Once I was at a party and decided to start a conversation with a guy sitting next to me. It turns out he’s the CEO for a major airport. I didn’t even know airports had CEOs, so I learned something right from the beginning of this conversation!
“You’ve obviously been successful in your career. What’s one piece of career advice you can share with me that has helped you get to where you are today?”
I love asking this question because most people are eager to share what they’ve learned. It makes people stop to reflect for a few seconds and that’s when you make a connection.
That question also makes people feel special, which is crucial in the connection process. But for some reason, I was expecting him to say something really deep and profound. Instead he said:
“Always do the right thing because you’ll never have to worry about what you did. And you’ll always be able to sleep well at night.”
Do The Right Thing: Why It Matters
Most of the time, we expect that the biggest life-changing stuff will come from radically new ways of doing things, or new information that will completely blow our mind. But leadership is based on small principles that build up like a snowball when practiced constantly.
What I love about principles is that they are timeless.
They create a level playing field because they’re available to anyone willing to implement them. You don’t need a degree, wealth, or connections to do the right thing. But it means that you have to be willing to do hard things like having integrity.
What I’ve noticed in my leadership journey is that, doing the hard thing is a theme that keeps coming up. It’s a simple choice, but impact shows if you’re leading or not.
Here are more sayings and words of wisdom to help inspire you to do the right thing:
“What one thinks is right is not always the same as what others think is right; no one can be always right.” ― Roy T. Bennett
“You don’t go into battle because you’re sure of victory. You go into battle because it’s the right thing to do.” ― C.J. Redwine, The Shadow Queen
“If you boil it down, just because someone else does the wrong thing we are not exempt from doing what’s right.” ― E.A. Bucchianeri, Brushstrokes of a Gadfly
“Doing what’s right is never easy … You think you’re right, but you lose track of what you were trying to do all along and then there’s blood and screaming and death. Doing a bad thing for a good end just sours the good.” ― Janice Hardy, Blue Fire
“As much as I don’t want it to be true, the reasons I don’t do something define me as a person even more so, perhaps, than the reasons I do something.” ― Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing
“Knowing to do the right thing, but playing stupid to oblige to it, is still lying.” ― Anthony Liccione
“My dear Gorgas,
Instead of being simply satisfied to make friends and draw your pay, it is worth doing your duty, to the best of your ability, for duty’s sake; and in doing this, while the indolent sleep, you may accomplish something that will be of real value to humanity.
Your good friend, Reed
Dr. Walter Reed encouraging Dr. William Gorgas who went on to make history eradicating Yellow Fever in Havana, 1902 and Panama, 1906, liberating the entire North American continent from centuries of Yellow Fever epidemics.” ― William Crawford Gorgas, Sanitation in Panama
What do you think about leadership and principles? Do you also believe that they go hand in hand? What about YOU?