"The strongest thing that any human being has going for itself is its own integrity and it's own heart. As soon as you start veering away from that, the solidity that you need to stand up for what you believe in, just isn't going to be there."
– Herbie Hancock
We're all given the choice and opportunity each day to stay the path of moral integrity or to compromise for the easy way around.
Integrity is something that I don't necessarily remember my dad starting to instill in me. It wasn't some perfect "aha" moment, but I know he's the guy to whom I can attribute my ethical and moral standards, particularly when it comes to business and my work ethic.
(*Sidenote - my mom was no dud in the Character Department either, but when it comes to the topic of business ethics, my dad was the model example.)
I believe that for my parents, it was of the utmost importance to raise not only "good" kids, but kids that understood the value of honesty, hard work and determination. For that, we were given responsibilities and chores at a young age. Did I have my own pony at 5? Yup. Did I spend every waking free moment with her? Yup. Did I complain about having to muck out her stall? You bet. Did I get in trouble for not completing my chores? You'd better believe it. But this taught me that consequences for my actions, hard work, and responsibility were all just a part of life. No negotiations.
Fast forward 26 years and I'm a 31 year old woman with my first business.
Striking out on my own and leaving the comfort of a steady paycheck wasn't done in some ultra feminist attempt to #ruletheworld or to build the illusion of an #empire or whatever alias you want to use for monetary self gains.
In truth, I wanted to start this business because I wanted ownership in my own professional #ethics and in my own professional #integrity. I wanted to work with clients that I could truly align with and #empower them to grow their businesses. I needed to tap back into the reason I chose this industry and career in the first place - which is, to be #creative and to help others tap into their own successful business (sometimes non-business) endeavours.
I still found myself needing some validation for my decision, so I took to the internet for some nuggets of #wisdom and stumbled across this article by Brian Tracy, Chairman and CEO of Brian Tracy International. He writes about the importance of #honesty and #integrity in the workplace and what is means in the role of #leadership - quoting multi-billionaire, Jon Huntsman Sr;
“There are no moral shortcuts in the game of business or life...There are, basically, three kinds of people, the unsuccessful, the temporarily successful, and those who become and remain successful. The difference is character.”
Ah. There it is. #character. The basis of my entire upbringing, and the one most common thing that is sadly missing from so many individuals in leadership positions. I desired to step into my true calling of leadership, and to do it in a way that allowed my #character to come before my #skillset. But what is a true mark of leadership that I could identify in myself from own experiences? Brian Tracy writes in his article in Entrepreneur.com, The Importance of Honesty and Integrity in Business ;
"Leaders with integrity always err on the side of fairness, especially when other people are unfair. As a matter of fact, the true mark of leadership is how fair you can be when other people are treating you unfairly."
I can't even count the number of times in my life that I've been dealt some pretty unfair cards. In those situations, I could have reacted accordingly - doing sloppy work, complain, quit... the list goes on. But I didn't compromise my character for what was fair in my eyes, because I knew the true worth the reputation of my character carried.
So it's with humble beginnings that I embark on this #entrepreneurial journey. I've made mistakes and I've failed many times, but at the end of each day I have peace of mind because I know without any doubt, that I make #integrity my top priority.
Follow along my entrepreneurship journey!
I'll be posting regularly on a broad range of topics all circulating around business.