Ever get settled into your airplane seat and dread the idea of the person sitting next to you striking up a conversation? That’s how I felt last month on a flight to Dallas for a speaking engagement… until I learned that my seatmate was Terry Armstrong – Lance Armstrong’s dad. That’s when things got interesting.
At first I wasn’t sure I could believe him, I mean, how many times have men tried to impress me by being a famous person’s dad? Well, none actually, but that’s not the point. He artfully baited me with questions so he could tell his story. Little did he know I grew up in Dallas and raced on the same bike shop team and also Team USA with Lance, so I was ready to call his bluff… until he pulled out Lance’s high school photos and I saw the same kid I’d grown up with.
I had lots and lots of questions about details of everything that’s transpired in Lance’s career from his rise to the most dominant cyclist in the world to his fall from grace. And I got answers. Lots and lots of answers. And I was fascinated.
Terry is writing a new book that will come out a year from Christmas. I don’t want to scoop him on it here. But let’s just say that the story you read from him will be very different than anything we’ve heard from Lance’s camp. And the lies are deeper than anything we’ve heard about publicly.
As the plane was making it’s final descent for landing, I asked how he’s handled this and what he learned. He said that all of the hoopla (reporters knocking on this door and even being thrown under the bus in Lance’s book) was challenging but he was always secure in the truth.
He said he’s come to understand the power of forgiveness and asking for it when you’ve done wrong. Forgiveness doesn’t make the action in question okay; it makes it so that you don’t carry around the negative energy from it any longer. It can be quick or take some time but finding that peace within yourself is worth the effort.
He said that being able to forgive Lance was one of the most challenging things he’s had to do.
And he said that asking forgiveness from the world is something that Lance is unlikely to do. If he would have done it, he might have been able to salvage some of his reputation (and income). Especially in America, the public will forgive. Even after the white Bronco chase and a year-long trial, most of us forgave OJ Simposn!
I think there’s a lesson in this for us all. Ask yourself, who do you need to forgive? Dare I ask, is the person you most need to forgive sitting in your chair right now? What would it feel like if you could release the anger and just forgive someone who did you wrong? Would you feel peaceful? You don’t have to like whoever did you wrong. You don’t need to be around them or do business with them. But You don’t have to carry that negative energy around to protect yourself. That never works.
I am known for my writing about persuasion and influence. One of the most powerful things you can do to persuade is to have clarity in your energy so you can more deeply connect with others. And forgiveness will allow your current relationships to not be tainted by the past. So go ahead, give it a shot.
As for me, I’m just wondering who I’ll sit next to on my next flight!