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But now, many of the people who began the journey from success to significance have found themselves sidetracked, stuck in the middle of their transition.
Stuck in Halftime coaches readers how to get past the barriers that stand in their way to maturity and fulfillment. It outlines eight "myths of halftime" and explains the new set of rules for this second half of life’s journey. Combining practical guidance with personal stories of people who have become "unstuck," Stuck in Halftime renews the vision and determination of those who heard the "still, small voice of God" calling them to a life of significance.
Beyond Good Intentions
Halftime is a good place to go. It is not a good place to stay. It is a season--a place that gets increasingly uncomfortable if you make a career out of it, as some do.
Life is a series of tests. There are different trials for different seasons. Halftime is the trial that follows success--or, you might say, runs alongside success. It can also be the trial that follows the moment you say, "Enough of this!" Or after someone else says that for you. Halftime is that time when you have completed something and need to decide what to do next.
When I wrote my first book, Halftime, I hoped to see those who read it move from the success they had enjoyed in their careers to a Second Half of life filled with significance. I imagined thousands of people involved in new or parallel careers where they would be using their strengths and abilities to make the world better.
I have come to realize that most people are intrigued by the idea of a shift from success to significance, but this is new territory that they are reluctant to enter. And many who have chosen to enter, find the going tougher than they thought it would be.
Halftime feels good...for a while. People describe it as a sense of release. Success--which I define as doing reasonably well at your chosen career--has made huge demands on those who attain it, particularly in our hyper-competitive culture where conditions can change virtually overnight. First Half years are intense years: raising kids, solidifying a marriage (maybe two), making our mark at work, paying the bills. Life between the ages of twenty-something and forty-something is not easy. The combination of marriage, family, and career can be pretty consuming--which explains the appeal of Halftime. By the time most of us approach our fourth decade, anything that promises relief gets our attention.
It is the potential of that last deal--the decision to cut the ties and go for it--that brings a maelstrom of intense and often contradictory emotions: a mixture of joy and regret, freedom from the past and uncertainty about the future.
In my own case, when I finally sold my company--the company my mother had founded fifty-five years before, the company with my name on the door, the place where I spent my entire adult lifetime--the ending was surprisingly abrupt. The final event, as these things usually seem to be, was staged in a corporate law firm hermetically sealed from city sounds fifty-four floors above downtown Dallas. The quiet was eerie as investment bankers, lawyers, accountants, and venture capitalists moved almost ghostlike between conference rooms speaking in hushed confidential tones--as if noise might upset this delicate, finely calibrated transaction.
All the suspense that had been so palpable for months was coming to an end. I had been consigned to a small room to read the newspaper and wait. Earlier that morning, Kay Monigold, the highly capable Chief Administrative Officer of my company, Buford Television, Inc., had handed me a single slip of paper--one of those little notepads that always sit by the telephone in hotel rooms--which told me that we had just the night before achieved the number of cable subscribers required to close the transaction.
We all shook hands with that sort of wary congratulations that seem to be a feature of such events. I had a few words with the buyer, a leveraged-to-the-hilt forty-something cable tycoon whom I had known through the Young Presidents Organization. But I could tell I was already ancient history. He had work to do. And so did Kay Monigold and the other people I had worked so closely with for twenty years. They were committed to the new venture now, and there was a planning meeting that afternoon at a corporate retreat center near Austin.
I had been promised a celebratory lunch that turned out to be oversized sandwiches wrapped in waxed paper. The only ones with me were Ben Hooks, the President of BTI who was also being bought out, and Pat Thompson, an investment banker for my side. We were assigned a windowless, unused conference room crowded with boxes of papers--probably from someone else's deal.
The others had to be on the road for Austin. They had targets to meet and the junk-bond holders and venture capitalists were hot on their heels. Not a moment to be lost between this closing and the soonest possible IPO.
Ben, Pat, and I reminisced a while. Then we said good-bye to the secretaries who were the only ones now remaining. That was it. My company had disappeared into another company. I was left with two things: the cash, and the rest of my life.
I imagined that this was how it must feel to be the last player to leave the arena after an NBA championship game. The spectators eventually file out through the _corridors, find their cars, and drive home. The rest of the players and coaches have given the last interviews and are already thinking about the next season. The camera crews roll up their cables and head for the studio. And I'm still on the floor, taking it all in.
One season had ended and another was about to begin, and I had no idea how it would turn out. All I knew for sure was that I was not ready to jump back in the game and play it as I had the last one.
I was in Halftime...again. My first Halftime occurred several years before when I had made some significant changes in my life so that I could spend more time on work that reflected my core values. My Second Half career really developed into a parallel career where I was able to provide leadership for my business as well as start up Leadership Network, an organization that provides training and support for America's largest churches. So I had a place to go and a mission in life that had long since eclipsed my business interests. Still, I felt considerable transition anxiety.
Halftime is that place where we can work out those feelings and find a clearer picture of the life we were intended to live.
From my own experience and the experiences of others, I have found that having a next step ready, even a partial one, helps. The best Halftime outcomes are those where people have begun a parallel career years earlier. For example, Alistair Hannah, a senior partner at McKinsey & Company, the international management consulting firm, spends several days a week leading Alpha, the hugely successful evangelism program now adopted by 1, 700 churches in the United States, while maintaining his ties to McKinsey. Frances Hesselbein paralleled her career as wife and mother with service to the Girl Scouts USA, stepping in time into the presidency of that organization and then becoming president of the Peter F. Drucker Foundation for Nonprofit Management, which has changed the way leaders think of their roles in nonprofits
|Foreword: The World Is Full of Options||9|
|Preface: Do You Feel It?||13|
|Section 1||Stuck in Halftime|
|1.||Beyond Good Intentions||23|
|2.||Stuck Is Good||31|
|3.||Detoxing from the Addiction to Success||38|
|4.||The False Paths of Halftime||45|
|5.||The Myths of Halftime||58|
|Section 2||Into the Second Half|
|6.||The Twenty-first Century: A World of Opportunity||75|
|7.||New Rules for the Second Half||85|
|8.||The Halftime Transition Toolbox||95|
|Section 3||The Inspiration of Significance|
|9.||The Elusive Nature of Significance||117|
|10.||Leading Level 5 Lives||121|
|11.||The Need for a Heroic Second Half||127|
|12.||What Do You Want to Be Remembered For?||132|
|13.||The End of the Beginning||139|
|Epilogue: About Discouragement||143|