Most people would agree that personal integrity reflects a person’s moral character and ethical standards. And while people can attest to a high moral and ethical standard, their actions and results paint a more accurate picture.
One factor that impacts results and quality of life more than anything else is our actions.
Definition of Personal Integrity
The Merriam-Webster definition of integrity is firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values: INCORRUPTIBILITY.
But today, we are not talking about good or bad, or morality and ethics; we are talking about honoring our word. Committing to an action, and following through with it, doing what we say we will do, and creating the plan and then executing it all demonstrate integrity.
Michael Jensen Quote
Harvard Business Professor Dr. Michael Jensen says, “Without Integrity, Nothing Works.”
An individual is whole and complete when their word is whole and complete, and their word is whole and complete when they honour their word.
We can honour our word in one of two ways: first, by keeping our word and on time; or second, as soon as we know that we won’t keep our word, we inform all parties counting on us to keep our word and clean up any mess that we’ve caused in their lives. When we do this, we are honouring our word despite having not kept it, and we have maintained our personal integrity.
The Bottom Line Results
And while this all sounds good and something we should aim to achieve, the most fascinating part of Dr. Jensen’s research is the results – between 100 to 500 % increase in output or production.
Simply by honoring your word.
Results and Personal Integrity
My entire career has been spent helping people get from where they are to their desired location. This has included advising people who want to achieve financial freedom and advisors and coaches who want to make more impact while growing their business with affluent clients. As a result, I am fascinated and even obsessed with the characteristics of people who achieve extraordinary success and those who struggle.
One of the most common traits of people not achieving their desired goal is committing to action but not following through. They commit to spending x, but end up spending y; they schedule a call and then blow it off. Or they commit to completing their quarterly plan update but never get around to it.
And then, they wonder why they are not achieving their desired results. The bottom line is that people who follow through and do what they say will get different results and better outcomes than those who don’t.
If their struggling counterparts knew how important this was, they would be more committed to keeping their word.
Steps to Improve Your Results
So, what can you do to develop personal integrity, improve your moral principles, and honor your word so you can improve your results?
Find the Right Role Models
The first step is to find role models who value personal integrity, live by this principle, and honor their word. When they make an appointment, they keep it. If they can’t make it, they reschedule.
They also hold you accountable. If you commit to an action and do not follow through, they follow through on a pre-determined consequence. Ideally, you are paying your coach, as this tends to work better until you develop the habit of honoring your word.
Decide What You Want
Achieving any goal requires that you know what you want. If you want to become financially free, you need to define how that looks.
Once you know the steps, you can commit to taking the necessary action. By honoring what you committed to, you will take action required to achieve your goal of becoming financially free.
Create Your Plan
The next critical step is to create your plan. If your goal is money freedom, then you would develop a financial plan. If your goal is to make more impact and revenue in your business, then you need to establish a business or marketing plan.
A well-designed plan will include a step-by-step process, so you know what you need to do. Then, you need to commit to taking the required actions. This means that you will honor your word.
If you continue to struggle to keep your word, work to elevate your Worth Barometer. This is a measure of your beliefs and self-esteem.
Create a Mission Statement
The next step is to create a mission statement. This is important because it keeps you focused on what you want to accomplish.
When you are clear on your personal goals and vision, doing what you commit to is often easier.
Identifying consequences is an effective strategy for following through on your commitment.
If you must donate to a charity you despise or a political group that makes you nauseous, you are more likely to follow through with your commitment. For some people, positive consequences are the best choice. If you do not overspend for the month or you meet with one referral partner each week, you get to golf on Friday afternoon or get a massage. Whatever motivates you to take the right action is the ideal consequence.
When you pre-determine the consequences of an action, you remove the negative connotation, and they are no longer penalties or rewards.
Ask some questions:
If you find living with integrity (AKA honoring your word), ask yourself some questions.
- Why do I want to achieve this goal?
- What is my life purpose or passion?
- How will achieving this goal improve my family and life?
- Whose life will improve if I reach my desired goal? (As a result of this action, who will benefit? Your clients and their family, your community, you and your family, widows, business owners, etc.)
- How do I want to be remembered? (as someone of integrity who kept their word, or someone others couldn’t rely on?)
- What do I need to do daily to live your life in the best way possible?
- What motivates and fulfills me?
Conclusion – The Power of Personal Integrity
While most people define integrity as their moral and ethical compass, another definition is to honor your word. And on the surface, it sounds good – who doesn’t want to improve their responsibility and ownership? But the results for people keeping their word are astonishing – between a 100 and 500% return in productivity and output. With that level of results, you can’t ignore the importance and power of doing what you say you will do.