Values of the Fearless Climber: Integrity

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The following is an excerpt from the book:
Grow a Pair of Antlers: The Fearless Climb to Lead Your Herd

Integrity

Integrity means acting with high standards of performance, consistently,
regardless of whether or not anyone is watching you. People trust and
respect you when you demonstrate integrity through honesty, reliability,
hard work, and authenticity.

Integrity is the outward demonstration of your inner character.
Everything we do, every choice we make, and every word we speak is a
reflection of our integrity. In our formative years, our character is shaped by
our parents and teachers and the media. As we grow older, we become
responsible for our character traits. Telling lies and making excuses is
exhausting. The results are guilt, shame, low self-esteem, and broken
relationships. When you choose to set high standards of integrity for
yourself, you change the course of your life. People begin to trust you and
treat you with more respect. A commitment to honesty, reliability, hard
work, and authenticity improves your self-confidence, simplifies your life,
and brings you peace of mind.

When I sold my accounting consulting business years ago, I started my
job search with my client list. I decided to look for an opportunity in a
company that was stable, but had potential for growth. A place where my
skills would be valued and I could make a big impact. But the most
important quality I considered was the integrity of the business owner. He
or she needed to demonstrate a high level of integrity in how they managed
their money, their customers, and their employees. I had many wonderful
clients I could have talked with, but one long-term client met all the criteria.
I made him a proposal, we negotiated a little, then he hired me as his
company’s Controller. We have been a very successful team ever since
because we share the same dedication to financial integrity and the same
heart to “Be a Blessing” (his company motto) to those we serve. When his
company received an income tax audit notice from the Internal Revenue
Service (IRS), we had peace of mind because we had confidence in the
fidelity of our accounting records. We met the auditor with a smile and a
spirit of helpfulness. As a result of our honesty, the IRS had no findings and
the company owed no taxes, penalties or interest. When you do things with
integrity, you give and receive blessings.

As you can see, honesty has been critical to my success as an
accounting professional. Business owners trust me with their check stock
and credit card numbers and online banking logins. They are assuming the
risk that I might steal from them. To make sure I never give them anything
to worry about, I will not sign their name on a document or even take one of
their pens home. I am also straightforward in my recommendations about
how they can manage their business more profitably and be more compliant
to tax and employment laws. Honesty means speaking the truth,
respectfully and with love, even when it’s uncomfortable for the receiver to
hear or difficult for you to say.

Reliability is also important to my clients. They trust me to provide
them with timely reports and ensure all their government filings are
submitted on time. I keep my commitments to my clients, even if it means I
am up early or late to complete an assignment or have to cancel a personal
appointment to get it done. I haven’t been perfectly reliable, but I rarely
miss a deadline. As a result, my clients give me grace when I do have an
unavoidable delay. And, because I know I always do my best to keep my
promises, it is easy for me to communicate any challenges I am having
without hesitation or guilt. Reliability means keeping the promises you
make to others.

Reliability and hard work are twin sisters of integrity. Oftentimes you
just need to “suck it up” and just get it done. There are few shortcuts to
accomplishing your goals. Some lucky people hit it big out of the gate, but
most people show up day after day for years to build their business and
create their wealth. They work hard and they don’t give up. If you are
acting lazy, don’t expect to succeed at very much in life. Lazy is not who
you are, it’s a lifestyle you have adopted. You can choose to get off the
couch and off your phone and get to work. The question is, would you
rather be filled with purpose and make an impact in the world or watch
another episode of reality television? Integrity is a choice - a choice to make
the climb towards success.

Finally, integrity is about being authentic in relationships. Authenticity
is similar to honesty, but more specifically means you are allowing your
real personality, gifts, interests, passions, struggles, and quirks to shine
through consistently with others. Sharing your story authentically has the
magical power to connect you with people of all different backgrounds and
interests because we still share the same human experience. We are all
striving and hoping for something more, struggling with fears and illnesses
or tragedy, and loving, laughing, and crying. When we talk about our shared
experiences with humility, we can provide support and encouragement to
each other. Authenticity is emotionally risky, but it is the pathway to love,
acceptance, respect and trust.

Integrity is not one single behavior of a successful person; it is the
combination of high standards, in multiple disciplines, over a consistent
period of time. It is the decision to be honest, reliable, hardworking, and
authentic in all areas of your life. It is a decision to be a person who wants
to earn respect and trust from others. A Fearless Climber feels proud of
himself for living a life of integrity.

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Kathleen, Business Coach with The Fearless Climb
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If you would like to talk with Kathleen for a few minutes to ask her any question about starting or growing your business, please click on the link below to request your FREE, no-obligation Discovery Call today.