The value of Integrity and Personal Sustainability: Picture of Embankment in Cairngorms National Park, Scotland

The Value of Integrity and Personal Sustainability

Last week I wrote that I’ve been working on new content based on the idea of personal sustainability. Following on from last week’s topic of identity, I am exploring the value of integrity. This is the second of the five areas of personal sustainability I am exploring:

  • Values (identity) 
  • Integrity
  • Social Relationships
  • Energy
  • Resources

The value of integrity is something I’ve personally reflected on a lot recently in terms of honesty, personal boundaries and with regard to other resources such as time and money. How much is enough?

Less is more

A few weeks ago my partner Antonia and I went on our annual trip to Scotland to see our friends Lynn and Sandra who have a 150-acre croft in the Cairngorms in Scotland. (Those of you who have seen my Cadence Approach keynote will have heard me quote Sandra as saying ‘the most important part of land stewardship is rest’, a key philosophy for me). We had some meaningful conversations around how much is enough, why less is more in regenerative farming and the importance of sustainability and integrity.

What is having enough?

Whilst out in one of the fields, I asked Lynn why they had a maximum number of seven cows at any one time. I was looking out across what felt like a big piece of land, and so to my inexperienced eye it seemed like a small number. Lynn replied that it’s the maximum number of cows they can graze on their land whilst regenerating the soil. It’s a relatively simple equation for them because it isn’t about filling the fields with cattle, it’s about having enough. Their values are to make a living from the land whilst regenerating the soil, adding nutrients instead of depleting them, and showing others how it’s done at the same time.  

What can we learn from this?

There’s a big lesson in there for us all about the value of integrity. In a society that encourages us to plunder, maximise, 10x and optimise, when do we feel it’s enough? What do you need in order to flourish, and at what point do you have enough? Does what we take fulfil our needs but not at the expense of others?

Is there a way to apply the principles of regenerative farming to your own life, where your actions meet your needs but also enrich those around you? 

Thriving with integrity

I’ve spoken to over 10,000 people in different audiences since COVID alone, and a recurring theme is sustainability. This involves managing energy, reducing risk of burnout and boosting resilience. Most people take on far too much and are depleting their precious resources. I urge you to consider your own personal sustainability, and that of your people around you. We can’t commit ourselves to the big task of promoting ESG goals if we’re overstretching ourselves in the pursuit of more.

The value of integrity is about the integrity of enough.

Resources to help you

Our interactive resource, 12 Stages of Burnout will help you learn how to spot when stress becomes more serious, and what to do about it. Find out more about each of the 12 Stages of Burnout as identified by psychologists, including what to look out for in yourself, your teams and those around you, as well as how to recover.

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