Integrity copy

There is a story I read recently about the man Henry Heinz. He started a business selling horse-radish, but in 1875, a national financial collapse drove the young company into bankruptcy. Despite the legal freedom bankruptcy gave him, Heinz regarded each of the company’s outstanding debt as a moral obligation and personally paid back every penny. He later went on to found the H.J. Heinz Company with its 57 varieties and became a leading American businessman. A devout Christian, he was known for the generous treatment of his employees and his generosity to Christian causes and throughout his life, Heinz conducted his business and personal dealings with the same integrity that led him to pay back hundreds of thousands of dollars he technically did not owe.

Heinz’ story illustrates how important a man’s integrity is to the kind of impact his life will be known for. Indeed, the quality of the impact of your purpose pursuit will ultimately be defined along the lines of your integrity, competence and charisma. So, I’ll like to share some thoughts on how you can become a person of integrity. The list is not exhaustive. I hope you’ll share your thoughts with me when you finish reading mine.


One of the fastest ways to demonstrate your integrity or lack of it, is by things you say, the promises you make and the commitment you pledge yourself to. So, to develop a reputation of integrity you may want to adopt the James Solution: To be quick to listen and slow to speak. Think very hard before you make any promises knowing that your integrity is at stake and it is easy to lose. Don’t make any promises you don’t intend to keep and count the cost of every commitment before you use your tongue to break your hand.


People who have committed themselves to the ideals of sexual purity are able to keep up with the integrity of their positions because they are committed to principles and not how they feel. Most sexual purity advocates can tell you about how sometimes their feelings go wild, yet they keep them under because they live by principles not feelings. Same goes for people who are punctual to every meeting. They certainly don’t always feel like getting out of bed, but they realize that time is the currency of life and they live by this principle always. The reason why many people lack a reputation of integrity is because they lack any form of creed by why which they live their lives. If you have not identified your core values and life principles by which your life will be guided, it may be difficult to become a person of integrity.


Integrity like every virtue, can be imparted by the act of modelling. If you walk with the wise, their wisdom will rub off on you. If you walk with people of integrity, their integrity will subconsciously become your aspiration and then your reality. So, identify people in your circle of influence who have demonstrated a record of unflinching commitment to integrity and intentionally commit yourself to stay round them more often. You can easily tell people who have integrity by paying attention to points 1 and 2 above, check if their words mean the world to them and if they walk by principles and not how they feel.

I’ll close with these words of former American President, Dwight D. Eisenhower. They have inspired my commitment to a life of integrity, I hope they do so for you too.

“If a man’s associates find him guilty of phoniness, if they find that he lacks forthright integrity, he will fail. His teachings and actions must square with each other. A leader’s first great need, therefore, is integrity and high purpose.”

Blessed? Let me know in the comment section.

Today and always, I call you blessed!


The Pursuit of Character

“Character is the pedestal that determines how much weight a person can sustain” – David McLendon.

In the school of Purpose-pursuit, charisma is an elective, competence is a required course and character is a compulsory course. What you spend decades to build can be demolished in a moment if you lack character.
Your pursuit of purpose must be built on the foundation of good character. Character is built, developed and maintained. You don’t just “happen to have” character, you discipline yourself to do some things in a way that you get accustomed to them and you get to be known for it. Character is the habitual way you respond to the situations of life.
You may want to see character in the light of alphabets and numbers. They never change. What I want to share in this piece are principles you should incorporate into your pursuit of purpose as personal values in the pursuit of character.

1. Build your life on the Word

The word of God is eternal. The Scriptures chronicle the plans, purposes and principles of and from a changeless Eternal God. You should build your life on the Word of God. The Word of God is the surest foundation upon which your life can be built. The surety of the Word is hinged on the integrity of God. Thus, when we say God is holy, we mean that He is one in His thoughts, words and action. Building your life on the Word would mean patterning your life after the character of God. Character begets character.

2. Count the cost of your promises before making them.

Play writer, actor, and stage manager, Jean-Baptiste Poquelin known by his stage name Molière once commented that all men are alike in the making of promises but they differ in their doing of such promises. Jesus talks about the shame that will be suffered by a man who embarks on a project without counting the cost and ends up unable to finish the project. The shame is not good for him; it isn’t for you too.
I once promised a friend a cake for her birthday; it turned out that I could not get it. She might not have said anything about it but the fact is, she probably does not trust me anymore- at least, not when it comes to birthday gifts. You need to build the habit of counting the costs before you make promises. Never allow yourself to be put in a tight corner; always be proactive about the commitments you surrender to.

3. Value your name above anything else.

Part of what is necessary to build a good foundation for the pursuit of your life assignment is the integrity of your name. You have to make the integrity of your name part of your core values. Value your name above anything else. Business people know that the integrity of your name is part of the value of your product.
I once read of how the great golfer, Bobby Jones accidentally caused his ball to move in the final play-off of a U.S Open tournament. He immediately turned to the marshals and announced the foul. The marshals themselves did not see the foul, neither did anyone in the gallery. Jones lost that match that day by one stroke, but he did not lose the integrity of his name. His character became well-known that the United States Golf Association sportsmanship Award came to be named “the Bob Jones Award.”*

4. Understand and accept who you are

Central to building a sure foundation of sound character for your pursuit of purpose is your understanding and acceptance of your identity. People trooped to listen to John the Baptist and at some point they thought he was the long-awaited Messiah. But John understood who he was and he, without hesitation, refused to jeopardize his integrity for the fame of being a messiah.
You are set up for failure if you attempt to envision what you want to do before you understand who you are created to be. Any fame or success you attract to yourself other than by the force of your genuine identity cannot last.

Photo by mrbaker2010 via flickr

Your character has a lot of impact on the maximisation of your potentials in the pursuit of your purpose. Building your character is a choice you must make daily. Your character is different from your reputation. Your reputation is what people believe you are. Character is who you really are. D.L Moody says, ‘Character is who you are in the dark.’ Character is integral to your pursuit of purpose. Charisma is optional. Competence is required. Character is compulsory!

  • Bobby Jones (golfer). Wikipedia: en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bobby_Jones_(golfer)

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