Your life is founded on multiple agreements and contracts that you have given your word to. In some ways this may feel surprising, simply because we tend not to think about life in these terms. You give your word when you sign a contract or make an agreement whether it is spoken or recorded in writing. Some of these are external agreements with others, such as a job contract, and some are internal agreements with yourself, to always do your best, or to look after your mother. Whatever you have given your word to unfolds into your experience of life itself.
Your word allows you to make sense of your identity and the circumstances of your life through narrative and relationships. You use your word to make requests, to commune with others, to be part of something, to lead and to inspire. Your word is primary, so it is important to make it count.
In the paradigm of Conscious Leadership your word counts when it is imbued with clarity and arises from the space beyond fear. When words are expressed with pristine clarity they are potent. When words arise from a fearless space, they are authentic and connected. When the two come together, something new is born and the world shifts.
Conversely, when fear is present and clarity absent, your word results in chaos, drama and broken promises.
Because many of your internal agreements were made in the past, perhaps even in childhood, you may not be aware of them all. It is therefore worthwhile welcoming them back into view and reviewing them periodically to ensure they feel current and authentic.
The Power of Clarity
An excellent way of aligning your word with your vision, values and goals is to tune in every morning to your intentions by completing the sentence starters below.
- Today I am committed to:
- Today I will make my contribution by:
- Today I am most grateful for:
- Today I let go of:
- Today I forgive:
As a practice, this works best if you give yourself a few moments to drop in to the present moment on the breath and then read each statement, allowing your answers to be spontaneous and authentic. If you wish to write them down in your notes instead of saying them aloud, this works just as well, and creates a growing record of your intentions.
As you repeat the exercise daily, you may find that what you say or write surprises you. This is perfectly normal. Sometimes spontaneity taps you into wisdom and sometimes into the meaningless. Trust what comes and notice how your answers evolve over the days and weeks.
REVIEW YOUR CONTRACTS AND AGREEMENTS: AN EXERCISE
Make a list of your current contracts and agreements.
- Contracts: Work contracts, marriage contract, finance contracts…
- External Agreements: Relationship agreements, community agreements, family agreements…
- Internal Agreements: I promise myself I will be/do…
Before you review your agreements, take a moment to read and sit with this list of ‘The Top 5 Regrets of The Dying’ by Bronnie Ware:
- I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
- I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
- I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
- I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
- I wish that I had let myself be happier.
Finally, as you review your list, consider if everything you have given your word to feels aligned, balanced and in line with your values. If you feel an urge to change, release or add further contracts, do so with care, or make a note to return to the exercise to reflect further.
The above excerpt has been reproduced with permission from the book ‘Conscious Leadership’ (White Lion Publishing) by Neil Seligman.
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