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What’s your halftime score?

It’s worth taking time to evaluate, argues Dave Newton.

The noise was deafening, the crowd stood to their feet, anticipation built as the home team began to assert sustained pressure. It seemed only a matter of time before the long-awaited goal was scored. The team broke once more at pace toward the opposition penalty box, only to be halted by the blast of the referee’s whistle.

How do you view halftime? Frustration… inconvenience… relief?

For the spectator, it’s often the chance to get a refreshment break, stretch your legs or visit the bathroom. The players, on the other hand, may see it as a moment for a well-deserved rest or a chance to change your kit in readiness for the second half.

The coach views it as a moment to evaluate, tweak tactics, reorganise and inspire the team for what’s to come. Often, if we are losing we are desperate for halftime to come quickly; when we are winning, however, it can seem an unwelcome interruption.

Over 20 years ago Bob Buford wrote the book ‘Halftime’ in which he encourages women and men to take time in the middle of life to evaluate, consider and, in many cases, re-frame their focus from success to significance. After the book sold almost a million copies, it may be good to consider what taking ‘halftime’ seriously can do for us and those around us.

What will we be remembered for?

It’s a great question to ask, one that causes us to think beyond the now. That said, it cannot ignore the immediate, recognising the impact now has on our future. Early Christian theologian Augustine states that asking yourself this question marks the beginning of adulthood.

Bob begins with the parable of the sower (Matthew 13) and challenges the reader that our lives should be focused on multiplication, that when planted in good soil we should produce fruit x100. He suggests we so often think of our lives in terms of addition; we add to our lives, promotions, pay rises, increased responsibility, using these as a measure of success.

In contrast, a life focused on multiplication doesn’t simply focus on what you receive from life but asks how what you can give will benefit others. A multiplication focus places legacy at the forefront of our thinking… a player is attentive to what things will be like at the end of the game, not simply trying to look good in the moment. A multiplier also invests in those around them seeking to pass on skills and knowledge to increase the health, continuity and positive succession in an organisation.

Take stock

Halftime also offers the opportunity for us to take stock and ask some critical questions. Many of us look back on past seasons with regrets, wishing we had spent more time with friends and family or managed our relationships and emotions better. Halftime offers the chance to make peace with yourself and others, not to blame ourselves for good intentions that might have been misplaced.

Taking stock also allows us to consider making enough time for the things that are really important. Rather than filling the planner with things to make life seem busy, we can invest time in the things that really matter. Living like this takes deliberate intent and forces us to consider our purpose.

As part of taking stock, Bob encourages the reader to share the journey with others, find running mates who will challenge, inspire, correct and encourage us to stay on track. This may stop us from putting our feet up too early or challenge us to keep the main thing front and centre.

Some questions that may help us to take stock could include:

  • What do I want to be remembered for?
  • What do I want for my children?
  • Where do I look for inspiration, encouragement and support?

Don’t miss the opportunity to consider the impact a positive, intentional halftime can have on our effectiveness and impact in the second half of life.

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