How to Keep Your Integrity Through Distractions

Integrity Through Distractions

Temptation is everywhere, gentlemen. You can be driving to the gym, ready to hit it hard, and find yourself in the Dunkin’ Donuts drive thru a moment later… if you give into the temptation. Integrity through distractions, right?

Distractions are even more prevalent. Distractions are temptations disguised as noise. You may not feel that temptation is the right word, but when you see the Facebook notifications on your phone, it’s difficult to resist the temptation to pause what you’re doing and check them, right?

On a bigger level, having the discipline to stay focused through distractions is what so many men struggle with – especially young men. Guys in their early 20s are developing their goals and aspirations for life, while also discovering what their integrity is all about.

I was recently asked by a younger gentleman about managing the expectations of others while trying to stay responsible, accountable, and keep his integrity. In this episode, we’re going to talk about integrity, responsibility, and what you can do to stay focused while surrounded by distractions.

Show Notes

We all know someone that “did it differently” when he or she was younger. Maybe in college, while we were out partying and enjoying the social scene, he was working off campus, perfecting his process, investing in his future.

Maybe she was so driven that it intimidated the people around her, so she kept a very small social circle. Now she’s a multimillionaire business owner with thirty thousand employees across the country.

In so many examples, it is their focus and discipline that helped them get through the distractions and temptations of the social circles around them. Under that focus and discipline is the secret to building a bridge over any obstacle: integrity.

Definition of Integrity through distractions

Integrity is knowing who you are and what you stand for, and holding that in high regard. A man of integrity is one who is not only honest with others, but also himself. He holds a strong, almost visceral, vision of himself at his full potential at the forefront of his mind. And his actions reflect this in everything he does.

Let’s look at two examples to show how integrity comes into play.

Your best friend has been with the same woman for years. You have always secretly been attracted to her, but have put those feelings aside because she’s with your friend (and they’re relatively happy). One night, she tells you that she’s unhappy in her relationship and wants to see you to talk. What do you do?

There’s a position open at work and a coworker is being considered for the promotion. He is really excited about it, and would be great in that role. It’s not a promotion you care about, but the money would be a nice upgrade. You hear from leadership that you could get the promotion if you simply told them you wanted it. Done deal. No competition. Do you go for it?

Your answers to these questions and how quickly you answered them is an excellent indicator of your integrity. Are you a cheater? Are you a liar? Would you do anything to get ahead? Do you say that you stand for honor and honesty, but would take a promotion from a coworker or sleep with your best friend’s girl?

Integrity is all about being “whole” and “undivided.” If you stand for something, you commit to that stance. If you tell people you’re looking for a real relationship (something more meaningful and long-term), but you’re intimate with a different woman every week, you are outside your integrity – your actions do not match your intentions.

Men of integrity are men you can count on. They do what they say. They commit to things. They stay the course. Because they have integrity and a vision of who they are and what they’re capable of, they have the discipline to face distractions head on and forge ahead through temptation.

So how do you you keep your integrity through distractions?

The young gent that reached out to me explained that he wears multiple hats right now: student, solopreneur, employee, and socialite. He has his goals set up and his priorities in order, but he wonders how to honor his responsibility to his drive AND to his friends and family.

More to the point, how do you manage the expectations of others while staying true to yourself and your responsibilities?

This is something we all have to wrestle with as we gain clarity of purpose in life. It’s as though as soon as you find what drives you to succeed, everyone in your life suddenly becomes an obstacle. Your friendships are strained because you’re not available to hang out as much anymore. You’re not as interested in engaging in activities that suck up all your attention and energy, so you start neglecting those circles.

Unfortunately, it’s a tale as old as time. “I got my shit together and focused, and I lost a bunch of friends when I did.”

It’s not about them.

One of the most important, and liberating, realizations you can have is that your choices, perspective, and opinions are not the business of others. Taking a job that moves you further from the bar where you and your friends like to hang out will probably mean you won’t be available as often. Your friends may be upset and may resist the change. They may make you feel bad for getting a new job altogether.

It’s not about them. It’s about you. It’s about what you can do to stay true to yourself and your goals. It’s about you being responsible for yourself and your future. Again, it’s not about them.

Now, this is not to say you have permission to be a dick when you have discussions about your decisions, drive, and aspirations; rather, it means you understand what you have to do and that not everyone will be on board. You get that they don’t have to like your decision, and you support their resistance without giving into it.

Share your vision as an invitation.

When I was in coaching school, one of the things that struck me the most was the way we used our words differently. Rather than taking responsibility for the perspective of others, we invited others to see things from our point of view. We quickly learned the difference between the truths:

  • My Truth (how I see it and the facts I have about it)
  • Your Truth (how you see it and the facts you have about it)
  • The Absolute Truth (inarguable facts of nature, e.g. gravity)

When you tell others what they should and should not be, do, or have, you are forcing your truth (perspective) upon them. It’s none of your business. When others are telling you the same -you should or shouldn’t be, do, or have something- it’s none of their business. What can you do instead? Well, I invite you to tell them your story.

When you experience resistance and push-back for your drive, decisions, and discipline, offer to share why you’re doing things that way. Share your story, your vision, and why you’re sacrificing and saying no to things you used to say yes to.

integrity through distractionsThen, simply invite them to join you on your journey. This is a lot easier than you may think. It’s actually a powerful moment because you’re not telling others that they aren’t good enough where they are; rather, you’re telling them you’re going places and they’re invited to come with you by supporting you. That’s it.

“A lion doesn’t concern himself with the opinions of sheep.”

This doesn’t mean you’re insensitive to the ideas, opinions, and feelings of those around you. But, it does mean you stay true to your own vision before you succumb to those opinions. I invite you to practice sharing your vision and suggest you take the time to hear any opposing ideas or push-back from a place of love. But only agree if it truly matches who you are and what you want.

Look, as a young gentleman trying to make an impact if the world, or at the very least, get some traction toward your goals, your biggest strengths lie in your integrity and your discipline. Be transparent about what you’re trying to accomplish (or who you’re trying to be), and ruthlessly disciplined in taking steps to make it happen.

Your integrity shows the world that you are a man they can count on. A man that knows what’s important and shares his honesty. Your discipline showcases your character. You will be there to get it done, no matter what. It is your discipline that will help you succeed where others fail. It is your integrity that will make you an honorable man, rather than just a cutthroat overachiever.

Share your story. Invite them to join you. Push forward regardless. Keep your integrity through distractions.

What areas of your life do you need to showcase your integrity?
Are there any areas or circles where your drive causes resistance?
Leave a comment below so we can connect!

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The Author

Blake Hammerton

Blake Hammerton

Blake Hammerton is the founder and coach at The Sharp Gentleman, and helps men earn more respect while gaining confidence in who they are. He is a certified relationship coach and loves writing about men's fashion, style, character-building, relationships, travel, adventure, and more.