Integrity, a key ingredient to holistic success.

I’ve been thinking a lot about integrity recently, and about how it is so much more integral to our lives than we realize. When I was younger, the idea of integrity was just about honesty, about doing the right thing no matter what. The whole “do the right thing even when no one is looking”

But recently I started to focus on the other meaning of integrity. A friend of mine was talking about a building and used the phrase “structural integrity” which lead me to start thinking about how having integrity meant being “intact” with no cracks or weak spots. Something that only happens when a building is well built, and then well maintained.

Integrity – The state of being whole and undivided.

Isn’t that a wonderful way to think about oneself? Can you say that you feel whole and undivided?

I can’t!

But that concept has spurred me to start really considering the aspects of my life and work where I am NOT whole and undivided.

I started to apply that thought to something I started last week, where I’ve been unsubscribing from the (literally) hundreds of email newsletters that I get daily, keeping only the very small handful that I find really useful or inspiring.

With each unsubscribe I feel like I breathe a little easier and feel a little less confused, because each of those newsletters feeds a fear that I don’t know what I’m doing, that I have to copy someone else’s marketing/sales/development/social media strategy in order to be successful.

And it occurred to me just how much time I spend reading books and blogs and doing webinars and courses…. And being disappointed with each of them. Not because they aren’t good. Some of them are brilliant, but often they prey on the fear that without them I’m a lost cause, that I don’t know what I’m doing. Not one of them supports my value system, my grounding belief.

I have all the inner resources I need to be happy and successful.

In short, relying so heavily on these things is at odds with my integrity.

They also massively divide my attention and energy, which is really a detriment no matter how you look at it.

That divided attention thing is huge too. I’m an extrovert and I love being around people, but being an extrovert, I also tend towards people pleasing. Something that most of us, particularly women, are taught to do at an early age.

Make time for everyone. Give all of yourself. Just say yes and keep everyone else happy.

Um, no.

Someone recently gave me hell on my Facebook page over a quote that I posted which basically said “cut out negative people”. And I got the whole speech of how I was cold and mean and negative people need love too etc. etc.

And yes they do. I have a huge amount of sympathy and empathy for people who are trapped in a negative mindset, but I do not have to compromise my integrity, my wholeness, to try “fix them” or become embroiled in it.

The same is true of projects, clients, events, everything that isn’t in some way supportive of your wholeness and your focus. If it’s not the right fit, aligned with your inner integrity and purpose and you’re taking things on out of a fear or need to keep adding to your list of “stuff” you’re going to find yourself exhausted by it, drained and compromised.

Divided.

I’ve spent a lot of time in the past spinning my wheels over opportunities and a to do list that’s jam packed with things I’ve come to believe I’m “supposed” to do, but that are really really really not things I actually even want or feel compelled towards.

And I’ve come to believe that integrity demands that I cut those things loose. They are not for me. I don’t actually want them and more importantly, they are keeping me from having the time to do the things that DO keep me whole and undivided.

So as a result, I’ve unsubscribed from a million emails, I’ve left several Facebook groups and unliked a whole host of pages and Instagram accounts. I’ve stopped sending out my own newsletter. I’ve stopped attending every event that I’m invited to. I’ve stopped feeling obliged to “catch up” with people if it drains me to spend time with them. I’m handing over the reins of a group that I run. And most important of all…

I’ve stopped thinking constantly about what I need to do to ensure my success. I’ve completely let it go.

Because at the end of the day, that isn’t what drives me. It’s not what gets me excited.

I’ve chosen to focus on what makes my life feel inspired and whole. What for me, supports my integrity.