When you start a project, finish it. This is always in the back of my mind. Also, integrity and why it matters. Both ideals are especially important when you have people who rely on you.
You may not know this, but I’ve worked a lot of different jobs from a cemetery groundskeeper as a teenager to a sales woman and a wedding planner later in life. For years, I also worked in corporate America struggling to sit behind four gray walls everyday and not lose my shit over tight deadlines and sometimes boring or demeaning work.
No matter what job I held, however, I did my best. As a cashier and customer support rep in retail, I was the most knowledgeable and fasted ringer there. As a server, I brought in the highest sales and worked up to a lead server and trainer. And in corporate America, I produced what I promised, opened up to innovation and creation, and took classes to enhance not only my physical skills my but mental and emotional skills. This allowed me to establish myself as a strong, trustworthy, intuitive, and dedicated employee. There was a future there if I wanted it.
Why, though? If I didn’t love these jobs as one might love their favorite food, book or a hobby. If I didn’t love them or really want them the way I wanted to be a writer. Why then did I put my everything into being the best I could be. Why did I try harder even when team members and managers thought I was enough. Yes, I needed them to pay the bills and live life because it is a fact in this world that money is a necessity to living. But, it is more than that.
While working these jobs I dreamed of a better life, like millions of others do. I wanted more. I wanted to live my passion and survive. But, this story isn’t about me living my dream and making a living from it. This story is about integrity.
I cannot remember all the details but I once took a class that made me realize how important integrity was to me. The instructor had us choose strong words, important words that we thought defined who we were in ways that matter. There were many words. Words like responsible and trustworthy. There were words like helpful and creative.
After we chose our words, we had to dwindle down to our top five. And from there we had to choose the one word that represented all of them, the one word that was most important to us in not only our careers but our lives everyday.
My word: INTEGRITY
nounin·teg·ri·ty | \ in-ˈte-grə-tē \
Definition of integrity
Synonyms & Antonyms for integrity
Why integrity? It meant that I held myself to a high standard. It meant that I held strong moral values. Without integrity I couldn’t be responsible or reliable. I couldn’t be trustworthy or helpful. Integrity wrapped up all the other words on my list and without it, none of those other characteristics mattered.
Integrity is the reason why no matter what I do, running food and cleaning tables, selling door to door, operating as a glorified data entry clerk, or writing and publishing, I do it well. I don’t cut corners. I don’t disappoint. But, if I cannot do it. If it turns out that something I’ve committed myself too just isn’t going to work out, or life took the reigns away, I’m honest about it.
This class, and this word, has stuck with me throughout my life and every career I’ve traveled through. It sticks with me now as a writer and when I need it most.
No matter what you do, no matter the job you work, or the plans you make, or the projects you start operate them with integrity and you’ll never have to question your motives. You’ll never have to explain and apologize. You’ll never need to worry about where it’ll take you. Integrity.
About a year ago, I joined a few other writers in producing and publishing an anthology. We started off strong, we held it together for a while and then life threw one thing or another at each of us. Personal issues, new babies, jobs and homes, deaths and taxes (the only thing certain, right), you name it, we all felt it.
We had to push back deadlines and reevaluate the work we were producing, but we didn’t give up on it. We not only had ourselves to be true to, but other authors to not let down. There were many moments when I could have given up, when I could have cut the cord and said it’s too much for me. It would have been easier.
I didn’t. I didn’t want to because I wanted to see this project through even if I was the last
man woman standing. I didn’t want to because I didn’t want to disappoint the many authors relying on us to treat their stories with love and care. I didn’t want to because integrity.
Our anthology, On Loss, releases in eBook on Amazon. Print release is July 8th. Tomorrow I will see this project nearly finished. A project that gave us every reason to walk away. But integrity never let’s me down and it won’t let anyone else down.
Tomorrow on June 27th check out On Loss an anthology. 38 authors, 50 stories and poems. A genre-crossing collection about the struggles and promises that come with loss.