7 Way to Experience True Success, # 7 – Integrity



When I started this series, I intentionally limited myself to seven traits of true success, you and I both know there are so many more.

This trait will either cause a leader to rise or to fall.

I’ve invested thousands of hours of my life as a people helper as a minister, therapist, and consultant and one of the themes that I have noted over the years is that people who live out this particular trait do well in life. Those who don’t, well let’s just say, don’t do as well.

A few years ago I had the pleasure of sharing a meal with one of my mentors and a godly man that I’ve had to pleasure to co-facilitate with, Dr. H. Norman Wright. Now 90, Norm is still actively engaged in teaching and sharing things that he has learned over the years.

Before our conversation, there had been a very public fall from grace of a prominent evangelical pastor who had to leave the ministry because of an affair.

I asked Norm, “What happened?” There was a sudden, somber shift in his tone. He said, “it was an integrity issue.” He went on to explain that for men and women who do lack integrity or compromise their integrity the test will show up through the abuse of money, sex, and power. I will come back to the story of this minister pater.

When Norm shared this, I know intuitively that he was spot on, absolutely correct. 

So, just what is integrity?

Take a moment and enjoy this little video.

One definition is integrity the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles and being morally upright.

Sounds honest yet lofty, doesn’t it?

Here is one of my favorite working definitions of integrity. Integrity is what you do when no one is looking. 

If I could teach people one thing, it would be this: Success will come and go, but integrity is forever. It is doing the correct thing at all times and in every circumstance regardless of who is watching. You see it takes years to build integrity and only one poor choice to destroy it.

Over the years our culture has moved away from the strong Christian cultural influence into a more morally relativist world view. We have moved into a time when integrity is not talked about nearly enough. The predominant view, unfortunately, is “the end justifies the means,” has become the norm of so many people. Salespeople make great promises but many times under deliver, people inflate their resume’s, and CEO’s inflate their reports.

Amy Reese Anderson in her article “Success Will Come and Go, But Integrity Is Forever, “shares these poignant insights.

“I think Warren Buffet said it best, “In looking for people to hire, look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence, and energy. And if they don’t have the first one, the other two will kill you.”  If a person is dishonest, it will eventually catch up with them. It may not be today, and it may not be for many years, but it will catch up.

Here is a word of advice for you, if you are wanting to maintain and expand your personal integrity. Avoid those who are not trustworthy. Do not do business with them. Do not associate with them. Do not make excuses for them.  Do not allow yourself to get enticed into believing that “while they may be dishonest with others, they would never be dishonest with me.” If someone is dishonest in any aspect of his life, you can be guaranteed that he will be dishonest in many aspects of his life. You cannot dismiss even those little acts of dishonesty, such as the person who takes two newspapers from the stand when they paid for only one. After all, if a person cannot be trusted in the most straightforward matters of honesty then how can they possibly be trusted to uphold lengthy and complex business contracts?”[i]

If you do what is right, the consequences will follow.

Now back to the pastor I mentioned at the beginning of this post. Gordon McDonald is the pastor. He is a pastor who did the right thing.


Once his integrity breach was known, he fully disclosed his sin and immediately stepped down from his pulpit and entered a season of recovery. He received counseling, spiritual direction and had a group of other men to challenge him, nurture him, and make sure that he, his wife and family were moving through a highly accountable, restoration process. Through this process along with a very public recalibration of his life, Gordon McDonald was reinstated to ministry and is currently serving as the Chancellor of Denver Seminar. In addition to his work at Denver Seminary, he was the Editor for Christianity Today’s Leadership Magazine. Macdonald is also a successful author with over 12 published works.

One of his most profound, Ordering Your Private World, came about as a result of his recovery. In this classic work he gives powerful, poignant principles for maintaining and re-establishing integrity.

How is your private world, that world that only you are aware of?  believe when we are working on guarding our private world be are experiencing real success.

Allow me to challenge you to take a look at this list, which comes off the pages of Ordering Your Private World, and do a little self-evaluation. 

