Follow Your Conscience: Make a Difference in Life


by Jane Anderson, Featured Contributor

Moral Character is the DNA of success and happiness,”

– and so begins this powerful book by Frank Sonnenberg. Because it’s not practical to share insights from each chapter, I hope my favorite selections will entice you to buy a copy of the book and be inspired to follow your conscience in all aspects of your private and public life. This is not a book on leadership, it is not a book on business, it is not a process improvement book. In fact, this book is all those things and more for you, for your family, for your co-workers, and your business. There is more to this book that what I’ve chosen to share, but these were the most meaningful takeaways for me. Here are a few others I haven’t written about, but are no less important to living life according to your conscience: Humility, Honor, Passion, Giving, Ambition

Positive Attitudes are contagious, but so are instances of negativity that threaten to rob us of our positive mental attitudes. Worry, arguing, gossip, complaints, criticism, blame – all feed negativity and pessimism. Frank says it pays to be positive and we should surround ourselves with positive people, be positive yourself, resist negative thinking, set realistic goals, turn challenges into opportunities, and count your blessings. It pays to be positive.

Follow your conscience book coverLive your life with purpose. An empty spirit lives in defeat always searching for something more. Living life with purpose is characterized by achieving balance, feeling content, setting priorities, following your passion, living in the moment, and, my personal favorite, living by your beliefs and values.

Have you heard it takes 20 years to build a reputation and 5 minutes to destroy it? This is how it is with authenticity. Talk is cheap and credibility is damaged when there is no alignment between what is said and what is actually done. When the walk doesn’t match the talk, trust is lost. Whether you are a leader or an influencer, be consistent with your message so your behavior becomes a catalyst for people’s faith and trust in your.

Integrity is serious. There is no wiggle room in a promise. A promise is a promise and regardless of its significance it’s a commitment meant to be kept. When you give your word, you are putting your honor on the line and you are stating your intentions to do what you say you will. Broken promises are often the result of a lie, stated as the truth, but with no intention of fulfilling it.

Respect is always earned. Even the rich and famous have to earn respect. People may applaud, try to get up close to, and even be a member of a fan club, but still not respect the person receiving all the attention. To earn respect be proud of who you are, continually seek to increase your knowledge, be fair, practice integrity, be selfless and modest, have compassion for others, take personal responsibility for your life. Whether young or old, earn respect. It’s priceless.

Tolerance is the bridge to getting along. Even if you don’t agree with someone’s political party, or eating habits, chosen exercise routine, religion, or lifestyle – be tolerant. Take the high road. Listen more, talk less, and strive to have true communication. Focus all discussions on the merit of the topic, speak of only the facts, take the time necessary to achieve understanding, even if not agreement. Remember the best strategy is win-win.

Having faith defies all logic and expectations. The author opened wide the door to encourage readers to believe in a power higher than themselves. He said some of us don’t believe in miracles, but for some of us, miracles happen every day. If you’re looking for impossible things to happen, have a little faith and believe.

Happiness is found in balance. Balance is achieved by establishing goals, determining priorities, and planning the steps to achieve them. Balance is affected by eight areas of our lives. Physical, Professional, Pleasurable, Mental, Spiritual, Emotional, Material, Social. Some keys to keeping these areas in balance are remain focused and disciplined, invest time wisely, treat yourself, set boundaries, try new things, be open to change, invest in relationships, make time to do nothing, and live life with purpose.

How heavy is your baggage? This chapter struck a chord with me because I’ve had countless friends express to me that they have fear, anxiety, or depression. Frank describes these factors as carrying around the weight of a backpack all the time. He says we play out the drama of fear, criticism, guilt, anger, envy, and every other negative feeling until we are overloaded and debilitated by it. Some ways to take a load off your mind are: journal negative thoughts so you can deal with them, think about positive things, acknowledge facts – what really is happening, realize what is realistic about what you can do something about and what you can’t, accept what you can’t change and seek to make the best of it.

