Honesty Is The Best Policy

"To me, today, at age sixty-one, all prayer, by the humble or highly placed, has one thing in common: supplication for strength and inspiration to carry on the best human impulses, which should bind us together for a better world. Without such inspiration, we would rapidly deteriorate and finally perish."  Walt Disney
As we glide towards another holiday season, I invite you to investigate the world around you, as well as the interior world you inhabit. One of my first coaching teachers, James Flaherty, asserted that most of us have a public and private identity. Simply put, we have a face/identity we show the world that may not align with the face we wear with our families, friends, and colleagues or even with ourselves.
Fine-tuning my awareness of identities allowed me to better observe the discrepancies in business where leaders promoted the theme of integrity-encouraging employees to unite behind a shared corporate vision.  Though they talked a good game, too often they didn't deliver on results. When integrity is practiced, customers see 'an unbroken completeness or totality' (Visual Thesaurus) within an organization. The idea is sound, but the implementation of integrity is weak. Why? People's private identity doesn't align with their public one.
What's required to live in integrity with oneself and others is the practice of honesty. "Tell the truth," is the first step in my 10 step Art of Winning program. The erosion of integrity happens over time as we keep adjusting our honesty meter to protect our beliefs, our hearts, our position, wealth, etc.  The private identity shapes our conduct (public identity).
We want to feel whole, but most of us lack the motivation to stick with the practice. It's hard to keep coming face to face with our habitual patterns. We tell ourselves that our stress fractures, whether mental or physical, are not that bad. Our excuses run the gamut from magical to mundane.
A practice is something you engage in regularly that over time strengthens a "weak muscle" or allows you to develop a specific competence. Traits like honesty, trust, openness and compassion are more challenging to teach and learn than golfing or computer skills, but well worth the investment of time. Why? The quality of my life (and yours) depends on the practices we do.
Why not monitor your honesty for one day and then jot down your observations in a journal. You may want to define honesty first. Watch yourself in action. No judging good or bad, just check in a few times each day noticing the expression, experience and communication of honesty both publicly and privately. Is there a discrepancy between what you think and what you say?
It's amazing what we uncover when we begin looking. When is the right time to bring your private and public identifies into unity?

Posted on November 19, 2013 and filed under November 2013.