I read this article about Lance Armstrong booking a date on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), where many people suspect that after years of denial, he will finally acknowledge that he participated in a PED (performance enhancing drugs) program. This is a story that resonates with me on so many levels that I will absolutely be one of the people who tunes in to watch it even though I have no idea if the OWN is on my cable system. I guess I have some research to do.
The Lance Armstrong story was so incredibly compelling. When he was winning his Tour de France championships, I had a number of friends who were competing in triathlons and biathlons (running & biking) and I would do a lot of road biking with them. We did some 100 mile rides and they were grueling. The Tour de France makes our “century” rides look like a mere warm-up ride. They go around 2,000 miles in a 3 week span with much of it being UP MOUNTAINS!!! It’s ridiculous. There are very few people in the world who could complete the course, much less do it at race pace.
I have so much respect for the guys who can simply complete the race. They are superhuman. Not only was Lance Armstrong able to complete it, he was able to win the race SEVEN TIMES!!! And this was AFTER being diagnosed with testicular cancer and getting treatment for it. Livestrong bracelets were being sold everywhere. He was an inspiration to many. He was a true champion. Or so we thought…
Here we are, years later, and the evidence appears to be overwhelming and it points to him cheating. This isn’t surprising, the top ranks of cycling have been battling doping allegations for a very long time, and other champions have had their titles stripped because of failed PED tests. He has apparently been lying to the whole world for a very long time about his use of PEDs. If he confesses, he runs the risk of being forced to pay back prize money and sponsorship money, and the cost could be tens of millions of dollars. There is a very interesting financial component to this whole story. I hope that when all the dust settles and all of the legal battles are finished, the Livestrong organization is still able to survive and help battle cancer.
So there is an athletic, competitive angle to this story, a drug use (PED) angle, a financial angle, and a charitable organizational impact…this is pretty compelling stuff. But there’s another thought that I’m having as I think about the way the story is unfolding. In order for Lance Armstrong to try to convince the world that he is innocent of using PEDs and that he is who he says he is, he must have believed what he was saying on some level. In addition to lying to the rest of the world (allegedly), he would have to have been lying to himself.
What lies are we telling ourselves and how can that impact our financial lives? Have you ever told yourself “Oh, I’ll just buy this now & I’ll figure out if it’s in my budget later?” If so, you know that it’s out of your budget, but it’s a little lie to help you make the purchase today. How about “We don’t spend all that much on going out to eat?” I know for sure I’ve told myself that but when I look at my real numbers, my kids and I spend far too much money eating out when we could save so much more if we’d cook more often. “That car isn’t too expensive.” “I can afford to go out and have some fun with my friends or go shopping once in a while; I work too hard not to be able to do what I want to do.” “I don’t overspend.” “I save as much as I possibly can.” All of these things may feel true to the people who say them, but underneath it all I’d be willing to wager that they know the truth isn’t really on their side.
What tiny little money lies are you telling yourself? Are they holding you back from making real progress? Are you ready for your own segment on Oprah? If you can identify the areas where you are deceiving yourself about your financial life (if there are any of those areas), you can begin to deal with these situations honestly and make the progress that you’ve wanted to make. It can start with your own personal Oprah moment.