The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz has experienced a lot of fanfare here in Boston. When Tom Brady was asked by WEEI what he did to keep his sanity and make it through Deflategate, Tom’s response was, “I read a pretty cool book nine years ago that is kind of a mantra for my life… I re-read it once a year just to reflect and get perspective, and it’s served me pretty well. You read it and you just go, Goddamn. You know, how can I be more honest, accept things that don’t go as planned? When you try to combat everything, at the end of the day, you realize that you are responsible for yourself”.
I began working at KHJ about seven months ago. As part of my orientation as a member of the KHJ team, Judy Habib gave me the book, The Four Agreements as a gift. “Read this,” she said. “It will serve you well.”
And that it has. What has emerged is an uncomplicated framework of four principles or actually, or what Ruiz calls agreements, that when you begin to consciously integrate them into every aspect of your life become easy habits to maintain.
Simply put, the Four Agreements are:
- Be impeccable with your word
- Don’t take anything personally
- Don’t make assumptions
- Always do your best
The simplicity of the messages these agreements bring forth are my guiding lights as I temper myself in challenging situations and mentor our younger team members.
“I stop myself short. Wait, am I taking this personally? This isn’t about me. This is a professional discussion. Don’t take it personally.”
To a younger team member, “Are you making an assumption here that might not be a truth? Go back and talk to this person and ask directly”, “What did you mean when you said “x”?” Just don’t assume…
“Did I really do my best or is it worth taking one last glance to make sure it is exactly the way I want it to be?”
“That was definitely not the way I meant that to come out of my mouth… I need to go back and talk to “x” and make sure they understand what I meant there”…
These simple little reminders that sit on my shoulder truly do separate the clutter from the ‘real’.
We work in an ‘always on’, ‘you can’t do enough in one-minute’ world. Our written word becomes talking words through text. There is so much left on the table everyday for us to interpret and things get lost in translation unlike ever before. What you could do in an hour a couple of years ago can now be squeezed in to a minute with technology.
We move fast, we work fast, we eat fast… and what’s next could be sleeping fast. Having something as valuable as four little agreements to live and work by can be the golden ticket to assure we are being true and accountable to ourselves.
If you haven’t yet read The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz, today may just be the day you decide to take it on. It’s a small book packed with straightforward thoughts. Hopefully you won’t need it to fall back on during a media crazed like the Deflategate situation Tom Brady faced, but if you do find yourself deep in a crazy situation or basic interaction that has become complex, it may just serve up to be just what you need.
Cindy Hale is the Chief Marketing Officer at KHJ. Want to meet and talk about your brand strategy and activation program? Give us a call at 617-241-8000 or send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.