If you’re like me, you’ve enjoyed a fair amount of success in your professional life. You’ve put in your time, honed your craft, and climbed the corporate ladder. Maybe your rise was rapid at first. But maybe, just maybe, your growth and recognition – and your sense of fulfillment – have stalled. You feel stuck. You feel as if you still have plenty to offer, but you also feel underutilized, undervalued, underappreciated. And if you are 15, 20 years or more into your career, you might also feel a bit uninspired. If that describes where you are in your life, even a little bit, I suggest you get acquainted with the book, Halftime, by the late Bob Buford. Halftime resonated with me and I think it will resonate with you. With that in mind, here’s why “halftime” in your professional life can be prime time to make the changes necessary to move from “success to significance”.
First Half/Second Half
Buford makes the case that in the first half of your professional life, you are rightfully concerned about taking care of fundamental needs – chief among them your family and your home and all the associated trappings. Think of these as being in the lower echelons of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. As I note in this article, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs asserts that human self-actualization builds from first satisfying primal needs such as food, water, and shelter. Then comes the need to become secure, including financial and career security. Oftentimes, however, after you fulfill these needs and accumulate the symbols of success – big house, nice car, kids ensconced in college – a creeping sense of discontent begins to take root.
And it makes you wonder about what’s next, and what’s possible in the second half…
End Game or Half Time?
Indeed, as you approach the end of your career as a sales professional, Sales Manager, or VP of Sales, you may find yourself watching seconds ticking down on the game clock rather than rushing onto the field for another full half. But what if you could feel that spark again, that energy it takes to not only play the game, but also to win? Perhaps we can view Bob Buford as that coach in the locker room who delivers an inspirational speech that propels you confidently into what lay ahead in the second half. Indeed, Buford’s words are inspiring; often drawing their power from Biblical passages and archetypes. Ultimately, Buford makes a strong case that even if you have achieved much in the first half, your best days are ahead.
Goals or Commitments
Buford makes clear in Halftime that there is a distinction between goals and commitments. We tend to value goals highly as expressions of our aspirations. But Buford underscores the importance of also making commitments to what matters. When you think about it, goals are, essentially, a process-driven “wish list”. Commitments, on the other hand, are a promise. And when that promise helps you fulfill your purpose, great things happen in the second half.
The “One Thing”
But what IS your purpose? In Halftime, Bob Buford asserts that “the key to a successful second half is finding your ‘one thing’ and, in the process, finding what the Bible calls a state of joy, or blessedness.” As essential as it is to find your “one thing”, Buford recognizes that most people never discover theirs. Truly, finding your “one thing” takes effort. It takes introspection. It takes opening yourself to possibilities. It takes an unshakeable desire to move from success to significance.
From Success to Significance
What most of us long for when success still leaves us wanting is a sense of significance. We want to know that we matter, that we have a purpose, and that we are respecting our calling to do something meaningful. For many, as it was for Buford, this involves heeding your faith and letting that be your guide. Of course, you don’t have to be religious to seek your personal path to significance. You do, however, have to slow down, look around, and listen to that still small voice inside you that will tell you where your heart longs to be.
When many people think of fashioning a second half of significance, however, they believe they must leave behind what they learned and accomplished in the first half. I am living proof this is not necessarily true. I am living proof of what Buford writes:
“Significance need not be a 180-degree course change. You can apply your gifts in ways that allow you to spend more time on things [that matter]. And do it in such a way as to reclaim the thrill of that first deal!”
The Bottom Line:
After so much hard work and achievement in the first half, it’s only natural to wonder, “What’s next?” It’s only natural to grow weary of “the grind” and long for the day when you won’t spend so much time on the road or in airports, scrambling to get home in time to do it all again another day, another week, another year. It’s only natural to yearn for a sense of purpose, for a second half of meaning and significance. These yearnings led me to found Sales Xceleration, with Chad Meyer. And Sales Xceleration allows me not only to continue to use my hard-earned sales leadership knowledge and experience in a second half of significance, but also to make it possible for other sales professionals to do the same.
If you would like to learn more about how you, too, can move beyond success to a life of significance as a sales consultant, contact us today at 1.844.874.7253 to start the discussion.