The International Cycling Union has stripped Lance Armstrong of his seven Tour de France titles because of doping. In the sports world, that’s technical speak for cheating. When oh when will people learn that cheating does NOT get you anywhere. Sure he enjoyed fame and success for a brief period, but that just made the fall even more devastating.
Not only is he a disgrace to his sport, but he also misled people. He was the spokesperson for Livestrong. He raised money for his foundation as a Tour de France winner. And for some, he was their hero. Seven Tour de France titles and he beat cancer. What was not to like about him? Should we be shocked? Maybe. Of course, when it comes to professional athletes, nothing shocks me anymore.
What is it in a person’s past, upbringing, psyche, values system, etc., that would cause them to cheat like this? Was winning at all costs more important than integrity? Leaders should show integrity in all situations, even if it means losing every now and then. There is nothing wrong with being competitive and wanting to win, but winning should not come at the expense of your integrity or at the expense of others.
Some who cheat have been doing it so long that they have convinced themselves that what they are doing is OK. I have known people who justified cheating. They cheated on tests because they needed the grade to get a scholarship. They cheated because others are doing it and if they don’t do it they will never win. I contend that maintaining integrity in all situations (win or lose) IS winning. Athletes aren’t the only ones who cheat, but because they are “celebrities” (laughable), we hear and see more of their lives than we probably want.
Cheating is cheating, plain and simple. Leaders who cheat will eventually get caught. But, if people lead from a position of integrity in all things, they ARE winners. They are the ones who can go to sleep each night with a clear conscience. Did Lance Armstrong go to bed each night knowing that he was living a lie?
In all situations, lead with integrity. Do what’s right even if it means you “lose” or even if it’s not popular. In the end, you will be a winner.