Monday, November 15, 2010

One Bite at a Time

When with your friends, you often hear yourself saying stuff like, "Of course I care about my health!  I take good care of myself!" Yet alone, in the middle of temptation, you convince yourself that just one more bacon-double-cheeseburger (with fries) won't hurt. After all, it's not like you do it EVERY day!  

You are diligent in telling your eleven-year-old daughter not to ever tell lies... not ever.  The phone rings...she answers.  It's ANOTHER telemarketer.  "Tell them I'm not here!" you silently mouth from the other room. 

"It's only twenty minutes!" you convincingly encourage yourself as you round your time sheet up to the next even hour.  After all,  why do they make you fill these silly things out, anyway?

Ever find yourself in a similar scenario?  You know... where your actions and your words don't exactly jive?  Where you tell yourself, your family, your friends or your boss one thing, but inside you know something different?  Ever?
Have you ever heard the term "congruence?"  It's been a big deal in management training circles for some time now.  Indeed, it is a very important idea.  Defined by Webster, it means, "an exact coinciding."  To use a (very) worn out phrase, it means, "walking your talk".  My definition?  Do what you say... say what you do.
Out of the grey...

There's no grey here.  It's actually quite a simple concept. And you know what?  Such virtue paves the difference between excellence and something much less in every one of your relationships.  With your employer, customers, co-workers, friends, children, significant other, and even... with yourself. Such uprightness creates the quantity of respect you're given, and in reality, the quantity of respect you deserve. 

On a very personal level, it's called... integrity.

You've most likely heard the phrase, "Your actions are shouting so loudly, I can't hear a word you're saying!"  You can probably think of someone to whom this phrase fits... perfectly.  But, have you ever considered how it might apply to you?  Sure, most of us are pretty honest when it comes to the big stuff.  We don't steal.  We don't blatantly lie.  We don't cheat our friends. But what about those "little" things?  It's been said that the way to eat an elephant is... one bite at a time!

Have you ever stopped to ponder how those small "untruths," or "oversights," or lack of follow-through, or "do as I say, not as I do," pieces of your life might be eating away at you?  Such  "chinks" in your existence - over time - wear you down.  The 'one bite at a time' concept is fundamental.  Consider the slow rusting away of metal, mountains carried over time by rivers to the sea, or erosion of the once sandy shore with each crash of ocean wave. So too, are you diminished each time you engage in any  lack of integrity - however slight.  You lose the respect of others.  You  lose respect for yourself.

Think about it.  The erosion is easy to stop.  All you need do is be honest... really honest.  Immerse yourself in integrity - total, one-hundred-percent-no-holds-barred integrity.  Stand tall.  Do what you say... say what you do.  It's simple.  It's powerful.  Those near to you will love you for it.  The rest will respect you for it. And you?  You will have a much higher opinion of... you. – Soul and Peace.

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