What does Integrity mean? Why is integrity important as part of any leadership development plan?
Using myself as the canvas.. My life from the beginning has been about truth, integrity and speaking up.
My first words were not platitudes of endearment. No..not me. My first words were “bugger, bugger, bugger!”
Something about my very young life was making me unhappy, and rather than cry, I vocalised the young warriors call. Now to complete this picture, I was born in Fiji, so my attire at a very young age was a cloth nappy (no such thing as disposables in those days), and that was it. I had white hair that stood up on my head, as if I was permanently in a field of electrical energy. Which I probably was. So if you can picture this very cute mostly naked baby with shocking white hair and expletives coming out of her mouth. The light and the shadow in outrageous cuteness!
The inability to stay still or silent when there is work to be done and people and places to fight for has been with me since day one. A lot of my work involves supporting people to find their own voice when they are feeling small and marginalised. How to be assertive, and to speak with clarity and truth. Thankfully my vocabulary and skill set around communication has evolved beyond 'bugger bugger bugger', although occasionally this really is the best response.
So...what does integrity mean in practice...? (In distinction to the definition of integrity)
If integrity is a large part of what I teach, where is it that I continue to learn Integrity? What does Integrity mean to me on a day to day basis and how do I make it an integral part of my own personal leadership development plan? For surely, as the sun goes below the horizon every day, finding the places in me that are out of integrity is where the work is. And will be until the day I draw my last breath. The beauty of this is that the quest for my own fault lines in integrity get ever more subtle. And sometimes not...(said with a smile, that comes from knowing I sometimes sideline myself)
'What does integrity mean' to me is a commitment, every day, to the inquiry around my own living breathing integrity going all the way down to the very subtle unconscious levels.
I have to pay ever more attention. And every now and then a boulder size lesson falls on my head, and like humpty dumpty, I sit in my own brokenness, and mostly fall in love with the whole perfection of life and its messiness all over again. Pick myself up, get the lesson, be incredibly grateful, and move to the next one....
The world is going through a collective humpty dumpty moment around our integrity with money, politics and the environment.
Each and every one of us is being asked to look at our relationship with money and the places we are out of integrity with our money, investments, work, expectations of entitlement, value, generosity...our relationship with money is a great place to ask ..what does integrity mean to me?
My relationship with money has been under serious review for many years now. My belief system and experience has been that money is hard to make, I am not smart with money, and that I am not being supported.
Of course the next question is “where am I not supporting others?”...because support needs to live in me before it can come from the outside in.
Around the 'money is hard'...well that is a deep seated belief I am not far from uprooting for good. Needless to say, I am really OK with the choices I have made to this point around how I have made money.
*through my own endeavors and by supporting others in theirs
*by doing work that adds real value
*for the major part of my life, by doing work that aligned with my values, skills and joy
In reference to my not being smart around money...well there is definitely a part of this that has been true. But not any more. I have spent beyond my means, built debt, and not been responsible. I have created a past by living in a future avoiding the present.
Being smart around money is really quite simple.
*spend less than you earn
*in the process contribute value to all living things and the environment and do this in ever increasing ways (ephemeralisation)
*invest time, love, energy, effort and money in places/people/businesses that match your integrity
*live in the deep knowledge of the abundance of life
*surround yourself with people who are complimentary to your skills and abilities and operate from the same level of integrity as you
*be mindful of the shadow elements...greed wants money for nothing, vanity wants money for appearance, lust wants money to fill an eternal void, scarcity is an insatiable monster that will never be satisfied and always cries for more
*have a reserve because life ebbs and flows..its just the way it is
*borrow only when you are making an investment in an idea that will add even more value to even more people/places
I sense...I get..that this daily inquiry into my own truth..my willingness to stand naked and look at my failings and then to do something about them...this..answers the question..what does integrity mean?
What does integrity mean?..to practice being the most aligned, congruent and truthful person, daily...in ever increasingly deeper ways.
It is the inner inquiry wrapped in a constancy of integrity that formulates the foundation of a personal leadership development plan.
Hopefully in using this personal example around my own relationship to money, and the opportunity for me to ever more refine my truth and integrity around money, I have provided, by example, a definition of what does integrity mean.
(Also check out my sister site, dedicated to integrity.
And I would love to hear from you...
Please share your personal experience and thoughts around integrity.
Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...
For a close up look at my definition of integrity
To Return from What Does Integrity Mean, to Integrity is the Essence
To Return to Guniea Pig C
To Return to Personal Sustainability
To Return to Positive Deviant Home Page