Don’t Make Assumptions and Transform Your Life

Over the last couple of weeks, I have mentioned I have been focusing on The Four Agreements by renowned spiritual leader and author, Don Miguel Ruiz.

Are you familiar with the agreements?

  • Be Impeccable with your Word
  • Don’t Take Anything Personally
  • Don’Make Assumptions
  • Always Do Your Best

They have been a source of discussion on Shedding the Bitch Radio. Check it out. 

Recently, the whole agreement around Don’t Make Assumptions has been a main source of issue for a few of my clients… so, I wondered if it is for you. Let me first ask you:

When at home or at work, have you given instruction to someone and expected they understood, but the work didn’t get done the way you expected?

Have you had a disagreement with someone and in working out the issue, you walked away happy with the resolution between the two of you, only to find yourself days later right back in the muck of things?

Have you spent your prospective clients money BEFORE they even had a chance to consider what you were offering?


Let’s start with the last example – too often a business owner or salesperson will go into a meeting or a call with a prospective client and are already:

  • doubting themselves
  • questioning their worth
  • AND debating on the pricing of their own offering

They actually make statements to those prospects like, ‘I totally get it if you can’t do it right now’, or ‘I understand, it’s the holidays and you have to……”  They automatically assume the client isn’t interested or can’t afford it and they talk themselves out of a possible new client.

As a coach, my first question to them is, ‘Why did you set up the meeting if you’re just going to talk yourself out of the opportunity”?

Now, let’s look at the middle example: having a disagreement with someone, working through a resolution, and walking away only to be surprised when the issue is raised again.  My question for them would initially be, “What about it are you surprised over”?

Unfortunately, the act of assumption happens more often than not, and so many folks wonder why there is so much conflict, confusion and frustration in their personal or professional relationships.

But the answer is so simple:

  • individuals are not actively listening to the conversation they are having with another individual or group.
  • they aren’t asking clarifying questions to ensure they themselves understand the outcomes, decisions or next steps being discussed.
  • they fail to confirm understanding and to gain agreement.

Here are tips to ensure you are not making assumptions, but instead, are gaining complete understanding with confirmation and agreement to the time you are spending with someone:

  1. Reiterate or repeat what what is being discussed, agreed upon, or touted as next steps.
  2. Mirror the other party by listening, then responding with something like, ‘What you are saying is….., what we have agreed upon is …. and the next steps each of us will take will be ……  They should be knodding their head or verbalizing that your understanding is on point.
  3. Recap and send back a summary of the discussion, requesting a response if anything is not as it was discussed.
    1. If they don’t respond; silence is agreement. You move on.

Clients have questioned whether or not the 3rd tip of recapping and sending the discussion was to formal, HR like.

My question is response would be; would the responded confirmation or agreement, even the silence confirming ones agreement, provide clarity and confidence you are working on the right thing, have resolved the conflict you had, or ensured you can lock down a new client”?

They always say Yes or Absolutely. Well then, you have your answer.

The above steps can be followed for any one of the above examples. The point is – don’t assume you are being understood by others OR that you understand what someone has said to you.


Don Miguel Ruiz notes in his book states, ” With just this one agreement: Don’t Make Assumptions, you can completely transform your life”.

I would have to agree. It certainly would give you a lot of confidence, certainty, clarity and focus if you take the time to communicate and understand, and not make assumptions.

Try it for yourself. What do you have to lose, other than frustration, stress, overwhelm, anxiety, and fear of the uknown.


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