How to live with Integrity
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And what are your intentions with our Nardia? And at this stage, you know, my heart was racing and I could feel like the anxiety and nerves in my stomach. And I could sense everyone’s eyes just fucking again boring holes in me waiting for this answer.
[00:00:22] You’re listening to the Everyday Legends podcast. The show that is dedicated to helping everyday men build legendary relationships; with yourself, your partner, and your world. I’m your host and the aim of this podcast is simple: to help you navigate life with more clarity, more confidence, and purpose-driven action. With plenty of stories, a load of lessons and some loving straight-talk. So let’s get started.
[00:00:55] Welcome to the Everyday Legends podcast for another episode, I’m your host Mike Campbell. And today I’m going to do a solo episode. I’m gonna dive into something that’s very close to my heart that I think is integral to men and humans, but to men showing up, to men understanding themselves and to men getting the most out of themselves and kind of, you know, as the cheesy line goes, “being their best selves.”
[00:01:23] Before I do that, here’s a reminder: Hey, if you’re new. Hi, welcome. Great to have you here. I’m glad that you’ve found your way here. Uh, please reach out. Let me know how you found your way to this podcast and what you think of it. With that in mind where you find your podcasts, I would love you to click, subscribe, download, to leave a rating and review, especially on Apple.
[00:01:45] It’s a phenomenal way for you let me know what you think of the podcast. Perhaps show a little bit of appreciation, but also so that it gets in the eye, in front of the eyes and ears of more men. Your support in that helps us support more men, which is like, Hey, we get to do this shit together.
[00:02:04] With that said, let’s get on with the show. Now I’m going to start today with a personal story. And that goes like this. So I’m, I’m old am I? 38. This is back when I was 23, 24, a young man, uh, you know, in my prime, so to speak. And I was living in Wellington, in New Zealand. I spent a New Year’s Eve over in Australia, actually, not that far from where I live now, in Byron Bay.
[00:02:35] And I had what you would describe perhaps as a short, sharp, uh, fling with a young Australian lady. And two days was short and sharp. And we continued to communicate when I went back to Wellington, we found that there was something in that. Clearly, that’s why we got into a little bit of a short term romance for those two days.
[00:03:04] And, what I found over the time and the distance being created in this desire grew with it is that we, um, had this yearning and, and, and attraction and desire for each other. And so what that evolved into was like daily communication, text messaging. This was before smartphones. So there was no video calling or anything like that.
[00:03:27] Um, and, you know, the heart seemed to grow fonder. And there was a time where we’d been communicating and planning on a visit. She was going to come over to New Zealand, to Wellington to visit me. And, you know, we were super pumped about this. And, um, there was one point where she said – it might’ve been a few months in, I can’t really remember, you know, it was almost, essentially a, a long distance relationship at this point. And she said to me, “You know what I’ve been telling my girlfriend’s all about you. And I feel like I’m talking about you way too often.” And I was like, “Oh my God, same. I’m doing that too. I’m talking to my mates about you all the time.” And she said, yeah, I mean, I’m telling my friends, you know, clearly how much I like you. And, um, is that what you’re saying to your friends too? Essentially it was such an innocent question. Essentially: I’m telling my friends how much I like you. Oh, you’re talking to your friends about me too. Is that what you’re saying?
[00:04:28] Clearly she wants to know what I’ve been saying on some level for some kind of reassurance. And in that moment, my heart just jumped and in my throat I felt like, “Oh shit”, Because I knew what I’d been talking to my friends about in relation to her. And it wasn’t about how much I liked her and how much of an amazing woman I thought she was. It was talking purely about the sex, about the attraction, about the sex that we had had and the kind of conversations we have and the text messaging exchange that we have and about what’s going to happen when she comes over to New Zealand and visits me. Yet, part of my response was driven by the fact that I did like this girl immensely.
[00:05:21] Oh man. Like I was falling for her. I liked her so much. And that was the generator behind this and all the other stuff that I had been sharing with my friends was true, but it wasn’t the deepest truth. And what I was really hit with, in that moment when she said what she said, which had no malice to it, was, am I being honest?
[00:05:50] No, I’m not. Am I sharing honestly, with my friends about the fact that I really fucking like this girl? I’m not. I’m sharing the things that actually, I think to get me kudos. And I know that, you know, there was also that reflection that I know that. In that moment of sharing, I’m sharing the stuff that I think my mates want to hear.
[00:06:13] And then I think will kind of when me points in their book and, you know, that’s a whole subject that we can go into and perhaps explore. But what that brings me to is the topic that I want to talk about today. And that is: Integrity. Because in that moment, what she had essentially done was called me to my integrity.
[00:06:37] You Like me. I like you. We’ve discussed it with each other. I’m sharing this with my friends. You are talking, well, you’ve shared with me that you’re talking to me, talking to your friends about me. Are you sharing that, which is the truth? And what did I say? Yeah, yeah, yeah, definitely. That’s what I’m sharing.
[00:06:57] Boom. in that moment. A leak in my integrity. Because no, I am not sharing that I am being dishonest. And it wasn’t in that moment, that integrity really hit me. I knew that I was being challenged in my honesty. But ever since then, and perhaps sometimes before I suppose, integrity, has been an obsession, maybe that’s too much.
[00:07:23] It’s been a focus of mine for a long time, more so consciously in the last kind of ten years. However, I think there’s always been an undercurrent – let’s call it – of it for me, an internal compass, I was perhaps aware of on some level. You know, I didn’t really learn about that stuff growing up.
[00:07:42] And I think where, this really took a, uh, a turn, a rabbit hole, a rabbit hole-esque dive, was when I really put at my own value under the microscope, because this was something that I hadn’t done. This is not a slight on my parents or my upbringing or anything, but I didn’t really learn to figure out like what I value, and what my values are.
[00:08:07] And I remember sometime when Nardia and I were first together and we were doing some planning and she was challenging me. I’ve spoken about this actually in different places here and there. But one of the things that she said to me was, okay, we were doing a bit of an exercise on uncovering, like what I’m good at and what I want to do and kind of where I’m going with my life, something like that.
