So the clock struck, a page turned, and time beckoned you to welcome the coming of a new year. Happy 2017. I wonder just what that sounded like for you. Did you hear the familiar, pleasant “ding” that announces you’ve reached your destination while the Otis doors open? Or was the sound more a visceral humm, like Tibetan bowls, a heavy, mysterious message to be more intentional?
Or were your ears shattered with the screams of an unwelcomed clock alarm (bellowing…oh, something like Aerosmith’s “Back in the Saddle”) … scaring the begeezus out of you? “For the love of God, how can it be time to get up and going already?!”
Whichever way 2017 entered your ears, the rest of your body and mind understood that it was just another day unfolding. And yet, your soul knew that that new day was a gift, just like the day before and after. A blessing that promised you countless more suns and moons. To live out loud and outside the lines. On purpose and on fire. With hope and with possibility.
But with that promise, it… time… God… the world… asked you for a response. To act in kind with a heart of gratefulness and a mind committed to work to be a smidge better than yesterday …and eventually become the most evolved version of yourself.
Each day you get to frolic on this massive green and blue sphere you’re asked to follow a code. Because a man who seeks to leave a positive impact and legacy for those who follow him must first live in way that churns a wake of authenticity, love, courage, forgiveness, humility and integrity. And this my friends, takes discipline; dedication to a promise you make to no one else but yourself.
So, if you’re not leading a life with unwavering commitment to noble principles –let alone haven’t even created a plumb line of reference…well, it’s damn high time you did. And, frankly, this is what separates the boys from the men…punk-ass guys from the real gentlemen. Which brings me to the most practical, universal, truth-filled and bulletproof canon of guiding wisdom I have ever discovered, outside of the Bible.
The Four Agreements, defined in a book by Toltec Master Don Miguel Ruiz, fell into my lap 17 years ago. To this day it is THE one book that I have consistently and solely recommended to friend, client, family member and stranger alike – the tenets are without flaw. Without imposition, fanfare or guru egotism it serves as a foundation to being a human being and evolving into a man who truly knows himself and understands that his thoughts, words and actions impact society. The Four Agreements is a code offering a compass when the manifestation of your fears and hopes, assumptions and expectations, memories and imaginings yank you off track and cause you to react without thought of consequence.
So without further ado:
- Be Impeccable with Your Word
They say there was a time when a man’s word was his handshake- an invaluable virtual, vocal signature and promise to deliver. It also expressed honor to a fellow man. No doubt, you have been sucker-punched by another’s backtracking and bullshit- so you know that trouble deceitful actions cause. Well, I say it’s never not your time to hang your reputation on your word; but moreso, impeccability reflects how you feel about yourself and your choice to NOT go against what you deem truly right, to NOT express blame, criticism or gossiping, and your willingness to accept responsibility for what unfolds. Say what you mean, mean what you. When you lead with truth and transparency the universe echoes an equal response.
- Don’t Take Anything Personally
To quote author and minister Dr. Ervin Seale, “There is one recurring, persistent, perennial, and dogging personal problem which, more than any other, steals the force and peace of people and ruins projects and enterprises and careers. It is the habit of feeling hurt because of what others do or do not do and what they say or do not say.”
I know, gents, you act like negative opinions don’t penetrate your armor, while positive feedback is essential fuel for your ego. Well, the truth that permeates all ages is that virtually nothing other people do or say is because of you; it all stems from the state of their moods, perspectives, feelings, fears, hopes, assumptions, expectations, memories and imaginings- and that all changes moment to moment. Think of your own shifting opinions! So, if you’re ready to shit-can your knee-jerk reactions of anger, disappointment, jealousy, self-doubt and sadness, accept the crappy reality that folks are by default inconsistent, unsettled and divided in their opinions. The truth becomes a helluvalot easier to sift out as do your truly accurate feelings and responses.
- Don’t Make Assumptions
Hindsight will always deliver a painful face-jam of truth when your inaccurate expectations infiltrate your relationships- both personal and professional. Leading with a tainted agenda is like pouring spoiled cream into a long-awaited cup of coffee. Each interaction you face is a faceless deck of cards with positive potential. Allow the future to unfold organically, ask questions and your responses will net less drama and heartburn and more promise.
- Always Do Your Best
I’m always amazed to see a grown man barely investing in his health, family, personal growth, community or church… but he’ll take painstaking steps to reach a title or financial goal, create the perfect tailgating party, or drive a killer car that never has a spot of dirt on it. If you’re willing to admit to this- and you think folks don’t see the slacker side, I’ve got news for you. People will soon forget the big deals you close, that over-the-top event, your fancy toys and spotless house… but they’d certainly dog-ear, learn from and talk about your positive attitude, tireless work ethic, commitment to wellbeing, unwavering love for your spouse and friends, and inspiring pledge to serve.
Frankly, this last agreement is the fuel to all the others. When you choose to lead with your very best in all you do and say- know that it ignites a self-feeding cycle of enthusiasm and gratification for the authenticity, love, courage, forgiveness, humility and integrity that both you and the rest of your world get to experience.
Ultimately, life is about relationships; everything you do and say impacts people’s minds and hearts. , because of the life you exude. And so, it starts with the promises you make to yourself, the code you follow.
Never Stop EVOLVING. – KD
©2017 Kimberlie Dykeman. Sponsored by Kimberlie Dykeman Enterprises Performance Coaching, Retreats & Wingman Support for businessmen, athletes & startups.