Is Your Life Integrated?

Tools for work, tools for life.

This time of the year for many is a time of reflection and hope.  My reflection today is how some principles of our profession may be principles of a successful life; what those principles may be, and how they’ve contributed to my joy and sense of satisfaction and service.

Integrity and integration have the same word derivation.  We tend to be happier when we experience little conflict between our beliefs and our actions.

There are some distinct principles that define a “profession.”  I find that each of these helped me in this profession, but they’re also transferable to a happy life of contribution.  Let’s take a quick look at the behavioral principles of what’s expected of an appraiser.

We find words such as:  independent, impartial, objective, unbiased, credible, no predetermined opinions; no misrepresented, exaggerated or misleading advertising; and self-examined competence.

How may these principles translate to our personal or “whole” life?

First, is attention.   Where the profession sets these out for me — for my life, I must first become aware and be attentive that these principles may help me live a more satisfying life.  If I do not believe this, I have dissonance.

If I do believe, then the next step is to make the decision to act in harmony with my beliefs.  This is the principle of intention.  This is a simple step, but must be followed immediately by self-examination, similar to that of the competency provisions of our various standards of practice.  In other words, we must be able to self-regulate.  Those of you who have been in the Stats, Graphs, and Data Science class may remember these words from the class closing thoughts.

These words lead to the need for humility. The best definition of humility I have ever found goes like this:  a clear recognition of what and who we really are, followed by a sincere attempt to become what we could be.

Self Reflection

To me this means looking at both my strengths and areas that can be improved – including an open conversation with at least one person who can understand and support my goal of change.  And this conversation can also take place internally, to self, as well as to whatever higher spirit to which we may subscribe.  This is connection.

This all finally leads to service.  The reason a profession has a protected status (like designations or licensing), is that strict price competitiveness can be detrimental to the public good.  The protection must come with some standards and ethical behaviors (whether voluntarily or disciplinary).

But a good life comes only when these principles are internalized.  If there is dissonance between our beliefs and our behavior; our bodies, our minds, our spirit know.  And others know.

The good news.  These principles, attended roughly in this sequence, serve to reduce dissonance.  This is integrity.  This is integration of the various parts of our character and being.

New Year’s resolutions are fine.  New actions get results.