Don’t you just wish people would stand by their word? Personally, I’d like to believe it’s just a given, and as certain as night follows day, people will act in integrity all the time across all situations. Unfortunately that’s just not the case. Maybe those people who don’t stand by their word are folks closest to you.
Maybe they are you.
Integrity is an interesting thing. When you’re in it, it feels AWESOME. When you’re not, it totally sucks. Even if you’re the only one who knows about it. Or thinks you’re the only one who knows about it 😉
When I was in Landmark Education™ courses they would say integrity is ‘doing what you said you’d do by when you said you’d do it’.
But I think that’s too simplistic. See, you can do things by when you said you’d do them, and still be out of integrity. How so? Because there is both external integrity and internal integrity, and then there is who you’re being when you’re doing what you do, and that’s the toughest to fake out of all of them.
An example: A few years ago I had hired a coach and after our initial 6 months together I re-signed a contract with her. It was at a higher rate than before, and I was a little freaked out by that and wondering if it was the best choice for me. There was another coach I was vetting at the time and I just assumed I couldn’t afford her, so I stayed with my coach, who was good, just fine, but not a perfect fit – or so I thought.
A couple months into our contract I could feel myself wanting to pull out. I told her I wanted to quit coaching with her, and that I wanted to break my contract with her. This was a pattern for me at the time: I would make commitments and say I was all in, but when it came to really doing the work or paying for it, I would try to quit, or return whatever it was I paid for and get my money back, saying it wasn’t a good fit. (This was a pattern that showed up everywhere in my life).
I was looking for something comfortable, something or someone to push me, but not beyond where I was willing to go. As you can imagine, this pattern was less than effective.
To her credit, she wouldn’t let me break the contract. She pulled the integrity card on me, and it’s one that works especially well for me because it’s something I highly value (even though I was out of it!). She told me that if I kept up with this pattern I’d continue to attract people and situations where it would play out again and again. But worse than that, I would be out of integrity with my word, and thinking back to my Landmark days, and the work I do with my clients I knew, if I didn’t have my word, I had NOTHING.
I chose to continue on with her and I paid my monthly coaching payment until the agreement was over. I was in integrity, and I felt good about that. I felt a little resentful at times, but mostly good about the fact that I was paying and keeping my word.
Then I realized at some point that the resentment was really more towards myself than her because the fact of the matter was that even though I was in integrity with her, I wasn’t in integrity with myself.
I had pulled back from the coaching. I didn’t engage as much. I blamed her, but really it was my own crap coming up, and instead of owning it fully and engaging fully, I used the resentment and the story I made up in my head about her that she wasn’t all that great and that I didn’t really get that much from our time together as an excuse.
Ah, the excuse. That glorified verbiage that absolves us of ever having to really be in integrity, with ourselves or someone else.
Excuses are integrity’s nemesis.
They are the sirens who sing melodies that tempt strong souls to bend the rules of engagement just a little here and there, and stop to visit the isle of cop-out. “…Stay awhile…won’t you? We’ll make you feel all better. La la la”
Turns out, that coach was perfect for me.
I just couldn’t see it at the time.
I have a situation showing up in my life where someone is out of integrity with me, and while it’s frustrating on my end, I actually have another point of view now that is much more empowering for us both. It’s this:
Being out of integrity with me is just a part of the pattern of being out of integrity with herself-and that sucks way more for her than it ever will with regards to me and my role in her pattern.
I see this as an opportunity for her to really give herself a different experience around her worth, money, and keeping her word. It’s an opportunity for me to step out of my comfort zone and hold another person to their word, regardless of the situation.
This is one of those pivot points that a person can really choose to engage with and bust through, breaking the patterns that hold them back.
That’s what being in integrity does, it’s being in alignment with who you say you want to BE and being that, no matter what the heck comes up, and especially when what comes up sucks. Integrity is what breaks patterns of ineffectiveness, fear, and drifting from this situation to that one with no rudder and a pocketful of excuses as currency.
Integrity is 100%. It’s not half-assed, and even if you are the only one who knows it (or thinks you’re the only one who knows it), you are the one who ultimately has to live with the consequences, and that is where your choice determines so much.
The fact that integrity is a choice is not what sucks, it’s that sometimes the situations which call us to be in integrity are painful, uncomfortable, and not how we wanted it to go. (These are the ones’ I’ve learned the most from – how about you?)
Ironically, the last reason is why integrity actually doesn’t suck at all (if you choose to BE IN IT 100%) because even if the situation is not what you expected or wanted, it’s always perfect. You get to choose how you’re going to Be, what lesson you’re learning, and how much you’re going to align with your word.
Question: What do you need to clean up in order to be fully in integrity?
That’s the cool thing, it’s never too late to choose…