[00:08:27] And that was before I really got into this work and she asked me. “what are your values?”
[00:08:34] And I was like, uhh what do you mean? And that was the rabbit hole-esque dive opening right there. Oh, I mean, on some instinctual level, I knew what I valued and I, and I lived through them on some level, but beyond that, I didn’t, I couldn’t speak to them. I couldn’t share them. I couldn’t define them. And so, that process stimulated some inquiry and some investigation, some exploration, deeper exploration into myself. And what that actually, one of the things that that started to spurn was an exploration into men and what was going on with men and, and that kind of triggered, in part, the work that I’m now doing. And so what I started to really understand on a simple level was if I’m going to, uh, you know, I’m already working with men in some capacity, more in their physical, but if I’m going to work with them in a mental and emotional capacity and invite them and support them and facilitate them and exploring themselves, hmm – got to explore myself on a much deeper level and as well. And so I think that’s when my kind of habit of self-inquiry ramped up.
[00:09:36] And so what that, you know, on some level back then, but even just to, to the conversation now, brings me to is what the fuck is integrity? No, this is something that is so central to the work that I do. It’s something that I speak about in this podcast. I sign every podcast off, I think, ah “remember to build that legendary integrity.”
[00:09:57] And so there’s a lot to it. There’s also some really clear simplicity to it. And so that’s what I want to dive into and explore in this podcast. I’m going to share a few more stories, um, about maybe, maybe not so many, uh, me being caught out, like in the initial story, but I want to break down integrity a little bit for you and give you my take on it and explore how to understand it and reflect on it and assess it and manage it and live with it.
[00:10:32] And so what in, what is integrity for me comes down to a very simple answer. And that is, essentially, to live your life through your thoughts, words, and actions – the expression of yourself – in alignment with your values.
[00:10:53] That is essentially what integrity is to live your life through your thoughts, words, and actions in alignment with your values.
[00:11:04] And what that then invites us to explore is: cool, how do I currently show up through my thoughts, words, and actions? What are they? And what are my values? And do these two things align? That’s the simplicity of how we start to look at that.
[00:11:22] Because when we don’t have integrity, when we are out of integrity, when we are out of alignment with our values, all sorts of things will show up in our lives. You know, I think, most men, if they’re not currently aware of this and, and conscious of it and exploring it, they know it on some level, right. We have this, this feeling often, this feeling of incongruence that speaks to that misalignment. When we do things that are out of alignment with our values, be it conscious or on an instinctual level, there’s a knowing on some level. But one of the biggest challenges, I don’t think it’s new to our society now. I think we’ve always had a mode of doing this, but it seems to be easier now is we become very skilled at tuning out to that voice, distracting ourselves at, at numbing ourselves from that voice, that, that tap on the shoulder, but reminds us of our values, that reminds of us of integrity and alignment to our values.
[00:12:34] And there is so many things, you know, there’s the obvious things like alcohol and drugs that can be numbing, but it’s not just that. It is work. It is exercise. It is gaming. It is procrastination. It is fluffing around on social media. It is getting caught in political rabbit holes. It is things where the intention is to take your focus away from you and what’s important for you and what can make a difference in your life and the lives of those around you and who come up under you and after you.
[00:13:04] That’s not to say any of those things that I just mentioned to bed things, that we’re not labelling them as bad at all. But it invites the question to explore the intention behind why we do what we do.
[00:13:16] And so, when we are out of integrity, I like to think of it as you know, there’s leaks in our integrity, right? So leaks in honesty and truth and who we are, right? When, when I, when I’m not willing to be able to be my full self, then there’s a leak there in my integrity I’m abandoning myself on some level.
[00:13:37] And what else do we do? We compromise, not compromise in our relationships cause compromise can be very important coming to an agreement. But we can compromise ourselves in relationships. Compromise who we are. And when we do that, one of those examples or any other, when I am out of integrity, fundamentally what I’m doing is I am weakening myself.
[00:14:00] I am weakening myself. If you think of integrity as having a strong base. And when I have a leak in there, there’s a weakening in that. Right? Water can come in through a leak and all of a sudden, not only am I a weaker for myself, but I am weaker for others.
[00:14:18] And that feeling of incongruence might look and feel different. It can manifest – and I’ve seen this many, many times – we walk around feeling like something is missing. You know, we are searching was something outside of us. THE thing. You know, what is MY purpose? Uh, you know, uh, searching for THE relationship or more money, more, a better job, more status, more power, some kind of validation or praise, or acceptance or approval, perhaps, external to us, something that we’re hoping will cover that hole. But the only way that I can address that hole is by going within, starting with integrity. That’s, that’s the voice. Uh, but this can happen in many ways. And honesty is so integral to integrity and we’ll explore that today, but this is where it often forms those little leaks in the little lies that we tell ourselves.
[00:15:14] And that might, uh, land more, more accurately or effectively for you. When we think about justifications and excuses and reasons that we give, right, these happen throughout our lives, you know, I’m going to go to the gym, then there’s justification: that’s a little lie that I’m telling myself. Now that thing could have the most truth to it. And it’s the thing that served you most in that moment. But without actually digging in and asking those questions, Where I am dishonest with myself and tell little lies and allow little justifications and or where I weakened myself. Those things weren’t exploration. Even when we tell little lies and justifications with others, you know, perhaps the, the guise of this is – if that’s the term – protecting others feelings or not hurting other people’s feelings.
[00:16:07] Now, we get to look at that, in the realm of integrity, because integrity is nuanced. And we’re going to explore that in this podcast, but if you value managing people’s feelings more than honesty, then that could be integrity. But it also poses a question: what’s the intention behind the value I place in managing people’s feelings over honesty?
[00:16:32] Is this about them and their feelings, or is it about me and perhaps my feelings, my discomfort in whatever their feelings may be? But I have to try and manage their feelings and not allow them to feel figure their own fucking feelings out. Hmm. Something to reflect on, if this is you. And I think this also speaks to something elsewhere integrity is often viewed through the lens of not letting others people down, but it is so much more foundational more than that.
