The Definition of Integrity

Let’s talk a bit about integrity today. Integrity is really related to honesty, and I think that integrity is really the benchmark of what determines whether you are a good or bad person.

Recently a lawyer friend of mine did some contract work for a client’s business. My friend actually flew in to his client’s office, did the work that was agreed to, and gave the client an invoice when he left. The client took the invoice and said, “I’m not going to pay you right now. I know you worked hard and I’ll cover your expenses, but I can’t pay you until I know that this legal work you did is going to work as we discussed.” Apparently the guy was fighting a former business partner in a matter and my friend came in to give him some legal advice, ways to avoid court and so forth, and he was doing it as a favor so they negotiated a set fee beforehand. So my lawyer friend looks at his client and says, “You’ve to be kidding me.” The client says, “No, let’s just see how it plays out first. If it plays out the way you say it will, if I get the results I want, then I will pay you. If not, then sorry but I won’t pay.”

So my friend says, “You know I could sue you for payment,” and the guy says “I really don’t care. Let’s just see how this all plays out first.” A ridiculous story and my lawyer friend has basically called it a loss but is still waiting for the client to pay.

The bottom line is that your integrity is all you have as a person. A lot of you guys reading the blog are striving to become better men in the way you connect and communicate with people, and that’s a great thing to work on yourself in that way. But in order to become a real man, you need to keep your word. If you promise somebody that you will do something, if you agree to pay them for work that they are doing for you, then you pay what you agreed to pay whether you like the outcome of that work or not. If you go to a therapist, you chose to enter their office and sit on that sofa, and you owe them money for that session. You don’t wait and see if your issues go away before you pay the doctor.

If you go to a personal trainer and he guides you through a bunch of fitness exercises, you owe the trainer money regardless of whether or not you like the way your body looks afterward. You can’t look at the trainer and say, “Listen, I came to see you because I got high body fat, I really don’t want to pay you until my body fat gets lower.”

You are only a man of you word. How many of you have bills that are outstanding, debt that you owe from money people lent you, that you promise you will pay at another time? If you borrow money from somebody, you pay them back before you pay yourself. Always. With your credit card it’s the same thing, it’s very important for your debt management to not pile up. If you have debt, don’t treat yourself to luxuries you don’t need. If you can’t afford the big screen television right now, you wait and buy it when you can afford it.

But to live an integrity-filled life, you have to remember that you are only as good as your word. Always make sure you follow through on your promises. Always make sure you disclose the truth behind your plan. It is something I was taught a long, long time ago. Because in life, you never have to remember the truth, but you always have to remember a lie.

The worst thing to do is to have to run in the other direction when the phone rings. You don’t want to have to worry about a bill collector, somebody angry with you, or somebody pissed off because you failed on a promise, waiting on the other line.

Integrity is all we have in this life. Practice it every single day. And how does this relate to dating? You knew this was coming didn’t you? Very easy. You got a phone number and say you’re going to call? You call. You got a date? You set it in stone and you don’t flake. To someone you’ve been seeing for a while, you never make false representations about who you really are. If you are bold enough to allow others to have expectations of you, you better live up to those expectations. If you have weaknesses, disclose them and don’t cover them up. And if you do cancel on a date, or break things off with your significant other, you fess up and disclose exactly why you are doing so.

Previously published on Davidwygant.com and is republished here under permission.

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