My mother taught me that integrity was key attribute to personal growth. She would say ‘do what is right, let the consequence follow. Life will work out just right when you are honest and up front.’
“A life lived with integrity – even if it lacks the trappings of fame and fortune is a shining star in whose light others may follow in the years to come.” Denis Waitley
I have set out to make myself responsible for my own life and have always held myself accountable for my actions and decisions. One thing I know is that it can take years to build for yourself a reputation of integrity, but it can take just seconds to lose it.
What is integrity?
The dictionary defines it as being “the quality or state of being complete; wholeness; the quality or state of being unimpaired; and being of sound moral principle.” It continues by saying it is the “adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.”
When you take a look at the origin of the word, it comes from the Latin ‘Integritas’ meaning soundness, and from ‘Integer’ meaning whole and complete. So together they show integrity means being whole, entire, or undiminished.
In a society where people are always looking for a fast buck, how to get rich quick, more often than not they will follow any unscrupulous means they can to get the results they desire. So to live with integrity, and particularly to work with it, is a rare choice.
It brings many benefits and can truly help our lives and our careers to flourish. Integrity gives you the courage to stand up for what you believe. But it also means you will do the right things no matter what circumstances you find yourself in. At all times you hold true to your values, to the person that you are, and that you want to be. I have always believed that having integrity is an essential part of who I am.
People with integrity follow through on their commitments always looking for the win/win in every situation. You see with integrity, it means that you’re always honest, and let your actions speak for who you are and what you believe in.
The only time I am truly challenged and my integrity is tested, is when I need to be honest to others and I know they’re not going to want to hear what I have to say. The best example I can give is when someone comes to me with a business they believe they can build around their passions, and my heart and mind knows that they have neither the skills nor talents to make it work. Telling them such a ruthless thing can be heart breaking for them, but my philosophy tells me that although the truth can hurt, it could save a lot more heartbreak in the long run. Integrity to me is always saying things as I see them, not as people want me to tell them.
So integrity isn’t easy, but it is very possible. Sometimes it may seem more prudent to lie, cheat or steal. But how good would you feel about yourself? To me how I see myself is of utmost importance, it means everything.
Integrity is a choice we make, and it’s a choice we must keep making, every moment of our lives. We must listen to our hearts and do what it tells us is the right thing.
With integrity we earn the trust of others, they know where they stand with us and are sure we are saying what we mean. We are seen as dependable and not as someone who will let them down. To many people make promises which they don’t follow up on. I ensure what I promise I will deliver on no matter how hard it may be to do. I will always hold myself accountable for what I do.
In both our business and personal relationships, we seek connections with people we can trust. Without trust we are constantly having to be vigilant in case someone is trying to take advantage of us. We are always going to be on the lookout for insincerity in others. If there is no trust, we must be on guard and that is no way of living in my mind. Integrity ensures we each maintain consistency between what we believe, what we say and what we do, now that is the basis of crating great relationships when two people follow through with this same conviction.
When you live and work with integrity this impacts on the success you will earn through your life. Nothing is impossible when you are trustworthy, honest and integrity means something to you.
“Integrity can be neither lost nor concealed nor faked nor quenched nor artificially come by nor outlived, nor, I believe, in the long run, denied.” Eudora Welty