March 31, 2023

Let's talk about Integrity. And let's keep our focus on personal Integrity -- meaning let us focus on how we live our life rather than how others live their lives. This month's Blog is a challenge and an opportunity for each one of us to go deeply inside  -- to explore and learn at a deeper level about how we each view personal Integrity in the context of personal growth and development. 
What does personal Integrity mean to you? What does personal integrity mean to me? What does living with Integrity mean to each of us -- at this stage in our lives?  

My own definition of personal Integrity is being true to my Highest Self -- living in full alignment with my Highest Self, being congruent with my core values, and having the 'backbone' and character to do, say, and live by these standards.

Do I mess up? Yes, I am a human Being. I make mistakes all the time. This is not an exercise in being perfect. Rather, going deeply within to explore the meaning of personal Integrity is an exercise in clarity, accepting being perfectly imperfect, and always challenging myself to learn and grow -- to be the best I can be. The inside joke is -- I will never get there! And I am okay with that.

In the CHPC™ (Certified High Performance Coaching) course, Declarations, we use a definition which goes like this: 

"Integrity is kept by everyday choices we make about 
how we show up, treat each others, and 
stay true to our deepest values and highest aspirations." 

Of the four CHPC™ courses I lead, this is my favorite because it takes the core lessons in High Performance Habits to the next level and brings in a combination of motivational practices and philosophical wisdom. The CHPC™ Declarations Course is loosely based on Brendon Burchard’s, The Motivation Manifesto: 9 Declarations to Claim Your Personal Power. 

Let us dive into the deep end of the pool as seems to be my nature and start with Declaration # VI. "We Shall Not Break Integrity." 

In the CHPC™ Declarations course we challenge ourselves to the ask the tough questions -- and each person must find their own answers. So let's start by asking a few questions: 

  • At this stage of your life what would living with full integrity mean to you?
  • Are there changes you want to make to bring your personal or professional life into better alignment with your values and aspirations? 
  • Do you feel like you have been keeping your word and commitment to your family, friends, to those you lead -- and to yourself? 
  • If you could make only ONE commitment today to live with even more Integrity in your life, what would that commitment be? 

Please pause and take out your journal or e-notepad and write your reflections and answers. There is no need to wordsmith -- just write from your heart -- let if flow. Then come back to your notes tomorrow or the next day and continue to refine your thinking -- your commitments -- your call to action. Only you can come up with the answers that make sense to you. 

The Declarations Course does not have your answers to these questions. What we do provide are time-tested practices that have proven successful for helping people move from where they are to where they want to be. So after you have had some time to reflect, let's move on and add some food for thought: The Six Practices of Integrity. (See pages 174-177 in the chapter: "We Shall Not Break With Integrity.")  The discussion which follows begins with one of the 6 Practices of Integrity and a quote that jumps off the page at me and helps explain the practice. Next there is a situational question or two to prompt your reflection either on times when you have been tempted to stray from the practice or on what action you will take to help reinforce a constructive response going forward. Then I share a personal note and learning experience in dealing with each of the 6 Practices of Integrity.  

  1. Think before we act. "Are the choices I am about to make going to support my sanity and happiness as well as the health and welfare of my family and community?" 

    Think for a minute about the last time you spoke too soon, or made some assumptions that turned out to be wrong. What cue would you use to hit the 'pause button'? Some people count to 3. Others say something like 'I'll get back to you tomorrow on that.' 

    This is a particularly challenging practice, at least for me. It has taken years of consistent practice to train my body-mind how to calm my emotions when triggered by an event or what a person has just said or done. My personal pause button is to take 3 deep breaths, maintaining a smile and eye contact. This usually allows me enough time to change from reacting to responding as my Highest Self. When I mess up -- and it still happens more often than I care to admit -- I take a step back and learn this lesson at a deeper level.   

  2. Never commit to anything where we lack passion. "Isn't life meant to be a passionate love affair with our work, our faith, and those we are blessed to know, care for, and serve?" 

    Think for a minute about something you said 'Yes' to -- when you really wanted to say 'No.' 

    Gosh -- do I have a very long list!! The reason why I made some commitments in the past was typically because I did not have the courage to be honest or because I did not want to disappoint another person. Well, the tough lesson I have learned is that when I disappoint myself … there are usually even bigger consequences!  The art of saying 'No' with kindness, gratitude and respect is complex. 
  3. Keep our word. "Imagine completing your life and saying, 'I was a person that people could count on. I showed up when I said I would. I gave what I said I would. I delivered because I cared for my integrity and the people in my life.'" 

    What was the most recent situation where you made a commitment but were not able to deliver? 

