Impeccable Words — Even When the Gloves Come Off

This rule, or “agreement,” is set out in The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, a small but mighty book.

What does this mean? And what to do when others aren’t impeccable with their word about us?

This agreement, says Ruiz, is the most IMPORTANTof all the agreements.

But it is the most difficult to HONOR.

Impeccable in the broadest sense (ienot just religious) means:

  • True
  • Accurate
  • Lifts others

By contrast, our word fails to be impeccable when used to do the following:

  • Gossip
  • Demean (ourselves or others)
  • Judge (ourselves or others)
  • Blame (ourselves or others)
  • Curse
I can’t claim 100% impeccable words 100% of the time. Especially in the area of curse words, which are a special challenge for me. (I sometimes swear . . . sometimes more than sometimes.)

The Four Agreements talks about the deleterious effects on a person’s spirit (and our own) when our words fall short of impeccable — the same exact principles apply in strategic communications — negativity begets negativity.  Our audience responds negatively to negative messages.

The way I see it, though, impeccability doesn’t require us to be quiet when others have done us wrong, or lay down and take an unfair beating.

To the contrary, certain times require that we call out dishonest or unprincipled behavior of another — particularly in litigation or character assassinations. We must take the gloves off and strike back. It’s a highly strategic strike (in both delivery and timing). While there may be some negative messaging required, we make it clear the intention behind the words is to set the record straight and speak what is ACCURATE and TRUE.

Ergo, still impeccable.

Here’s to working towards being impeccable with our word. (And swearing less…)

P.S. Read a synopsis of all four agreements here.