My personal values developed primarily from my career in the United States Air Force. In the Air Force, the core values are integrity, service, and self¨in that order. Through my work in the Air Force, I came to understand many aspects of each of these three core values and to adopt them as my own.
Although I have always considered myself a person of integrity, my concept of integrity sharpened and deepened considerably during my tour in the Air Force. My view of integrity used to be predicated on adhering to outward standards of conduct that others could see and verify, and I primarily saw integrity as a list of things I would be sure not to do: no stealing, no cheating at card games, no kicking the dog¨that sort of thing. What I found, though, was that in actual practice, living a life of integrity goes much deeper than that.
When you live according to principles of integrity, you choose to do the right thing all the time¨not just when someone else can see what you're doing. I learned that it is the principle of doing the right thing that matters, not necessarily whether anyone else knows about it or not. Therefore, in addition to overt signs of integrity, I learned not to violate my integrity whether others would know about it or not. I stopped even the tiniest forms of cheating, lying, and deceiving. If the cashier at the grocery store gave me five cents too much change, I gave back the excess; I refused to take home so much as a pa