I recently read Don Miguel Ruiz’s ‘The Four Agreements’ and thought about how these life lessons apply to me as a marketer. Ruiz, who developed the Four Agreements by studying the ancient Toltec spiritual knowledge of his ancestors in Southern Mexico, encourages us to challenge our beliefs.
These four agreements are powerful for marketers because they teach us self-awareness and empathy.
The Four Agreements and How They Help Marketers
1. Be Impeccable With Your Word
I write marketing content for industrial businesses. Although these companies provide a complex array of products and services, it is my job to ‘simplify’ what they do and explain succinctly how they create value for their customers.
It is also my responsibility as their marketer to articulate how they are unique and why customers should buy from them.
Marketing Lesson: Choose your words carefully.
2. Don’t Take Anything Personally
Marketing is one discipline where just about everyone will have an opinion. However, not everyone is a marketer. When I receive feedback about my work, I consider the other person’s point of view from an improvement perspective. In other words, will this idea improve the outcome? If the answer is ‘yes’, we do it. If not, I explain why.
Marketing Lesson: Take criticism of your work constructively.
3. Don’t Make Assumptions
I find this agreement the most challenging. I assume things that I believe are true. Yet, by doing so, I’m potentially asking for problems.
For starters, not everyone thinks like me. Secondly, without data or evidence to support my decision – all I have is an opinion. And if the opinion is flawed… so is my effectiveness as a marketer.
Always seek the truth is the best way for me to break this habit. It might mean delaying a decision or taking more time to complete a project so that I collect the necessary information. But it pays off in the end by not making a wrong decision or having to rework a task.
Marketing Lesson: Ask more questions.
4. Always Do Your Best
I developed the habit of putting quality into everything I do after reading ‘Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance’ by Robert M. Pirsig straight out of university.
My wife reckons I take the ‘anything worth doing is worth doing right’ principle a little too far. She still does not understand why I need to move all the furniture out into the front yard when I vacuum the lounge.
Marketing Lesson: “Real joy comes not from ease or riches or from the praise of men but from doing something worthwhile” – Wilfred Grenfill
I have The Four Agreements pinned to my computer on a sticky note. When I arrive at my desk in the morning, I am reminded to 1) be impeccable with my word; 2) don’t take anything personally; 3) don’t make assumptions; and 4) always do my best.
I hope you find these life lessons from Don Miguel Ruiz as helpful as I have, both personally and professionally.
Thank you for reading this article. I write about methods to help industrial businesses acquire and retain more customers.
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