How are you doing with your integrity?

I previously stated that successful people think differently than unsuccessful people – that’s the bottom line. So the only way to become successful is to learn to think the way successful people think. And, because they think differently, successful people also act differently than unsuccessful people. And truly successful people operate with integrity.

Most people don’t really understand what it means to have integrity. They think it just means being honest, or telling the truth, or doing what you said you will do. Actually, in the arena of performance, it means much more. My definition of integrity is “honoring yourself as your word.”

This means meaning what you say when you say it and after you say it. It means being responsible for what you say. Whether you realize it or not, people do listen to what you say and take what you say seriously. They expect you to act consistent with what comes out of your mouth.

Unfortunately, most people don’t take what they say very seriously. They say whatever seems to be the right thing to say in the moment. They make promises without really looking to see if they can or really intend to keep the promise. And when they don’t keep their promise, no big deal. That’s why they’re not successful.

Why is this so important? Don’t kid yourself. You develop a reputation with everyone you come into contact with. The people you interact with quickly figure out whether or not you can be counted on to keep your word and if you are responsible for what comes out of your mouth.

All things being equal, people do business with people they know, like and trust. What you may not know is that all things NOT being equal, people still do business with people they know, like and trust. PEOPLE LIKE AND TRUST PEOPLE WHO HAVE INTEGRITY. So having integrity is just plain smart and truly successful people have integrity.

What does this look like on the playing field of life? Be honest. Don’t try to cut corners. Give everything you do its due. Give everything you do your best. When you make a promise, keep it. When you say you’re going to do something, do it.

Always tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Don’t leave out any material details when you are in negotiations. Don’t manipulate the facts and don’t try to manipulate others. Be fair and play win/win. What makes this especially important is that . . .YOU LIKE YOU WHEN YOU HAVE INTEGRITY.

I have spent many years training sales people. When we encounter sales people who, for some reason, are struggling when they should really be soaring, it’s almost always because of an integrity issue. What might that look like?

They cheated someone and thought they got away with it. They lied to get a deal. They withheld crucial facts in a negotiation. They manipulated someone to get their way. They padded their expense account. They consistently show up late or miss appointments. The list is almost endless.

What we find when this occurs is that people stop themselves and don’t seem to know why. They can’t look at themselves in the mirror. They know they are not playing fair, and while they justify their behavior as being needed to get the sale, they know at a deep level it’s wrong.

And this doesn’t just happen in sales. It happens in every arena of life. People cheat on their taxes, their office or home is filled with clutter, their checkbook is not balanced or up to date, they owe people money and are not paying it, they have borrowed things they haven’t returned, they have tons of clothes in their closet they haven’t worn for years, the list goes on and on.

If you really want to experience success, get your act cleaned up. If, in reading any of the above items, you found yourself saying: that’s me, get your integrity cleaned up. You can always go back and clean up what you’ve done. It may take some time, you may have to eat some crow, but in the end it will be worth it.

The law of cause and effect

In the last issue, I stated that successful people think differently than unsuccessful people – that is the bottom line. So the only way to become successful is to learn to think the way successful people think.

Why is this true? Because there is something called the law of cause and effect. Let me quote from Chapter 9 of Unshackled Leadership, Building Businesses Based on Faith, Trust, Possibility and Abundance:

“Ever since Napoleon Hill wrote Think and Grow Rich, and maybe even before then, people have been discussing the possibility that our thoughts attract the circumstances into our lives. In his book You’ll See It When You Believe It (Harper Collins, 2001), the prolific author Dr. Wayne W. Dyer says that what you have in your life is a reflection of your beliefs. This notion has been popularized under the term “the power of positive thinking,” the implication being that if you think “positive,” you’ll have a “positive” experience and produce “positive” results.

“For many people, this was some “good idea” until Albert Einstein came along, whose theories gave birth to what is now known as quantum physics. As I understand it, Einstein said that the basic “stuff” of the universe is pure energy. But it’s not any ordinary energy; rather, it’s energy that has intelligence to it. And, human thought activates it. This has given credibility to all the power of positive thinking theories.

"So here’s my understanding of the law of cause and effect and how this all relates. Simply stated, you are the “cause,” and what manifests in your world is the “effect.” More specifically, your thinking and beliefs determine how you become the “cause” in your company and your life.

“Think of it as each of us being like a magnet. We attract things to ourselves that are consistent with our thinking and beliefs, and we repel things from ourselves that are inconsistent with our thinking and beliefs. Since it is highly unusual for someone to think, believe, speak, and act in ways that are fundamentally inconsistent, your conversation and your actions are a great access to your thinking and beliefs.

“If you would like a more rigorous discussion of cause and effect than I am presenting here, as well as the work of the quantum physicists, I invite you to read Quantum Physics, Illusion or Reality by Alastair Rae, (Cambridge University Press, 1986), or Quantum Legacy, The Discovery That Changed Our Universe, by Barry Parker (Prometheus Books, 2002).”

Or here’s another idea. The movie What the Bleep Do We Know is now available on DVD in all of your typical video stores. It is an amazing and fascinating movie about quantum physics. I highly recommend that you go rent and watch it. Better yet, buy it and watch it over and over again.

To be continued.


More on dealing with "difficult people"

In last week’s post, in discussing how to deal with difficult people, I explained the following:

When a human being wakes up, a conversation boots up that determines how the human being operates and what it can do. For the vast majority of people, the conversation is that of the ego and, as Deepak Chopra says, the ego mind believes you are an isolated individual trying to survive in a hostile world. Wow. Said another way, when we listen to the voice of the ego, it has us believe that you’re over there, I’m over here, we’re separate and you’re the enemy.

There are many other things you want to know about the ego’s conversation, all of which further explains the behavior of many people. Everyone has a conversation about themselves. That conversation is formed mostly from the early childhood messages we receive which, unfortunately, are mostly negative and critical. The ego latches on to these messages and generates a conversation that has three themes: I’m not good enough, I’m not worthy, and I’m not loved.

If you are a human being, you have that conversation playing in the background. The ONLY question is: how loud is it and how much do you listen to it. What you can generally conclude about “difficult people” is that this conversation is loud and they listen to it.

So what does a reasonably intelligent person do when they think they are not good enough? They adapt and a very common adaptation is to become very aggressive, so you don’t see what’s going on with them, and to put others down and be critical of them to somehow make themselves feel better by comparison

Here too there is a solution, but it’s often not very obvious. What these people really need is a lot of appreciation and understanding. After all, they spend so much time beating themselves up, they surely don’t need you to do that too. Treat them like a wounded bird. Be gracious and compassionate. Go out of your way to look for the good in them and find every opportunity you can to acknowledge them. You’ll be amazed at how well this can work.

I’m reminded of a story told to me by Robin Duncan, my personal coach, who I dedicated my book to. She worked for a company where one of the managers had a horrible reputation, treated people really poorly, and nobody wanted to work for him. And then, Robin was transferred to his department. Understanding what I have written here (I probably learned it from her), she treated him like gold. She didn’t buy into his negativity but treated him like a wonderful human being. The result: while he continued to treat others poorly, he treated her like a queen.