After reading The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, I spent some time thinking of how this not only pertained to life, but also to small business.

The premise of the book, based on Toltec wisdom, is that there are four main ideas that will give you inspiration and by following these, you should succeed in all areas of your life and reach your full potential.

The agreements are as follows:

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.

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.

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.

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.

The first agreement, speak with integrity, is one of the most important business lessons that some owners come to realize too late. In any business, your word represents you – not only your honesty, (or lack of), but the way you speak to your customers and those who work for you. When your business is run ethically, without putting down others – and this includes their products and/or services, your customers and other business owners will come to appreciate you more, both as someone to purchase from and also as someone to do business with.

“The foundation stones for a balanced success are honesty, character, integrity, faith, love and loyalty.” Zig Ziglar

Don’t take anything personally. When in business and really, at any time, always remember that what people do or say really has nothing to do with you. It has to do with them. As for criticism of the way you do business, if it is helpful and offered with the right intent, you may want to think about it, but if it’s said to you in anger or envy, try to put it aside and ignore it. Don’t let someone else’s opinion override yours when it comes to your future success.

While others may make assumptions about how you are running your business, effective communication in all aspects of your work helps do your marketing for you. Social media is an excellent example of where asking questions and communicating clearly can benefit your business. It gives you the opportunity to learn more about your customers, get to know their likes and dislikes and discuss any problems that may arise.

Always do your best. How many times over the years have we been told that the outcome of something doesn’t matter, as long as we try and give it our best effort? We all know when we haven’t spent the time or put our best energy into a task, whether work related or otherwise. Doing our best gives us a sense of accomplishment and completion that a lazy effort doesn’t. Our best will always vary but it does help us to feel the rewards of a job well done, day by day.

Our expectations of ourselves and our business direction will also change but by paying attention to the four agreements listed in Don Miguel Ruiz’s book, we can keep ourselves on track. Choosing acceptance of our own decisions, rather than following others and always looking for their approval, can be a reward in itself.


© Chris Draper, DemGen Inc 2013