Integrity is doing the right thing when you don’t have to—when no one else is looking or will ever know—when there will be no congratulations or recognition for having done so.
Where is the man who will do the right thing, no matter what the cost? Is there anyone who will act in integrity even if it means losing a job or an important business deal? Where is the woman who would be willing to act in openness and honesty if she knew it meant losing a significant relationship or a large sum of money? Are there still people in this world who would sacrifice their pride, relationships, or profit in order to maintain their integrity? Are you such a person?
Integrity is a foreign concept to the fairy-tale thinker. He will always compromise his ethics today, believing he will make everything right when his ship finally comes in. Doing so, he amasses a tremendous integrity debit that he will someday have to pay. One day his reputation will catch up with him and prevent the success he hopes to encounter. Fairy-tale thinkers hope their omission of doing the right thing will be overlooked or forgotten by those they wrong. They try to quickly put their fault out of their minds and like to think everyone else has done the same.
Excerpted from Shattering the Glass Slipper: Destroying Fairy-tale Thinking Before It Destroys You. © 2003 Charles Marshall