“To give real service you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity.” ~Douglas Adams

As a former teacher turned yoga instructor/writer/entrepreneur, I have encountered many people in my journey.  I want to ask why is it the bad experiences stick out like a sore thumb?  No really.  Why is it?

I started thinking about it loads over the last few weeks as a friend of mine sent me a link to an article about a “spiritual leader” who was actually more like a cult leader.  Then I thought about someone I wrote for at one time and what his ego was like, but why he had millions of people following him as he was quite an awful person in reality.  And I continued down the path thinking about a business coach I had been drawn to, but uses smoke and mirrors, and then the next business coach who swooped in and said “Stick with me kid, it won’t be that way.”  And then the time I found my articles taken and someone pretending they wrote them…using every single word, word for word, that I wrote.  And I thought to myself WHY the hell does all this bother me so much?  And then I thought, wait Aimee, you are not asking the right question here.  Why the hell does it not bother OTHER people AS MUCH?  Like the ones doing this??  

How is it that you can take a good-hearted person, like one you might have known for years, but the promise of money, adoring fans watching you and hanging on to your every word, people wanting to get close to you to either be like you or learn your secrets, turns people into raving fucking lunatics??  Yep.  I said it.  I am tired of trying to prove that we don’t have to sink down to their level to rise above this.  So I decided recently not to prove anything at all.  After thinking about it this week and taking inventory on where I am in my alignment, I decided to make sure that I was still operating in my original parameters and that I hadn’t let the fear of being left out get in the way of where I was going.   I am going to share those thoughts with you today in hopes that if for any reason at all, you feel yourself slipping out of alignment with who you are and who you want to be as a leader, a teacher, a business person, and especially a parent, that we can start to cultivate this mindset together.

Integrity is listening to your heart, in my opinion, and being as honest and transparent in all things as you can. It is a code of ethics that not all people have.  This would include lies of omission, whereby you only answer part or what you think the person would want you to say or hear.  That would not be transparent nor honest.

The strongest thing that any human being has going for itself is its own integrity and its own heart. As soon as you start veering away from that, the solidity that you need to stand up for what you believe in, just isn’t going to be there.” ~Herbie Hancock

Preserving Integrity: Situations to Think About

  1. Just because EVERYBODY is doing it, doesn’t mean that it is the right thing to do.  Look, I get it.  Everyone probably tells a white lie at some point in time.  Or omits part of the truth, which people feel is not technically being dishonest (I disagree…read more here later).  However, one thing that has never sat well with who I am, and what I stand for, are people who do something just because others are doing it.  That does not excuse smoke and mirrors tactics in business nor does it make it okay to jump on the bandwagon. Being manipulated for an end purpose is not a good feeling.
  2. Using others because  “others” are doing it.  True story.  I once had a lady who people like in the online world ask me to promote her new book for her.  That sounds okay right?  No.  Because the truth is, she didn’t ask at all.  She didn’t really talk to me, and sent me her entire publicity package in a private message and said for me to send it out to my entire e-mail list.  Right then.  And ended the message like I would run off and do it.  When I responded that my entire list hadn’t given permission to be used in such a manner, she was offended.  She acted fine then and just said okay, and the next day she broke off a blog agreement we had, and stopped all contact with me.  Because I wouldn’t let her use my list as her financial gain because I have integrity in business.  I have no idea what she told the world.
  3. Stating snarky vague-book comments in hopes of offending the person you might want to talk about, but don’t want to have a confrontation with.  Ohhhh boyy.  This one is so tempting for soooo many people.  Even people who have large platforms.  But I ask you, what is more adult stating your case to the actual person and trying to work out what is bothering you or posting it like they might read it…one day…but it could apply to anyone?  I know people who post memes right after speaking to people, but then later go on to preach about something like understanding.  Hmm.  Yes, there are times it might be accidental like you post something and it could apply to a situation, but I am talking about a baiting headline meant to make fun of someone behind their back or something equally ridiculous instead of saying this is how I feel about this.  In private.
  4. Copying another’s work, business model, plan, or word for word blog post.  Yeah just don’t.  Don’t.  People didn’t sign up for their way of doing things.  They are there because of you.  You got them there, your words, your vision, now why do you suddenly think your way is inadequate?  Unless you don’t actually have your own material and then karma will catch up to you.  But for those of you who just feel insecure, I ask you why are you doing this to yourself?  What does your heart say?  I was devastated when my work was stolen.  And another friend of mine who is a blogger also had this happen.  Both of us work extremely hard to serve our readers with our vision and to have it taken, made into a click-bait article and then used for profit was really discouraging to us.  I learned to copyright my work after that.
  5. Being everything to everyone…to gain more followers.  Again, I say to you.  Why??  Do you not feel like you want to do your original business anymore?  Okay, fine, then change it.  But stop being the business coach, who does yoga, while riding a horse, reading cards and teaching about auras, and then adding whatever else to the bag of tricks.  Because that’s all it becomes.  A bag of tricks.  You lose people this way.  Get really good at that one thing you do and serve your crowd with honesty and integrity of your vision and if they ask you if you do x, y, z, say no I don’t but I do know someone who is really good at x.  Let me make an introduction for you.  And that would be awesome.  That would help you and the friend who runs that business.  You don’t have to try to do everything that everyone else does.

Preserving Integrity: Tips to Help You Keep It

  1. Surround yourself with who and what you want to become.  I said this quote in like 2011, and yes, I have seen it reproduced on other pages with my name, Aimee Halpin, after it…but I saw it once used by the guy I wrote for at one time with his name…which was funny because he didn’t say it…and he knew that.  But that brings me to my second point.
  2. Don’t waste time if others don’t see what they are doing.  This one bothered me for a long time.  But if you see others using the above tactics and for whatever reason they don’t see it…you can say something, but likely they will not notice the pattern or it will offend them like book lady and they will be done with your usefulness then.
  3. When you realize you are slipping off your own personal course, correct it.  It is never too late.  What if you have done some things you wished you hadn’t done?  Apologize to yourself, and to others if it harmed them and move forward.  it is never too late to start living a life filled with integrity.

The bottom line is this.  In a world filled with people obsessed with how other people are doing it to get ahead, please, please be you.  The world isn’t asking for those people to help them…if your client wants you, give them you.  I leave you with this somewhat scary quote: The reputation of a thousand years may be determined by the conduct of one hour. ~Japanese Proverb

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