The news is full of stories of powerful men who have been revealed as unethical in their business dealings or even as sexual predators. These scandals are becoming all too common among our political, business, and religious leaders. In this environment, it is increasingly important for men to understand how they can live in integrity.
Integrity demands living in a manner that aligns your actions with your values, so a man first needs to be clear on his values. He then needs the awareness and courage to make honest evaluations of whether his actions represent the man he wants to be.
Values are core beliefs that define who we are in the world. They embody our beliefs and guide our choices. Men often espouse values that they have inherited from their parents, churches, and schools. While these are lofty and may seem inspiring, they are sometimes superficial and irrelevant to the individual. The important work is identifying your true values and discovering whether they provide a trustworthy compass for how you live.
Actions are how we make our values real in our lives and in the world. If we stay awake and aware, each action represents a choice that we make as to how others will perceive us and what impact we have on individuals and our communities.
Integrity is a way of living in which our actions reflect the values we embrace and hold dear. For example, if you value honesty, you will be ethical in your business dealings and truthful with your words. If you value family, you will find time to share with your loved ones and will treat women as you would treat your wife or daughters.
Each man makes tradeoffs many times a day. We will sometimes fall short, but as a guiding principle we can consciously choose to live in integrity. The world desperately needs men who live this way!