This past weekend, I was reminded of the discomfort and importance of shifting from theory to practice…by my son.
Let me take you back to Sunday morning to give some context…
The fam and I were enjoying our first relaxed morning together since moving house, and the 3 of us were chilling on the daybed eating breakfast and chatting about a whole range of topics.
At one point, my son got upset about something and I lovingly told him not to take it personally.
In that moment, I remembered that “don’t take things personally” is actually one of The 4 Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz.
(Side note: I’m loving seeing how my increased reading habit allows me to more quickly recall useful resources and tools in specific situations.)
Knowing how simple, yet powerful The 4 Agreements are, I decided to use that moment of support as a segue into teaching him the rest of the agreements.
In case you’ve never read the book or heard of the 4 agreements yourself, here’s a quick reminder:
- Be impeccable with your word.
- Don’t take things personally.
- Never make assumptions.
- Always do your best.
It’s no wonder the book’s subtitle is “a practical guide to personal freedom”.
Anyway, fast forward to later in the day, and I knew I had an interview coming up as a guest on the Millennial Mindset Summit.
In full transparency, I didn’t wanna do it. And I tried to think of a bunch of reasons why I shouldn’t:
- I didn’t feel prepared
- I wasn’t clear on the message I wanted to share
- I was still severely in sleep debt
- I had a boatload of “stuff” to do
- I wanted to chill with my family on a Sunday evening
- I needed to wash the dishes
And then, I remembered my little lesson to my son earlier in the day, and all of those excuses became meaningless.
Note: they didn’t go away, but they simply no longer held any merit.
If I had decided not to do the interview, and in the process dropped the host last minute, I would have been directly breaking the 1st agreement of being impeccable with my word; not only to the host but to my son as well.
And, apart from breaking my word and letting someone down, what kind of example would I have been setting for my son if I had refrained from doing something simply because I didn’t feel like it?
So, with my son’s encouragement in my ears (“you can do this, Daddy!”), I did what I tell all my clients to do when they’re feeling overwhelmed: I took the smallest action I could think of.
I put on my black t-shirt (gotta be on brand!). “Still not excited about this…”
I opened the Google doc with the planned questions. “Am I really going to do this…”
I set up my webcam. “It’s easier to continue now than to stop…”
I hit the Zoom link at the time of the call. “No turning back now…”
And I crushed the interview.
In fact, I felt so good about it afterward that it actually made me feel better, not worse. The uncomfortable things usually do.
Had I not showed up, the implications would have been dire:
- I would have shown my son that it’s okay to let someone down
- I would have shown him that when things feel hard, you can just give up
- I would have compromised anything else I teach my son going forward, because “why should I do it if Dad doesn’t even do it?”
- I would have proven to my whiny inner voice that it has power over me
- I would have missed out on the opportunity to build a relationship with the host
- I would have missed out on the opportunity to build my brand and authority
- I would have missed out on the opportunity to share my message with someone who might have really needed to hear it
- And the list goes on.
But here’s the thing about all this…
You don’t need a child in order to follow through on your commitments. Find someone you don’t want to disappoint to hold you accountable, or even just ask yourself:
“What would the best version of me do in this situation? What option would make my best self most proud?”
Then, find the smallest thing you can do to move you in that direction until it becomes easier to follow through than to quit.
And above all else, whether to yourself or someone else, remember the first agreement…
Be impeccable with your word.
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