[00:16:59] It’s about you, first and foremost, about being able to depend on yourself, not living as self down. And then is all coming back to honesty, all coming back to honesty. Can I be honest with myself?
[00:17:17] So what that then kind of brings me to, I suppose, is integrity is often, uh, I think over-simplified, sometimes perfectly, but often oversimplified to mean, just do what you’ll say you’ll do. And that is a part of it, but as I spoke before, and really first and foremost speaks to, are you living your life through, your thoughts, words, and action,s in alignment with your values? And we’ll, we’ll edit that one out.
[00:17:57] Are you living your life, through your thoughts, words, and actions in alignment with your values? So just doing what you say you’ll do speaks to, you know, what commitments am I making? And am I following through on those commitments? This is a great aspect of it.
[00:18:16] But, here’s something that I’ll offer to you, I suppose. And that is when you know your deepest, strongest core values, what they do is they become your commitments. They become your commitments to yourself, your, to-do list, if you will. So if I’m to set a list of things that I’m going to do today, and then I follow through on them or not, but my foll- my following through on them or not is how I assess my integrity, I might be bang on.
[00:18:54] And what I would offer to you is that’s one part of it. But if those things are actually not in alignment with your values or your values, speak to something else, then there’s a good chance you’re actually weakened your integrity. There’s a leak in there. And integrity. I can’t remember where I heard this from, but I like the idea of it is – well, then a judgment around it is more like being pregnant, which is to say you are pregnant or you are not, you can’t kind of be pregnant. Integrity: you have integrity. You are living with integrity or you are not. You are in integrity or you are out. And that’s one of the things that we’re going to explore a little more depth shortly.
[00:19:34] You can be a little bit out of integrity in one area of your life. For me, that speaks to: in that moment that you’re out of integrity. When we look at that aspect, almost like a scale, right? Just like being pregnant, you know, it was very different from being two weeks pregnant, to being eight months pregnant.
[00:19:49] Right. And so what I will offer to you when it comes to knowing your values, versus just a simple to do less than following through on your commitments is, if you see that your values, uh, your baseline kind of a life to-do list: they’re your primary commitments to yourself. And so where your integrity gets to be fundamentally based is: my values are my to-do list. How I live out those values starts to expand on thoughts, words, and actions; how I show up, how I manifest these, those are what will hopefully actually form your like legit, logistical to-do lists.
[00:20:28] That’s where we’ve gotta start. So, whether I go to the gym or not from a to-do list, actually comes back to what is my highest priority in value in this moment?
[00:20:39] And so if I have a value of health, well, then that would speak to it. But if I also have a value of connection and family, let’s say, and the thing that prevented me going to the gym was answering a phone call from my father and I hadn’t been able to speak to him you know, for a couple of weeks and we’d been trying to get on the phone, then in that moment, I get to flex and choose: what’s the greatest priority right now?
[00:20:57] And now it is, I value this and so I’m choosing to value that. This is where integrity gets to change a bit. We will explore this nuance a bit more. But how I can navigate that nuance is by knowing with deep and clarity, my values – what they look like, and then both what is higher and what gets to change and flex and flux in moments?
[00:21:22] So, the simple question that I offer to you to ask yourself on a daily – I’m talking daily, do this shit daily and you will know and understand yourself so much more across time, like speaking a new language, right? You got to do it consistently for a period of time to become more fluent. The question to start with is, am I in or out of integrity? Now, the more you do that and reflect on what that entails, what determines that for you, the better and more skilled you become at knowing how to answer it and what contributes to it.
[00:22:00] But if you think, am I living my life in accordance with my values today? Good place to start. What did I, what am I commitments today are things that I’ve committed to things on my quite simple to-do list? And more central to that, my values they’re my life to-do list. Did I do those today? Am I in or out?
[00:22:26] Now again, if you feel like, you know, this stuff’s all flowing, but I’m out of integrity here. Cool. Our job is not to judge it and go, ah, fuck, beating myself up on this. Right. And into that mode, I shouldn’t have done that. I shouldn’t have done this. Now I’m out of integrity – and get into a spin that might take you downwards. But to, to, to see it objectively and go, without the emotion attached to it, and go this thing’s out of integrity. Okay. So I’m out. Everything else is in alignment. This one isn’t so this is the thing to focus on.
[00:23:02] And so what I’m going to do now is I’m going to give you a series of questions and I will make sure, depending on where you’re listening to this podcast, that we write these in the show notes. So you can access them somewhere at the very least on my website. These are six questions that you can take yourself through after that first on my in or out of integrity?
[00:23:21] Now they have slight differences depending on whether you answer in or out, ah but subtle. And so I’ll take you through those. You might want to, once you’ve listened to this hit go back 15 or 30 seconds and listen to it again. The first question is: ‘What was the promise or commitment that I made to myself.?’
[00:23:42] What was the promise or commitment that I made to myself?
[00:23:45] So regardless of if you’re in or out of integrity, that’s the same question. What that is inviting you to do is get clear on what are my commitments, what are the promises that I’m making? What is the promise or commitment that I made – extension: to myself?
[00:24:06] Because even if I was a promise that I made to my wife, let’s say, it’s, there’s still a promise that I’m making to myself to follow through on that for her. Right. So it supports us continually view this internally for myself first. Then when I’m stronger, I’m stronger for others. That’s question number one.
[00:24:26] The second question is ‘What did I choose to do?’ What did I choose to do? Now, that is the simplest and most neutral form of that question. And then I can tinker it a little bit, depending on in or out of integrity. If I’m out of integrity, then I’m asking, what did I choose to do instead? Or what have I been choosing to do instead of question number one, my promise or commitment?
[00:24:50] Right? So my promise, commitment was ‘x’, what have I been choosing to do instead? What did I choose to do? What that’s allowing us to do and inviting us to do is simply stipulate our actions.
