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How Integrity Ensures Your Success in Your 20’s

“It is not who you know. It is who you are that counts!”

I recently had dinner with a West Point classmate of mine who is a successful entrepreneur. He also teaches classes at a well known university. He employs and teaches hundreds of people in their twenties. When I asked him what he tells them about being successful in life he said:

“I tell them they have been lied to. Everyone tells you success is about who you know. But that's not true! It is not about who you KNOW. It is about who you ARE that counts!”

The biggest downfall for talented and well-educated young professionals is they often chase success instead of building their Integrity. The world tells you to network, join clubs and rub elbows with important people. Those are not bad things, but your success will not hinge on those people. Your Integrity will determine your success in life.

Some people see success as:

  • The reputation of your alma mater.

  • The size of your first paycheck out of college.

  • How quickly you get promoted.

  • How many people in the C-Suite in your company know your name.

  • How your home, car or clothes compare to others at your 5 year reunion.

Again, these are not necessarily bad things, but many people who are high achievers according to those measurements may also be:

  • Defaulting on student loans.

  • Distrusted by co-workers.

  • Sacrificing personal relationships.

  • Operating without a real sense of purpose.

Chasing the wrong type of success tempts us all. From the outside that type of success looks appealing. But when we lose sight of who we are, we are vulnerable to sacrificing our Integrity for success in the wrong things.

Character can be simply defined as: Who we are. Who we are is the sum total of our habits – our good habits and our bad habits. Building our Integrity means making it a habit.

Let’s view success from a different perspective. Success goes beyond the outward appearances so many people settle for. What if your life were successful because:

  • People knew your word was gold.

  • Your co-workers and your supervisors knew you fulfilled your commitments.

  • Your friends and your family always knew they could count on you.

  • You were chasing a better you versus a bigger reputation.

Your Integrity is 100% in your control. Nobody can give you Integrity and no one can take it away. With that perspective, you are in control of your success. Success in life is not about who you know. It is about who you are.

The people who define success as a life of Integrity will often be the ones who rise to the top in the other measures of success as well. They will also be more satisfied and have better relationships based on how they did it.


  • Which type of success have you been focused upon?

  • What ways can you exercise Integrity to begin working towards that type of success?


“Would you follow you?” That is a critical question we all need to ask ourselves if we want to become Leaders of Character. Research has proven that people want to follow character. But where is your character today? Here is a quick assessment that will take you 5 minutes to figure it out. Nobody will ever see your results but you. Warning: If you are not going to be honest with yourself this is a worthless assessment.

To take the assessment use the QR code above or go to

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