Доверяй, но проверяй. (Doveryai, no proveryai. - Trust, but verify.) - Russian proverb, frequently used by V.I. Lenin, borrowed by Ronald Reagan
Over the past several days I've chewed, digested, regurgitated, held down, subsequently thrown-up and (like my dog) returned to fallout from a personal and professional (measurement) misadventure which has taught me a great deal about my own personal integrity as well as that of others. Explaining the source of the mistake to the parties most-affected by it has helped, providing a possible solution set a little more so...but outside of a few family members and a business colleague I expect no more in the way of comfort.
I'm not certain if my grandson Simon knows how much help he's been in the past four hours. He and his "Grammy" went to the movies last night. He asked her to give me his bag of one of my favorite candies. I absent-mindedly tucked them into the cup-holder of my vehicle and forgot about them until this morning...after I spent sixty minutes of mea culpa-ing to a very concerned race director. For the second time. Over the course of three days. Sometimes unconditional love for a part-time coach/part-time measurer/full-time curmudgeon can be a little hard to come by. Sometimes you have to consider the source; a person who considers another's humor to be caustic might be lacking in a sense of the very same quality.
'So. How's that integrity thing working for you?' you might ask.
Pretty darn good. Painful in the short term. But sleep comes a little easier with it than without.
Perhaps that's why it's good to have a second (or third) set of eyes/ears around; why we always ask "who is checking the checker?" When our labors, our workouts, and our decisions stay within that easily-maintained comfort zone they can easily become sloppy, lazy and complacent without having someone available to ask the accountability questions. We soon cut corners and round up (or round-down, depending on what makes us look better) the numbers. Then when the big job, the big race, the big project comes along we get caught shorting the course, fudging the budget, doing the walk of shame. Our number gets posted on the big, public penalty sheet with a "disqualification" after it - or worse, our story gets printed in section A of the newspaper of record with the words "fraud," "deception," or "cheating" attached.
Reputations have been tarnished as a result of terribly small errors, spread wide. Ask any politician who had the brass ring slip from their grasp. Ask any Olympian who had to return a medal. For every person who "came clean" about their transgressions, paid their penance and were permitted to return to their profession there have been that many and more who denied the accusations and were finally found out...those are the persons who are never able to regain their reputation.
It's easier to point to a bad piece of meat (in more ways than one), but, my parents used to tell me: 'when you point a finger (at someone else) there's three still pointing back at yourself.'