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Ethical Edge Letters on Integrity  

Click here for Russell Williams' bio


Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Toil upward in the night
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Heating up in the fire
The choice is mine


“One ship sails east, and another west,
By the self-same winds that blow,
'Tis the set of the sails and not the gales,
That tells the way we go.”
— Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Is there one mental distraction that blurs the integrity thinking of executives on Wall Street, entrepreneurs on Main Street and every professional working in the public or private sector? What do integrity thinkers conclude about choice?

Wilcox captures the dilemma. Do circumstances define our way or do we choose how we set our sails to move in the direction we chart? This is a tough lesson to learn as circumstances swirl with turbulent undercurrents.

Those who pursue the personal and professional mission of becoming a person of integrity discover that they are not victims of circumstances; they are creators with circumstances. This benchmark defines the pursuit of ethical excellence.

W. Clement Stone was one of America’s great 20th century businessmen. He once commented on the strategies of integrity thinking by stating three imperatives: “Have the courage to say ‘no.’ Have the courage to face the truth. Do the right thing because it is right. These are the magical keys to living your life with integrity.”

So, what is demanded to exercise choice making with these three keys?

The courage to say no: We are confronted daily with small yes or no issues. Do I choose to serve the sustainable good or compromise the good for short-term gain? The choice is mine.

The courage to face the truth: The opinions of others as well as the feelings I hold are not the measurement for seeking the truth. These are the great deceivers! Taking the step into truth may require stepping back, reflecting and acknowledging: “I had it wrong on this one.” The choice is mine.

The courage to do the right thing: Integrity thinking is not synonymous with self interest. Pursuing the right thing always takes me beyond my own needs and wants. The choice is mine.

Mission Integrity Action

This week I use a Beginner’s Mind as I place fresh eyes and renewed awareness that I am Integrity’s Choice Maker. The problem solving I handle this week uses the three integrity keys: the courage to say no; to face the truth; and to do the right thing. I practice the keys to set my sails clearly as an influencer for good at home, at work and in the community.


Russell Williams,
founder/president
Passkeys Foundation/Ethical Edge
ethicaledge.org