A Definition of INTEGRITY That Will Change the Way You Live

Donald Miller

I’ve heard the word integrity thrown around a great deal, but I’ve never had a working definition. The word itself has become vague and mostly makes me confused or just creates light feelings of guilt.

But not anymore.

Recently, a therapist asked me to write a few lines about what integrity means to me. I found the exercise helpful. I thought you might find it helpful, too.

In ten short minutes I created a working, tangible definition that changes the way I live. I now know whether I have integrity or not from day to day.

This is not a universal definition. That’s something else. These characteristics are specifically for me. I now think of them as guardrails.

Here’s my list:

Don has integrity when he:

    1. Doesn’t promise more than he can deliver.
    2. Stands in the authority God has given him.
    3. Consistently contributes something positive to the world.
    4. Accepts the idea that to much has been given much is expected.
    5. Allows God and trusted others to correct his path.
    6. Follows through on agreed upon tasks.
    7. Acknowledges God as his leader and Jesus as his friend.
    8. Keeps work and family in balance.
    9. Always keeps love at the core of his interactions with other people.
    10. Does not default to a victim mindset, but takes responsibility for what can be done.
    11. Does not people please.
    12. Sees people as the lost or tarnished masterpieces of Christ.
    13. Is strong.
    14. Is faithful to Betsy.
    15. Is true to his creative calling.

• • •

This list may grow, but I find reflecting on it in its current state strengthens me and gives me a sense of internal direction. I’m going to print this out and carry it in my wallet and even put it in a small frame and place it on my desk.

*Photo by Graf Spee, Creative Commons

These are the warning lights on my dashboard. And of course they will blink from time to time. But if I stay within the guardrails of these descriptors, I should be okay.

What about you? Ever made a practical list of what integrity means in your life?

Donald Miller

Donald Miller

Donald Miller is a student of story. He helps people live a better story at Storyline through this blog and the Storyline Conference. He helps leaders grow their businesses at StoryBrand, where they get an entire marketing education in 2 days at his Workshop. Donald lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with his wife, Betsy, and their chocolate lab, Lucy. For regular updates, follow Don on Twitter (@donaldmiller) and Instagram. To read more of his posts on the Storyline Blog, click here.