An important part of selling your business is deciding what you are going to do in the next chapter of your life. A growing number of us reach a certain point in our lives when we look up from our desk and wonder if there is more to life than this? This is the concept of “Halftime” – that point in your life when you realize that simply having more success is not enough, and you begin to think about what can give the second half of your life more meaning, purpose, joy,and balance.
After a flourishing career in real estate, I transitioned to helping other successful men and women through their Halftimes. For 17 years I’ve been with the Halftime Institute, and throughout more than 11,000 hours in one-on-one coaching, I have helped people reinvent themselves in the second half of their lives.
The concept of Halftime is relatively new. 100 years ago, the average life expectancy was only 47. Today when you reach 47, you still have 30 or more bonus years of your life left. Will you continue to do the same thing, or will you explore the other callings in your heart?
The type of work performed back then was different too. 100 years ago you likely had a physically demanding job on a farm or in a factory. We are now knowledge workers, and our best contributions can be made after the age of 50. When we sell the company and retire, we don’t think that our best years are behind us. We look forward, eager to make it so that our best years still lay ahead of us.
That said, there is no university for the second half of your life. People often go into it unprepared, which is why we’ve set out to create a university of peer learning to help you think about your second half. Here are some key lessons that can help you navigate your own Halftime.
Reflection and the Learning Curve
Halftime is a time for reflection. It is a midlife pause when you take the time to look back, take stock of who you are and what matters, then look ahead to dream and reinvent yourself. It’s important to take a Halftime break because when you follow your first-half dream too long and too hard, it always turns over on itself.
Perhaps the thrill of the deal is gone. Or maybe a close friend dies at your age, and you wonder how much time you have left. Your last child may leave for college, making you realize that you have your whole like in front of you. And some people sell their company and lose their identity, only to cling to it later on as they use who they used to be to define who they are today.
Halftime is the realization that you can put your passions and skills to work and reinvent yourself – to create a vision for the second half of your life, a clear sense of what your purpose or mission is.
That said, there is a learning curve that must be tackled. You must learn new things and form a new identity. You have been rewarded for working at a feverish pace, and now you must detox, step back, and reflect. You may be used to managing your own team and company, but in Halftime you have to learn how to manage yourself and your own life.
Because of the learning curve, it’s best to start thinking about your second half before your exit:
- What do you really care about?
- What kind of difference do you want to make in your life? In the world?
If you can take the experience and wisdom that you have gained in your first half and combine it with what you care most about, you can create a beautiful, captivating second half, which may or may not involve selling your company.
Common Halftime Mistakes
In the hundreds of people I have mentored, I have noticed a number of common mistakes that people make during Halftime. Understanding these missteps will help you avoid them when you’re planning your own second half.
1 – No Long Term Metrics
Even the most seasoned executive very often has no long-term metrics for their second half. They don’t know what their goals are and what they want to achieve during the second part of life. It is important that you have a plan and that it is measurable.
2 – Jumping Too Quickly
Many don’t take adequate time to define their purpose and mission statement. They find multiple opportunities coming to them; they just start saying “yes” to everything, and they end up getting “sloppy busy.” Don’t jump to a solution right away. Take time to think about who you are, what you are about, and what you would do the rest of your life even if you were not paid for it. Find the thing that will bring you joy and money will follow.
3 – Going Alone
Others decide to go on the journey alone, but you should align yourself with those around you, for example, your spouse and your children. Creating a plan for what you will do with your life requires you and your spouse to dream separately and then plan together.
4 – Not Detoxing After the Sale
After the sale (or ideally before the sale) you should go through a detox period where you contemplate the future. Many people start the second half of their life on the wrong foot because they did not take the time to reflect and then determine their next steps. Think of it like an Olympic swimmer approaching the wall. After the turn, they take a moment to glide and calculate where their next stroke will be.