I still remember the night I first heard Pete play the piano. What was most memorable, that night, was how much he sounded like my favorite group, Chicago, whenever he played any of their music. The following week, I would find out the reason – he was the pianist in the origins of the group, Chicago Transit Authority (CTA). In the years to follow, Pete would become a most gracious mentor for me in my career at Arthur Andersen.
One of my all-time favorites of the CTA, was Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is? In writing this article and reminiscing about this song, I stumbled upon this most heart-felt and energized rendition of a cover band playing it a half-century later in Kiev, Ukraine. It was a song about time that has stood the test of time … and was possibly even prophetic a half-century before its time. In so many ways, time is an illusion. Yet, time recently played its hand again in a planning call with my friend Andy.
Andy does a lot of meaningful and substantive work helping people connect to their true purpose. Recently, we were deep into a conversation on the nuances between one’s purpose and one’s integrity. While we knew they were different, it was fun to explore the systemic relationship between them.
As we gave each other a lot of grace in brainstorming possible insights that connected the two, an idea surfaced around one of the great treasures of one knowing their true purpose: an inspiring aspiration and guide from here to there – now to then. As Andy expanded on it, I felt a sense of sequence and a passage of time. I had an image in my mind that “purpose” takes you places. It creates. It expands. My soul felt motion and momentum.
As I was feeling the building energy of purpose, I slammed into a stand-still realization about integrity. It has no motion, no ground coverage, no then or there. It only has connection.
In just one place. This present moment.
As a state of being, integrity is not an object that you have or hold. Integrity is a state of integrated connection that exists moment-to-moment in our ever-changing contextual landscape. You might think of your experience of integrity more like tuning a radio dial on a long two-lane road trip rather than mindlessly expecting seamless cell tower connection speeding down an 8-lane freeway.
It’s not that we have integrity, or we don’t. There are no haves and have-nots. There are simply those who are tuned-in or tuned-out. Well-defined core values are like your stations. The signal is always picked-up right where you are — in this present moment. Ten miles up the road or 10-miles back are irrelevant to being tuned-in right here, right now. Integrity’s value is found right where you are. Every moment. Every day.
So, maybe it really doesn’t matter what time it is.
Until my planning call with Andy, I’m not sure I had ever noticed that integrity stands so still in a world that moves so fast. As a state of being, it is simply how integrity works – keeping you right where you belong.
In the days following our call, I pulled together this 40-second clip for social media posts. I hope it will inspire you and remind you, that when it comes to integrity, the only time we really need to care about is right where we are. CLICK HERE and enjoy.
As always, I’d love to hear your comments, thoughts and insights below.
John, I loved the contrast and comparison between purpose and integrity. You’re absolutely right that one flows while the other is constant. The radio metaphor /analogy made so much sense and gave clarity to two topics that are often intermixed. Thank you
PS: I feel so blessed to have you as a friend and teacher
Carol … thank you for sitting on “the porch” and thinking about purpose and integrity. You are right that they are often intermixed, which is totally understandable because they sure serve each other very well. Thanks for being my friend and teacher too!