2014 Integrity Report

Today I am publishing my first Integrity Report, which will explain the steps I’m taking to set a higher standard, lead with honesty, and build a business that serves first.

My hope is that my Integrity Report will become a yearly ritual that forces me to think about how I am living out my values in real life and pushes me to serve you in a better way.

There are 3 questions that I’m going to answer in my Integrity Report (feel free to use these for your own integrity report if you want).

  1. What are the core values that drive my life?
  2. How am I living and working with integrity right now?
  3. How can I set a higher standard and lead with more integrity in the future?

Here we go…

1. What are the core values that drive my life?

Here are my core values and some questions that I use to think more deeply about each area.

Growth (Learning, Adventure, and Taking Action)

  • Am I learning and improving? Am I seeking adventure and exploration?
  • Am I setting a higher standard in my work and my life?
  • Am I taking action on the things that are important to me?

Self-Respect (Authenticity, Balance, Happiness)

  • Am I living a balanced life?
  • Am I living authentically?
  • Am I giving myself permission to be happy with who I am right now?

Servant Leadership (Community, Happiness, Responsibility)

  • Am I bringing people together?
  • Am I making the world a happier place?
  • Am I empowering others to be leaders and tell their own story?

Resiliency (Grit, Toughness, Perseverance)

  • Am I mentally and physically strong?
  • Am I someone who perseveres through difficulty and challenge?
  • Am I someone others can count on? Am I reliable and dependable?

2. How am I living and working with integrity right now?

Here are some choices and changes I made over the past year to lead with more integrity.

Choosing service over profit. I believe that your impact can only be as great as your willingness to serve. From the very beginning, I have said that my work on JamesClear.com is focused on the mission first, and the business second. I do have workshops for sale (here) and I am working on my first book, but I have committed to avoiding decisions that are based purely on monetary motivation.

I think I have done a good job of this so far. Since November 2012, I have written 137 articles, answered more than 10,000 emails from readers, and responded to thousands of messages on Facebook and Twitter — all for free as a form of service.

Setting clear expectations and being dependable. Integrity is closely related to trust and it’s hard to trust someone if you never know what you’re going to get. I work very hard to set clear expectations and deliver on those expectations over and over again. For example, from the moment someone joins my free newsletter, I explain that they will receive new articles from me every Monday and Thursday (i.e. setting expectations). So far, I’ve only missed that schedule once in 16 months (i.e. reliability).

Putting the needs of the reader first. I believe that good website design is a form of service. For that reason, I have spent hundreds of hours tweaking my website to make things easier for the reader. Everything from the size of the font to the words used in the navigation to the spacing between paragraphs has been chosen to make the reading and browsing experience easier. Plus, I have eliminated all forms of distraction, advertising, and in-your-face marketing from my website (more details here).

Creating a bulletproof finance and tax strategy. I recently interviewed and hired a new accountant. He has more than 10 years of experience working with technology entrepreneurs and his team can provide additional services as my business continues to grow. This was an important shift for me because I know nothing about tax code and thus have a constant fear about filing taxes incorrectly. With this new team, I can be sure that the financial end of my business is operating with constant integrity.

3. How can I set a higher standard in the future?

Using more inclusive language in my articles. Many of the examples I use in my articles are men (Richard Branson, Jack LaLanne, Dave Brailsford, Dr. Seuss). I have made a small effort to share stories about inspiring women (J.K. Rowling and my friend Beck Tench), but I could do a much better job of using language that is inclusive and welcoming for every reader. As a general rule, I think female examples are underrepresented and I’d like to be one person who sets a higher standard for equality.

Empowering others to be leaders and tell their own story. When it comes to providing resources and ideas that help others succeed, my weekly articles are a solid start. But I believe this is a big area of improvement for me. There are many options, but here are two examples: 1) creating a full course that teaches everything I’ve learned about building a popular website so that others can use these strategies to share their message with the world, 2) hosting a week-long retreat where 50 future leaders could connect and learn strategies for turning their vision into a reality.

More rigorous standards for scientific research. As regular readers know, I often base my articles and ideas off of scientific research rather than random opinions. That said, not all research studies are of equal quality and many writers will often cite a study simply because it was published — even if it wasn’t conducted using quality research methods.

