People fascinate me.  It must be why I love “people-watching.”  (Nothing’s better than a busy airport or a city-center at lunchtime!!)

Celebrities and other “famous” people are especially fascinating to me, simply because of the effect they have on others.  I’m amazed by the impact of their endorsements and/or public opinions – how they can sway people and or affect a buying decision, lifestyle choice, or in some cases, a belief.

lancearmstrong

Lance Armstrong is one of those influential people.  He has inspired millions with his comeback story, time and time again; first beating cancer and coming back to win the Tour De France, then repeatedly winning it afterwards, at his age and without the aid of drugs as much of his competition had admitted to leveraging.  His repeated denial assured us of his innocence.  The tests assured us of his integrity.

It’s all going to change on Thursday in his tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey.  He is supposedly going to admit everything, nothing held back.  Finally.  After years of lying, denial, and what must have been quite an elaborate cover-up.

And I find myself fascinated….

Why admit to everything now?  Why did he fight it so vehemently for years up until now?  Was it worth it, or was the burden simply too heavy to carry?  How could he look in the mirror or sleep soundly at night, knowing his words and actions were so blatantly fraudulent?  What are the implications to his charitable Livestrong organization, or for his children?

I wonder what Oprah will ask.  I wonder how he’ll respond.

And I wonder how the world will respond too.  How will people react?

I’m sure some will throw Armstrong under the proverbial bus and back it up a few times for good measure.  (Isn’t it odd how some people enjoy seeing others fail?)  I’m sure some will give him grace, knowing we all make mistakes (over and over and over, though we may try…)

One thing I think we can all do is withhold our judgment (what good does that do, anyway?) and simply learn from watching his experience.  I’m not sure we’ll ever really know all the details, but are they even necessary at this point?

What we can all take away from this is a great lesson: the truth always finds its way out.

 Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon and truth. ~Buddha

Truth is the foundation of trust.  Trust is the glue of relationships.  Relationships are at the crux of leadership.  One cannot be a great leader without speaking, living, and respecting truth.  It’s simply not possible, because truth will eventually come out, and then the dominoes will begin to fall.

Perhaps this situation with Armstrong will inspire people to embrace truth more fully.  Maybe people will become more comfortable with their flawed humanness.  Possibly, some will bring admissions of their own forward, before things get too far.  Others may diminish the embellishments and embrace real honesty and transparency in their communication and actions.

What about you?  How can you embrace truth more fully?  How can you lead others to be more comfortable with truth?  What can you do to take something positive from this “people-watching” experience?

Erin Schreyer
Erin Schreyer is President of Sagestone Partners, specializing in Leadership and Talent Management. Erin is a certified Coach, as well as a certified Strengths Trainer. Her focus is on helping leaders - even great ones! - maximize the impact they have on people as well s business results. Connect with Erin via Sagestone's website, her blog, LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook. or reach out to her directly at eschreyer@sagestone-partners.com
Erin Schreyer

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