Ahh, the new year! It is the time of year when people begin thinking about what the coming year will bring – what changes they will make or promises they will keep. They anxiously look ahead.
But a few years ago I read a book that inspired me to spend this time of year in reflection. John Maxwells book, The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth was a game changer for my thinking.
Like other parts of our life, in officiating we are running so fast from flight to flight, and game to game, that we don’t truly value reflection. I am the guiltiest of them all – always planning, running, doing and rarely just reflecting and recording my thoughts. Honestly it is part of the reason I began this blog three years ago – to force myself to reflect on the business of officiating that has been my passion for nearly two decades. I want to give you three of the I’s of Maxwells book you should use to direct your reflection:
- Investigation- Ask questions, dig into the situation, find out exactly what happened, both good and bad. By fully investigating the experience you can uncover what went wrong, what went right and what you can learn from it all.
- Think of the game situation where coach really blew up for what seemed like no reason at all. Why did she run down the sideline and scream at you and then your partner over what seemed like a very simple, textbook travel call?
- Incubation- Maxwell says that reflection should be like putting your ideas and experiences in a slow cooker to simmer for a while. Don’t just give them a passing thought and move on. Truly mediate on them and see what you can learn.
- This is where I use my friend Melissa* (changed for anonymity). Sometimes I can take my perspective on the event or game or situation and then I just run it by her. She thinks through it like a coach for me. She is kind of like my idea incubator! And then what she’s really great at, is asking me about it a few days later to see if I have spent time meditating on it myself. Are you incubating your ideas with someone or are you going back after an amount of time to review the thoughts.
- Illustration- Use your experiences to tell a story. Write out the lessons you took from it, how it made you feel and what you will do different next time. Maxwell calls this putting meat on the bones of your ideas. Come up with action plans for implementing what you learned.
- One of things I think is the hardest about layered plays is actually naming the action correctly. For example is it an F1, contact dead-ball technical, player/substitute technical or administrative technical? If you can name them – you can assign penalty and you can adjudicate the consequences of each action in proper order. But what if you can’t name the sequence of events because you’ve never seen them and reflected on them before now?
- In life, we are faced with repeat situations, and if we can identify them, we can adjust our response based on previous learnings.
- So take a game situation that you didn’t like – and rather than pout or blame or hide from it – write out the situation. Write out the questions you asked your partner, the questions they asked the table, etc and learn from those micro-moments. Understand how coach’s question made you feel. How would you like to handle it differently?
And then I am going to close today’s post with my own “I” action post reflection.
- Instruct– “While we teach, we learn,” said the Roman philosopher Seneca.
- I believe people who take the time to teach others work harder to understand, recall more accurately and apply more effectively to their own situations. So learn from your moments, reflect on them, and then share them for someone else to learn.
This week we start a whole new year! But before we get to 2016, take time to reflect on 2015. What did you learn? What situations did you handle poorly? Officiating success happens in the moments – so learn from them.