First Half

Listen to the Gentle Whisper. How can we be so successful but feel so unfulfilled? Most of us know what we believe but not what to do about what we believe. The first half of our life is about belief : accepting Christ for who He is and developing spiritual maturity. The second half is about good works : finding our ministry in the church and doing our mission in the world. The first half is about getting an education, gaining experience, learning, and earning money. The second half is more risky and involves investing our gifts in service to others.

The Hour of Reverse Conversion. We all want to be decisive, heroic, slug the game winning home run in the bottom of the ninth. We learn that there are other games and other ways to win besides increased market share, promotions, and higher profits.

A Season of Searching and Self-Help.

Success Panic. Getting to the top is far more exciting than arriving. It is possible to become the servant of success.

Locating the Mainspring. What is the one thing in our life that is most important? Is it money, career, family, freedom, Christ?

Adios Ross. When a loved one dies, we learn that on earth, we live as : a pilgrim not in control, a steward not an owner, a soldier not with security. When people die it gives us an eternal perspective.


Taking Stock. We like to keep score. Our first half is noisy, busy, and active. It is not uncommon to feel a need for a change, to catch our breath. We must take stock of our passions, beliefs, values, aspirations, and direction. We must make peace with our first half mistakes and keep those regrets in perspective. We must take time for the things that are really important so that we don’t repeat our mistakes. We must be deliberate to walk through the important issues of our passions, values, gifts, goals. We must share the journey with our spouse. We must be honest and not daydream or fantasize. We must be patient in making life changes. We must have faith that God will guide us. We must answer ‘What do we want to be remembered for, what is my primary loyalty in life’. Are the important elements in my life balanced with the unimportant.

What Do You Believe. Halftime is an opportunity to shift from trying to understand God to learning to know Him. We must move beyond belief into action. To make the second half different and better, we must answer “What’s in the box”.

Finding Your One Thing. In the movie City Slickers, there is a scene where Curly says “Do you know what the secret of life is? One thing. Just one thing. You stick to that and everything else don’t mean s__.” Billy Crystal says “That’s great but what’s the one thing?” Curly says “That’s what you’ve got to figure out.” We often try to fill void in our life with making/spending money, projects/competition/winning, relationships, recreation/leisure/social activities. God created our one thing to be good works (Ephesians 2:10). Our first half is efficient (doing things right) not effective (doing the right things).

From Success to Significance. We have an unquenchable desire to move from success to something significant or meaningful. Success is not enough unless it includes a degree of significance. For a Christian, we should put God in the box and follow wherever that decision leads. God wants to use our specialized abilities and temperaments and gifts to serve Him. “There are two sources of unhappiness in life. One is not getting what you want; the other is getting it.” George Bernard Shaw.

Finding the Center and Staying There. We can be caught in the tension between serving God and pursuing mammon unless we have  balance and faith. We must keep centered on what is really important instead of the temptation of success.

Staying in the Game but Adjusting the Plan. The key to a successful second half is not a change of jobs necessarily but a change of heart. If you want to minimize risk, check out opportunities, talk to others, and discover your areas of usefulness, gifts and abilities. What you do best for God will rise out of the core being he created within us. Make a practical, low cost probe to give you some hands on experience into the field you would like to spend your second half.

Overlapping Curves. It is best to overlap your new career with your old one because of the uncertainty, pain, and risk involved in change which causes a tendency to cling to the known.

Leaping into the Abyss. The second half is about releasing and relinquishing; which usually results in strength and is better for us as individuals. In halftime, you come up with a new game plan. In the second half it is time to bring yourself to jump.

Second Half

Life Mission. It is helpful to develop a personal mission statement a sentence or two long. It should focus on what you wish to be and do and be based on the values/principles that under gird all of your beliefs and actions. Aligned with this should be commitments rather than goals (e.g. Jesus, marriage, stewardship, friends, etc). To help determine your mission, answer ‘What you have achieved (competence) and What do you care deeply about (passion)’. The mission best suited for you combines your competence with you passion.

Regaining Control. The second half is about regaining control of your life and creating capacity for the things that matter, You can do this by delegating, dropping things, say no, set limits, protect your personal time by putting it on the calendar, set timetables for second half dreams, downsize possessions and take the phone off the hook.

Healthy Individualism. We need a proper understanding of self-love to become directed outward. If we help others, it helps us too.

Life Long Learning. We must continue learning in the second half to help us deal positively and productively with change and to specialization becoming more well rounded. We should nurture an active mind through the formal classroom, listening/asking, books, conferences, travel, tv, etc.

Respect for Externals. Second halfers must be secure enough to be team players and be at peace with those things we cannot change. To be really free, we must submit to God’s authority.

Playing for All Your Worth. Getting from the first half to the second half is not easy. It does not happen in a week, month, year. The lines between halves are not always clear. We must play hard, don’t get discouraged and play the whole game.

