If you want long-term success, you must guard and protect your integrity. Without it, nothing else really matters. It doesn’t matter what you say if no one trusts you. And it doesn’t matter how committed, skilled, courageous, or optimistic you are if people don’t believe you’ll honor your words. None of those traits matter if people can’t count on you to do what you say you will do.
The loss of integrity is a major reason for failure and unhappiness. Look at the people who make the news because of a scandal—sports figures, film stars, politicians, CEOs, and sometimes a neighbor down the street. In most cases they allowed ego, insensitivity, and greed to override their integrity.
How can you guard and protect your integrity? If you consciously do four things, you will enhance your relationships, improve trust, and become a person whom others want to be around more often.
First, conduct a basic integrity check: Is the action I am about to take illegal, immoral, or unethical in any form? If you answer yes to any of those, STOP. Period.
Second, ask yourself: What is the right thing to do? You know the answer to that question. Regardless how much you may want to bury what ‘right’ is, if you are honest with yourself, the ‘right thing’ will always surface.
Third, defend your commitments. Don’t make commitments you cannot keep, even minor ones. You may have to give up something to keep your commitment. If that’s the case, ask yourself: Am I okay with making the exchange?
Fourth, eliminate ‘I’ll try’ from your vocabulary. Instead of saying ‘I’ll try,’ tell the person either ‘no’ or ‘consider it done.’ ‘I’ll try’ is weak and apathetic. You are not committed to doing anything when you use those words. ‘Consider it done’ is clear, direct and powerful.