Abraham Lincoln said: “I am not bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live by the light that I have. I must stand with anyone who stands right, stand with him while he is right, and part with him when he goes wrong.” His words shed light on what it means to live with integrity. So how do you develop personal integrity in your life and how can you apply this to your professional life? This article will provide ten tips on how to develop personal integrity.
# 1 Take a Self-Assessment
Knowing who you are and being open to evaluating your strengths and weaknesses is vitally important toward developing personal integrity. You need to be honest with yourself. Are you prone to laziness? How’s your punctuality? Are you open to receiving constructive criticism? Regarding your strengths, are you a person who has a good work ethic? Do you want to continually learn how you can improve as a professional? The Myers & Briggs Foundations has a very popular self-assessment test.
# 2 Honor Your Word
Honoring your word is an integral aspect of living a life of integrity. Janis Joplin said, “Don't compromise yourself. You are all you've got.” Honoring your word is important if you want to develop personal integrity. The minute you dishonor yourself by lying to someone, it will be difficult to gain back this person’s trust in you. Life Coach, Meredith Bell, shares an example of integrity and honoring your word in this short video.
# 3 Don’t Over Promise
I came across an anonymous quote the other day which applies to this scenario. “Promise only what you can deliver. Then deliver more than you promise.” When it pertains to your professional life, an over promise not delivered upon will cause you to lose respect in the business community and possibly even lose clients. Just imagine how much better it will be for you when you promise only what you can actually do and then you deliver even more. Your reputation in the business world will classify you as a professional with integrity.
# 4 Learn From the Masters
Another way to develop personal integrity is to learn from the masters in your professional field as well as motivational speakers. When I was a member of the Empower Network, founder, David Wood advised that to become successful, you need to continually be teachable and learn from others who have gone before you. Two great self-improvement gurus to learn from are Herbert Armstrong and Stephen Covey. Armstrong wrote the book, The Seven Laws of Success. Covey is well known for his book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.
# 5 Practice the Golden Rule
“The Golden Rule or Ethic of Reciprocity is a maxim, ethical code or morality that essentially states the following: one should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself.” (Source: Wikipedia) In a nutshell—live with integrity. Being consciously aware of how you behave toward others is a sure way to help you to walk in integrity.
# 6 Giving Leads to Multiplication
Sylvia Ann Hewlett wrote in a Forbes article, “Research conducted by a D.C.-based Corporation reveals that charitable work literally makes the heart grow stronger.” Giving not only helps your health, it also develops your integrity. When you give—whether volunteering time, monetary donations or helping others in need—you are opening yourself up to selflessness and blessings coming into your life. For some ideas on where you can give, check out Lynne Thomas’ 10 Best Places to Donate. Her top three are your local library, schools and religious organizations.
# 7 Face Your Weaknesses
Step # 1 advised you to take a self-assessment. Once you have found out your strengths and weaknesses, it’s easier to develop your strengths than to face your weakness. However, it is important to face your character flaws and learn how to lessen their negative effects in your life and rather use them as a force for the positive. Once your weaknesses have been identified, you need to use self-discipline to counteract their effects. Dr. Robert M. Sherfield shares some useful tips on how to nurture yourself in his Overcoming Weaknesses article.
# 8 Find an Accountability Partner
In addition to step # 4 which states to Learn from the Masters, to develop personal integrity in your life, you need to surround yourself with encouraging and successful people. Pick one of those people to become your accountability partner. This person should be reliable and able to keep your conversations confidential. Find someone who has advanced farther than you and who can help you get to the place you need to be. Kia Blain shares 10 Traits of an Accountability Partner. She has compiled a great list which you should check out and compare to the character traits of your prospective accountability partner.
# 9 Review Your Growth
In the business world, we all know that ROI means return on investment. As you learn to develop personal integrity, you are investing time and energy into yourself. Are you getting the ROI that you expected? After you have spent between 3 – 6 months investing in your integrity development, take a step back to review your growth. Take a self-assessment test again and then meet with your accountability partner. Have you made strides toward improvement? Have you not had as much personal growth as you’d wanted to see? This is the time to regroup, write down future goals and continue to work the steps.
# 10 Teach Others to Do the Same
Once you’ve learned to master these steps—and master is used loosely here because no one is or can ever be perfect—become someone else’s accountability partner. Practice step # 6 Giving Leads to Multiplication and give back into another person’s life who has decided to also develop his or her personal integrity. Teaching others what you’ve learned is another way to cement your own personal growth and to continue growing.
Living with a code of personal integrity is a decision we each need to make. No one can force you to live in such a way. However, those who develop integrity, have a tendency to live a fuller life, filled with personal happiness and achievement.
Photo Credit: Time TV