Tag Archive for 'taking personal responsibility'

First Agreement: Be Impeccable with Your Word

Last Monday, a group of us began reading The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz.

In the chapter, “Domestication and Dream of the Planet,” we discussed our self-limiting beliefs. These are beliefs we picked up from our families, society, school, work, etc. The reason why they’re self-limiting is because these opinions, or agreements as Ruiz refers to them as, are not really the truth about life and limit us from fully being and expressing ourselves.

Our homework was to read the chapter, “The First Agreement,” and to be conscious of the first agreement throughout the week, which is to be impeccable with your word.

Ruiz defines impeccability as “without sin.” He says, “A sin is anything that you do which goes against yourself.”

My favorite part of being a teacher/life coach is that I get the opportunity to share the experience with my class. After reading, “The First Agreement,” I see how I use the word against myself and my capabilities.

I use it when it comes to the things I can and cannot accomplish with my business. I use the word to gossip about others when I do not agree with their opinions. If someone uses the word against me and I agree, there I go again using the word to reject myself. In reality, the poison that person says to me has nothing to do with me, but has everything to do with them.

One example that I’ve encountered many times is at work. If my co-workers have disliked the boss or someone else in the workplace, it captures my attention and then off to the races I go with the belief that the person is whatever someone else said about them.

A couple weeks ago, the timing belt in my car broke. I had only bought the car a month prior to this happening. My cousin, who works on cars, checked the car out before I bought it. When I found out that fixing this timing belt was going to cost me around $3,000 if I’m lucky, I spread the poison to my cousin.

Since then I have apologized, but depending on what mindset he was in when I spread the poison, this could have been completely detrimental to him and what he thought of his abilities. Thankfully, he forgave me and realized that I was having a rough week.

“Mostly we use the word to spread our personal poison – to express anger, jealousy, envy, and hate,” Ruiz said. The word is pure magic – the most powerful gift we have as humans – and we use it against ourselves.

For me, there are two important actions that lead us to be more impeccable with our word.

The first one is creating positive affirmations with ourselves. When we feel good about ourselves and truly love who we are, we are more patient, tolerant, loving, and open-minded when it comes to others. Creating these positive affirmations can turn around our perspective of what is really ailing us that most on the inside.

The second one is surrounding ourselves around people who have similar goals: to become more spiritually free.

People always thank me for helping them on their journey and are surprised when I thank them. I thank them because they are open-minded to change, which continues to inspire me to do the same.


It’s All About the Stupid People

Blaming other people for what we feel is lacking in our life is the easy way out. It’s also a lie we tell ourselves. It’s much harder for someone to take responsibility for their own actions, but change cannot occur in ourselves if we always blame other people for our own choices at work in our lives.

Everyone is responsible for themselves and the choices they make in life. It’s never anyone else’s fault that a decision did not work out. Taking responsibility for a decision does not mean that if the decision does not work out that we blame ourselves. We simply just need to learn from it, and make a decision that works out better.

One semester I taught a student who constantly came to class 15 to 20 minutes late, if he showed up at all. Even when he did attend class, he never did the assignments. He always had an excuse as to why the assignment was not completed. I held one-on-one conferences with him every other week to let him know that his behavior was causing him to fail the class. Yet, he continued his behavior until I told him that his failing average was so low there was no possible way he would be able to pass the class.

Guess who’s fault it was? According to him, it was my fault. He said he didn’t know he was doing that bad and wanted me to give him the opportunity for extra tutoring and rewriting papers. These were both suggestions I had offered him earlier in the semester. But after ignoring my suggestions for months, a failing average was the end result at the end of the semester. The student wound up threatening me physically. Security ended up escorting me around campus the rest of the semester.

Unfortunately, this student did not learn anything from his classroom actions. He would not take responsibility and admit that his failing average had anything to do with himself. As a result, he is more likely to continue his behavior in another classroom or work.

Of course, as his professor, I was not happy about the situation. Not only was it a scary situation for me personally, but I also want to see all of my students be successful. I know that’s a very ambitious ideal on my part, yet I still believe in the possibility of it.

I do believe there is a chance my former student may learn from this situation later in the future. If he does, he may learn one of the biggest lessons in life.

A few semesters ago, I had a student in my class who said she couldn’t concentrate because the girl next to her in the computer lab was disruptive. Instead of paying attention, she said the girl spent much of her time trying to sneak to check her email and her Facebook. The young lady who approached me about the situation said this was the reason she only had a low C in the class. She said she normally performs much better in writing classes.

I constantly scan the computer lab for students trying to do outside activities on the computer, though there are some that get by my radar before I catch it. I told the complaining student I would pay careful attention to the young lady she was sitting next to, but that there was something she could do herself that could prevent her from being disrupted. She realized I was hinting that she could move her chair.

The thought of moving her chair frightened her because she didn’t want the other student to be mad at her. I asked her on a scale from one to ten— one being the lowest and ten being the highest—which one choice was more important to her, moving her chair and being able to concentrate or sitting next to someone disruptive who might get mad if she moved. I could tell she was nervous at the start of the next class, but she did move up to the front row. Later, I asked her if the other young lady ever said anything to her, and she did not.

It is never anyone else’s fault that you find yourself in a less than winning situation. It’s our own choices or decisions that place us in a position we don’t want to be in. We can always take responsibility and make another choice. Instead of wasting your time pointing your finger at other people, know that you are the only one who has control over you and what you choose to do in life.