Lessons from Lance Armstrong

As a cyclist, I am sickened by the demise of Lance Armstrong. His fall from grace in the biking world is being felt by everyone, not only cycling enthusiasts. This is probably a combination of things: his dominance in the sport; his household-name status; the millions he raised to fight cancer through his Livestrong Foundation.

While I am sad to see all of his failure, I think it would be wise for us to learn lessons from his life.

Lesson like:

Cheaters don’t win. Really, they don’t.

Short-term gain equals long-term pain.

Some things are more valuable than winning. Self-respect and integrity are invaluable.

Yellow jerseys won by cheating are an embarrassment.

“Be sure that your sins will find you out.” (Numbers 32:23)

I have compassion on Mr. Armstrong. While I think he will never redeem his reputation, he can regain his self-respect. I pray that happens.

I am convinced that most, if not all, of Armstrong’s competitors were also doping. There were so many who were busted in that era. Makes me wonder if he would have been as dominant, if none of them had cheated. Somehow, I think probably so. Now no one knows or cares. Rather sad, isn’t it? Let it never be said of us that we are such moral failures, that no one cares.

Living strong is more than words.

don’t forget the most important stuff

A few weeks ago, we were headed to a conference for the purpose of giving exposure to our missions work. When we arrived at the airport, we realized we had left all of our presentation materials back at home. I had to go back home to get them, and I ended up flying standby. Otherwise, we would have been without the most important stuff – the very reason for our trip.
Warren Bennis, leadership guru says, “I’ve never seen anyone derailed from top leadership because of a lack of business literacy or conceptual skills: it’s always because of lapses of judgment and questions about character. Always.
It seems to me that there is a sufficient amount of emphasis on skills development and strategy engagement among leaders. Bennis is right – know-how is not the problem when someone fails.  The problem almost always is, leaders lose their bearings.  They have a moral lapse. They fail and fall.
I see four key reasons why leaders are prone to omit issues of character and integrity:
·      Forgetting what brought success. Honesty and integrity are not very glamorous foundations, but must be maintained in order to prevent moral failure.
·      Corruption from outside sources. Unscrupulous characters will be attracted to success. Know who they are and avoid them!
·      Arrogance of success. Pride is the greatest enemy of leaders. Stay humble; stay on track.
·      Too busy to pay attention to details. Never become so preoccupied with leading that you forget to focus on small, important, moment-by-moment decisions.
Leaders (and followers) don’t forget the most important thing – your character.