• May 2015
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Ethical Edge Letters on Integrity  

Click here for Russell Williams' bio

Tuesday, December 07, 2010
Will you choose a V.I.P. life?
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
'Twas the night before Christmas'
Is it chance or choice?

“First, say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do.”

Is it chance or is it choice? Is it circumstance or is it calling? What governs the grand brushstrokes with which an individual paints on their life canvas, personally and professionally?

Addressing the fundamental question of causation is not simply the reflection of philosophers. Rather, it is the pulse that determines the daily rhythmic beating of every individual pursuing his or her influence at home, at work and in the community.

Let’s explore the question of causation with recent economic forecasting for our nation in 2011. We are now hearing a thematic outcome of the Great Recession being described as the jobless recovery. Whether this prediction actually becomes the national basis upon which our recovery rests, we do know that millions and millions of business and professional leaders must pick up their brushes and paint for productivity on this potentially stark landscape.

My dad was a young college graduate in the mid-1930s during the Great Depression. He experienced and witnessed the anguish of a struggling American nation. In those economically bleak times, he decided to do something dramatic. He penned a letter to hundreds of CEOs at large U.S. companies. In his letter he told the CEOs that he was a new graduate and he wanted the opportunity to spend an hour learning about how these business leaders were creatively addressing their professional leadership in the toughest of economic conditions.

Twenty-five-plus years later, after building a successful business career following World War II, my dad told me that his long-ago conversations revealed one startling, common insight: Tough, troublesome circumstances did not define these leaders. Positive choice making did.

We all do have a paintbrush for daily choosing. The colors we choose from our palette must be placed on a number of circumstances, conditions and events that are both encouraging and discouraging. Whether we are willing to admit it or not, the paintbrush of choice making is in our hand. We decide what colors will be carried from our brush to our life canvas.

Mission Integrity Action

This week I see my actions as a professional artisan painting decisions on a canvas colored by my conversations of ethical influence. The vision I hold for my actions is clear: I produce positive outcomes built on mutual respect and shared purpose.

Russell Williams,
Passkeys Foundation/Ethical Edge