I get a little nervous when people throw around words that have become cliché. Corporate America is notorious for turning powerful phrases, words, and concepts into hackneyed clichés that begin to lose their meaning.
“out of the box”
“the next level”
All of these and so many more are examples of how words become so common that we forget to look at what they really mean. Most recently I put the word Integrity on the watch list.
The word itself is generally associated with an adherence to moral and ethical principles. Someone with integrity is believed to have sound moral character and honesty. My problem isn’t with the definition. It’s that the definition doesn’t give us much to go on as far as how to be such a person.
“Have good, moral character.”
“Okay…what’s that mean?”
I wanted to look deeper and see if the history of the word tells us more. The root of integrity in from the Latin integer, literally “untouched”, hence “whole”: the word entire comes from the same origin, but via French.
So integrity is the state of being whole, entire, or undiminished. Therefore, a person doesn’t HAVE integrity so much as they ARE integrity. I know that isn’t proper word usage, but get over so we can get to the point. A person of integrity is whole. They are the same, regardless of the situation.
In other words, it doesn’t require some supernatural feat to live in integrity. We simply need to be ourselves, consistently. There are very, very few people in this world who are not good at their core. So if we are all ourselves… the world is a much better place.
Unfortunately, we live in a time and place that acting like someone else is sometimes valued over our authentic best. It’s no way to live and here are 3 tips to help you stay authentic and in integrity.
1. Don’t lie. Sounds simple, right? But I’ve found myself and others in situations where it seems productive to bend the truth or fabricate something to make myself look better or fit in. It’s a trap straight from the pit of hell. As soon as we lie about anything, it sets us up to put on an act to keep from being discovered. We can’t live in integrity if we’re always covering up.
2. Seek humility. I’m not talking about the false, “look how I put myself so low,” kind of humility. Real humility comes from full honest effort and realizing that we don’t know it all. We aren’t being humble when we play small and defer our gifts so that we aren’t noticed. With real humility we can embrace our own brilliance and applaud that of others.
3. Quit acting for the sake of others. We’ve all done it. We don’t go full out or allow our true self to shine through because of what someone else might say. This has killed more dreams and paved the way to horribly destructive behaviors than any addiction. In fact, it has probably caused addictions because people can’t cope with living a lie. Your opinion of you is far more important than anyone else. Seek to be the person you’ve always known you could and you’ll find a new sense of freedom.
Being a person of integrity isn’t a birth right. It comes from a dedication to simple, daily disciplines. Don’t compare yourself to someone else, just be the absolute best you can. Who knows…you might enjoy it.
Be your best,
PJ McClure helps aspiring entrepreneurs to multi-million dollar business owners destroy roadblocks and seize opportunities to achieve their ideal vision of success. He is an award-winning speaker and the best-selling author of Flip the SWITCH: How to Turn On and Turn Up Your Mindset and Unlock Your Life: How to go beyond Time-Management to the Life of Your Dreams. You can download a copy of Flip the SWITCH for Free by clicking here.