Monday, November 10, 2014

Always Do Your Best

In the last posts we have been highlighting The Four Agreements by don Miguel Ruiz as a guideline for improving both life and business results. The first three agreements reviewed were Be Impeccable with Your Word; Don’t Take Anything Personally; and Don’t Make Assumptions.

The final agreement is Always Do Your Best. Having a commitment to this agreement means not cutting corners or just getting by. It is being intentional about putting in full effort to develop and apply your skills and effort to what you have said you would do. It also implies you need to be your best by maintaining physical, mental and spiritual vitality. The author summarizes it this way. “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.” 

The four practices are at once simple and difficult. Initially they are quite challenging but when learned and fully integrated into your way of being they are powerful and life changing. To review them check our newsletter archive. We appreciate your continuing updates and feedback about your journey on this path from those of you who are following it.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Don’t Make Assumptions

‘She’s just impossible to please’, the young accountant mumbled to himself after he left her office. He had prepared what he thought was a great analysis of the issue she asked him to investigate and yet she was upset because he didn’t do it her way. Meanwhile she sat at her desk wondering if he will ever get it right and if he has any potential to grow and improve. Of course skill and technical matters may be the problem but very often it is a matter of communicating and understanding expectations. It happens in our personal lives as well. “I thought when you said we’d stop in on the way to the lake you meant for a few minutes. I didn’t know we would be with those people all afternoon and most of the evening!”

Assumptions we make are one of the most common obstacles to good communication. We tell ourselves stories about what the other person meant, intended or wants. Then we respond or react to the assumptions as if they are facts. When one or more other people do the same the compound effect can lead to further problems.

Continuing our series highlighting The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz the third Agreement is ‘Don’t make assumptions’. That is done by careful listening, asking good clarifying questions, and not avoiding difficult topics. Also it means being in touch with our own emotions and finding ways to honestly articulate them to ourselves as well as others rather than acting out so the other person knows we’re upset. This one agreement can transform lives and relationships.

On its own not making assumptions would be difficult to do but by adhering to the first two agreements; “Be impeccable with your word’ and ‘Don’t take anything personally’ it can be much more natural. To review those you can check our newsletter archive.

We appreciate your continuing updates and feedback about your journey on this path from those of you who are following it.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Don’t Take Anything Personally

In business and life in general being a self-proclaimed victim is an easy way to explain why things didn’t turn out the way we wanted them to. The economy, weather, government, boss, co-workers, family and other people can seem to have it in for us and are not doing what they ought to do. It may be simpler if others were accountable to us for doing what we need but in reality that is clearly not so.

Continuing our series highlighting The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz the second Agreement is ‘Don’t take anything personally’. It means others are doing what they do, not because of you, but because of their own reality and perceptions of themselves. When you can be completely independent of the good or bad opinions of others you are no longer dependent on them or a victim of them. Consequently you don’t depend on, or suffer from, their actions and words. It’s not personal, it’s just them.

With this and the first Agreement highlighted
last month, “Be impeccable with your word”, relationships and communication start to change along with our personal development. We look forward to hearing more about your journey on this path if you are following it.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Be Impeccable with your Word

Developing a high Do/Say ratio starts with being deliberate and very intentional about what you say. That is why this month we begin a brief overview of the key principles in The Four Agreements by don Miguel Ruiz and the first Agreement: ‘Be Impeccable with your Word’.

Being impeccable with your word is not just suggesting you need flawless grammar, although skill in that area as well as a large vocabulary will certainly help. The guidance is to speak with integrity and say only what you mean. Clich├ęs (‘it’s a win –win’ or ‘let’s talk later’) and filler phrases (‘I’ll have it to you soon’) are often spoken with little thought and consequently do not fully convey an accurate meaning or mutual understanding. Gossip or even speaking about others when they are not present takes you away from integrity. Likewise self-deprecating remarks hurt others, as well as yourself, because they are not accurate and diminish perceptions others have of you.

It is not easy to develop the practice of being impeccable with your word but it will have the biggest influence on improving your Do/Say ratio. Keep letting us know how it works for you.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Four Agreements

Last month we introduced the Do/Say ratio to monitor how well you follow through with doing what you say you will do. If you practiced that concept regularly you likely noticed some significant changes. If you started to practice it but then stopped you don’t yet know the difference it can make for you. Making a lasting change is dependent on making a commitment or agreement with yourself. Achieving that kind of permanent change is self-mastery.

A classic book on self-mastery is The Four Agreements by don Miguel Ruiz. The four practices are at once simple and difficult. Initially they are quite challenging but when learned and fully integrated into your way of being they are powerful and life changing. The Four Agreements are:

1 – Be impeccable with your word.

2 – Don’t take anything personally.

3 – Don’t make assumptions.

4 – Always do your best.

We will explore each of these in more detail in the next four editions of Peak Perspectives. If you have personal experience with learning and living these we welcome your comments and contributions.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Do Say

The CEO was upset, she expected to have a meeting with the VP of Sales to review the mid-month report of sales and current opportunities expected to close before month end but he only had the actual sales to date. He explained that the sales managers have all been traveling and could not complete the forecast portion of the report. Regardless of the excuse, she was upset because he said he would have the report yet he didn’t.

How frequently does a scenario similar to this play out in your organization? “I will have it on your desk first thing in the morning.” “I will be there this afternoon at two.” “I’ll give you my input for the newsletter by the end of the week.”

It happens to all of us at one time or another and we also likely fail to do what we said we would at one time or another. Unfortunately some organizational cultures allow this to become a pattern of urgency and excuses of other priorities that get in the way.

To break that pattern personally or as a team, we find it helpful to think of this as the Do/Say Ratio. If I say I will do two things but only do one my ratio is .50. The lower the ratio the worse I am at doing what I say I will do. The higher the ratio the better I am at managing my commitments as well as my performance.

Before tracking others, we suggest first tracking yourself for a few days or a week. As you monitor your do/say ratio you become more aware of what you are saying and begin to be more deliberate about both the commitments made and the actual doing of it. It can make a big difference personally and professionally. When done throughout a team it can be huge.

Please give it a try and let us know about your experience.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Learning to be Happy

The Merriam Webster dictionary defines happy as “feeling pleasure and enjoyment because of your life, situation, etc.” The implication of that, and common perception, is that we are happy “because” of something. As often happens common knowledge is not correct. Certainly the environment, people and situations around us can make a contribution to our happiness but we control it much more than common knowledge would tell us.

The recent
ICAN Women’s Leadership Conference, with the first ever specific track for men, had Shawn Achor as the keynote speaker. His research has documented both how happiness can be developed and that performance in organizations improves when employees are intentionally practicing happiness techniques – happiness fuels success not the other way around. The recommendation is to pick one of the following strategies and try it for 21 days in a row to create a new habit for lasting change and happiness: 

  • 3 Gratitudes: Write down 3 new things you are grateful for each day.
  • Journaling: For 2 minutes describe a meaningful experience from the past 24 hours.
  • Exercise: Add 15 minutes of fun active cardio.
  • Meditation: For 2 minutes a day, watch your breath go in and out (calms the mind and undoes the negative effects of multitasking).
  • Conscious Acts of Kindness: Send a 2-minute email thanking one person in your social support network. 
Wishing you happiness then success!