I recently listened to the audio book “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz. The book starts from the concept that that we don’t really see life at all. What we actually see is our filter system, composed of our :
At first glance, the Four Agreements are simple. But on listening to the book I realised there is more to it. These concepts come from the Toltec philosophy or way of life. The Toltec civilisation lived in Southern Mexico around 900 AD.
The book blew me away with the infinite wisdom it imparted. And it also made me think about how this philosophy translates across leadership. And, in particular, what distinguishes a great leader from the average manager.
Do you want to be a great leader? Both at work and in everyday life? Then there are some great lessons to glean from the Four Agreements. Here are my takeaways…
The Four Agreements
Be impeccable with your word.
As a leader, this is a very important trait to have. It means:
- always speaking with integrity
- saying only what you mean
- avoiding speaking against yourself or gossiping about others.
It is about saying what you mean and meaning what you say.
Don’t take anything personally.
This is a great one for leadership, the premise is that nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim anymore.
So as a leader if you don’t take anything personally your filter changes. It’s not about you or your ego. It’s about:
- getting the best out of people
- not judging others
- being humble in the face of other people’s struggles.
Don’t make assumptions.
This one is my favourite as it is so relevant to great leadership. It is about always finding the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want.
Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, conflict and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.
When we communicate, much can get lost in translation. We “mind read” or assume we know the meaning of what people are saying. Great leaders seek the truth. They always clarify with their people about their feelings. This is to ensure there are no misunderstandings or unresolved issues.
Always do your best.
Great leadership is about:
- taking risks
- being fearless
- being willing to be vulnerable and make mistakes.
This final agreement is about the premise that your best is going to change from moment to moment. For example, it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstances, simply doing your best will help you to avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret. It is a great way to always lead by example.
So, if you are wanting some inspiration to guide your leadership aspirations, I highly recommend The Four Agreements.
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