In the Being a Leader (BAL) course, a life of integrity provides that special personal power to slay our personal dragons and to have things happen that wouldn’t or couldn’t otherwise. Integrity gives us the power to live fearlessly.
What is it like to be whole and complete as a person? When you honor your word to yourself and others, you are at peace with yourself, and therefore act from a place where you are at peace with others and the world, even those who disagree with or might threaten you.
You live without fear for your selfhood, that is who you are as a person. There is no fear of losing the admiration of others. You do not have to be right. You act with humility.
Integrity said simply is living as a person of your word. Living as a whole and complete person.
Everything or anything that someone else might say is OK for consideration. There is no need to defend or explain yourself, or rationalize yourself. You are able to learn.
This way of being is often mistaken for mere self-confidence, rather than the true courage that comes from being whole and complete – that is, comes from being a person of integrity.
This model of integrity demands that you clean up any mess you made in the cause of life. All of us will inevitably run into occasions where we simply will not be able to “keep our word” or “keep it on time” or “do it as it was meant to be done” or “do it as others would expect us to do it”.
What is unique and powerful about this model of integrity is that when defining integrity, this model distinguishes keeping one’s word from honoring one’s word. Of course, keeping one’s word is an important aspect of Integrity. However, if you’re not able to keep your word for one reason or another, you must demonstrate that you honor your word. Here’s how you do it:
STEP ONE: Acknowledge to the appropriate person(s) that the word you gave has not been kept or will not be kept. Once you are clear, acknowledge to the other person(s) that you did give your word to… and that it did not or will not happen.
STEP TWO: Acknowledge that you likely caused a mess for the other person(s) who were or will be impacted by the agreement broken or the promise not kept. What was said? What was agreed to? What did they expect? … What is the impact on the situation? What is the impact to the people involved?
This means find out and discover the impact. Take as long as it takes to discover the impact. When this has been completely articulated, only then move to step three.
STEP THREE: First, get the impact and then fully acknowledge that impact.
STEP FOUR: Once you and those involved have become clear on the impact, it is time to negotiate. What can be done or provided that will make up for or resolve the impact? This step generally requires sacrifice. You will likely need to sacrifice time, money or effort to address the impact. Restoring honor to your word happens with the people involved, it is arranged and aligned upon with both you and they participating in the process.
STEP FIVE: Look to see if it is appropriate to make new promises or agreements and state them.
Living these five steps as-lived, as life is experienced on the court, takes courage. Acknowledging our out-integrity, cleaning up the mess we made, and promising newly, requires living a life where your word matters to you.