Personal Values – Are You Doing Your Best?

For the past month I ran an experiment, using Marshall Goldsmiths unicorn question.. (he calls them “active questions”) which all begin with the stem, “did I do my best….”

So I set up a daily text message with a small pilot group, asking the question, “In the last 24 hours, did I do my best to practice my integrity?”

At the beginning I was excited about the data that was being generated. I’ve wanted to collect data around integrity practice for a while. But after answering for a week I found that each time I read the question I was left with the thought, ‘what does this really mean?’

The concept of “practicing integrity” didn’t trigger a picture of specific set behaviors for me. A better question would be, “Have I gotten complete with every breakdown today?” That’s an underlying question for Integrity Buddies that addresses a specific behavior.

Having a daily practice of getting complete means there generally aren’t many big breakdowns. For the most part things are ‘going great.’ But even without big breakdowns in my life, there’s something missing. Am I alive? Am I aligned in my being? Did I live my purpose today? Was I challenged today?

Brene Brown has a chapter in her book, Daring Greatly, called Mind the Gap. The Gap is a clothing store that sells bluejeans. It’s also the chasm between the personal values we aspire to, and the actual behaviors that we carry on with.

Did I do my best… that’s a clear question stem. This is about thinking back over the day looking for moments where I was challenged and overcame them. Including the parameter about closing the gap speaks to specific behaviors where the outcome feels like integrity has been lived. … not sure if that’s great english but hey….

Did I do my best to close the gap today?

That’s a great question. Not doing my best would mean I didn’t stand courageously in my personal values.




If you are curious how I setup the text message survey, here’s what I did. I use a free trial with, and setup a recurring text message survey.

Screen Shot 2016-03-31 at 6.11.51 AMI ran the test for one month with a small group from Integrity Buddies. Over the period of the month, members responded to the question 88.89% of the time. That’s great engagement.


Each day I was able to see how people rated their effort to live with integrity. At the end of the month a ran a report for each member and gave them their data, and their average over the month.


Josh Race is a writer, community leader, technologist, husband, and father 2 rascally toddlers. He has lead a large scale daily accountability group since October 2012, and regularly writes about the impact of structured groups on personal performance. He is the founder of the Heroic, the platform for leaders who believe in coaching, to create, sell, and lead digital workshops and courses.