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Machen MacDonald: ‘The Four Agreements’ work in business too

There is a popular spiritual book called, “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz.

It reveals the source of self-limiting beliefs that rob us of joy and create needless suffering. In my opinion, these are excellent guiding tenets for how to live a happier and more productive life.

They are simple and yet not always easy. I believe them to be a good practice towards which to strive every day.



I have found that the same agreements work phenomenally well in the world of business as well.

If we don’t make the sale or close the deal, we can slip into thinking they are rejecting us. We start to make up a story that we coulda, woulda, shoulda done better and the result may have turned out in our favor.

Here is a brief recap of the agreements and how you can set your compass of commerce for more success:




Be impeccable with your word

Speak with integrity. Be direct. Say what you mean and mean what you say.

Avoid using words that speak against yourself or gossip about colleagues, competitors or clients.

Use your words with forward focus to speak in the direction of what you want to accomplish, achieve, or bring about. Avoid speaking about what you don’t want or are trying to avoid.

Be explicit in your agreements with others as well as yourself. Not doing so leaves the door open for miscommunication and misunderstanding.

A great deal of time and trust is lost to the unraveling of unintended confusion from not being direct. Time and trust are key factors in the velocity of good business.

There is always an impact to the words we speak — both intended and unintended. Be mindful of using the words that will lead to the desired outcome both in the short game as well as the long game.

Don’t take anything personally

Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality.

When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

In sales, top professionals understand no one can reject them without their own consent. i.e., the only person that can reject us, is us.

If we don’t make the sale or close the deal, we can slip into thinking they are rejecting us. We start to make up a story that we coulda, woulda, shoulda done better and the result may have turned out in our favor.

That may or may not be true. Remember delays are not denials.

Most people’s attacks, misgivings, or passive aggressive gestures are a tragic expression for not knowing how to ask for what they need. Don’t take it personally. Rather, seek to learn what they need.

They may not even be aware of what that is. Help them become aware of their deepest need and help them get those needs met and you have a client for life.

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. You can transform your business as well.

Just about every top consultative sales process drives this point home. Embrace the AWAQ strategy — Answer With Another Question.

Most sales professionals, managers, business owners, and leaders make the mistake of assuming the question they are being asked by their prospect is the question the prospect wants the answer to. Ninety-nine percent of the time it is not.

Peel the onion back to get to the real question the prospect wants the answer to so you can help them get what they truly want.

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.

In business our skill set and will set are moving targets. Hopefully our skills are improving every day and we are managing ourselves in a healthy way emotionally and with regards to effort.

To the degree our performance varies from our ability is our ineffectiveness and disappointment.

When we step into our full potential and close the gap between our capacity and doing what we are capable of, we feel empowered. Empowered people are more productive on all levels.

This week watch your words, own your actions, assume nothing, perform at your full capacity moment by moment and experience your most joyfully productive week.

Make it up, make it fun, and get it done!

#1 bestselling author Machen P. MacDonald, CPCC, CCSC is a certified life and business coach with ProBrilliance Leadership Institute in Grass Valley. He helps business people gain more confidence and clarity to live their ideal life. He can be reached at coach@probrilliance.com and 530-273-8000.


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