>In the game of baseball, backstop typically refers to the high fence or screen located behind the catcher. The purpose of the backstop is to stop a missed catch from rolling away from the catcher. The catcher is responsible for every ball that comes his way. He’s also responsible for ensuring that a run doesn’t score either. It’s a very demanding position with little room for error. In baseball most of the positions allow for a degree of teammate backup. Outfielders help cover each other, they also help cover infielders. The catcher is all on his own.

Except for that bit of fencing. In the frenzy of a missed ball, that fencing provides a second chance, a way to redeem the miss. If he’s fast enough and accurate enough, he just might salvage his mistake.

Life is a bit like baseball. It’s not an individual sport. You work with a variety of people in all aspects of your daily life. Coworkers, friends, family and even strangers make up your team. It can be tempting to think that you are alone. You really aren’t. You may be profoundly isolated, but you are never totally alone.

You also can’t do everything. Again, I know how tempting it is. You think that you should be an expert in all areas of your life. News flash, it’s not going to happen. You are going to make mistakes, and things will get past you. This is where the team around you becomes important. These are people you work with to help keep you going, and to provide backup.

The most vital of your teammates is your backstop. This is the person who lets you step out of your comfort zone and take risks. This is the person who allows you to be aggressive, push hard, and find your growing edge. You can take those risks because you know that when the chips are down, if the ball passes you, your backstop is there to minimize the damage.

Those who experience the greatest success learn to value their team and cherish their backstop. You can ride solo from the front of the Tour de France, knowing that your team will catch you and ride you back in to safety. You can push hard knowing that if you miss a detail, that person is there to catch the error. You can make the risky reach for your dreams knowing that if you miss, you won’t fall far.

If you live a full life, you get the joy of backstopping others while knowing that you have your own backstop. If you don’t have a good backstop, look for one. Think about people you trust, people you know will take the job seriously. Learn to accept their friendship for what it is. Allow that person in to your team.

You will find it far easier to reach for greatness, to play the game of life with heart, and to be the remarkable person you truly are. Why? Because you always have someone backstopping you.