What’s Your Single Standard of Conduct?

Today’s reality is that people want to believe that they can maintain and even promote two different personas – most often, one for personal life and one for professional. I’ve always maintained that there is no such thing – that there’s one you and that the core of you shows up both personally and professionally. I’ve been extensively challenged on this concept, but I stand by it, and my book, Unmask, is an invitation to take off the various masks you may be wearing in order to find and live as your authentic self in all parts of your life. To further enhance this concept, I offer you Gandhi’s single standard of conduct.

In espousing a higher form of leadership (in all walks of life), Gandhi offered what he called a single standard of conduct, whereby you choose a set of core values and standards which you are committed to live by in all areas of your life. These values are not conditional or dependent on circumstances—in other words, values that you’re prepared to commit to, embrace and stand for despite challenges and even when choosing otherwise is easier. In a world that is often looking for the easy path and is all too willing to justify the means by the ends, Gandhi’s single standard of conduct is a formula for not only leadership, but impact.

At the heart of Gandhi’s single standard of conduct is the theme of integrity – where your actions are in alignment with your words (and beliefs) all the time. If you believe in being compassionate, then you show compassion both at home and at work. If you believe in second chances, then you give second chances everywhere. If you believe in being authentic, then be authentic both with your family and in your business leadership.

Most of us would balk at the idea of living life with double standards, but that’s precisely what we do when we choose to show up one way at home and another way at work. Begin by deciding who you are and choosing who you will be, and then commit to being and living that person all the time, everywhere, and in every situation. And most important, decide on and declare your core values and make them the essence of your living and leadership. What will be YOUR single standard of conduct?

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