H. Jackson Brown Jr. once said, “Live so that when your children think of fairness, caring and integrity, they think of you.” For Lance Armstrong’s children Luke, Olivia, Max, Isabelle and Grace, this may be hard to do after their father was exposed as a cheater. Armstrong who won the Tour de France for a record of seven consecutive times between 1999 and 2005 was disavowed not only by the sports community, but the world as his doping allegations came to light.
Many felt a sense of empathy for Lance in 1996 when he was diagnosed with testicular cancer and began his philanthropic work through the Lance Armstrong Foundation. No doubt people all over the world purchased the branded ‘yellow’ arm band that quickly became a symbol of hope, courage and survival. What none of could have known was the lengths Armstrong was going through to both win and keep his methods a secret. In all, humanity could have celebrated a competitor who was transparent, not a champion who was exposed as a cheater.
Lance Armstrong made himself the uninvited guest at the Tour de France on Friday, coming back to haunt the 100th edition of the race and infuriating riders both past and present by talking at length in a newspaper interview about doping in the sport.
Armstrong told Le Monde that he still considers himself the record-holder for Tour victories, even though all seven of his titles from 1999-2005 were stripped from him last year for doping.
He said his life has been ruined by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency investigation that exposed as lies his years of denials that he and his teammates doped. As a result of his lack of transparency, Armstrong, has yet to take full responsibility for his actions and therefore has stunted his growth.
Transparency is not a novelty accessory but a mandatory ingredient for a person of character. Our world has grown content with truth-benders and fact dodgers, but if we plan to leave a lasting legacy, it starts with the quality of transparency.
Transparency is defined “as operating in a way free from deceit and easily understood.” It stems from two Latin words meaning “easy to pass through” as in the window is so transparent the sunlight shines into the room. Think about that definition for a moment. When one thinks about their actions and attitude they should ask themselves if it’s so clear that light passes through them; or, if they spend most of their time covering up and hiding from exposure. It works best when learned early on that it’s better to “under promise” and over deliver than to make excuses.
Here are some key things to remember about transparency:
• Transparency will cause stability in relationships: Personal, family, and business relationships will become better when participants are a people of action. Relationships at their core grow or fail based on trust. Transparency reveals a person who can be counted on, even when are wrong.
• Transparency will set a standard for people that are associated: Nothing clears a room like the truth. If someone wants to know what people think about them, listen to what they say. When a person sends a clear message that he or she operates in integrity, it weeds out the foolishness in their lives. And that message must be sent!
• Transparency helps people stay in their own lane: Nothing is more embarrassing for people than taking on a project or person they are not equipped to handle. They end up wasting their time and someone else’s. When people are transparent, they not only celebrate their strengths, but are aware of their weaknesses. People should take on tasks that they are able to manage and leave the rest for others who may be better suited.
In recent years, we have witnessed the fall of Enron, the ponzi scams of Bernie Madoff, and hundreds of stories of public infidelity. In each case, the individuals involved refused to display transparency. It’s almost enough to make one lose faith in the human spirit. But it is good to remember that change starts with one person. Let us begin a “Transparency Revolution” today so we will have a better world tomorrow.
Transparency can be a scary thing. No one wants to be perceived less than they really are. But for our society to grow, innovate and produce the next batch of leaders, it is absolutely necessary. Our children are watching how we handle calamities. This will become their life’s compass and in time, their children’s. The question remains, “Who will step up and stand as the example for what it right and good?” Many thought it was Lance Armstrong; they were wrong.
By: Cherese Jackson (Virginia Beach, VA)