Integrity is an inward orientation that demands congruency between our closely held values and our thoughts, words and action.
You can’t fake integrity. We’ve all heard the breezy sayings that give us a sense of what integrity means behaviorally; “walk the talk,” “say what you mean, mean what you say,” “do what you say you are going to do,” and my personal favorite, “do the right thing even if no one is looking!” Having integrity is a positive attribute often associated with honesty, trustworthiness and soundness of moral character.
To live and lead with integrity is a choice. Once integrity is chosen there is a cascade of other behaviors that will naturally follow such as accountability, transparency, and consistency. So, it’s easy to see how having integrity is foundational to all your relationships and daily life transactions.
What may be a somewhat unexpected behavior is the willingness to be vulnerable. When someone says, “I don’t know” or “I was wrong and don’t know how to make it right,” they are also exhibiting integrity. They may have totally messed up or are afraid they are about to mess up and are raising their own red flag of distress. There is a kind of courage found in vulnerability which is rooted in the virtue of integrity.
And because one of the hallmarks of integrity is consistency, it demands practice. You can get better at it; here’s how. Start with your primary relationship – the one you have with yourself. Cultivate self-knowledge so you can create trust with yourself. Question your own motivations, fears, aspirations and beliefs. Be fearless in your self-interrogatory. That said, also approach it with self-compassion. Then take the next step.
Review your behavior. Have you ever done or said something that didn’t align with your personal beliefs or values? Let’s face it, most of us have at one time or another. And when we do, we are, in that moment, lacking integrity. We regain our integrity when we dig in and figure out why and then take steps to remediate the situation.
Sounds like a lot of work? Maybe. But over time you will find that you know yourself better and better. You will learn what triggers cause you to behave without integrity and can create strategies to avoid them.
It is a choice to live and lead with integrity. It is a choice not everyone makes. Know that people of integrity contribute mightily to our society. In an era, fraught with trust issues, living and leading with integrity is needed more than ever.
Need some help? This is what I love to do! I work to help people understand their core values and facilitate the necessary alignment to create integrity and ultimately… success. My mission is to empower individuals and groups to work with joy and intention. Let’s get started!