When Does Integrity Really Matter?

This integrity stuff is pretty complicated. We can’t have enough of it. We need integrity for work, we need some more at home, maybe a little with friends, and we sure can’t forget about the people at church, we sure want our church friends to know we have integrity. 

There are apparently different “types” of integrity too. There is work or professional integrity. There is personal integrity and the integrity we display with family and close friends. Some people have that “special” integrity they use when they really want to impress people with their honesty.

Integrity gets complicated when we have to determine which “kind” to use and when to use it. There is really no point in using the “special” integrity with the people closest to us because they will see through it in about 10 seconds. 

Sometimes we forget we’re at work and our personal integrity slips out. That’s not good because often times our personal integrity is not up to the standards of our professional integrity. When that happens the people we work with could start to question whether we have integrity at all. 

And they should!

You see, integrity really isn’t complicated at all. You either have integrity all the time or you have no integrity. Integrity and ethics go hand in hand. When you sacrifice your ethics for any reason your integrity goes right out the window with it.

Integrity isn’t complicated because you don’t need several “kinds” of integrity. If fact, you can’t have more than one if you wanted to because there is only one true “kind” of integrity. It’s the kind where you do the right thing solely because it’s the right thing to do.

Most people know the right thing to do. They have a hard time admitting that because often times doing the right thing means not doing the thing they really want to do. 

If you struggle with what’s “right” here are two ideas:

Get yourself a mentor. Find someone who cares about you, who is someone you trust and admire and hopefully someone who has achieved some level of success. A good mentor helps you look at things from more directions than you can see them alone. They can provide you with clarity that’s hard to achieve on your own. They will help you discover “right.”  By the way, your current level of success makes no difference, you will be more successful if you have a mentor.

Know and understand your core values and principles. Who are you really? Do you even know? It’s amazing to me how little time most people spend understanding themselves and determining the principles they will fight for. It’s your core values and principles that help you determine right from wrong. Those core values help you to know where your lines are that you won’t cross. Your core values and principles guide you to sound decisions and help you to eliminate regret from your life.

Integrity becomes easier to find, nurture and grow when you know your core values. Discover who you are today and every one of tomorrow’s decisions will be easier. 

So when does integrity really matter?  It matters every minute of everyday. It matters at work, at home, with friends and with family. Most of all it matters with you. Everybody else may be fooled by the appearance of your integrity from time to time but you never will.

You know, in your heart of hearts you know, if you have integrity or not. 

8 thoughts on “When Does Integrity Really Matter?

  1. Told by a wise friend, integrity can be understood by ‘doing something whatever that can make you sleep sound at night, every night – say what you want to say without any fear of getting pointed back – no guilt’
    Having integrity, and sleep like a baby 🙂
    Thank for the enlightment, Steve…

  2. Great essay.

    I love the comment regarding “current level of success makes no difference, you will be more successful if you have a mentor.” True that.

    Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, once commented on the importance of having a coach. Reason? We’re never good at seeing ourselves as others see us.

    The majority of my clients are already successful. Why do they -need- a coach? They don’t. They -want- a coach. They want to get better every day.

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