After years of reading and researching, listening and learning, trying hard and sometimes failing, here's what I've discovered: showing up in integrity is where my power lies. Yours too.When you show up in integrity, being whole and true to yourself, you’re untouchable. Someone can throw a tantrum right on your doorstep, right in your INBOX, and you won’t even mind. You know how to recognise somebody else's story, and it doesn't have to become yours.
When you’re in integrity, you can rely on your own behaviour. You don't have to look back and wonder if you were somehow unethical or inappropriate. You KNOW that you weren't. In integrity, you create healthy boundaries that keep you safe, protect your energy, and allow you to show up fully in the relationships that nourish you - and step away from the ones that don't.
It's such a relief.
You can stop trying to pretzel yourself into spaces that make you uncomfortable. You can show up with more clarity and confidence in your life and in your business. It’s powerful.
The essence of integrity is this: being clear on your own values and beliefs, and living in alignment with those values and beliefs. It is the prequel to branding. Branding is the foundation of your business. It means a) knowing what your business stands for and cares about, and b) reflecting those values to your audience, clearly and consistently. And when you're running a heart-centred business, how you show up is how your business shows up.
Integrity is the foundation of the foundation of your business.
So. How do you want to show up in the world? What is your truth? What is that solid ground that you are laying down? What do you know that you believe in and represent? What healthy, beautiful boundaries are you creating? What are you no longer tolerating? What no longer serves you?
Look. Can I get real for a moment? Life is complicated. The only thing you control is yourself. You don't control the circumstances you were born into, the economy, or the other drivers on the road.
You may be in a situation right now that is challenging you in every way and that you CANNOT step away from. Sometimes, "I will no longer tolerate this" is meaningless. I don't want to pretend that if you just had enough gumption, you too could be living the life you dreamed of having. Because that's not the way the world works, last time I checked.
But I will say this. Living with extra-level challenges can be (slightly) less awful when you know your own values, and stand in them. You may still have to endure that colleague, that illness, that debt. But you'll be seeing it through a clear window. You'll be able to draw a line in the sand, you'll know what their story is and what belongs to you. You'll be able to approach any situation armed with your values and your morals and your particular recipe for resilience. You'll know how to pause, breathe, and connect to your core beliefs before you respond. You'll be making decisions in alignment with your vision of dignity and decency. Which might not result in you living the life you dreamed of having. But it might result in you living as the person you dreamed of being.