Reviewing many studies to verify their accuracy is a time intensive process, so I’m still wrestling with how to deal with this issue. For now, I have reached out to multiple organizations and researchers, which have provided me with their own decision trees and processes that they use to assess the strength of a particular study. I have also committed to covering issues that have been backed by a large body of scientific research rather than just one or two studies. My hope is that I can do the hard work for you and verify the accuracy of any scientific study that I quote or mention in my articles. If you have any additional ideas on how to check the quality of scientific research, please let me know.

Hiring a coach, editor, or mentor. It’s hard to coach yourself. Up until this point, I have done all of the research, writing, editing, and publishing of every article on this site. Because I see JamesClear.com as the home of my life’s work, I think it’s important that I do all of the writing. But I also know that elite writers like Malcolm Gladwell and Atul Gawande have a team of researchers, editors, and fact checkers making their work better. And that’s the standard of quality that I want to pursue. I have my eyes set on the New Yorker, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times. These are places that have set the standard for quality writing and, although I’m not there yet, that’s the playing field I want to be on.

The Bottom Line

In my experience, catastrophic lapses of integrity are rare. The problems usually occur when we convince ourselves to make a series of small exceptions or “just this once” choices. After a while, the little exceptions add up and you find yourself in a place you would normally avoid.

The purpose of this report is to hold myself accountable to those small errors, avoid the tiny lapses in judgment, and force myself to raise the bar and lead through action.

I still have a long way to go, but if I can maintain the things that are going well and commit to one or two areas of improvement, then I should be able to deliver an even higher quality of work to you each week.

In the meantime, thanks for reading and being part of our worldwide family. It’s great to have you here.

Click here to leave a comment.

111 Comments

  1. Thanks for this amazing article, seemed quite puzzling at the beginning but became clear near the end. My summary is: integrity is made by not saying “just this once.” I am 15 and I am trying to be a better a version of myself, your works have impacted me. Thank you once again.

  2. Hey,

    I feel like maybe this perhaps isn’t saying enough of value as a first comment to leave to you, but here goes… If you happen to read this, I just wanted to suggest that if you’re looking to increase the amount of references you have of females in your research, TED talks might be the way to go. If you just watched 8 TED or TED-x talks on YouTube on any given topic, I imagine with your creativity you’d find the relevance and significant aspects in at least one of those talks to relate to your writing. Perhaps or maybe even probably you’ve heard of TED already, but personally, I don’t ordinarily leave my apartment to jog or walk anywhere without an MP3 player packed with them and other educational information. It really enriches my life.

  3. Thanks for the inspiration I get every Monday and Thursday! My only regret is that I don’t have enough time to read it ALL! But I will keep trying you can be sure. It’s like a breath of fresh air.

  4. You’ve inspired me to set my own self rules for personal brand and conduct going forward. Thank you for sharing all you do.

  5. I am a new reader. I like this idea, personal review. Why not? I have an annual review for work. Why not for my personal life as well?

    I like how its kicked up a notch by involving your core values, and then measuring them in action from your life examples.

  6. What an insightful and transparent article. As a leader in ministry, and author and ghostwriter, I usually perform an annual “self-assessment” but find the approach you offer to be a more effective tool and I am so grateful that you shared it and I sincerely thank you!

  7. Thank you so very much for this issue of your newsletter. I enjoy and am both challenged by and encouraged by your writing which brings me great food for thought.

    Please continue to inspire us (your readers) with your insights, inspiration and encouragement.

    I deeply appreciate you.

