“The foundation stones for a balanced success are honesty, character, integrity, faith, love and loyalty.”
As a once-competitive cyclist myself, Lance Armstrong was a near mythical figure that I looked up to for his athletic achievements as well as the drive and focus he demonstrated in the world of business. He had it all, monumental athletic achievements, his own clothing line with Nike, even a seemingly happy family.
But as you’ve probably heard by now, Lance Armstrong admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs after years and years of denying it. It cost him his 7 Tour de France titles along with millions of dollars in prize money, relationships with friends, and a job at the non-profit organization that he started.
If you didn’t read the Zig Ziglar quote at the top, now is a good time.
Honesty, Ziglar said it is a foundation stone for success. If Ziglar isn’t enough for you, the Search Institute identified honesty as one of 40 developmental assets they believe have powerful influences on youth, both protecting them from risky behaviors and promoting positive attitudes and actions.
I want balanced success in my life. I want balanced success for the kids I work with and mentor in IKE Quest. I want them to be able to look at all Lance achieved and lost, and say “What he had is not for me.” Unlike Lance, I want my kids to value telling the truth even when it is not easy.
Currently my life does not revolve around 3 week long bike races and I don’t have sponsorship deals with Nike for millions of dollars. So let’s look at a scenarios that I’ve experienced in the coffee shop and see how honesty plays out.
A customer orders a drink and I don’t know how to make it. I could:
a) Guess how to make it and hope for the best. Likely outcome: If I’m right, I save face and the customer gets what they ordered, but I don’t learn because I guessed. If I’m wrong, I ruin the customer’s experience and lose the face I was trying to save apologizing to the customer and I have to ask a coworker how to make the drink anyway.
b) Say, “I don’t know how to make that drink, so I’ll find out and make sure I get it right.” Likely outcome: It is a little embarrassing to admit I don’t know how to make the drink. But my honesty ensures a good customer experience and I add something new to my bank of knowledge. Win-win!
I’m running behind because the dog ran away, I got caught behind a train, and I couldn’t find a parking spot, so I clock in 10 minutes late. I could:
a) Glance around to see if anyone noticed, then clock in and pretend like nothing is wrong. Likely outcome: Someone did notice, and they are wondering if even I care that they had to stay late to cover for me. They feel resentment that could be the start of a strain on our friendship.
b) Hustle in the door, apologize for being late, thank my coworkers for their hard work, and ask how I can be the best help to them. Likely outcome: My words communicate that I care and my actions back it up. Honesty helps maintain the trusting relationships I built with my coworkers.
So thank you Lance, yet again for providing inspiration to make my life better.