One of our favorite books is The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. Whether we’re sitting at our conference table in the office or dipping French fries in bbq sauce at the bar down the street, it gets mentioned almost on a weekly basis.
This self-help/spirituality book explains a basic code of conduct that can transform your life into a new experience of freedom, true happiness, and love. Sounds easy to implement, but it is often difficult for people to adapt and apply. Now imagine using The Four Agreements to the way you conduct business.
Let’s take a look at what they are and share some ways on how we can apply this to the way we all conduct business here in the beauty industry, not just with each other, but also within ourselves.
Agreement #1: Be impeccable with your word: Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.
Kerri’s Two Cents: In business, I think it’s important to be more being transparent.
· No more “smoke and mirrors” and telling people what they want to hear.
· If you’re not interested in conducting business with someone or need to put an idea/project on hold, say it. Don’t string people along.
· Know the difference between expressing your dislike with another person/company and gossiping and it being a personal attack.
Justine Adds: Authenticity and integrity are integral to running a business that will be successful in the long term. It’s the age-old premise of “like attracts like.” Truly loyal customers, employees, and partners will be attracted to your values, and those with any savvy can smell a fake a mile away. This is why I believe that it is always in your best business interests to speak, plan, and produce from a genuine place.
There is a lovely article on Entrepreneur’s site that speaks exactly to this topic, specifically how integrity relates to success.
Agreement #2: Don’t take anything personally. 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 of needless suffering.
Justine Suggests: This is the agreement that I struggle with the most because I think it is very easy to misconstrue and can be detrimental if applied incorrectly. It is easy to use this line of thinking as a scapegoat. “Well, it’s not my fault you feel dissatisfied, you had a bad day and are projecting it onto me/my employee/my product!”
I think when it comes to business, this agreement should be used as a sort of yardstick. At the end of the day, it is the client that really matters, and we should take their satisfaction very personally. Once we rule out that we haven’t done something to impact the situation personally (i.e., produce a sub-par product or give less than stellar service), then we can move on to “it’s not me, it’s you,”
Kerri’s Goals: Not going to lie, but this is a hard one for me to remember, and if you can relate, maybe consider:
· Respect people’s opinions, but stop taking them to heart when they involve you.
· Know this difference between constructive criticism and a personal attack.
· Remember that you’re free to act in accordance with your own value.
Agreement #3: Don’t make assumptions. Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness, and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.
Kerri’s Says: This one hits a bit close to home. I’m overly cautious and an over-thinker on what the potential outcome is going to be in any situation. Maybe it’s because I’m a Libra…
Justine’s Perspective: I love this one 🙂 Probably because I am a recovering assumer.
Hi. My name is Justine, and it has been 48 hours since my last assumption.
One of the downsides of being a creative thinker is that sometimes we think (creatively) that we can see every side of a situation. Therefore, we must be able to use our inventive superpowers to project the correct solution.
It only takes a few times of really missing the mark to realize that businesses are much better served by simply asking questions. Asking a client what their goals and budget are is a much better way to ensure that whatever you offer is a good fit, rather than assuming you know what’s best.
Agreement #4: Always do your best. Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.
Kerri Reflects: Yesterday was my father’s birthday, and if he were still alive he would have turned 77 years-old. He was a sage man with a wicked sense of humor. He also had a way with making his daughters keep a positive outlook on life. As a kid, and well into my early 30’s, he would often say, “Don’t do your best for me, do it for you, and feel good about it.”
It brings a tear to my eye because I haven’t thought about that in a while, and it’s something that I will now make my daily mantra.
Justine’s Recommendation: This is another double-edged sword agreement in my mind because you have to apply Agreement #1 to Agreement #4 to achieve maximum results. Stand back, look at your work, or review your meeting notes and ask yourself:
Did I do my BEST?
If you can answer that question authentically, you’ve won half the battle.
Kerri’s Final Thought: By listening to various podcasts, reading inspiring books like The Four Agreements, and through conducting amazing interviews with people who strive for success, I’ve been able to develop a more positive outlook on life. I’m now working on applying these ideas, best practices, and routines to my business life.
Justine’s Final Thought: It’s funny that this was the topic for this week’s newsletter since a few days ago I stumbled across an article in Inc. magazine that focuses on Thrive Market, a company that embodies these ideals and is on the brink of groundbreaking success.
At the end of the day, running a business (or even working at one) is not so different from navigating everyday life. By having a strong set of values and a clear vision, you are setting yourself up for long-term success.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on these agreements! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.