How Legends Keep Their Integrity When It Counts!
By Sukh Singh, Associate Partner & Mentorship Coach, Lighthouse International
"The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office."
- Dwight Eisenhower, 35th President, United States of America
Why is it that some people are able to achieve amazing things, yet others struggle to get by?
Those people work very hard on living with integrity... it's a word that gets thrown around like nobody's business but do we really know what it means? Do we really understand what integrity is and how we develop it?
Having Integrity In The Moment of Choice
“The human will is an amazing thing. Time after time, it has triumphed against unbelievable odds... But as we examine this in the context of effective self-management, we realise it's usually not the dramatic, the visible, the once-in-a-lifetime, up-by-the-bootstraps effort that brings enduring success. Empowerment comes from learning how to use [our independent will] in the decisions we make every day”
- From The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, By Stephen Covey
Every day we say 'yes' to people, situations and things, and we also say 'no' to a lot of people, situations and things. Fruit or cake for dessert. Sleep in or wake up and go for a walk in the park. Stay late at work to finish a project or spend time with the family over dinner. Confront an issue at work or keep you head down and stay quiet.
There are literally thousands of these choices that we make all the time. But what we might not see is that these are stepping stones that affect our bigger goals, and also speak volumes about the kind of person we want to be.
Developing Integrity: The Power Of Self-Honour
"People grow through experience if they meet life honestly and courageously. This is how character is built."
- Eleanor Roosevelt
Have you ever felt like we keep promises to other people far more easily than we do for ourselves? As if somehow, we don't matter as much?
Can you imagine if someone said to you that they won't keep their promises to you, but they will for everyone else, because you're not as important??
It's absolutely crazy, but almost all of us have done it! Most of us get really busy working for other people, trying to do things for them, yet we won't follow through for ourselves. When that happens, we are depleting our self-honour and that has devastating consequences for our character. For example, have you ever looked at a goal or a challenge you want to overcome and just thought, 'there's no way I can do that, I'll never make it, I don't trust myself to go the distance'?
Isn't that just really frustrating??
Or have you ever been in a meeting with people who are good at what they do and just felt like 'I am SO out of my depth here...'?
Our integrity is our own inner security - it's where our true power and confidence lies and nothing else can replace it. No amount of money, praise or adornment can give you true inner security. To genuinely believe in our goals, be confident in ourselves and create a better life, we need to make and keep our promises - primarily to ourselves.
Integrity Is The Hallmark Of Legends
"It was character that got us out of bed, commitment that moved us into action, and discipline that enabled us to follow through."
- Zig Ziglar, author and motivational speaker
Having integrity in the moment isn't always easy, but it's literally the stuff legends are made of. When they make a promise to themselves, they do their absolute best to keep it - because they want to. They may not be perfect 100% of the time, but because they're focused on their goals and on the kind of person they'll become, they want to follow through. It means that when they have a really tough decision to make, they've built up such a strong level of trust with themselves, that they know what to do and aren't swayed by external forces.
Here's a really powerful example of someone who's clearly made and kept many promises to herself in a key area that paid off when it really mattered; actress Goldie Hawn...