Chapter 1. The Greatest Honesty is to Ourselves

“Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become.”[1] —Steve Jobs, cofounder and former Apple Inc. CEO

When I told Vinca Russell, senior manager of global ethics & compliance communications, training, and initiatives at Ingersoll Rand, that I was writing a book on integrity, she said it got her “thinking about a few things in my life. Mainly being honest with myself . . . we so often think about honesty as it relates to what we say and do to/for others. The greatest honesty, in my humble opinion, is to ourselves.”[2]

Of all the things she could have said about integrity, she had no idea that I consider this idea to be so important. She had no idea that I feel we have to work on honesty within ourselves before we can have integrity with others. She, in my humble opinion, hit the nail on the head. If we are not honest with ourselves, we cannot understand what our core beliefs are and make decisions that adhere to them. We cannot be authentic in our lives and we cannot be honest with others.

What is Authenticity?

Here are a few of my favorite descriptions of an authentic person:

  • Not false or copied; genuine; real.[3]

  • Representing one's true nature or beliefs; true to oneself or to the person identified.[4]

  • Being actually what is claimed.[5]

  • The extent that [a person’s] conduct towards others accords with what [the person] truly believes in.[6]

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