Success, Self-Esteem and Integrity
By now, we all know that success is a journey, not a destination. We also know that there is more to the journey than achieving goals. To be highly successful is really an "inside job," requiring high self-esteem.
What does it really take to develop a level of self-esteem which not only radiates success but attracts success to us as well? One key ingredient is to increase the level of personal integrity from which we operate. Integrity lays the foundation from which inner growth blossoms.
No matter how hard you try, there is an inner "knowing" inside each and every one of us which knows when we've been unjust, deceitful, or unethical. We can cover it up, rationalize it, fight for the sake of being "right" or struggle to keep up a false front. However, deep down we still "know," and anything which does not demonstrate the highest form of integrity tugs at us in ways which interfere with our ability to concentrate or be effective. Thus, our attempts at success may feel somewhat empty.
How do you know that integrity even matters? Initiate it, model it, and you will see how dramatically it comes back to you through other people and situations. When you find yourself in a situation which feels uncomfortable, simply refuse to participate. You can excuse yourself quietly, or you can voice your concern. Whichever way you choose, when you catch yourself dabbling with a negative, just stop yourself. Then pat yourself on the back. You will have a greater sense of self esteem each time you resist the temptation to harm someone with your words or actions. No matter how indirect or secret you think you are being, you will always "know what you know" deep inside. It will continue to affect your self-esteem and your relationship with others. All you need to do is initiate integrity, and notice the ripple effect.
The following five strategies demonstrate integrity and assist you in developing a deeper sense of self and experiencing higher levels of success:
1. Tell the microscopic truth. Truth creates intimacy with the self. To experience intimacy with others, you must first learn to be intimate with yourself. When facing your own denial, clean out the closet. This is the highest form of integrity, when you can face yourself and embrace all aspects of yourself. Inner intimacy transmits a deep and solid respect for yourself and others. You may sometimes have been dishonest to avoid conflict or fear of abandonment. This has everything to do with the level of integrity you demonstrate. To diminish avoidance, face the conflict or fear, embrace it and move through it. This is what deepens self respect and demonstrates integrity.
2. Give up excuse making. This moves you immediately into higher levels of integrity, producing success in all your affairs, whether business or personal. People with excuses rarely experience high levels of success because their level of performance is dominated by many reasons "why not." So what are you going to say if you don't get the report done on time? How about telling the truth? How about saying something like you mismanaged your time and will do whatever it takes to complete it immediately? How about admitting to yourself the priority you gave it? What is the truth about what was going on for you that you found yourself unable to meet your agreements? A high level of integrity will keep you from talking too much about the reasons why you didn't get it done. It really doesn't matter. It's not finished and that's all there is to it. So, if you want to experience success, get quiet and get to work!
3. Be 100% responsible. Stay out of blame. People who experience high levels of success do what they know needs to be done, without complaining or talking negatively. Successful individuals know the elbow grease they put into a project will return to them in myriad ways.
Do you want to experience success for you or for someone else's approval? This may be the 10 million dollar question. When you are independent and 100% responsible, your sense of well-being is not contingent upon someone or something outside of yourself. Your very presence demonstrates a sense of self which is free from control or influence. You don't have trust issues with other people because you trust yourself to work through whatever you are facing. This level of trust enhances the level of integrity from which you choose to base your decisions.
4. Give away what you want. Stop using manipulation as a means to win. Make it a win/win for everyone. The internal war we feel stems from some belief which says we are in some way going to be limited or there is not going to be enough. Since when was there not enough love? Only when you refuse to give it away!
If you want love, be loving towards others. If you want respect, be respectful. If you want honesty, be completely honest. If you want cooperation, be cooperative. Things will return to you the way you transmit them. Be aware of the words you use to describe people, whether or not they hear you directly. Integrity is understanding that what you think and speak travels.
5. Depend on yourself. You can know what to do. Self victimization and self abandonment come from allowing yourself to be dependent on the outside world for your knowledge and approval. Sit yourself down for a minute or two, recognize what a wonderful human being you are. You can know anything you want to know. The question is, are you willing to take responsibility for seeking whatever information you need to make high level decisions? You can know what to do. Trust yourself.
Success is about experiencing the best of yourself. You have an innate ability to be whatever your heart pulls you toward. And yes, it takes integrity to acquire a sense of self which says, "Yes I can, yes I can, yes I can." It takes integrity to attain a high level of self-esteem which attracts success in all arenas of your life. So BE IT, HAVE IT, OWN IT - ENJOY IT!
Mary Robinson, M.S. in educational psychology, is an author, educator, counselor, trainer, consultant and motivational speaker. Recognized in educational communities for her work with at-risk youth and adults in crisis and recovery, Mary is known for her ability to zero-in on important issues. Her Makin' Magic Program addresses significant challenges in the business and education communities and helping professions. Mary's book, You Are A Success, gives you tools you can pick up and start using right away to achieve higher levels of success. The 61 proven strategies in this book are simple, loving, humorous, irresistible, thought-provoking, comprehensive, and they just make good sense. Along with each strategy is a pertinent quote from a famous source and a section of color artwork reproduced from the cover, a bright, beautiful original abstract watercolor. This book is for any person who desires to develop or increase their experience with success - educators, parents, youth, helping professionals, and business people.
©2001 Mary Robinson Reynolds, Heart Productions & Publishing
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©2006 Mary Robinson Reynolds. All Rights Reserved.
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