Oprah and Lance Armstrong – Can He Still Livestrong?

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Cyclist Lance Armstrong sitting down to talk candidly with Oprah Winfrey

Cyclist Lance Armstrong sitting down to talk candidly with Oprah Winfrey

So there’s a lot of press, opinions, and comments flying around at the moment, following the for some, long awaited confession from former Tour de France record holder Lance Armstrong as he sat down with Oprah Winfrey for a reported no holds barred, open, honest, and candid interview addressing speculation about performance enhancement drug use and long term doping allegations.

I am not a religious girl, however the ‘let he who is without sin cast the first stone . . . ‘ keeps popping into my head.

Yes, he made some big mistakes. Not once, not twice, not three times, but a series of very calculated deceptions over a very long period of time.  And yes, he has a huge what we might call ego, not absolutely necessary for a focused winner (Mo Farah and many others are dedicated winners and also seem like sweet and humble people), the big ego however  often seems par for the course in highly fuelled and testosterone driven sport.


In terms of Part 1 of the world exclusive interview, when Oprah cuts back to the tapes of Lance’s previous testimonies, his body language leakage of the truth was blatantly obvious, almost laughably so.  His body always spoke well in advance of his verbal answers, and on all occasions on those recordings, his body, and what came out of his mouth were in contradiction to each other.  The body spoke the truth, the words didn’t.

Lance Armstrong covering his mouth as though not wanting to let the truth out.

Lance Armstrong covering his mouth as though not wanting to let the truth out.

During the interview with Oprah this week there seemed to be certain coldness from Lance, although by his own admission he isn’t the type of guy to sit around looking back.  Also from what he said about himself, and the traits that he picked up from his mother, there is no real room for dwelling either in or on past emotions.

Watching Lance Armstrong last night reminded me of some of the high profile and successful male clients I’ve worked with over the years for whom putting right past mistakes was alien territory.  Even speaking of such things and admitting mistakes was hard and uncharted waters.


Speaking now of my experiences of the 13 years that I have been a Coach and Therapist, these are some of the things that were evident when working with people who found themselves in similar circumstances.  These observations may go some way to explaining the Lance Armstrong many of us watched this week who still on some level looked a little defiant and nonplussed during the interview with Oprah:

  • They knew they had made mistakes and hurt the people that they cared about most, and that did hurt them deeply however they could see no point in continually raking over the past, they just wanted to move on.
  • There was a huge amount of inner turmoil because many of their actions went against their inner most values so even they themselves couldn’t actually logically fully explain why they did what they did.
  • Expressing themselves in terms of feelings was not how they communicated.  Tears would sometimes come however they were often more through self frustration because they had not been able to find a way to convey their sense of remorse in the way that those affected expected or wanted to see.
  • Although they knew that by societies standards they had done wrong, and although they didn’t want to go there again, such was the internal drive back then to get what they wanted, they were not even sure within themselves whether they could guarantee that a similar thing wouldn’t happen again.  They didn’t intend to go out and do it all again, yet despite that something in side of them, when left to its own devices was unable to commit that this would not be the case.
  • They punished themselves internally more than the outside world would ever realise.  This sometimes manifested as sleep problems, questioning of self value, shame and embarrassment about what others they respected or cared about were thinking or saying about them in the background, inability to fully devote their focus to current projects or work, even thoughts of ending it all because that way people would finally know that they were sorry.
  • Unmet needs and values was a far bigger driver than anything the outside world could leverage.  Ultimately they couldn’t deny themselves what they wanted even though they knew it was ‘wrong.’
  • They didn’t really want to hurt anyone else, they just wanted what they wanted and would do whatever it took to get it.
  • The lies and deception were sometimes additionally fuelled by not wanting to hurt those closest to them.  Of course they also realised the irony of that situation; The more lies they told, and the more deception they weaved, the greater and more devastating the impact would be if/when the truth did out.

This post isn’t about making excuses for people or letting them off the so-called hook.  I am just telling it the way I see it from the perspective that some of  those outwardly successful people have shared.


I believe that Lance is right in saying that it’s a process.  Lance Armstrong is just starting that process.  It can be one which requires a consistent thawing rather than ‘wham, I’ve talked about it once, so that’s it!’  In NLP terms we might start with the pace and lead, taking someone from where they are, to where they want to be.  You can’t necessarily expect someone to go from cold logical thought to being in touch with their inner most feelings overnight.

I also stress the word ‘want’ because that person has to want to be or do something different.  When people first start out on such a journey they can often pay lip service to working with a Coach or Therapist.  They may try to go through the motions so that they can tick the box of ‘getting help.’   With some people that might work.  With the right, or wrong therapist, depending upon how you look at it, those games won’t fly.  If you’re in the game, you’re in the game, so saddle up and lets get this show on the road.


Go back and watch Part 1 of the Oprah interview where they show replays of Lance’s early televised interviews.  Whoever ends up working with Lance needs to look out for those unconscious yet blatantly obvious cues.  Not only watch out for them, but challenge them.  If you are dealing with a similar situation or person in your own life, these are also the signals you want to look out for.  Also remember that coming from a ‘no judgement’ place is hugely import (see my opening line about casting the first stone!)

Only time will tell whether this is the start of a new chapter for Lance Armstrong.  For some the damage has been done and there is no going back, and no redemption.  For others, it will be a case of action speaking louder than words as Lance moves on from here.

As Oprah said in closing the interview, she wasn’t that concerned with Lance’s ‘come back’, it was more about how he evolves and develops as a human being going forward.

As an ex-highly logical, lack of emotion human being, I can attest to the fact that all things are possible in terms of personal transformation and change, as long as the person in question is ready.  No amount of logical reasoning or public outcries will change a person or a mindset that has no desire to do so.

If however Lance is ready to move onwards and upwards, then I wish him the best of luck and look forward to seeing him on the other side of this decade long drama.



Marilyn Devonish is a Belief Change Specialist and TranceFormational™ Change Coach.  An Accelerated Learning Trainer, and specialist in releasing old emotional baggage, letting go of the past, and creating a compelling future, Marilyn has been passionate about lasting change and transformation since coming coming back from brink of suicidal feelings to total transformation in just a matter of weeks.

Coming from both a business and esoteric background this unique transformational mix includes a Business Degree, Post Graduate Marketing Diploma, PRINCE2 Project Management certifications, as well as a being Certified Master Practitioner and Trainer of Hypnosis, NLP, Time Line Therapy and PhotoReading™ and a Practitioner in EFT, DNA Theta Healing, EmoTrance, Reiki, Energetic NLP,  Archetypal Profiling, and Hawaiian Huna and the Ho’oponopono Forgiveness Process.

You can find further information about Marilyn Devonish and her work by visiting:  http://tranceformationstm.com/

You will also find Free Resources, free mp3 downloads, eBooks, and interviews at: http://tranceformationstm.com/resources.php

If you like this post do feel free to click the social media buttons below and share it with a few of your friends and contacts.  Thank you!



About the Author:

Marilyn Devonish has been described as the UK equivalent of Oprah Winfrey, Marianne Williamson, Anthony Robbins, a dash of Doreen Virtue, and the trio from Charmed all rolled into one. I (Marilyn Devonish) have admit that was too big of a statement for me to own, but I equally admit that I do like the sound of it and it did make me smile. Marilyn Devonish - Herself since Year 2000.


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