**Italicized words are from the book, The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz.
The first of the four agreements is BE IMPECCABLE WITH YOUR WORD.
Ruiz uses the word magic to express what you create when you use the WORD impeccably: black magic is its opposite. When we listen and internalize others’ WORDS so that we believe them, we are giving them their power to perform either white or black magic. Unfortunately, many of us carry around negative messages that we once heard and now tell ourselves, like not being good enough in one way or another. As children we heard opinions about ourselves from family and friends. “He’s not very good at soccer. She tries to be funny, but she’s not. Why is he so fat?” People spend a lot of time and money with therapists trying to undo the damage of WORDS that are said often unconsciously by loved ones, or cruelly by someone trying to hurt you.
Sometimes in career coaching, I help the client untangle his/her true purpose in life from their parents’ view. The inner vision of some have been so compromised that they need to look deeply to figure out what gives meaning to their actions. Where is the joy…..that sense of connectedness that we all long for? Think of experiences you’ve had when you were so involved that you didn’t notice time pass. You were engaged in a way that took up your whole consciousness. It’s a way of losing yourself, so you can be available to other ways of knowing and creating. I believe that artists live more in this space than most people, but each of us can find that sense in the things we truly love to do.
The word is a force; it is the power you have to express and communicate, to think, and thereby to create the events in your life. Don’t give that power away. The way you talk about events to yourself and to others is powerful. Do you invest them with fear and negativity, or are you able to see a situation from another perspective? The Course in Miracles, another amazing book, talks about miracles as being a change in perception. And miracles can be big or small, monumental or everyday occurrences. What if you were plagued with fear about cold calling for an informational interview, and suddenly you had a different way of looking at it? Maybe you were able to look at it from the interviewee’s perspective and realized that generally people love to talk about themselves, especially if they enjoy what they do. Bingo—the fear is gone, you’ve sent an email and you’re carried forward on the positive momentum.
Ruiz writes a sin is anything you do which goes against yourself. When you are impeccable, you take responsibility for your actions, but you do not blame or judge yourself. You do not use the word against yourself. You use your energy in the direction of truth and love for yourself.
When we use the word against others we are gossiping. Gossip is black magic at its very worst because it is purely poison. We need to cultivate the idea of impeccability both to our inner selves and then to everyone we encounter. Many employees know what toxic work places can feel like. Everyone is on their guard, waiting to be pushed under the bus, or worse, let go from their job. And it is all through the word. If you are angry, take a walk, or take some deep breaths. Write the nasty email, but don’t put any name in the address part and then delete it. Use the word when you can do it consciously. Gossip can destroy friendships and make wonderful jobs into living hells.
When coaching clients for interviews, we role-play putting a positive spin on everything. And there is never room to gossip about past employers or places of employment. We have to go into the interview single-minded, positive, and impeccable. Not with the chaos of a thousand different voices all trying to talk at once in the mind which the Toltecs called mitote.
The first agreement is the most important one and also the most difficult one to honor. I wish us all well in our endeavors to be impeccable with our words.
Karen Samuelson, Career Coach www.vocationdestination.biz 781.777.2234