    Gee whiz … this is a core value of mine. My word is my bond, as people say. However, when I say 'Yes' and over commit, I have learned the hard lesson, that the person who 'loses" is typically me, because I neglect the care and feeding of my energy. You can't pour from an empty cup -- you can't give your best when you are totally drained, emotionally, physically and spiritually. In addition, while I might not 'fail' to deliver, the quality of what I deliver may not be up to my standards. It is not a good feeling to deliver a subpar performance, i.e.., when I am not being congruent with my aspiration to show up as my Best Self.   

  4. Always treat others with respect. "Giving respect means to do no harm; to allow others their rights in expressing themselves; and to honor the fact that their own thoughts, feelings, and actions are real and justifiable in their own minds, even if we see them as unimportant or wrong." 

    What is your cue during times of conflict to remind yourself to treat 'the other side' with respect? Often, emotions are running high. What do you do to bring your emotions under control? 

    From my experience, Respect has two facets that are within our control. First, it means treating others with respect no matter how you feel you are being treated. Second, it means having an inviolate practice of Self-Respect. How we show up with others depends a lot on the inner work we have done. In my experience, working on and protecting our Self-Respect is essential. While we may not start there -- we inevitably must get to this issue. There is a close inter-relationship between Self-Respect and Self Worth.

    In addition, I have been doing a lot of work on deep listening. One element of deep listening is having the patience and calmness to truly listen to what the person is saying and the emotion behind what the person is saying, rather than thinking of what I will say when they are finally done talking. Lol.  
  5. Tell the truth. "To lie to oneself or others, then is to wound oneself. We mustn't allow ourselves the ease of telling any lie; the long-term cost is always embarrassment and regret." 

    Do you believe any lies -- even 'white lies' or 'lies of omission' are appropriate? Have you experienced -- on either side -- the trouble we get into by lying or being lied to? 

    I know in the past I have rationalized telling a 'small' lie as necessary because it might hurt someone's feelings or it might not be the 'right' time. Hmmm. Who am I to judge? Did I really know? This is where the practice, sometimes called the Three Gates, comes in handy. Ask yourself: Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind? If it is true and necessary, then figure a way to say it with kindness. If it is not 'necessary', then say nothing. The Three Gates are also helpful in Practice  #1. 

    For the last several years I have also been working on being more honest with myself. When I am truly intent on changing, growing and aspiring to my Highest Self -- I must be even more honest with myself. It doesn't work real well to tell a lie about mySelf when I am deep in meditation and/or prayer.  

  6. Always favor action. "When our mind wants something for good and meaningful reasons and we do not pursue it, this is like dismissing our own heart and mind. The less we trust ourselves, know ourselves, love ourselves." 

    What are the excuses you most often fall back on when you don't take action? How has that worked for you? 

    I love this practice! Since a child, I have always been a person of action. Perhaps that is why I love sports so much. The hard lesson, for me, was to learn that while I was in control of my actions -- I was not in control of the outcome! Sometimes, actions have unexpected consequences -- sometimes good, sometimes not so good.

    I have also learned that the more I trust myself, the more I learn to listen to my mind, my heart, and my gut (intuition), the more I love myself, -- the more my actions are congruent with my Highest Self. It may appear counterintuitive, but my consistent meditation practice has been very powerful in helping me learn to listen, trust and love at deeper levels -- and has been instrumental in guiding my call to action.     

The purpose of these  6 Practices of Integrity is to help us find simple and natural ways to guide our every day choices about how we show up in our lives with Integrity. Practicing Integrity happens every day of our lives. 

Isn't this deep and challenging work? I hope you love it as much as I do!

Let us close with a question we asked at the outset:  

If you could make only ONE commitment today
to live with even more Integrity in your life,
what would that commitment be?  

After journaling and reflecting, after a deeper understanding of the Six Practices of Integrity -- have you changed or refined your answer? Do you now have a clear answer and a commitment -- your personal call to action -- to live your life with even more integrity? 

I will be overjoyed if this time together has been meaningful and motivational -- even in some small way -- for you to live your one precious life with even more Integrity.  I would love to hear from you. I highly recommend The Motivation Manifesto: 9 Declarations to Claim Your Personal Power by Brendon Burchard. If you would like to learn more about the CHPC™ Declarations Course -- a deep experiential learning process, please email me at [email protected] and let's talk. 

As the legendary Zig Ziglar has said:

"Integrity gives you real freedom because
your have nothing to fear
since you have nothing to hide."

Indeed. Personal Integrity is integral to achieving Personal Freedom and to claiming our Personal Power. 

 Till next time, with deep respect and deep gratitude.     

May you be happy now and always,  Alison 











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