Tiger is not the only one in the woods

Posted on January 28, 2010

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Once he was the most photographed athlete in the world and he now nowhere to be found. Gone in hiding since his extra marital affairs became public, current photos of Tiger Woods are worth up to a half a million dollars! The latest reports have spotted him in sex rehab and the airwaves are in a frenzy speculating about if/when he will return to the world of golf.

I’m continually amazed with our fascination of the private lives of high-profile people. More interestingly is how we hold these idols to certain level of moral accountability. Beyond just the endorsements and representation, the world expects a certain level of character and moral centeredness for those that are at the Tiger Woods level of celebrity-ism. While there are many layers to his situation and even more layers of speculation, I will leave that to the media to sort out.

We live in an age where we know and are connected to more people than ever largely due to the introduction of the web and social media. Finding out about the personal lives of another has never been easier. Tiger’s situation is a strong and sobering reminder that it is harder and harder to keep up a life of integrity- meaning that your inner life matches your outer life. It’s difficult to hide the secret things we do when no one is looking. This is not a Tiger Woods thing but every person’s battle. How do you live when no one is looking? I know I struggle with this.

Tiger is just a man. Despite his gargantuan success and ridiculous talents, he can not escape the temptations that are common to every man. His skills my be extraordinary but the demons of his private life are nothing but ordinary. No amount of accolades can help him make the right moral choice when facing temptation in the eyes. Character is everything for a leader. Our goal as creative leaders is to find alignment with our private and personal worlds. It will take a life time to achieve and there is no short cuts around it. Tiger can probably look back and see a time/place when he should have said ‘no’ instead of ‘yes’. For those of us that live in relative obscurity, we face those same dilemmas daily. How and what we choose in private, good or bad will eventually catch up to us publically. Especially in the age where privacy is disappearing. Everything you do is now recorded somewhere so be careful.

With some help and some contrition, I have no doubt Tiger will bounce back. He is the prototypical overachiever and he will inevitably climb his way back into hearts and love of the public. The more compelling question is how important is character and integrity to you? What kind of person are you like when no one is looking? It’s easy to watch all the publicity of Tiger’s situation and shake our collective heads. But the truth is that we are all a step away from discrediting ourselves.

My goal in light of all this is to simply win more battles than I lose- especially in provate. It won’t be easy but the ulitmate prize is worth it. My prayer for us all is to be humble, be honest, and quick to ask for forgiveness.

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Posted in: Creative Leaders