[00:25:04] The next question is ‘What were the consequences of those actions?’ So again, this is inviting me to take ownership of my actions and their consequences.
[00:25:15] Now consequences can have perhaps a negative connotation to it. What this is speaking to is ‘what were the outcomes of my behaviours?’ Right? Good, nor bad. We don’t need the judgment attached to it with simply noting observing and acknowledging my behaviours and their consequences.
[00:25:34] The next question is ‘What was the driver behind those actions?’ Now this can be a more challenging question for some guys to answer, especially when you’re newer to it. The more you do it, the better you’ll become at being able to assess understand, and, uh, bring clarity to the driver. But it requires you to explore, to get curious and to dig into what is driving my behaviours?
[00:26:01] You know, I said I would do this thing, I have this commitment for honesty. I was dishonest. What was driving my dishonesty? Was it fear, fear of being judged? Was it fear of upsetting someone? Explore that. Now this can be challenging and confronting, but hopefully what you’re starting to pick up on is the more I do that oh, the more information I’m armed with the clearer it is to see what I’m doing, why I’m doing it. And that is the steppimg-stone to doing different.
[00:26:33] It’s also assisting us in getting clearer and clearer, the more I do it, on who I want to be and what that asks of me. So the next question number five is, is this a pattern?
[00:26:44] Is this set of behaviours that I chose to do instead? Or if you’re in integrity that you’re simply choosing to do, is this a pattern? Often we will be out of integrity. We’ll keep doing shit that doesn’t serve us. We’ll be out of alignment with our values and we won’t catch that I keep doing that one, this is a pattern – this behaviour that I keep doing.
[00:27:04] When we see it, it forces us to sit up and go, huh, interesting. I keep doing that. Then and I can lean into it with curiosity and inquiry.
[00:27:14] And then the sixth question is if you are out of integrity, ‘ What do I need to do to return to integrity?’ And if you’re in integrity, ‘What do I need to do to remain in integrity?’
[00:27:25] Yeah. One of the, the aspects of those questions is that a lot of men, if they even venture into this world of exploring integrity and making sense of it, and if they feel out of integrity is how do I get back into integrity? And you can see in those questions, that’s the sixth question. If I simply just go to the strategy of what I need to do to now have integrity.
[00:27:46] I miss all of the things that are driving my behaviours. And that is something that speaks to all of the work, both we do in my program but in general, if you are looking at the results in your life and seeing this shit isn’t working, that’s not favourable. I don’t want this, I want something different. And we’re only exploring the strategy to get the new thing, without exploring why I’m doing what I’m doing that’s leading me to where I am? Then you’re never going to get something different. We’ve got to explore the drivers and what’s at the base of why I do what I do. That’s what those questions are inviting you to do.
[00:28:22] So beyond that, what this speaks to is living with honesty. Now, it invites the exploration into whether or not you value honesty, but I want to put this to you. Integrity asks you to live with honesty, to live with truth, to share your true self with the world. So, as an example, you know, me doing this podcast or any, uh, content that I share – if I project or attempt to share that I, you know, have a perfect life and I don’t have any shit. And you know, I’m free of fear and doubt. Then that’s not me sharing my true, real and most authentic self. That is not me having integrity because I’m not being honest with you. And that’s not the case. I mean, I’ve got, you know, I have doubts and fears and shit comes up.
[00:29:30] I mean, I will likely have a little boy reaction to something that my wife says or does in the next 12 hours before the day ends. But what I’m willing and you know, the more I do it, able to do now is get curious and reflective about, you know those incidences when it happens to see what I might’ve done there, what led to that to take ownership of my actions, to see the consequences on that, to take ownership of it and see what from my shit has come into play there and if need be to apologize, uh, and you know, choose to meet her in the middle on the field where we can be teammates that is stepping to integrity.
[00:30:10] Sharing my truth here and in my content and certainly in my pro my coaching program, and also in situations like that with my wife, like actually sharing that and taking it, taking her through, you know, my, my truth, not having to share every single thing with her and all of my thought processes, but to be open and honest, because here’s the thing: if my wife knows that I’m willing to admit when I’m wrong or to my, to own my mistakes, to share my truth, um, instead of hiding it away and perhaps pretending everything’s fine, it’s all good, and nah I’m good, don’t worry about it. You know, and stuff away emotions, when it’s not, then she knows that she can trust me.
[00:30:52] She knows that she can depend on me to be truthful with her, to be truthful with myself. That is integrity. Dependability is such an integral part of integrity and in the lens of a relationship, whether it’s conscious or not, she’s viewing that; can he be honest with themselves? Can he be honest with me? Can I depend on him?
[00:31:16] And this also poses a question and someone asked me this when I, shared on social media that I was going to do this podcast, is integrity, objective, or does it lend itself to perspective? And so what I think is that it speaks to some general rules based on the viewer.
[00:31:38] Of, you know, the other, right? So in this situation and that situation, my wife, um, they hold fast, but it may meet your definition of, or version of integrity. Um, but if you don’t meet mine, then we will interact differently.
[00:32:01] And what I think lies central to this is that term that I’ve just used: dependability, which links to honesty, which links to trust, which are central to human relationships. So there is an element of objectivity, but also the viewer through the lens of, of the other person. And that’s where I want to kind of take this conversation now.
[00:32:23] Where this brings me to is something I was reflecting on in- in the planning of this talk and topic and reflection, and that was something that I started a little while ago called Beyond The Beers. I’ve spoken about this on the podcast before, but Beyond The Beers was, you know, started as a show, me and another guy in a podcast type format having a conversation, but it was a video show.
[00:32:46] And the central aspect of that was: if other men see men, normal relatable everyday men like themselves, having conversations that go beneath the surface, taking a beer with mates to new depths and actually talking about the shit that matters, then they can see how easy it actually can be and how empowering it can be and how courageous and respect forming it can be.
