Many people don’t understand how interlinked their honesty and integrity are in their businesses as well as in their personal lives. People can say they’re honest but their actions, over time, will often show another story.

 

As an example, let’s say you have an offline business in your community where you sell family oriented merchandise. This business naturally puts you in close contact with children and their parents. You might sell quality products and deliver more and better service than is expected but your business and reputation in the community can be completely destroyed by personal actions that are not related to your business.

You might be able to recover from the blow if your failing was drunk driving, or domestic violence but an arrest for pornography would be the end of your stature in the community and the trust you’d built in your business.

School was easy for me so I was able to work full time in the family business while in high school and tutor students that weren’t doing as well. I hadn’t planned on tutoring but circumstances came together that would have made me look like an uncaring jerk if I’d refused. I accepted with the mindset that it might help me in the community once I got into the business world.

Breaking my neck after graduation changed my direction completely. Dad decided to sell the business because it required a hands on leader and I wasn’t physically or mentally able to fill the role at that time. I was going through rehab and had to deal with the physical and emotional challenges that were ahead.

The thing that surprised me about the almost 2 year rehab process was that I fell into the role of counselor to other spinal cord injury patients that were having an extremely hard time trying to adjust.

Try to imagine your world turned upside down and someone that could still walk trying to tell you that you’ll adjust to your situation and live a full and happy life. Would you listen to them or chase them out because they can’t understand the trauma you've experienced?

I’ve always been positive and can talk to almost anyone. I had a good rapport with the nursing staff, doctors and other patients. Out of desperation one day, I was asked to talk to a suicidal patient that kept verbally abusing the staff and finding ways to pull out his I.V.’s. they were only needed because he refused to eat.

Note: Out of the 34 of us going through rehab., 10 found ways to commit suicide within the first 2 years after their injury. This happened at home and usually after a traumatic encounter with a loved one that couldn’t handle having the spinal cord injured person in their life. I know of only one of the 10 that gave up because they couldn't imagine making a living in a way other than they did prior to their accident.

I was so successful with my first counseling attempt that I was unofficially used by the staff to work with almost every new addition to our world. I taught them what to expect from the staff and rehab. I was the sounding board and recipient of a lot of anger and fear. By sharing what I and others had experienced, I was able to ease the uncertainties.

Teaching others seems to be a recurring theme in my life.

I tried going back to school for business but I wasn’t physically or mentally ready to handle the challenge. In the late 70’s, I entered a local community college to be a Nursing Home Administrator because I thought this would satisfy the need to help others and the business person that's built into me. It didn’t because there is too much government regulation and not enough room allowed by ownership to show business creativity.

While in college, I tutored other students.

Do you see the recurring theme here?

Almost every stage of my life has included me teaching others. Here is a summary of the teaching theme. Teaching archery and tutoring academics in high school.

  • Helping new spinal cord patients adjust in our rehab center.
  • Tutoring academics in the community college environment.
  • Helping the staff and residents of a nursing home each get what they need. The staff needed consistency and support during the constantly changing administrator situation and the residents each had issues that were often resolved by someone taking the time to listen.
  • Helping the staff of a relatively new nursing home learn the inventory control system that we implemented and get used to working within a framework of written policies and procedures.
  • Selling new and used computers and teaching people how to use the software that is on those computers.
  • Helping people learn how to ethically market both on and off line. (I believe the best way to sell anything is to share the benefits of the product or service.)

    It took me decades to become the person I am and to stop long enough to think about my past and to recognize the recurring events. Once I saw this pattern and took time to think about those times, I realized I enjoy teaching. Sharing my knowledge and skills makes me feel good and I feel truly blessed when I see my students using what I shared to improve their lives.

    Find what makes you happy and become the absolute best at doing whatever that is and you should be able to find a way to make money from it without sacrificing your integrity or harming those that wish to benefit from your knowledge or skills. If you aren't old enough to look back to see what has been a recurring theme of things you've done in your life that you've enjoyed doing, you will need to look within yourself and ask yourself a series of questions to find out what you are best at, enjoy most and can do repeatedly without thinking of it as work. You will then need to fit that in with your personal beliefs, financial goals and personal goals.

    Our lives are a tapestry that is too often made up of compromises. One of the biggest is often what we feel we must do to be successful and pay the bills.

    Everyone has to make a living but we also have to live with ourselves so choose your path according to your skills, desires and enjoyment instead of looking at the bottom line first. You'll feel more fulfillment in your soul and possibly in your bank account by working harmoniously with yourself.

  • Honesty, Integrity and You

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