Whether as friends, parents, associates or leaders we want to have a positive impact on all of those we come in contact with on a daily basis. In my 12 years as an entrepreneur I’ve made many observations about the thousands of people I’ve interviewed and hired over that period. I could make a list of several dozen attributes of people who seem to have success from both a professional and personal perspective as opposed to those who seem to struggle often at both. But if you were to ask me if there were only one key criteria or common trait that I’ve observed of people who seem to live a powerful, happy successful life it would unquestionably be integrity.
Each moment of each day is an opportunity to live with a value of integrity. But what is integrity and why does it matter? There are several definitions or examples of how to demonstrate integrity but in its simplest form, Integrity is doing what you said you were going to do or honoring your word. There is a difference between honoring your word and keeping your word, it’s not always possible to keep your word whereas it’s possible to always honor your word. For example, if you tell a friend you will meet up with them for lunch at 12pm and your car got a flat tire on the way to the restaurant and therefore cannot be there for 12pm you simply didn’t keep your word and the circumstances were out of your control. However, you could have honored your word by being in communication with your friend as soon as the incident occurred and thus honoring your word. The challenge or bad habit that a lot of us develop is we begin to believe that not honoring your word + having a good excuse = Integrity. It simply doesn’t.
Many people live their lives this way because you can get by, no different than your car could physically drive with 3 regular tires and one of those donut spares that are meant to be temporary replacements to get you to a service station until a full replacement tire can be installed. Most of us live our lives with that donut tire yet the challenge is we can never truly live up to our full potential as you simply can’t travel at 100 miles an hour on that donut and worst yet, if you hit a pothole or when life throws you a curve, the tire will fall off or your life seems to fall of the rails so to speak. So if you want to live a powerful life, one that you love and attract quality people into it and live up to your full potential professionally, financially, as a friend, partner or parent, you must learn to live with integrity at all times.
Integrity is treating others the way you want to be treated, even sometimes better.
Integrity is being able to look into the mirror and say, “I like myself”.
Integrity is making decisions for the long term, not just for today.
Integrity is putting the truth on the table.
Integrity is standing up for yourself.
Integrity matters because at the end of the day and at the end of our life we answer to ourselves and nothing is more important than being able to say, “I lived a life of integrity and I would be proud to be my own friend.”