How to Handle Failure Like a Pro

Photo by John David Mercer-USA TODAY

At the risk of boring the reader who may not be a sports fan, this post is inspired by a play in a recent pro football game. Not because the play itself was great, but because it was a bad play followed by a great reaction.

Truth is many of us are put out with professional sports these days, especially those flamboyant, flexing members of the National Football League (NFL). Weary of all their “look-at-me” antics and off-the-field drama, some of us would even say we are no longer fans.

But every now and then there is a refreshing example that blows up the stereotype…someone who both plays like a pro and acts like a pro. Someone like Alshon Jeffery…

You don’t have to be a fan of Jeffery or his team, the Philadelphia Eagles, to appreciate the humility and courage that he displayed publicly after recently missing a catch that may have cost his team an important game.

As a wide receiver, Jeffery’s job is to catch the ball when it is thrown to him. And 70% of the time, he does. But at a critical moment in a win-or-go-home situation, he missed. A perfectly thrown ball went right through his hands. What could have been a game-changing play leading to victory was instead a season-ending play. His miss sealed the outcome. His team lost.

No doubt Jeffery was as surprised and devastated as anybody, but rather than duck responsibility, he gracefully leaned into it. In his press conference he said,

It went through my hands…[It was] a catchable ball. I gotta make that play. It’s on me…”

In a world full of blame-shifting and excuse-making, Jeffery’s humility in that moment is admirable. It was an excellent example of how to handle failure like a pro.

The reality is that we all miss sometimes. As imperfect humans on this side of heaven, failure is inevitable. Alshon Jeffery’s example reminds us that the best way to deal with failure is to own it and move forward.

But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ -James 4:6

God’s love is bigger than our worst blunder, so there’s no need trying to pretend otherwise when we mess up. Like this little girl who kindly wrote to Jeffery after the game, God is not a fair-weather fan. He is still for us, even when we fail.

jeffrey's fan (2)

It’s a new day with God. Run with it.


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