28 Mar 2013

The Fourth Agreement: Always Do Your Best

“You can only be you when you do your best. When you don’t do your best, you are denying yourself the right to be you.”

                ~Don Miguel Ruiz

Practicing the Fourth Agreement, always do your best, cements the first three agreements into a way of life. If you are impeccable with your word, don’t take things personally and don’t make assumptions, your best is soon to follow! And suffering is soon to end.

Doing your best is about taking action, but it doesn’t mean doing things perfectly. The quality of your “best” isn’t the same from day to day or even minute to minute because your circumstances, mood and energy are always changing.

“Best” will be better if you are relaxed and refreshed vs. tired and overwhelmed.

“Best” will be better if you’re feeling happy vs. upset.

Taking action means doing so out of joy and love without worrying about the reward. When you expect a reward, you don’t enjoy the action…which means you’re not doing our best. If you are slogging to work day after day in a soulless job, living for a paycheck and the weekend, chances are you are not doing your best.

Feeling stuck and frustrated does not yield juicy results.

My client, Susan is a nurse by training. Some physical limitations don’t allow her to practice at the bedside any more. So, she’s now in IT. Susan has been moved into different jobs 3 times in the last 18 months. The current one has caused her many tears and much frustration.

When we started working together, she felt hopeless. Since she can’t change the job right now, we decided to focus on the way she’s thinking about it. She’s taken a step back from her need for uber-perfection in herself and is now “that person” in her department.

You know, the rare bird that’s willing to be vulnerable and raise her hand to say she doesn’t understand something or question the reason behind an idea that doesn’t make sense to her.

The pain of her stuckness outweighs the risk of being vulnerable and showing the world who she really is. She is now much closer to doing her best because she is ACTIVELY practicing the first 3 agreements. This change in thinking has made a huge difference in the way she perceives her job and herself.

Always do your best, no more and no less.  There’s no extra credit for knocking yourself out! If you try to do more than your best, a cycle of mojo sucking depletion and perfectionism begins. If you do less, you end up with frustrations, self-judgment, guilt, and regrets.

Make this agreement today: I choose to practice the Four Agreements.

Will it be easy? No.

Will it be worth it? YES!


Dr. Anna Garrett

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