No one likes a hypocrite and I’m fairly sure that no one sets out to be one, but it can be very easy to depart from what you have said you will do or what you know you believe in. It’s often the path of least resistance, but one that can take you far, far away from where you really want to be. Being a person of integrity really is easy and it might even streamline your life. A few of the synonyms for integrity are straightforwardness and simplicity. That’s because when you are behaving with integrity, life is much less complicated. You don’t have to waste time keeping up a facade or cleaning up messes resulting from broken promises.
Being in integrity means doing what you say will, and apologizing if for some reason you don’t. It also means putting steps in place that will assure than you have a better chance of success the next time. Here are some ideas for staying in integrity:
* Only agree to things that you really want to do. Motivation is everything and if you are saying yes to something strictly out of a sense of obligation, there’s a good chance it won’t get done, on time and with your best effort. Better to say “I’m not able to take that on right now” up front than to reluctantly agree and feel saddled with a “should.”
* If you find that you often agree to things that you really don’t want to, take a look at what need is being met by doing so? Do you want to be liked for being agreeable? Are you hoping to be seen as indispensable? Are you trying to feel connected to that person? Explore other ways to have those needs met while staying in integrity.
* Allow enough time. In this busy world, there often don’t seem like enough hours in the day, but set yourself up for success by factoring in the wild cards. Allowing for traffic or an unexpected phone call means that your whole schedule doesn’t get thrown into a tailspin if something not planned for does occur. If there’s still too much to do, get some help.
* If and when you are unable to keep your word, apologize and make it right. Excuses are just that – excuses. Some people seem to believe that if their reason is good enough, it will negate their responsibilities to themselves and to others. Say something brief like, “I’m sorry, I didn’t allow myself enough time,” and then go on to try to rectify the situation. A long, drawn-out story isn’t necessary.
The other part of being in integrity is walking your talk. The rule of thumb for this is simple. If you notice that you are speaking or acting in a way that is out of line with what you believe, correct it as soon as possible. Living intentionally doesn’t mean you never make mistakes, but it will give you some help in getting back on track a bit sooner. Being a person of integrity isn’t constricting – actually quite the reverse. When you know who you are and what you believe, and you live in alignment with those beliefs, you are free to create a life you love. You don’t have to spend as much time cleaning up after yourself and people will know exactly who they are interacting with. Life becomes much simpler and more enjoyable and the word “hypocrite” will never be heard in conjunction with your name.