Don’t take it personally … but do make it personal.


“If you make it personal, all things are possible.” Michael Henderson

We were speaking about the challenges of living an authentic life; of living our truth as we go about the daily business of work; of making each moment of each day count. Michael, one of my wonderful colleagues, reminded me to make the personal count … that through making it personal, all things are possible. In the midst of business targets and action plans, KPIs and seemingly incompatible physical, mental and emotional demands on our time and energy, our higher selves call us to live authentically.

Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements ( frame this rather beautifully I think, and encourage us to consider the simplicity of authentic living, both personally and professionally:

Agreement 1

Be impeccable with your word – Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.

Agreement 2

Don’t take anything personally – Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

Agreement 3

Don’t make assumptions – Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.

Agreement 4

Always do your best – Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.

Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements. Accessed on 16/2/12 at Business Balls

You’ll notice the second Agreement speaks of ‘Don’t take anything personally’, and yet my colleague Michael and I are discussing the truth of making it personal.

But it makes perfect sense to me. The way people respond to us is more to do with them than us, and the way we choose to respond to them is everything to do with us, our humanity and our higher self.

As those we come in contact with each day deal with the complexities and challenges of their own internal and external environments, we can give them a serve of our disapproval when they ‘collide’ with us, or we can choose not to take it personally.

And then we can make another choice. We can choose to make a difference, and to make it personal between us and them. We can choose to speak and act from an open heart.

So my ‘note to self’ at the moment is

 Don’t take it personally … but do make it personal

Because then all things are possible!

About Jennifer K Miles

I am an educator, researcher and writer, passionate about storytelling and its power to change perspectives of self. Through undertaking the journey of my own transformative learning, I now work with adults to support them in drawing forth stories of the strength and potential gained in their lives, as they move towards the creation of their stories as yet untold. My three beautiful adult boys are the most precious part of my story, and continue to walk with and support me in undertaking my PhD research. I write about story and transformative learning ... the circumstances of our lives and the stories remembered; influences on the construction of our self-identities - positive and negative; critiquing the assumptions and limitations we have come to accept about ourselves, our potential, and our place in life; daring to imagine a story untold.

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