Of grey areas and straddling of fences…

Being different has always been the curse of the bold. Galileo Galilei was ordered to stand trial on suspicion of heresy in 1633 when he defended heliocentrism, a theory that places the sun at the center of the universe. The Church forced him to recant on penalty of death rather than change antiquated notions.

In the world over, many communities believed and practiced FGM, given the importance given to virginity and an intact hymen. Waris Dirie was nearly crucified (metaphorically speaking) by her people (and others of the same beliefs) for running away, and eventually becoming UN’s Special Ambassador for the Elimination of Female Genital Mutilation. She still lives under the shadow of threats from fanatics who consider FGM a holy rite of passage.

There are many examples of bold people suffering because of speaking out littering the paths of history. Conformity has been glorified from time immemorial. Even in traditional Kenya there are proverbs and sayings that promote conventionalism as a way of being. Contemporary Kenya has perfected the art of toeing the line to the point where having an opinion or stating a clear stand seems irrational. After all, if everyone is doing it or saying it it must be right, right?

Grey area (n): an area, situation, etc., lacking clearly defined characteristics.

Grey areas have become a cesspool of everything “sensitive, delicate or socially offensive”. This is the place where we throw in anything that makes us feel anything from mildly uncomfortable to deeply offended. Abortion, gay rights, the ever-widening poverty gap between the rich and the poor, our failing education system; you name it and you cringe, it’s in there.

One could say that by not taking a stand, one is taking a stand. After all, I choose not to align myself with either camp because both have valid points (or none at all). But the danger here is that there will always be only one voice being heard: the voice of the majority which is not always right. And when the majority quieten down, there will be the deafening sound of silence from you and I who choose not to speak up or do something.

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

Edmund Burke

I change, I grow, I change

So after indulging myself reading this fantastic blog, A Day in a Dog’s Life, I started really thinking about life. Michael’s post, “How to Pray for Dummies” got me contemplating about life, love, God and everything else in between.

Someone significant to me got me thinking about where I am today in every aspect. A lot has changed in my life. Change – I now look at it as a building block as opposed to positive or negative. For once, change to me is just that – change. It has affected profoundly who I am and what I am becoming, but I no longer beat myself up and try to measure myself against the impossible standards that exist in my mind.

I am still changing. I am still growing. I try to understand more. I try to feel more. And everyday is a gift that I appreciate. Living for the moment allows me to savor and taste every morsel of pleasure life has to offer. Enjoy every moment of bliss without regret. It was once said, never regret that which makes you smile. Wise words to live by.

And before I go to bed I ask myself, “What made you smile today? What made you laugh out loud, genuine delight shining on your face?” And I scribble something in my diary for me to later reminisce upon.

2016 Integrity Report

keep-calm-and-have-integrity-3

I learnt of the concept of doing an annual integrity report from James Clear and thought it a brilliant accountability report that I would want to embody. His rationale for doing the integrity report is to document the steps he is taking to set a higher standard in his work, lead with honesty, and build a business that serves first.

For me, I feel that taking stock of where I am in life in light of my values forces me to see if I am truly living them out, and what I need to adjust. I hope to do this every year at the beginning, along with my Annual Report, as part of my annual time out and planning. The purpose of this report is to hold myself accountable to the lapses in judgment and making exceptions, as well as force myself to raise my personal bar.

Without much further ado, I present to you my 2016 Integrity Report:

What are the core values that drive my life and work?

  • God (devotion, gratitude, integrity, trust)
      • Am I spending time with God daily?
      • Am I letting go and letting God, i.e. putting my trust in Him?
      • Am I celebrating what is right in the world?
      • Am I choosing to live my every single moment  of my life with integrity even if sometimes choosing integrity is hard?
  • Growth (learning, habits, sacrifice, vision, love)
    • Am I living and working towards my personal vision?
    • Am I learning in coaching and coding?
    • Am I building habits that lead to continual improvement?
    • Am I sacrificing/doing what it takes for my dreams and values within the confines of all my values?
    • Am I loving myself as I am and working towards self-acceptance and self-improvement?
  • Servant Leadership (excellence, contribution, dependability, generosity)
    • Am I doing it once, doing it right and doing it fast and empowering others to do the same?
    • Am I contributing to the world or just consuming it?
    • Am I someone others can count on?
    • Am I giving of my time and finances to others?
  • Humanity (respect, courtesy)
    • Am I respectful of all beings?
    • Am I courteous? Am I understanding that it is the little things I do that goes a long way in making a difference?

 

How will I live and work with integrity?

  • Devotion/Quiet time: I am faithfully going to read the Bible daily and spend some time praying and delving further into the Word.
  • Mindful eating and exercising: I am watching my portions and minimizing the junk food I eat. I am reducing the number of times I eat out. I am minimizing the amount of carbs I am consuming. I am exercising for 30 minutes thrice a week.
  • Sleeping: I am sleeping 7 hours daily faithfully
  • Coaching: I am spending time sharing productivity tips and other nuggets I have picked up with a group of individuals.
  • Coding: I am re-teaching myself VB this year.
  • Keeping promises: I am keeping promises to myself and to others and do not commit to things that I will not see through.
  • Not gossiping: I am refraining from repeating gossip and bad-mouthing others.

 

How can I set a higher standard and live with more integrity in the future?

  • Stick to my schedule: In line with the point above about keeping promises, I need to get over the “I’m-so-busy” routine and making excuses for not achieving what I set out to do. I eliminate all distractions and complete three items I set out to do daily.
  • Empowering others to find their Voice and tell their own story: I am a person who learnt to have a Voice pretty early in my life, and now realize that this does not come easily to others. I am committing to help people in their voice-finding journey, by being a sounding board and giving feedback continuously. I am also working on a mentorship program towards the same.

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