The choices you made in the past do not define you. What you choose to do today and going forward does.
What value do you put on your morals, values, and ethics? Are your morals something that you highly value and would never give away, or something that perhaps you’d trade for? Would a new car do it? A new house? Everyone has a point where an ethical choice will cause them to pause.
Your morals will require courage
Regardless of if you are on the playground or the boardroom, you are going to face choices where you’ll have to decide on compromising your morals or not. Sometimes there is little consequence and sometimes you’ll risk everything in order to stand for what is right. It’s important to have the courage to take a stand in those moments. Build a good sense of what your values are and then have the managerial courage to step up and stand for what you believe in. Who is more at fault, the leader who makes poor decisions or the follower who knows better but stands aside and lets it happen?
Check in with yourself from time to time
I doubt that many people out in the world wake up one day and just decide to throw away their moral and ethical compass. It usually happens in baby steps and you find yourself in a situation that you never imagined yourself in.
I learned this lesson in a leadership course in the military. We were dropped off in the swamp with nothing but a compass and a heading. The course was so long and winding that even walking off by one degree would mean that you had a good chance of missing your final destination. Three degrees? Guaranteed that you weren’t going to end up where you wanted to be. To stay on course, you needed to stop, check your surroundings and verify that you were still on the right course. The same applies in life with your moral compass. You need to check in with yourself from time to time to make sure that you are on the correct heading. Failing to do those self-assessments may lead you to drift off of your desired path.
It’s rarely too late to turn the ship around
It’s rarely too late to walk back from compromising, unethical and immoral decisions. You may be called accountable for the decisions that you make, but you have the power to choose to step back on the correct path. The choices you made in the past do not define you. What you choose to do today and going forward does. Accept responsibility, ask for forgiveness and reset yourself and your decision-making process.
No one’s perfect and it’s unreasonable to expect yourself and others to lead themselves flawlessly every day. As a strong leader in your home, school or business you are called to lead yourself and your team in an honorable way. Hold onto your values and moral compass like a prized possession.
Make a better tomorrow.