I suppose it’s happening somewhere, in some corner office every day.
It’s that gnawing feeling that defies description. You’ve followed the rules, built a great career, educated yourself to prepare, and climbed the ladder of success to the very top rung. So, here you are, and somehow it isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. You have more than enough of everything and still it doesn’t satisfy.
We were all told that that kind of meteoric rise would be life-changing and it would fill a deep need that we all have to be significant.
Let me be clear, there is nothing wrong with achievement and having material things. But here’s the part nobody told us: Significance doesn’t necessarily come along for the ride to the top. It is something you have to pursue intentionally – whether in the marketplace or otherwise.
I know this because I have experienced it myself in a big way.
When I was a younger man starting out at Merrill Lynch, no challenge was too high, no task too small for me to compete with my peers. We were young brokers all starting out, working hard by day, hitting the bars at night, and the next day back for more.
Soon, I had what I had always dreamed of. And, then one day it happened.
I was looking out at Lake Michigan through the giant plate-glass window in my corner office on the fortieth floor in a Chicago skyscraper, thinking, I’ve worked all my adult life to get to this address or one like it.
In the past I had felt good about the title, the work, the status, the perks. On that day, the hole in me dwarfed all of that. After years of promotions, memberships, and big toys, after years of exclusive seating and private access. . . after decades on the up escalator . . .
I was thinking: If I died today, so what? Up to that point, my ledger headings were achievement, good times, possessions, money, appearances.
But as it turned out, personal gain was falling short of personal fulfillment.
I would soon learn that I was in the season of halftime, the end of Life I, and I was about to begin Life II. The smoldering discontent that I was feeling was about to manifest itself in a new way of thinking. I began to contemplate my legacy, and I started mapping out a plan to finish well, to move from success to significance.
That transition, by the way, is available to everyone, whether you ultimately decide to stay in the marketplace or transition to something else altogether.
In that season, I was blessed to meet Bob Buford, the author of the bestselling book, Halftime at just the right time. I learned from him that there was a place where I could go and be mentored and coached through the season of halftime to arrive at what I was meant to do in Life II.
I did that, and then in an amazing turn of events, I was eventually asked to be the CEO of Bob’s Halftime Institute, functioning as a kind of university for your second half. I found out that Bob’s halftime journey caused him to write a book on the subject and begin to study how to help others figure out what’s next for them. He followed his second half calling and I and many others are grateful.
So, if you are one of those people like me and Bob and others who have ridden the elevator of success to the fortieth floor and beyond and yet, still feel uneasy about what it all means, you have some important questions to ask and answer:
How much is enough?
What really matters, after all?
What does your second half look like?
How can you move from success to significance?
Find the answers to these, and get ready for a stunning and satisfying second half.
Dean Niewolny spent 23 years in executive roles with three of Wall Street’s largest financial firms, finishing his career in the financial sector as market manager for Wells Fargo Advisors in Chicago, where he oversaw a $100mm market. While in Chicago, he and his wife, Lisa, traveled many times to Africa and, seeing the abject needs of widows and orphans, made life changes that enabled them to get involved, such as helping to complete an orphan home and a Hospice home in Durbin, South Africa.
In 2010, Dean traded his marketplace career for Halftime to help more people who, like him, wanted to expand their own “first half” success and skills into passion and purpose for meeting human needs and making a significant difference. Dean joined Halftime as Managing Director and in 2011 became Chief Executive Officer.
Dean speaks all over the world to marketplace leaders who desire to use their gifts and talents to serve others. His passion is to encourage business leaders to channel first-half achievement into a second half defined by joy, impact and balance. His first book, Trade Up: How to Move From Making Money to Making A Difference, will be published by Baker Publishing and is scheduled to release in July 2017.
Having grown up playing sports—eventually in college and semi-professional baseball—Dean still enjoys coaching youth sports, especially his son’s little league teams. He and Lisa have two children and live in Southlake, Texas.