The Fourth Quarter

Are you a football fan? If so, what quarter of play in the game do you think is the most important? You’ll hear lots of opinions on which quarter counts the most, but there is one thing you can’t deny. The less time you have to respond to the opponent scoring, the more important every possession becomes. Every. Minute. Counts. Even if all the quarters are equally important because any one good quarter can be the deciding factor of a game, you have to admit that games are ultimately won or lost in the fourth quarter. As the clock runs down, how well you play and position yourself makes all the difference in the final outcome.

Life in Quarters

So, what does football have to do with life? Nothing really, but if you think of your own life in terms of quarters, you might see some parallels. For example, if you live to be 80 years old, you can easily break your life into four quarters. What quarter are you in? Whether you’re a child, a young adult, middle-aged, or a senior, all stages of your life matter. The choices you make about your relationships, your finances, and your health, combined with your values and life principles, give your life direction and meaning. And, they affect your final outcome. Where you end up in the fourth quarter of life — just like football — has a lot to do with how you spent the first three preceding quarters. But, even if you’re on top of your game in the third quarter, how you play the fourth quarter matters. Perhaps. Even. More.

Purpose and Legacy

Regardless of which quarter of life you’re in, it’s important to think about your purpose and the legacy you want to leave in your family and in the world. The reality is that none of us accidentally leave behind profound and lasting legacies. We need to be intentional about how we live and what message we want to leave for those that follow. We need to plan the final quarter of our lives with purpose and to design this special season in a way that releases our potential and continues our opportunities to learn, to grow, and to contribute to those around us.

Designing Your Fourth Quarter

How do we design the last season in our life to ensure that we leave a lasting treasure? There are several ways and how you choose to approach the finish line is up to you. We all have different hopes and aspirations and for some, finishing life in leisure and comfort may be the goal. And, that’s fine. But, if you want to use your gifts and to make a difference, here are a few points to consider as you seek to design a fourth quarter that will enhance not only your life and the lives around you but the lives you leave behind for years to come:

  1. Thoughtful Reflection. Take time to reflect on your values and priorities. What truly matters to you? What legacy do you want to leave?
  2. Strengths. What do you do well? What are your natural talents? Your gifts? How can you use your strengths, gifts, and talents to live purposefully and intentionally?
  3. Motivation. What brings you joy? What gets you up in the morning? Who are you motivated to help? To influence? Your activities will be fresh and inspiring in this season of life if you do what motivates you and inspires others.
  4. Creativity. Learn new things and invest time in your interests. Look at things in a new way and nurture your creativity. Creativity unlocks doors to new passions and purpose.
  5. Make a Plan. What do you want to do and how are you going to do it? What resources do you need? Whose support do you need? What actions do you need to take? Reduce your plan to writing and outline the action steps you need to take.

The fourth quarter of your life can be a time of renewal — a time of fresh perspective and purpose. It can be a time to live out your dreams, passions, and hopes, and it can be an opportunity for you to leave a lasting impact on your loved ones and the world around you. The fourth quarter of your life can be the best time of your life if you keep playing to win until the clock runs out. Just like in football.

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