What is Integrity?

Much of my day is spent with the question, “What is integrity.” I write, I reflect, I teach, I read, I feel. All in the quest for simple clarity. It’s emerging, and it’s surprising. When I first considered integrity, I was sure it was about being more honest. That’s true, and there is more. In fact, so much more that I then felt overwhelmed.

What I’m discovering about integrity is that it’s about the absolute alignment of my body, thoughts, feelings and actions. It calls me to total awareness.  This understanding sometimes brings forth despair. “How can anyone be in integrity?” the voice inside says. Yet, I know there are moments when I am in integrity. “If that’s so”, I wonder, “what’s happening in those moments?” “I’m present”, is my first response. “So is being present required for integrity?” I ask myself. Yep.

Is the quest for integrity so simple that it only requires being fully present? I’m not sure, but it feels like this could be true. When I’m present, I’m aware of everything I’m experiencing in this moment. I act from this awareness with a deliberateness that is only possible from this complete awareness. I can feel my body without the distortion of thoughts. My experiences are pure as they are not motivated by needs or desires.

This simple understanding doesn’t mean that being in integrity is easy. It requires diligence and practice. It demands self-honesty and reflection.

The question is, “Are you ready for complete integrity?” This question brings to mind our conversation a few days ago about accountability. With integrity, it’s also an all or nothing experience. No need for despair though, we have the opportunity to experience integrity more and more. This is possible if we stop judging ourselves when we are not in integrity. Judgment brings with it so much self-deception. We believe that if we are out of integrity we are “bad”. Nope, we are just out of integrity, like most everyone else. When we discover this is happening, we can stop, reorient to being present, and continue. It’s that simple.

Over the next few months, I will be writing more about integrity, offering ways I’ve found to be present with my body, emotions, thoughts, feelings and actions. I welcome your feedback. No more important time than now to increase the number who are living in integrity.

Author: Thomas White

Over the past thirty-five years, Thomas White has created and led private and public organizations that initiated breakthroughs in areas as diverse as computer software, publishing, printing, market research, leadership development and organizational change. The common ingredients in his success are simple. He looked beyond the limitations that others believed and found real solutions to needs that business leaders have. He attracted the best talent to translate these innovative solutions into practical products and services that were of high value to customers. He created cultures where people love what they do, work at their best and produce extraordinary results. In addition to his role as a business leader, Thomas has been a pioneer and inventor of technologies in the computer-networking field. He is a patent holder for innovations in business process and workflow technology. As part of his passion for educating others about the interface of human and computer systems, he was the co-author of “New Tools for New Times, The Workflow Paradigm”. He has also written articles for numerous publications. In 2001, he turned his attention from leading companies to supporting leadership teams in creating organizations of excellence. After many years of being a part of the machine of change, Thomas recognized that business is the most powerful force in the world. It has a major impact on public policy and governments everywhere. It is a key influence on how we use our resources and sets an example of the values that shape communities from local to global. He formed the consulting firm of Profoundly Simple to be a guide for exemplary leaders - leaders who wisely uses the power they are entrusted with to serve their constituencies first and themselves second; leaders who know that it is good business to treat people with respect, honor the environment and act with impeccable integrity – leaders who inspire greatness in those around them and by doing so create great organizations that are notable examples of success. Feeling the itch to get back into the game again, Thomas joined with two long time friends, to start the C-Suite Network. This network of business leaders offers an online network, events, services, and insights to its 500,000 member community. In addition, the C-Suite Network produces and distributes television and radio content to an audience of over 5M per month

1 thought on “What is Integrity?”

  1. Let Rumi so consciously said……I fall down and pick myself up, again and again…or words to that effect. If I can NOTICE when I fall out of integrity (rather denying it or rationalizing it), I can pick myself up, move into present awareness and go on. My sense is that, the more I do this, it is like exercising a muscle…..I get stronger in recognizing my out-of-integrity action or thought and in correcting it with no judgment.

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