Not all choices are created equal. Some have minimal consequence while others will significantly change your life. I like what the author points out. We are a product of the choices we make. Each decision helps to define who we are and how we are different from one another. When making choices take into account that values matter, you are in charge of your choices, and you define success on your own terms.

Are Role Models becoming extinct? Why is it that people we once looked up to sometimes let us down? Integrity is so often treated as a liability and facts are forsaken in favor of popularity ratings. Sonnenberg encourages all of us to set the bar high, inspire others, stand for something, walk the talk, guard our integrity, be respectful, believe in ourselves, and hold people accountable. Step up to the challenge and reinstate role models – be one yourself.

The Resources section of the book is a not-to-miss addition to the book. Here the author provides lists to help us all live lives of integrity and follow our consciences. How about these lists: 50 Things Money Can’t Buy, How to Build Trust and Credibility, How to Lose Trust and Credibility, Ways to Say You Care, Little Things That Count, and Take the Parent’s Pledge.

The author, Frank Sonnenberg, invites us into his book with this introduction. Promise yourself to live every day to the Max – and he then goes on to suggest how his readers might do that. He ends with, “If you promise yourself anything less, you’ll be letting yourself down.” Promise yourself you’ll buy this book, read it, apply it; to do anything less …. well you decide.


Jane Anderson
Jane Anderson
JANE’s professional experience is scattered across industries from financial services and insurance to engineering and manufacturing. Jane sees her background in writing and editing website content as the foundation to her current love of social media. Being an avid reader, meticulous note taker and lifelong learner has fostered her natural pursuit of sharing her world through writing. Reading books and summarizing content started as a hobby and has since grown to be a major part of her vocational experience. Jane says, “Authors pour their heart and soul into writing their book. When I write a review, it’s with intent to celebrate the book and promote the author.” Jane claims to be 'the best follower you'll ever want to meet' and has been repeatedly called servant leader, eternal cheerleader, social media evangelist, and inspirational go-to person. Jane is a contributing author to the inspiring book Chaos to Clarity: Sacred Stories of Transformational Change.

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  1. Jane & Massimo – thank you both for your typical thoughtful comments and for your remarkable support. We’ve got an uphill battle when it comes to “authintegrity,” but one worth fighting – as the alternative is a bridge to nowhere. And far to often people discover “the road less traveled” when it’s much to late to repair relationships (personal and professional)..

  2. Massimo you’ve nailed it! Everything you wrote is true and we are fortunate role models of strong ethics and moral character still exist. One of the reasons I follow so closely the BIZCATALYST360 network is because of the ‘authentegrity’ I witness in the articles Dennis shares. His article is my favorite and if you see the volume of articles I read every day, you would know the magnitude of that assessment. We become what we think about. Thank you for adding your insights to the book review. They are valued.

    • Thank you Jane ! Thank you very much for your words ! You are a testimony of authentegrity… You are a case in point to the fact that we do exist, and can improve the world. Yes we can ! We can, with people like You Jane !

    • Awww thank you, Massimo. I see you also are an encourager. That’s a gift to be shared and used up. Thank you for sharing it with me.

  3. Jane thank you…. What you’re saying is right… the book must be wonderful… but today the “battle” is even harder… ’cause the message being sent out to the society these days, is not that moral character is the DNA of success and happiness. It should be like that, but it’s not. Today’s society is used to digest everything… even the most outrageous… and turn the “page”… as though nothing was wrong… many people look like addicted to personal interests and conveniences… the end justifies the means… everyone is fighting their own corner. They don’t strive to live by ideals, ideas, and VALUES. Greed and materialism have the upper hand… fortunately role models still exist. They are far from being the majority, but they exist, and they are still alive and kicking… As I said… it’s an uphill battle… but in my view, this is the very reason why the world needs people like Frank Sonnenberg, like you.. writing these things… Dennis said a new word… authentegrity… as you know, he wrote an article about that…. which is in my view a wonderful blend of ethics, intellectual honesty and authenticity… – You are right Jane, “We are a product of the choices we make” – Thank you.