One thing I’ve certainly learned as a coach’s wife is the importance of moving forward and not clinging too tightly to the past. But I’ve also learned that it is impossible to truly move forward without looking back.
Reflection is the key to improvement. After all, how can you move forward without understanding what you’re moving forward from? In the fall, our baseball team plays non-traditional games. These games are often played without an umpire or with only one umpire, and they are typically longer than a typical game so that almost every player has the opportunity to play (last weekend’s game was 16 innings). For the coaches, the primary purpose of these games is to identify areas that need improvement. They rely on those mistakes of the past in order to move forward. In fact, they seek opportunities to see what they may need to work on rather than staying within their comfort zone. They look back in order to move forward.
In our lives, we’d be wise to do the same. But instead, too often, we try to run full-speed ahead.
Running from past mistakes is not the answer. We cannot escape the past or our mistakes. If we do not deal with them, they will inevitably catch up with us. Problems do not go away on their own. When one of my husband’s pitchers struggles to throw strikes, it doesn’t do anyone any good to simply stop utilizing that player. It doesn’t help to simply hope he will do better the next time. When mistakes have been made, a coach must confront the issue. Together, the players and coaches look back on what happened and work toward a solution. Errors are never ignored.
So why do we try so hard to ignore our mistakes as if doing so will magically make them go away? Where we’ve been makes us who we are, so to understand ourselves and reach our potential, we must look back.