A few weeks ago, I received a speeding ticket while traveling to work.
I was running late because one of my boys was up all night, so I was severely dragging my butt.
I had no intention of speeding. But my fatigue, coupled with listening to a Zig Ziglar audio book, created less than optimal conditions for me to pay attention to the speedometer.
I was clocked at 71 mph in a 55 mph zone. Doh!
You might be wondering, “What’s your point, Joey? People get speeding tickets every day.” Which is true, but the incident became a milestone moment for me — it became a lesson in integrity. Both seeing it in someone else, as well as showing some of my own.
When the policeman gave me my ticket, he did a great job. He was courteous, informative, knowledgeable and professional. He made the experience almost pleasant (except for the hefty fine and license points). Not what I expected.
As he handed me a ticket, I decided to thank him for his kindness. This was not a tactic to have him rip up the ticket; I knew that wasn’t happening. I was sincere. I wanted to give this man, who could have easily been a rude turd, some positive feedback on a job well done.
After I drove away, at a legal speed on cruise control, I realized the import of what had just happened.
I had made no excuses. The incident was my fault and I took full responsibility for my actions. I didn’t blame my son for his sleepless night. I held myself accountable and exercised some integrity (in a surprising way). Since the ticket, not once have I thought (or said), “that jerk, why’d he give me a ticket? Moron!” No, he was doing his job and holding me accountable for my actions.
The real point of the story has nothing to do with me. It’s about all of us. It’s about the choices we make, how they shape us and what kind of example we set for our kids.
If we can turn a speeding ticket into a positive experience, brimming with integrity, imagine what we can do with the rest of our lives. Whether you know it or not, your integrity is there. It’s just a question of if you’re listening when it speaks.
And remember, you are not alone…
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