Friday, July 9, 2010

Keep that card in your pocket, ref

I had a soccer game last night. We were winning 4-3 late in the game and I had been having a pretty good game. I had 2 goals and 2 assists and was feeling pretty good.

An opposing defender who had been called twice previously for pushing me in the back had just pushed again – and was called for it again. He had been talking to the referee the whole game about my pushing, but I had not been called for anything. Frustrated at this perceived inequity and yet another foul, he decided to talk to me. I foolishly talked back, the referee heard me and pulled out a card on me. I was off to the sideline for the remainder of the game. That’s where I got to watch the other team score their tying goal.

What are the lessons in this?

1. Don’t let your emotions get the best of you. ‘Nuff said.
2. You can’t ride on your past success. Just because I usually keep my mouth shut during games does not mean that the time I do open it that I should not get a card pulled on me.
3. It’s a slippery slope you can go down. I will remember the penalty and what ‘may have been’ from that game, more than the 4 points I logged.
4. Ignorance is not bliss. Even if I knew the referee was intently listening, I would not have believed he would pull a card for some non-curse words. Wrong! The words I spoke were not helpful to any aspect of our team objective. They did no good. There was only downside.

The answer is knowledge (which I now have), experience (which I now have), reflection (which I did) and commitment (I’ll post again if I ever get a card for my words). If sport is a microcosm of life, there are definite parallels to consulting. Face the reality of your situation, deliver frequent huge results for clients, keep your game on in tough times, learn your ropes and don’t make the same mistakes twice.