If you've ever spent any time watching sports, you'll see that most of them have something important in common. These competitions all have a set of rules, and they have at least one official — a judge, umpire, or referee — that is charged with enforcing the rules and making judgement calls on plays as they occur.
These officials have a tremendous responsibility and considerable power. Their calls can have huge consequences for the players and teams, and their judgements are alternately criticized or cheered from moment to moment. It is difficult, but necessary work and it requires clear vision, good judgement, decisiveness, and above all, an unwavering confidence in one's own leadership.
There's a great story attributed to Charlie Moran, a famous baseball umpire of the 20th century. When questioned about a controversial call, he replied: "They're either fair or foul — and they ain't nothing until I call 'em!"
This story points to an important truth about each of our lives. As we go through our days, we are constantly "officiating" the game that we are playing. However things go, we are the ones making the calls and they "ain't nothing until we call them."
Being the referees of our own lives is a unique ability and responsibility. No one else can see what we can see. No one else can write our narrative. Whether we are "owning" our referee status, resisting it, or ignoring it - we alone are responsible for the calls that we are making. So, I invite you to be a conscious and skilled referee.
If you are interested in building self-care mastery and greater well-being, this referee metaphor creates some great questions to consider. Here are a few:
- What is the game that you are playing? (In other words — what vision or purpose get you out of bed in the morning?)
- What are the rules of the game? (What underlying assumptions guide your choices and the way you interpret them?)
- What calls do you need to make to keep the game moving forward? (Where can you be more clear and decisive?)
As you continue to build your best life, I invite you to invest in developing your referee skills, so that you can lead yourself with clarity, compassion, and confidence.
Where have you been conscious of being your own referee? Please share your thoughts with me below!