March 29, 2021
We are continuing our journey to explore the deep meaning of Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements and the path to personal freedom.
I like to transform The Four Agreements into a personal statement, creating a prayer which explicitly incorporates freedom and a positive intention.
This month we dive deeper into The Fourth Agreement: May I Always Do My Best.
As Ruiz writes:
“The first three agreements will only work if you do your best. Don’t expect you will always be impeccable with your word. Your routine habits are too strong and firmly rooted in your mind. But you can do your best. Don’t expect that you will never take anything personally; just do your best. Don’t expect that you will never make another assumption, but you can certainly do your best.
By doing your best, the habits of misusing your word, taking things personally, and making assumptions will become weaker and weaker and less frequent with time. You don’t need to judge yourself, feel guilty, or punish yourself if you cannot keep these agreements. If you are doing your best, you will feel good about yourself even if you still make assumptions, still take things personally, and still are not impeccable with your word.
If you do your best, over and over again, you will become a master of transformation.
Practice makes the master.”
I hope my three Blogs of 2021 on The Four Agreements have been a good refresher course, reinforcing the power of these simple and challenging calls to action. If this is your first introduction to Don Miguel Ruiz – well, Bravo!
My focus is to offer a few tips on the “How” and add to Don Miguel Ruiz's masterpiece of the “What” and the “Why” of The Four Agreements. So “How” do we go about always doing our best?
It all starts with taking action and always showing up at 100% -- being in the present moment. Consistency, self-discipline and never giving in are important to staying the course.
Let us take it a little deeper. Awareness – self-awareness – is essential; in my mind, the sine qua non, which in Latin means “without which [there is] nothing.” Awareness can start anywhere, anytime. However, it usually leads to asking the question: “Who am I when I am at my best? Who am I when I am “Being” and “Doing" my best?
When was the last time you asked yourself the question: Who am I?
What if I suggested it was important to answer that question without reference to your name, title, family, your business, your past, your particular circumstances?
Let us take 7 deep breaths and pause for a minute before we dive into these questions. Consider the instruction from Lao Tzu, Verse 15, from The Tao Te Ching, as translated by Stephen Mitchell:
"Do you have the patience to wait
till your mud settles and the water is clear?
Can you remain unmoving
till the right action arises from itself?"
This verse is a gentle instruction to be still a moment and let your mind start to clear of thoughts and distractions. Just breathe. Be still. Let your intuition guide you to the core of who you really are – and your actions will speak your truth.
I know these are deep questions.
So, let’s get tactical. One of the reasons why I love coaching from the Certified High Performance Coaching™ (CHPC) framework is that we have a solid research foundation, and at the same time, we are practical and tactical. What can you start to do differently, right now?
I am going to lead you through one of the exercises we do in Lesson #2 of CHPC™ titled: “Quick Wins: Clarity.”
Ask yourself: What are the three words that define who I am, when I am at my best, living from my Best Self, living in congruence with my values? I challenge people to think about using verbs, words that are action-oriented, because we want to live these words.
Make your three words aspirational.
So, now, get comfortable, close your eyes and take a few more deep breaths. What are your three words? Be patient – take your time. Your Magic 3 Words will appear!
Sometimes it helps to give people examples of words other people have chosen. I am not suggesting these are your words – these words are simply offered to get your wheels turning and to tap into your deepest intentions and intuition. For example, from my years coaching, here are Magic Words I have heard people own: loving; honesty; risk-taker; mentoring; courageous; nurturer; independent; generous; respectful; open-minded; patient; tenacious; thoughtful; creative; learning; visionary; inspiring; connecting; kind. The list goes on and on. I love all these words – and my clients.
In my experience, no one has yet to come up with the same set of words.
While you are continuing to reflect on your three words, allow me share mine. My Magic 3 Words are: Serving, Coaching, and Sharing my Joy.
When I was full bore into my Wall Street career, did I ever stop to ask myself, Who am I? No. Would these have been my three words back then? Absolutely not! And now, these three words are the intention I set for myself – every day, every hour of every day. These words all touch my purpose and my passion. These are my Magic 3 Words to keep me on task of both "Being" and "Doing" my Best.
People often ask, "Do your Magic 3 Words ever change?" Sure. I have tweaked mine twice in five years. For other people, the changes may be more frequent or less frequent -- it all depends on where you are on your path to self-discovery and deeper levels of awareness.
Alrighty! Now you have your Magic 3 Words for when you are your Best Self. Let’s get practical. I challenge you to do three things:
This is Clarity! When you are clear about who you are when you are at your best, set this intention every day, and remind yourself during the day, the “right” actions arise and flow naturally. You will find yourself... you will be training yourself... to always do your best.
Do you feel the joy and confidence of consistently living from your best self? That is exactly why Clarity is one of the most important habits of high performers.
In closing, I ask you to reflect on your three words. Share these words with your partner, family or friends, at a time and place that feels appropriate. Please ask them to listen to your heart - with their heart. This is not a topic for debate or negotiation. It is about you sharing a very deep and important reflection.
Now, go live your words! You will "Know" you are doing your best. Have an awesome week!
Till next time, stay well.
May you be happy now and always
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