Doing The Right Thing, Even When No One Is Watching

You’re a massage therapist. You are getting ready for your first appointment of the day in a shared space where you work. You go into the treatment room and there is a $20 bill on the floor. It could belong to the massage therapist who used the room before you or to the client that was last seen there. Do you pocket the $20 or try to find out who’s it is?

This is a scenario I used to ask my students when I taught business ethics at the New York College of Health Professions. Your answer shows your integrity level. Always doing the right thing, even when no one is looking, isn’t always easy but it is always right.


In a coaching program I am currently taking this weeks topic was integrity. Which is quite interesting since some people have recently called the integrity of Young Living Essential Oils into question. If you know me at all you know that I am a huge supporter, customer, and business builder with them and one reason is because of their integrity. If you’re curious about this, please send me a private message and I’d be happy to share the details.

Anyway, I really enjoyed this lesson and while I went through some of the integrity examples I was not surprised and really uplifted that in all but two areas I “passed” the integrity test! My weak areas? White lies. (I actually am ok with telling a complete stranger that they look fabulous in that dress) And keeping my word to MYSELF.

“Living with integrity means: not settling for less than what you know you deserve in your relationships. Asking for what you want and need from others. Speaking your truth, even though it might create conflict or tension. Behaving in ways that are in harmony with your personal values. Making choices based on what you believe, and not what others believe.” – Barbara De Angelis

Now over the years this has gotten much easier and I certainly don’t feel as though I’ve settled by way of my relationship with my husband, friends, or family. I more so have settled in the ways of my working life. I LOVE what I do, that is not the issue. But I know I am capable of doing more. Being more. Being more successful than I currently am. I am working on making more of a commitment to myself to take the actions that I need to in order to become, and be, the person I know I am. And doing that means I need to surround myself with the people whom I’d like to be more like.

The follow is taken from my coaching lesson with the GoPro Coaching team.

Be appropriately transparent. Transparency requires a willingness to be vulnerable to some extent. This quality allows you to be more fully honest with yourself and others. Pretending to be something that you’re not, in any aspect of your life, isn’t consistent with integrity.

Take responsibility. If something goes wrong, look for the role you played in the situation and accept responsibility. Ignoring or minimizing our role in a problem while shifting blame to others is a form of dishonesty with ourselves and others. Accepting responsibility is empowering and honest. That doesn’t mean that you need to beat yourself up over mistakes, but rather, acknowledge them, own up to them, and learn from them.

Model people of high integrity. Modeling is a wonderful way to acquire the characteristics you admire in others. If you identify someone worth emulating, observe and study them carefully, and then imitate the desirable aspects of their character to the best of your ability, consistently over time, you’ll begin to take on those characteristics. Modeling works!

Prepare to stand alone. Standing on principle can often be a very lonely position. It takes real courage to voice an unpopular but honest opinion or position. Work to build your self confidence so you’ll be as prepared as possible to stand alone if needed. Be prepared to live with the consequences of your value based decisions and actions. In the end, you’ll have the satisfaction and peace of mind that come from standing by those values.

Finally, surround yourself with people and resources that reinforce and support integrity. Avoid spending time with people of low or questionable integrity. Read books, watch movies, and listen to music that inspires you to be better, do better, and to live a life that’s consistent with your values. Any person or any content that would lead you to compromise your integrity should be avoided.

“People of character do the right thing even if no one else does, not because they think it will change the world, but because they refuse to be changed by the world.” – Michael Josephson One of the most important ways to manifest integrity is to be loyal to those who are not present.” – Stephen Covey

Integrity is knowing, really knowing, who you are and what you’re about, and then having the courage to live every aspect of your life according to that knowledge, regardless of pressure or consequence. It certainly isn’t easy, which is why integrity isn’t more common. It is not the path of least resistance. The development of integrity requires a real investment. That investment tests your resolve and proves your commitment.

I wish you well in taking the road less traveled.

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