Late last month the world lost a wonderful human being…Arnold Palmer. Not only was Mr. Palmer one of golf’s greatest professionals, he was more importantly a kind, compassionate, morally centered family man, business icon and philanthropist.
During the week of the Ryder Cup, they honored Mr. Palmer and interviewed iconic personalities asking them to describe Arnold in one word. Here is what they said: “Integrity, Character, Grounded, Kind, Compassionate, Caring, Selfless”. Not one word was about Arnold’s iconic golf prowess and what he meant to the game, but more about the man and how he lived his life!
Arnold was from Latrobe, PA, a small town in western Pennsylvania. He came from humble beginnings and his parents helped to instill these values in him by demonstrating and teaching him what was right and how to treat people. Arnold never forgot where he came from and the important lessons he learned early in life.
Webster defines Character as a set of qualities someone thinks, feels and behaves all the time. All of us have character. We all know the difference between right and wrong, just and unjust. The tipping point is when we are faced with a decision or action and no one is looking. What will we do?
Character is a quality we don’t talk about or teach much today. We are finding it more difficult to witness and learn from people who model great character. What we are learning and seeing in the public domain are very different character attributes from sports, business, and government personnel. Just recall names like Lance Armstrong, Bernie Madoff, Wells Fargo, Enron, The International Olympic Committee, FIFA, Arthur Anderson, and the numerous public figures in political offices.
As a nation we have lost our moral compass and I would say it is largely due to lack of exemplary character demonstrated by government, sports, and business personalities as well as turning our backs on our Creator.
Look at recent Trust surveys conducted by HBR and Pew Research where they found that 82% of employees don’t trust their boss and 75% do not trust their Government. The reason we don’t trust them is because they have agenda’s (their own), they are dishonest, they are not accountable for bad behavior, they break laws, they swindle customers for their own interests, they look the other way, and they constantly demonstrate a lack of moral and ethical behavior.
Who is the next generation going to turn to learn what exemplary character and integrity looks like? All of us need to look in the mirror and be honest with ourselves and how we measure up. This is about our inner game which I have talked about in earlier blog posts. (The Inner Game of Leadership and Doing What is Right? That is what Leaders do all the time).
Mr. Palmer was a man of the people. He never forgot his roots. He lived his life authentically no matter if he was playing golf, spending time with his family, pursuing business deals or philanthropic interests.
Already, I miss you Arnie. You demonstrated what is right and good in this world. I am a member of Arnie’s Army. Not for his golf record or what he did for the game, but for how he modeled his life and his strong, good and decent character and moral standards. His legacy will live a lifetime.
Come join me and be a part of Arnie’s Army of strong and decent caring men and women of character and integrity.
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and share your thoughts and stories about character.