The Manner of Integrity

A guest post by Keli Lenfield

During my time in the early days of building my first startup I outsourced some writing opportunities in return for mentoring, editing advice and payment. One such person I engaged and have continued to get to know is Louisa, she is an incredibly focused and humble earth angel who lives in Kenya. She has recently graduated from University, has just got married and has started a successful business on her own terms. Louisa received the brief for this piece and I was grateful and amazed. My outline, her words.

My father was a gangster. He was the underboss of one of the largest crime families in the world. He did wrong things but regardless of his lifestyle, ironically, the most important thing he ever taught me was loyalty, honor and integrity. They were values we lived by. He always said that a man was as good as his word, his actions defined him. I was raised, I didn’t just grow up. I was taught to speak when I entered a room, to say please and thank you, to have respect for my elders and to lend a helping hand. I remember back when holding the door for the person behind me counted for something. If you were raised in this way, re-post this. Sadly many won’t because they weren’t. I define integrity as choosing your thoughts and actions based on values rather than personal gain. You create beauty with your attitude and actions.

One of my inspirations is Kirstie Clements. She is a true integrity icon. She has been able to showcase that her virtues and beliefs run way deeper than anything else. Though she was unceremoniously sacked as the vogue editor after thirteen years of service, it is her integrity that has seen her reach greater heights. Kirstie has also taught everybody she has collaborated with the value of hard work and persistence. Regardless of any situation, good or bad, she is known to find a silver lining and walks away gracefully. She is inspiring and strong, while remaining relate-able and generous.

What has happened to manners, class, good character and the display of common courtesy to our fellow man? True leaders are the ones that do what is right for the common good because it is the right thing to do. Manners are the sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners. Some manners are however less than prevalent these days which is a curious state as you do not have to be prissy and proper all the time; you just have to learn to be selfless more often than not. In the renowned South of America, the answer “No ma’am” knows no age and I bet that most, if not all parents teach their children the finer points of etiquette. The methods of how we communicate have expanded and changed mediums but why does our sentiment and reasoning behind being courteous to our fellow man need to change or even disappear?

Unfortunately, we live in a society where letting our elderly have the empty seat and saying thank you after a meal holds no value. Values like that should be re-introduced. It seems nothing has changed for the better in today’s instant access society. Politeness and concern for others are excellent things to instill in our children but they aren’t the same thing as formality. Parents are usually more careful to bestow knowledge on their children rather than virtue. The art of speaking well rather than doing well should be the greatest of concern.

Manners and integrity most especially matter in today’s business environment. I don’t do business with people I don’t trust, do you? We should always keep in mind the most important of karmic principles; as you sow, so you shall reap; whenever there is something wrong, there is something wrong with me because we mirror what surrounds us and of course the famous, what goes around comes around theory. It is important to have common courtesy and respect for others. It costs nothing. In fact, we deserve to be treated how we treat others.

  • Show class, have pride, and display good character because it has been scientifically proven that if you do, winning will take care of itself.
  • Being honorable means being honest.
  • ‘Please’ and ‘thank you’ are still magical words.
  • Be gracious even if it kills you.

I may take these things too seriously but wrong is wrong even when everyone is doing it and right is right even when no one is doing it. Be the Difference to make a Difference.

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