What do you Stand For?
For your business to succeed, it needs to have foundations that you believe in and are willing to fight for. This begins with identifying who you are as a person of integrity. That is, who you are, whole and undivided, when you are being true to yourself. This is often something we lose touch with on our journey to maturity. We become so used to squeezing ourselves into the boxes of other people’s expectations that we no longer know who we are at the core of our being. We develop patterns of behaviour that feel inevitable, even when they are utterly uncomfortable. We justify sacrificing our own needs and self-interest for others based on what we have been taught to accept, without questioning the kinds of relationship we really want to have or respecting our own need for autonomy. Acting with emotional intelligence requires that we first become keenly aware of our own emotions. When our own needs are met, it is much easier to treat others as we want to be treated.
The journey to find our deepest truth begins with cultivating the courage to be emotionally honest. Who am I when I leave my comfort zone behind and stand face to face with my authentic self? When we challenge our sense of self, viewing ourselves as a work in progress and feeling into the nuances of our evolution, we become more aware of the norms that have shaped us, and can begin to make choices about what truly serves us, and what our core beliefs are. This helps us recognise where our boundaries are out of alignment, where they are fencing us in, and how they are keeping us small. Authenticity also requires playfulness, a willingness to experiment with new roles, being open to possibilities, and being curious about how we can face new challenges with integrity. Our authentic self is flexible, willing to draw inspiration from diverse role models, and integrate what resonates, making it our own. The alternative is the superficial imitation that comes from shaping ourselves into expected narratives, without ever really examining how these stories fit with our personal truth.
However, with authenticity comes vulnerability. This is not a bad thing. A willingness to admit our own imperfections to ourselves is the first step in putting in place the support systems that carry us through the hard times. If we refuse to honestly face the risks involved in our businesses, we may be forever trapped in a cycle of subconscious sabotage. Keeping ourselves small means we stay safe from the dangers we are too scared to admit exist. For example, opening the door to deeper connection carries with it the threat of rejection. That is why we have to get comfortable with ourselves before we can develop the guidelines that govern our behaviour as a business owner. When we are standing strong in our integrity, other people’s opinions have less power over us. When we don’t take the time to examine and question our own beliefs and identify what is truly important to us, we retain your allegiance to rote actions, instead of stepping into our own strong sovereignty with confidence and conviction. Build a successful business based on integrity requires that the responsibility of best practice be a joy born from our belief in our purpose, rather than an obligatory burden externally imposed.
MAKE THIS YOUR OWN
- You are being a person of integrity when you are being true to yourself, and when you are not squeezing yourself into the discomfort of other people’s expectations – or your perceptions of those expectations.
- You are being emotionally honest with yourself when you reject compromising based on what you “should” do, if that is out of alignment with who you are.
- You are out of integrity when you sweep your own weaknesses or fears under the carpet instead of facing those issues and working out how to address them, act on autopilot, or refuse to question your own beliefs and identify what is truly important to you.
- What reflections arise when you consider these points? Does any of this hit you where it hurts?