Closing the integrity gap |

Closing the integrity gap

Machen MacDonald
Special to The Union

Who else is excited about learning how to be happier and more productive? Sometimes, I encounter people thinking if they were just more productive they would be happier. Others tend to think if they were happier they would be more productive. So who is correct? Both are correct. Happiness begets productivity and productivity begets happiness.

Check this out for yourself: When you have done your best and you know you have done your best, (we'll call this being productive) how do you typically feel? Most likely your answer is some form of happiness, such as accomplished, excited, relieved, or perhaps on track. On the flip side, when you are feeling good about yourself and your performance, do you notice that you tend to execute at a higher level?

Happy and productive people are more in integrity with themselves than those that are less happy or less productive. A definition of integrity is the state of being whole and undivided. Therefore, it makes sense to close the integrity divide to improve your current experience. The divide is between your full capability and your current actions.

Think of it this way, imagine drawing a horizontal line on a piece of paper. This line represents your full capability. Now imagine drawing another horizontal line underneath the first line you drew. This second line represents your actions and behaviors.

If your actions and behavior are in alignment with your capability and there is no gap between the two lines then you are in integrity with yourself. When you are in full integrity you are in your full potential and you are most likely at your happiest.

The gap between the two lines is reflective of how out of integrity you are with yourself.

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For some there is a very large gap and for others the gap is minuscule. What we have found is that people that are feeling good about themselves and their situation i.e., happy, and are also productive have a very minimal gap if any at all. They have developed the habit or discipline of always doing their best.

Those who are less happy and less productive tend to be full of regret with their sporadic performance knowing they could have done better. An important piece to point out here is "your best" may change moment by moment. It will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstances, simply do your best and you will avoid self-judgement, self-ridicule and regret.

Obviously, that gap may vary depending on the situation in which we find ourselves. We can be in integrity on one project at work and out of integrity to varying degrees on another. We may be in integrity with our communication with our spouse while being out of integrity with how we are communicating with our kids. It's situation by situation and moment by moment. Always do your best.

So let's examine how you can close the gap regardless of the situation and start being your best.

When you notice yourself out of integrity, simply check in with yourself and ask these three questions:

1. How can I make myself feel proud right now?

2. What would my higher self do in this situation at this moment?

3. Act as if. Do what your higher self knows to do right now. If you are not sure, imagine what someone you admire would do.

To be happier and more productive close your integrity gap by always doing your best. Be careful not to hallucinate that by always doing your best it could be exhausting. The reality is when you are in integrity you are contributing to your energy level. When you are out of integrity you are contaminating your energy level.

Machen P. MacDonald, CPCC, CCSC is a certified life and business coach with ProBrilliance Leadership Institute in Grass Valley. He helps business people gain more confidence and clarity to live their ideal life. He can be reached at and 530-273-8000 or visit

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