In today’s material driven world, we’ve grown to think that a little lying, a little shading of the truth is okay. It’s acceptable. So sales people are trained to not tell the whole truth but lie just enough to close the deal. To not be totally upfront with customers about the REAL shipment date and delivery of the goods but to get the order first THEN worry about the customer being disappointed later on.
In business bribing company officials seems to be normal. Pay more money, get certain services expedited faster. Grease the hand of the accounts personnel and your invoices will be paid quickly. The person who passes the most money and gifts gets the most contracts. And these gifts could be as trivial as tickets to the movies and all inclusive fetes or as extravagant as trips abroad and fancy cars – just depends on the industry and the size and value of the orders etc.
Today you’re looking around and seeing so much corruption… I mean – even politicians get elected lying just a little – and you wonder “is this the ONLY way to make a living after all who’s looking out for me?” I observe many business owners toe this line on a daily basis, wondering if they’d be better off just crossing over to the side of the corrupt if they are to survive in their businesses. Tempted because it seems that EVERYBODY is doing it AND getting away with it too! But is that true?
Webster’s dictionary defines integrity as “firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values” and describes a person of integrity as incorruptible. A person of integrity goes the extra mile to do what’s right EVEN when no one is looking – even if it’s difficult. They tell the truth. Show up on time. Do what they say they’re going to do.
We are all calling for a stronger economy. We are all looking for answers to improve how we’re doing what we’re doing in the hope that we will make more money. I believe that a stronger economy WILL follow if each of us commits to living a life of excellence and integrity.
Our first step towards living a life of integrity is keeping our promises – do what you say you are going to do. In one of his newsletters, Robert Shemin, Wealth Advisor for both CNN and Fox News shares “We all complain about how people just don’t’ do what they say. Your friend vowed to call you back this morning, the contractor said he would finish yesterday and the check has been in the mail for over two months now. We’ve heard it all before but before jumping the gun and indulging into yet another round of complaints, why not take a moment and look at our own conduct? Every day we base our day, schedule and business on people’s commitment to show up, pay up or otherwise deliver on their word. If you’re like me, you spend the better part of your day running after these commitments, checks and promises. How much time and effort is lost because of it? But Are we innocent?”
I came across a paper entitled “Ten Affirmations of Integrity” but there was no mention of the author. These affirmations are simple, yet so very profound. If you look at this list daily and begin to internalize it, I believe we could begin to see more people transform and become more capable of living more abundant and fulfilling lives. Here’s the list:
- When I make a promise I will keep that promise
- When I set a goal I will work to achieve it
- I will treat others as I would treat myself
- I will conduct my life with excellence
- I will be personally accountable
- I will face my mistakes and grow from them
- I will relate to others with honesty
- I will show respect for authority
- I will honour my debts
- I will love people and use things
Daniel Sitter author of Learning for Profit encourages us to commit to living our lives as if we are always being scrutinized. I say remove the word “shortcut” from your vocabulary altogether. And if you’re serious about your commitment to integrity then you will NEVER take that first step. Authors Brett and Kate McKay in their post titled ‘Living a Life of Integrity’ share sobering words for those of us still not convinced that lying, cheating, or any shade of corrupt behaviour is NOT the way to go.
“When a great man falls from grace, we often wonder how he could have ever messed up so royally. The truth is that he didn’t wake up one day and decide to commit an egregious blunder. It started with a little fudging here, a tiny bit of lying there.”
Don’t lie or be dishonest in your dealings. Lies are NOT colour coded. There is no such thing as a white, gray, green, yellow, black or pink lie. A lie is simply…a lie. If you’re not telling the truth it means you’re DISHONEST. By the age of 29 Bo Bennett had developed, built up and sold an innovative technology company during the peak of the tech boom and sold it for $20,000,000. He knows about what it takes to be successful and he says “for every good reason there is to lie, there is a better reason to tell the truth.” How does integrity relate to prosperity? It’s simple: we reap what we sow. This is not a law where we get to argue that sometimes it’s different depending on who’s sowing. It’s immutable.