How to Bounce Back when you get Benched: Lessons from Eli Manning

For the first time in 210 straight games, somebody not named Eli Manning will be the starting quarterback for the Giants. At 2-9 so far in the season, the team needed to make some drastic changes to stay afloat and have a chance at the playoffs. Manning is an iconic player and leader, but even the best can get benched. In the professional world, top performers, managers and executives make mistakes, too. Here’s what we can learn from this great player on keeping your composure and bouncing back from setbacks in your career:

Own up

In Manning’s interview about the decision, he said “I don’t like it, but it’s part of football. You handle it… I didn’t do my job.”

Admitting your mistake is essential. Take responsibility for your actions, and don’t make excuses. When you’re vulnerable enough to be authentic about your mistakes, your transparency will pay off. Instead of ignoring the setback or glazing over the issue, be like Manning and own up.

Depending on the size of the problem, your coworkers may even be able to help. Decide who the best person to confide in would be, and let them know you’d appreciate their advice. If you need to approach your boss about your mistake, come prepared with your own ideas for a solution. Handling a career crisis with poise and grace may actually pay off in your favor as people recognize your ability to work under pressure.  Managers want employees who recognize their mistakes, and learn from them.

Be a team player

“Like I always have, I’ll be ready to play if and when I am needed. I will help Geno and Davis prepare to play as well as they possibly can… I’ll be a good teammate.”

When you aren’t given a promotion, or fail to get a bonus, take notes from Manning. Don’t hold a grudge that will hold back your team, lift them up instead. Showing your support despite a setback shows strength of character. If your coworker got the management role you raised your hand for, congratulate them. You won’t do yourself or your company any favors by acting jaded. When disheartening career roadblocks show up, maintain your composure and keep doing what’s best for the team. This type of poise will be appreciated and foster growth for the future. After all, teamwork makes the dream work.

Fail forward

“It’s hard,” Manning said. “It’s been a hard day to handle this, but, you know, [I’ll] hang in there and figure this out.”

In the face of failure, keep grinding towards your goal. Get gritty and don’t let it stop you. Finding the lesson is key when you get professionally benched. Instead of letting the crisis cripple you, be like Eli and stay strong. Handling difficult situations in your career can be tough, so remember to stay grounded. How you respond is often more important than the mistake itself. When you lose a major client, or fail to hit your goal, take a step back before you quit. Hang on to your composure and think about what you learned. Use the opportunity to reflect, and use the lemons you were given to make lemonade.


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