Thursday, December 01, 2016 8:29 AM | Mitchell Elliott (Administrator)

In today's culture, integrity may be a term that is talked about more than it is lived out. We just survived (sort of) one of the ugliest and most mean-spirited political campaigns that I can recall. Whoever coined the little rhyme, "stick and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me," may want to reconsider that position after this past year. 

The reality is, words do matter. They are a window to our soul. The Holy Scriptures say that "it is not what goes into a man that defines him, but what comes out of his mouth." Our words reflect our character, our integrity, or the lack thereof. 

So what is integrity? Some say it is honesty. Others relate integrity to morals or ethics. I have even heard it described as being true to yourself. Henry Cloud wrote a book called, "Integrity." He defines integrity as "an integrated character," based on unwavering core values. You are who you say you are and you do what you say you will do no matter what--regardless of the situation. Another way to say it is, what we do and say when no one is looking defines our integrity. 

I have seen and experienced great examples of integrity in my career. I have also witnessed poor examples of integrity as well. Humbly, I have even seen both examples while looking in the mirror at times. The reality is, no one is perfect in this area. 

Many of us architects have had clients who asked us to ignore a certain building code or look the other way in a bidding process. What was our response? There are endless opportunities that test our integrated character. I have seen people experience loss for their integrity and lose out for their lack of integrity. At the end of the day, integrity always wins. 

This is my last blog for 2016. I know this seems a bit heavy, but my intent through all of my blogs is to make you think. I would encourage you to set aside some time before the close of this year to think about your integrated character. What are the core values by which you live? Are your actions consistent with your words? Are your words reflective of who you are? Do you know who you are? Do you know your purpose? It shouldn't be defined by your job, but framed by your primary roles in life, according to Steven Covey. The future of SAGE, our respective professions and society in general is dependent on integrity. 

Thank you for the opportunity to serve as your SAGE president this year. I am hopeful the board will elect all four of your current officers to serve another two year term...and in the spirit of the campaign...I approve of this message! 

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