With two minutes to go in the game, the quarterback narrows his focus and executes a perfect pass to his receiver cutting across the middle. Touchdown!
The basketball game is tied in a tough, seesaw battle of wills. The star of the team wants the ball. With the tension thick and the clock winding down in the 4th quarter, she maneuvers to an open spot in the corner. She waves her hands in the air and demands the pass. As her opponent leaps to defend her 3-point shot, the champion has perfect form on a “nothing-but-net” game winner, just before the horn signals the end.
Champions have many things in common. One of them is the ability to rise to the occasion when the next move or non-move dictates the outcome. They especially love the “moment of truth” of the 4th quarter.
Just like the 4th quarter of a football or basketball game, you are in the 4th quarter of your year. How are you doing? There are about 30 days in Q4. Are you off schedule, on schedule or ahead of schedule in reaching your goals and seeing your 2018 vision become reality?
Ready to meet the challenge?
The 4th quarter of 2018 can have many pitfalls. The holidays will shred time from the days remaining. Even if you work them all, that doesn’t mean you will reach your needed customers or clients. There’s a lot of noise in every 4th quarter of every year. Everyone is scrambling to meet his or her quotas and expectations. Everyone is juggling family, relationships, friends and business. And not least of the challenges is the physical and emotional fatigue from a tough year that can hobble even the strongest of competitors.
Champions finish strong.
Here is a simple checklist for a great 4th quarter:
1. Set realistic goals. Create well-defined, measureable targets (if you haven’t already) for October, November and December. Adjust these goals upward or downward if needed. Be ambitious, but realistic.
2. Assess your needs. What do you need to add or eliminate in order to have your best 4th quarter ever? Make this list quickly. Act on it with expedience. Make your first steps strong and sure. Be decisive.
3. Welcome the challenge. Identify what might get in your way. Understand your challenges. Prepare for the expected and unexpected roadblocks. The best athletes in the world want the ball when the pressure is at its highest. Even with a myriad of challenges facing them, champions still demand the spotlight in these situations. Professional golfers welcome the 10-foot putt to win the Masters, even though the world is watching and judging. Some want you to win, while others want you to choke. Oh well! Tennis players want to serve out the Wimbledon championship match. Champions live for this moment. They love it! Corporate executives and small business owners need to do the same.
4. Deal from strength. To meet or exceed your 2018 vision, focus on your strengths. Focus on your core business. Focus on your best customers or clients. Focus on your expertise. Focus on what made you who you are today.
5. Bolster your confidence. The 4th quarter is no time to be timid, fearful, shy or doubtful. Good fortune favors the bold. This is an every day, intangible statement of positivity. By dealing from strength, extreme optimism is doable. If you want to have a successful 4th quarter, then act successful now until New Year’s Eve. Success every day breeds success. You know this! Act the part. Finish strong!
6. Dress-rehearse success. Carve out the time to visualize what you want. This takes very little time, but it needs to be done ASAP. With supreme confidence, envision your goal attainment with 3D glasses. Mentally see it in movie format, as if it’s so and as it will be.
7. Concentrate. With your Q4 objectives tucked under your arm, select macro-objectives for each day and week of the month.
Narrow your focus so the “shiny objects of opportunity” don’t blind your work ethic.
“One step at a time” is your mantra through December 31st. Also, “no” may be the new “yes” that keeps you on track. No distractions. None.
After you’re focused on your plan and your objectives are in place, immerse yourself into the moment. Everyone (including your competitors) is awake this quarter. It’s the champion that’s focused and fully aware.
8. Plan your rest periods wisely. These timeouts are crucial for peak performance. They will also bolster the family, friends, and relationship arenas of your life. Take entire days off and stay fully engaged when with family and friends in this relaxation and enjoyment time. Buy your holiday presents now so panic, regret, embarrassment and unwelcome stress don’t derail your December efforts (most do not heed this advice).
9. Delegate when appropriate. Every person on your team and in your organization needs well-defined, measurable goals. Demand these quantifiable objectives if you are the leader. Hold people accountable.
10. Prepare for 2019. Yes! The 4th quarter is a busy time of year. Even though you are focused on October, November and December, carefully plan 2019 before January 1st arrives. If you operate a team, department or company, know that stress runs downhill. What are their individual goals for 2019? What do they need to do or not do in order to be better next year? Consider a 1-3 day planning retreat alone or with your team.
Bonus Tip: Don’t forget your best friend…YOU. Take care of you. Enjoy the 4th quarter journey. If you’re not mentally and physically healthy, then the successful end of the year is for naught. Laugh. Smile. Hydrate. Sleep. Exercise. Dance. Sing.
All work and no play is not the true champion’s way.
You are the champion that can close out an amazing 2018. Get prepared for an awesome 4th quarter. Use this checklist to get off to a great start.
Get in the Zone. Ready. Set. Go!