January 21st, 2014
how to maintain integrity

This is the question I ask myself whenever I am facing a big decision regarding my work. As my success has grown over the last few years I have found myself asking it on almost a weekly basis. Our modern culture is decidedly lacking when it comes to role models who demonstrate how to maintain integrity in a culture that pushes mass consumerism and selling out at every turn. At some point early on in their career Fugazi decided that they were going to set some very definite boundaries about what they would (only play venues for all ages) and wouldn’t do (sign a record deal for money) . I have heard a story (secondhand) that they turned down a deal worth millions in order to keep control over their work and maintain their integrity. They never sold merchandise because it felt like a money grab, and it complicated things. When asked why they didn’t take the money and use it for great things (to change the world) Ian MacKaye stated something like, “we all have to do what allows us to sleep at night.”

I can’t say that I’ve been able to tow the exact same hard lines as Fugazi, (yes, I signed with a big publisher), but I will say that I aspire to go as far in their direction as possible (not do products for products sake, give away as much as I can for free, make things that people can afford). Recently I have been turning down deals, product offshoots, merchandise, publicity, etc. on an almost weekly basis. Because I don’t believe in it. I wish to speak the truth, and for myself that means only doing things that I can stand behind, that have a reason to exist, that have meaning for me. This feels good, and allows me to sleep at night. I am very lucky to have an agent and an editor that totally get me and stick up for my ideals too.

I feel myself getting stronger and more powerful with every “No”! But it definitely helps to have Fugazi as something to model myself after. So many times I have wished I could pick up the phone and call Ian MacKaye and say “what should I do here?” Even though I realize that if I sit quietly with myself I already know the answer.

Jan 22 2014
5:26 am
Nin writes:

Yup. I bow to you (and Fugazi). I’ve just divorced the ‘making a living’ component from my creative endeavour. This means that I’ll have to work for ‘the [wo]man’ part time. It also means I have complete creative freedom in my spare time. Maybe now I’ll be able to sleep at night.

Jan 22 2014
7:43 am
Erin Wilson writes:

“Even though I realize that if I sit quietly with myself I already know the answer.”

Lovely and powerful. I do tend to think we already know what we need to do when the time comes… asking WW?D gives a lens to step back, access our deeper thoughts, and give ourselves the permission we’ve been holding out.

Also… yay you :)

Jan 22 2014
7:44 am
Erin Wilson writes:

One more thing… the font you use for name of the person leaving a comment… what a freaking gift that is. I instantly feel like the cool bad-ass I always hope to be. Thanks for that!

Jan 22 2014
10:46 am
lisa parks writes:

this is so awesomely full of integrity i can’t stand it. must remember WWFD?

Jan 23 2014
4:36 am
Mirko writes:

I guess we all have to connect things as you. When you try to understand life and ask yourself “what I have to do?” the right way for searching an answer is thinking about what we know.

“a culture that pushes mass consumerism and selling out at every turn”

this is the main problem of our “culture” so maintain integrity is something linked to distractions, integrity means concentrate in our real life in what we really want and work for it. Our culture create false needs, I think that part of my work gratification is the sense of what I do not just money for shopping.
It’s hard but is better than to be a puppet.

Jan 23 2014
12:24 pm
Lisa writes:

My inner punk rock and indie chick loves this post! I myself ask, “What Would Lou Reed do?,” similarly effective whenever I think about putting myself out there more or choosing which projects to take on in my life and biz.

As a consumer, it’s hard these days. I mean, I can’t even listen to a free podcast or telesummit call in the personal development field without being offered $100 or $1,000 or $5,000 products, ha ha!

Of course, we all need to put food on the table. So, I love Ian’s bit about sleeping at night. It has to align with the heart, I’d say…at least, in my own life.

Jan 24 2014
9:03 am
julia writes:

That’s why I read you.

Jan 30 2014
11:38 am
Mirko writes:

I love this place , this blog(is it a Blog?).
It’s a kind of charger for me. Is difficult to find energy as you (Keri) wrote on 4 October 2014 and finally I decided to concentrate just in what I think is good for my soul, seems easy like read this post but is not.
Integrity pass trought our soul, I spent a lot of time trying to explain my reasons, I like to connect my experiences about life with other people but the problem is who doesn’t have an open mind: I collected bark of trees with my children a couple of month ago, this simple practice is about destroying stereotypes but some friends laugth. I was destroyed, really, in my soul. But I persist, and my children discovered that bark of tree is not just brown and we are like trees, we are different from each other but at the same time we are a big big forest. Integrity is important we all must belive in it and concentrate on our real life.
Thank you Keri for sharing, sharing is not conventional, I really really really appreciate it from the bottom of my heart.

Feb 17 2014
6:34 pm
Marina writes:

You (and your work) are a role model for me! Thank you!

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