The word integrity conjures up a myriad of emotions and thoughts. Everything from those people we immediately think of and those we hope to never see again. When it comes to how we locate our integrity the first important concept to understand is the saying that “how you do anything is how you do everything.” What that quote sets up is the notion that we need to aware of every area in our life and continually ask ourselves where am I living in and where am I living out of integrity.
This is a daily question. Asking ourselves how we show up is a start. The deeper question that we must ask is what repeated patterns occur as we show up. Are those patterns positive or negative? For example, do you wake up at the same time every day, or have a family meal every night, or even needing coffee before you do anything else. These are the non-negotiable things in our lives that our minds hold onto.
The final piece to locating our integrity is to ask the two-fold question: chiefly being how do we stay in integrity with the non-negotiable’s in our lives. The second is to answer how we don’t stay in line with the negotiable’s. When we tell our mind something like ‘I need to get up at 5am everyday’ we are programming ourselves to make that a non-negotiable, so even if we choose to go to bed at 330am, 500 still comes. What that also tells our mind is that everything outside of the non-negotiable are negotiable, or to state it bluntly: your mindset is not in integrity with the negotiable’s.
Negotiable’s vs. Non-Negotiable Mindset
The non-negotiable items are us living in the integrity of who we are. If you and your spouse have a date night every Wednesday at six, you are saying your marriage is important. If you say we have a date night every Wednesday but don’t schedule anything 530, you are living outside of your integrity, or your marriage isn’t as important as you say.
Negotiable items are our way of saying “I don’t want to commit until I know all the offers before deciding.” We justify living outside of our integrity by telling ourselves by not committing we are not letting anyone down or having to reschedule something in hopes that the other person will believe we are living a life if integrity.
Show Up OR Not Showing Up?
Think about integrity for a moment. There are two concepts of integrity. The first is challenging the negotiable vs the non-negotiable’s in life. Are they in-line with our actions, our visions, or the goals we set? This is what integrity is. The second though if integrity is what most people default to and that is integrity is just following through. It is important to follow though; however, it is more important to be aligned with our actions, visions, and goals as they will help us follow through since when aligned, we typically only do those things that we are aligned with. A simpler way to think abut this is to let your yes be yes, and your no be no. This doesn’t mean perfection by any means, but it does mean that our goal is to stay aligned in our integrity. But what happens if we fall out of integrity. What happens if we fall out of integrity? How do we get back in alignment?
Have The Conversation
First off, when we get off track, WE have the responsibility to get back to alignment. We must have the conversation with the person (or people) that we got out of integrity with. For example, if we say we are going to take our kid out on a special date, and we don’t we are out of alignment. We need to not assume the person will be okay with it and we need to create a follow through for the follow through that we didn’t follow through with!
Living outside of integrity should be obvious as it typically shows up as conflict. Saying to the person ‘you are important to me’ is a good start of the conversation and it helps keep us in integrity. When we don’t have the talk, we remain in the loop of non-integrity.
The little things matter to achieving the bigger ones
Fixing it is quite simple. Managing our time, knowing and understanding our negotiables vs our non-negotiables, laying our foundational mindset, and applying healthy boundaries are what help keep us aligned.
When we apply discipline, boundaries, and time management to our lives, we end up staying in integrity more often. We create healthy patterns in life, and we find navigating difficult situations not so difficult.
How do you see your integrity? What ways do you stay in integrity and how do you get back into alignment when you fall out? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments!