In our continuing series on Integrity, we first explored Cleanliness, then Complete Communication. In this last article, we focus on Completion in all things. Again, we define integrity as operating from “wholeness”.
Experience: The in Between. For the past several months I’ve been living in my fiancé’s home in Middleton with her two girls as she spent extended time caring for her elderly parents in Florida. Early this summer it became clear that it was time for me to sell my condo in Madison and make this move permanent. There was the issue of limited space in my new home and I needed to get rid of a lot of furniture and other accumulation. No longer living in the condo, it was easy for me to forget about all that stuff. Out of sight and easily out of mind. Yet I know that unfinished things in my life tend to nag me, albeit sometimes unconsciously, in a way that can sap my energy. So, I decided I would take small consistent steps to clean, clear, and ready the condo for sale.
I visited weekly to sort out unneeded items to give away; hired a cleaning company to polish up the place; gradually listed and sold items of value no longer needed; and brought boxes to the new house, to sort through and release unneeded items. About three months later the condo is clean and completely empty, save a few items a new owner might want, and it’s up for sale. Looking back, I love how a seemingly overwhelming project that might otherwise sap emotional energy is now complete. It was kind of effortless.
Relevance: Integrity as Completion
It may sound strange but I sometimes feel comfort in unfinished work. I know from experience however that leaving a project incomplete is not a healthy place. If I’m not done with a project, it’s not “whole” and I’m just short of integrity. I think many of us fear not having enough to do so that by having a backlog of work, we are assured this will never be a problem. When I catch myself in this dynamic, I work to quickly tie up loose ends to bring things to completion. This makes me “whole” and frees up energy and emotional bandwidth to rest and restore myself, or to embrace new opportunities.
Practice: From Avoidance to Action
- Take one bite at a time. Do you have an unfinished task or project that keeps coming to mind that you put off for one reason or another? This is the one to focus on because it’s taking your energy. The energy you could be using make it complete. Every time that it comes to mind, spend just five minutes on it. You find these baby steps will translate into progress. Progress translates into momentum and your view of the task will change. Taking small bites moves you from avoidance to action and action leads to completion.
- Let it go. Maybe there is a project you keep thinking that you want to do yet you find yourself stuck and not moving towards it. What would happen if you just let it go? Do that and see what happens. You’ll either feel lighter, indicating you made the right choice or, you may find new energy or a new reason to get into action. Either way, you’re on your way to being unstuck.