Someone I know socially – someone I’m not close to and never done business with asked, “can you write an article on integrity?”
I re-read his note several times and remain confused. Was he asking my opinion on this subject?
Or challenging me in some way?
Does he think I should/could write something worthy, or is he challenging me in some oblique way to defend myself or my actions in the integrity realm?
I wrote him, asked why, but got no reply.
[I began writing this piece – then his reply arrived, saying: “I would like your opinion on the topic I want to give a speech on this topic” – so what you see here was written before I got that reply].
Should I look in my mirror to question my own integrity-meter, ask myself to ‘self-score’?
Integrity, for me, starts with being real and honest with myself.
Any thief or crook could have integrity and can be honest, but probably wouldn’t be your first friend choice. Which begs the question of how integrity fits/overlaps with ‘law abiding’, promise keeping and ‘how we treat others’?
Integrity and honesty are terms often used interchangeably in conversation but I don’t think their meanings overlap.
Truth is truth. Telling truth is being honest, but integrity goes well beyond that, does it not?
Integrity also means being real, not necessarily a transparent open book but being someone whose actions, words, feelings and undertakings align.
Integrity isn’t about good or back, likable or not likable – integrity is about being who we are, something we are clear about and proud of, whether anyone is listening/watching or not.
Recognizing who we are, knowing strengths and weaknesses, knowing our ‘features and benefits’ while not forgetting inherent flaws, defects, failings and ‘issues’ is core to self-understanding.
Choosing to disclose vs. not disclose is not an integrity issue, but false disclosures or failure to disclose something essential. In other words, everyone we meet doesn’t need (or want) or deserve to know everything at the outset, or ever. The responsibility on our part is to not leave an incorrect view in someone’s mind whether through an act of omission or by deliberately obscuring our truth …
Integrity is at play if we fail to disclose something which is important to our business, friendship or interaction with someone or if we tell something ‘not true’ or misleading which falsely represents the reality. And, in writing this piece a number of public figures some to mind, but so do many ordinary people I know.
Just being quiet doesn’t mean someone lacks integrity, just as speaking lots and loud doesn’t mean you do have integrity. Again, some public figures come to mind. As do some people I know who are well thought of and popular – though I’ve seen the other side of them in action and now give them a very wide-berth.
Taking the measure of someone’s integrity is like getting to know a magician. Those who do up-close magic. It isn’t so much about figuring out their trick, as validating what we see and what we hear is real rather than some well concealed trick.
Integrity is standing in our own truth whether it is comfortable or not. Integrity is not altering how we tell our truth so someone will get a better and/or false impression of us and a distorted view of the truth.
If you want some real world tests of integrity, examine the words and the evidence connected with your favourite recent public company or political scandal – they seem to be everywhere. Thankfully for every one of them exposed for lacking integrity there is a courageous person standing tall amid the fray demonstrating they’ve got a ton of integrity. It isn’t about ‘picking moments’ or being strategic – it’s more about never having to because there isn’t a second or third face or spin to put on things depending on the audience.
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