  8. Good day James,

    My name is Roman, I’m 23 and will graduate Arkansas State University in May with a degree in Graphic Communication. As I search for the meaning of my life through experiences and learning I find myself pondering on what’s important to me. I have so many questions in my head about life and what it means to succeed so I will be happy by my own values and what my parents expect of me. I randomly stumbled upon your blog today while in the car on the way to Atlanta for spring break. I was googling the terms, integrity and consistency. Before I knew it, those words I googled were words you have also pondered and based your beliefs on. It overwhelms me to know that there are people like you who care for those values. A couple weeks ago I had my first professional job interview with Masters Print Group in Jonesboro, Arkansas for the pre press technician job. Unfortunately I did not get the job but was lucky enough to have hands on experience that I’ve never had. This point in life is very grey for me, scary to me actually. I’m a planner and I planned on passing high school, graduating college, and having a respectable social standing occupation when I get out, as mom always wanted. The rejection of my first job interview has hurt my pride in myself most of all but I know it is all business. I know my post may sound like ramble… But I felt a strong urge to let you know your words are helping me in a very uncertain time in my life. I’ve been reading article after article of yours while riding in the car. I’m going to sign up for your newsletter for guidance as it will become my text books that I highlight key terms and take notes on. I’ve always had a academic structure and going into a world with no structure terrifies me. Thank you James, thank you for inspiration and personal research you’ve done and shared publicly. Your a strong man and I aspire to be as confident and successful as the leaders I learn from.

    • Hello Roman you write beautifully and I gather from your post that you are a very sensitive person and in touch with your inner feelings. What I would advice you to do is get a mentor to help you navigate this period of your life. James would be a good one but I don’t know if he does that kind of thing to individuals. Just ask if he can be your mentor and guide. If he can’t, then keep in touch we can chat occasionally.

      • Thank you Michael for your words of advice. I don’t really know how to go about finding a mentor to relate to fully, or at least in person I don’t. I find inspiration through blogs but for actual practice and support outside that is difficult. Always appreciate any input wether it be online or in person, just find quality of one on one interactions in person better for guidance.

  9. Bravo! Integrity has been an issue I have been dealing with internally and externally as of late and this post is great inspiration!

  10. E iti atu noa ana taku, na te aroha.
    (Air) (ET) (R2) (ngaw-R) (R-nah) (Tar-coo), (nah) (tear) (R-raw-hah).

    This is a proverb from my culture (Maori, NZ) meaning,”Though my gift is small,my love goes with it.

    Translated as, “When people come to eat with you they are treated with the importance of status worthy of royalty put above your own authority.”

    My outlook on this proverb is, though what I have to offer is minute in comparison to the world, the love I give to it is all. That minute thing we offer is like a seed being planted and if cultivated with love reaps it’s own harvest. The word love symbolizes for me everything that I strive for is initiated through love whether it be respect, trust, standards, values, accountability, humility or integrity.

    Thank you for your framework of the Integrity Report I will be locking this in as a template for evaluating our organisation and how it can improve our practice.

    • Beautiful, Reuben!

      I spent a year living in Wellington, NZ, and became a huge fan of the Maori culture. You just boosted my admiration even higher.

      Thanks for sharing.
      –Scott

  11. Thank you James for this awesome post. Very few of us do a personal review our lives even though we subject ourselves to very rigorous evaluation at the workplace. Let us start with ourselves before we look outside! There is one area I felt you did not touch on sufficiently, the family. If you did and I missed it then forgive me. As African the family is both the immediate nucleus family of mother, father and children and also the extended relatives like uncles and aunties plus their spouses and their kids etc

  12. Mr. Clear! Great article, thank you.

    I have an observation you might find useful. In the book, Getting Things Done by David Allen, he suggests doing a weekly review that encompasses what he calls altitudes and I think this correlates to your integrity report. Each of these vantage points for self scrutiny provide a unique overview regarding life and the priorities a person is pursuing. I think you would be well served by greater frequency of examination of conscience. I also think that specific, measurable results in the areas that you are considering addressing are very important. Metrics such as; how many women are in my community of readers, or how many women in the populace I am addressing in general, would be good guides for balancing the influence of women writers and thinkers in your writings.

    I applaud you for holding your own feet to the fire. Metrics make it count.

    Appreciative reader,

    Mike Pettengill

  13. Well thought out James, you have a great attitude, that drive, determination and commitment to the constant and never ending self improvement proses cannot help but bring you outstanding results.

  14. Thank you for sharing your process at so many steps as you do this work — it is overwhelmingly earnest. Best of luck with your goals!

  15. With a deep commitment in inspiring others — a wonderful job done by you. This in turn will motivate others to follow. The success lies on having more such followers in principle. Thanks for the good job to readers. Please keep it up.

