The Ethical Edge: Inspiring Leaders of Integrity
National Marketing Manager, Toyota Material Handling, USA Inc.
“In times of great stress or adversity, it’s always best to keep busy, to plow your anger and your energy into something positive.”
Sometimes integrity shows itself in the most unlikely places or rises up in people when faced with adversity. We all hit rough patches at times, but it is especially inspiring for me to see those with extreme difficulties chose a better path. I make mistakes but when I think of my cousins, I’m inspired and almost dared to do and be better.
Growing up with these two sisters, now in their early 30s, was very quiet and as a result I didn’t think much about them one way or the other. Later I realized their radio silence was a way of coping with the taboo topic of their career criminal father. However, I remember one conversation perfectly.
They were about 11 and 12, and I asked, “What do you want to do when you grow up?” They replied quickly, “A judge or a social worker.” It seemed obvious they were on a mission to right the wrongs done by their dad. These girls had plenty of adversity, but didn’t wallow in it or throw barbs at the easy target of their dad.
They have continually inspired me because they have turned a negative into so much positive in this world. Between the two of them there have been two years of service in the Peace Corps working on HIV/AIDS prevention and education in Africa; two years in Americorps in volunteer leadership in Arizona; nearly 60 homes built through Habitat for Humanity; and countless people helped as the eldest now provides social services to her community.
There are several people in my network of friends and family who fit this same description. If you look at your family, friends, co-workers and community, I’m sure you will see these same types of leaders of integrity. They help, they do the right thing more often than not and they are kind and well intentioned.
Their actions are a reminder to not kick a person when they’re down, to rise above your circumstances and to choose kindness over anger. Their choice to do better for the world makes them leaders of integrity and an inspiration.
“If you accept the expectations of others, especially negative ones, then you never will change the outcome.”
Melinda Beckett-Maines can be contacted at: Melinda.Beckett-Maines@tmhu.toyota-industries.com