Today I am publishing my 2015 (first) integrity report.
Most of the credit (and the format) for this report goes to James Clear. His work on core values and integrity reports has been the primary inspiration for me.
My hope with this Integrity Report is that it will hold me accountable to my core values, and allow me to track the progress of those core values over the years.
Of note with this particular Integrity Report (being my first) is that this is the first time that I have really sat down and thought about my core values - who I am and who I want to be, as a person. As such, I expect that the retrospective part of this report will be mostly negative, because I haven’t previously lived with a focus on any particular core value(s).
On to the report…
There are 3 main questions that I will answer in this Integrity Report.
- What are the core values that drive my life and work?
- How have I lived and worked according to my core values over the last 12 months?
- How can I better execute my core values in the future?
1. What are the core values that drive my life and work?
Core values are different from personal values. I will write about this distinction in the future. Your core values guide your behaviour through life. They define who you are as a person.
My core values, and some questions I use to think more deeply about each value, are:
Integrity (Trust, Honesty, Punctuality, Delivering)
- Am I someone others can trust in every way?
- Am I being completely honest with others?
- Am I being completely honest with myself?
- Am I doing what I say I will do, when I say I will do it?
Growth (Learning, Adventure, Habits, Process, Spirituality)
- Am I learning new things and exploring new places?
- Am I building habits that lead to continual improvement?
- Am I focusing on the process, not the end goal?
- Am I growing spiritually?
Service (Creating, Teaching, Inspiring)
- Am I contributing to the world or just consuming it?
- Am I sharing my experiences and knowledge with others?
- Am I inspiring others to better themselves?
Balance (Fitness, Meaningful Work, Optimism)
- Am I living a balanced life?
- Am I living a healthy physical life?
- Am I doing work that deeply satisfies me?
- Am I looking at the world with an optimistic view?
If you haven’t already defined your core values, I highly recommend you take a few minutes and start the process. Here is a list of core values to help you get started.
2. How have I lived and worked according to my core values over the last 12 months?
This section is basically the “what did I do well” part of the report.
As I mentioned above, over the last 12 months (in fact the last 36 years), I haven’t lived with any focus on a particular set of core values. I have lived what I thought was a “good”, and “well intentioned” life, but without having sat down and really thought about things.
How have I lived in the last 12 months according to my core values?
Integrity: I have always wanted to be a trusted person. I think that I have done this well, and that most of my friends and family trust me. However, I have failed to deliver on a few business projects, and this reflects poorly on my trustworthiness.
Growth: I started to read more frequently, and with more variety, in the last year. I used to be a voracious reader as a child and teenager, but that disappeared when I entered the work force and focused on earning money. I tried to break a bad habit (picking fingernails), and this has been almost a complete success. The last few years have also been a spiritual revelation for me, having finally admitted to myself that I did believe in God and Jesus. This has lead down a path of theological learning, which has been really interesting, and very much satisfied my long-standing desire to always be learning.
Service: The creation of this site… needless to say this area needs a lot of work. Although I did befriend a homeless man in Canberra while I was working there, buying him lunch regularly, and trying simply to be someone who cared, having real conversations with him and not treating him like a victim. I think it is important for everyone to realise that, if we were brought up in the same family, social, or financial environment as a homeless person, it is highly likely that we would not have done any better than they did.
Balance: Surgery in 2012 meant that the last few years have been a road-to-recovery. I did go back into the gym and start rebuilding my body, and that felt amazing.
3. How can I better execute my core values in the future?
This section is basically the “what did I NOT do well” part of the report.
Integrity: I hope to earn the trust of many new people through the body of work that this site will produce. That will come about by sticking to a schedule of publishing one article every Monday. That may increase over time, but for now it is a commitment to a process that is manageable.
I want to increase my honesty toward others. I have
never rarely lied to people outright in the past, however I often leave things unsaid. I want to better communicate the full extent of my thoughts in the name of constructive criticism. It may be that sometimes things really are better left unsaid, but the study of when to do that will probably be the subject of a future article!
The last few years have seen me greatly increase my honesty toward myself. My self-awareness has continued to grow, and this is something that I want to extend even further by studying the psychological science behind emotions.
Doing what I say I will do, when I will do it… this needs a lot of work. I have always had the best intentions of helping people. I always say “yes”. But doing so has meant that I sometimes don’t have time to deliver on schedule. Worse, sometimes that late delivery is due to flat-out laziness and/or procrastination. Both aspects need work. I need to get better at saying “no” and not feeling guilty about it, and I need to become better at being pro-active and motivated to complete the tasks I do say “yes” to.
Growth: I have never been overseas. I want that to change. I have travelled around Australia for 10 months, living in a tent, but I haven’t experienced the breadth of culture that foreign countries can offer. I could easily say that it might not happen in the next 12 months because of financial constraints, but that’s the same reason I have always used - it’s too expensive to go overseas and I would rather spend the money on “things”. That needs to change. Spend less money on things, and more money on experiences.
I want to greatly enhance my knowledge of non-computer related things. I have worked in IT for 15 years, and it has become almost second nature. I studied hard to get to that point. Now it is time to study hard and focus on other areas of knowledge. In the next 12 months I want to improve my knowledge in the areas of psychology, exercise science, and theology.
Process, process, process… this is probably going to be my biggest focus (and challenge) of 2016. I have always been a results-driven person. This needs to change. I have come to realise that results stem from process. You don’t win a competition because you set a goal that said “win the competition”. You win it because you stick to your training schedule, you grind it out rain, hail, or shine. I guess I have been an impatient and greedy person in the past in my relentless (and often failed) pursuit of results. I need to focus on the journey, not the destination.
My spiritual growth has been on an upward curve throughout 2015, and I want to maintain that through 2016 through continuing to study the bible, and to socialise with spiritially-like-minded people.
Service: For 2016 the primary way I will be improving this core value is via this site. It is my hope that by researching and writing about areas of life that can help my own personal development, that effort will also help others. By publishing every Monday, I will be creating a new body of work, and contributing something to the world.
I think it is also important to give away a percentage of my money to charity. However, I struggle to trust charities, and need to find a way to be confident that my money is actually helping those who need it - not lining the pockets of a dodgy charity CEO.
Balance: The last few years have seen me move toward a much more minimalist lifestyle than when I was in my 20’s. That journey of simplification will continue. The combined effect of all of the above efforts and goals will also result in a more balanced life.
I will also be getting back into a high level of exercise to improve my physical fitness. For me, exercise is my meditation, and this will also improve my mental state of mind. Exercise (at a state and national level) is something that I have been involved with since I was a young child, but has sorely been lacking the last few years. I need to be careful not to focus on any results in regards to the exercise, and just focus on the process. For me, that process will be exercising with a clear focus twice per week.
My view of the world also needs to change. I can be quite pessimistic. I find it easy to focus on the horrible parts of the world - the greed, pride, ego, violence and every other negative trait of humankind. I wish we weren’t the way we are. But I can’t change anything by getting down about it all. The best way to change is to lead by example. So I will work to become the person that I wish the world was comprised of.
And hallelujah, that’s it - right there. It has taken me a pretty decent amount of time to think about and to write this Integrity Report. It has taken until the last line to have a personally revelatory thought, and that’s what self-awareness and self-analysis is all about - making new, meaningful, and beneficial discoveries about yourself.
In 2016 I will work to become the person that I wish the world was comprised of.
Thanks for reading!