The second half of life


Not all teams come out in the second half with a completely different strategy – sometimes it just takes a new play or a slight tweak to help them win.

The same approach can be taken in our personal and professional lives. Reflecting on how we’ve been playing the “game” of life may help us realize we need some minor, or major adjustments.

As we face the third and fourth quarters of life, a transition or change of perspective is often on the horizon. In my latest book, “After Further Review,” I go deeper into the concepts that helped me develop a game plan for times of change and transition, and the third and fourth quarters of my life.

In this third installment of my series for BizTimes Milwaukee readers, I’ll share tips and tools to help you practice ways to make this the best season of your life.

Third quarter: Life on autopilot

The third quarter of life takes place roughly from the late 40s into the 60s and has the potential to be the most dynamic stage of your life. It can also feel like a stage of gradual decline where your life is on autopilot – going through the motions day in and day out. Most describe this feeling as being “stuck in a rut.” For me, this was the feeling of smoldering discontent I experienced after the things that energized me in the second quarter no longer created the same excitement or satisfaction they once did. I needed to take a few actionable steps to set myself up to find a purpose that really mattered in the second half of my life. I recommend instituting the following:

  1. Look at what you bring to the table.
    It’s likely you are at a point in your life where you have enormous capacity and fewer obligations, such as younger children and the demands of a career. Why not invest this time into things that really matter to you?
  2. Do things that bring you joy.
    You don’t have to quit your job to invest time and capacity into things that excite you. How can you use your time and talents to make the world a better place? In the process, you may discover the life you’ve always wanted.
  3. Get off your “but.”
    One of the most common practices of an individual with a life on autopilot is making excuses for inaction each day. By committing to get off your “but,” you are essentially committing to stop making excuses like… “I should join that group, but I’m so tired after work.”… “I know, but what if I fail?”… “I should change careers, but I am too old.”
  4. Disconnect from technology.
    There is no doubt that our nation’s obsession with busyness is a side effect of technology and the noise in our lives. Everyone experiences a variety of distractions, but one of the most common themes is our inability to disconnect from our phones, tablets, and more. When we tune out the noise, we have time to think. Use this time to reflect on your daily priorities and life goals.
  5. Develop practical, healthy habits.
    It’s important to find out what the triggers are for your habits and what actions you can use to replace routine behavior that is not serving you well. Maybe you check email first thing in the morning and become sidetracked for hours instead of doing work that makes you feel fulfilled. When this becomes an everyday occurrence and you habitually put off fulfilling work, it’s time to discover the cues that are causing you to become sidetracked and experiment with replacement activities.
  6. Make a plan.
    My friend Jack Canfield truly believes in the power of goal setting. He believes whatever goal you give to your subconscious mind, it will work day and night to achieve. To engage your subconscious mind, a goal has to be measurable. Are you unhappy about something that is happening right now or do you want to make a change in a single area of your life? Make requests that will make it more desirable to you and take the steps to change it yourself.

Fourth quarter: Time is running out

In football, the fourth quarter brings a sense of urgency and wondering of how you will finish. In life, the fourth quarter represents old age, and all too often you hear of people simply giving up as they enter their 70s. My model for the fourth quarter astronaut and senator John Glenn. He went back into outer space at the age of 78. When discussing his achievement, he said, “Just because I am aging doesn’t mean I stop having dreams.” I plan to keep dreaming to the end, and I recommend you do the same.

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