Aside from writing the New York Times bestseller “Take the Stairs,” Rory Vaden is also an award-winning entrepreneur and business leader who founded the global consulting practice Southwestern Consulting. Rory is also an insightful and driven human who’s working to redefine what being a man is in today’s culture. Rory’s thoughts were to good not to share. Read his thoughts below, or download the entire eBook at Noisetrade. Hope they help!
When it comes to the qualities of a man, integrity is right up there with courage and discipline. Very few men would say integrity is not something worth striving for. Certainly not a man like you.
Unfortunately, the entire concept of integrity doesn’t come without a slightly bad taste and hint of cynicism for most of us. After all, we are instantly reminded of all the frauds who have claimed to be one thing publicly and have been found out to be something entirely different privately. And if integrity is actually about the congruence of yours words and actions, then our world has far more examples of people who lack integrity than people who don’t.
Truth be told, more of us can relate to the lack of integrity than we’d care to admit. We know that we’re not perfect. We feel like we’re hiding who we really are. The word “integrity” makes us feel guilty and feels like a hurdle we lack the strength to clear, so we write it off as an impossible ideal.
But the truth is that integrity isn’t as much about moral perfection as it is about creating things & living in real freedom. Or, to put it more simply, integrity is about creation. Think about it. You think it. You speak it. You act. It happens. That is the creation process, and, if you think about it, it can’t happen without integrity.
What could be more vital to that process than a congruence of what we speak and what we actually do?
Everything in the world—business, a family, a hobby—began with an idea. Words then become the first manifestation of our ideas into reality. You then have a positive creation cycle of forging your word, forging your actions, and forging your ability to lead.
This means that people who can be counted on to do what they say—those with integrity—have an enhanced ability to create. When you act on your word over and over and over, people know that your word has weight and power. Whether they be your team, your spouse, your kids or your friends, they give gravity to the things you say. This, in turn, cultivates trust. And trust perpetuates the cycle of creation.
On the other hand, when you’re not completely truthful, people respond with skepticism and are incredibly slow to follow. Their ability to buy into whatever vision you are promoting is decreased. Your ability to create is sabotaged.
INTEGRITY IS ABOUT FREEDOM.
This can all sound strict and legalistic, as if integrity requires you to be some sort of joyless stiff. It’s one of the largest misconceptions about integrity—the idea that to stay congruent with our words and actions is limiting and confines us to a narrow path. Actually, nothing could be further from the truth.
Integrity is freedom.
It sounds simple. It is simple. When your words line up with your actions, you have nothing to hide. You can say to the world: “I invite you to investigate my life.” You can say goodbye to that weight of guilt and anxiety of being found out. Yet, the even better news is that this kind of integrity that breeds freedom is easier to live out than you may think.
THE GRANDMA EFFECT.
I know many men for whom integrity remains a foreign idea who have come to me for help with developing this congruence between what they say and what they do. However, every time I tell them my favorite trick to walking in integrity, it’s met with a “that’s it?!”
“Pretend that your Grandma is watching, listening to, and seeing everything you do.”
I know it’s borderline ridiculous, but it’s perhaps the single most important mentality that’s kept me from betraying the trust of those around me. The irony is that, these days, it’s likely enough that your Grandma is watching. So is everyone else. In this culture, the microphone is always on. The accountability lives in every Google search, every site click, and every social media post. If what you did today was splattered across the front page of The New York Times, would you be proud of it? If the world could see and hear everything you do, your thoughts, your actions, what you read, and who you talk about it, how you talk about them, how would that make you feel?
So, what does a gentlemen look like in our modern age?
He’s a man that creates things and freedom with the congruence of his words & actions.
– Rory Vaden