Beth Armstrong

Christian wife, mom, & author. Doing life with my eyes fixed on Jesus. I walk, I stumble, I fall. But God is big. And this is what I write about… Thanks for stopping by!


3-and-out. It’s a phrase you hear frequently during the span of a football game. It’s when the offense runs three consecutive plays, fails to make a first down, then has to punt the ball to the other team. If the three offensive plays are viable attempts to make a first down, I don’t have a problem with that. But when all three plays are weak, conservative, pointless, and in no way setting the team up for success on the subsequent play, that’s when I have a problem.

I mean, think about it…if on 1st down the offense runs the ball up the middle for no gain, then why repeat that same play for 2nd and 3rd downs? It’s not successful. It did nothing to gain ground. It didn’t set the offense up for success on the next down. The same line of thinking applies on 2nd down. If the effort on 2nd down isn’t intentional about either gaining a 1st down or setting the team up for success on 3rd down, then it was equally as futile. 

It drives me crazy to watch teams “vegetate” for 3 straight downs. Sometimes it looks as if the offense isn’t even trying. It appears as if they’re perfectly fine with little effort, little action, little intentionality, and little time spent working towards success. 

As a matter of fact, it drives me crazy in sports, education, church, business, and life in general to watch the “vegetative” state triumph. I’m certainly not an expert, a guru, or an authority on any of the previously mentioned categories, but honestly I think there’s some simplicity in creating success. Unfortunately we tend to complicate the process. We over-analyze, micro-manage, and inundate w/ too many steps. We have lengthy, complex, and wide-ranging goals. And all of these things can impede our progress, thus creating the “vegetative” state that often produces no gain. 

In the simplest form, these three plays will help ensure success: 

1)    Define the goal—ask yourself, “What one thing do I want to accomplish? What one thing do I want to achieve? What’s my one objective?”

2)    Devise a plan—clearly define steps that move your team from point A to point B (from where you are to where you want to be)

3)    Execute—don’t just talk about it, BE about it! Move forward and carry out your plan. 

No more 3-and-out!


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