I recently came across a philosophy called “The Four Agreements” that is discussed in a book by Don Miguel Ruiz. Basically, the philosophy argues that all children are born happy, loving and genuine. It is when they are taught other concepts by adults, that behaviour changes, often in a negative way.We as adults should take a lesson from children. Why can’t we look at things in a happy, loving and genuine manner?
The concept is an idea that life is basically an illusion. More accurately we don’t see life as clearly as we should. Instead, things are viewed through a distorted lens. And this affects our values, expectations and how we treat one another.
The Four Agreements consists of the following:
• Be impeccable with your word
• Don’t take anything personally
• Don’t make assumptions
• Always do your best
Not only is this great advice for living life in general, but I believe that all leaders can benefit from this. It is a simple list to live by if you want to be a leader who people listen to and inspire greatness in others.
First, be impeccable with your word. Some people may just outright lie for their own selfish reasons. I choose to believe that most people are honest but often due to stress or time mismanagement, they will say something untrue just to appease others.
This is not the ideal way to handle such situations. You may be afraid, to tell the truth. But the person receiving the news will respect you immensely if you are honest. They may be disappointed for sure, but in the end, you will be viewed as honest and open. People appreciate these qualities and are more likely to be loyal to someone who displays them.
Second, don’t take anything personally. In the business world, we deal with roadblocks, rejection and outright failure on a regular basis. While this can be discouraging, instead of becoming depressed, we must look at mistakes as opportunities. Do not take failures to heart because no one is perfect. Most of the top entrepreneurs failed several times before hitting the right ideas that made them successful. If you give up every time you fail, you may be missing your chance at that perfect idea.
Third, don’t make assumptions. Communicating clearly is one of the most important things that many leaders fail to do. When this happens, there will be frustration and failure. It doesn’t matter how great of a person or leader you are, if you cannot effectively convey your ideas, then nothing else matters. It is the same for assuming what others are saying. Don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as possible. And asking questions is the first step to great communication. If you stay silent and assume what others are thinking or doing, then you will fail as a leader.
Finally, always do your best. This seems self-explanatory but doing your best requires taking risks when you can and taking stock of situations when warranted. If you always play it safe and just coast by, then nothing will ever be accomplished. What is worse is that your employees will not respect you as an effective leader. Take chances because you never know what is around the corner.