“Integrity is doing the right thing, even when nobody’s watching.”
So said C.S. Lewis. That’s a pretty powerful definition, one that’s hard to argue with. But to me, integrity is all about committing. You do what you say you’re going to do, no matter what.
When I think about people I know who ooze integrity, they all have one thing in common: They’re leading a life of value. They all made a conscious decision of how they want to live. Then they’re that person every day – in public and private. You can do the same.
Integrity is the embodiment of who and what we really are. People of integrity hold themselves to a higher standard. They set their own goals, define what success means to them, and aim high.
When you see someone with integrity, it’s unmistakable. Too often, we think of integrity as a grand gesture when, in reality, we can show it in small ways each day. If you’ve done any of these four things, you’ve demonstrated integrity in spades.
1. You Apologize to Your Kids
I know as well as anyone how tough parenting can be. In the moment, it’s easy to snap at our kids and threaten some ridiculous punishment.
We all get angry or frustrated, but parents with integrity acknowledge when they’ve gone too far. They understand that kids are human and deserve our respect.
2. You Celebrate Your Employees and Colleagues
If you demand the impossible, take credit for the work of others, and never say thank you, chances are you’ll be the boss everyone loves to hate.
But if you recognize your employees for their hard work and dedication, they’ll notice. When bosses make the effort to learn more about their employees, asks for their feedback, and truly appreciates their contributions, they’re showing integrity.
3. You Don’t Try to Be the Sun
Someone with true integrity brings perspective to every challenge. They understand that the world doesn’t revolve around them.
It’s easy to get defensive and blame others for our problems, especially when you’re feeling overworked or stressed out. Maybe that proposal didn’t get completed in time, the house was left a mess all day, or you missed a bill payment.
These things happen, but jumping to conclusions and blaming those around you is not the appropriate reaction. Give others the benefit of the doubt. Ask what happened. Collaborate on a solution.
4. You Give and Expect Nothing in Return
Whether it’s a one-day stint when your schedule allows or a more regular commitment, those who volunteer their time or skills show a tremendous level of integrity.
You can volunteer wherever you feel most needed. From coaching your kid’s soccer team or tutoring at the local school to spending holidays serving meals at the local food bank or cleaning up a community park, sacrificing your time to help others is one of the greatest gifts you can give.
Bonus: Studies show that acting unselfishly reduces stress and improves mental and emotional health.