Avoiding the “One More Time” Syndrome

“The Army doesn’t give medals for missing your kid’s first step, or Little League games.” GEN Shelton relates this nugget that he heard as a young officer from one of his commanding officers, Lieutenant Colonel Old.  As GEN Shelton relates, LT COL Old helped him remember that one of the most critical decisions you make is one as part of a family and as a parent and spouse.  LT COL Old continued, “But the thing  you have to watch out for is the one more time syndrome.  I know you love those kids. But the night the CG (Commanding General) is due to drop by and you tell yourself, ‘Just this one time I’ve got to stay late because it’s so important’- or when you’re about to walk out that door and you get word the Coast Guard got deployed and you’ve got no boats for the next morning’s exercise-those are the ones that’ll sneak up on you.” (page 117 of Without Hesitation: The Odyssey of an American Warrior)

As I think about GEN Shelton’s illustration,  I think that integrity in decision making is made up of the hundreds of different decisions, large and small that occur in our daily lives.  It’s not just the big decisions that demand integrity and alignment with our priorities, it’s the multiple small decisions, like bringing work home late or missing family events that can degrade integrity in one’s personal life.