The recent Mark McGuire steroid use confession is just the latest in the never-ending stream of top sports leaders who come clean. Abeit it often takes a while…years… but eventually the truth surfaces. Tiger Woods hiding behind his perfect persona which is now shattered in pieces on the ground. Marion Jones paying her dues for doping and now attempting to come back as a pro basketball player. Now I’m just a human being like you, flawed and all. Yet what I see in these and other stories is the truth that you can run but you can’t hide when you’re out of integrity. Eventually you have to look at yourself in the mirror and see what is really looking back at you. Have you done your honest best at living well as you work toward your goals or are you hiding from something inside of yourself that you can’t be with?
When it comes to integrity the excuse you use to cheat a little bit or tell yourself a little (or whopper) of a white lie doesn’t matter. It can be because you try to clothe the integrity breach with “acceptable” things like:
- Striving for excellence
- Wanting to satisfy the expectations of your fans, clients, employers, etc.
- Eager to come back from injury more quickly
- Defy the odds
The thing is the rationalization you use doesn’t matter. When you breach your integrity you compromise the very foundation of your self, your present, and your future. Like cracks in the concrete that holds up your house, being out of integrity for any period of time is a recipe for crumbling.
Here’s a simple, but effective and oh so important exercise. Grab yourself a sheet of paper. Draw a line down the middle. On the left write all the places you are out of integrity no matter how big or small. Whether it is breaking promises to yourself or doing something illegal or unethical – it makes the list. Then on the right side — write what you need to do to restore integrity and give it a date by which you will see it through.
This sounds simple, but it is not always easy. It’s not easy to come clean with yourself when you’re out of integrity no matter how big or small. Yet it is the single most important thing you can do to honor yourself, respect others, and create a solid platform on which to build everything you desire to create personally or professionally.
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