Two Golden Rules For Integrity & How To Create A Personal Mission Statement
There are a gazillion talented people in this world. You know many of them. I know many of them. I think of all of the amazing musicians, visual artists, executives, clergy, healthcare professionals and service workers that I’ve encountered. Yet, not all are successful. So, what is the secret to success?
NOTE: I define success as making a solid living doing one’s craft and sleeping well at night/having peace. I do not define filthy wealth as success.
Given the abundance of talent globally, talent, alone, is not enough. One also needs grit, drive and savvy to excel and navigate the world. Yet, there’s one fundamental thing you also need — integrity. Integrity will distinguish you because it is rare. Committing to a way of being and delivering on it consistently through thoughts, words and actions is not easy, so if you show up with integrity AND talent, plus some grit & savvy, you have a strong likelihood to succeed.
“Integrity is an alignment of values, thoughts, feelings and actions, says Leadership Expert John Maxwell in his book Talent is Never Enough.
Integrity embodies who you are, what you stand for and is established by micro commitments and deliveries each day. As explained in Maxwell’s aforementioned book, when Mahatma Gandhi’s assistant Mahadev Desai was asked how Gandhi could deliver a speech with no notes, Desai broke integrity down. He said “You don’t understand Gandhi. You see, what he thinks is what he feels. What he feels is what he says. What he says is what he does. What Gandhi feels, what he thinks, what he says and what he does are all the same. He does not need notes.” Mic drop.
C.S. Lewis defines integrity as doing the right thing even when no one is looking. While I like the premise of this statement, there are shades of gray regarding the definition of “right.” So for me, I follow the notion that business and life are made easier if I ‘just do what I say I will do.’ This empowers me, because I have a say in what is right and wrong — for me, and you do as well. Sure, there are universal rights (kindness) and wrongs (pre-meditated murder). Yet, we each have control in how we operate in our lives, and can determine such by creating a personal mission statement for our life.
How to Create Your Personal Mission Statement
Think about your primary mission in life, articulate this and socialize it widely. What is it that you want to do and be more than anything else in the whole wide world. Spend time thinking about this and write it down. Whatever you choose, the choice is yours, but it is how you will operate in this world and all decisions will flow more easily once you establish it.
For example, if your goal is to be the best father on the planet to your 3 children, own it and make it clear. Once established, others will understand your mission even before they ask you to commit to something because of how you operate in this world. In fact, if people know it, they won’t even ask you do to things which counter your personal mission. Say for instance your personal mission is creating as much wealth as possible for future generations, people will know that spending time socially that doesn’t benefit you financially may not be too of your list, so may not ask (or may try to position in a manner that resonates with you)
While broad, my personal mission is to be a blessing to as many people as possible. Given the range of my personal talents and the projects I have the privilege of working on, I realized that I could no longer neatly bucket them in marketing, yoga or whatever. I live my life by working to be a blessing to others. It’s how I move in the world, how I walk down the street, how I think and how I act, with friends, loved ones and clients. And I have found that the more I give, the more I am given to by God and the universe. So my mission is working for me and guiding my actions.
Your word is your bond. In a global marketplace for talent AND a trust economy filled with shared home stays (Home Away/Airbnb), shared rider services (Lyft, Uber), shared clothes (Rent The Runway) as the one we live in now, personal integrity is much more valuable than it ever has been. So, I encourage us all to strengthen our personal integrity.
Here are two Golden Rules of Integrity, which I believe will lead to your ultimate success.
- Decide what it is that you want to do. Spend time thinking about your personal values, your craft, the life you want to have and channel your energy into a decision about who you want to be and what you want to do with your time. Create your personal mission statement.
- Do What You Say You Will Do. Only commit to things that you can do. If you cannot do what is being asked of you, do not commit to such. Period.
This advice applies to work, home and recreational endeavors. Namaste all.
Olivia F. Scott