Do the Right Thing

“Integrity is what we do; what we say and what we say we do.” Don Galer

I work hard to keep promises. I will go to great lengths to be a person of my word and so it goes with my business. Most of my working life, I have been a person “in a position of trust”. I even have a special clearance that enables others to hire me to work with “children and vulnerable persons”.

Much of the decision to do business with me as a consultant rests on the fundamental question of trust. Do I have the skills and experience to ensure the success of the project? Can I do it in the timeframe and within the budget promised? When there are extenuating circumstances, will I come to the table with fair and reasonable remedies?

I regularly seek out projects that bring together “creative co-conspirators and collaborators”. I vet my associates using a combination of research, business acumen and intuition – a process I have honed over time that generally results in sound business decisions. There are additional questions when I call on a collaborative partner to provide special services or expertise. Can you count on them to deliver with the same integrity? Do I stand behind their work with a seamless promise?

Recently, I found myself squarely facing a situation where my business was called to act on these values. This is what’s known as a “moment of truth”.  A moment where doing the right thing can lead to a deeper level of client relationship or break trust. More importantly to me, there was an issue of integrity in delivering on a promise. I felt certain of what I would do, however, we never know how others will react when the chips are down. The “right thing to do” by all accounts was to resolve the issue and there was a cost associated with this resolution.

At the last minute for reasons unknown and unexplained, my collaborator decided they couldn’t or wouldn’t keep a promise to stand behind their work. The ball was in my court.

In conversation with a trusted advisor, we reasoned through my next move. I already knew I would do the right thing, despite the financial cost to my company. I was really looking for counsel about how to ensure this costly move was a win-win situation for my client and I.

Here is what my advisor told me. It illuminated the way forward from this dark moment. It has stayed with me since and I share it with you now as one of my most sage pieces of wisdom.

Do the right thing. Do it 100% of the time. Anything less and no-one will trust you and you will not be in integrity with yourself.

And so it goes with my business.

Yours in trust, Deborah

Introduction to my story

“Each of us has the right and the responsibility to assess the roads which lie ahead and those over which we have traveled, and if the road ahead looms ominous or unpromising, and the road back uninviting, then we need to gather our resolve and carrying only the necessary baggage, step off that road into another direction. If the new choice is also unpalatable, without embarrassment, we must be ready to change that one as well.” (Maya Angelou)

This is my story.

Every aspect of my life has been in major transition over the last few years. After much introspection and transformational personal work, I left a marriage of 20 years. The relationship was in the end emotionally and financially abusive. When my ex-husband would not leave, I slept on the floor of my own home for 4 months.  This story, however, is not about divorce. That is simply the backdrop of events that preceded the triumph of creating a new life filled with love and integrity.

There have been times in my life where others have told me I am courageous. I don’t know whether or not I am, I know only that it would be accurate to say I crushed the foundation of my life because it was no longer the right foundation for the life I wanted.

Since this transition began, I have gotten a dog; sold my former marital home; met a wonderful new partner; co-created a blended family with my new partner; bought a new home with my partner; left my liberal religious congregation (where I was also employed as a Program Director); participated in the care for my aging father; lived in our new home while under renovation (for nine months); started a new business and reformulated virtually all the friendships in my life.

This is a story about the journey to persona grata. It is about the cycles of life, about being human, about having fear and sadness and self-doubt and moving ahead anyways. It is about recognizing the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow when it doesn’t look like you dreamed it would look when you were a little girl. It’s about finding the real pot of gold. I do hope you will join me on this journey.