What Agreements are YOU Making?

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don‟t make assumptions. you might remember the time we spent on „The Five Agreements‟ by Don Miguel Ruiz. And so to support you as you grow forward I have compiled each „Turning Point‟ article on each of these powerful agreements into one place. Looking forward to growing forward with you! Peace. don‟t take things personally and always do your best? Then I had the opportunity to read „The Fifth Agreement‟ written by Don Miguel Ruiz and his son Don Jose Ruiz. 5318 East Second Street #413 | Long Beach CA 90803 | Phone (866) 639-0487 | Fax (562) 439-0854 | info@MargaretMeloni.com | Page 2 of 16 . Now we have even more great advice to help us as we decide who and how we want to be.What Agreements are YOU Making? If you were reading „Turning Point‟ in 2009. Perhaps you remember. be impeccable with your word.

a group who bring humanity to the office and thrive because of it. Margaret Meloni is truly „A Path to Peace‟. Inc.com | Page 3 of 16 . respect and compassion. programs. For these people. and products at MargaretMeloni. Margaret‟s students and clients often find that what she really brings them is freedom to bring their authentic selves to the office. Margaret Meloni observed how individuals who learned to cope with conflict succeeded and recognized their full potential. The common thread across her client base is the desire to experience peace at work and the recognition that peace is not absence of conflict. while others became road blocked. As a former Information Technology Executive. Motivated by her beliefs and the desire to make a difference in the lives of others. Margaret sees a world where achieving peace and achieving success go hand-in-hand. peace is the ability to cope with conflict. Now Margaret brings those beliefs to individuals from many professional backgrounds. Margaret always knew her preference was for the people behind the technology. a group of people who help and support others. Her vision is to create a group of successful individuals who are at peace with their authentic selves.Com 5318 East Second Street #413 | Long Beach CA 90803 | Phone (866) 639-0487 | Fax (562) 439-0854 | info@MargaretMeloni. Margaret developed a passionate belief that it takes courage and skill to be human at work and that all individuals have a responsibility to treat each other with dignity. ™ You can learn more about Margaret and her courses. Margaret acted on her vision by founding Meloni Coaching Solutions.About Margaret Meloni In her more than 18 years in Corporate America which included roles in Fortune 500 management.

................................ 10 You are Doing Your Best ...........................................................................................................................................................What Agreements are YOU Making? What is an Agreement? ...................................................com | Page 4 of 16 ....................................................................................................... 14 Be Skeptical but Learn to Listen ................................. 12 Be Skeptical ........................... 5 Be Impeccable with Your Word ..................................................................................................................... 9 Don't Assume a Thing.................... 16 5318 East Second Street #413 | Long Beach CA 90803 | Phone (866) 639-0487 | Fax (562) 439-0854 | info@MargaretMeloni............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................ 7 It's Not Personal .......................

TREATY3 a: a contract duly executed and legally binding b: the language or instrument embodying such a contract. In a sense you have made a treaty with yourself to be that family trouble maker. Now maybe this is not legally binding.What is an Agreement? According to www. The beliefs that you accept become part of your character. Accepting the belief that you should not play in traffic and making an agreement with yourself not to play in traffic is part of why you are alive and reading this article right now! But accepting the belief that you will never be as smart as your older sister or that you are the family trouble maker does not serve you well at all. teachers and other adults. let's pick out some words from the above definitions and focus on those words: Character Compact or Treaty Legally binding You have agreements that you have made with yourself. a few of you rebelled against what you were taught. You accept or agree that this is who you are and this is how you must behave. For our purposes. then you will make causing trouble part of who you are. Guess what? It does not have to be like this. And isn't that a relief. They are rattling around in your head using your energy and taking up your brain space. but it is emotionally binding and to your mind this is almost the same thing. What Don Miguel Ruiz suggests to all of us in his book 'The Four Agreements' is that we let go 5318 East Second Street #413 | Long Beach CA 90803 | Phone (866) 639-0487 | Fax (562) 439-0854 | info@MargaretMeloni.com an agreement is: 1 a: the act or fact of agreeing b: harmony of opinion. because you might have a lot of old agreements that no longer make sense. This is not all bad. action.com | Page 5 of 16 . or character : CONCORD2 a: an arrangement as to a course of action b: COMPACT. These agreements come from the beliefs that you have adopted throughout the course of your life. As children. If you agree or accept the belief that you are the family trouble maker. but most of you accepted the information you received from parents. You do not have to walk through life upholding all of the agreements that you adopted.merriam-webster.

