Pay today or pay later…

“Integrity is choosing courage over comfort; choosing what is right over what is fun, fast, or easy; and choosing to practice our values rather than simply professing them.”

Brené Brown

There is nothing more rewarding than to be living a life that is aligned with your core values. When this is the case life can feel fun, fast, and easy even if the work is hard and the effort is challenging.

Living a life that is misaligned with your values is incredibly uncomfortable and painful. I liken it to an experience I had during one of my first Ironman races. Somehow during the run I had managed to get a pebble or rock in my shoe, yet I didn’t want to slow down long enough to do the right thing which was to take off my shoes and socks and clear out any of the debris that had gathered during the race. Instead I chose to just ignore it and keep moving because in my mind at the time moving was progress and stopping was wrong.

Well, as you might imagine, those pebbles and debris created huge issues later in the run and I ended up with tremendous blisters on my foot. I gutted it out by ignoring the pain and finished the race but for the next week I could hardly walk. Was the one or two minutes of time worth the week of pain? Of course not, but I couldn’t see the forest for the trees and I didn’t have the ability in the moment to pause and think clearly about what was really important to me.

Now this example pales in comparison to the challenge of living a life of integrity and the tough and intentional choices that are required to ensure you are living authentically and putting your values into action. However, if you choose to ignore the little things today, the ones that don’t seem like a big deal in the moment, yet you know are in conflict with what you believe, there will be a price to pay.

The worst price I can think of is this one. What if by taking the easy path and ignoring your values you diminish your ability to have an impact on the lives of others? What if, through your actions, you teach those you love and who look to you for guidance, that being insincere is acceptable? What if you, by the example you create, pass along to someone else a life lacking in integrity?

Living a life of integrity can be challenging at times. But just remember, not doing so will create consequences and those will be far worse than the pain of the moment.

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