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Discover the Steps to Leading a Life of Integrity

Hello, this is Michele Lee Occhipinti, CEO & Founder of Ack Professional International, thank you for joining me.


Having integrity is a matter in bringing the inner you into your life.


Integrity.  The word is derived from the Latin word integritas which means whole or complete; it is related to integrate or bringing together. This is the aspect I’m most intrigued by: Integrity as a psychological process, an integration of your outer life and inner life—two sides coming together, creating a whole, consistent you. In our society such integration can be hard to come by. Many of us, I believe, are disconnected from our true inner core, while others of us rarely reveal it.

Can we create this integration, and develop this integrity? Can we reshape our lives to become like those people we admire and respect, who seem so authentic and honest? What comes to mind is Kate Middleton, the Princess of Wales that recently publicly acknowledged her battle with cancer.  If she can, I believe we can.

Here are some suggestions on how to begin:

Step 1: Discover your inner life.

The first step is taking the time and thought to drill down and explore and discover who you are: What is your unique inner being? What are the gifts that you alone possess that you can contribute to the world and those around you? Some of these strengths may not be one you want to display but are a great contribution to the world.

I myself know my upbringing, a quiet sweet girl whose mother lost control when her close brother passed away from a brain tumor at a young age, to my step father believing in me and spending summers on Nantucket to later in life my step sister taking her life to an accidental overdose, to all who believed I would never amount to much to me having the confidence to succeed at life and exceed the expectations placed on me raising the standards for me and my children living a happy and fulfilled life.

Life is what we make it.  We can follow the beliefs and values of others, or we can truly acknowledge what we believe in and follow our integrity.

For many in this world following our integrity if we are not already is essential to our overall success and fulfillment in life.

For without it we may feel empty, the things we should have done, should have said or should have taken action on in this life.  


There are several steps to discover your integrity:

1. Find and define your sense of purpose.

Working with so many clients throughout the world, there is one thing that stands strong through sessions is a sense of purpose. Even those struggling with addiction are without a sense of purpose.  Those that are lacking in happiness and are unfulfilled do not have a sense of purpose.  Im not relating to the executives in pharmaceutical companies whose purpose is to create the next best breakthrough. But those that struggle each day at their desk or even home now a days unhappy working hard and contributing to the mission of the company and making an exceeding amount of money but those that truly aspire to show up to work each day believing in the mission and wanting to contribute to their greater self.


Many times in our lives, we prematurely settle; we set our expectations of ourselves and life too low; we push such issues to the back burner of our lives; and we get so busy running our live, following likely the money and success that we don't live our lives.

So the starting point to creating a life of integrity is to ask these questions about purpose and contribution, and to keep them always simmering on the front burner of your life.

Be willing to acknowledge and then explore your passions, and motivations. Then intentionally sort through and set the priorities. Sit down with yourself and decide on the meaning of work and relationships for you rather than simply taking what you get.


2. Sort out goals you intend to accomplish.

Asking these big questions sets the discovery process in motion, but now other psychological and emotional challenges may come forward. You may get confused, befuddled, and overwhelmed by the choices. You may have trouble identifying what it is you truly feel; guilt and sometime shame and self-criticism can rise up as you struggle to sort out the contradictory rules and expectations that come from surroundings and environment. 

At this time you are inside your head. What Tony Robbins will advise, when you are inside your head your dead.  You need to move forward.


Instead of your gut, consider your heart: This is where passion and sense of purpose will come from, your wants, desires and areas that burst of excitement, rather than the I should, my parents, my friends want me to and think I should to.  It’s a matter of literally rewiring your brain, changing where your information about you comes from. It requires that you keep your ear close to your heart, and then take action. 

Each time you do listen to and act upon these gut and heart impulses, however faint, this source of information about you becomes ever-stronger in your brain and life. It requires courage, the essential ingredient of integrity, to basically step away from the crowd and listen to your own inner voice.

3. Define your values and visions.

We have purpose and gut and heart—but the final step in this discovery process is to filter all this information through your own values—your vision of a “good” life and what you interpret that person to be and be proud of. The key here is your values, not merely copying those of others. Decide what it is you want those values and visions to be.

The challenge here is shaping blunt values into clear behavioral principles: Saying, for example, that love and contribution is important to you may be a value: What does it mean to you to truly value love? Where does love and contribution fit into the other priorities of your life? What does valuing love mean in terms of how you treat them, how you relate?

Again, the answers can come only after you have asked yourself such difficult questions. What you think about becomes who you are.  What you focus on provides your energy. Be intentional in what you think about.

After taking the time and having the courage to travel through the landscape of your inner self, you now face your second task in the process: Carrying it forward into your everyday outer life:

Step 2: Have your outer life represent your inner life.

How do I have my inner life reflect yourself?

1. Make clear decisions.

Think of your inner life as the foundation on which you build your outer life. Build is the operative word, because it is about being intentional: Through the filter of your values, your sense of purpose, your gut instincts and desires you want to make clear decisions. That does not mean the decisions are easy: Do you take a less-stressful job so you have more time to spend with your family, for example, or do you take a more stressful job but one that pays far more and allows you to provide more opportunities for your family to grow, explore life and a college education? Tough decison.

Again, sort through your priorities and vision. Take your time.

What you don’t want to do is drift, to a place that is uncomfortable to not be intentional, or to let life and circumstance carry you along. Integrity requires that you avoid automatically falling into the easy or popular path.

2. Stay committed to what you believe.

This is about being aware and diligent, about checking in with yourself and asking, Am I living my life? Am I proud of my life so far measured by my goals and expectations? Have I followed the beliefs that are right for me. If you are spiritual and follow a Cristian world. One I always like to ask is… When you pass and moving on to the next path in world and you reach god in the heavens.  God asks you, what have you achieved in life to move through the golden gate? What  wil you have to answer?


This is about understanding you.  Who you truly are.  Though difficult at first, this process too gets easier with practice and as you find that what you feared would happen rarely does.

3. Stay open to change and uncertainty.

Keep your ear close to those inner voices, take the time to sort and sift and see what to keep and what to let go. But then integrate, be bold, and bring this redefined version of you into your daily life. Acknowledging and adapting to change is what keeps your inner and outer lives in alignment.

Creating integrity is not a forced march through life, and it's not about being better, trying harder, and following yet another should. It’s about self-honesty, inner self and trueness and having the courage to hear and accept what your heart and life are telling you so that you can more fully become who you are. 

It’s about connecting you to you.

Thank you for joining me in this session.  Seeking to understanding more about you and to follow your integrity.  Join me, Michele Lee at Ack Professional International.  Schedule a complimentary Discovery Session with our Founder by contacting us directly at

Be the best version of you!

Ack Professional International

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