If you had to stop and think about the title for a moment, ask yourself, “What version of you shows up when you do something, whether it be a conversation, your work or project, a commitment to your relationship or family? Do you feel like you are the best version of yourself when you do something in particular?”
I ask this because how we “behave” is how we manage ourselves daily, dictates much of where we are going. And if we are to truly step into our greatness, then our integrity is everything.
Well, for starters, let’s define it . . .
“Integrity (noun) – The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles. The state of being whole and undivided.”
If you had to rework the question from up above, it would sound more like this – “Do you feel like you are being honest when you do something in particular?”
See, your integrity is a lot more than just being honest; it’s your roadmap for life. It’s doing the tough things nobody wants to do, having the hard conversations most people avoid and facing the world from what you truly believe versus what you’re told to believe.
That is not always easy! Believe me; I get it. I’ve seen a lot in my time. I’ve seen it come up in my business and personal life. And my integrity has steered me away from people that no longer serve my growth while allowing me to keep a tight circle of people who share my similar values and morals.
Like I said, your integrity is your compass.
I believe that being honest with yourself truly brings out your confidence. How can it not?
When you start to become honest and authentic with yourself, there’s a certain amount of acceptance that comes when you admit something to yourself. It’s almost like a relief, you could say.
I found it incredibly powerful in the context of releasing the things in my life on one end of the spectrum, which are typically rooted in blame, pointing fingers at someone else, pointing fingers at someone or something outside of me, circumstances or whatever that are dictating or causing me to go through whatever kerfuffle.
And when you get real with yourself, when you do something for yourself these aren’t words that are spoken. These are the ones that happen up here, right? What I have found to be is true is the more honest I can be with myself, the more confidence I have. Who wouldn’t want more confidence?
I don’t mean just confidence in terms of, “Gosh, I can slay whatever dragons come after me today,” or self-hype or even self-positive talk. Just confidence in the sense of, “I know myself a little bit better.” With that comes almost a degree of self-acceptance as well. That somehow bleeds into empowerment. The empowerment of you as an individual with all the stuff that goes on in there all day, every day, all night, every night, all week, all weekend, the stuff that consumes us.
If we start to have those honest conversations with ourselves… There’s one person you cannot lie to, and that’s you, yourself. We’ve all heard the saying that, “you are your word,” right? You are your word. Your word, it’s essential to be of integrity.
You can say what you mean, mean what you say. We flop around the issues. We avoid those tough conversations that we just don’t want to have for whatever reason. I have an experience that I’d like to share with you guys as a result of last week’s WAKEUP call that I experienced in my life that was a breakthrough.
Passing Integrity On
Integrity isn’t something we must instill only in ourselves; we must also remember that by having integrity, we instill it in others as well. And as a father, this couldn’t be truer.
Just as I have the responsibility to think, speak and act with integrity, I also have the responsibility to ensure my children grow up with that same honesty. Especially since it will be pivotal in the way, they make decisions and live their lives.
In short, raising your kids to have integrity is raising them with self-confidence, assuredness, and respect.
So, I mentioned last week that I had gone to see the Aliens movie with Milo, my son. Alien: Covenant. We saw the movie. It was great, but then I find out that his friend and he have been waiting a month for this movie to come out in theaters so they can go see it together. This friend’s dad was to take them the following day.
And I realized there was something fishy going on when Milo said,
“Um, did mom ask what movie we’re going to see?”
I was like, “No, I mean, she knows that you play like Grand Theft Auto V. It’s not like the end of the world, I’m sure she’s not going to have a problem with that.”
I didn’t realize that his friend, Tommy, had planned that they would go see this together, just the two of them with Tommy’s dad, and that was going to be the next day. For whatever reason, some of these details were, let’s just say, a little scant when it came to him making the case that we should go to this movie.
We get back from the movie, and I dropped him off. His mom then says, “So, how was the movie?” He’s like, “It was great. Oh man, we loved it.”
Justin, his step-dad says, “But dude, you were, you were supposed to go tomorrow with Tommy. And that’s kind of shitty man, that you just went without your friend, because you’re going to disappoint him. He was really looking forward to this.”
I was like, “Wait. Hold on a minute. I’m the monkey in the middle. I got caught in the middle. How did this happen? Like, Milo, really?”
He’s like, “Yeah, well, I mean I’d love to see it again, it’s no-”
I said, “But Milo, you’re going to be breaking your word. So now you have two options; you’re either going to have to lie about this, or you’re going to have to be honest straight up, as soon as you see him. There’s no gray area here.”
