As I’ve worked with clients and associates to create a foundation for high performance, it is often our approach to deal first with the areas that, upon investigation and evaluation, are clearly lacking integrity (in the dictionary sense of integrity: being whole and complete). In our model, integrity for an individual boils down to one’s word being whole and complete, and it is often easiest to start that inquiry by addressing the already-apparent areas: where are you not doing what you said you’d do, what you know to do and/or what the people around you could expect you to do? Usually, discovering what’s missing in these areas doesn’t take a lot of looking, as we are often already aware of many of them and yet still aren’t in action.
Certainly, taking this route of starting with what we already know is lacking can be very productive and, whether we see things that were missing that we weren’t already aware of or we get some new insight into the impact that our lack of integrity has had, can produce large shifts in performance through very simple, “small” actions. However, in many cases the “stuckness” persists and the actions remain undone. Why is this?
My assertion is that this often is happening because those actions, or some other element of our business or endeavor (perhaps the entire endeavor itself) is not actually aligned with what really matters to us. Therefore, we are just trying to fix and force something that we will never enact with full integrity because the act itself lacks integrity; that is, what we said we’d do or “know” to do or are expected to do is out of integrity with what we stand for– what really and truly matters to us at the level of principles and values. The roles, commitments and expectations we’ve taken on are just not an expression of who we know ourselves to be and what we say we stand for at the deepest, most profound and uncompromised levels.
Perhaps that is the place to start the inquiry. Perhaps when we distinguish, tell the truth about and give voice to our values, our principles and our stand for ourselves and others, perhaps then it becomes apparent why we do what we do and don’t do what we don’t do. From that place, the commitments we make and the actions we take will naturally line up, and the day-to-day performance (and experience of satisfaction and fulfillment) will naturally increase. That is the integrity that moves mountains… the mountains that we are actually and deeply committed to moving.
This takes courage, no doubt– in the inquiry and the application. It may well be that what you discover as your principles and what you create as your stand may run counter to the “status quo”, whether it be in your current business model, the relationships you’re in, the lifestyle you’ve set up for yourself or even the nature of society at large.
I say, go for it anyway. I say, it’s better to be who you truly are and live out your stand in the world– even in the face of discomfort, disagreement and perhaps outright resistance– than to live a life of resignation, self-doubt, justification and complacency. But that’s me, and this isn’t about me. What do you say?
Are you willing to stand for what you say you stand for, or even to explore and tell the truth about what really matters to you in the first place? Are you willing to be insightfully straight with yourself about who you are, what’s important to you and what you want to create in the world– and then design a project, an organization or business, a life, around fulfilling on that? What would that look like for you?
Let us know what you’re up to, and how we can support you in fulfilling on it.
© ALS Consulting 2014