[00:33:08] Huh? I can probably do that too. And what that requires is being real. Going beneath the surface into our depths means being real, not just parking all of my stuff over here, but instead when my friends are like, we sit down and have a conversation, how’s everything going? How’s stuff with, you know, the baby?
[00:33:27] Yeah, good man. You know, but if I’m honest, Oh, I’m struggling with this. And I’m fucking tired over here. And you know, men Nards seem to really clash heads on this way of parenting. And that’s me being honest, that’s me having integrity versus: everything’s all good.
[00:33:47] Now, of course, there’s a time and a place, but the point that I want to make here is this: if you can’t be honest about you, but who you are about speaking and living your truth, then how can I trust you? How can I depend on you? Right. That is a leak in integrity. If you wear a mask, i.e. If you hide who you are, if you play pretend, if who you are in the world is a version that you’ve created that you think will be liked and it will be approved of, and that will, you know, be wanted and validated and, um, accepted.
[00:34:26] If you are living as who you think you’re supposed to be, or other people want you to be, then that is presenting a false version of who you are to the world. It’s fucking confusing just to say that, all that stuff, right. Um, who I think you want me to be, or maybe who I think you think I need to be and supposed to be, fuck. That’s confusing for you. That’s confusing for us because this is who I’m getting, but and certainly if you’ve got any perspective and insight, you can sense that there’s maybe someone else beneath that presentation, that facade, that mask. And what that speaks to is one, he’s not being honest with me two, there is zero dependability from someone who, isn’t honest with themselves or, how they hide their true selves and present an altered, curated, masked version of themselves to the world.
[00:35:31] It screams insecurity. And also with that, if you haven’t figured this out now out gentlemen, it screams manipulation. Because what that is doing is trying to manage/manipulate people’s perceptions of you. Hopefully starting to get the picture that, that lacks dependability. That lacks honesty and integrity.
[00:35:54] Now I think a big part of that is objectively, but of course, there’s some of my subjectivity coming into that. But objectively it shows dishonesty, which equals a lack of dependability, which equals a leak in integrity. So here’s something that’s to really get clear on: wearing a mask, i.e. showing the world a different version of who you truly are, shows me that you don’t trust yourself. Self-trust links to all of this. And it’s one of the key things that I think is challenging for a lot of men when we fear the unknown, when we fear what might happen, judgment rejection, et cetera, hiding away who we truly are, what it essentially says is “I don’t believe, regardless of how people judge me and what you know, rejection, et cetera might happen, I don’t trust that regardless of what happens, I’ll be okay. My sense of self doesn’t have to erode when someone doesn’t accept me or rejects me or whatever it may be, judges me.”
[00:36:56] Self-trust is “I can be myself and the world can adjust.” Truly without all my shit and fucking trauma and insecurities in the way, my genuine, authentic self.
[00:37:06] And so the more you wear a mask or present an altered, curated managed version of who you are to the world, the more it shows me, you don’t trust yourself when you don’t trust yourself, it’s hard for me to trust you, right? It lessens your dependability again, that makes it, is it hard to trust and on you.
[00:37:26] And so the question that really sits at the base of this is, can I depend on you? Can I count on you? And so back to my relationship with my wife, as I said before, um, you know, that that’s, if I’m open and honest, it’s starting to answer that question, which might be conscious for her or not. I, it certainly was a lot more in the earlier days of our relationship.
[00:37:51] But it’s also the kind of question. Um, it speaks to the kind of question, perhaps that I get a lot from guys in the realm of relationships and it can be any number of things, but here’s a common enough, an example, something where he says, you know, my wife or my partner and I were talking – they generally don’t say ‘communicating’ – arguing we were in some kind of conflict, and she said something about what I did or said that I didn’t think was right or that, you know, made me out to be wrong. And I defended myself and, you know, essentially corrected her/them in saying, that’s not what I did. I said, you know, that’s not the case.
[00:38:34] And so, she was making me wrong. I tried to correct that. So here’s the thing. When someone’s sharing their experience to you, it can’t be wrong. They might be stating an incorrect version of what they witnessed you saying or doing. But if the sharing their experience, their experience is accurate to them.
[00:38:58] But the point here being, the moment I cave to that and say, you’re wrong, this needs to be – I’ve now taken that personally. I’ve made that about me. And so in this dynamic, I can tell you, gentlemen, not necessarily with me and a woman, but the masculine and the feminine, the feminine will test. If you think about the masculine and like the rock and the feminine, like a wave, a wave of tests a rock, you know, a storm, which is not to say that the feminine is a storm, but it is testing. Tests the structure. And in that kind of situation, if I make that about me and I react to versus standing grounded and saying, I hear you. I can see how there can be some truth in that. I appreciate you sharing your truth.
[00:39:43] All of a sudden, I am not being moved. And this is what I see for what I mean, like a leaf in the wind. They’re just ready to be blown any which way the wind blows versus being solid and grounded and dependable, which is not the same as being immovable. It’s meaning I’m solid. I’m not just being blown when the wind comes.
[00:40:03] That’s the testing nature that happens in our relationships a lot. And what the test is often speaking to is strength. And what strength is really speaking to is dependability. Can I depend on you? And what all of that is speaking to, especially in our relationships, be it male or female regardless. Is safety, dependability, trust, speak to safety.
[00:40:28] Am I safe with you? And so in that example, there, if I bend, if I’m blown, when the wind comes, that potentially sends a very conscious, maybe subconscious message of, Oh, I’m not safe with him. I can’t depend on him. I can’t trust on him. He makes it about him. He bends, he folds. Immovability and flexibility of things that require more nuance to explore.
[00:40:59] But safety sits at the base of this. Now that’s a whole extended subject and I will do a podcast episode on safety, uh, in the many forms it comes in, but certainly in the realm of relationships, because this also speaks to self: am I safe with myself? i.e. can I depend on myself?
[00:41:22] And so that example might speak to something greater than if you cave then, what does it send in terms of alarm bells?
[00:41:30] He caves at the smallest test. Can I depend on him when shit really gets tough? When he caves at the simple little thing and make takes it personally, it makes it about him like a little child? You see how integrity plays out here in dependability and strength and how you show up in sometimes the smallest of moments?
