Integrity, The Wake

Here’s a results-oriented book for you: Integrity: The Courage to Meet the Demands of Reality, by Dr. Henry Cloud. Henry Cloud is a name I’ve heard a couple of times before from friends at Willow, but I’ve never read one of his books. He’s a clinical psychologist who many people know as “the Boundaries guy,” Cloud having written a book with that title that’s sold over a million copies.  He is also one of the teachers featured on the DVD  I worked on in the spring called Regroup.

What’s compelling about this book is the way he rephrases what we already know, but somehow lack the courage to face. Cloud reminds me that character is what really determines our success and failure in life, and that we are pretty much where we are because of who we are. My favorite image from the book is what he calls “the wake.” Like a boat plowing through the ocean, we leave a wake behind us, and to read the wake is to read a lot about where we are. On the other hand, though, Cloud’s purpose is not to beat us up with what we have and haven’t done, but rather to simply face squarely the feedback the wake is giving us so that positive change can occur as we work to keep the boat on keel.

For Cloud, the wake has two sides, the task side and the people side. And just as a golf course gives you a certain kind of feedback in the form of a final score, so the wake gives you feedback that is impervious to excuses, rationales, etc. (Cloud’s book doesn’t really address the experience of playing golf–regardless of the final score–but his assumption is that you step onto a golf course to shoot the best score you can, and to have the most rewarding time while you’re doing it.)

So I’ve embarked on a process of looking back over my “wake” in terms of tasks and people.  It’s eye-opening and painful to look starkly into the reality of what I’m doing, what I’m not doing, the excuses I’m making, and the rationalizing, fudging, and lazing about.  Reality isn’t easy to see, and isn’t easy to live in.  Truth is, lots of good is in the wake, but there’s stuff I need to face up to, people I need to hold up with more strength and commitment, and work tasks that I need to stop avoiding.

We all have places to grow.   Integrity: The Courage to Meet the Demands of Reality will help you do that.

Worth a read…

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