You guys have heard me harp on about halftime. It is simply the transition from one season of life to another. Most of us know it as a midlife crisis. I don’t like that term; halftime to me is a better description. Like going through a crisis but with lip balm on. Image is everything at 40 he-he. It’s almost five years now since my otherwise progressive life hit serious turbulence and I’ve been trying hard to maintain cruising altitude and avoid getting nose-diving as I figure out what the next 40 years of my life will be spent doing. Having come from a life where my business was work and a hobby at the same time, I was very uncomfortable. I did not enjoy what I was doing.
To me, Bob Buford’s book – Halftime: Moving from Success to Significance – was like those floodlight towers the county government of Nairobi put up to light up previously dark, scary parts of the city. Bob wrote that book for me. Last week Mathilda from the Halftime Institute was in town to continue training us to be halftime facilitators and coaches. Those two days were like a trailer of my future helping folks transition from success to significance. Plus, I have the best fellow travelers in my colleagues who form the core team of Halftime East Africa.
The second half is about interdependence, unlike the first half which is mostly characterized by independence. This eleven cool Kenyans (plus our dear Mary from Zimbabwe) are so committed to helping many halftimers out there that despite severe food poisoning they experienced at the Gracia Gardens on Dennis Pritt Road on the first day, they stayed through to the end of the training. Guys, I assure you that your tummy aches were not in vain.
The one-year program developed by the Halftime Institute has tools to help you rediscover your passion (which is mostly a new passion). It is such a well thought-through process that even high-flying folks in corporate Kenya (and society as a whole) to whom image is everything, can discover their next calling in a dignified manner with their reputation intact. Usually, midlife transitions are confusing and messy. One is like a deer in the headlights; frozen in desperation and not knowing what to do next. The program that we are being certified to administer will demystify the thickest fog of uncertainty that halftimers find themselves in. Imagine the impact the Halftime book had on me. That is the fruit. Now we bring you the juice from the fruit to drink right here in +254.
Desperation is a distinct feature of someone in halftime. Equal to a runny nose that tells you, you have the flu. From the five years I’ve been in this space, I can confirm the harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few as the good book says. So many folks need this handholding to guide their transition into the next season because they are clueless on how to go about it. It gets harder because you lack words to describe what you are going through or what you want. It’s like being lost in China and all the people around you speak Chinese and you only know English. We get desperate because we are coming from a life where we know everything, (Or at least we appear to know everything), to a life where we are asking for directions. Imagine how much worse it is for men. Asking for directions.
Most folks at halftime are no longer thrilled by the chase for more stuff and bigger conquests. We start asking fundamental questions that feel strange like, “What is most important to me? What do I want to be remembered for? What would my life look like it if was absolutely perfect? What do I want to let go of? And what do I want to give myself to?” I came across a beautiful quote during our training last weekend that sums up what my second half should consist of. The desire to give of myself comes from a sense of abundance and generosity. That’s the kind of truth I want to wither into. Brilliant!
Just as an appetizer, one of the tools/concepts we will take you through is the 3Cs: Core, capacity, and context. “Halftime is more about archaeology than architecture,” Buford says. Beware: digging ahead
At your core, we explore your strengths, your passions and we attempt to help you come up with a mission statement. I have always categorized mission statements with new year resolutions which I don’t do. This time around, with the help of the halftime tools, I managed to coin something that impressed me. It is, use my speaking and influence to impact and serve businesses and the public sector in order to improve the quality of people’s lives and communities.
Capacity is about having excess time, energy and money that will allow you to explore a new direction or interest. Folks, time was what I had most excess of so I’ve explored a lot. Money walked out of my life at 40 like a tenant moving out in the middle of the night bila notice and with arrears. We call these low-cost probes in halftime training. One of the outcomes of my archeology (digging) was discovering that I could tell stories in words hence the formation of this blog.
Context defines where you live out your mission. The two parts of context are your role and the organization in which you’ll serve. Knowing what role fits you best on a team will enable you to serve most effectively. Do not be surprised if your new role in your second half is similar to the role you played in the first half. Often times our first half (0 – 40 years) occupations turn out to have been the training we needed for a second half of impact.
Usually, when starting a second half, you could stay in the organization where you’ve been. You could join an organization that works in your area of interest and they need your strengths or passion. Thirdly, you could start a new organization that is purely driven by your mission. It is important here to ensure no one else has started what you want to start. There’s no point reinventing the wheel. Plus, second half manenos are not about competition; that’s a first-half phenomenon.
The point where your core, capacity and core overlap is your sweet spot. That’s where true living exists and I long for us all to get there. It’s the Canaan I have been yearning for the last five years. Halftime Institute has the road map to help us get to Canaan.
Folks, I hope I have whetted your appetite to the point where your bib is also dripping. If I’m to let out any more juice I’ll have to send you my M-PESA number, he-he. We will be starting our first cohort next month. If this is for you drop me a line on firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m glad, I got to share this with you after sharing my wilderness experience for a long time. Finally, a vehicle to get us out of the maze and launch us into a second half of joy, impact, and significance is here. Let’s hop on folks.