Interviewing Robert Thor, elder care businessman and author of NJUSTICE
With integrity, you have nothing to fear, since you have nothing to hide.
With integrity, you will do the right thing, so you will have no guilt.
~ Zig Ziglar
It can be a pretty daunting word, especially in a world that operates without it.
As children, we’re repeatedly schooled on the virtues of integrity and the merits of living according to the Golden Rule. But as we grow up, we repeatedly confront the complexities of maintaining ourselves – and our moral principles – on a steady course.
The more our lives bump up precariously against those of our fellow man – and our personal fears – the more we realize that integrity is hardly easy to live by, let alone maintain.
Whether we’re in school, at work or engaged in social pursuits, we are continuously challenged to remain whole and true to our inner compass. We can be cajoled, tricked or lured into behaving in less than stellar fashion. And we can also be compromised in unintended ways, like blackmail.
Sometimes we willingly choose to go astray; at other times we’re unmindful of our thoughts, words and actions; and, at still other times, we find ourselves in the middle of unimaginably tough situations that befall us along the life path.
As a case in point, I was asked a question yers ago when working in the corporate world. One morning, one of my administrators popped into my office to query me on an issue of conscience.
“Maura, I know you’re a woman of faith. But I was wondering about a question someone posed to me. What would you do if you were a single mom with dying child and no money? If a strange man asked you to sleep with him in exchange for his paying for your child’s medical expenses, would you do it?”
Fortunately, it was a hypothetical question, but I could immediately feel the weight of it. By choosing either a yes or a no response, there was a penalty to be paid: the life of a child v. the honor of a woman. Both choices cut into the heart of one’s integrity.
A few hours later, I called the same administrator back into my office.
“I don’t have an answer to your question,” I began. “The only thing I could do is send a petition to Heaven and wait for guidance. I’ve had to that several times in life where choices appeared impossible and answers unknowable. I know I don’t have all the answers,” I told her, “but there’s a higher place that does. Somehow, reliance on that higher guidance enlightens me with thoughts and wisdom I don’t otherwise possess.”
She seemed surprised by my answer, but also somewhat satisfied by both my honesty and vulnerability.
Walking in Integrity
If integrity is the quality of being honest and having strong principles, there’s hardly a rule book for excellence and perfection in an imperfect world. However, we can choose along the path of life to find incremental ways, even in a day by day or moment by moment fashion, to carry ourselves in a way that speaks of our honesty, ethics, decency and truthfulness.
I offer in this week’s blog two items that lend themselves to the idea of walking in integrity. The first is a recent video interview I conducted with elder care businessman Robert Thor, author of NJustice. Robert recently released a memoir which focuses on how his own integrity came into question when he became unwittingly embroiled in Boy Band mogul Lou Pearlman’s epic Ponzi scheme.
The second is my most recent podcast which asks, “Can you walk in integrity?” As usual, it provides some personal stories designed to help you consider your own life stories and choices in the process.