Promises are easily made. Keeping them often proves more difficult because when we are pressured to strive always for perfection, we find it simpler to agree to undertake impossible tasks than to say no.
Whenever you give your word to someone, you have to follow through on it. You have to keep your word, because that’s the right thing to do. Because that’s the respectable thing to do. Otherwise, don’t make promises you don’t intend to keep, and don’t commit yourself to things that you aren’t willing to follow through on, regardless of what might possibly happen in the future.
While it may cost you in terms of financial wealth or material possessions, keeping your word will save you perhaps the most valuable possession that you have: your integrity.
Integrity is a characteristic that many of us value in ourselves, and it’s one we look for consistently in our leaders. But what does it really mean to have integrity?
You could say that integrity is always doing the right thing, even when no one is looking, and even when the choice isn’t easy. Or, you might see integrity as staying true to yourself and your word, even when you’re faced with serious consequences for the choices that you’re making.
When we live our lives with integrity, it means that we’re always honest, and we let our actions speak for who we are and what we believe in. Integrity is a choice we make, and it’s a choice we must keep making, every moment of our lives.
When we have integrity, we gain the trust of our leaders, our colleagues and our team. We’re dependable, and, when we hold ourselves accountable for our actions, we become role models for others to follow.
All of this, in turn, directly impacts our success in life. People who live and work with integrity are more likely to be considered for promotions. Why? Because integrity is a hallmark of ethical leadership – organizations want leaders that they can trust, and when you demonstrate integrity, you show everyone you can be trusted.
Since the path of truth frequently represents the more difficult journey, embarking upon it builds character. You can harness the power of your word when you do your best to live a life of honesty.
Have the courage to say no. Have the courage to face the truth. Do the right thing because it is right. These are the magic keys to living your life with integrity.
-W. Clement Stone