What do Elliot Spitzer and Lance Armstrong have in common?
Before answering that important question, let’s review: Elliot Spitzer was a rising superstar who is the former attorney general of New York. As attorney general, Spitzer prosecuted key cases relating to securities fraud, white collar crime, investment banking difficulties as well as predatory lending by mortgage lenders.
He built his image as a crusader who took on the big bad corporations. This catapulted him into the limelight and onto becoming the governor of New York.
I thought it was only a matter of time until he ran for the presidency.
Then, a political bombshell hit.
Spitzer stepped down in disgrace after being caught with a prostitute, someone he had visited on multiple occasions.
Now let’s discuss another cheater.
Many people believed Lance Armstrong was the greatest cyclist of all time. He battled testicular cancer and then went on to win seven consecutive Tour de France titles (cycling’s greatest prize) from 1999 until 2005. He grew to become legendary for his Livestrong yellow wrist bands and his foundation to help cure cancer.
But in the past few months, we have seen the epic downfall of Lance Armstrong . The release of hundreds of pages of testimony from the USADA (cycling’s governing body) presented evidence describing Armstrong’s involvement in one of the most sophisticated doping programs in cycling history. The USADA cited his continual use of illegal performance enhancing drugs as well as his intimidation to make sure no one informed on him.
What do Elliot Spitzer and Lance Armstrong have in common? Yes, they both cheated, but as important as that is disgraceful, neither cherished his reputation.
There is a famous axiom about reputation: “It takes a lifetime to build one and a second to ruin one.”
Currently, Spitzer has a show on TV. He has lost all credibility in the political arena. Lance Armstrong is now banned for life in any cycling events that have any merit.
Both Armstrong’s and Spitzer’s stories are reminders of timeless wisdom. It does not matter how high you have climbed on your mountaintop, your reputation is always with you. Cherish your reputation as if it were your most valuable asset, because no matter how high you think you are, it can come crashing down in an instant.