I found a little saying in a magazine many years ago, clipped it, and pinned it to my bulletin board at work.
“Character – Be True to your Word, your Work and your Friends.”
You can be a character, eccentric and colorful, or an actor in a movie, play or book. I like to think I’m a little bit colorful. But the other definition spoke to me more.
“The mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual.” To me, this definition speaks of integrity whose definition is much the same. Another simple way of saying this is “say what you mean and mean what you say.”
Character or integrity should be an important aspect of who we are. If you are wishy-washy or evasive, people will lose trust in you. Integrity is a favorable quality to have in your work, one that will get you recognition, promotions and possibly more money. Having integrity will build character and that will earn respect. You can be likeable and even lovable, but if you don’t have integrity you won’t get respect.
Stand by your word. Don’t be afraid to admit your mistakes – you will actually get more respect by being honest and truthful. It also helps if you step up to the plate and take action to repair the damage, even if you have to ask for help.
If someone asks you to do something that compromises your integrity, say no. If you know that what you are doing is legally, ethically and morally right, stand on that and follow through. Saying no to someone’s demand that you do something in opposition to that, might momentarily get you in trouble, but ultimately you will be respected and recognized for doing the right thing.
God knows we have so many people with so few ethics, that you need to hold onto every little bit you have.
Because, really, the only person you really have to answer to is yourself.