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Taking a Heart and Head Approach to Integrity


One of Mary Ellen Sailer’s favourite buildings is the Chrysler Tower in New York City. Sailer is a Coaching Solutions Partner with the Ken Blanchard Companies’ Coaching team, Although it was constructed 90 years ago, that building is still standing because it was built with integrity. Since it was designed and assembled properly, it doesn’t need to be propped up—it just needs to be maintained.

The same can be said for a person with integrity. Sailer likes to define integrity as a unifying way of being. It integrates all of the aspects of a person.

But many work cultures promote a compartmentalised view of life—for example, an expectation that you use only your brain (your head) at work and save emotions (your heart) for what is going on at home. Such an expectation is unrealistic, unhealthy, and exhausting. When you compartmentalise, you lose the integration and integrity needed to make wise choices.

Instead of compartmentalising, Sailer asks her clients to consider integrating their brain and their emotions more fully and to use both in a complementary fashion as they make decisions.  By removing the blinders of compartmentalising, they can become more aware of what is going on inside themselves. This increased self-awareness creates new choices and opportunities.

Have you been trying to compartmentalise your heart from your head? How would your life be different if you checked in with all of yourself instead?

Select a few of the following activities to expand the use of all aspects of yourself—not just your head or just your heart—to see where else you can open yourself and better access your integrity.

  • Write in a journal, seeking to address thoughts, feelings, and sensations
  • Practice meditation
  • Discuss what you’re learning with a caring colleague, friend, or family member
  • Adopt a new physical activity and let your mind wander in this kinesthetic experience

Create the opportunity for greater integrity in your life. Rather than using your mind to have the last say in all your decisions, allow yourself to check in with your heart, your body, and your soul.

By reinforcing your awareness that your heart, mind, body, and soul are integrated, you will expand your ability to benefit from all aspects of yourself—and you will fully benefit from being in integrity instead of just having it.

About the author:

Gus jaramillo

First published on Blanchard LeaderChat
11 December 2015