Yesterday we focused on the importance of pursuing integrity in an intentional way. One of the reader comments was a very simple, yet great, request. Someone wrote,
“I really don’t know how to practice it (integrity), can you write a blog on it.”
Over the next couple of days we will look at some of the ways that we can “practice” the pursuit of integrity. But perhaps my favorite is to go by the book. Or in my case, to go ‘buy’ the book (more on that in a moment).
When it comes to pursuing integrity there is no better book than the Bible. I believe it is impossible to have a fully “integrated” life without learning from the Creator. That is why I make it a daily practice to spend time reading from the Scriptures with the goal of yielding my life to His life.
But the Bible is not the only book I read from. You could say I am a lot like Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam (1466-1536), who was once quoted as saying, “When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes.”
I get the shakes anytime I get near a bookstore. When I am sick, I go to the library. I say things like “leaders are readers” and I believe it.
I firmly believe it is difficult to be an authentic leader without a commitment to reading.
If you really want to “practice” integrity I encourage you to develop a plan for your reading. Implement the following principles and your leadership will stay anchored to your values.
1 – Read Truth. The Bible is the obvious choice here. A chapter of Proverbs or a Psalm each day will keep you thinking the right way.
2 – Read in your field of expertise. Authentic leaders are life long learners. Never get to the point where you think you have arrived. If you stop learning your integrity is guaranteed to erode.
3 – Read outside your field of expertise. Leaders need to be able to participate in the conversation. Exposing yourself to a variety of books will help broaden your message.
4 – Read old stuff. There is a reason some books have stood the test of time and others have not. Find some books over 100 years old and read them.
5 – Read consistently. A minimum of 30 minutes a day is a good habit. Between Scripture and other books I try to give an hour to this discipline. I don’t always hit my goal, but that doesn’t stop me from trying. Note: TV, Web-surfing, Facebook, etc . . . are the enemies of books.
Bottom line . . . You are what you read. If you want to be a leader with integrity, maybe it’s time for you to go “buy the book.”
What is the best book you have read in 2010?
Randy is an author, speaker, executive coach, and the CEO of InteGREAT Leadership. He invests his time encouraging leaders around the world.