Prefer to listen to the podcast, go for it! Your Life, Unlimited with Stephanie Staples & Christopher Bauer podcasted here.
Ethics, morals, guiding principles – tough topics that don’t usually come up in conversations until there is an issue. They are tied in very much with integrity.
Having high integrity is the opposite of having a bad reputation. You know how a bad reputation follows you around – well not you of course – but other people with a bad reputation, it follows them around – right?
I think integrity is sort of the opposite. If you come from a place of high integrity all of the time, this reputation will precede you.
So, that when you mess up (because you will, because you are human and we make mistakes), having this background, this reputation of being a stand up guy or girl, who does what they say they are going to do, keeps their promises, takes the higher ground and doesn’t stoop to levels below themselves or compromise what they know to be right even when times get tough – this reputation will cause people to be more likely to give you the benefit of the doubt, forgive you, or give you a little extra leeway if and when it is needed.
This week my integrity was called into question. An emotional email with undercurrents of hurt and anger showed up on my screen. As you can imagine, I was very concerned and when we get emotional emails, we all know the best way to respond is not with an equally charged email response. So, I requested a phone call with the person.
I tend to err on the side of giving people the benefit of the doubt. It serves me well generally and usually a simple misunderstanding and/or communication breakdown was at fault. Usually it can be easily rectified.
And so it was with this email, or so I thought. We had a phone conversation where I explained my side of the story, she explained hers and we speculated on some missing information from a third party. It seemed to me the call went well, each speaking our truths and I thought that was the end of that.
A few hours later, a surprise was in store for me. Another heated email came through and apparently after digesting our conversation, this lady was more unhappy than she was before. She questioned my honesty and my integrity, and made insinuations which did not sit well with me at all. It was very hard not to respond emotionally to this second email that was so blatantly accusing me of doing something I did not do.
I connected her with the third person in our scenario requesting that they have a call. I typed up a draft response of how her email made me feel, but did not send it. At this point, I have to thank my family for allowing me to vent to them, because I was really hurt and angry. Wouldn’t you be if someone was accusing you of lying, and you were not?
Anyway … long story short, after she had the call with the third person, she emailed me again. This time to apologize. Now that she had the missing information, she realized that she had jumped to conclusions and made assumptions that were not true.
Whew. I was very relieved to get this email. But, so many thoughts bubbled up in my brain.
1 Why did I care so much what this person I barely knew thought of me? I knew I was telling the truth, and that should be good enough.
2 Why don’t people give others the benefit of the doubt? Why assume the worst when the other person has never wronged you or given you a reason to distrust them? Is it because they have been burned so many times by other people?
3 I want to forgive her for hurting me, for insulting me like that, but I also feel like holding a grudge.
4 Was I wrong to believe that if you come from a place of integrity, it will precede you?
At the end of the day, I forgave and sent a cordial email back, explaining that although it really did hurt to have my integrity questioned, I harboured no ill-will and hoped we could connect again, leaving this all in the past.
So, my thoughts for myself and for you today… continue to lead with integrity, but try to let go, whether others believe you or not. We cannot control how others perceive us no matter how hard we try, no matter how much we want to, no matter how important it is to us. Just doing our best has to be good enough. It’s all we really have.
Continue to give others the benefit of the doubt. Just because you were burned here, it doesn’t mean someone else is going to burn you there.
Let go of the grudges – it’s like carrying a 20-pound sack of potatoes and hurts no one but yourself. Let go and forgive, it’s a gift you give yourself.
And finally – I have to believe most people are good, want to help, serve, share. I just have to believe that, even though I know any given newscast will tell us otherwise.
At the end of the day, no matter how much we give, share, do for others, someone may not like us – what we stand for, what we do, or the color of our hair. Oh well, at the end of that same day, we have to look ourselves in the mirror and be okay with what we see. At the end of that day, I want to be able to put my head on my pillow and know that I did my best, came from a place of integrity, tried to make a world a little better than it was yesterday. And if someone thinks otherwise, that is their issue, not mine.