it captures the essence of what I am trying to say.of those old useless agreements and adopt four new agreements.com | Page 6 of 16 . The four agreements are: Be impeccable with your word Don't take anything personally Don't make assumptions Always do your best If you accept these new agreements and make them your own. Yes it takes a strong will to do this. 'Help me to be the person my dog thinks I am. but these are agreements that if kept will make your life easier. 5318 East Second Street #413 | Long Beach CA 90803 | Phone (866) 639-0487 | Fax (562) 439-0854 | info@MargaretMeloni. There is an expression that is popular among dog lovers. you will find it so much easier to be true to yourself and to treat yourself and others with compassion.' Of course the assumption is that your dog sees only the best in you.

You see this also means when you mean no. Your word defines you. In his book 'The Four Agreements'. you say I don't know. the one who always says." That means that you all know that Victor is good as (or better than) his word. And it is your responsibility to use your words carefully and to consider the words you choose to accept and believe from others. It means when you do not know. it has strength it has power. And for many reasons many of you feel compelled to say what you perceive are the right things to say or what you think someone else wants to hear as opposed to saying what you really mean. it all comes back to you. And when you think about what you really own and what you really control in life. if he tells you he will take care of that issue. When someone says. Victor his word is good. Don Miguel Ruiz suggests to us that the first of the four agreements he shares with us is also the most important agreement. You see words are a very powerful tool. you own your behaviors and your words express your thoughts. And the above childhood chant. Your words versus your actions indicate your character. Think about that person you know. That agreement is be impeccable with your word. For some of you it is not.Be Impeccable with Your Word "Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me. well sometimes it may have helped you but most of the time it probably really did not take the sting out of the verbal bullying you might have endured. "Oh yes.com | Page 7 of 16 . you can consider it resolved. You don't say maybe or sure or I will see what I can do." Do any of you remember that charming little childhood chant? It was meant to ward off the cruel verbal taunts we received from other children. For some of you this is easy and straightforward. Sometimes kids can be very harsh with their teasing." But right away you discount what they say because you know they always say they will show up and they never actually do show up. Sometimes adults can be very harsh with their words too. Your word has force. "Oh sure I will see you at the barbecue this weekend. you say no. Saying what you mean or say what you are going to do and do what you say is NOT an excuse to say deliberately hurtful 5318 East Second Street #413 | Long Beach CA 90803 | Phone (866) 639-0487 | Fax (562) 439-0854 | info@MargaretMeloni. The words of other people can have power over you as well. You own your thoughts. The agreement to be impeccable with your word can be approached from three separate yet equally important parameters: Say what you are going to do and do what you say. Expressing our thoughts as words is one of the strongest powers we possess as human beings. In fact what you say compared to what you actually do is one of the ways in which people form an opinion about the real you.

com | Page 8 of 16 . You cannot control what others are going to say. you are NOT being impeccable with your word. To be impeccable with your word means that you do not accept the poison that comes from others when they use their words improperly. to lash out in anger or to seek revenge. Don Miguel Ruiz discusses gossip. then you are making an agreement with yourself that you are not smart enough or good looking or fill in the blank and YOU are NOT being impeccable with your word. Do you see the power of your word? Your word possesses the ability to support yourself and others or to tear each other down. The power of your word includes the power of how you use your words either for yourself or against yourself. Do not use your words to hurt others. Because your words do carry power. Read on to see the second aspect of being impeccable with your word to see why this is true. you need to be mindful of what you say to others and about others. When you spread rumors and gossip about others for the sake of entertainment or because you think it makes you look important you are NOT being impeccable with your word. When you agree to speak (or write) the words that really represent you and to avoid using words to harm others and to reject the harmful words of others. Gossip is a powerful and truly unjust use of words. Guess what? If you decide to accept their negative words. Do not make agreements based on the false or negative words of others.things to others. You have a responsibility to accept yourself and honor yourself and use your own internal words for good. In 'The Four Agreements'. you can control how you receive their words and what you do with those words once they reach your ears. When others use the power of their words to tell you that you are not smart enough or not good enough or that you can't sing or you are not good looking they are not being impeccable with their words. you are being impeccable with your word. 5318 East Second Street #413 | Long Beach CA 90803 | Phone (866) 639-0487 | Fax (562) 439-0854 | info@MargaretMeloni. When you say something nasty to someone because you are in a bad mood or because you decided that they needed to be taken down a peg. When you lash out in anger and say something to deliberately hurt someone else you are NOT being impeccable with your word.

