Umpire on baseball field making a call with a crowd behind him in the stands.

Stop Playing Umpire, It Is Holding You Back from Success

The one thing I catch myself doing more than anything else, that is holding me back from success, is what I call playing umpire.

“Playing umpire” is a phrase I have coined form over 50 years of watching baseball.  When a player, often an infielder such as a catcher, pitcher, first or third baseman, believe the umpire in the game is going to make a particular call on a play and responds according to what he thinks the umpire is going to do.

More often than not the fielder believe the umpire is going to call the ball foul so he does not hustle to try to catch the ball.

Defensive players also “play umpire”.  A batter who just hit the ball believes the ump has already decided the ball is going to go foul so he does not hustle to first base.

In most cases, when a player plays umpire, they are wrong and they cost the team an out at the very least, or a run, or even the game.

I must admit, I am guilty of playing umpire more time than I care to admit.

I have played umpire when I was single and dating:

 I would notice a cute girl and before I could ask her out, I would say things like “she probably already has a boyfriend” or “she would not be interested in me”.

I have played umpire when I was searching for a job:

While I looked for a job, and before I even applied, I would say “They won’t’ hire me because….” And I would make up some reason, granted most sounded logical to me, and convince myself not to even apply for the position.

I still catch myself today playing umpire as a business owner.

I have passed up chances and opportunities to network with others and grow my business, book A list guests for my podcast, etc., because I played umpire by saying things to myself including “They wouldn’t want to work with me”. “I am not big enough to connect with them” or “why would they want to work with little ole me and my startup business?”

For years I did not realize that I was playing umpire, I thought I was making decisions that would help me build success without wasting my time on efforts that would never work out for myself.

When I realized that I was playing umpire, I was not making decisions that would help me build success without wasting my time on efforts that would never work out for myself, I was making decisions for others that may have cost me some opportunities to succeed in life.

Just like a player could lose the game for his team when he plays umpire, you and I could lose out on much more – including the love of our lives, opportunities that could set us up for success and more.

Next time you catch yourself playing umpire, do what I do, remind yourself you are not the umpire.  Give it your all and let the other person who is the decision maker do his or her job – you will strike out a times, but there will also be times you are going to hit a home run when you would have talked yourself out of trying by playing umpire.

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