Oh Lance Armstrong, how gutted am I; you were the ultimate in marketing/hope story dreams. The cancer recovery, the seven wins of the Tour De France (my husband is a fan, and I like the bums), the amazing record.
We’ve been listening for years about the fact that it was all a lie, but I admit that I really didn’t want it to be true. I’m still a lover of a romantic story, despite my admitting that the ‘Cinderella complex‘ has not done me any good.
Hubby isn’t too upset, he still feels that it was an amazing story.
But for me it’s a worry about the fabric of our society, because it raises a big question: ‘Is it only possible to succeed in this world by ‘cheating’ or being willing to ‘do everything needed to succeed’?
All those people who weren’t willing to cheat, who will never know if they could have won. Isn’t that true of lots of our world?
Am I worried because I’m not willing to do everything in order to succeed? Yes, sadly I am. I would dearly love to be able to reach millions of Mums and explain to them that they are perfect by being themselves, and not to listen to parenting gurus. But, I’m not willing to leave my kids at home and go off to america as the Baby Whisperer did. Or work all the hours that God sends as some of my coaching associates do, in order to earn more money. There is the possibility that this will get in the way.
In the world of personal development there are many hero’s or guru’s who end up (after many years and lots of their followers money) falling off their high horses. Look at the story of Jerome Flynn (remember him from Robson and Jerome?) who disappeared in to a spiritual sect for 8 years that is run by Andrew Cohen. Jerome looks like a pretty sensible guy, who had already done plenty of study, but even he got dragged into something based on untruths.
My teacher is a guy called Dr John F Demartini, who is very strict on saying that he’s not a guru, and that no one should ever be infatuated with anyone, or consider them better than themselves. But even he has a habit of encouraging his students to follow his priorities, rather than their own. I think it is always difficult when you are around a charismatic, strong charactered person, to not end up comparing yourself and thinking that what they want is what you want too. But down that route is confusion, loss of identity and a very uncomfortable journey back to who we are.
Do you remember the first time you realised your parents weren’t perfect? I do, especially for my Dad, but it was pretty obvious because he used to drink a lot. However, with my Mum it was a sudden, awful and over night realisation, which took me years to recover from. She had totally misused the position of Mum, which I can kind of understand now, but at the time it felt like the ultimate betrayal.
My kids already know I’m not perfect, especially as my cooking has very few skills! But I need to make sure in the years to come that I gradually dish out the truth of how imperfect I am, so that I don’t have a long way to fall from that ‘Mummy Pedestal’ one day.
I think that the lesson to be learnt is:
If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
If it’s a built up romantic story, there is a hidden ugly sister that isn’t showing up.
If they don’t take their responsibility to stop you from thinking that they are as perfect as can be, then they are stinkers.
No one is better than you or worse than you.
If you sense yourself looking up at them, you are ignoring some less attractive bits of them or wonderful bits of you.
If you sense yourself looking down at them, you are either ignoring your crappier side, or not seeing what they’ve got going for them.
I might not be as ‘successful’ as the people who are willing to ‘do what it takes’ to succeed. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t be as focussed and motivated. It just means that my first priority is that my kids feel loved, and my second is that I’m strong and sure of myself. At the end of the day, I’d be gutted lieing on my death bed with millions of book sales, but miserable kids, rubbish health (I know I’d be dieing, but you can die quick or slow), and no idea of who I am.
Update: Ben Richards who has recently recovered from cancer (and lives near me, so locally we all think he is fab), made a valid point that I ignored when I first wrote this post: He said that he found Lance’s recovery from cancer inspiring, and there is no doubting that even with the cheating, he also cheated death, and maybe that’s a time we would all want to be a cheat?
Have you had someone fall off a pedestal big time? It can be rough heh?
When is it OK to cheat?
Are you willing to do what it takes? What have you sacrificed or done that was slightly ‘dodgy’ to get there (you can always comment anonymously).