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What Goes Around Comes Around

How often do people, especially in business, think that someone else is at fault? That life just isn’t fair? That some folks never seem to suffer negative consequences for their actions? Often we see the illusion of life instead of reality. Read this and let it sink in…perhaps your perspective will change.

A number of years ago, I received a call at work from my wife. She was very upset, excited and intense, “Guess what I just found out!?” It really wasn’t a question. I knew she would tell me with all the fervor she could muster, without me prodding for more. “You know Dr. Jones (not his real name) down the street?” I recalled that he was a successful physician. “Sara just told Edna, who called me, that he sexually molested Sara’s daughter the other day. Can you believe that?” Needless to say, I was shocked. So was just about everyone else in the community. We couldn’t believe it. Why would a prominent, married, father risk everything to sexually abuse this girl? It was incomprehensible and sad for all concerned. Over the weeks that followed, I thought the scuttlebutt would die down, but it kept on going like wildfire. People were indignant, even those who were not directly affected, and I was no different. Dr. Jones was tried in the court of public opinion before the legal system could take action. And yes, there were many opinions about what should happen. Most in the community were outspoken and I was one of the most outspoken. Eventually, Dr. Jones entered into a plea agreement with the legal system and victim that would have him serving time in prison on work release. He lost his home, his medical practice, his reputation. He lost most everything he had worked for in his life. It seemed that only his family stood by him.

For the court of public opinion, though, that was not enough. The Medical Board was meeting to determine if he should lose his license. When the court of public opinion found out that he might be allowed to keep his medical license, they were outraged. Soon a letter writing campaign was orchestrated and I was asked to participate. With great pride, I composed an outstanding letter that no medical board could dismiss. I exclaimed to those who would listen, if I had committed an illegal act, I would lose my CPA license! Why should this man be any different? I was standing up for the most vulnerable in society and proud of it. Little did I know that I was setting into motion the very response in my life that I was asking for in his life. His actions were none of my business. He, nor his family, had harmed me and in fact, he was the family doctor for some family members who would miss his kind care. Yet, then, my ego and pride were fed by others for becoming an active participant in his ultimate downfall. What nobody knew, but me, was, at the time this event was occurring, I was involved in my own illegal and unethical scheme embezzling money from my clients. It never occurred to me, but focusing on the doctor’s crime was a way that I could deflect attention away from me. It was also a way that I could stay in self-denial about my own activity. I wasn’t that bad. What I didn’t know was, soon I would learn the lesson: “What goes around comes around.”

This lesson – similar to the lesson: You reap what you sow – is an inevitable law of the universe. Some laws are easy to observe, like the law of gravity. Others take time to understand, see or experience. In many ways, “What goes around comes around,” deals with ethics, ethical choices and the consequences that follow. Each ethical choice we make has an undisputed consequence – we just may not see it immediately.

Soon after the doctor incident, I was in another state conducting a training seminar when I received a call from one of my partners. It appeared that one of my clients called requesting a withdrawal from an investment I made on his behalf. The partner wanted to help me and assist with the process of helping the client access his money. The problem was there was no investment. Of course, he didn’t know that as he called to help. Reality was I had stolen the money on the pretense of a loan. There were no funds to repay it from. I was guilty – just like the good Doctor and while no one else knew it at that moment – I did. The “coming around” part of “what goes around comes around,” was just beginning. Now, I would get a chance to experience what I helped the Doctor experience. If only I could have rewound the tape and taken back the unethical choices I made.

That night I lay on my bed in the hotel room wondering how to deal with the situation. I seriously considered suicide to save my family the same pain the doctor’s family had to go through. I was sick. There truly was no way out other than confessing. I recalled that night what I did to the doctor in my judgment of him. I offered no forgiveness and no hope to he and his family, and how I needed both for myself right now.

It was a long flight home. Upon arriving, I shared with my partners what I had done confessing every account I stole from. Their response of shock and dismay was not encouraging, in fact, one suggested I commit suicide. Little did he know that he was reading my mind from the night before. Then, I went home and told my wife what I had done. Confessing all was not easy. We called our minister and I shared my shame with him. By the end of the day, I felt about as low as a man can feel. My final plight - Federal prison. For my theft, my family was disgraced, and I lost everything. The illusion of success was gone and there was no foundation beneath it to survive other than the true essence of who I was.

So what’s the point of this seemingly circular tale of woe? The point is that I was no better than Dr. Jones. We each had parts of us that we didn’t want revealed. In fact, we’d both have preferred that they stay neatly tucked away in our closets…never to be revealed. We’d have both been satisfied to live out the illusion hoping that we could leave hidden those poor ethical choices we made. However, none of those hopes would prove to be possible.

The fact is, when we stand in judgment of another human being, we need to first make sure that our own lives are in order and then, and only then, judge for the purpose of bringing healing to the person involved. We get what we give. “What goes around comes around” and boy did it come around to me. I regret all that I did to cause greater harm to the doctor and his family. He created enough of that himself. Of course, now, I have an understanding of what he went through. Many times I wish I could have some way to communicate to him, just to let him know of my regret. Perhaps, intending to apologize is sufficient on a Universal plane.

We don’t need to stand in judgment of other people aside from the court of law. There is truly nothing to be gained. In fact, when we stand in judgment of others, we may interfere with the natural flow of consequences. The offender, (in this case choose Dr. Jones or me) has personal, individual responsibility for his actions. We each put in motion, by our unethical actions, events that lead to the consequences we received. It was cause and effect. No man’s judgment of us could make it better or worse as we each reaped what we sowed from our unethical actions. It was time for my crime to be shown to the world. Did my consequence imposed by the court system come as a result of what I put into motion with Dr. Jones? Many have been tried before me for the same crimes I committed without the same consequences. What was different for me? Perhaps, the difference was two-fold. First, I created the outcome by contributing to the demise of Dr. Jones. Secondly, the lesson I needed would require a time out in a prison setting.

Now, some twenty years later as I look back on past events, people often ask, “So, how do you feel about it now?” My response is, “One of the best things that happened to me!” I would not recommend it to others, but the learning experience was incredible and the opportunity to share with others and help them through their journey is awesome. Today I am planting good seeds. Through accepting responsibility and living an ethical life, I have been given a second chance. I am blessed to serve as a Sales Executive in a Publicly Traded Company; teaching many people how to improve their lives through success in sales. Likewise, through my efforts in speaking, various groups allow me to share my direct ethics experiences of reaping and sowing - therefore, providing a framework for their personal growth. We all will eventually reap what we sow - that is a spiritual truth. The question is will we enjoy the consequences of our choices? And believe meFree Articles, there are always consequences to every ethical choice we make. Chuck openly shares the ethical experiences of his life through his ethics keynote address: Success Beyond Illusion or Ethics: Negative Consequences - Positive Results. For information on how Chuck can speak to your organization and share his experiences visit Chuck Gallagher's presentations web page.

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On a crisp October day in 1995, Chuck Gallagher took 23 physical steps… opened a door… and began a new experience that was life-changing. Gallagher explores that experience and the success that followed… while involving the reader in ways that could be life-altering for them. Gallagher captures the heart of the audience in an honest way that deals with human emotion. For information on Chuck’s keynotes and workshops go to or for a free ezine on Ethical Choices contact Chuck at

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