[00:41:52] But also one of the things that I want to extend upon there is the, the nature of test and the nature of testing, because I think this is something that as men, we do a lot. I think it is a very normal, healthy, way that when we are growing up and when we are adolescents, when I think this is when it speaks, we are both testing ourselves and our boundaries and our independence and finding out place in the world. But we also test each other either. And this is something that men/the masculine need to do, from an evolutionary level; the Hunter – because I think you can easily exchange masculine with Hunter – the Hunter needs to know that he can depend on his fellow hunters because this is a life or death situation. And we learn to perform and become a Hunter through our adolescence. And so this is something that we do his adolescents is that we test each other.
[00:42:46] Now, fortunately, the way that has manifested and played out a lot in society these days is, um, The testing is often about finding a weakness in someone and poking and prodding it and see how they go. Again, can they, do they cave to that? Or can they stand strong and resolute? You know, that thing doesn’t affect me, right?
[00:43:07] That weakness that you think you’re finding in me is nothing. I’m good to go. That’s testing someone’s dependability and their strength and their integrity. Unfortunately, the way this has played out a lot is that we find the weakness in someone, we feed off each other and often the weakness becomes the minority and the person who can’t defend themselves. And there’s an unhealthy manifestation of this testing in the way that, you know, traditionally we’ve seen racism, homophobia, um, you know, the rejection of the feminine calling someone a sissy or a wuss, or, or a woman or a girl or a fag, and there’s costs to that. There are people who pay real emotional prices.
[00:43:48] Picking the weakness and tasting your, your brothers is normal. We need to – to tangent, but this is not because it’s also central to integrity – we need to be teaching boys and men healthy ways of testing themselves and each other, because we know that that is a normal way. It is absolutely unrealistic and unreasonable to think that we are going to remove kind of, um, you know, schoolboy, or at least that age, testing and challenging of each other. Which is often banter and teasing, and so on. This stuff is normal. Our job as a community, hopefully as an initiated community and initiating boys into young men is to teach them how to do that. And it starts with us. But of course, when we can’t do that, how the hell are we going to teach young men to do that?
[00:44:32] But that’s ultimately what’s happening. The teasing, the banter, which is still happening in men, of course, is the animal in us in some way saying, can I count on you? i.e. can I hunt with you? Do you have my back in the moment of attack or vulnerability when I go for an animal and I am vulnerable? Now this might feel, um, perhaps frivolous to share it in this context, but you’ve got to think: human evolution has been millions of years in the making, 5 million years since we split from chimps and our hominid ancestors up until about 400,000 years when we became homo-sapiens, that was our mode of being it’s hardwired into our DNA. Our job is not to be ruled by the animal, but have conscious choice, but know what’s going on beneath the surface.
[00:45:19] So then answer that question: can I count on you? Right. Can I hunt with you? Am I safe with you? Is my family safe with you? My task is to protect my family on some level. That’s a driver. So can I trust you with them? Can I trust you with my family, with the things that are most important to me?
[00:45:34] And also for men, and I think that we’re learning is, can I trust you in closeness with my heart? Right – can, can I go to depth with you? And this is where we often find, as I said, before we talk on the fucking surface, we won’t allow ourselves to talk about the shit that really matters. And so we hide. And so there’s this lack of integrity feeding off itself.
[00:45:52] And as I said, this is where we kind of become that leaf in the wind. Now, when we speak about the hunt, we’re often speaking about commitment too, because we have to commit to something. And this is where integrity is so important. If I’m going to commit for that thing, I have to know that he can back me up that he has my back.
[00:46:11] And so this word commitment for me is so intertwined with integrity. It’s one of the simplest ways that guys let their integrity slip, is by taking on more than they can handle and not following through; over commit and under deliver. Which in saying it for all the guys is a hard thing to hear and sit with, because know, fuck I do that.
[00:46:31] And so there’s so much going on here, but it’s generally our insecurities playing out. And wanting to be seen as capable. Or wanting to try and convince ourself that we are more capable of what we are, but it’s self-defeating. If you’ve got, you know, a capability – for those not watching the video here, I’ve got my hand, you know, at a height and about my, um, my, my mouth height – if that is my capability and I’m setting commitments and expectations well above that, well, I can’t meet them. And so on going to be over-committing and under-delivering, because I can only deliver to what my capability is. Within a little limit. Because of course, we can stretch ourselves in order to grow. That’s the whole point of growth. But when I am over committing and delivering it is self-defeating.
[00:47:19] It- it doesn’t work like that. And so one of the ways that that will then result is a leak in my integrity. Here’s someone who made a commitment, he didn’t follow through on it, I can’t depend on him. This is the cycle that keeps coming back through. And so one way that you can do this very simply is to choose to see realistic commitments based on your capacity and your capability. That is called being humble. That is humbling yourself. What am I capable of? Oh, I’m not capable of this giant thing over here that I can’t reach and I’m just kidding myself. And to be honest with myself, here comes honesty again, humility says, this is what I’m capable of, this is what I’m going to work to and push myself a little bit beyond to grow and push and grow it and push, but not a giant leap that I’ll never reach.
[00:48:07] And the way you can build on making commitments and therefore, build on integrity, is make small commitments, follow through on them. Show yourself you can follow through on things. Then you can push the boat out, raise the bar, show yourself that you can do gradually harder and harder things whilst staying in integrity, making commitments that you follow through on.
[00:48:28] And so with this idea of commitment in mind, I want to take you into a story and a couple of stories, and then we’ll round this out. That’s a story, tacking back quite a few years before Nards and I were married. We had been together, I don’t know, a couple of years, I can probably do the research on this.
