Integrity can be challenging and is always rewarding

A week ago, a political sign was placed in our yard for a candidate I do not support, a candidate that is polarizing to many.  When I first saw the sign, I was outraged and I wanted to do something about it, but I was not sure what to do.

I did not want to request the removal of the sign as I believe with all of my heart what President Andrew Shepherd (played by Michael Douglas) in The American President said “America isn’t easy. America is advanced citizenship. You’ve gotta want it bad, ’cause it’s gonna put up a fight. It’s gonna say, “You want free speech? Let’s see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who’s standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours.”

I defend this individual’s right to support the candidate of their choice, even if it is a candidate who represents everything that I virtuously oppose.

I have worked hard over the years to develop a personal brand of who I am, what I believe in and what causes I champion.  I felt that this sign is a slap in a face to my values and what is important to me.  I believe it would bring me great embarrassment if anyone who knows me personally would see it in my yard.

It was not just the reaction that the sign might solicit from those who knew me that troubled me.  I feared that people who did not know me personally, just knew of my personal brand and the work I do, they may view me as a man that talks the talk, but does not walk the walk, or as a hypocrite.

For more than a decade before the sign was placed in the yard, there had been an agreement with the individual who placed the sign that there would be no political signs in the yard. 

As I sat on my scooter starring at the sign, my first impulse was to put a sign in the yard supporting my candidate of choice.  I felt it was a viable option as it could be argued the agreement against political signs in our yard had been voided by this other person’s actions.  I dismissed the idea as I wanted my response to reflect who I am, a man of my word, a man of integrity.

For me integrity is both the foundation of who I am, all my success I have been blessed with, a guiding force in my life and I did not want to compromise my integrity over this issue.

I knew the desire to walk the walk of the talk of integrity was not going to be easy.  I was feeling hurt, embarrassed, and angry that the sign was placed in the yard and our agreement had been violated.  I wanted to respond, maybe even for a few moments with anger fueling my response.  I did not because reacting in anger is never the right way to respond to a situation.  Yet I knew that responding with integrity guiding me instead of anger would be rewarding in the long run.

I have chosen to use the political sign to motivate me to work harder towards my goals.

I may still put a sign in our yard, but it will not be for any candidate, instead it will be a sign sharing my values with our neighbors.  I will also be sharing my values to a larger audience on the Internet and that is more rewarding than anything I could have done fueled by anger.