Book Review: The 4 Agreements

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I must admit I was skeptical about “The 4 Agreements.”  I actually thought it would be focused only on developing a personal mantra for living.  In actuality, it surprised me as a book that provided some great direction for me personally and in business.

There were a few insights that arose as I read “The 4 Agreements.”

Agreement #1:  Be impeccable with your word.  I often tell my kids that your outside must be congruent with your inside.  You could say “yes” on the outside and “no” on the inside.  This is a non-congruent action and something that lacks impeccability.  According to Ruiz, you can measure the impeccability of your word by your ability to accept and be kind to yourself.

As leaders, managers and employees we find may find ourselves just looking for the words that fit the situation versus being honest and vulnerable.  This approach can work for a season and then ultimately leaves you without a sense of who you are.

Agreement #2: Do your best.  Do your best does not mean perfection.  It means engagement and a sense of commitment to excellent effort and preparation.  If you reduce your work to a task to just get done you lose your ability to do your best.

Agreement #3: Don’t take it personally. In sales you face rejection all the time. If they say no, most likely it is not about you.  Headed to that interview remember that there are so many factors are out of your control.  Control what you can (preparation, skill development, resume) and then allow the results to land where they may.

Last week, I typed about the self-actualized leader.  The self actualized leader is separated from the good and bad opinions of others.  They are so strongly focused on their vision that others ever changing opinion of them matters not.

Agreement #4: Don’t assume: Assuming takes away your curiosity, which is such a valuable commodity today in a world of great access to information.  Curiosity pushes against assumptions and allows you to stay open minded.  Ruiz encourages us to ask more questions and to stay curious in the moment vs. rushing to a conclusion.  Sales people and consultants and managers struggle with this because their agenda is shouting at them from inside.

Some of my favorite quotes from the book include:

“To be alive is the biggest fear humans have.”

“You know you have forgiven someone when you see that person and do not have an emotional response.”

“Your negative emotions deplete our energy, which is reserved for change and growth.”

“Doing your best is taking action because you love, not because you’re expecting a reward.”

The 4 Agreements is a fantastic read and has great insight for leaders, managers and employees.  What agreement looks to be on your list to hold onto today?