Integrity is all about how you make and keep agreements with yourself and others.
Many of us have been taught to value and strive to live in integrity because it is a trait that contributes tremendously to living a simple, prosperous, happy life.
Here’s why: Integrity breeds trust. If you do what you say you will do, when you said you would do it and how you said you would do it, you have a high level of integrity and people will come to trust you. Even more importantly, you will trust yourself.
Trust breeds safety and connection. Two of the basic needs of any human being.
Conversely, when you are not true to your word or your agreements, you are not considered trustworthy and you will cut yourself off from opportunities, and abundance and negatively impact your relationships.
Unfortunately, even those of us who highly value and strive to be in integrity will find ourselves out of integrity at some point. The key is to “clean it up” (renegotiate your agreement) as soon as you realize you are, or that you are going to be, out of integrity.
It’s usually the small things that we do consistently and that we don’t even realize are an integrity issue, that erode our foundation of trust with ourselves and others. Here are a few examples of where I used to catch myself all the time (and still occasionally catch myself):
I’m talking on the phone with someone and someone else calls. I tell them I’m on a call and I’ll call them back in 2 minutes. 20 minutes later, I’m still on the call and I’ve completely forgotten about calling them back.
My child says “Mom, I’m hungry, can you fix me a sandwich?”. Sure, I’ll be right there. Then I get caught up with sending an email (or 3) or trying to finish writing an article I’m working on and forget all about my promise.
Sometimes you really want to be able to do something for someone and you may agree to something out of a desire to please or support someone you care for, but your plate is already over full and you “drop the ball”. You realize you are not going to be able to make it, or you are going to be late. Or, you may have made an agreement years before and your circumstances have changed and it no longer feels like it’s serving (you or the other party.)
Often times we tolerate situations because we feel we “have to”. I have seen so much pain created from people honoring agreements that are no longer serving because they “gave their word” because they simply haven’t considered this fact: agreements can be renegotiated or terminated. Just knowing and remembering this will prevent you on staying in situations that are no longer serving or creating complexity, complications and burdens where there can be simplicity, ease and joy!
Here are a few tips for staying in integrity and creating abundance, ease and joy.
1 – Make your commitments consciously and honor them when you make them!
When you agree to something make it from a place of conscious choice, not from a place of obligation. Stop trying to please everyone. You can’t. Take a moment and feel into what your truth is about something. Do a “gut check”. Next, check your calendar to ensure you don’t have any conflicts, then make your “yes mean yes”, and your “no mean no”. If you are not sure. Give yourself space to make a decision by saying “let me think about it and get back to you”.
2 – Organize and prioritize
When you know what your values are, where you are headed, what is important to you and what you are wanting to create and achieve, it’s easy to know what your priorities are. When you know what your priorities are, it is easy to decide upon what agreements you will make with yourself and others. It is also easier to stay in integrity with the agreements you make because you will have made them consciously and they will be aligned.
Part of being organized is creating a calendar with appointments and commitments and using it!
3 – Communicate, communicate, communicate!
- If have an appointment with someone and you’re running late. Let them know.
- If you said you’d do something and you are no longer willing or able. Let the person know ASAP so they can make other arrangements.
- If something is not working for you. Speak with the other party about it.
- If you need or want to renegotiate some aspect or all of an agreement, do it as quickly as possible. The longer you wait, the more complicated it gets.
4 – Be honest! With yourself and others. If something feels like a pressure or a burden, if you find yourself procrastinating around doing something you said you would do, ask yourself the following questions:
- Why did I agree to this?
- Is it still true for me?
- Is there some aspect that I can delegate or change (renegotiate) that would make it lighter and more enjoyable
Answer honestly. Honesty is the best policy. Be willing to accept and take responsibility when you are out of integrity without shame or blame. Stop making excuses. No need to justify or rationalize. No need to beat up on yourself (or anyone else). It is what it is. Clean it up and move along. Have compassion for yourself and this will help you take the necessary actions to get realigned faster.