" replied Mary Carol. Doesn't that sound wonderful? 5318 East Second Street #413 | Long Beach CA 90803 | Phone (866) 639-0487 | Fax (562) 439-0854 | info@MargaretMeloni. "Well technically. everything someone says or does is not about me. "Wow how did you do that? How did you just brush it off. it is only because I am being human and focusing on me. I mean Jim just got in your face and told you that he hates working with you. To keep this agreement is to bring yourself tremendous freedom. Mary Carol shared her beliefs about taking things personally: "What other people say and do. But your self worth and your self definition need to come from within you." Mary Carol looked at Sally and said. So if someone tells me I am fabulous. is really a reflection of them. "Well I am really not taking it personally." Sally was flabbergasted. it is because there is something about me that coincides with something that they see as good.It's Not Personal Sally looked at Mary Carol and said. If I make it about me. What Mary Carol was sharing with Sally is the second agreement. And you are just as calm and collected as ever. But really it is only about me if I decide to take it on and take ownership for Jim's decisions. Freedom from anger and jealousy and fear. We like to be the star of our own movies for lack of a better expression. When you agree not to take anything personally. This agreement builds on the first agreement which is be impeccable with your word.com | Page 9 of 16 . Part of being impeccable with your word is to avoid making agreements based upon the words of others. "I read it in 'The Four Agreements' By Don Miguel Ruiz. but it is still not really about me." "So if someone says or does something to you that can be construed as negative. Of course this is a huge compliment. It also means that you don't need to wait for their words of encouragement to build yourself up. The decisions people make about their own behavior is really about themselves. We all tend to take things personally because we think that everything is about us. you agree that you don't need to accept the emotional garbage that other people may try to fling your way. not from others. "How can you NOT take that personally?" she asked. "How did you come up with this?" asked Sally. you also don't use your time and energy going on the defensive or making a big deal out of nothing. Of course it is nice to hear that someone has a high opinion of you. I am not doing that. You decide who and what you are. The freedom to trust yourself and to stop taking responsibility for the words and actions of others. When you don't accept the garbage that others toss your way." stated Mary Carol. you simply let it be about THEM and not about YOU?" Sally asked. don't take anything personally. You can simply be at peace knowing that others must deal with their own beliefs or agreements.

I spent a great deal of time thinking about it. Look at all the needless trauma I caused myself by making this assumption. I had no idea what I was doing to upset him. This must be why the third agreement in 'The Four Agreements' by Don Miguel Ruiz is don't make assumptions. violating another agreement . He was friendly enough when he entered the class room and when he left for the evening. well maybe I did not have any business teaching at all. I made these assumptions about why this student was scowling and then I made those assumptions into the truth. I can't say that I radically changed how I delivered the course. 5318 East Second Street #413 | Long Beach CA 90803 | Phone (866) 639-0487 | Fax (562) 439-0854 | info@MargaretMeloni.com | Page 10 of 16 . I just ASSUMED because this man was sitting in front of me scowling that it was my problem. It definitely chipped away at my confidence. I had a student who was always scowling at me. Sure he was scowling and he was annoyed. it must have been something I was doing wrong as a teacher. But invariably at some point during our class discussions he would scrunch up his face and start scowling at me. Boy the crazy squirrels in my head were really having a field day. Because it was my problem. Silly me. He shared with me that every time we discussed a new project management best practice. It would have been really hard to miss that scowl.don't take things personally. Because I was a new teacher it must have been that I was not good enough yet and I did not know what I was doing. he became annoyed because none of the project managers he worked with were following the best practices. Then one day he told me why he was scowling during class. If this was true. My truth was not the truth at all! I made it worse by thinking it was personal. but NOT AT ME. I can't say that I changed the content of the course I was teaching because of his scowls.Don't Assume a Thing In one of the first classes I taught. But I can tell you that I frequently worried about what it was I was doing to upset this man. He sat in the front row and it was a small class in a small room.

