By Joan Marlow

What follows is a concept, tool, idea that can support you through your life today and forever. There’s a saying, ‘the only thing constant is change’; you see it all the time and will continue to see it for your entire life. We learn that change is easy: we can change our hair, our friends, our interests, our opinions, our jobs, our careers, our relationships, etc. We also learn through hindsight that at times the outcome of some changes weren’t in our best interest and might have taken us off course. If we’re smart, we hold true to our ‘core values.’ Core values might be: integrity, trustworthiness, good listener, honest, etc. What are your core values? If we’re smart, we’ll figure out that we might have made the change based upon what someone else was telling us to do vs. trusting ourselves. This, too, is life. If we’re smart, we’ll quickly get ourselves back on track and learn to trust ourselves. We then need to pat ourselves on the back for acknowledging the ‘wake-up call’ and for taking the action to get back on course.

Wouldn’t it be great if we had a means to filter what’s coming at us in a way that we trusted and believed in ourselves in order to make smarter choices related to change?

Take a deep breath and listen up….a step towards making that a reality in your life today and forever, comes from the book “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz. The premise is that you commit to incorporate these four ‘common-sense agreements’ into your life to be able to simplify it and trust yourself. It’s an entertaining, down-to-earth, ‘hits-you-between-the-eyes’ action item list that ‘just makes sense.’ Here they are:


  • Speak with integrity. Only say what you really mean or what you’re going to do. Be truthful.
  • Be upfront. If you say you’re going to do something, but something happens that prevents you from doing it, just be upfront with anyone who’s likely to be impacted.
  • Don’t speak out against others. That means avoiding gossip and negative self-talk.
  • Share honestly and with good intention. If you feel the need to share ‘difficult’ information, explain why you’re sharing it and communicate it clearly so that it’s a positive, constructive experience that isn’t gossip and doesn’t diminish the person in any way.
  • Speak with compassion. Use your words for love and kindness so that instead of judging or finding fault with others, you look for what you can accept in them.


  • Someone else’s opinion has nothing to do with you. It comes from their reality, not yours. When someone criticizes you or implies you aren’t ‘good enough,’ that’s based upon their experience and not about you personally.
  • Feedback often comes out wrong. You can’t jump inside someone else’s head and know what they’re thinking. Their feedback might sound harsh, but really, it was given with the best of intentions.


  • Ask Questions for Clarification, Listen to Response & Repeat Until True Understanding Takes Place

4th Agreement: ALWAYS DO YOUR BEST

  • No More; No Less…Simply put, consistently do your best in every moment / in every situation…without Judgement, Guilt, Self-Punishment!!
  • A Note about Perfection: Perfection is impossible to Achieve…It’s in the eyes of the beholder
  • If your best today is at a B+ level, that’s ok….if you intentionally only gave B+ effort, that’s not ok.

Make the choice to incorporate these Agreements into your life. You’ll be amazed how many times in a day these ‘thought filters’ will support your making your best decisions and help you stay on course