When you place your reputation ahead of winning, you still win

When you place your reputation ahead of winning, you still win

runnerLess than a week ago, we officially said goodbye to Rio and the 2016 Summer Olympic Games and already the memories are fading. Gabby Douglas, who took such a beating on social media for poor sportsmanship, is now the poster child for surviving online bullying and she just booked a gig as a Miss America judge.

Swimmer Ryan Lochte is facing charges for filing a false police report in Rio, but he already has a new sponsor and he’s also in talks to appear on an upcoming season of Dancing with the Stars.

Looking at those two cases, it would appear that when you’re a celebrity, a bad reputation can be its own reward. However, there have been cases where the nice guys finished first – even when they finished last.

Nikki Hamblin of New Zealand was running the 5,000m race when she tripped and fell, taking American runner Abbey D’Agostino down with her. D’Agostino quickly got to her feet, then she did something unbelievable; she stopped to help Hamblin up so they could both continue in the race. What neither woman realized at the time was that D’Agostino was badly injured and running on adrenaline. When she stumbled Hamblin picked her up and the two struggled along together to the finish line.

Runners who come in last don’t usually win a medal, but the Olympic committee just handed both women the Pierre de Coubertin medal for their incredible sportsmanship. The medal, which is named for founder of the International Olympic Committee, isn’t given out every year. In fact, it’s only been awarded 17 times in the past 50 years. Former winners include a sailor who gave up his lead to rescue two other sailors whose boat had capsized, and a marathon runner who celebrated his second place win after being delayed by an angry protestor.

The Olympic committee also handed out a fair play award to a team that didn’t even make it to Rio. The Norwegian men’s handball team lost their championship match and their trip to Rio when German scored a tie-breaking goal. One problem, Germany had too many players on the field. The Norwegians could have protested the win but they felt that since the extra man didn’t impact the play, the Germans had won fair and square.

Most of us will never get a medal or public recognition for doing the right thing and that’s how it should be. As cliché as it sounds, doing good is its own reward. It lifts us up. It makes us feel more confident and it’s a reputation booster.

Sometimes, doing the right thing is easy; like donating to charity or mentoring someone less fortunate than you. Sometimes, doing the right thing is hard; like speaking up when your company makes an illegal or harmful decision. Either way, its worth doing because even though nice guys often finish last, they’re the ones who can be proud of what they see in the mirror every morning.

What do you see when you look in the mirror?