The Fourth Quarter Principle- How to Finish the Year Strong & Jump Start the Next?

The 4th Quarter Principle: How to Finish the Year Strong & Jump Start the Next

It has been said that life is like a game and we often look to sports for instructive metaphors and/or illustrative analogies for life and business. As a sports enthusiast, it is remarkable that most competitive sporting events come down to the fourth (4th) quarter. If it is not a sport that is broken down into quarters, the observation is still the same. What happens in the final stretch, lap, leg, seconds, etc. is where the game is typically won or lost.

In our society, we often do the opposite than what is done in sports. Much fanfare is devoted around the “NEW” year, resolutions, and reflections. There is so much emphasis on the first (1st) quarter and the beginning, that we can miss the value of fourth quarter from a planning and execution perspective. Think about it: if you did not achieve your fitness, time management, or work-life balance goal in the beginning of the year, now is the ideal time to get it done! A ninety-day (90) commitment allows for significant and meaningful changes that will lay the foundation for lasting results. Lucky for us, 2016 is a leap year, so we have ninety-two (92) days between October 1st and December 31st.

Here are 5 practical steps:

1) Review your goals – It is time to take stock in the goals we set for ourselves. Having clear goals allows us to get focused. When we KNOW what we want, we can ask ourselves, “Does this activity or thing I’m choosing to do move me towards or away from my goals?” When we are choosing we are in a position of control and empowered.

2) Acknowledge Success – Once we have reviewed our goals, we should acknowledge our success, as what we focus on grows. Too often, in our minds, we tend first to go to what did not get done. Let’s flip that tendency and go to what did get done. Perhaps we can be like contortionists and pat ourselves on the back.

3) Recommit and/or Commit – After reviewing goals and acknowledging success, it is time to recommit and/or commit to objectives that truly motivate us. What will give me the greatest fulfillment in the next ninety-days? What will be best served in the next quarter (Q1 2017)? Is this my goal or someone else’s goal for me? After asking some questions, then make a list. Make sure we follow the S.M.A.R.T acronym for goal writing (Specific, Measurable, Aligned, Realistic, and Time-bound) to ensure our actions for achieving the goal are deliberate.

4) Develop Strategy – In sports, we must have offensive and defensive strategies for success. The same applies here in the fourth quarter. On offense, we are in control. Leveraging our natural gifts, strengths, and resources. How do you go about achieving a score on the board? On defense, we are actively working to block the things that are trying to prevent us from putting a score on the board? Who or what typically holds me back? What is my plan to overcome old patterns, limiting beliefs or saboteurs (especially when that saboteur is yourself)? When we are clear on how we want to attack our goal and defend against things keeping us from our goal, then we can develop a clear plan of action.

5) Build a Great Team – I often tell clients, friends, and family, “You can have it all but you cannot do it all.” You need a great team and that starts with a great COACH. Even in individual sports (i.e. tennis, golf), athletes have a team that starts with their coach. You should also identify sponsors, mentors, cheerleaders, and players. The sponsor will bring additional resources or tools; the mentor has been on a similar path and can share lessons from his or her experience; cheerleaders will keep you going when you want to give up; and your players will do the things you cannot execute but are essential to your goal being accomplished.

October is here. The fall is upon us. The fourth quarter of the calendar year has officially begun. As the leaves change, the air becomes more crisp, and the days shorten, we begin to immerse ourselves in the fury of the seasons to come – homecomings, holidays, and healthcare benefit selections. Before we get too far down the road, the fourth quarter is also an ideal time for making things happen.

Are you ready? It is time to lay it all on the line, let us apply the 4th Quarter Principle from sports to FINISH our year strong and JUMP START 2017. Let’s do it!

Read More from Coach Demetria: How to Create Lasting Change This New Year


Coach Demetria Sloan
Demetria Sloan

Demetria Hill Sloan, CLC, ACC is a results-oriented professional life and leadership coach, influential mentor and outspoken motivator.  She founded Vantage Point Coaching after a major career transition and deciding to live her passion of helping others achieve their absolute best. She is committed to coaching individuals to achieve higher levels of performance, personal and professional fulfillment

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