Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Is My Integrity Showing

Is my integrity showing?

Integrity is a word that is used less these days than in previous generations. It is often misunderstood and is easier to preach than it is to live. Integrity is a fundamental pillar of character and as such says more about ones inner strength than it does ones outward persona.

If you have integrity, nothing else matters. If you don't have integrity, nothing else matters. ~Alan Simpson

Integrity definition: “The state of being whole, unimpaired or sound.”

I would like to believe that I consider myself to place high regard on integrity, yet it is one of those fundamental principles that when one considers it in high regard, one is challenged at the point of belief. Similarly when one believes one is humble, one becomes proud of the fact and all assurance is lost.

You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him. ~James D. Miles

We only truly own that which we hold under pressure and Integrity is fought for on a daily basis. Not on the battlefield as the knights and warriors of old, but in the quiet simplicity of an untruth told or a promise overlooked. Children have a way of making life real and exposing the frailties of our word to them. I long remember promising one of my children I would be home in time to play in the park, but wasn’t. The pain I sensed as a result of looking into the face of disappointment, lives with me even today and serves as a reminder that integrity is not just for “big issues”, but for life.

There is no pillow so soft as a clear conscience. ~French Proverb

I was born in an era where ones name was regarded as the most precious asset one could own. My dad often reminded me of how much my behaviour was linked to my name. I don’t believe this opinion was anything to do with “saving face” but rather, respect for those who had gone before and those who would become synonymous with my deeds. These days of celebrity game shows, big brother houses and all manner of shows that seek to lower the levels of human depravity in the name of being famous, I wonder where the concept of integrity would be placed, if at all.

Character is higher than intellect. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Integrity is by definition about soundness and surety. Buildings that lose their integrity lose inner strength and all that hinges upon its structure is at risk. Inner soundness ensures outer integrity. In today’s society where image is king, and perception is seen as reality, or “what you see is what you get”, we are drawn into the philosophy that image is everything. Should we allow this subtlety to define our inner character, we forfeit true value in exchange for an ever changing perception on reality.

You do not wake up one morning a bad person. It happens by a thousand tiny surrenders of self-respect to self-interest. ~Robert Brault,

Integrity is all about taking personal responsibility and ownership for things that others wouldn’t. The cost of integrity is high, but we only understand its true cost when it is up for sale. I’m not sure Integrity can be taught, (like gardening or surfing) as it has more to do with how we respond to the challenges of inner strength or weakness. It can certainly be caught by being around those who live by it, but we only truly own it when we have to exercise it under duress.

You can out-distance that which is running after you, but not what is running inside you. ~Rwandan Proverb

Here are a few ways your integrity will show.

1. A person of integrity cares. They care about the things around them and in particularly have a sense of ownership in the workplace. They care about the customer, the product and the job. They don’t seek out greater remuneration, recognition or title prior to caring, they just care! When company catch phrase is “I don’t care”, the person of integrity does.

2. A person’s integrity shows whenever they honour truthfulness and seek to speak truth regardless of the temptation to do otherwise. Truth is sweet to a person of integrity, and confidence is found in those that rely upon their word.

3. People of integrity never appear superior to others. Their integrity is real and keeps them grounded in the grace that is found in the knowledge that to err is human. Integrity accepts personal responsibility but looks for ways to improve.

My grandfather once told me that there are two kinds of people: those who work and those who take the credit. He told me to try to be in the first group; there was less competition there. ~Indira Gandhi

Ps, take a closer look at the picture. The integrity of the building is a safegueard to the keeper in the storm.