17 Jan 2013
Lance’s name was once synonymous with greatness. His accomplishments were epic, but in the context of his battle with cancer and his desire to help others overcome the hurdles that were once before him, Lance Armstrong became a living legend. I freely admit that I considered him a hero of mine and he was a role model that I would have been proud to have my children follow. Sadly, the story of Lance Armstrong that we all knew… and loved, was but part one of his life. Lance is not unlike the Wall St. bankers who sold toxic assets – he cared chiefly about his own gain and enrichment at the expense of a nameless and faceless majority. When individuals occupy such rarified space, and then come tumbling back to the earth like a meteor falling from the sky, it is easy for people to become angry, mean and dismissive. Lance Armstrong, though not the person that we thought he was, still has a lesson to teach all of us.
Success can come in many forms and success does not come alone. It is packaged with so many other elements that can catch you off guard; greed, temptation, piety, becoming judgmental of others, dealing with jealousy of friends and family, and finally the tendency to rely on wealth or success, instead of faith. While it is easy to say that Lance made unthinkable decisions, you have to realize that he dealt with emotions and situations that I named above, in enormous supply. I am not excusing his behavior or the fact that he lied about it for a decade. He is and was wrong. But in life, we are not better by virtue of others failing. I am not a better businessman when one of my competitors fails. Similarly, I hope that people realize that Lance Armstrong made some terrible decisions because he felt that the result of those decisions would somehow make him a better person. He failed to realize that the ends don’t justify the means. The next time you see Lance, don’t be mad at him or shun him, instead, be thankful for such a vivid example of why you need to live your life according to a higher calling.