We make assumptions about the driver of the car in front of us.com | Page 11 of 16 . Instead of assuming that your partner is in a bad mood so you better just leave them alone.Don't make assumptions. By doing this we cause ourselves all kinds of unnecessary trauma and drama. you could ask them. We can work on this by finding our voice. Most of us make assumptions every day. you could just tell them. about the people we live with and about the people we work with. Instead of assuming your partner knows what you want. I could have found my voice and asked my student if he was in fact upset and what about class was upsetting him. Instead of assuming what your co-workers are thinking. It sounds simple. but it is not. 5318 East Second Street #413 | Long Beach CA 90803 | Phone (866) 639-0487 | Fax (562) 439-0854 | info@MargaretMeloni. Assumptions are an illness and communication is the cure. you could ask them.

On any given day you can only do your best and your best is different from day to day. Sometimes your all produces different results. You truly cared about the outcome. good sleep. good nourishment. Your best looks like this: You jumped into a task enthusiastically with every intention of doing a great job. Their best might be different each time they work out or compete. stars . The same is true for you. I did my best" is not meant to be used as an excuse. Your best does not look like this: You worked on something with a feeling of dread. they are doing their best. if you know you really did your best.) To be able to do your best you must support yourself in the best possible way.why can't they demonstrate peak performance every time? Aren't they giving it their all each time? Well. There is nothing wrong. You are doing your best. But saying. you know when you did not. Your best varies and is dependent on many criteria including: Your physical condition Your mental condition Your environment (Hint: This is why in past articles we have discussed the importance of your physical condition. At the end of the day. "Well hey.You are Doing Your Best If you follow sports you have noticed that top athletes do not always perform consistently. YOU know when you did your best. You lost yourself in whatever you were doing. A world class runner may break a world record in one competition and then not even place in the same event one week later. A champion weight lifter might break a record and then be unable to lift that same weight for several workouts. good surroundings and a positive mental outlook. your mental condition and your environment.com | Page 12 of 16 . champions. you shouldn't worry. At any given time you can only do your best. You go into work and you give it your all. These are professionals. Your best is different every day. 5318 East Second Street #413 | Long Beach CA 90803 | Phone (866) 639-0487 | Fax (562) 439-0854 | info@MargaretMeloni.

Tomorrow you will do your best again.every week! You did something for someone out of a sense of obligation and not out of a sense of giving. by Don Miguel Ruiz. Put all thoughts of failure and judgment aside. Luckily you have the agreement. What if your boss is crabby during a meeting and for some reason today you decide that crabbiness is all about you? Well. You are going to have an off day. You did your best. What other agreements? The agreements from 'The Four Agreements'. That's all anyone can ask of you and that's all you should ask of yourself. Not many of us can just wake up one morning and do a perfect job being impeccable with our words. not taking things personally and not making assumptions. if today you are doing your best and you still take it personally. Today you did your best.You spend your work week wishing for the weekend . guess what? Let it go. So relax and move on. 5318 East Second Street #413 | Long Beach CA 90803 | Phone (866) 639-0487 | Fax (562) 439-0854 | info@MargaretMeloni.com | Page 13 of 16 . always do your best to help you. Truly doing your best allows you to make the other agreements part of your life. When you know you really did your best you can just skip the part of your day when you beat yourself up because you are not perfect.

