Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

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The Key to a Successful Second Half

Each Friday morning, a few friends and I meet at our local Original Pancake House, where we greet our friends who serve so well there.  We have discussed Bob Buford’s book Half Time: Moving from Success to Significance; the second time I’ve gone through the book in less than a year. A leader in our organization recommended it for some of us when we were getting ready to transition out of the workplace as a result of changes in our organization.
Buford states that our second half (whether it begins while you are still working in your vocation, or when you retire), is about regaining control of your life. The key to a successful second half is not a change of jobs; it is a change of heart, a change in the way you view the world and order your life. I’ve noticed that some who have recently retired have no clear plan for their lives. After all, for perhaps 30+ years, they have had a vocational purpose. They knew where they would be each Monday through Friday, and knew what was expected of them. Now, they have new-found freedom in how to spend their time, but are unsure of what to actually do with that time. It can be a confusing and frustrating time.
Buford writes that leadership expert Peter Drucker once told him that retirees have not proved to be the fertile source of volunteer effort we once thought they would be. Rather than serving, some have tended to cut their engines off and lose their edge. Buford encourages us not to allow the second half of our lives to be characterized by decline, boredom, and increasing ineffectiveness for the kingdom.
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Halftime: Moving from Success to Significance by Bob Buford. Zondervan. 224 pages. 2011 Edition.

This book was recently recommended to a friend of mine by a leader we both respected who has recently retired. Being at the same stage of life as my friend, I decided to read the book as well. This is an updated and revised edition of the author’s best-selling book. It includes new stories, questions and answers, and a new chapter on doing “Halftime” if you can’t quit your job.
Using the analogy of a sports game (think football or basketball), the author tells us that the first half of our lives (usually our first 40 years or so), is when we focus most on our careers and less on others and significant causes. It is the time for following our dreams, chasing and acquiring success. It is also the season to develop our faith and learn more from the Bible about how to approach life. It is here that we learn, gain and earn.
“Halftime” is when you take stock of what you have accomplished thus far in your life and look for ways to move from success to significance. It’s a chance to dig more deeply into what you believe and evaluate whether your life is heading in a direction aligned with your beliefs.
The second half is the time when you can truly make a significant contribution to the world. The author states that the biggest mistake most of us make in the first half of our lives is not taking enough time for the things that are really important.  The second half is the season for us to use our gifts in service to others.
Throughout the book the author tells his personal story. His father died when he was in the fifth grade. His mother went on to found a successful radio and then later television company, which she would later turn over to him. His mother died in a hotel fire when the author was only 31. Later, the author would lose his only son at 24 years old in a drowning accident.
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