    Warm regards,
    Anantham

  16. I have your posts sent to my tablet to use as a point of reference at work to work out difficulties that present themselves at the worst times. They help me to clear my mind and find solutions to the daily doses of Madness that arise.

  17. Inspiring and thoughtful. It may sound utopian at first go, but indeed this whole exercise is very much practical and relevant today.

    I will hence forth try for…
    (a) writing at least one blog each week
    (b) financially sorting out myself (including tax/long term saving plans)

  18. Terrific!

    And your article makes me understand more clearly who you are and how precious your articles are.

    Thank you.

  19. Thanks for always being so open and honest about your work. I appreciate getting your wise articles every week James. You are special. Thank you for being you!

  20. Thanks so much for sharing all your private thoughts with us. Your integrity report is on my own to-do-list for such a long time and I still didn’t find the courage to put it on paper (or screen). Although I am sure it is way to go. So congrats on that and you’re doing good!

  21. Hi,

    Your email came just at the right time I have been asked to create my own personal development plan and I wanted to produce something different and more linked to my moral values as well as my work values. Your report has given me inspiration to do this. Thank you.

  22. I would not be able to to tell you enough about how much you inspire me. You are truly an amazing person. All good work. Thank you so much.

  23. James,

    This piece is very encouraging and it has given me some ideas to also build integrity, meaning and purpose to my life. I “discovered” you about a month and a half ago when my sister – living in the United States – sent me an email with an article you had written and a link to your website. I found the article to be very meaningful & relevant & I signed on immediately to receive your newsletter. I am glad I did!!

    Keep up the good work – and oh, I also enjoy your stunning photographs and information about Morocco. I live in Ghana, West Africa, not too far from Maroc — and I will definitely visit (God Willing) Morocco one day.

    Michael.

  24. Tremendously inspirational. Thank you James , your commitment and effort is exceptional . I have no doubt you are impacting the world and will do so increasingly into the future.

  25. Take a look at the Cochrane Reviews for evidence based research for health related topics. I an an RN and share your skepticism about much of what passes for “research”. The mass media jumps on and promotes very dubious research findings without critical analysis at times. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    http://www.cochrane.org/cochrane-reviews

    • Thanks for sharing this, Barbara! Hopefully this will help me to continue to raise the bar.

      And thanks for reading!

  26. Hi James,

    Thank you for sharing your writing and for being so open with your community of readers. Your article today is elegantly written, so simple and profoundly insightful. Keep up your inspirational work.

    John

  27. This article is both eye opening, and serves as a powerful reminder necessary to help us achieve our goals!

  28. Hello….

    What a great idea and way of presentation. Honest and open. I have often written my core values, but have never tried to evaluate them honestly on a yearly basis; rather than guiltily on an ongoing basis. Also, your list of core values was presented in away that will assist me to group my own values in a more effective way.

    May you have an empowering week!
    Jean

  29. It’s really very important exploration to me to have someone like you, thinking a very different way to come out with reliable ideas, with commitment, and easily understand way. I’m really very glad to take advantage in your advices and try to have implemented into my life. I’ll try to comment on it and say my words about it.

  30. Hi James

    I receive your updates by email and enjoy them, but I wanted to go on record on your site to congratulate you for your report. Integrity matters more than anything else in business, just as in life; we see a momentum of individuals, businesses and organisations increasingly recognising this.

    While integrity is its own reward (and, I believe, a path of wisdom, well-being and meaningful relationships, both professionally and personally), it is also clear citizens and groups are rightly thirsty for evidence of integrity in those who they engage and from whom they are willing to receive communication. If they – we – don’t see it – we look elsewhere.

    When we commit to integrity, we find the strength to follow through with and apply moral, ethical decisions about our daily and working lives. Integrity is at the core of transparency, evidence-based results and open-mindedness. It fuels passion, while questioning power.

    You have demonstrated all of these qualities in full in your business life and your many activities. I applaud you and your commitment and have no doubt you will go from strength to strength.

    Best wishes,

    Robert

  31. Thank you, James, for your commitment to the values you describe and thank you for sharing them with all of us. I am 67, in a different place in life, and sometimes feel like there isn’t much left for me, but your newsletters have inspired me to recommit myself to a value driven life.

