Updated: Jul 15, 2021
Maybe you’ve noticed my tagline: Integrity. Respect. Family. You probably didn’t think much about them because the words may seem generic and industry-standard. But I selected these words carefully and thoughtfully to emphasize my core ideals as I ventured into real estate.
And what does stealing a street sign late one night have to do with my tagline’s promise of integrity?
It all started when I was I sixteen. I snuck into my parent’s room late one night, stole my dad’s car keys off the dresser and tiptoed out of the house. I pushed the car down the street in neutral before starting it up to remain unnoticed by my parents who were blissfully sleeping, unaware that their son was embarking on a life of crime. Kind of.
You see, my friend Bobby and I were headed out to steal a street sign in a neighboring town that had his girlfriend’s name on it. Bobby figured that presenting her with such a token would be a cool way to declare his undying love for her. So, like the foolhardy kids we were, we grabbed a toolbox and headed out into the night.
Unfortunately, we were caught by a patrolling police officer and after a bunch of questions (and just as many lies), we finally confessed. The Officer took pity on us and agreed not to “haul us in” if we promised to return home and tell our parents about our transgression. The policeman said that he’d call our folks the next night after he came on shift to make sure that we’d lived up to our end of the deal.
I knew Dad would be pretty upset about my choices that evening, so in my sixteen-year-old wisdom, I decided to call the policeman’s bluff and not mention the incident to my Dad. What’s the chance he’d actually call my home at midnight in the first place?
The worst part of the whole ordeal was the pained look on Dad’s face when he realized that I had been dishonest with him. It wasn’t about sneaking out. It wasn’t about stealing a street sign. It wasn’t even about lying to a police officer.
He stood to his full 6’5” stature and placed his hands squarely on my shoulders. Eye to eye, he whispered words that I’ll never forget.
“If you break my trust, you’ll break my heart.”
I knew that Dad was talking about a lot more that night than a stolen street sign and a foolish decision by his son. He was giving me advice that would last a lifetime.
My integrity matters.
So, when I promise to bring integrity to the table, I’m not just using a buzzword that’s popular at the moment. I am keeping a promise I made to the most important man in my life many years ago.
It’s a promise I intend to keep.