I have always been into fitness, but football taught me the importance of taking care of my body. My job as an NFL tight end required me to be physically fit, so I bulked up to 255 pounds. I knew I wouldn’t survive those weekly collisions if I didn’t train for them. So, I spent hours in the gym preparing my body for those Sunday crashes.
As important as it was to me to build up my muscles to withstand the impact of the NFL, it was more important for people to see me building integrity. I had plenty of chances to make poor decisions while a pro athlete. I played in four different cities in my 16-year career and found out there are temptations everywhere in NFL locker rooms. It’s the small decisions every day that help us avoid distractions, develop character, and walk boldly. Integrity is a quality every man should prioritize. Here are 3 steps to strengthening your integrity.
1. Define what’s important.
I have been able to connect with thousands of people on Twitter. I get to interact with people online all the time. A trend popped up on Twitter this summer asking people to “drop a cool photo of you doing your job!” so guys started sharing pics of themselves at work. I posted a picture of me standing with my arms around my wife, Kirsten, and our seven kids. We sincerely believe faith and family are the most important things in life. My “job” as a husband and dad is as good as it gets! The first step to building integrity is knowing what matters to you. What are your values? Why are they worth defending? What will you fight for?Every right decision adds another measure of strength to your integrity.
2. Analyze your choices.
It’s easy to build up integrity and easier to lose it. One wrong decision can call into question if you are truly the person you claim to be. When we fail to follow through on things we say are important, our pledges ring hollow. Integrity means being accountable to your priorities. It means learning right from wrong and trying to do what is right. Every right decision adds another measure of strength to your integrity.
3. Decide to fight.
Once you identify what matters to you and what is right, then fight for those things. Stand in favor of what is morally right. Clearly communicate your point of view and never waver from it. Fight for things that matter, like safety for your kids. Author C.S. Lewis is widely credited with this inspiring quote: “Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.” He’s right. Follow through in private with what you publicly say is important.
Sound off: When have you seen someone blow their integrity, and what did you learn from it?
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What does having integrity mean to you?”