  32. Kudos to you James for the good example of setting up accountability to yourself and your readers to keep you on track! It sounds like you have great plans for the future – at which you will most likely succeed because of the solid foundation you have built!

  33. What I see immediately from your annual Integrity Report is that it not only reviews your plan and intentions, but it allows you to be vulnerable. While writing what your thinking and planning to accomplish in private is one thing, putting it out there for all is where you really must be true to yourself. Great Job!

  34. Thank you, James. I’m a fairly new reader, but find myself much on the same path. I have just reviewed my core values as well, and we have much in common. It is encouraging to me to have someone like you putting the good word out there. ALL of us together can create such a more wonderful, caring world.

  35. These days, we are constantly bombarded with ads everywhere we go. We begin to see that, for the most part, nothing is free: web sites collect data about us to sell; the social media sites we think are for keeping up with friends are used for political agendas, and so on.
    What a breath of fresh air and how unusual to come across someone like James Clear! I really like that you assess your financial goals and keep those above board. In my opinion, there’s nothing wrong with making a profit from the work we do, but too often we see people or companies trying to give the impression of philanthropy but on closer inspection we see they are just looking to make a buck.
    Thanks for your integrity and honesty.

  36. That’s wonderful. I love it when people actually put integrity and service highest in their priorities! Kudos.

    Also, I enjoy your photos on Google+!

  37. Thanks, for all you contribute to our definitelyeally inspired to be better. I will definitely use these helpful tools to improve my integrity

  38. James – your wisdom is my new passion. Have already achieved success in three areas where I have applied your principles/techniques. Needless to say, that’s enough evidence for me. I’m HOOKED! Bring it on… I’m ready for more!

  39. Love this. This particular report speaks volumes to me about my integrity and areas I need improvement on. Thanks JC.

  40. I’ve been following you for a while, and love your articles, but this one resonated with me very strongly. Thank you! Keep on inspiring. Here’s to decades more of annual integrity reports presented with pride and satisfaction!

  41. Inspirational and motivating to incorporate integrity at all levels. You’re so right; we rarely slip up on the big things – its the insidious creep of the small which will tilt the balance.

  42. Good article as always James. You have set yourself some very tough goals. I will just remind you of one or two previous posts you made about the process and incremental improvement. Identify one or two things you can do simply to create the habits and create processes to achieve what you want and work the processes?

    Have I learnt from your other stuff?

  43. Thanks for posting on your chosen time frame. I look forward to reading your posts and have learned much from them. The people you convince to start putting their thoughts out there might commit to doing the same. It’s weird, once I start reading someone regularly on their blog, I begin to look forward and come to expect their thoughts/content.

    Keeping that in mind as I keep trying to convince myself to start!

  44. Thank you for yet another inspiring article! It reminded me of your “annual review” post, which resonated with me so much that I took your advice and did my own.

    But what really spoke to me in this one was “choosing service over profit.” As someone who runs a very parallel business to yours, I try to educate and inspire people to eat real food and be active using what we know about the science of habit formation and the importance of taking action (before you’re ready!). For years I have struggled with monetizing my business, as nearly everyone I meet tells me I must do. My main gift is being able to connect with and inspire people through my writing, and any attempts to veer from that have left me feeling as though I’m selling out. It takes a lot of guts to continue to stay true to these values and trust that when the time is right, the money will follow.

    I really do look forward to every Monday and Thursday to see what brilliant wisdom you’ve cooked up for your community. Keep up the great work!
    Carolyn Coffin

    • Carolyn, thank you for your thoughtful post and for expressing something that countless people who work in service to others struggle with. If you are interested in working on a deeper level towards monetizing you services, I would recommend you get in touch with Kimberly Dawson at Revolution Business and Life Design in Portland, OR. Kim utilizes a framework she calls “Point of V-You”, which builds your business from your unique core values and visions outward. She would acknowledge that “monetizing” and “marketing” techniques that entrepreneurs are typically taught create dissonance because they don’t allow for expression of one’s own unique vision and message. By developing you “point of v-you” first, you will be able to build your business in a way that everything you do (including monetizing) is expressing what you value most.
      I personally work with Kim via Skype from Kansas City and working with her has been invaluable and transformative, both personally and professionally as a Chinese medicine practitioner.

