At a business lunch last week, my colleague said, “You can’t ask someone if they have integrity.”
Isn’t that the truth?
You cannot evaluate a person’s integrity by asking them about it. In fact, in my experience, asking them almost guarantees an inaccurate answer.
The word integrity means “a firm adherence to a moral code or values.” “Incapable of corruption.”
In my estimation, there are no human beings that are incapable of corruption. Perhaps firm adherence to a moral code is how we avoid that?
The other thing I’ve noticed is that integrity seems to matter at your funeral. Note this recent headline from the December 5th Washington Post:
“George H.W. Bush funeral: Former president remembered for integrity, service”
Regardless of political party or media organization, there was consensus on this one point. George H.W. Bush was remembered and honored for his integrity – which he demonstrated throughout his life – as a 20 year old U.S. Navy pilot, a great father to his children, the 41st President of the United States, and an elder statesman to the age of 94.
Any one of us would love to be remembered the way this man was described. His own son, the 43rd President of the United States, George W. Bush, said this in the eulogy for his Dad, “He was the best father a son or daughter can have,” adding “he showed me what it meant to be a president who serves with integrity.”
At a funeral, we celebrate character traits – not accomplishments or wealth. We hear words like, “he was a great father to his children,” “she was someone you could trust,” “he was a man of great faith,” “she served the organization well, despite the personal cost,” “he was such a good friend.”
But because you won’t likely be writing your own eulogy, I bring you today this simple question to ponder…
How will people describe your life at your funeral? What character trait will be your headline?