I learned an important life lesson playing soccer: Sometimes you have to go backwards to go forward.
I could hardly grasp the concept when my coach first stated it. He said we didn’t have to force the ball down the field, always headed straight for the goal. In fact, that was often the most unproductive tact. Instead, passing the ball backwards, starting the attack over, and working the ball around to the other side of the field was frequently the better strategy.
This revelation surprised me. Could going backwards really be the key to going forward? But I came to see my coach was right. Sometimes when an avenue is closing down, the only way forward is backwards.
I still remember my coach shouting in soccer lingo, “Drop the ball! Start over! Don’t force it!” And so we would. And as we did, the field would open up with new possibilities.
If you’re looking for new possibilities, hear this: you may need to go backwards. You may need to start over. You may need to let something go. You may need to quit. You may need to rest. You may need to say no. You may need to take a day off.
And when you do, don’t feel guilty. Don’t agonize over the backpedaling. You’re not falling behind. You’re not failing. You’re not being punished. You’re not slacking. You’re moving forward by going backwards.