Rethinking Integrity

You would think that since I've called my blog Truthfully Speaking that integrity would be something I have thought about. And you are correct. I have thought a lot about it - both from a leadership perspective and from a personal perspective. But recently I have found myself revisiting integrity.

This week I started an online course called The Soul of Leadership. I have an MA in Leadership and I've worked in leadership development for many years. I wasn't really looking to sign up for a leadership course but somehow when this course showed up in my inbox I felt really drawn to it. And through some amazing circumstances I ended up enrolled in it.  

The first week we are focused on the quality of Integrity. The material has been an invitation to reflect on my own life and where I may be out of integrity.  One of the realizations I have had is in how I view integrity. I see it as pretty black and white. You have it or you don't. You do what you say you are going to do or you don't. You walk the talk.

But I have been sitting with a different definition of integrity, courtesy of Nisha Moodley,  this weekend:

Integrity is the dance

of honouring ourselves

and others

through our actions. 

I think that I have seen integrity as honouring myself. It's about making choices that are aligned with who I am. It is living by my values. It is about being congruent. It is actions that are completely aligned with beliefs. It's about getting it right. Always making the choice that reflects what I say is most important to me. And so when I don't I feel guilty. I feel ashamed. I feel like I've failed. And my understanding makes sense if I am the only person I need to consider in my life. But then that isn't leadership - is it?

As I sit with this definition I feel much more peaceful. I love the idea of integrity being a dance. I honour myself when I spend the day working on my business. I honour my parents when I book off an afternoon to take them to a doctor's appointment. 

I am really loving this idea. Integrity as a dance. I'm not the only person in my life. And some days the dance sways a little more in one direction and I need to pull it back to honour myself. And other days I'm dancing alone and I need to honour other people through my actions. It's not about getting it 100% right. Sometimes I step on someone's toes in this dance. But we keep at it and eventually our actions are aligned in a way that honours each other.