Lance Armstrong: A Lesson in Living an Authentic Life?!


Updated: January 28, 2013


If you were anywhere near a television, search engine or coffee shop last week you heard about Lance Armstrong’s interview and his confession about using performance enhancing drugs and blood transfusions to improve his Tour de France results and win seven times.

Now I’m not going to choose sides in a debate, but instead I’d like to open a dialogue about making amends.  Whether it’s about making amends with yourself or others, the reasons must be genuine or it doesn’t benefit anyone.  Calculated amends for self-serving reasons is not the same as genuinely asking for forgiveness.

I am a huge advocate for self-care and self-compassion when it comes to living an emotionally and physically healthy life.  I truly believe your lies will catch up with you at some point and I have experienced the pain and suffering that inauthentic behavior causes us and other people.  I openly admit to being the giver as well as the receiver of that suffering. As part of a 12-step recovery program, you are encouraged to make a  list of the people you have harmed and make amends.  Apologies are an important part of the process, but for the long term, amends are about a genuine change in behavior rather than the immediate act of an apology. A new way of life is required to live in rigorous honesty for many addicts.  When we are honest we are completely present and real.  When we tell the truth there is tremendous freedom in that.

Another aspect of the Lance Armstrong story that sticks with me is the idea of who we put on pedestals.  We can have a tendency to believe athletes are better than they are – they are not human, they are gods.  Lance was a god in the cycling world because of his success, his cancer recover, and his creation of the Live Strong foundation.  He did a lot of good with his brand, but unfortunately it was built on a shaky foundation.  Now, in order for it to continue to thrive, he had to remove his name from its good work.  His lies had a ripple effect and I am sure we can only see a small portion of how many people have and will be affected by it.

Lance’s story, as disappointing as it may be from an outsider’s perspective, is a good lesson for all of us.  There’s a difference between lying to protect someone and lying to move our careers or our lives forward at the expense of others.  When someone finally tells the truth and asks for forgiveness it should not be a calculated amends.  It should not be for selfish gain.  If you’ve ever had a colleague take credit for your work you know how that feels.  The trust is gone.  It will take a lot to rebuild it and we can give people a second chance and not hold resentments, and yet, something has taken place that breaks an emotional bond that will need mending.

Approach your life, your relationships and your contribution to the world with genuine honesty and care.  You’ll be amazed at how many people you help along the way and how much richer your life will be.

Love and blessings,
Colette Baron-Reid
Intuitive Counselor


Showing 5 comments
  • Michele Domingo

    I Love this! I did not watch part II of the interview, because frankly, I found part I to be revealing enough. I also felt a little funny about being an audience member, and sitting in judgement. Reminding ourselves to be the Observer in this situation and not the Judge has been a lesson for me. I think that not holding anyone up on a pedestal is so important! Remembering that everyone has strengths, as well as flaws and weaknesses, we can appreciate each other on a much more “real” level. He was admittedly called a bully by his peers and described himself as one. His apology felt contrived. I think as the collective, we need to be careful not to be his bully with our judgements but to learn the lesson of stepping back, looking at the situation, and seeing what he or we could do differently. Living our lives from a more authentic place!

  • Claire Timberlake

    I think Lance is a reflection of our society. He was taking drugs so that he could do what he could not do naturally, in order to compete in his field. What do millions of Americans do? Starting at school age, children are taking drugs so that they can compete in schools, instead of doing what would come naturally for them if they were free to follow their inner guidance. Adults take all sorts of drugs so that they can keep working at their jobs and/or to stave off the depression that comes from living competitive lives.

    Through his use of drugs for bike racing, Lance was reflecting our use of drugs in the American rat race. When more of us can step out of the race and find peace with a more natural pace (and find happiness with our natural abilities) we won’t need people like Lance to reflect us.

    • Patricia

      Well said Claire.

  • Lisa Claudia Briggs

    Loved the post Colette.. and also stories about falls from grace when they teach us about the dangers of idealizing people and all of the subsequent fallout for everyone.. those that need to see others as on the pedestal.. and those that need to be on one.

    And addiction, so often, is such a player in all of this. Addictions not only to substances but to patterns.. maybe to being special, maybe to lying, maybe to winning.. we are addicted to countless patterns and ways of being in the world, in addition to the substances both drug-like and others like food or sugar.

    I didn’t watch the interviews because intuitively I had strong opinions about Armstrong a long time ago before this came out..not that I knew he was cheating/using the drugs.. but I didn’t like him because of something in him that I could sense. Not proud of the judgmental part of myself, and am always working on my own patterns of attachment/addiction as well as helping others’ with theirs.. But agree with all of your points around the way somebody “comes clean”…Our real heroes are the ones who make the big changes, who are humbled in ways that their new humility makes them more human, more authentic, more true to values that honor them and others.
    Will see what unfolds here.. such a good post, thank you.
    With much love,

  • Vanessa Gabriel da Silva Arruda

    I’m from Brazil and I watched both interwiews.I believe that the world is changing. I think that many people are trying to be better people, really nice people.When I watched that I thought: This must be so hard, so difficult, because it’s reaaly difficult, it’s really hard to admit that you made a huge mistake in public! So, I think we live times of compassion and forgivness, and if we want to be forgiven we must to forgiven !

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