  45. There are a great many things I like about your approach. Really looking forward to reading your progress.

    Your comment about inclusion of women made me think of the recent Harvard Business Review case study goal — with a quantitative metric of doubling women in case studies (unfortunately however, that will only be 20%). They’ve been successful before in this way with a numerical goal, focusing on global leadership vs. a US-domestic slant. Article here.

  46. Hi James,

    Your Philosophy resonates with my philosophy. I loved the way you have put your integrity report. Values are well articulated.

    Great luck to all you are doing. Happy to be following you, your values, and your virtues.

    All the very best,
    Pratyush

  47. James, thank you for sharing this with all of us. I am currently working on a 12 month plan with my coach and this fits perfectly in helping me assess my own forward vision. The candor and clarity also provide strong support towards helping me see my own gaps where I fall out of integrity with my values through my actions, either incrementally or sometimes in one fell swoop!

    Your awareness and goal to be more inclusive is truly commendable. It is much easier for all of us to skim off the top of what we see and read, in which many groups of people don’t have visibility, than to dig deeper. I would encourage you to look even beyond women for this inclusivity into other marginalized populations. Memoirs can be elucidating and inspiring sources for reflection. Personally, I find them a good counterbalance to scientific reading. I believe that getting to know an outlier intimately through their own personally expressed inner thoughts can spur more creative and insightful perspectives towards the “norms” we find in our own selected spheres of influence. And you may find unique examples of how they have used techniques you want to elaborate on from scientific sources even in their extraordinary circumstances.

    Here are a few you might enjoy (which also happen to be by women writers):

    Change Me Into Zeus’s Daughter by Barbara Robinette Moss (poverty and facial disfigurement)
    The Center Cannot Hold by Elyn R. Saks (schizophrenia)
    The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls (homelessness)
    Crank by Ellen Hopkins (drug addiction)
    Redefining Realness by Janet Mock (transgender)

  48. Hi James,

    I recently decluttered my inbox in an attempt to simplify my life. I just wanted to let you know that I picked three people that I wanted to receive regular emails from and you were top of the list. After reading today’s article, I am delighted with my decision. Thank-you for your insights, your honesty, it is so refreshing.

    Nora

  49. I am a fairly recent follower. I must congratulate you on the idea and execution of your integrity report. A good example, well put together and easy to follow.

    Your point in section 3 about using more inclusive language, caught my attention. While agreeing completely that in general, examples of successful women are under-represented, I hope you do not fall into that now common trap of political correctness; creating content with contrived equality.

    Celebrating the successes of any one, male or female is wonderful, switching between “his, him, he” and “hers, her, she” when there is no direct evidence of the subject’s gender, is irritating for this reader and many others. Particularly when it happens in the same paragraph.

    “Man” has been used generically to describe members of the human race of both genders and all ages since biblical times. It serves a purpose.

    I do look forward to more examples of successful women on your blog and in your newsletters and will not have the slightest problem with them being referred to as female.

    Of course, as a male I might be biased.

  50. Hi James, thank you for the well-prepared, self-aware and analytical report. I just wanted to say that you are truly inspiring and I am sincerely happy I came across your work!

  51. Hello James, this integrity report is very inspiring and commendable.

    But how are you able to keep track of the areas, measure your success, and be consistent on let’s say a weekly basis?

  52. Thank you, James. All your articles are interesting. They are simple and building personality for people like me (living in developing countries like Ethiopia). Thank you so much.

  53. I read your posts and this one hit home. I have copied the bullet points and am using them as a guide for my journey. Thank you.

  54. I appreciate your effort. Likewise I am committing to doing a better job at reading your communications. A long time ago I realized I tend to ask questions but failed to stay focused enough to hear the answer. After taking up someones time to answer me, I felt wasteful and worse disrespectful of people I claimed to consider as my mentors. I’ve decided to honor you effort as a new kind of relationship for me. Thank you for starting your day with me. Have a good one!

  55. Great post.

    While reading I kept questioning myself about my core values … it’s a natural effect of
    such a good post! You’re doing a great job. Thanks!

  56. Thanks James – very inspirational – I’m going to do the same myself. We all need time to introspect and iterate. I look at life like a startup MVP – define as little as you can – do it – then iterate until you get it closer to right.