[00:48:44] Anyway we were living together. We weren’t engaged. And we were back in New Zealand at her family’s house at her, with her family at her brother’s house. And we were sitting around, it was one of those incidences where, you know, we’re just kind of sitting around, maybe having a drink and, you know, some nibbles and chatting, uh, her brother and his wife has, um, her mother and her husband. So Nards’ stepfather of quite some time, many years, and also Nards’ auntie.who she’s very, very close with. And it was one of those situations where we were sitting around and we’re chatting and there are different conversations. You know, sometimes there are multiple conversations. Sometimes there’s a whole group conversation and there was a point at which my, now father-in-law asked a question and he said, “Mike, what are you your intentions with Nardia?”
[00:49:42] Now you might be sitting here listening to this going ‘Oh my God. Fuck. I’ve heard a question like that before. Oh my God. Oh my God. What a fucking awful question. That’s an awful question to hear right now.’ The thing with the situation was, just before that, kind of at the same time, but just before it, someone had asked me another question.
[00:50:00] And so for me, grounding myself also is being in my integrity, and I also have a thing about fairness in my values. So I chose to answer the first question first, which allowed me to honour the person who asked first, but also give myself time to ground myself and to reflect on what am I going to say to that very fucking important question?
[00:50:21] Cause there’s a bunch of eyeballs here that I can already feel fucking boring holes in me. And so I answered this first question. I have no idea what it was. Something pretty surface level, essentially answered it on autopilot. And at the same time in my head, I’m thinking, “What the fuck am I going to say to that question? What am I going to say to that question?”
[00:50:44] Now, immediately I knew the answer. I knew the answer, but this little voice of doubt came in. “Can you say that. What will happen? What if you’re laughed at? What if people, what, what, what?” All this what if’s came up, but then ultimately I knew no, but that’s my truth. And so I have to share my truth.
[00:51:05] And so I finished answering the first question and then I turned to Glenn and I said to him, Sorry, Glenn, what was your question? Now for a little bit of additional context here, I think is worthwhile, um, from my memory Glenn had attempted to kind of asked me a question like that once or twice in the past, in the recent past, I suppose, on some level, but he’d never really committed to it.
[00:51:30] I feel like he had done it in a, in an environment where it was very easy for it to kind of like just poof, hit air and dissipate in the midst of conversation, couldn’t really be heard, didn’t really back it up. I was in conversation with someone else, whatever it was. This was a different situation. As soon as I had finished answering the previous question, everyone was silent. They were just like, okay, Mike, come on, come on, come on. We wanna hear it if I can answer this question.
[00:51:52] And so I said, I turned that to him and I said, you know, what did you ask? And he repeated the question, what are your intentions with our Nardia? And at this stage, you know, my heart was racing and I could feel like the anxiety and nerves in my stomach, and I could senses everyone’s eyes just fucking, again, boring holes and me waiting for this answer.
[00:52:10] And I took a breath and I put my hand on the leg of the most important person, right then in that moment, which was Nardia sitting next to me, and I looked at Glenn and I said, well, I will continue to do whatever I can to make our lives together as great as they can be and love her with all my heart.
[00:52:35] And then I felt incredibly fucking anxious nervous and I was like, Oh, my god of my god, how’s this going to land out? How’s this going to land? Right. All of that stuff was flooding to me in a split second. And what happened next was this kind of look of like “Huh?” – Almost stunned, I think from, from Glen and in this kind of like clapping of the hands from auntie Sandy who was like “I knew he was a good one the moment I met him!”
[00:52:56] And you know, this like kind of I suppose admiring, maybe look for my now sister in law and a bit of a nudge to her husband, like yeah, come on. Not to speak ill of him at all, but that was what I witnessed in the moment, but more so the most important person was Nardia in that moment and she knew like, Oh, “Mike can show up and allow himself to speak his truth and be seen in front of my family. Fuck. This is someone that I can really depend on.” Now that wasn’t my intention. My intention was to speak my truth, as awful as it felt in that fucking moment.
[00:53:30] Now, one of the questions here is can he, or they then trust me?
[00:53:38] And you might look at it on one level and go, well. Yeah, because you spoke your truth. Right. But what that then, what that essentially was, was a commitment. I’m making a commitment here. I’m stating I will love Nardia with all my heart and do whatever I can to make our lives as good as they can be. And so the key to him trusting me, was first of all, being honest, speaking my truth, and then following through on my commitment within what I’m capable of.
[00:54:07] That is my integrity on the line right there. If I fudged it and chose: this is an awkward situation, I’m not going to speak my truth here. Lack of integrity, Nardia would know, and they would no doubt come to know over time, even if I did what I said without saying it. They might be like, Oh, Mike in retrospect, didn’t speak his truth there. He can’t be honest with me. Huh, when someone can’t be honest with me can I depend on them?
[00:54:36] This speaks to my integrity. And so where I want to pivot from there to wrap up this podcast is another story. And that story was, I shared this talk on some level, but certainly that story right there, at the Manifest event last year, I’ve already spoken about that on earlier podcasts, certainly with JuVan, from episode six, I think. And I was doing the talk on integrity and I shared this story. And then before I got, this is my memory of it, I might be incorrect, before I got to the point of ‘Hey has anyone got any questions?’ a guy put his hand up and he said, you know, he had a question. So I gave him the opportunity to speak. But what essentially happened was, I don’t know if it was intentional or not, but trying to railroad or perhaps derail me.
[00:55:28] I, shared the piece about my commitment and then he asked the question: “Okay, but what if you don’t know if you want to be with someone, you know, what, if you, that answer that I gave, what if that isn’t true for you? You should, you just, you know, commit and say that thing because integrity sees that you need to commit?” Right. And, that was the question, which I was like, okay, well, there’s a simple answer here, but then he kept talking and what eventuated was, ahhh this guy just wants to be heard because what he started to share was that the event actually didn’t really sit with them.
[00:56:01] He wanted to be doing something else. He didn’t want to be sitting in a seat, listening to talks, you know, and all this kind of stuff. And that’s completely fair enough. That’s up to him. But what it showed was, his question then went onto something else that wasn’t on my topic that was actually him needing to use his voice to be heard.
