I’ve noticed a trend in some of the “halftimers” that I’ve met in the past couple of years.  These individuals are beginning to get excited about moving from their successful business lives into living a life of “significance” , but something seems to get in the way.  I think it’s because they are like me – strategic business people who have spent years learning how to bring new ideas to life in their organizations and execute plans.  Like me, they want to make things happen right away.  It’s an all or nothing kind of thinking.  The same thinking that brought them success in the past.  But this journey is different and in fact, counter intuitive to the way they have been hardwired.

Many have worked their way up from the bottom of their companies – they worked long hours, honed their crafts and pulled themselves to the top.  They reached levels of success financially and woke up one day realizing that money was no longer the motivator – a startling realization for some.

I know one individual who was feeling unfulfilled in his work and was offered a new position in a completely different world – the world of a non-profit making a meaningful difference in areas of extreme poverty.  He jumped at the chance thinking it would solve his feeling of restlessness and help him begin his journey to significance – it took less than a year for him to realize that this type of work was not for him.  Jumping too fast into something completely foreign and unfamiliar to what he had done for his entire adult life was a mistake. This is a common strategic error for people who are eager to move from success to significance.

So how does someone begin this journey?  How do you transfer your incredible skills and gifts to a work that you are passionate about?  It isn’t an all or nothing move – there are several different paths that can be taken.  For some they develop “parallel careers” that runs along side their day jobs giving them a chance to see if they can translate the knowledge gained in business to this new environment.

As business leaders you know that just because you were successful in one particular area does not guarantee that you will be as successful in another.  Many Second Half situations may put you in a role where your skills that got you to this point may be the same, but the context can be alarmingly different.  A parallel career will give you something of a safety net in case things don’t work out.  It’s another way for you to discover where you really belong.

Halftime isn’t easy.  Jumping too quickly into a Second Half career might not be the answer and more often than not results in us retreating back to what we did in our first half in an effort to glue ourselves back together.  Like someone who is addicted, we go back to where life makes us feel good.

It’s not all or nothing – it’s a journey.  A journey that can begin with a single step – afterall, you’ve got about 30 years to get there.

So my challenge to you is…..what single step can you take today to begin your personal journey to significance?

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