During the final two years of medical school we spent four weeks at a time following around doctors in a variety of different specialties such as general surgery, pediatrics, OB-Gyn, and many more so-called “rotations.” Sometimes it left you feeling like a ping pong ball: just when you learned how things worked in one area of the hospital, WHAM, everything changed!

It was an important way to learn the different areas of medicine. It helped us decide what we wanted to do after graduation. And we were evaluated every month throughout this process.

At the end of one of those rotations I received one of the best compliments of my life. After all the check-marks in all the little boxes indicating my medical experience in various areas, the supervising doctor wrote on my evaluation, “She does what she says, and says what she does.”

I remember how grateful I was when I received that evaluation, and I only hope that I have always lived up to that professor’s faith in me.

We’re talking about the matter of integrity. Trust is something that must be earned. And it doesn’t come cheap! Some people naturally generate trust in others more easily. And there’s almost nothing more valuable, especially once it’s lost.

Think about your spouse. Your boss. Your pastor. Your best friend. Do you trust them? The matching up of words and actions is probably the biggest factor in whether or not you feel they are trustworthy. And that’s what integrity is all about.

If you want others to trust you, the most critical thing you can do is live with integrity. Here are some aspects of how to do just that:

  • Do what you say you’re going to do. Even if it hurts! Your word needs to be trustworthy.
  • If you fail to live up to what you said you would do, take full responsibility. Don’t blame anyone else, even if their failure was part of the reason you couldn’t follow through.
  • For someone who has a right to know, such as your boss or your spouse, go beyond expectations in telling “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.”
  • Ask yourself, “Would I trust me?” Be honest. If not, why not? Then do something about it.

Integrity and trust aren’t that elusive. But once lost, they are hard to regain. Don’t get frustrated with other people if it takes them a long time to trust you again if you’ve come short in some way.

The good news is that you CAN build your integrity if you’ve not lived up to that standard in the past. Ask for God’s help to develop this part of your character. Ask a friend or spouse to help hold you accountable. Be honest with yourself and with others, and the Trust Factor in your life can grow.

Now it’s your turn. Do people trust you? Why, or why not? Have you had to work on the “integrity factor?” What would help you live with more integrity in the future? I’d love to hear from you!

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