The halftime playbook: exploring your core, capacity & context

Jeff Bernier |
By Jeff Bernier

Halftime. Once you head into the locker room and start considering how to play the game in your second half of life, it can feel pretty overwhelming. (For an introduction to “Halftime,” see my blog Your halftime opportunity: finding meaning in the second half of life.) Whether taking the time to make your Halftime plan is a well planned, strategic move, or whether you’ve found yourself here in crisis, it’s inevitable that new creative ideas will bubble to the surface. The big question at hand: How can I create more meaning and purpose in my second half of life?

What’s exciting about this exploration is that—perhaps for the first time in a long time—your creativity and talents are suddenly on fire! The wild energy you used to feel as you built your career is back, but this time it’s focused in a whole new direction. This time you’re facing a blank slate, with more options, more insights, and more resources than ever before. It’s thrilling! At the same time, your brainstorming may lead you down paths you’d never dreamed of in the past, and that can raise emotional red flags as you move outside your comfort zone and into a whole new area of growth. But as frightening as this shift may feel, it’s a critical time of personal searching that, once you’re through that dark tunnel of doubt, is the key to transitioning to your new calling—whatever the future may hold.

Creating clarity through core, capacity, and context

If you’re like me, one thing that can help cut through the fear of the unknown is to follow a known process. By walking though the steps of analyzing your core, capacity, and context, you can more easily find the clarity you’re seeking.

  • Examining your core
    To help you figure out what your “ideal” life really looks like, the first step is to carefully examine your unique gifts and passions. What makes you tick? What turns you on? What do people admire about you—and what skills and attributes do you admire in yourself? These aren’t simple questions, so it’s important to dedicate time to do this serious excavation. Take a day or a weekend alone to identify where passion and excellence intersect in your life, and what brings you joy. What’s one thing about your current career that keeps you energized and engaged? What in your life breaks your heart—or makes your heart sing? The answers to these questions are the clues to discovering your purpose in your second half of life.
  • Identifying your capacity
    Like anything in life, achieving a goal requires capacity to get the work done. Do you have—or are you willing and able to create—the time and resources to discover and pursue your calling? Do you have family or other obligations that limit your time? Is your spouse available to pursue your passion with you, or will your marriage require a careful balance of your time and attention? And what about financial limitations? While Halftime is more about availability than affluence, pursuing your Halftime passion can be a pipe dream if your cash flow is in the red! Sit down with your spouse and your financial advisor and ask the hard questions: “How much is enough?” and “How much are we willing to sacrifice to support a greater good?” Your advisor can help you create a plan that strikes the balance between enjoying the journey and making a difference.
  • Contemplating your context
    No path is complete with a clear context. The first step to shedding light on that context is to think about what role you might play in the pursuit of your larger “second-half goal” based on your strongest skills. Are you a consultant? An entrepreneur? A leader? A communicator? A planner? You may discover that the role you’ve played in the first half of your life enables your strongest contribution in the second half of your life as well. When I did my own Halftime homework, I discovered that a big part of my “second-half mission”—helping mid- to late-career business professionals create the freedom to pursue their own calling—required my years of experience as a financial advisor. By building on the foundation of my first career, I’m able to support a whole new aspect of “doing good” in my second half of life.

The second component of context is figuring out where you’ll serve. This is less about choosing between working with or for a profit-based corporation vs. a non-profit organization and more about how you can use your gifts in a way that brings you the greatest joy and makes the most difference in other people’s lives. Your choices are limited only by your resources and your imagination. From mentoring your grandchildren or working on a non-profit board, to traveling on global missions or selling copiers, the choice is yours.

By following this basic process, you can take the first steps toward planning for an ideal and fulfilling second half of life, and start plotting your path from financial and personal success to something even greater: the true significance that can make your “second half” the best years of your life.

Need help exploring your core, capacity, and context to plan your next steps? Check out Bob Buford’s book Halftime, visit The Halftime Institute, or email me to schedule a time to talk. I’m here to help.

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