The Four Agreements

The four agreements:IMG_7543

  1. Be Impeccable with your word
  2. Don’t take anything personally
  3. Don’t make assumptions
  4. Always do your best

This has been a crazy last few months, to say the least. I’ve juggled returning to play with an art show while commissioning tattoo designs… along with keeping up with my reading so I can stay connected with all of my wonderful fans, friends and family. Oh yeah, and we got a puppy. I’m not sure how to describe how I feel right now, but the only word I can think of is awake. I’ve been diving in to Tools for Titans by Tim Ferris, The Mindful Athlete by George Mumford, and one of my faves- The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz.

A few years ago, I remember having a meeting with John Herdman who told me every morning he would tell himself, “I’m going to go for a run.” He would then press the snooze button and feel groggy for the rest of the day. He did this over and over and would feel guilty, but what he was mostly upset about was that the importance of his word to himself had disappeared, and he stopped trusting that if he said he would do something he would follow through.

The relationship with your word, for me anyways, is incredibly important. I admit to being that person in the past who would say “we should get together” without the intention of really doing so, or I would commit to something and then back out and make up some excuse/lie as to why I couldn’t make it. I’ve also been guilty of saying yes to everything in fear of hurting people’s feelings, and in the end, I couldn’t possibly keep up with all my commitments, and I let some people down along the way.

A friend once told me an intentional “no” is way better than a half-ass “yes”, and I try my best now to be better.

The first agreement is “be impeccable with your word”, and to do that consistently is incredibly difficult. Actually, all the agreements are very challenging, and you can only do your best to uphold each agreement.

The introduction to this book is my favourite part, as it talks about the reality we all create for ourselves. Often, what is real and what is not comes down to what we convince ourselves. Don Miguel Ruiz does a great job of explaining how everything we know is learned. It makes you really think about stereotypes, what we consider right and wrong, what is feminine and masculine, what is considered rude or polite, and I could go on forever. Our parents/guardians teach us everything that has been taught to them and so on and so on. Who is to say they are right? I feel really lucky to have the parents I do. They are wonderful, smart, hardworking, but above all, they are kind and loving. However, at some point in our lives, there are influencers who start making us believe it isn’t ok to be exactly who you are. (It could be family members, friends, the people in our lives, media, etc.) I was bullied like crazy in school because I was overweight and had a mushroom cut (not the best combination I admit). I wasn’t skinny, and I was a girl who didn’t have long hair… so I didn’t fit in with the cool kids. What is even more sad is I lost a bunch of weight, started to get fit for soccer, grew my hair out, and boom, I became popular at school – and then being an athlete with long hair became more important than being the real me. I was a tomboy who wanted to rock a mullet, who loved soccer but wanted to spend my spare time drawing and throwing a baseball around with my grandpa in the backyard. I wanted to hang out with my sisters or my neighbor Brandon and pretend we were Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (we were both always Michelangelo).   High School for me wasn’t a highlight, as I didn’t fit in with the super smart kids. I didn’t fit in with the athletes (most of the time they partied and did drugs). The only time I was comfortable was hanging out with the girls on the basketball team, but once training was over I struggled to find my place. The point to my long windedness is that while growing up I felt alone a lot of the time because I didn’t really believe I could just be me, that that was enough. I’m not asking for Kleenex here, but if you read the introduction to this book, your life might make a little more sense, or it won’t haha.

The rest of the agreements are pretty straightforward. What I love about not taking anything personally is that when I was getting bullied, looking at things now, all the bullies I knew and know, have insecurities or have anger or hurt that they just “pay forward” to someone who isn’t strong enough to fight back. The crazy thing is, the bullying has nothing– like actually nothing at all, to do with the person they are bullying, but we are blind to this fact, and we start believing being different is the worst thing, when really it is the best thing, the bravest thing.

Don’t make assumptions is also one of my favourites because I do it all the time, even when I try not to. I can’t count the number of times when I’ve taken what someone has said, thought way too hard about it, and made it mean something about the person and how they live their life. I’ll never forget when “He’s Just Not That Into You” came out, and it was so awesome and true. So many of us are busy in our minds creating these love stories, and our friends go along and support these creations, when in reality, someone you are crushing on just isn’t into you. Try not to take it personally because sometimes the shoe just doesn’t fit. As I get older, I’ve realized, for me anyways, certain people in my life I’m not compatible with. It doesn’t mean they are a bad person or that I am. It doesn’t mean they treated me badly or whatever. It just means we weren’t meant to be. As human beings, we have a tendency to make everything about ourselves, and everyone is doing that, but if we stopped taking things personally and stopped making assumptions about everyone, I think life would be, well, simpler.

The last agreement is gold. Someone once told me, when I was shaking like a leaf before a game, that I had nothing to fear. I said why not? He said, “You have prepared for this moment your whole career. You have trained and given it everything you have every day, so ask yourself, ‘What more can you do?’” I still get nervous before every game, but I use it as a sign that I’m ready. I’m ready because he was right. When you give something all you have, you can let your mind be still, because in that moment you have done all you can. I was talking to the national team sports psych the other day, Alex Hodgins, and I told him I don’t want to be caught up in outcomes anymore because….

the brilliance is in the effort.

2 thoughts on “The Four Agreements

  1. Finally got to read this awesome review/blog.
    I think I am finally understanding how these books can help. I haven’t read much self-help books. Not saying that it’s bad but sometimes questions like: is it okay to read this? What is wrong with me? How am I different? Whats the point, when I am who I am or where I’m from? Are tough to ask yourself and be honest. Parents usually don’t suggest this as learning tool/habit. However a lot of the questions are assumed that we will outgrow them. How?
    Being different from other people is easy to recognize but is hard to say that it’s okay.
    Through your blogs, periscope and with the fan community that participate with you, I have bought and learned from Mindful Athlete, The Subtle Art of not giving a … , and understand how we need a community to develop and grow. Even though we might want to know more about your life with Ella. (Lol) It has brought me focus about areas I need to get uncomfortable and challenge myself. I take this information to work with me and has improved my career quicker than it has on me personally. When it becomes personal it feels 10x harder because how do you effectively work with yourself? Being your own teammate and not opponent.
    So, normally what I don’t do is be a communicator like small talk or chit chat. I am not use to sharing, in this case leaving comments but I have made an honest effort with both your blog and Ella’s. Having made the discovery of Ella and yourself has helped me as an individual, who is trying to understand my voice and where my comfort level is with “talking”. As much as I want to just say “awesome blog keep going”, strange enough it does not feel genuine to me. So a lot of doubt goes to whether leaving a comment makes a difference. Also as much as I am an encourager (positive reinforcement to those around me and not always to myself) i don’t want to be fake especially when other people need your voice and vision to be able get through certain aspects of their life, me as well.
    So, I do feel like I should apologize if my comments are too long.
    Hmm, guess I’ll be getting another book. I find this fascinating but at the same time a lot. Certainly not forced but its like having multiple right answers but not knowing when/how to use them. Work versus family, friend versus peer, or when your trying to put life into perspective.

    Thank you for tirelessly being active, honest with care, and a storyteller.

    Like

    1. Thank you for your well thought out comment. Reading books, articles and blogs or listening to awesome people speak may not give us all the answers we need for our own lives, but they can certainly help by broadening our thinking. Thank you for having the courage to share.

      Like

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