I called an audible.
I have known the essence of that phrase for decades. Yet only yesterday did I take the time to Google the official definition, and wow, it really makes sense now.
“To call an audible” refers to the quarterback changing the play at the last minute based on how he sees the defense lining up.
As the quarterback in my life, I recently had a difficult decision to make. The defense, a state of mental and physical exhaustion, had lined up strong.
I’d already postponed traveling to a conference by a couple days due to a crisis I was helping colleagues navigate and was supposed to fly across country to catch the end of the program. Immediately after that event, I was scheduled to fly cross-country back again to spend more than a week caring for my mom while my dad traveled.
As I parked my car, rode the shuttle, and entered the main floor of the airport, I felt out of steam, yet anxiously torn between two choices that both seemed to be “good” for me. I had this nagging sense that I needed to rest and recharge. Yet, this recurring conference had always proven to be a time of growth and moving forward, a little injection of internal motivation. Rest, good. Growth, good. A mental dilemma.
Standing there in the middle of the airport, I called the audible. I canceled the flight to Orlando and re-booked to Santa Ana. I chose to have three full days of rest and quiet while my dad was still home. (I don’t care how old I get, there’s just something about going “home.”) But why had this been so hard?
The Power of the Second Decision
Over the decades, I have come to believe that if I change my mind it means my first decision was wrong. That somehow I was wrong. I mean why would I have to correct a decision if I was smart enough, good enough, courageous enough to correctly make it in the first place? I had always seen changing my mind as weakness.
And then a friend and colleague shared with me that she and her husband call this process “the power of the second decision.” I love that! No judgement in that phrase. No feeling “less than.” No internalizing any meaning to a change of heart. Simply a change of mind.
Without fully knowing it at the time, I had let go of the internal criticism and simply made an empowered second decision. . . the decision that comes with more information and more wisdom (the application of that knowledge). As I boarded the plane for Santa Ana, my heart was disappointed that I would miss some wonderful people in Orlando. But it was full of peace, confirming that I had made the wisest decision for me in that moment.
If you find yourself with the defense unexpectedly lined up against you, don’t fear calling the audible. It could just be your winning play.