This led my son and me to have another conversation, which really inspired me because it made me feel like,
“Gosh, maybe I am a really damn good dad.”
I was really, really proud of myself. What I decided to do is give the exact guidance or counsel insights to Milo that I wish I had. Something just really practical.
We’re in the car, and I’m about to drop him off at gymnastics where he’ll see Tommy. I thought to myself this is an opportunity for me to build character and integrity in my son that I wish I had at his age to build self-confidence and self-esteem; that is, the level of self-esteem to just own the situation or any situation for that matter.
We decided to make this an opportunity to let’s not let a crisis go to waste. As he’s about to get out of the car to go into gymnastics, I said, “Milo, here’s the deal. There’s always a right thing to do. Now, you’ve got a choice. You can take this to your grave, the fact that we went yesterday. No harm, no foul. I mean, look, it’s not the end of the world for goodness sakes. This is a first world problem on a bad day or on a good day. You can either take this out of respect for Tommy, or you can either take this to your grave, you’ll never mention it to him again, and you need to think about the implications of that. If you’re friends long-term, what’s going to happen? That’s one option, option A.
Um, option B, I’ll tell you what, option B’s kind of like a band-aid that you have to rip off. It kind of sucks.”
He’s like, “No, dad. I can’t keep secrets. I can’t lie like that. I’ll just feel … It’ll haunt me.”
I said, “Okay, then option B is actually the easier option. Here’s what you’re going to do. You’re going to go inside, and as soon as you see Tommy, you put your arm around him, and you say, ‘Listen, dude, I have to level with you. I gotta come clean with you on something. My dad is in town. He really wanted to see the movie as well, and we actually went yesterday but I’m so excited to go again today with you, and I can’t wait to see it again. And you know what? I’ll have seen it twice,’” so on so forth.
I said, “Turn it into a positive.” I’m like, “Let me know. Let me know which choice you make. I want to know because it has to be one or the other.”
“All right, dad. No worries.”
The next day when he was dropped off, he didn’t say anything about it. I thought to myself, “I really wonder.” It’s sort of a follow-up conversation. I wouldn’t normally even have, but in this whole line of what are those unspoken things that we just assume or we don’t follow-up on, or we don’t use as opportunities to grow ourselves or our children or our businesses for that matter.
What is the extent of those sorts of conversations? I thought, “You know what …”This brings us closest that we’ve been …
I said, “By the way, Milo, what did you end up doing just out of curiosity?” I had really left the choice to him and I think that’s a key point that I want to make here is that I left the choice to him as to whether or not he was going to take option A or B.
I said, “Hey, what did you end up doing, by the way?”
He said, “Yeah, I told him right off the bat.”
I’m like, “You did? What happened?”
He said, “Yeah, first thing when I walked in I just blurted it out before we could even small talk, I just got it out of the way. It was a piece of cake, nothing.”
I’m like, “Wow, I’m really proud of you. That’s, I think, the better of the two choices. Really proud of you.” And that right there, really made my day!
The confidence and self-esteem this gave me, as well as peace of mind and pride, are unbelievable! It’s so important to take the time to have those sorts of conversation and say those things at the moment that they really need to be said.
Of course, they don’t need to be said necessarily, but I think there’s definitely something to be said for taking your time with this. Milos’ at an age where I want him to grow up to be a man of integrity; to be proud of who he is and know who he is and have a sense of self-esteem to where no matter what he’s feeling, to speak it, get it out and not hold things in.
This experience was deep to me on many levels because it showed me all the levels where integrity must fit into your life, not just with yourself.
My WAKEUP Call To You
Observe where your integrity is at. Are you leading yourself with honesty and respect? Are you interacting with others and passing that same integrity on.
As I’m sharing my experiences with you on this subject, I’m hoping to do nothing other than inspire you, as well as have those experiences with the people in your life that matter to you.
And don’t just have moments of integrity where it’s appropriate. Get yourself to a place where it’s a part of your entire way of being all day every day.
Check in with yourself. Are you being truly honest with your needs, wants, desires, thoughts, expressions, and direction. The key most people miss when it comes to success and a life of fulfilling happiness lies within integrity. This is the core ingredient to everything for integrity leads to being intentional, and intention leads to your destiny.
As you continue to progress, may you all make integrity your number one priority.