Why How We Live Matters More Than What We Say
“Trust has two dimensions: competence and integrity. We can forgive mistakes of competence. Mistakes of integrity are harder to overcome.”
~ Simon Sinek
Words Only Mean So Much
When I was eighteen years old, I took a job as a waitress at a coffee shop restaurant. It was one of the best restaurants in town with some of the top chefs. While I worked there, the head chef, Jack, (not his real name) treated me well but I never really bought into that because anytime I came into the kitchen, he was yelling at the cooks.
Although I was terrified to go into the kitchen, I had to go there regularly (of course). And I could see that Jack’s screaming was completely demoralizing the cooks.
How we live matters more than what we say…
I never bought into Jack’s “niceness” toward me because his life wasn’t congruent with his words.
Why Our Actions Need To Match Our Words
Why does it really matter whether we live what we say?
Because when we live what we say, we build trust with others.
At times, this is really hard to do!
That’s why it’s called a growth “journey” because there’s always room to keep growing.
In reality, we know that integrity is a good character trait to have and yet, it’s so easy to think that integrity matters most when it comes to really important matters.
However, integrity matters just as much in small matters (READ MORE HERE) because if we’re not honest in the little things, then we haven’t developed the character we need to be truthful in the big things too.
There’s no substitute for living with integrity.
Developing Integrity Is An “Inside Job”
Integrity is made through every decision that we make and that’s why it’s important to develop an intentional attitude about our lives. So it’s really an “inside job”.
Michelle Obama says:
“that the truth matters… that you don’t take shortcuts or play by your own set of rules… and success doesn’t count unless you earn it fair and square.”
This means that when we don’t follow through on what we said we would do, we’re not building trust with the people around us; we’re actually damaging trust.
On one hand, we live in an individualistic culture that tells us that we can do what we want and what we feel like doing.
And yet, when people live this way, doing whatever they want to do, eventually this catches up to them, sometimes ending their careers or damaging their relationships because our actions affect everyone around us.
Another reason why integrity matters is because it builds trust and trust is one of the major links in relationships. Without trust, relationships will never be solid.
So whether it’s at work, home or with our friends, the way to build trust is to live the way we say we’re going to live.
3 Simple Strategies To Practice Integrity
How do we continue to grow in developing integrity?
Here are 3 practicals things we can do to be intentional about developing trustworthy characteristics:
#1 – Listen To Other People
Listening to other people acknowledges the fact that we are not the only people on the planet.
Also, listening helps us to fight against an attitude of entitlement because we’re choosing to care about what somebody else has to say instead of acting like we can do whatever we want.
#2 – Care About Other People
Value others in our lives and truly care about who they are, what they want and how they’re feeling.
When we focus on showing others care and compassion, it helps us to want to be people of integrity because we don’t want to hurt the people we love and those who are counting on us.
#3 – Take Responsibility For Mistakes
In spite of our best intentions, sometimes we miss the mark. We’re all human and we all make mistakes or fail at times. So when we can’t follow through, acknowledging our error goes a long way: “I messed up. I didn’t follow through on what I said I would do.”
Admitting our mistakes when we mess up is so important for building trust because everyone around us knows we’re not perfect and that we’re going to make mistakes.
However, it’s important not to use our imperfections as an excuse to just brush off our mistakes and say, “Oh well, nobody’s perfect!” because that’s not taking responsibility for our actions.
Integrity Isn’t Easy But It’s Necessary
So, being a person of integrity isn’t easy but it’s a crucial part of our character development for building solid relationships with others. And those are 3 simple ways we can intentionally build our integrity and trust with other people.
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