Monday, December 17, 2012

The Four Agreements at Work - First in a Series

I believe that we are all striving to be better: better professionals, better spouses, better board members, better parents, better people. And - given recent events in our country (especially Connecticut) - we are given over to a period of reflection and search for a deeper meaning.

Driven personally by this desire for improvement and meaning, I recently picked up the book The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz; a book that, dare I say, has sat on my bookshelf for years. I found the simple wisdom he professes profound...and entirely applicable to navigating one's career.

In this series I will expound on the four agreements contained within the book and how they pertain to your job search and/or your professional life. It is no substitute for reading the book yourself (and please do. It's the size of a postcard and a mere 138 pages) but puts a career context around his writing.

The first agreement: Be impeccable with your word
Being impeccable with your word is the practice of being mindful of what you say to yourself and what you say about others. Words - according to Ruiz - have a power we do not comprehend, influencing our inner being and environment. Your word is a force for manifestation.

And he's right. When you are feeling hurt or unconfident - in your job, while looking for a job, or anywhere else in your life - you tend to say negative things about yourself: I'll never excel at this. I'm unemployable. I'm stupid. When you say these things - putting them out into the universe - they not only become a self-fulfilling prophesy but a stain on your being.

The same can be said for what you say about others. Your words have the ability to convey love and empowerment or to damage people to their core. It seems that a single negative comment can undo the professionalism you spent an immeasurable amount of time creating. A prime example of this is office gossip. What purpose does this serve but to divide, ostracize, and hurt?

This agreement is more than just talking humanely to ourselves and refraining from gossiping: it is about embracing the opposite of a state of being that has been instilled in us from when we were very young. It means keeping negative ideas from influencing you and divorcing yourself from the need to be right. It is also an acknowledgement that the world is as you see it and not more important than the view of another.

Being impeccable with your word - says Ruiz - is the most important agreement, and the hardest one to fulfill.

Challenge: spend the next seven days being mindful of what you say to yourself, what you say to others, and ensuring that what flows through you embodies kindness and integrity. Post in the comments what you learned.

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