Be True to Your Word (Integrity & Trust)

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Photo: Tiny Buddha

All the time, people say one thing and do another. It’s become normal to be flaky, unreliable, and not a person of your word — except it’s not normal. Saying one thing and doing another is a poor reflection of one’s character, and the people who do this are risking losing valuable relationships.

Make a Firm Inner Decision

I certainly have flaws and shortcomings, but one thing I have going for me is that people say I’m authentic. Being authentic allows me to make real connections with other people. I genuinely care about them and seek to help them, as opposed to the hidden agenda so many people carry. You can (and will) absolutely get paid for helping others, but you must make it your first priority to have a sincere interest in the welfare of yourself and the people around you.

This does not mean you will let people use you, nor does it mean you will be afraid to sell yourself on your true value. Being authentic helps to know when to draw boundaries and stand up for yourself. You refuse to be fake. Do you want to be truly authentic?

Then make a firm inner decision to do so, right now.

What makes you authentic? Think about it and reflect on it, both in your mind and on paper. Knowing these core qualities about yourself will serve you well.

Five Traits of People With Authenticity and Integrity

Through my travels around the world, discussions with dozens of experts, and conducting my own research, here are five traits of people with authenticity and integrity:

  1. They don’t have a hidden agenda. It’s perfectly alright to confidently ask for business or a deal, but not having a hidden agenda means that you genuinely care about the person you are talking to.
  2. They refuse to judge others. There is a difference between making an observation and making a judgment. Noticing that someone arrived late to a meeting is an observation. Thinking they are a bad or flawed person for arriving late is a judgment. Refusing to judge others also includes refusing to label others. Instead of judging others, seek to understand others and then help them to improve.
  3. They are true to their word. Say what you mean, and mean what you say. If you made a promise to someone and later find out you are not able to fulfill that promise due to an unexpected circumstance, apologize profusely to that person and make it up to them somehow in the future. It’s alright to change your plans, but it’s not alright to leave someone hanging high and dry because you didn’t care to update them on what was going on with you.
  4. They show interest in others. This expands on point number one — authentic people have the integrity to know they are not the center of everything that goes on. People have complex lives and they’ll be grateful to have a listening ear. You might end up making a good friend because you were willing to listen to their problems and offer thoughtful advice. This doesn’t mean you suddenly let people dump their problems on you, but it does mean you are aware that people have a lot going on in their lives.
  5. They are vulnerable. There’s a time and place to be vulnerable, but never be afraid to take off the mask and show your true self to the world. Vulnerability is how you connect with people and reach their souls.

Bringing it All Together

I was recently burned by someone who I made a deal with. I was told that he’d help me with one of my business initiatives if I helped him with some of the problems he was dealing with. I dedicated an entire evening to helping him with his problems, but when it came time to fulfill his end of the bargain he flaked out on me by not responding to my text and email. This hurt, but I refuse to let the world change who I am. I will remain a person of kindness and love. Just because other people are flaky doesn’t mean you have to be as well. Don’t let the world change who you are. Continue to act with integrity, and be authentic as often as you possibly can.

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Jeff Davis
Jeff Davis is a professional speaker and the author of several books. He has done keynote speeches internationally and is a sought-after expert on self-leadership, anti-bullying, and overcoming adversity. Jeff frequently speaks to high schools, colleges, nonprofits, organizations, associations, conferences, and businesses. He’s been to five different continents and has a Master’s degree from Johns Hopkins Carey Business School. He also did a well-received TEDx talk in New York City.