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Sunday, November 25, 2007

Excellence, Integrity And Standards

By Mary Allen

Human beings are drawn to excellence, integrity and high standards. We know it when we see it. We are naturally attracted to these qualities. They are easy words to say, and sometimes harder words to live, especially consistently. Yet, when we do live these words, there are great rewards -- externally and internally. People admire and trust those who exude these qualities, and want to associate with them and buy their products and services. Yet, perhaps the biggest reward of all is a "deeper and more respectful connection" to ourselves, and a greater sense of personal power and fulfillment. Sometimes the short-term pain is worth the long-term gain.

What is Excellence, Integrity and Standards?

Excellence means calling forth the best from you. That is innately fulfilling. Living in integrity is honoring your personal values and code of conduct, and not compromising them even when persuaded by others. Standards is the qualitative value of degree of excellence that you choose for yourself. There are rewards and consequences associated with our choices to live or deny these values. While each distinct, they are integrally linked and displayed together.

I've been blessed to work with a client base of men and women who exemplify excellence, integrity and high standards. I'm frequently inspired by how they honor this code, rarely needing a nudge back to full alignment. What I see in my clients represents a Universal Truth. Those who strive diligently towards excellence, integrity and high standards are generally happier, more financially successful and well balanced -- especially long-term. Those who compromise excellence, integrity and standards may appear to win short-term, but ultimately face consequences, costs and conflicts -- both inside themselves and in the business world.

We've all seen examples of both in our lives. It's particularly easy to spot those who characterize the extremes. Those demonstrating excellence, integrity and high standards stand out in their fields -- we trust them, and eagerly buy their products and services. Those at the opposite extreme also stand out -- repelling us or giving us an uneasy feeling.

What attracts or repels us to others, also attracts or repels us from ourselves. The more these qualities are cultivated in our lives, the higher our esteem and the more fulfilled we are. When we aren't giving our best efforts, lower our standards or fudge our integrity -- we tend to like ourselves less.

While the world offers benchmarks of excellence, integrity and standards, the real test is INSIDE of you. YOU know inside if you've really given something your all or not. YOU know when you've crossed an integrity line for yourself. YOU know when you've lowered a standard. It all comes down to a FEELING inside. When we compromise our excellence, integrity or standards, the result is a "feeling" inside of us that tells us something is OFF.

However, sometimes we can fool ourselves or be innocently seduced to compromise a value, and we learn to justify our actions by saying, "the end justifies the means," or "others are doing it," or perhaps we feel that we don't have a choice. This can begin a cycle of lowering standards. The cost is that it takes us further away from our true selves, our ultimate purpose, long-lasting success and our sense of fulfillment. This is one of the most essential ingredients to living the life of your dreams. More about this in future articles.

What inspires YOU to strive for excellence? What is that force inside of you guiding you morally and ethically with yes's and no's? Is that signal strong or weak? What standards are you choosing? And, are you choosing them consciously?

Soulful CHALLENGE: Check in with yourself. Where are you exemplifying excellence and high standards, and where are you not? Where are you in full alignment and integrity with yourself, and where are you compromising? What is ONE action you can take today to honor these values within yourself on a deeper level? Take one action today.

Mary Allen, CPCC, MCC is author of The Power of Inner Choice. She hosts Conversations with the Masters interviewing best-selling authors via free, live conference calls. Visit http://www.lifecoachmary.com to learn about coaching, her popular year-long Success and Inner Peace Bootcamp and tap into a wealth of resources including her ezine SoulFULLY Living, and Your Daily Gems.

 

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