You may be wondering why I feel I can post a blog like this. I don’t have a Phd or experience as the CEO of a company. I do have a lot of valuable experience in a variety of roles and industries. Why don’t I start at the beginning.
Let’s call this Chapter 1.
When I was 12 years old, I decided to follow in my dad’s footsteps and become a soccer referee. At first, I loved it because it was a chance for us to do something together. He and my brother had hockey to bond over, but we all loved soccer, so being a referee seemed like a good fit. This may seem like a small thing, just a hobby or an activity rather than a job, but let me tell you – this hobby changed my life.
Without realizing it, I had learned some really valuable lessons that, let’s be honest, most people don’t learn until later in life. I had proven I was ready for the challenge and discovered the feeling of joy and accomplishment that comes with success. After all, this really was my first taste of succeeding at something outside of school.
The lessons didn’t stop there. Let’s fast forward (but not too far) to my second game in the middle. I don’t remember what decisions I made, I don’t remember what the weather was like and I don’t remember what colour jerseys the teams were wearing. I do remember going toe to toe with a grown man as he waived his arms and screamed profanities because of a call I had made.. or maybe it was a call I didn’t make.. either way, that’s not important. What’s important is that I wasn’t going to take that kind of abuse and I threw him out. After I did it, I don’t think either of us believed what was happening. Was this little girl tossing this big guy from a u11 girls game? I remembered what my dad had said about abandoning a match if I needed to. He told me to start my watch and make it clear that when time’s up, either he goes or my crew goes. He left. The game continued. I wrote my report. And that was that.
Time and time again, I was challenged to be professional, confident, knowledgeable, fit and in control – or at the very least, appear to be! Without making this all about my life as a soccer referee (which I’m sure will be the topic of a Mandy Moment or two..), suffice to say that I was forever changed by the decision to pursue this hobby.
Chapter 2 – coming soon!