Skeletons in the Closet
More on “Walking the Talk” …
Everyone faces tough choices, both professionally and personally. And if you’re trying to get ahead professionally, secure a profitable contract, make a big sale, or avoid some kind of opposition, there’s the temptation to stretch the truth, omit some important information, be a little “generous” in the way you describe yourself, your work or your past accomplishments, or fudge it a little on the explanation you give as to how you plan to use the money that you’re collecting or soliciting. But those things do come back to haunt you, like spooky skeletons rattling in your closet.
If you wonder where you stand, a good measure is to imagine someone observing your life, both at home and while out witnessing and doing business, for one month. Would you be embarrassed by little fibs, frequent exaggerations or misleading deception? Would you hear that “rattle, rattle, rattle” in your closet? Or do you tell the truth? Are you honest? Do you have integrity?
Think about it.
Mean What You Say
If you don’t have credibility, no one will follow you. It doesn’t matter if you’re the strong, silent type or the charismatic star. What counts is your integrity, the commitment to doing what is right, even when that isn’t the most popular or comfortable choice.
Foster these four characteristics to bolster integrity:
1. Congruity – practicing what you preach.
2. Responsibility – admitting your mistakes and fixing them.
3. Reliability – being available in the moments that matter.
4. Honesty – being honorable and trustworthy without equivocation.
Get all four in place, and you’re already ahead of a significant portion of the population. Integrity means trust, and people who lack the trust of those on their team or of those above them cannot succeed. Without trust, you may be unable to muster the power you need to sustain or achieve your goals.
People who lack integrity also lack the ability to influence others to support their visions. Be trustworthy, and above all, learn to trust the people who you want to trust you in return – no matter how tough the going gets. Don’t allow the pressure of the task at hand to make you waver from your goal or sacrifice your integrity.
You do not live by chance; you live by choice.-Pat Croce
Success That Lasts
To have ongoing, steady success, you must operate with integrity. A lack of honor and honesty will destroy your professional and personal relationships.
To develop your integrity:
¥ Never deliberately mislead clients to achieve a sale. Avoid even small lies.
¥ Keep your client’s best interests at the center of your pitch.
¥ Treat others as you wish to be treated.
¥ Steer clear of even the appearance of improper behavior or conflicts of interest.
(Note: The following excerpts are taken from the Home Spokesperson Seminar; HSP 2008_03.)
Be Known for Your Integrity?
People in the world respect integrity and people who live up to their ethics-and they expect that from Christians. Once you tell people you are a missionary or a volunteer for a Christian organization, in most countries, this immediately creates an expectation of integrity and honesty.
The influential, labor leaders, and the movers and shakers that we are seeking to reach in the Offensive, will measure us by that measuring stick. They will want to see whether your walk matches your talk. As you get close to them, you may find that they will test you on that score. They will want to know whether they can really trust you or not, and that trust will be built through your integrity in your day-to-day interaction with them.
The world often expects an even higher standard of integrity in Christians than they do of anyone else, and you can count on the different publics you interact with expecting that of you.
Jesus: Integrity and honesty are traits respected the world over, just as deceitfulness and lying are universally condemned. Think about how you’re living. … Are you upfront in your business dealings? Are you above reproach in the way you live and the impression you have given to your contacts? …
Practice being truth-speakers, people of integrity, people who can be counted on to deal with each other and those of the world honestly, squarely, fairly, and with the complete truth as often as you can. That’s a good sample of Meâ a good reflection of Meâ and you will reap personal blessings for being upfront and honest. (Shooting Straight, Part 6! ML #3505:69,76).
Create a Bridge Between Your Spirituality and Your Work
To create a bridge between your spirituality and your work means that you take the essence of who you are and what you believe into your daily work life. It means that if kindness, patience, honesty and generosity are spiritual qualities that you believe in, you make every effort to practice those qualities at work. You treat people with kindness and respect. If someone is late or makes a mistake, you try to be patient. Even if it’s your job to reprimand someone, you do so from a place of love and respect. You are as generous as you can be-with your time, money, ideas and love.
In any given day, you have so many opportunities to practice patience, acts of kindness, and forgiveness. You have time to think loving thoughts, smile, embrace others, and practice gratitude. You can practice being a better listener. You can try to be compassionate, especially with difficult or abrasive people. You can practice your spirituality in virtually everything you do. (From Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff at Work, by Richard Carlson.)
Integrity and Professionalism
Jesus: Integrity and professionalism are two complementary concepts, the one works hand-in-hand with the other. It’s not possible to be truly professional while lacking in integrity or ethics. Integrity is a cornerstone of professionalism, and professionals are called to adhere to a high standard and code of ethics.
In any profession, there is a standard code of conduct or ethical standard which those who receive the license, diploma, or certificate allowing them to exercise their profession must abide by. Integrity is what makes or breaks a company or organization. If it is discovered that an individual or organization is not living up to their word and expected code of conduct, they lose face, and people lose faith in them and their ability to provide the services they specialize in. Integrity is crucial to the success of any company, business, or professional.
Integrity in your profession as missionaries means:
–being open, honest, transparent, forthright, and living up to your word and promises.
–that your walk and talk are one and the same.
–that your presentation of the work of your Home is accurate, up-to-date, and professional.
–you are diligent and careful to respect your donors’ wishes when receiving designated donations.
–you are diligent in business management, providing things honest in the sight of all men.
–you can open the doors to your Home, welcoming those from the outside, confident that it will accurately reflect and represent the Family.
–you are called to love, and be a sample of that love to those in your community.
Of course, nobody can maintain a perfect standard in all of the details all of the time or always fully live up to their ideals-but a professional is bound by his word to actively strive to do so.
Integrity is about what we will not do, about what we will not give up, about what we stand for at all costs. … Integrity is very much at the center of who we are, and to lose it is to lose an essential part of our identity.
Integrity involves standing up for what we believe in-and that takes courage.
Integrity is most important when it is most threatened, and it is courage that gives us the strength to push back those threats. (Lawrence M. Hinman)
The dictionary defines integrity as “the state of being complete, unified.” When I have integrity, my words and my deeds match up. I am who I am, no matter where I am or who I am with.
People with integrity have nothing to hide and nothing to fear. Their lives are open books.
A person of integrity is one who has established a system of values against which all of life is judged. (V. Gilbert Beers)
Integrity is not what we do so much as who we are. And who we are, in turn, determines what we do. Our system of values is so much a part of us that we cannot separate it from ourselves. It becomes the navigating system of our lives.
If what I say and what I do are the same, the results are consistent.
Integrity results in a solid reputation, not just image.
Image is what people think we are. Integrity is what we really are.
Image promises much but produces little. Integrity never disappoints. (John C. Maxwell)
Integrity is the glue that holds our way of life together. We must constantly strive to keep our integrity intact. (Billy Graham)