When you’re in the midst of fighting life, you don’t have time to be anyone but yourself, and neither do you have time to do anything other than what you believe in or what is right for you…. and people have to like or lump it! (Blunt, but true!). However, in business, how often are we just ourselves and do we do what is right for ourselves, even though others may disagree with or not like what we’re doing?
I speak to a lot of business owners who rate “integrity” as one of their values. Absolutely right, but what does this actually mean? A brief sojourn into my copy of the Chambers English Dictionary (yep, I fall into the camp of liking real paper and real ink!) defines it as follows:
“Integrity: entireness, wholeness: the unimpaired state of anything: uprightness: honesty: purity”
Unimpaired….wholeness….unimpaired…..honest…..pure. Can you genuinely say that you’re like that in your business life? Really?
Hang on – don’t jump down my throat, with a terse “Kim, of course I’m like that…I’m the most honest person I know. I act with integrity with all my clients.”
I’m not talking about your clients. Yes, of course you should act with integrity towards your clients, but what about acting with integrity towards yourself? Are the clients you work with the ones that you truly want to work with? Are your employees people that you genuinely look forward to spending time with each day? Does your marketing message reflect your own pure voice?
BBC2 recently saw the return of choirmaster Gareth Malone going into workplaces to teach people to sing and form choirs. Actually, he doesn’t teach anyone to sing; he helps people find their true voice, whether that be bass, tenor, alto, or soprano. It’s no point trying to sing a soprano part if you’re a tenor. Even an alto would struggle with the high notes.
So, why do we struggle on in our business lives? What is your genuine, pure voice? Are you really, honestly voicing it…or are you playing a part, or struggling on, not really being “you”, and not hitting those notes? Are you running a business that doesn’t really fill your heart and soul with passion and life and joy?
I would hazard a suggestion then that if you answered negatively to any of these questions, then you’re not really acting with integrity at all. Does that sound harsh or make you feel uncomfortable? Sometimes we need a jab in the rear to make us sit up and take notice, and part of my remit now will be to be the one to give you a firm, but friendly, jab!
But, let me finish with this question. If all the chips were down, and life was throwing it all at you, and you only had one choice left – to carry on doing what you’re doing, or pay attention to that niggle and discomfort deep inside you and change something – what would it be?
If you genuinely, whole-heartedly and passionately want to continue on with love in your heart, then I sincerely applaud you.
If something is shifting uncomfortably at a level inside you, if you’re struggling to find your message or your voice, then maybe as this year draws to a close, it’s time to have a think about a new path, a new set of clients, or a new marketing message that’s more in tune with you for next year. Act with integrity towards yourself first, and the light will shine through to others.
Dedicated to your success with love and light,