From the book “Conspiracy for Greatness; Mastery of Love Within”
By: Behnam Bakhshandeh

Without integrity, responsibility and accountability mean nothing. You cannot be fully responsible or accountable for your actions if you have no integrity. This powerful force impacts every part of our lives and what we are doing. To make necessary changes in our lives, we must first gain true integrity in all we do.

Integrity is often looked at as moral, as making good things in the world and doing the “right” things. This view is a result of our making choices in life based on looking at them as “good vs. bad” or “right vs. wrong” or “true vs. false.” Most of the time these choices arise from feelings of guilt, shame, blame or at our darkest moment when we have been accused of not having integrity. This is a very limited way of thinking and approaching our lives. In fact, integrity is a way to empower ourselves and others.

Who gives us the power and permission to judge and evaluate others’ integrity? What gives us the right to base others’ level of integrity on what we think integrity is or should be? We judge and evaluate others’ decisions, their lifestyle or life choices and anything else we can push our opinions on, so we can impose our idea of integrity on them. When they don’t accept our viewpoint, we become upset and resentful. We distance ourselves from them. When considering your idea of integrity, I invite you to separate your view of social law, religious beliefs and/or cultural beliefs from your idea of integrity at this moment. Look at integrity as a personal phenomenon.

Every person declares his or her own personal integrity based on personal beliefs, faith, values, principles and life choices. However, we all have one thing in common when it comes to integrity and that is … without it things do not work well in our lives and in our commitments! Whatever our personal integrity is, when we do not practice it we do not accomplish our goals neither, therefore, our intentions. Integrity is not constrained or limited by rules, agreements, descriptions, in-order-to’s or demands to get anywhere or to make ourselves or someone else do anything.

Integrity is the ability to be as good as our word, to declare power over our promises, to be true to our personal values and principles, to live our lives as our own people. Ultimately, being true to ourselves and being true to our self-expression is the simplest form of integrity. That is the only force in life that will bring us power, joy, freedom and happiness. We will fail if we live our lives and hold up to integrity only for others or to get others’ approval, to please someone else or impress another human being. A life lived with integrity is a life that is based on your personal values and principles.

You can use your integrity as a meter, like a sensor to distinguish and realize your degree of the reliability or truthfulness of your actions to your commitments and, ultimately, your word. To me, integrity is when we consistently produce what we promise to produce, do what we say we will do, or say what we tell others we will say. This rule applies to what we promise ourselves and to others. Regardless of the circumstances or obstacles in your way, personal integrity is one of powerful forces of decision making. Why? Notice that each time we get into trouble or cause upset with ourselves or others, it is when we don’t follow through with our personal values and principles or what we stand for in life. When we sell ourselves and our integrity short for the sake of being liked, being part of the crowd and/or being ordinary, we short ourselves.

To put the power of integrity to work for us we do what we say we will do at the time we say we will do it. We stand behind our word with honor.

When we do not act with integrity, we leave our actions to justification. Reasoning each situation, spending energy on explanations of why and how we can’t do what we say we will because of the circumstances or obstacles in our way is not having integrity as a focus of our life. In the event there is a real circumstance that cannot be avoided that prevents us from doing something we have promised to do, we must then approach the situation and create a new agreement, moving forward from there based on the new agreement. Communication is key to staying on track with our personal integrity.

Integrity is a powerful force in us. It is a way we can declare our word and live our lives free of any nonsense in our heads about what we have done or not done. Issues such as when and to whom we have lied, what we have hidden from others, trying to remember what we said to whom about different things when we participate in gossip are all very tiring and exhausting. Why put yourself through that when you have a choice to live and act with integrity?

You must be the judge of your own life and practices. I am not here to judge, but I can tell you one thing … not having integrity or practicing it when you know you truly should the consequences of that action will always come back and bite you in the behind, sooner or later, with no exceptions!
When you clean up your integrity, it is not just a one-time act. It is something you will need to repeat time and time again to keep yourself in check. It’s like the pile of laundry you face every week. If you don’t do the wash it will ultimately begin to smell bad and make the whole house smell bad. You have to do laundry every week and you have to keep it up.

I had so many issues that I had to clean up. I had to become responsible for causing the issues. I had taken responsibility. I am no angel, but I am a powerful person now because I have cleaned up all of my messes, and if I make more messes I will clean them up as I go. I will keep doing my laundry! Don’t become discouraged if your integrity gets out of alignment from time to time. Just put it back in the wash and keep moving forward. Learn from your mistakes and from cleaning up your mistakes with integrity and keep yourself away from repeating the same mistakes as much as possible.

Now, look at yourself and rate your integrity in respect to your personal values and principles. Then come back with a series of promises that you must make to yourself and others (that by keeping them will bring your power back). Sometimes the issues that you need to confront are not a big deal and you can get them checked off your to-do list with a simple apology and asking for forgiveness. You would be surprised by just how far that simple apology might go!

You are the best judge of your own level of integrity. Get to work and write down where, how and with whom you have to clean something up, make new promises or declare your intentions. I know you think by just working hard, better or different and little bit of hiding and misrepresenting you can get away with not having high levels of integrity in your life. I will make this promise to you, you will be disappointed and upset when everything comes to light if you think this way. The price of cleaning up your mistakes, issues and lies slowly or not at all is a hundred times LESS powerful than if you were to get to work and restore your power by tackling these issues right now, head on.

It takes time, it will not be easy and it will not be very fun, but considering the alternative don’t you think it would be more beneficial if you got to work on cleaning up your integrity now? We don’t live forever. Get going! I have two simple but powerful questions for you;

In which areas of your life is your integrity not a match with your life vision?

Weigh all areas of your life. Where and how have you not shown integrity? Look at these areas and jot down what part of it has to do with integrity. Only then will you be able to work on the problems.

With whom is your personal integrity not consistent?
I am talking about your agreements or promises with people and your relationships with them.
Is there something you have left unsaid to someone whom you love or care for on some level? Check everyone that you have some form of relationship with, such as spouse, partners, parents, siblings, friends or any other relationship at work or play?

Integrity is a powerful force that allows us to fulfill our vision and live our lives based on what we want them to be. For you to fulfill your life vision you need to have very powerful integrity; it is necessary for maintaining relationships with people with whom you will create partnerships and who will help you accomplish your goals and projects!

Author's Bio: 

Behnam Bakhshandeh is a dynamic author, speaker, executive coach and trainer with more than 17 years of hands-on experience working with individuals and organizations. He known among his friends, family and clients to be a patient, compassionate and a no-nonsense individual who loves to make a difference in all aspects of his life as well as the lives of others.

In his career, Behnam has personally worked with more than 50,000 participants. He is an accomplished business manager and business development professional, known for producing extraordinary results in record time. He is a passionate, visionary leader who produces results.

Behnam founded his own transformational technology and coaching business in 2001. Since then, he and his team members have helped countless businesses and tens of thousands of individuals achieve their goals and transform their thinking to a much more effective way that allow them to have access to fulfillment, success and peace of mind.