The One Thing I Wouldn’t Want to Be Without

I was asked the other day what my most valuable asset was. A question like that definitely makes one think long and hard.

What is the one thing that you would not want to be without?

After some pondering (no, pondering doesn’t do a question like this justice), after some soul searching, I came to the conclusion that if I woke with nothing left except my family and health, the one thing I would want above anything else is:


Who are You When No One is Looking?

Integrity, in my definition, is much more than a person’s reputation.

Reputation is like paint on a house. It can look pretty, or it can look ugly, but it’s what’s underneath that matters. It’s the very structure holding everything else up that makes the difference. Without that structure in place, a strong wind, such as we’ve been experiencing lately, can blow the whole thing down.

Integrity gets a person up in the morning to go and provide for their family and employees. It ensures that our customers, vendors, and all other parties to our business are taken care of. Here are a few more examples of what integrity is:

  • Integrity is more than just paying the bills on time; it’s paying them with the right heart.
  • Integrity keeps our thoughts moving in the right direction, producing actions that reflect our underlying foundational principles.
  • Actions produced by integrity don’t seek the reward of looking good. Looking good to the public is the result of our lives being built on solid bedrock. A lot of times, who we are doesn’t even show itself, and it doesn’t always have to.
  • Integrity is the softest pillow at night when we lay ourselves down, and the lack of integrity can also be a bed of nails.

Maintaining our integrity is not easy, but it’s worth it.

It’s Time to Get Back Up

I won’t even begin to say I have arrived. I am preaching to the choir here.

People who know me personally will read this and hold me accountable, which is good. I have messed up a lot. I’ve said I’m sorry and had to make amends for more than I would like to admit.

But, integrity is getting back up, dusting yourself off, and getting back on the horse. It’s about not quitting or taking the easy way out. Living out integrity has rewards that we’ll only reap if we have the steadfastness to see things through.

Written by

Ralph Irwin

Owner, Irwin Printing Co., Inc.

Ralph Irwin owns and operates Irwin Printing in Republic, Missouri. Founded in 1974 by Ralph's father, Irwin Printing has continued to build a strong legacy through Ralph's dedication and passion for helping his customers and their businesses thrive. Ralph's legacy-building continues at home as well, as he and his wife, Gail, spend their time raising three teenagers.