[00:56:22] That’s the only assessment I can make on it. And so what I could have done was told him “Well, fuck, you don’t need to be here, dude, like go run around and move your body and not sit in a chair, if that’s what you want to do. No one is fucking making you sit here.”
[00:56:35] But what that pomp- prompts is the question: would that have been said from a place of integrity? And on one level, maybe, but you know, that kind of delivery would have been from a reactive place, which would have been some of my shit being triggered into saying, you know how fucking dare you, basically. That’s not integrity. That’s me getting my power away.
[00:56:56] And so overall this event was about supporting men about encouraging men to use their voice, actually to fucking speak, to go to depths. To work on and practice and execute emotional literacy. And what it shows to me is a level of complexity to how integrity can be, it can be challenging. It can be complex. It can be nuanced, like so much of life. And so much of this work. Often looking for black and white doesn’t work.
[00:57:26] The more you understand your values. The more black and white integrity can be, but I share this example to take you through how it can be a little bit more complex. Because on one hand I could have left him to speak and then brought the conversation back to the topic, stayed on point and answered his first question.
[00:57:43] And on the other hand, I could have called him to that point. I could have said, “You know what? It feels like what you’re saying is, here, certainly on the second part, is totally unrelated to this topic and what I’m talking about. And instead it, to me, is speaking to how you feel about this talk and perhaps about this event overall, and whilst that’s super valid and you get to honour that and your experience, you could not be here. You can leave if you want. I appreciate you being here and exploring, you know, what we’re about and this event, but what I don’t appreciate is you putting your hand up to talk about one thing to simply then transferring it off to something else, which is essentially you will need to be heard about what you think of this event. I invite you to reflect on that because in the theme of integrity, I don’t think what you’ve just done is that.”
[00:58:41] Now, I could’ve done that. I could’ve done that. What did I do? I did the former. I waited until he had finished speaking. I thanked him for sharing that. And then I answered his initial question, on integrity. Which was so simple. “Well, back to your question on integrity, if saying what I said isn’t honest for you, then don’t say it. The whole point is to answer what is honest for you? That is integrity. That is dependability. Not saying something because it sounds like a commitment that you should say.”
[00:59:17] And it made me reflect on: this guy doesn’t quite understand the point here. Maybe my job hasn’t been as effective in getting it across. Because in this moment he feels like he’s spoken his truth, but it was a need to be heard. And for me, that was out of integrity. And that’s kind of part of the point here, this can be challenging.
[00:59:37] So the question that comes up to me is what is more in integrity? This is the tricky part of it. Integrity challenges you to reflect. What is the highest value right now? I believe I could have done either of those things, but I chose at moment to be grounded and to be a model for grounded strength and not be moved off topic by him and kind of rise to his bait. Whether he consciously did that or intended to a not, that’s what he was doing; bringing the conversation to be about him, actually.
[01:00:09] And that room wasn’t there for him exclusively. So to me, the greatest integrity was to remain grounded for the audience and for myself to stay in my power and not give into his, intended or not, derailment.
[01:00:21] And this is again, one of the points with integrity, there can and be a lot to it. As you see from all the stuff that I’ve spoken about previously, it can be very nuanced. One thing in one moment can mean something very, very different or look, very, very different or play out very different in the next. And so what that tends to come down to is prioritisation and what that requires of us is to know our values and be able to prioritise on the fly so that we know what wins in any given moment.
[01:00:54] I gave the example before about going to the gym or answering the call to my dad, I have to be able to answer that question – ‘What is the highest priority that keeps me in integrity?’ with complete honesty. Again, linking back to, and what that then reflects on is – ‘Can I depend on myself? If I keep lying to myself and justifying things, I’m weakening myself, can I depend on myself? Can I be honest with myself? Can I trust myself?
[01:01:23] Now as you can probably tell, there is a lot more that I could speak to on integrity and I likely will over the coming months and episodes of this podcast, but for now, what I want to leave you with is a question or two.
[01:01:37] First of all, do you value and appreciate dishonesty?
[01:01:44] My suspicion is not. Do you value and appreciate being able to depend on someone?
[01:01:55] My suspicion is you do value and appreciate being out to depend on someone. Well, those answers right there already tell us that you value honesty, dependability, and therefore, integrity. And so regardless of what your individual subjective makeup of your values are, those sit right there. And often, you know, speaking to do you value dishonesty – no – locating what we don’t value as it has a very big clue to what we do value. You know, if you don’t value someone who isn’t dependable, you also, you also value someone who is dependable. I know it gets confusing when you put too many ‘nots’ in there.
[01:02:36] It tells us you value, honesty, dependability, and you value integrity. So. Now you get to go away and think if I value integrity in others, I must both value it in myself and must start with myself. So here are the following questions for you:
[01:02:53] What is integrity for me? What does it look like? What does it feel like? What does it ask of me? Who do I need to be a man of integrity?
[01:03:09] My suggestion is that while that might lead to some daunting and confusing and challenging and confronting realisations, that’s actually not that hard. Get clear on your values, define them.
[01:03:27] Like, actually, this is what this means to me. This is how I choose to live that value. And then live them through your thoughts, words, and actions. Consistently build the muscle of that over time. Show yourself you can improve upon it with integrity.
[01:03:48] And if I offer you some final advice on this, in general terms, regardless of who you are, the speaks to total honesty with yourself and others, which also speaks to humility in knowing your limit. Which then speaks to making commitments and being a man of action to follow through on them. This is integrity.
[01:04:09] I would love to hear your thoughts on how this has landed for you, on any questions that have brought up for you. I trust there is something in this that you can take away. I encourage you and invite you to please to share this with another man that you think could benefit from this podcast.
[01:04:27] If this has landed with you, please do something with it, both take action on it, reflect on the things and pass it along. And as always click subscribe, click download, give us a rating and a review. Please let us know what you think of this podcast and the podcast in general, which means tag me on social media when you’re listening to it @MikeCampbellMC or Mike Campbell Man Coach Instagram or Facebook.
[01:04:52] And remember gentlemen – to build legendary integrity.