In a New York Minute

A New York minute illustrates the speed in which life can change.

In a New York minute, Joe Paterno and his coaching staff’s lives were changed. In a New York minute Tiger Wood’s reputation was forever damaged. In a New York minute, Jim Trussel’s career was halted. In a New York minute Bernie Madoff ’s life style was extinguished. In a New York minute Enron was decapitated. In a New York minute Andy Weiner’s career was over and in a New York minute Kyle Busch’s racecar was parked.

Think about it. In one moment, these people, teams, and companies were legends, and yet in a matter of a few seconds or days their paths were  severely altered by the discovery of questionable actions.

How can we learn from their unfortunate realities?

Today Counts!

It’s our actions, or in-actions, of today that will alter our status tomorrow. There are many examples in many industries that prove to us that it is just a matter of time before our decisions and our actions catch up with us. And this goes for good actions too. Perhaps you feel your work ethic or high performance isn’t getting noticed. Give it time. Good actions, just like bad, will be noticed as time goes on.

You’re Associated.

As it currently stands, Joe Paterno didn’t technically commit a crime, yet he was included in the punishment because of seemingly lack of effort to stop it. I’m sure many of us have fallen into this simple trap. How many times have you been in a meeting when someone made a statement you didn’t agree with, yet you chose to not speak up? Inaction, or silence, conveys that you agree or are okay with what is being said. If you are in the room, you are associated with the discussion. Silence or “looking the other way” forces others to translate your inaction as your being in agreement with what’s being said or done.

Crossing the line.

We know when we’re crossing the line; and once crossed, the line becomes a negotiable boundary. The best time to hold your ground with your line is the first time. Once it’s crossed, it becomes easier and easier to cross. It’s the corners we’re willing to cut or the times when we feel it’s okay “under the circumstances” or it’s “just for this season.” When we know our actions are questionable our line becomes blurred. Let’s not associate this with only major immoral or law-breaking actions. What about small actions like slightly over billing your client, calling in sick when you’re not, cheating on a test, claiming credit for someone else’s work, or undermining a peer?

Your New York minute…

Over a lifetime, most of us will experience a New York minute. Maybe not as disappointing, sad, or media worthy as the public figures we have placed on a pedestal, but we’ll have a moment in time when, in a minute, our lives are altered. The question is, will your New York minute be a moment that defines your decisions and your character for the better, or for the worse.

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