Right now let‟s focus on how being skeptical can help you. These are agreements and based on them you make decisions. it comes from „The Fifth Agreement’ by Don Miguel Ruiz and his son Don Jose Ruiz. The truth about yourself. Let‟s take a look at one possible story. So there it is you have agreed that you are inflexible. And in using be skeptical but learn to listen. if you have tested those stories. You believe that you cannot write or that you cannot handle stress. That is what you are looking for. you are looking for the truth. Maybe not.com | Page 14 of 16 . Guess what? You need to doubt your own words and thoughts too. At work and at home you have been told many stories.Be Skeptical Be skeptical but learn to listen. Whether you acknowledge it or not you use agreements in each aspect of your life – personal and professional. This seems like an interesting agreement to use in navigating today‟s world. the truth. Now when you work with a team member to meet a deadline you might even find yourself saying something like. you expect your team to meet the agreed upon schedule. You have been told that because you like to make plans in advance and you like to be prepared that you are inflexible. You know what the product or process you are reviewing is supposed to do and a good test will reveal the truth.” Have you tested this agreement? Have you applied healthy skepticism to it? This means you need to doubt the words of others. If you have ever been involved in any kind of testing or auditing you know the value of healthy skepticism. You believe that you are inflexible. “I hate to be inflexible. In the course of your work. Why is that you have allowed yourself to believe you are inflexible? Have you really thought about whom you are and how you behave? Is it true that when things change you absolutely refuse to change too? Is it true that you make everyone do things your way? Maybe. but we committed to having this to our customer by Friday and I need you to honor that commitment. There is nothing wrong with that. I can‟t take credit for this idea. And sure. By agreement I mean a treaty or contract that you have made with yourself. did you ever have to update the schedule because of resource constraints or to meet a customer‟s required due date? In the course of your work did you ever have to negotiate with a team member as to when they would work on your project vs. Maybe you even buy into this because you are a project manager and many associate project management with rigid methodology. the other work piled up on their desks? Have you had to change the budget because funding requirements changed? Have you ever had your assignment change mid project? You had another project added to your portfolio to manage or you and another project manager changed places? 5318 East Second Street #413 | Long Beach CA 90803 | Phone (866) 639-0487 | Fax (562) 439-0854 | info@MargaretMeloni. Some of these stories are the truth and some of these stories are not. Some you have accepted and some you have rejected.

com | Page 15 of 16 .You are inflexible – really? The actions you took in the paragraph above do not seem to describe someone who is inflexible. If the person or persons who labeled you inflexible where authoritative or in some way credible. But if you are not inflexible you are not telling the truth to yourself or others and you are not allowing yourself to live truthfully. Be honest. Because you have listened to and accepted a lie without applying skepticism you are blocking yourself from your real potential. This is why the entire description of the agreement is be skeptical but learn to listen. 5318 East Second Street #413 | Long Beach CA 90803 | Phone (866) 639-0487 | Fax (562) 439-0854 | info@MargaretMeloni. you just accepted. And in part two of this discussion we will cover learning to listen. Why did you accept being told “You are inflexible”? Why didn‟t you test that with some healthy skepticism? Sometimes accepting is easier than testing. is being perceived as inflexible making your job easier? If the people around you are afraid to suggest changes then in theory you have at least one less thing to deal with.

It may not be real to you and it may not describe the real you. That is why be skeptical but learn to listen is the fifth agreement shared with us by Don Miguel Ruiz and Don Jose Ruiz in their book aptly named. Or you could pay attention. Some you have accepted and some you have rejected. Listen without judgment. It works like this. that story is real to them. are you inflexible? What is their story? Is it the story of a team member who wants you to change a deadline because they are running late? Is it the story of someone who has been told that they are inflexible and for some reason they think you are alike? Maybe it is the story of someone who truly cares about you and thinks they see inflexibility in you and they are concerned. Sometimes all you need to do is listen and let it go. Even the labels you assign to yourself are not necessarily true. does not make that label the truth. listen to them without judging and then decide. You have a team member who tells you that you are inflexible. family and co-workers that you think they are liars. being skeptical. You could believe them and assume the label of inflexible. The other part is using doubt and listening together. That means. What story is really being told? Everyone has a story. if you have tested those stories. then how are you supposed to know the truth behind all of the words? Well part of the how is using doubt. Just because somebody says something to you or about you does not make it true. There is nothing wrong with that. you don‟t have to build a story at all.com | Page 16 of 16 . Only you can listen carefully to every message you receive and use skepticism to decide if what you hear is really the truth. first listen to what people are saying to you. Just because someone assigns you a label. it does not mean tell your friends. Let‟s look at an example. „troublemaker‟. Then use doubt to go beyond the words. just listen and work to objectively understand that each person is simply telling you their part of a story. don‟t take the words at face value. ‘The Fifth Agreement’.Be Skeptical but Learn to Listen At work and at home you have been told many stories. truthfully you don‟t have to do anything at all. You don‟t have to build a story based on something that seems false. „the successful one‟. Great. Some of these stories are the truth and some of these stories are not. 5318 East Second Street #413 | Long Beach CA 90803 | Phone (866) 639-0487 | Fax (562) 439-0854 | info@MargaretMeloni. You decide what to do with the story. Listen carefully to what is being said and how it is being said. You could use skepticism and doubt them and decide that they are wrong and that you are not inflexible. „good girl‟.

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