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Rule No. 1: Don’t Trade Your Integrity

Rule No. 1: Don’t Trade Your Integrity

Earn Everything

The first and most important rule of Lifestyle CEOs is this: do not trade your integrity. For anything. This does not mean you don’t make mistakes. It does not mean you don’t do things incorrectly at times.

But since the brand building actions you take in your business earn you the trust of the people you serve, you should never exchange your integrity for the shiny objects of unearned fame or financial gain.

Never exchange your integrity for the shiny objects of unearned fame or financial gain. #lifestyleceo Click To Tweet

For the last two weeks, I have watched with interest as the Jussie Smollet drama has unfolded. Smollett is an actor with a role on the hit television series, Empire. He is also gay and black.

Two weeks ago, I didn’t know who Smollet was, and, while I knew the show existed, I had not (and still have not) viewed a single episode of Empire. In case you’re similarly situated, here is the back story.

The Jussie Smollett Back Story

On January 22, a letter threatening Smollett was delivered to the studios where Empire is filmed. On January 29 , Smollett reported to police that he had been attacked by two men who beat him up, tied a rope around his neck, poured a liquid chemical on him, and yelled homophobic and racist slurs.

The police began an investigation which fairly quickly led to two suspects, Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo, brothers who were eventually arrested and detained for 47 hours. During their detention, the brothers provided law enforcement officials with enough information to support the issuance and execution of several search warrants. The evidence gathered ultimately led prosecutors to convene a grand jury.

In short order, the grand jury presented an indictment against Smollett, who was arrested this morning for making a false police report.

In a press conference earlier today, Chicago Police Commissioner Eddie Johnson announced that the actor had paid the Osundairo brothers several thousand dollars to fake an attack on him.

The reason for the ruse? According to Commissioner Johnson, it was because Smollett did not think he was making enough money for his role on Empire.

The Lure of Fame

As Lifestyle CEOs, we can be tempted to fall victim to behavior that places an unrealistically high value on shiny objects, unearned financial gain, and the trappings of fame. For example:

  1. Buying fake followers on social media
  2. Claiming business experience and influence you don’t really have
  3. Enrolling people in a course or program, and not delivering
  4. Using click bait headlines to deceive people about the real content at a website

There are Better Ways

If you don’t like your life, think your business is not working out the way it should, or feel like you have somehow gotten the short end of the stick, let me suggest a few alternative approaches:

  1. Earn the support of your industry colleagues. Develop a network of trusted friends, supporters, and mentors to help you identify and pursue your big dreams without destroying your integrity.
  2. Advocate for yourself. Approach the people whom you feel hold the key to your success, and ask them to help you in specific ways.
  3. Work differently. Take a look at what you are doing, find where you can improve, and do a better job.
  4. Wait your turn. Work your buns off, achieve every step of the way, and allow your star to rise commensurate with your efforts.
  5. Get a new gig. Get off the train you are on and get on another one.

As a Lifestyle CEO, you are never stuck in a situation you don’t like.

As a Lifestyle CEO, you are never stuck in a situation you don't like. #lifestyleceo Click To Tweet

Whether it’s an income bracket, a low follower count, or a business model, you are never stuck with anything.

You can always take steps to improve your situation in pursuit of your perfect lifestyle.

Honor the Trust Others Place in You

When life is unfair (and it often is), and even if you are not getting everything you think you deserve, you have a duty to honor the trust of those who follow you by being honest and behaving with genuine integrity.

In other words, earn everything.

If you cannot do that, not only are you devaluing and destroying the hope and trust of people who love, support, and lift you up, but you are destroying your very life in the process.

It’s not worth it.

Innocent Until Proven Otherwise

The accounts in this article are taken from statements of Chicago law enforcement officials. Smollett denies the allegations.

To hear the entire bond proffer against Smollett, watch this video statement of Risa Lanier, Chief of the Criminal Prosecutions Bureau, Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office.

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