Bob Buford believes the second half of your life can be better than the first. Much better. But first, you need time to figure out what you want to do with the rest of your life.
In Halftime: Moving from Success to Significance, he says we spend the first half of our lives doing what we are “supposed” to do: get educated, get a job, get married, raise a family, and build a successful life.
Then we hit halftime. The kids leave the house. Our jobs no longer inspire us. We look towards retirement resting on first half accomplishments. That’s how most do it.
There are others, Buford writes, who, upon reaching halftime, feel like there’s more to do. They sense a spark inside them, an inner calling to do something important in the second half of their lives. They want to use the skills and resources they’ve acquired in the first half to do something truly significant in the second. That’s what I want!
His message about significance ignited a spiritual energy within me.
Use It or Lose It
The “retirement” group’s creative life peaks at halftime. During halftime, they breathe a sigh of relief. Then they spend the second half in retirement-mode as their creative life steadily diminishes until they die.
The “significance” group uses halftime to reflect on who they are and what they want. They discover work they love and dive in. They spend time creating something connected to who they are that brings value to others. They are compelled to become all they were meant to become. Their creative life explodes as they begin a life-long practice of discovering and mastering their personal gift to the world.
If they’re lucky, they die putting the final brush stroke on their masterpiece of life.
The book Halftime challenged me to reflect on what is truly important to me. Bob Buford’s words encouraged me to choose the one big thing that’s the most important to my life. Not two things, not three, or four, but the one big thing.
To assist the reflection exercise, he suggests readers write their own epitaph and mission for their lives.
I found these assignments extremely difficult and personally invigorating. It took me months of mental and spiritual contemplation to complete. Now, my answers act like guiding lights on the path to my best life.
My one big thing: The Tao
My epitaph: My life is my message
My mission: To improve the health and wellbeing of the world, one person at a time
As I struggled to complete this exercise, I came to a clear understanding of the biggest question of all. Why am I here?
I believe I am here to become all I am capable of becoming with the gifts I’ve been given so I can give to others, and help them become all they are capable of becoming with the gifts they have been given.
With this realization, choosing my one big thing and writing my epitaph and mission became easy.
The Tao is my one big thing because it is my path to become all I am capable of becoming.
I choose “my life is my message” for my epitaph to reflect an attitude of allowing rather than interfering, of acting rather than advising. I cannot presume to know the best route for another’s journey to their absolute best life but I can share what I am doing on my journey.
My mission for life is “to improve the health and wellbeing of the world, one person at a time” because that is my way to give to others, and help them become all they are capable of becoming with the gifts they have been given.
My great hope is to provide inspiration that helps at least one person improve their health and wellbeing, and then another, and another… until we all improve the health and wellbeing of the world together.
That’s the mission for my personal and professional life. It’s my reason for being here. It answers that tug from deep inside me to do something significant with the rest of my life. It’s how I’ll create my absolute best life in my second half.
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