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Integrity in Your 20s - Lead Better Than Your Parents

Integrity Definition: Doing what is good, right and proper even at personal cost.

Sometimes the anger of the younger generations in our society is palpable. They feel cheated and deceived by the generations in front of them. Hypocrites is a word a lot of young people use to describe our current generation of leaders.

If you are in your twenties and wondering where are the leaders of Integrity, you are not alone. In fact, that is the same thing the Baby Boomers said in their protests in the 1960s and 70s. Generation X had similar complaints. Today it is the Millennials and Generation Z who ask for leaders they can trust. And if history continues to repeat itself, then the next group will cry out about the hypocrites in leadership as well.

Twenty somethings, don’t keep doing what we older generations have done. All the talk about Integrity from past generations did not make a difference. The grand protests, in-your-face music, and doctoral dissertations did not ingrain Integrity into today’s leaders.

What will ensure your Integrity holds up once you get to be in charge? You have to DO what you want to BE. If you want to be a leader who exercises Integrity, then you have to DO Integrity.

Talking about Integrity is not Integrity. Pointing out another person’s failure in Integrity is not Integrity. You have to DO Integrity yourself, even if it’s going to cost you something to do it. And exercising Integrity will cost you something. If you have never lost something, whether it be a friend, a promotion, or a higher grade, because you chose your Integrity first, then you may have too fuzzy a definition of Integrity.

We define Integrity as doing what is good, right and proper even at personal cost.

Too many people think, “This little white lie is no big deal. But when the big Integrity test comes, I will be ready!” Then they compromise their Integrity when it gets tested in small ways. But that’s not how Integrity or any other Habit of Character works.

The more you exercise Integrity the stronger it gets. In other words, if you have never lifted 50 pounds, it is naïve to think you will ever lift 300 pounds. The only way to prepare for those 300 pound lifts that you will face when you are in charge is to begin your Integrity exercise program now. Talking about going to the gym doesn’t get you in shape. Actually doing the exercises is what will get your body and your character fit.

Do you want to be different from the people before you? Do you want to be a better leader, a better spouse, a better parent, and a better person? Then you need to get on an Integrity fitness regimen. Some of the exercises you begin doing today to build your Integrity include:

  • Making a commitment and keeping it. Don’t back out.

  • Telling your boss the truth even if nobody else is.

  • Meaning "Yes" when you say it. Meaning "No" when you say it, too.

  • Telling the truth when the cop asks you how fast you were going.

  • Being honest when somebody asks why you were late.

Some of you probably got punished by your parents for telling a lie and then watched them make up an excuse when they didn’t want to volunteer at school. I did that as a parent, and it was hypocritical of me. To avoid slipping into hypocrisy over time, you have to maintain your Integrity and exercise it consistently, starting today and never stopping.

That is the only way you will become the type of leader you admire. The type of leader that inspires trust in others. The type of leader the older generations claimed they wanted but did not do the work to become – a Leader of Character.


  • What little white lies have you allowed yourself to tell recently?

  • How does that affect who you are becoming?


“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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