Noticed a little bit of conversation these days about politics? Not only in the U.S., where we seem to have a permanent presidential campaign in place, but also in Europe, in Asia, in South America…
Commentators in this country continue to refer to the nation suffering from a “crisis of confidence”. Maybe that’s true.
Maybe we are tired of the law partner who pockets a record bonus but tells the associates and support staff that there’s no money – again this year – for their raise.
Perhaps we’re too used to hearing about the minister with the $100,000 Mercedes parked in front of his mansion.
It could be that we’re fed up with hearing that people are going to “change Washington” and yet nothing ends up getting done.
We see real incongruence between what we expect and what we get, and that’s precisely how our confidence is undermined.
That’s a word I’m loving these days: Congruence.
It’s when things line up. It’s when what you see is what you get.
Congruence is truth.
Congruence is whole.
Congruence makes sense.
And a person who is congruent – they mean what they say, and predictably do what they say they will – is truly a person of integrity. Pundits may see the world suffering from a crisis of confidence, but I’d call it an Integrity Deficit.
Somehow or other, many leaders – some of them self-appointed – seem to have forgotten that people eagerly follow those with integrity. Whether you’re a politician, an office manager or a life coach, being a person who means what she says, and does what she says she’s going to do, is the person who’s really successful.
Now, we all know people whose integrity is, shall we say, “compromised”, and yet they seem to thrive and maybe even get ahead.
That’s an incongruence right there, huh?
But what goes around comes around, and I have never, ever met an incongruent person whose personal narrative ends well. Have you?
That karma thing is plenty powerful.
And it always works.
So, now is as good a time as any to assess your own personal integrity.
- Do you ever say yes when you mean no, and wince about it shortly after the words have left your mouth?
- Do you consistently miss deadlines and break commitments?
- Do you fib about having sent in the payment, when really you haven’t even written the check yet?
- Do you concoct a story about where you just were, rather than admitting what you were really doing?
OK, you’re human. But do you feel good about this stuff? Or does it add to your stress? Create overwhelm?
Then get congruent, baby.
Start in a small way. Start by making only those commitments you know you can meet. And then acknowledge to yourself that you did what you said you’d do. Maybe even give yourself a little reward for that.
And, make an effort to really watch your words. In The Four Agreements, author Don Miguel Ruiz suggests that one way to insure happiness is to:
“Be impeccable with your word. Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.”
I hear you – truth and love in the workplace? Just for a minute, drop your skepticism and think about it a different way.
I know from experience that shifting toward integrity will profoundly change your work experience. It will profoundly change your marriage, your parenting, your friendships and everything else in your world.
Integrity changes anything it touches for the better.
That is the truth.
You know, I have a dream. I dream that one day our global crisis of confidence will be replaced with the peace, certainty and progress that integrity engenders.
But that will only happen – our leaders will only become people of integrity – if we, first, become so ourselves.