August 20, 2019 Cory Carlson

Will this choice really lead me to destruction?

Recently I had a few long flights that gave me an opportunity to watch two documentaries, both with contrast outcomes.  

Yet, both had a common theme I often to talk with clients and friends about.

Each choice we make takes us closer or further away from our desired goal by one degree. If we pile on enough bad choices then we end up way off the mark, whether intentional or not. Whether it is an addiction, an affair, weight gain, or unethical business practices. The scary reality is they all start off with one small bad move that leads to another, then another.

On the other hand, if we continue to make good choices, then by one degree we can get aligned with a greater outcome.

We know this. Yet, we all can point to areas in our life we have drifted and need to recalibrate.

In this week’s blog, I want to talk about destruction. (Stay tuned: next week, will be on dominance.)

When we see the end of somebody’s destructive path, we think ‘that would never happen to me!‘ However, if we look at the start of the destructive path, it can hit closer to home.

Stories like the one below are a great gut check for why we should evaluate all areas of our life and recalibrate sooner rather than later.

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Destruction

On my flight to Nicaragua, I watched the documentary The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley (you can watch it here). This is the fascinating true story of Elizabeth Holmes and the company she founded, Theranos.

If you saw the news story a few years ago when Theranos imploded, you would have thought this woman was evil and greedy.  However, I would argue she didn’t start out that way. Which is exactly the reason this is a “watch out” for us.

Elizabeth started the company with a great mission to disrupt a field dominated by two enormous companies.  Her innovative process would provide a less evasive, more economical option for customers who needed their blood drawn. Elizabeth’s intent was honorable. Her early actions were inspirational. Working hard, assembling a team, casting vision, and encouraging and motivating along the way.   

However, as the momentum built and the stakes grew higher, the pressure to please others and perform caused her to compromise her values.  For example, Theranos’ proprietary machine meant to analyze the blood was not working properly, so the team did the analysis in the lab.  This misleading work-around was supposed to be for a couple of weeks, slowly turned to months, turned to years.  

Stakes got even higher when Elizabeth convinced Walgreens to be a partner to help their customers.  With Walgreens saying yes, the pressure grew even greater! More patients, more exposure, and even larger market valuation.   

One degree at a time she was making choices that distanced herself from the truth.  Poor choice after poor choice on a foundation now of poor choices.  

Eventually, it all came crashing down for her.

What about you?

We can do the same with a habit, a choice, an action we are doing.  When we start down this path, it doesn’t seem that bad.  One white lie.  Taking one day off the diet.  One flirtatious text.  One lie on an expense report.  

As we make one bad choice, our character is slightly eroded.  The second offense is a little easier.  Then the third and an and on.   

However, the great news is you can stop the downward spiral.  It can stop now!   As you read this, if something comes to your mind, then stop that one thing.   You’ve got this!

I encourage you to scrub your habits, your routines, your choices. If they are building towards something destructive, then stop now. Some will say, ‘I don’t know if it will end destructive!’. Maybe that is the case. However, your gut and heart give you a sense for if it is good or bad.

The great news is we can recalibrate now while the consequences are smaller than if the whole thing crumbles.

Thanks for reading.

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Cory Carlson

Cory Carlson is passionate about connecting people to greater performance and more significant purpose. Cory's competency of extensive sales/marketing and team development mixed with character of helping people have greater impact allows him to transform businesses and their leadership. As the leader goes, so does the company...and home. Cory's professional experience includes being President of Sales for national contractor, interactions with private equity ownership, boardroom meetings, to sales call with sales personnel. Coaching experience ranges from one-on-ones with CEOs/Executives to team workshops/retreats. If looking for holistic growth, let's connect!