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November – Focus on the Joy of the Season


Jan. 1, 1970

Dear Fellow Former Players & Friends,

November marks the beginning of the holiday season. A time of joy and happiness and family, right? That is part of the equation, don’t forget the holiday obligations that turn your calendar upside down, the gifts and charity requests that put a strain on your budget, or all of the different directions your family, friends and employers may pull you. Knowing what is truly important and blocking out the distractions is a necessary skill that will help you focus on the joy of the season.

Breathe. Let’s get focused. You are no stranger to the power of focus and ritual. Many of the same techniques you employed leading up to kickoff are the keys to mentally get through this busy season. Stress doesn’t stand a chance.

Your holiday game plan: Don’t worry, don’t overspend, don’t overcommit.

Be aware of what can go wrong and have a plan to slow down and evaluate your decision making process. You do not need to say “yes” to every ask. Ask for time to think it over. Your game plan will prevent future harms and future stresses.

There are no ‘do overs’ after a month of overcommitting and overspending. Correcting the budget after overspending can take months of sacrifice to fix, an unnecessary waste of time that will be avoided when you stick to your game plan. Prepare for the expected. Anticipate the unexpected. Let’s get focused. Breathe.

Anticipate that an extra day or two with the extended family, or some “70% Off for One Day Only” deal, will come up. That’s where the game plane comes in.

Visualize what it feels like when you don’t have time to relax and when you spend money you can’t afford to spend. This is where I need you to focus.

Evaluate the consequences. Even though you can make the time and squeeze out the money, can you live with the uncomfortable feeling of survival after you overcommit? Take a deep breath.

Now, rehearse your “No.” It’s as easy as reminding yourself, “I have other commitments that require my time and money in the coming weeks.” Bullet dodged!

Quality time with family and for yourself is back on the table. Your balanced budget brings both satisfaction and a warm holiday smile. Preparation and anticipation is action. And this time it creates an opportunity for peace of mind.

Andre Collins

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Executive Director
Professional Athletes Foundation
NFL Player 1990-1999

Gene Upshaw Player Assistance Trust Fund

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