, his advice is not to take it personally. Yes, even if the words are about and directed at you! 😒
On any given day, we have a million things going through our minds and all types of demands that require our attention. It’s no wonder we displace our frustration and attack innocent bystanders. We are multi-dimensional beings with lives just as complex.
As hard as it is, choosing your peace of mind and establishing what he calls “immunity” despite what’s going on is the goal. If we took everything that rubbed us the wrong way to heart, we’d have no friends, and our confidence would be sitting on cider blocks in the driveway.
But adapting the mindset that “It’s not me, it’s you, boo” works beautifully in this situation.
So, most of the time, when prospects ghost us, it’s not because of us. There could be many reasons, like they can’t afford to hire us, don’t want to work with us (but don’t know how to say it), or are genuinely slammed and forgot all about our proposals.
It even shows up online. You know how it feels posting what you think is fire 🔥 content and receiving no more than five likes from your true-blue followers who like everything you post. The frustration sets in, and you question your ability to be the entrepreneur you always envisioned. You even wonder whether you should keep posting.
But it could be something completely different. Your followers may not be active when you post, the algorithm may be stank acting that day, or you could have a ton of people who have IG accounts but don’t want others to see what they like (but they see your content, OK).
Listen. Get comfortable moving on, knowing that the reasons for action or inaction are NOT your problem.
Agreement Three: Don't make assumptions.
If I can introduce a relevant anecdote or analogy, I’m doing it. Every time. 🙃
OK, so picture this…
You’re back in high school, walking down the hall with your boyfriend (or girlfriend). Out of the corner of your eye, you see the school flirt giving your man (or woman) a “look.” Quickly, you turn to your boyfriend (or girlfriend) only to see a goofy and seemingly guilty smile on their face.
C’mom, you know what happens next.
You assume that the little exchange is more than meets the eye. Before you know it, you’ve created a complete narrative with your man (or woman) messing around with the school flirt. And action! The eye rolls, lip smacking, and arm crossing ensue. If you gangsta with it, you start a petty argument that kicks off with something like this: “Uh Uh. Don’t touch me; go touch your girlfriend (or boyfriend)!”
But after you finish your detective work, you realize that your man (or woman) is innocent and your anger was a waste of time (let's not forget the utter embarrassment). Unfortunately, your boo isn’t feeling you the same way because of your insecurities: Womp, womp, womp.
The truth is…assumptions do more harm than good. As Ruiz puts it,
“ Assumptions are nothing more than stories we tell ourselves when we don’t know the truth.”
Serial "assumptioners" (yes, I made up the word) live in a constant battle of jumping to conclusions and making nothing into something. I’ve been there a time or two, especially in my copywriting business. Occasionally, I assume a client doesn’t like the copy I delivered if I don’t hear back from them right away.
I create a full-blown story in my head and start freaking out. Finally, I heard from the client, and express how much they LOVE what they’re reading so far! Yes, I know😌...wasted energy!
Friend, do better than me. Don't put any energy into it if it’s not based on fact. You kopy?
Agreement Four: Always do your best.
You would not believe how often my husband and I use this agreement unconsciously in our home. It has become a mantra when we pump up our teenage son: “We’re not asking for perfection. Just do your best!”
The fourth agreement makes the other agreements a part of our lives because it helps establish repetition. By far, it’s the most uncomplicated agreement to commit to. There are various levels of ‘best,’ which will change based on the person and circumstance. And that’s OK. But putting your best foot forward is doable.
One day you may be energized, which leads to high productivity. You may feel like crap the next day but still manage to do some admin work before crashing. We are ever-changing and life throws us curve balls sometimes. That’s why your ‘best’ fluctuates to adjust to the peaks and valleys.
Want to gain more aligned clients? Do your best to attract them. That may mean getting laser-focused and creating custom offers for the people you want to serve. It may even look like going live once a week to share your expertise with that target group. The great thing is, no one can measure your ‘best’ BUT you.
As a copywriter, I always seek ways to improve my craft. Sometimes it doesn’t look like a webinar or a copywriting course. It may be picking up a book like The Four Agreements to help me become a better ME, which impacts who I am as a copywriting professional.
You may be checking all the boxes in your business but still, feel a deficit. That feeling may be telling you to take care of yourself as a business owner and person. Building your mindset muscle is always a good move because it trickles down into every area of your life. Ultimately, it creates an infrastructure of resiliency and intentionality, and you can't go wrong with either.
I’d love it if you created a place on your bookshelf for The Four Agreements. No ifs, and, or buts about it...we ALL could benefit from engraining these common and decent philosophies into our lives.
Wouldn’t you agree?