I am not a Lance Armstrong expert, but his storyline has been:

  • Little known biker gets cancer
  • Biker expected to die but recovers stronger than ever
  • Biker wins seven races in a row, becomes very famous and wealthy
  • Biker starts cancer foundation

It is a solid personal story, branching out to touch many, many lives. Embedded within this story are some voices questioning whether it was all done in a natural way. In other words, there were questions about possible doping.

A common response was:  “Everyone is doing it.”

What If?

Here is the “what if” question. What if the storyline was:

  • Little known biker gets cancer
  • Biker expected to die but recovers stronger than ever
  • Biker enters race and vigorously promotes clean bike racing in a completely open way
  • Biker shows how to race cleanly and the importance of living and riding honestly
  • Biker wins two races and changes the integrity of the sport
  • Biker becomes moderately wealthy and very famous
  • Biker starts cancer foundation

If this was Lance Armstrong’s story, we would not be having this conversation. We would be extolling his principles and applauding the way he changed the sport.

We all have this choice. It is a choice of teaching through living right and a choice of change through truth.

Teaching through Living Right

A Strong Consistent StorylineTeaching others is best done through example. When we live the principles we advocate, we are making them real. There is an enchanted feel to living the words you speak. Some may find it boring since it incorporates a strong discipline of consistency. Words equal actions. Actions equal words. It is a consistent formula to living and leading.

It is an inspiring thing though. Just think of the Greatest Generation. The magic in this generation was the rising up in action to principles they believed in. It wasn’t any after-the-play analysis and armchair second-guessing of the people doing the work. They got out of their chairs and enlivened their principles through the actions they took. It was consistency. It was seamless. There was no daylight between principles and actions.

Teaching through living right constructs a consistent and meaningful life story.

Change through Truth

Truth is powerful. “The truth will set you free” rumbles through our minds, and we are inspired and a little scared. The phrase sounds lofty, yet we know it will be tough and challenging. It is as if this statement needs to be pared with another:

“The truth will set you free, and no one said it was going to be easy!”

Confronting a culture of wrong and dishonesty is challenging. Many forces will be against you. People will try to stop you. But, step by step, truth begins to shine through and change begins to unfold. Truth is clean. At some point, the gleam will empower others to join in and change the way things have always been done.

Living a story of truth changes cultures and strengthens a life story of principle.

A Strong Storyline

Life is about big choices. In making these, there are numerous decisions and actions underneath to continue to ensure we stay on the right path. The key question is:

What is our storyline, and does it have real meaning and worthy power in its outcome?

We are always fascinated when stories like Lance Armstrong’s unfold. He wasn’t the first and he won’t be the last. The important thing to do is to learn from their stories and adjust our own. We need to ensure we are on the right story line; the one that delivers the lasting legacy of truth and positive change.