Armstrong often purses his lips before speaking, a clear indicator of anger and disdain. Even with some of these conflicting signals, I have to give him credit for the way he stated his apology as a "first step" and acknowledged this as a process, rather than using this one-time shot to merely say he's sorry -- thinking that would make everything all right.
He showed remorse when reflecting on his actions with respect to his kids and on the Livestrong Foundation, which has given so much encouragement to cancer patients and raised $470 million for cancer research.
Many of us could forgive these transgressions more quickly if it weren't for the fact that he acted as a bully (his own description) for so long, deliberately going on the attack for 13 years against his former teammates, their spouses, the investigators and anyone who questioned him. It spoke volumes to me when he didn't even know he had sued the team's massage therapist. He made an offhand comment that they had sued so many people it was hard to remember.
And we always need to look at the backdrop when analyzing someone's actions:
A four-step plan for fallen stars, developed by USA Today, is a handy reference for evaluation:
1. Confession -- "I did it."
2. Contrition -- "I'm sorry."
3. Conversion -- "I won't do it again."
4. Atonement -- "I will do this because I did that."
What lessons can we all take away?
Linda Arnold, M.A., MBA, is a certified wellness instructor, counselor and chairwoman/CEO of The Arnold Agency, a marketing communications firm with offices in West Virginia, Montana and Washington, D.C. Reader comments are welcome and may be directed to Linda Arnold, The Arnold Agency, 117 Summers St., Charleston, WV 25301 or emailed to livelifefu...@arnoldagency.com.