We live in a world that is always making a deal – compromising one thing for the other. The world does not conform anymore to the patterns of the old order – sincerity and honesty are no longer values that drive success.
Yet, as many have found to their dismay, compromising on values has bounced in many ways to haunt them. Just as much as white lies are not likely to hurt you in the long term, it is the excuses you need to keep making up to ensure the lies stay put, that causes the pain. Clinging on to what is still perceived as good is worth the effort. Always.
The corporate world maybe not the most honest place to live in but when you choose not to cross the line, you live and feel better. As they say, when you choose not to compromise, you can hold your head high and walk the talk because there are such things as values that do not always ride on their worth in money terms.
This used to be a core word that drove success and outstanding performance once upon a time. Sadly, no more. Yet, integrity remains a core value that continues to reap rewards. While integrity cannot be forced but must be imparted with the culture, the upbringing and the importance of values instilled in you, integrity never left any of its followers disappointed.
If one is brought up and is exposed to integrity as a core value, one is able to be consistently strong and act with a deep sense of doing right by others and him or herself. Integrity opens doors to kindness, empathy, self-confidence, transparency, wisdom, graciousness and trust.
As time goes by, if you have been someone who chose to compromise on integrity as a core value in order to do better than others at work, it would return to haunt you sooner or later. It will remind you that you chose to walk away from what you once held sacred and in the process, you became less of a human being. For some, as they get older and reflect back on the lives they have spent, the look back can be more painful that they would care to know.
Seeing world through money
You don’t have to be an accountant to be driven by the green backs. In these tough economic times, most of us have realized – some of us the hard way – the value of money. Gone is the extravagant corporate glitter and most are happy to choose frugality over lavishness. Yet, money should never be a factor that drives everything.
If money is in the driving seat and you are simply a passenger, it is a tough walk. You will see the world through monetary eyes that will scream cut the losses or do not spend. Charity and empathy will be out of your league and in the process, deny you opportunities that will enrich your life by letting you know how far a charity rupee can empower someone.
Money is important yes, but never let money be in the driving seat. Money must be valued but not cherished and hoarded for money’s sake. Neither should money be used as a tool to buy things. While you can buy a lot of things with money, you cannot buy love, loyalty, honesty and class.
Your pay cheque or your commission does not define you – neither does your savings or your deposits. We saw how money could be lost so fast so easy when financial institutions collapsed and what effects it had.
Lose or gain with self-respect
Some have a strong idea of what self-respect is worth. Others do not care and could happily strike a deal with the devil himself. Some businesses literally force you to lose you self-respect while others will have boundaries. This is very relevant for women who find that sometimes, if you are not cautious, you could end up in situations that may result in your losing self-respect.
Whether you are a man or a woman, when you lose your self-respect, you stand to lose rather than gain- in the long term as well as short. There must always be mental boundaries that you can set and tell you that I will go thus far and no further.
Mental and physical health and wellbeing
Often there are brilliant women holding senior positions and have come on a journey of outstanding success but are sick or too exhausted to do anything once they come home.
They have no time or the strength to talk to their children or spend time with them. They have pursued a great career but compromised on their health in the process.
Your priorities must always include your health and wellbeing – you are primarily needed as a mother and a wife before you take on the mantle of career. Neglecting an illness or foregoing exercise can bring on dangerous consequences.
What is the legacy I leave behind?
What is my story when I look back – have I been a role model or a creature in search of power and wealth. What would they tell my children about me long after I have gone? How would they remember me? Too many powerful women have left powerful legacies as career women but as bad mothers or absent daughters.
After all, it is our story. And we should choose, think and be committed to making it a good story – one that will not only sound good but also feel good for us and those whom we cherish most in the world.
As Mahatma Gandhi said, let the wind make you cool and caressed but do not let it carry you away.
(Nayomini, a senior journalist, writer and a PR professional, can be contacted at