So what is Integrity? Let me start with what I think it is NOT - it is NOT morality, nor is it ethics, as both of these indicate Good v. Bad or Desirable v. Undesirable. I like the comparison of the Law of Gravity - it just IS. According to Vocabulary.com, it literally means having "wholeness" of character, just as an integer is a "whole number" with no fractions. According to Webster, it is a state or condition of being whole, complete, unbroken, unimpaired, sound, perfect condition.
For me, this means honoring my Word - being Whole & Complete, as my Word IS me. When giving my Word, I promise the following:
Doing what I said I would do
As it was meant to be done, in the time-frame given; and
Doing what is expected, even if I don't necessary say it
There usually is an expectation though we may not verbalize it. OR we have expressed that we are not going to fulfill on that expectation.
If at any time I believe I will not be able to keep my word, I can still honor it by letting everyone who has been impacted know that I will not be able to do so. Either I will revise the time-frame OR let them know I cannot complete it at all. And if I am unable to do what I committed to, I let them know what I will do to deal with the impact of not having kept my word.
A lot of the time, we get stuck at not letting others know we cannot honor our word and we let it go - especially with ourselves. What we can choose to do is restore our integrity. By this, I mean to first acknowledge that an agreement or promise was broken; then distinguish the impact of that - not the thoughts or feelings but the actual impact on workability; and finally say what will be put into place to insure it does not happen again in the future. There are no judgments or interpretations - I'm not "bad" because I could not keep my word/promise, nor am I "good" because I did. I am owning my responsibility without judgment.
When we start to fall out of integrity in one area, it usually leads to a domino effect. And we make it so easy to be without integrity to ourselves. I first heard this model of integrity in 2013 while attending a leadership program at Landmark and never fully understood the impact until recently. Earlier this year, I returned to Landmark to coach participants in the same leadership program and in my sharing with them, realized the impact this has been having on my life - the lack of integrity to myself.
It's one thing to not stand by your word to someone else, and usually I will have integrity and fulfill on my promises, or so I thought. And it is much harder to be a person of your Word to Self. We find excuses as to why we do not do what we said, or we simply let ourselves off the hook (since it is only known to us). But why is that okay - when we commit to something that is important to us - why are we okay with not following through? Our "reasons" are typically not because of ourselves - they all relate to outside of us. It's as if we cannot see our out-of-integrity behavior; only the reasons, rationalizations or excuses we have for not keeping our word can be seen or felt. I say "or I thought" as I never realized the areas where I was not keeping my word to others - being late to work over & over [I gave my word to my employer eight years ago]; to my doctor by not taking my medications in the way they were prescribed; to my mother by not calling her as often as I told her, to myself for not creating time & space for self-reflection or self-care, etc.
As we begin a new year and start to make resolutions, keep in mind whether you consider yourself to be a person of integrity. When you give your word to someone, do you keep that word? When you give your word to YOU, will you Honor your Word in 2017?
There is no Right or Wrong here - just What Is.
From "A Picture of Integrity" ~ What would your life be like if it were true that:
You have done what you said you would do, or you have said you are not doing it; you have nothing hidden, you are truthful, forthright, straight and honest. And you have cleaned up any mess you have caused for those depending on your word.
And ~ What if others operated in this way with you?
The video below is from Werner Erhard and Michael Jensen who have removed morality and ethics from the mix in differentiating Integrity. May you find something in this message for yourself.