I will sleep well – I hope you do too!
Chris says if you hear these words (or a variation of them) coming out of someone else’s mouth (or your own), pay attention!
1) It’s just a small thing.
2) I hope so and so doesn’t find out.
3) Everyone else does it.
4) Just this once.
5) We’ve always done it this way.
6) This place owes me.
7) Whew! Just squeaked by on this one.
The New Math For Success : 5 x A = V
Stephanie Staples does a great job of talking about how we all need to bring our “A game” (Awareness, Accountability, Attitude, Appreciation, and Action) to everything we do. Great wisdom there but how easy is it to keep all five of those “A”s in mind all day, every day? As it turns out, there is, in fact, a simple way to do exactly that. It all comes down to getting completely clear about our values.
Remember, one way to think about our values, both as individuals and organizations, is that they represent our most persistent, most important priorities. So, if you took the time to really hone your awareness of your most important, most persistent priorities, could that give you a simple shorthand you could use to guide every one of your decisions? Absolutely! This idea dovetails beautifully with Stephanie’s “A game” approach.
Think about using this equation – 5 x A (These are the five “A”s that Stephanie talks about) = V (The values you decide are central to who you want to be.)
Here’s how and why this math works… A well-honed awareness of your values will help you with:
Awareness – The more clearly defined your values are, the easier it will be to stay aware of whether or not your actions are or are not fully aligned with those most important, most persistent priorities.
Accountability – If your most important, most persistent priorities are clearly stated, you – and everyone around you – has a clear understanding of what your actions should look like. Being able to match your actions to your stated values is, simply enough, one of the hallmarks of accountability.
Attitude – This one can be tricky because, until you get clear about what kinds of actions represent the attitude you want to show, attitude can be tough to track. Do the hard work, though, and decide what the attitude is that you’re striving for and then get clear about what you need to do (and not do) to bring that attitude to life.
Appreciation – This may be the easiest of the “A”s. Why? Because you don’t need to create appreciation – you merely have to allow yourself to notice it. The world is filled with opportunities for appreciation, Make it one of your priories to notice those opportunities and you’ll have this one licked. (HINT: Look for those opportunities in yourself as much as in the rest of the world around you.)
Action – This is usually the toughest sounding of the “A”s but is, in fact, likely the easiest once you get clear about your values. Here’s why: if you really know your most important, most persistent priorities, remember that those are things on which you’ll want to take action. By definition, they’re what matter most to you. Where action bogs down is when it feels like everything is a priority and so, paradoxically, nothing feels like a priority. Getting very clear about that short list of true priorities takes care of that problem entirely.
So, want to bring your “A game” all day, every day? Just do the math.
Again you can listen to the entire Your Life, Unlimited radio show podcast here: Your Life, Unlimited with Stephanie Staples & Christopher Bauer, and find out more about Dr. Bauers’ work at www.bauerethicsseminars.com.
Stephanie Staples, CSP* is the author of When Enlightening Strikes – Creating a Mindset for Uncommon Success, an internationally acclaimed motivational speaker, and the recipient of the 2014 Manitoba Woman Entrepreneur Award for Contributions to Community. Stephanie empowers audiences & clients across North America to bring their ‘A’ game to work and to life. Stephanie has a special interest in working with and empowering nurses and healthcare providers. She happily calls Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada home. You can get loads of complimentary resources to help with issues such as work/life balance, wellness, stress management and happiness in general, as well as find out more information about her coaching and speaking services at http://www.YourLifeUnlimited.ca.
* Certified Speaking Professional (CSP), conferred by the National Speakers Association is the speaking profession’s international measure of professional platform proficiency. Less than 10 percent of speakers have earned this credential and are recognized as some of the best in their fields. Stephanie was one of only five professional speakers in Canada (and the only woman) to attain this designation in 2013.