I don’t know if this is a sign of aging but every year that passes feels faster and faster. This year I vividly remember celebrating the first day of the New Year and then *blink* it’s today, a few days until we close out a whole decade! Yikes! With a speed-up of life and a never-ending to-do list, “just ship it” and “80% is good enough” can seem like worthwhile life hacks (and not just for work or *ahem* school lunches). It is here, in that realm of time constraints and competing demands where Integrity makes all the difference. Integrity can be complex but when it’s absent, it’s pretty bloody obvious.
The word Integrity comes from the Latin word “Integer” which means whole and complete. It is the full story, your light and your shadow owned and accounted for. Aligned to your true essence and acting from this place at all times irrespective of the “benefits” or “punishments” that may come your way. I like that Integrity can be personalised, there’s an honesty, a consistency, a humbleness, and an underlying ethical stance that deepens its meaning. It’s mine and yours to own and deliver against irrespective of the circumstance…
“An aging emperor in the East needed to choose his successor. So, he asked all the young people of his lands to come to the palace. Giving out some special seeds, he told them, “Go and plant these seeds. In a year’s time, I will judge your plants and choose the new emperor.”
One boy named Ling took his pot home and planted the seed. Every day he watered it but nothing grew. Even though his friends at school were talking about their growing plants, Ling only had an empty pot.
When the day came to return to the palace, Ling went with a frightened heart. All the other youths had magnificent plants. When the emperor saw Ling’s plant, he summoned him to the front of the crowd and announced, “Behold your new emperor! He has courage and integrity. All the seeds I handed out were boiled and useless. He was the only one not to cheat. He will be a wise ruler over you all.” – Eastern Fable “The Emperor’s Seed”
As we start to move towards the beginning of not just a new year but a new decade, consider for a moment what Integrity means for you and how you’d be showing up moment to moment if you embodied this wholeheartedly and unreservedly, even if nobody was keeping score.