I know, I know… it is November, so why is this titled “February Words of Wisdom?!”

As part of my job, I get the opportunity to put together a monthly newsletter.

I work in the Medicare world where our company helps those approaching 65 navigate the Medicare Maze that exists for them. Once someone becomes a client, they can sign up to receive our monthly newsletter that has ongoing Medicare tips, helpful videos, and other Medicare-related updates.

To make it more interesting, I added two sections each month:
1. A book recommendation
2. My attempts at words of wisdom

So, the next few posts will be taken from those newsletters and include the book recommendations and the words of wisdom. This site is a way for me to keep a journal of sorts for my kids and I hope they find something useful at some point in their lives from this.

This was last February’s (the first newsletter) message. It did not include a book recommendation, but stay tuned… they are coming!

February’s Words of Wisdom

My dad was my basketball coach for most of my childhood. 
During particularly close, intense games, as we moved into the 4th quarter, he would ask, “Erik, are you a 1st-quarter player or a 4th-quarter player?” 

“A 4th-quarter player.” I would answer.

This question would come often if I had a particularly poor first quarter, 2nd quarter, or entire game up to that point – in an attempt to help me understand that the past is over, what am I going to do now?

Or… if I was having a good game, it was again a reminder that the past is gone. Going into the 4th quarter, the other team would know that they needed to, among other things, slow me down to win the game, and a lot more attention would get directed at me.

This only makes the 4th quarter more challenging.
His point was that while the beginning of the game was important, how you finished the game was what so often separated a victory from a defeat. 

Would I play free and aggressive at the beginning of the game, where my mistakes could be fixed later, but hide and freeze under the pressure and responsibility of the 4th quarter? When the game was on the line, would I sit back and be content with a good 1st quarter, but disappear during the 4th? Or, would I be a 4th-quarter player, step up, and make the plays we needed to win at the end of the game?

At lunch this past week, he shared with me that he has been reflecting on his life and, given his family’s life expectancies, that he found himself in the 4th quarter of his life. 

He and I went on a conversational journey through his life as I asked him, “In your first quarter, what was your best year? What was going on in your life? What were your successes and failures?”

We continued this review through his 1st quarter, 2nd quarter, 3rd quarter, and present day. 
I asked him to compare the best year of his 2nd quarter with his best year of his 1st quarter. I continued this line of questioning and comparison through all four of his quarters. What I found interesting was that in his situation, he always rated his later “best year” better than his earlier “best year.” 

Meaning, that the best year during his 2nd quarter of life was rated better, in his perspective, than the best year of his 1st quarter. However, the best year of his 3rd quarter of life was rated even better than his 2nd quarter best year. And now, he has come to the conclusion that this past year, despite all the challenges and hardships, has been as good or better than any of his previous “best years.” 

You already know the question I asked him:
“So dad, are you a 1st quarter player, or a 4th quarter player?”

I guess the point is, whatever quarter you find yourself in, perspective and mindset are powerful things. Every quarter is important, so don’t be afraid to make this moment, this day, this week, this month, or this year, better than the one before.

Hey, if while reading this you thought, “you know what… this isn’t half bad” maybe you could subscribe?

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