Lance Armstrong is being stripped of his seven Tour De France Titles. He's going to be banned from participating in pro sports. He is in a firestorm of controversy. Everything he has worked for is being taken away. Yet, instead of fighting back, Lance Armstrong is walking away. Is this wise? As a career coach, I say "yes."
1. Pick your battles.
In this case, no measurable good will come from Armstrong fighting back. There will never be a clear answer here of "right" or "wrong." At this point, he will never be vindicated. Instead,he would be faced with a long, expensive and stressful battle that would take immense physical and mental toll on his body. He has five children, is a cancer survivor, and has a new area of career focus running the foundation that he started. This battle isn't worth it to Armstrong. In short, he's decided to redirect his goals. Which means fighting for something in his past that isn't his concern anymore is a waste of his time and energy.
2. Releasing yourself of a fight diminishes the power of the other side.
Saying he doesn't care about what happens to his titles or what they do to him from a professional standpoint takes away the control those driving the charges feel they have over Armstrong. Removing himself from the argument leaves them with nothing left to do. Yes, they can take the titles away and ban him from pro sports, but after that, it's done. They gain nothing else from it and will not have anything else to fight about.
3. Time will tell.
Armstrong knows that there is more to him as a person and a professional than this controversy. He understands that the sooner the drama around this situation dies down, the quicker he can get back to a productive life. As a career athlete, he's learned how to weather both mental and physical adversity. He's reserving his energy and knows that time will allow him to move forward ... on his own terms. All that training has paid off by preparing him for this day.
For anyone who has ever been in an employment situation where it was you against them, I'm sure you can see why walking away, letting it go, and moving on is the best for your health. Unfortunately, most of us don't have the training that Armstrong has had to enable us to do that. As result, we either fight the battle and lose, or give up and get depressed. Armstrong isn't doing either. He's taking control. And that will get him the results he wants.
At the end of the day, the only person in our lives we need to impress is ourselves. Armstrong is doing what is best for him. He doesn't care what others think -- and he'll be happier and healthier for it.
Could you do the same? Have you ever walked away? Did you fight and win? Did you fight and lose? Tell us your story!
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