Half Time: A Book Review

Welcome back all! Today I’m going to be reviewing and discussing a book entitled, Half Time: Changing Your Game Plan from Success to Significance.

It was written by Bob Buford in 1994. I actually received this book back in 2002 from someone I was coaching at the time. It came at a great time for me because I was looking to try and move my life from success to significance, and this book helped me do just that. Half Time is broken down into three parts: 1st Half, Half Time, and 2nd Half. The forward is actually written by Peter Drucker and it could almost stand on its own it is so excellent. This is a Christian book. Buford was a Christian himself and is therefore written from a Christian perspective. Bob starts with his epitaph based on Matthew 13:3-9, the parable of the sower. Bob writes, “I am an entrepreneur and I want to be remembered as the see that was planted in good soil and multiplied a hundredfold. It is how I wish to live. It is how I attempt to express my passions and core commitments. It is how I envision my own legacy. I want to be a symbol of higher yield in life and in death.”

In chapter 1 the author asks, if your life were absolutely perfect, how would it look to you. This is a great question to ask yourself and reflect on, especially if you are going into a goal planning or life planning session.

In the chapter entitled Success Panic, Bob asks the question, do you understand the difference being called and being driven. This helps to set you up for the crossroads where the road to success leads you to the path of half time.

Buford discusses the loss of his son, Ross, in a swimming accident. Ross had actually taken the time to write a letter to certain people just in case he died. He signed the letter Adios, Ross, which is the title of this chapter. Buford remarks that he was forced to lean on God through this ordeal, and I’m going to read a selection from page 58.

“ Despite the comfort of these words (from a letter written by Ross’ friend), I was forced to lean on God entirely in those dark weeks after Ross’ death. To think often of the scripture verse ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding’. I learned that God truly is sufficient and his strength is made perfect in weakness. I learned that in my life on earth I live as a pilgrim not in control, a steward not an owner, a soldier not with security.” I have been told, having never gone through such a horrific sadness, that suffering the loss of a child is the worst imaginable burden for a parent. Bob talk about how he dealt with his loss.

The first half is about accumulation and accomplishing goals. So, in the first half, you are very busy and career-focused, then you start to shift into half time. It used to be that people shifted into half time in their early forties, now it seems as though people are shifting a little later. On page 64, Bob writes that many of us prefer the hunt to the capture. We actually enjoy the chase of the goals and career more than achieving it. The Half Time Drill that can be found on page 71 is really great. If you are in a stage of your life where you are nearing half time, you’re at half time, or you’re even a little past that half time, these are some great reflections and questions to look at. Here are some examples:

What do I want to be remembered for?

What about money? How much is enough?

How am I feeling about my career now?

Am I living a balanced life?

What is the primary loyalty in my life?

These are a few of the great questions Buford asks in this book. He states that the purpose of Half time is to take stock, to listen and to learn.

Chapter 8 is titled What Do You Believe?. Bob says half time is the perfect opportunity to shift from trying to understand God to learning to know Him. It is the time to humbly accept the fact that you may never fully understand Him, but that you need to accept on faith, that you are known and loved by Him.

Buford talks about finding your one thing in chapter 9. It brings to mind the moving City Slickers, which if you haven’t seen it, head over to Netflix and give it a try. The movie revolves around Billy Crystal as he tries to find his one thing. Bob writes,

“Your one thing is the most essential part of you, your transcendent dimension. It is discovering what’s true about yourself, rather than overlaying someone else’s truth on you or injection someone else’s goals onto your personality”.  

In Chapter 10 Bob says one of the most common characteristics of a person who is nearing the end of the first half is that unquenchable desire to move from success to significance. So, you’ve made the money, you’ve had the success, now what are you going to do? After the first half of doing what we are supposed to do, we would like to do something in the second half that is more meaningful- something that rises above perks and paychecks into the stratosphere of significance. On page 88, Buford writes:

“Success often involves carrying a box with you as you head for the top but never knowing what’s in it. Significance begins by stopping wherever you are on the journey to see what’s inside your box and then reordering your life around its contents. For the Christian, this may mean putting God in the box and then following wherever that decision leads. Unfortunately, most think a successful Christian businessman is a rich guy who gives a lot of money to the church. Significance comes when the businessman finds a way to give himself to God if indeed God is in the box. That may or may not require a change of jobs, but it always requires a change of attitude. Denis O’Connor and Donald M. Wolfe in the journal of organized behavior call this change in attitude a personal paradigm shift, ie major changes in one’s systems of perceptions, beliefs, values, and feelings. I sometimes called it a reordering of our personal myth.”

Part 3, The Second Half, is where Buford recommends you develop a personal mission statement. Focus it on what you wish to be and do. The second half is also about regaining control, about calling your own shots. Practical matters for regaining control can be found on page 132. There are some excellent pieces of advice here.

  1. Delegate at work and home.
  2. Do what you do best, drop the rest.
  3. Know when to say no.
  4. Set limits.
  5. Protect your personal time by putting it on your calendar.
  6. Work with people you like.
  7. Set timetables.
  8. Downsize.
  9. Play around a little.
  10. Take the phone off the hook (more difficult with cell phones nowadays)

Here the author of the forward, Peter Drucker, interrupts with some of his own advice from leadership forums.

  1. Build on islands of health and strength. It is very counterintuitive to build on philanthropy which tends to help the helpless. Building on health and strength, however, is a great idea in that it builds interdependence and independence, rather than dependence
  2. Work only with those who are receptive to what you want to do. You only have a limited amount of time, don’t try to convince people that don’t want to help.
  3. Work only on things that will make a great deal of difference if you succeed.

In the chapter on lifelong learning, he discusses ways to learn on page 149. There is an excellent discussion guide if you would like to read this book in a group and have a conversation about it. Or if you a reading on your own, it is a great opportunity for some reflection and life planning. If you are looking for your next great book to read, I recommend looking through the bibliography. There are some amazing books listed there. To learn more about making a plan for your life and my new 8 Week Coaching Program on The Art of Living Life Out of Balance contact me at coachjeffgarrett@gmail.com or my website www.theascentperformancegroup.com  Remember to Be Great!


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