Saturday, March 21, 2009

Intergrity: Its More Than Just A Code of Ethics

This month 100% of my Virtue Volunteers set goals to live this month with integrity. Many of those goals are in my earlier post.

I asked all of my volunteers to email me with their results. These emails taught me two things: 1. living every day with integrity can be hard, and 2. living every day with integrity can bring greater happiness and greater peace.

Here was one comment from a volunteer:

Well I've been putting this email off trying to come up with some profound story to tell or some way that integrity really changed me this month. I have (like I told you) a whole document of stories at home on my computer. I think it would be best for me to say however that I don't have anything specific to say.

I can think of several instances these past 21 days where I have remembered the challenge I am doing, and changed the decision I would have made. More then once, I have been in line at stores where my total has come to less then what it should be, and I told them the truth. More then once, I have caught myself speeding and slowed down so that I could live an honest life even with something so simple. And yes, more then once, I have stayed clear of pirated movies.

I told you that I have tried studying the topic of integrity each day. I think that this has given the challenge more meaning to me because it has helped make it more of "my own". As far as my goal is concerned, I think I made too broad of a goal. I need to be more specific. I did find myself however making WAY less commitments instead of following through with them because I knew I didn't have time for it. This was a good month for me, but I would say that I still have a lot to learn about Integrity and it didn't effect me profoundly, however, it did make a small difference in my life that I think will have a small, but lasting effect. Thanks for the opportunity!


Integrity is a very personal thing, and I did not set out to encourage or discourage particular behaviors, but more importantly to help people focus on what THEY believe integrity is, and set goals accordingly. In addition, it takes a lifetime to develop integrity- there is no lolly pop cure to make you an honest person. It takes real work.

Here is another response on the month:

My goal of "saying that I'm going to do something, then really doing it" is coming along nicely. Usually I make plans to get together with people, then feel tired and drained and often cancel. This month I am following through and going out to the dinners/lunches that I've been talking about and I find myself enjoying life a lot more. It's really helped me out of my "winter slump" and I'm having fun.

Keeping promises can be very rewarding. When we keep our promises we are more at peace with ourselves. What is the purpose of speech if it isn't 100% truthful? Many of my volunteers independently set goals to be honest, and keep their commitments.

Here was one not so positive review on the month of integrity from one of my good friends Rachel Nielson:

It's the end of the month, and in terms of my goal, I failed.

I think my goal was too ambitious, and so I got discouraged early on. Have I been running? Yes. Have I been running six days a week? No. Have I been running enough miles to truly be training for a half marathon? No.

I think I should've been more honest with myself before I set this goal: I used to run half marathons, but I had a different life then. It isn't realistic for me to be running 5 or more miles a day when I am teaching full-time, plus grading, plus volunteer work for church, plus cleaning, grocery shopping, laundry, plus recruiting and training volunteers for a non-profit program at an orphanage in El Salvador.

I have MUCh more going on in my life than I used to, and if now is not the time to train for a half be it. I think I can deal with that.

If I were to have more integrity and therefore be honest with myself, I'd have to say that just running 30-40 minutes four days a week is a much better goal for my current life.

I'm not sure if we can ever truly "fail" at a goal, because the very act of setting the goal makes a difference. By making a goal you have already changes your perception, and that is valuable. I want to congratulate all those who made this a month of Integrity.

How was your Month of Integrity?

(Next up, the Month of Courage)


  1. I think I agree with your first account, that I was not specific enough with my goal. I do not count it as a failure, because while I didn't accomplish what I set out to do this month, I did become more aware of habits and behaviors, make steps to change them and learn more about what both my children and myself need to have a happy and productive day together. I'm looking forward to next month.

  2. I was really excited about my goal at the beginning of the month, but it faded as time went on. I was not good at wearing my bracelet, but now see the value in having a constant reminder. I had integrity on my mind more often this month, but I hope to do much better next month!

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  4. Thinking about integrity I wanted to do a better job of keeping my commitments. One commitment I had made was to swim every morning with my neighbor. It helped that I had to drive two days a week. It was so easy on the days that I didn't drive to just stay in bet. It didn't help that I was in NYC (where I lost the bracelet) for one week and then had grandkids for most of two weeks but I still got to the pool more than I would have with out the effort to keep my commitment to Colleen. I really wanted to swim a mile. That may not seem much to you. When I first started it was a bit hard to get to the other end of the pool with out feeling like my legs were falling off. Well today I did it. One mile and it felt GREAT. I was surprised at how much I wanted to keep going. Maybe if 20 high school girls were not jumping in to the pool I would have kept going. I am so glad I had the incentive to just keep my commitment to Colleen. I feel reaching my goal of a mile swim is the prize I get for keeping the little commitment most days to go swim with my neighbor. Susan