Integrity: How to Walk the Talk
Everyone talks the talk. Most folks walk the walk. No one likes to admit they lack it. Without it, motivation is dangerous, relationships turn toxic, and power becomes disastrous. What is it? Integrity.
What would you do if a friend shared a false or hurtful rumor about you, but refused to disclose its source, and in fact neglected to defend or stand-up for you?
What would you do if a self-proclaimed integrity-loving client reneged on important elements of a written agreement, then told you that pursuing any sort of action to uphold the agreement would “damage the relationship?”
For most of us, we’re caught off guard with disbelief, yet these are everyday situations we all must face at some point.
Sure, we understand the definition of integrity as the adherence to a moral or ethical code. But, isn’t the practical application, though, just insuring that our behaviors match our values? So, when our values and behaviors are congruent, are we “talking the talk” or “walking the talk” or both? Hmmm…
It seems the “friend” is really no friend at all for sharing the rumor and not defending you against what he/she knows to be false information; and the words and proclamations of the “integrity-loving client” prove empty while their actions reflect the true nature of their character, right?
Truthfully, both relationships are already damaged. Isn’t it best to simply sever the ties?
The dilemma: you have history with both the friend and the client…but, is there value in continuing to invest in either relationship? Does one have more value than the other?
I’m fond of following Jim Rohn’s lead that we become the average of the people we hang out with the most. If it’s true (and I believe it is), don’t we want to surround ourselves with people who make the right choice, and do the right thing, even when it’s difficult and painful?
Sadly we face the dilemma of breached integrity in personal relationships and professional dealings far too often. We’ve become weak and morally bankrupt when we’re more concerned with avoiding a difficult conversation or a painful situation than we are about making the right decision or doing the right thing.
My high school wrestling coach used to teach that short-term pain brings long-term gain. He was talking about pushing our physical bodies to the limit, never giving up, and avoiding the bowls of ice cream during the wrestling season.
But the same lesson applies when faced with potential breaches of integrity. Most could be avoided if we were simply willing to suck-it up, make the difficult choice, and do the right thing.
Make the right decision today.