Integrity is Everything
Deep down, we each know that – whether digging out of a hole or achieving the next level of relational, financial, or physical success – freedom’s requirement is taking 100% responsibility for our own life. It’s there that meaning, fulfillment and success – an uncompromised life, finds us.
Early in my life, there were three distinct conversations that made me slow down, take an honest look at myself – and take the responsibility to choose better.
In 1992 I was 20 years old – and though I was a good-hearted young man, I’d become intellectually lazy and ignorant. In a very brief but potent conversation, my brother had the courage to tell me as much – and say it in a way that I could hear. His words forced me to stop and think about where my life was going if I didn’t begin to take it seriously.
Within weeks, I began a series of conversations with my Uncle Mike – the only non-blue collar member of my family, who exposed me to some new ideas about the possibilities life held. He kindled in me what became an insatiable hunger to learn and become the best version of myself. I started reading everything I could get my hands on: books on sales, business management, philosophy, history, economics, religion/spirituality, leadership, personal growth, and miscellaneous biographies.
A few years later, I was giving speeches about personal development. One night after a speech, a woman approached me to say that I was “like a coach” and that I should check coaching out. I did. Again, a simple conversation changed my life forever; this one led me to my life’s work.
Though today I keep a small coaching practice and mentor a few coaches, over the years I’ve coached hundreds of people from wealthy entrepreneurs looking toward creating what’s next to elite athletes trying to balance a very demanding life – from young men just discovering who they are to men in recovery – rediscovering who they are.
What each person I coach ultimately has in common is a commitment to knowing, respecting, and governing themselves toward integrating their best in every area of life.
This short excerpt from my book “Uncompromised” expresses the essence of my philosophy and commitment in my own life: Living uncompromised is not about being perfect. It is though, about being engaged in the work of discovering and living increasingly through who you truly are at your best. The most fulfilled and effective people know what they stand for, they know why and they live accordingly. And, when they fall, they recover back to themselves, posthaste.
Where I Stand:
The creation of heaven on earth – so often characterized by what people the world over talk about: peace, love, and freedom – is only possible with the reformation of the individual; it’s only possible when we do our work to personalize what we tend to externalize.
Peace in the world comes when we as individuals have it in our own lives. Angry, contemptuous people don’t have (and don’t create) peace.
Love between people comes when we love ourselves for who and what we are, en-route to becoming – to living how we were meant.
Finally, true freedom – the capacity to learn who we are and to live it out authentically – is ultimately about choice. In an internal environment of shame, regret, anger and the like, we become our own tyrannizer – and either retreat from life or in our incapacity to control ourselves, seek to control others.
My life’s work is about integrity – the integration of peace, love and freedom within myself and each individual I coach. It’s the (wo)man of integrity that not only transforms her/his life but their world.
Then There’s You
What do you want?
What are you committed to?
Where do you stand?
What will you do?
I am who I’ve spent my life with, what I’ve cleaned from them — and of course, what I’ve done with all of it. Though I’ve had many teachers, those listed below represent the major players in my development in a few key areas.
Rigor of Thought
By Dr. Charles H. Roberts
By Les Stephenson
By Gram (Joyce Blau)
By My Sons (Devin & Emilio Renaud)
Don’t Complain / Make Others More Important
By Mary Musto