Today a client asked me…what is the opposite or dark side of diversity? The place where it is acceptable to malign a person for their colour, or sex, or religion, or..? He was asking because in his world he has been observing the dark side of humanity manifest under the aegis of the continuing global financial crisis. People finding it acceptable to get away with seriously bad behaviour towards other human beings, given our current circumstances. In organisations where the sky is falling because the model has already changed but people are denying it, the ground is treacherous. Toxic undercurrents are a sure diagnosis for immanent collapse.
This week in Australian politics we have been especially privy to the dark side of humanity. Deception, extreme narcissism, covert agenda’s based on power, greed and hubris. More toxic undercurrents…more denial…more deception…immanent collapse.
In my own life I have recently allowed myself to fall under the spell of another’s deception. I know within this is a rich seed that bears a gift. For now, I am a little bruised. How easily seduced I am, still, by some bright shiny object or promise.
I found myself wondering what the threads are from this week in my world…deception, treachery, hubris…and in my contemplation I came back to my life’s work.
I think of my hero and guide, Bucky Fuller. His message always rested on the stone of integrity. Integrity is the Essence. It is the song, the one song, the Universe, I have adopted as my own stand in life. In so doing, it asks much of me, often challenges me to the soul of my existence. Yet it is also the key to freedom..the real kind…soul freedom.
Flipping through Chip Conley’s latest book, Emotional Equations, here is his equation for integrity.
Integrity = Authenticity x Invisibility x Reliability.
Authenticity is the merging of self awareness and courage. Self awareness is a life’s work. Few people take it up as a committed practice. Courage, well, courage is derived from ‘cour’ for heart. Courage takes heart, vulnerability, and action. It is not the same as bravado, which all bluster minus heart. Our world is full of bravado. We are enchanted by courage because it is so rare, especially from our leaders. We long for it…as we long to be courageous.
Invisibility is the act of being in integrity no matter who is watching, and especially when NO ONE is watching. It is grounded in humility. It holds service to others as its source code. Our personal agenda is secondary. Again, rare…precious…extraordinary when you encounter it.
Reliability means that you are your word. What you say is what you do is who you are. You keep your promises to yourself, and to others.
This is the work of integrity. Every aspect is required. It is great big huge work. It is the most important work on the planet.
Or so I think and feel…
Do our schools, institutions, governments consider integrity as important enough? Do we invest in integrity like we invest in growth strategies or productivity? What needs to happen for this to be so? These questions inform my life’s work.