A 50/50 Proposition. The basic challenge is to allocate 50% of our resources to our self and 50% to serving our community and the world. When the first half ends, we must reorder our life during halftime so that the second half is better than the first.

Stuck in Halftime – Bob Buford

We must learn to manage our self, our life, our career, to have a fulfilling life. It is our responsibility to explore the world of options that build on our strengths and values. Halftime is the awkward, disconcerting place between a hard charging and successful first half career and the unknown 20 to 30 years that will make up the second half of your life. You may not want to, or be able to continue doing what you do with the same level of passion. Most of us have an unspoken desire to move from success to significance and would like to aim for something that matters and is more in line with our deepest desires. Many people start this journey but get stuck, This book deals with the dangers of a too long extended period of Halftime and the tools, disciplines, and strategies to manage oneself and get unstuck.

Stuck in Halftime

Beyond Good Intentions. Halftime feels good for a while but it is tough to shift from success to significance. Having the next step ready, even a partial one, is good but not the norm. Being wealthy helps but it can still be hard to get going.

Stuck is Good. If you get stuck, it means you are asking the right questions. However, you may need to ask more questions and dig deeper into what you are looking for. You go into halftime somewhat idealistic but realize that it’s hard. When stuck, be sure you are not spending too much time in leisure. Also, don’t’ jump too fast into something foreign and unfamiliar. Try to develop a parallel career to give you a safety net.

Detoxing from the Addiction to Success. It is easy to get caught up in the thrill of the chase and exhilaration of doing important things. Success is a good thing and we like to compare ourselves to others. Success is not easy to leave but it is a season.

The False Paths of Halftime. An obstacle on the halftime journey is that people fear that if they stop doing what made them successful, they will lose their significance. We all need to be needed, affirmed and acknowledged. The first false path says that the status quo is not really that bad. The second false path is the one that promises leisure. Keep your dream ahead of you. Don’t quit working but find work that adds meaning and purpose to your life. Don’t be too anxious to quit your job, pursue a peer group for accountability, try to make a lateral move into significant work.

The Myths of Halftime. The Peter Pan myth is that you will be young forever. You remain what you were rather than what you were meant to be. The Leisure World myth is that a lifestyle unencumbered by work is the goal. The Gatsby myth is that if you have enough stuff, you will be happy. The Former Great Person myth is that our identity is wrapped up in our work. The Harper Lee myth is that you won’t live up to your past success. The Money myth is that all you need is enough money to do what you want. The Solomon myth is that if you get the whole package (money, intelligence, status) you will have what matters. The Low Commitment myth is that you can dabble occasionally in significant work. The Aging myth is that aging is a period of decline and decay. All of these myths keep us stuck.

Into the Second Half

The World of Opportunity. We should focus on the positive ‘do’ commandments instead of the ‘shalt not’ commandments (e.g. love God and others, multiply and be fruitful, trust in the Lord, worship God, be available to God, serve others, self sacrifice, replace evil with good, pray, invest yourself, forgive others). We have more opportunity to do this because of our longevity of life, affluence, and career options.

New Second Half Rules. Get a handle on who you are. Take care of your family first. Find an organization to work with. Multiply the talents God has given you. Don’t wait to embark until everything is in place. Be selective to work with people who are receptive. Pay your dues in a new sector. Work with a team. Find a mentor.

Transition Toolbox. Money; use low cost probes, try a parallel career, keep a financial margin. Time; use rest and regeneration to keep focused. Box; reassess what is most important to you. Goals; dream big. Scan; look widely for opportunities to match your one thing. Team; invest in relationships to encourage you and hold you accountable. Role; chose to either the hero, the heroes partner, hero’s patron, hero’s expert, or the hero’s team.

Inspiration of Significance

The Elusive Nature of Significance. In most cases, significance involves giving away what is most valuable to you,

Leading Level 5 Lives.  To be totally sold out to the work you are doing and have the humility that your successors will get the credit for things you put in place.

The Need for a Heroic Second Half. We all want to be a hero and the second half is our best opportunity to be truly heroic. We should divert ourselves from the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches into a quest to give up our lives for our friends. A hero is one who is given over to a cause that is larger than himself. A hero will take a chance, defy the odds, and forge ahead despite the warnings.

What Do You Want to be Remember For? When life on earth ends, we will be asked by God two things. First, ‘What did you do about Jesus?’, and second, ‘What did you do with what you were given to work with?’ It is good to invest most of what you own in high yield kingdom enterprises that you can be personally involved in.

The End of the Beginning. The second half is AOL (Affluence, Opportunity, Longevity). Halftime is the end of the beginning of the second half. We can’t control the future, but we can take action now to use the gifts that God has given us. The best years are still ahead of us. Don’t wait for the perfect plan, enough money, the phone to ring, your employer to find a replacement or until you’ve had a chance to travel. Obey the still small voice you are hearing. You may feel stuck over and over again but keep looking upward and outward.