Do the right thing

I've generally been known as an honest and stand-up person. I learned the importance of integrity from both of my parents, and it's probably one of my best attributes. So why make "Do the right thing" one of my personal commandments? Because I want to make sure it always stays a priority.

Reminding myself to "Do the right thing" helps me uphold some of my other commandments and commitments, such as considering the impact and being kind to my future self. And it makes decisions easier. When I worked at a staffing firm many years ago, I saw how the owners Tammy and Mario would do whatever it took to make sure employees would get paid quickly and correctly (for example, if the payroll company made a mistake) and to make things right for their clients if something went wrong. I didn't realize how important this integrity was to me until many years later when I worked for another company that didn't have an ethical approach at its core. I was so out of alignment with my personal values by working there that it made me emotionally and physically ill. 

Another reason I made this one of my personal commandments is it's as applicable for little stuff as it is for big stuff. When I'm focused on doing the right thing...

  • I put the shopping cart back where it belongs instead of abandoning it by the curb. Even if it's raining. Even if I'm in a hurry.

  • I tell the cashier when he or she has given me too much change or missed charging me for an item.

  • I listen to the voice inside that says, "Ask the client," "Get a second opinion," or "Double-check before sending." Most of the time. And when I don't, I invariably get burned.

  • I help my kids make decisions about difficult situations by asking them, "What's the right thing to do?" They instinctively know the answer.

Doing the right thing keeps me from cutting corners; it may take extra time in the moment, but it often saves me time later on because I don't have to correct mistakes or apologize for misdeeds. And when I do the right thing, I sleep much better.

When you are faced with a particularly difficult situation or just a small daily dilemma, challenge yourself to do the right thing. 

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