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Years ago a mentor recommended, The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz. The book offers the readers four agreements you can make with yourself that, if followed, have a profound affect upon how you live your life and the effect other people have on you. The book changed my life.

The first of these agreements, “Be Impeccable with Your Word” is so basic and rudimentary one would expect it would be one of the basic tenets of both our personal and business lives. As with any lesson, the approach you take to applying it to your life is based upon what it means to you.

Being impeccable with your word takes many forms and has many implications in business:

Telling the truth: We each know when we’re telling the truth and when we’re stretching it. Whether I’m representing myself, my company, or my client, there should be one version of the truth as I see it. It involves acknowledging that what I understand to be the truth might not be someone else’s truth and that it’s wise to be open to a understanding their perspective.

Keeping commitments: This is something that’s so essential in business that is one thing you can do to improve the probability that your business will be successful. Only make commitments you believe you can meet. Once you’ve made a commitment do everything within your power to meet it, whether it’s to a client or a colleague. If you find, for some reason you can’t meet it, be honest with the person to whom you made the commitment and tell them when they can expect the promised results.

Doing a fair day’s work: When you are working at a rate, whether it’s daily or hourly, put in the effort. Don’t waste time. Get and s

Producing the product you advertised: Don’t substitute products of lower quality or take short cuts on the quality of your products. They represent you and your business. We’ve all been the victim of bait and switch.

No one wants to do business with someone they can’t trust. Be impeccable with your word and people will come to trust you because they know they can depend upon you to be honest regardless of the cost.