  57. Thank you for sharing this. It’s hard to hold yourself up to the microscope and willingly admit you’ve fallen short of your own goals or that you could do better. But, we can always do better – it’s part of being human. This idea of a personal review is a great one!

  58. Thank you. You have made a believer in me. Sometimes I am cynical that the world is full of inauthentic people and that most are motivated by profit. I live in a third world country where you either have a lot or have very little money. Balancing my art and making enough to raise a family is a daunting task sometimes but thank you for making me continue to believe that I am not alone and it is not impossible.

  59. I just want to thank you for your writing. It’s easy and quick to read and always makes me think about my life and how I can achieve my goals instead of avoiding them by cleaning my house!

  60. Thanks James. As always, your works are a great inspiration. Finding, in fact stumbling on your works, has been a turning point in my life. Thanks.

  61. James,

    Your accountability / integrity post is inspiring and motivating. This prods me to a higher standard of accountability.

    Thanks.

  62. Thank you. Your Integrity Report was exactly what I needed to read this morning. Your articles are wonderful and are a great “pick me up” for me on days when I feel overwhelmed. I look forward to the next one! : )

  63. James, it is Clear that your messages and this integrity report is an inspiration to many — myself included! Keep up the good work.

    Thanks!

  64. Thanks James. I read your articles more consistently than any others because they connect with me on a human level that others don’t. These lessons and words of encouragement touch me personally and professionally. Thank you.

  65. Awesome work, James. I just revised all my 5 major life area values this past weekend. I think it’s key that we do this at regular intervals so that we honor the growth and shifts we experience, and can fine tune our actions and relationships as we move through life.

    Power to You. Keep doing great things and Being You.

  66. Your willingness to share your own integrity process is really inspiring to us all. I wrote my personal Definition of Success in 1988 and it still serves as my measuring stick for all decisions. I had support from Context International (.com) and they are still operating from Bellevue Washington US. James you might find their support useful particularly in helping others define their values. Thank you for this article and sincere best wishes!

  67. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and expertise. I hope to be able to format my own integrity report as it’s a great way to keep yourself and your growth and development in check!

  68. I am really struck by your commitment to having more inclusive language and examples in your writing so as to show the wide spectrum of successful leaders in the world. This is sadly overlooked by many motivational writers and speakers. Recently, I was in a nursing class on leadership and we were shown a video with quotes and examples about leaders who overcame hardship; every single example was a male in business, finance, or politics. It was disheartening to see zero examples that a room full of female heath care professionals could find themselves in.

    I’ve been reading lifehacking blogs and books for years in my continued quest to make the most of my life, and the vast majority of them have been by men aimed at men. I am so thrilled that you are being intentional in fostering female leaders and life innovators.

  69. Hi James,
    You have been one of the greatest inspirations to bring me back to writing and blogging. I havent found my domain though, but have thought of an effective roadmap to follow once my exams end. Loved this article. I’m going to set my own set of values for 2014 for my blog and my personal and work life. Thanks a lot!! :-)
    Do go through voraraj.wordpress.com. You’ll like it. Would love to have your opinion on the same. Can we discuss what I’m planning to blog from June 10 onwards and how can I make it better for the readers when you are free?

  70. Hi James, I enjoy your reports on clarity and conciseness, and the concept of the IR is great. I do however think you could improve your Core Values statement — it is meant to be a statement of who you are and what you value, not a series of questions with no answers; you are supposed to give the answers to indicate to yourself and us just what it is that you value!

    It’s Resilience, not resiliency, like competence not competency — an American disease of stuffing up perfectly good words by adding bits to them to try to make them sound more impressive. One of your core values could be to tell it like it is, not dress it up!

    You base your remarks/comments, etc, on scientific research not off of, another very curious Americanism that makes no sense to English speakers except Americans.

    You don’t hold yourself accountable to small errors, you do so … for small errors, and reviewing research is not time intensive it is time consuming.

    And regarding assessing research, as a scientist I can advise that this is difficult to do unless you have specific knowledge of the area under study. If all you want to do is to use interesting findings to illustrate points you want to make to your readers your best process would be to use only reputable journals. In this way you rely on their article peer review process and technical editors to do the assessing for you, and reputable journals have very good editors and reviewers.

