I’ve been in negotiations on something for several months. If it works out the way I envision it would be quite lucrative for me.

Negotiations are not an area where I have extensive expertise so it has been a long process. I’ve moving ahead cautiously considering each step. Activity. Pause. Activity. Pause.

We are nearing the end, perhaps in a matter of days even. It is an exciting time. I can almost smell pay day approaching.

But I just got a whiff of something else that didn’t smell quite as good.

Something transpired that gave me pause. It hinted at a possible ethical dilemma down the road.

It could be just a simple misunderstanding.

Or it could be a hint of something serious that has been hidden up to this point.

Either way it seems to be a sign to ask some questions and dig a little deeper.

The tempting thing would be to just ignore that little whiff of a smell. Just dismiss it as nerves, or maybe even a bad burrito. Get the money. Sort out the other problems later. You can still stand strong and keep your integrity. Just don’t go any further down that path when the time comes, right?

Probably not so much.

The time to ask the questions is before you enter into a commitment, not after you’ve signed the contract.

But that doesn’t mean the decision will be an easy one. Making the right choice can often mean making the more difficult one. At least in the short term. In the long run you will usually find, however, that making the hard choice up front would ultimately have been much less difficult because all the mess that you end up going through would have been prevented.

After the long fought American Revolution, George Washington was the man of the hour. (Understatement of the day.) Our fledgling nation had just thrown off a King they felt was trampling their liberties. But the King system was the one they were the most familiar with.

There was a strong contingent that even wanted to make Washington a king of America. Since he had the intense loyalty of the military, the position was probably his for the taking.

Obviously he didn’t take it.

Instead he showed the intense integrity of his convictions and stepped aside. I can’t imagine the decision was easy for him.

Thomas Jefferson, who often disagreed with Washington later said of him

The moderation and virtue of a single character probably prevented this Revolution from being closed, as most others have been, by a subversion of that liberty that it was intended to establish.

His choice is a remarkably rare one in history, before or since. Washington achieved what may have been the crowning achievement that sealed his greatness as a national hero by keeping his integrity and not selling out. Today his greatness is remembered world wide. Yet how many other revolutionary leaders end up forgotten by history because they sold out just short of their own greatness?

If you want to achieve success, remember your integrity is NOT for sale!

Enjoy!

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