Integrity will take you further than any other value you possess. People may forget many of the things you do in your life, but theyll remember if you lived your life with integrity. Theyll certainly remember if you dontweve all seen the headlines of disgraced politicians , who, when running for office, made an implicit pledge to be honest and truthful . Yet when the truth about their underhanded dealings is revealed, they lose face, lose elections , and often lose their freedom by going to prison .
Sometimes your desire to do something else after youve made a commitment tempts you to compromise your integrity. I was faced with such a situation when I made plans to attend my 20th high school reunion. I was all set to go, and then the committee changed the date at the last minute. Unfortunately, I had a business engagement on the new date, and my customer expected me to honor my commitment. I went back and forth between my choicesI wanted to attend the reunion, but if Id gone, I wouldnt have fully enjoyed it because I would have known Id let a client down.
I followed through with my promise to the client, but I missed the reunion Id really wanted to attend. At first, my only consolation was the hopeful thought that my classmates would hold future reunions, but the lasting consolation came from knowing that Id fulfilled a pledge to a client, and that promise came before my own pleasure . So I did the right thing. My desire to maintain a high standard of personal integrity for myself and in the eyes of others is what kept me grounded in my commitment.