    The other thing to keep in mind is to not over-reach. Base your remarks on the authors discussion; they have gone to a lot of trouble with it as it is here that the merits of the work, its’ conclusions, limitations, etc. are addressed. And for really good well written layperson friendly up to date work you really can’t go past Scientific American, with a bit of reading of each story’s suggested articles for depth, as required.

    To end on a positive note, I like your approach, style, and message, especially the concept of integrity as a central value and your inclusion of decent science, which it must be said most are woefully unaware of. We are finally into a period where the old economic models for human behavior are being replaced with real behavioral science, the best of it underpinned by experimental neuroscience. Such a refreshing thing, to see ones reality expressed in the science, instead of having that old feeling of failing to behave “optimally.”

    Cheers,
    Chris (from Australia)

  71. Again, as I read your words, I am determined to rise above the obstacles before me. In my case it isn’t a competitor or new client, it’s an illness. Like you I loved to work out and as I entered my 50′s I decided my last entrepreneurial career would be helping other boomers stay fit, so I spent several years training to be an insightful and effective personal trainer to those with health issues. Who knew my soul would be battered and my drive destroyed by the very thing I loved?

    Though I ate carefully and mostly organically, worked out enthusiastically and did “all the right things”, a series of ongoing stressful home situations introduced my healthy body to fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue and anaphylactic reactions that opened the door to myriad chemical, and food allergies as well as heat, cold and exercise intolerance…yes, an inability to exercise without negative repercussions.

    I could deal with strict limitations in my diet; getting rid of perfume and smelly chemicals was a breeze; taking daily antihistamines and a mast cell stabilizer was fine…but when walking a quarter mile made so fatigued and sick all I could do was crawl into bed after my willpower eroded as easily as beach sand in a storm.

    One day my doctor looked at my tears as I explained that I just couldn’t exercise and he said, ” Just make yourself do it…even if you feel like you are about to die do it anyway.” Even with those words ringing in my ears my bed often won my anguished willpower battles. Then I found your newsletter..and I began to notice that topics you wrote for business people worked for me just as well..sometimes, after I read one of those articles, I would have tears in my eyes, my drive would surge and I would get out of bed and just do it, even if it felt like I was going to die.

    May I suggest you not limit yourself to the New York Times or Wall Street Journal, as prestigious as they are. Look at the world of the chronically ill and physically limited, the veterans with war injuries, parents with handicapped children…your insights about process rather than lofty goals is as valid in our world as the business world.

    Check out people like Dr. Terry Wahls…there are lots of women like that who can enrich everyone’s lives on what it takes to be successful in life even if the lofty goal is just to walk… one step at a time.

    Thank you for what you do.

  72. Thank you for that confirmation from the bottom of my heart. You included so many important questions on your checklist. MADE MY DAY!

  73. Very nice article. It’s inspiring and refreshing to see someone setting this kind of standards for themselves.

    I especially like the idea of the week-long retreat. Too many times we get discouraged by the limited impact we think we can have on the world around us. Being together with people who share high values and truly care about making AND being a positive change can motivate us and help us overcome our doubts.

  74. As a young singer/songwriter I find this post extremely helpful. The industry is ever evolving and it will take a new kind of artist to reach the masses. The traditional system is shifting… which is exciting. Integrity is so easy to pass over in the entertainment business… but strong integrity is like a lighthouse. Thank you for this honest insight. Excited to keep following along with you!

  75. Thank you so much. I am sometimes averse to focusing on measure, measure, measure, thinking so much of value (and values) can’t be measured.

    But, you just showed me how…..

    Amazing!!!

  76. Hi James,

    The amount of self-reflection you bring to the table with this article is remarkable and I would like to strive for that myself in the future.

    Please keep on doing your thing and writing with passion and validity about the daily issues that we all face. I have only been subscribed to your newsletter for a couple of months now but I truly enjoy your insights on life and how to improve status quo. As you I am a weightlifter going on ten years now and doing a master’s in International Business with a passion for travelling so I can relate to your choice of topics almost every time.

    All the best from Denmark,
    Lars

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