December 9. “Wisdom is knowing the right path to take…integrity is taking it.” (M. H. McKee)
Or, not taking the wrong path. Life is about decisions. Over the course of a day, I make hundreds of decisions. Some are small, others are large, but all of them come from the two elements in this quote, my wisdom and my integrity. As McKee says, the two have to come together to make good choices in life.
Wisdom is a form of knowledge. It is the knowledge I have amassed in life based on all of my previous experiences. Some of those experiences were quite good, and came from making the right choices. Others were not so great and came from my own blunders in life. I have learned from my successes and failures until I have built myself to a level of wisdom.
My integrity is something that I value. I get quite miffed when someone questions it, even if that questioning is completely off base.
Recently, as part of my new assignment, I moved to a new building. Prior to the move I visited with the site manager to choose a cube. He walked me through a series of available spots, one of which was an actual supervisor’s cube. It was a little farther away from some members of my team than some of the others, but it was a good location, and it suited my needs best. I chose that one.
A short time later I moved into the cube. The day I went to unpack the last of my boxes, there was a note attached to the outside of the cube indicating that someone else would be moving in. I knew this to be a mistake because I was already assigned the cube. As a courtesy I informed the person whose name was on the note, along with the group that coordinates moves. It was a simple record keeping error on that group’s part as they told this person a cube was available which was not.
The person who was assigned my cube went into a rage. Through email she harassed me for days telling me that it was her cube and I had to move. I patiently, and repeatedly explained that it was an error to have offered an occupied cube to her, but she’d hear none of it. I was cordial and patient with her, until she crossed the line.
In one of her emails she suggested that I had done something underhanded to get the cube. She said that my moving into the cube was “suspect”. Any amount of patience I had left went out the window. In my final email on the subject I told her that I had tried to be nice, and understanding, but that she had crossed the line and I wanted nothing more to do with the situation.
I am now settled into the cube, and I have no idea where her spot ended up. The point here is that when my integrity was called into question, I saw red.
I have earned the wisdom in my life from my own version of the school of hard knocks. My integrity is a gift that I give myself. I do everything in my power to protect that gift and to make sure that I do not compromise it.
Today my reflection is on both wisdom and integrity. My wisdom will continue to grow as I have new experiences in life. And, I will continue to protect my integrity by always making choices that follow my conscience.