  1. If my private world is in order, it will be because I am convinced that the inner realm of the spiritual must govern the outer world of activity.
  2. If my private world is in order, it will be because I make a daily choice to monitor its state of orderliness. 
  3. If my private world is in order, it will be because I have courageously confronted the messiness of my ways of living and chosen to bring them under rigorous discipline. 
  4. If my private world is in order, it will be because, having faced up to what drives me, I listen quietly for the call of Christ. 
  5. If my private world is in order, it will be because I respond to Christʼs call to be a servant and form my life-purposes, my community-roles and personal identity around His fondest wishes for me. 
  6.  If my private world is in order, it will be because I have made daily determination to see time as Godʼs gift and worthy of careful investment. 
  7. If my private world is in order, it will be because I have begun to seal the time leaks and allocate my productive hours in light of my capabilities, my limits and my priorities. 
  8. If my private world is in order, it will be because I have determined that every day will be for me a day of growth in knowledge and wisdom. 
  9. If my private world is in order, it will be because I seek to use all I learn in service to others, as Christ did. 
  10. If my private world is in order, it will be because I regularly choose to enlarge the spiritual center of my life.
  11. If my private world is in order, it will be because I am unafraid to be alone and quiet before Christ. 
  12. If my private world is in order, it will be because I absorb the words of Christ into my attitudes and actions. 
  13. If my private world is in order, it will be because I have begun to pursue the discipline of seeing events and people through the eyes of Christ so that my prayers reflect my desire to be in alignment with His purposes and promises for them. 
  14. If my private world is in order, it will be because I have chosen to press Sabbath peace into the rush and routine of my daily life to find the rest God prescribed for Himself and all of humanity.
  15. If my private world is in order, it will be because I have made a deliberate decision to begin the ordering process.

A couple of Scriptures to consider:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
    do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
    and he will show you which path to take.Proverbs 3:3-6 NLT

But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere.James 3:17 NLT

Action Plan

What are three things you can begin doing to strengthen your own personal integrity today?

What is one integrity area that you struggle with?  

What do you do on a day to day basis to maintain your personal integrity?

I’d love to hear from you.

[i]https://www.forbes.com/sites/amyanderson/2012/11/28/success-will-come-and-go-but-integrity-is-forever/#1128b055470f

2019 Resolutions? Don’t!

As we move into what could be a wonderful and exciting New Year I thought it would be fun to look at the traditional Top 10 resolutions and then give you some tips on how to be more successful in meeting them. These are from Statistic Brain.

  1. Lose Weight/Healthier Eating
  2. Life/Self Improvement
  3. Better Financial Decisions
  4. Quit Smoking
  5. Do More Exciting Things
  6. Spend More Time with Family/Close Friends
  7. Work Out More Often
  8. Learn Something New On My Own
  9. Do More Good Deeds For Others
  10. Find The Love Of My Life

NEWS FLASH! According to Statistic Brain, the average American has a 9.2 percent chance of keeping them.

But don’t lose hope!

A few days ago, I was on Facebook and saw a message that one of my friends had posted and it got me thinking. The quote simply said:

You are not born a winner.

You are not born a loser.

You are born a chooser!

So choose wisely!

The key to making and keeping resolutions is to have Sustainable Motivation and Energy.  How do you do that? The key is to be clear about what you want, and why you want it. When you understand your “what” and your “why,” you will increase your chances of being able to experience success with some of your resolutions.

Michelle Segar, from the University of Michigan’s Center for Positive Organization has developed a practical way of streamlining this process.

Segar suggests four action steps to begin applying the Right Why to changes you want to make in 2018:

#1: Reflect

Consider your “whys” for initiating a lifestyle change, and ask yourself if it has symbolized that this change/behavior is a chore or a gift?

#2: Reset

Know that we’ve all been socialized to think about and approach “healthy” lifestyles from the same perspective, one that has turned them into medicine instead of the vehicles of joy and meaning that they truly are – let go of any sense of personal failure because the formula we’ve been taught sets us up for starting and stopping but not sustaining. People feel like failures, and this is very bad for motivation.

#3: Choose

Consider the specific experiences, that if you had more of them in your day, would lead you to feel better and drive greater success in your roles. Do you feel drained and need more energy? Do you need more time to connect with loved ones? Then pick one of these experiences – this is what the Right Why is – and identify what lifestyle behavior might deliver it to you. It’s important to focus on changing one behavior at once because the goal is to institutionalize it into our lives. Humans have a limited capacity for decision making so we must strategically use it as the limited resource it truly is.

#4: Experiment

Experiment with a plan for one week to see what happens, including the types of things that get in the way. Plan a date on your schedule to sit down and evaluate whether that behavior helped you realize your Right Why and also what you might want to tweak going forward. Because it’s an opportunity to learn, there is no failure. It’s about continuing to experiment with whys and ways to achieve them until you discover what works for you.  From Sustainable Motivation for New Year’s Resolutions, by Chris White.

