by David DeFord
In 1981, the British film Chariots of Fire won four Academy Awards, including best picture. The movie is based on the true story of two British athletes competing in the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris. Englishman Harold Abrahams, having overcome racial and class prejudice in order to compete, finds himself up against the "Flying Scotsman", Eric Liddell in the 100-meter dash. But Liddell drops out of the event because his religious convictions prevent him from running on a Sunday.
Whether or not your principles include honoring the Sabbath Day (Friday, Saturday or Sunday) you have to respect Liddell’s sense of honor. He valued his integrity more than Olympic gold.
We all want abundance, success, recognition, and love. What will you trade to obtain them-your integrity, courtesy, or respect? Will you forfeit your sense of fairness to gain an edge? Will you sacrifice your religious values for business success? Will you trade your family for gold?
We respect those who obtain wealth and position, but only if they win their successes with honor and decency. Only those who win acclaim by observing their principles merit our respect.
A few years ago I worked with a CFO who asked me to create a PowerPoint presentation for some prospective customers. On reviewing my work, he asked me to make some untruthful changes that would inflate our company’s expected performance. I strongly refused and left the presentation unchanged. When the CFO made his presentation, I seethed when I saw that he had changed the slides to include his lies. He traded his integrity for a potential sale.
We have seen many recent examples of the news media trading their credibility and impartiality to slant their stories toward their own point of view. We have also seen the toppling or disgracing of presidents, senators, governors and CEOs whose dark secrets came to light.
If we achieve success while still honoring our values, we will maintain that success without fear of exposure and disgrace. That confidence will greatly reduce our stress levels. Our families, associates and customers will learn that they can trust our word. That trust will translate into greater success.
I encourage you to take some time to identify your own core principles. Then, no matter what becomes fashionable or popular, no matter how difficult, I urge you to stick to your principles. If you do, you will gain your successes with character and you will, in the end, respect yourself.
There are many qualities that make a great leader. But having strong beliefs, being able to stick with them through popular and unpopular times is the most important characteristic of a great leader. Rudy Giuliani
Principle--particularly moral principle--can never be a weather vane, spinning around this way and that with the shifting winds of expediency. Moral principle is a compass forever fixed and forever true--and that is as important in business as it is in the classroom. Edward R. Lyman
There are really only three kinds of people. Those who don't succeed, those who achieve success temporarily, and those who become and remain successful. Having character is the only way to sustain success. No matter how talented or rich or attractive people are, they will not be able to outrun their character. John C. Maxwell
The people cannot look up to a leader who has his ear to the ground. Winston Churchill
Character is the result of hundreds and hundreds of choices you make that gradually turn who you are, at any given moment, into who you want to be. Jim Rohn
The greatest work in all the world is the building of men and women of character. Without character there is not much that is worthwhile. Ezra Taft Benson
Ability can take you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there. Zig Ziglar
Always do right - this will gratify some and astonish the rest. Mark Twain
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