Using Transparency In Your Practice: Be Present, Effective & Authentic

{3:35 minutes to read} Have you ever read a book that you found so incredibly helpful that you immediately had to share its wisdom? This is how I felt after I read “The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom” by Don Miguel Ruiz. Based on Toltec tradition, the author states that if you live by these four agreements then your life will “become filled with grace, peace and unconditional love.”

I have copies of this book in my supply room, and I give them to colleagues, clients and friends because I think the tenets of the book are so thought-provoking and useful.

The four agreements are:

1. Be impeccable with your word.

2. Don’t take anything personally.

3. Don’t make assumptions.

4. Always do your best.

Let’s take the first agreement: Be impeccable with your word. It means to tell people the truth, right? Sure, and it could also mean something as simple as doing what you say. For me, the meaning goes well beyond that. Being impeccable with your word goes hand-in-hand with being transparent.

I have found that being transparent has allowed me to be more present, effective & authentic with my clients.

For example, there are moments in a mediation or a collaborative case where I have two opposing thoughts in my head. My simultaneous desires to answer a legal question and to acknowledge a growing tension in the room oppose one another, and I feel torn about what to do.

And so, instead of keeping quiet, I acknowledge my feeling in the moment and say aloud, “I’m torn,” and then ask for permission to share what is going on in my head so I can further explain why I feel this way.

This scenario occurs frequently. Something will happen in the room and I’ll ask myself, “Should I do this or should I do that?” and then I’ll try to make a decision. As a result, anxiety is created and it takes me away from what is happening in the session. My focus turns to the internal decision I have to make.

However, if I say what is going on for me at the moment and I share it with the clients, then we can make a decision together about how to proceed. Being authentic and transparent at the moment helps to keep me grounded, and I find that this result lowers the tension in the room and makes me feel much more effective. Although sometimes challenging to do, it is a simple technique that is also extremely useful, both for my clients and for me.

Practicing this technique is quite helpful for people because this experience happens to all of us all the time. The idea of being impeccable with one’s word has helped me to be more transparent. What does this idea mean to you?