Here is ancient text to consider as you move into the New Year. It is found in Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the LORD with all your heart;

do not depend on your own understanding.

Seek his will in all you do,

and he will show you which path to take. Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT

I hope that 2019 is a year filled with opportunity, hope, and joy. May God Bless

7 Ways To Experience True Success Part -1-Know Your Why

From Depositphotos.com

 

Did you know that many entrepreneurs and ministry leaders start off with a great plan, product or idea only to do a face plant down the road?

While there are many great stories and articles about why startups fail or succeed I want to spend a few minutes sharing some insight on some of the attitudes that can lead to failure and how to avoid them.

Years ago, I was talking to a friend who was also the pastor of a very dynamic congregation, and I asked him, what were some of the potential pitfalls for business and ministry leaders?

Without missing a beat, he said, “Money, sex, and power! Use them in a manner that glorifies God and builds people up, and you will be successful in all that you do. Use them in a self-seeking, abusive way and eventually you will be brought down!”

With this in mind, I want to help you avoid some of these attitudes that lead to failure.

“Survival Driven” (Seeking Money Before Adding Value)

Being driven by survival is a significant reason why some entrepreneurs fail. If your primary motivation is money and to acquire wealth rather than to create and increase the value to people’s lives through a product, service, or an idea, then you have gotten off to a poor start. If this is your sole goal in being in business, I would suggest you do some serious soul-searching.

Several years ago, I had a client that appeared to be a very successful businessman. He had the right cars, the right house in the upscale neighborhood, a beautiful wife, and kids. It seemed like everything he touched turned to gold. He was a money-making machine, however, at least to me, something didn’t seem quite right.

You see, he looked good on the outside. But there was a problem. All was not as good as it seemed.

He had grown up in a fairly average, middle-class family, but wanted more. As a young adult, he discovered that he was a smooth talker that could be very persuasive. Over the years, he honed his skills and developed a very successful business.

That’s when the cracks begin to appear. Unknown to anyone else, he had a severe gambling problem, which over the years eventually lead him down a horrible path. Finally, because of shady dealings, broken promises and a significant tax debt his world came tumbling down. He lost everything.

Why?

In my opinion, he was so focused on image, on success, or at least the appearance of success that he completely forgot about the accurate measure of success.

His focus was on surviving his appearance of being well-off, and unfortunately, he forgot that real success comes in adding value to people’s lives.

When you seek to add value, it helps keep your moral compass pointing in the right direction. The purpose of owning your own business should not only focus on the accumulation of wealth but the creation of value-added products and services that will help make the world a better place for all. Wealth is a result of consistently providing solutions to the problems of humanity.

A Biblical View of Success

In researching this article, I came across a piece by Fred Smith (https://www.christianitytoday.com/biblestudies/bible-answers/spirituallife/christianview.html?start=2)

Before we go any further, let’s define success. Many people have the wrong understanding of it.

For Christians, success can never be measured by money. When people say to me, “That man’s worth ten million dollars,” that tells me he’s wealthy, but it doesn’t prove he’s successful. In some cases, it could mean the opposite. For instance, if Mother Teresa, whom I consider a tremendous success, confessed she was hoarding a million dollars, I’d think she was a hypocrite. The money would prove her a fraud, not a success.

The measurement of success is merely the ratio of talents used to talents received. What you are doing with what you’ve got, plus who you are becoming. Are you a growing, maturing Christian? Whether you work in business, or in Christian work, or as a day laborer, professional, or academic, if you are a maturing Christian, using a large percentage of your talents, you are successful. Be glad.

The person doing the most with what he’s got is indeed successful. Not the one who becomes the richest or most famous, but the one who has the closest ratio of talents received to talents used.

An unsuccessful person, on the other hand, is one who didn’t use the chances he or she had. He could have developed himself, he could have contributed to life, he could have become a mature Christian, but he didn’t.

How about you? Are you actively using the talents, gifts, and resources God has given you to enrich other people’s lives/

Action Plan:

  • List three ways you are using the talents, gifts, and resources that the Lord has provided.
  • As you review this post, what are one or two areas that need some work. Once you have written these down, use the power of prayer to allow the Lord to help you tap into ways to expand those talents, gifts, and resources.

A bit of ancient wisdom

Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and do not depend on your understanding. Seek his will in all that you do, and he will show you what path to take. Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT

 

I’d like to know your opinion?