“True change comes with others over time.” Bob Buford stood back and looked at the statement he had just written on the whiteboard, as if validating it one last time, and then put the cap back on his dry erase marker and sat down. This was no 15-minute explanation or inspirational story to illustrate . . . rather, it was simply tried and true wisdom from years of experience that he knew was vital to the discussion taking place in our Halftime cohort meeting. This was classic Bob for sure, I thought to myself.
Bob’s statement motivated my decision to create a “personal board of directors” for my halftime journey: a group of people who could speak wisdom, guidance, and encouragement into my life at this critical juncture. Now, after years of coaching Halftime clients and seeing the impact of both their boards and mine, I realize this is a fundamental element of this mid-life adventure.
So, why is a Personal Board of Directors so important?
Here are 4 reasons:
1. This isn’t a time for rugged individualism.
Time and time again, I’ve seen smart, high-achieving individuals tackle their personal season of halftime the same way they attack a strategic project at work – putting their head down and simply outworking everyone else. Unfortunately, this isn’t a product to be launched or an initiative to create. It’s a deeply personal journey filled with a crazy mix of emotions and a variety of potholes and distractions that derail most people when they go it alone. You’re not just flipping a switch, you’re trying to make a successful and sustainable transition that involves many factors. Remember, the most successful halftime transitions are those that are done, as Bob said “over time with others”. So, forget the John Wayne rugged cowboy approach!
2. Outside voices need to inform your inside voice.
I found it critical to get opinions, advice and truth from others who were experiencing or had experienced this same season to inform what I was thinking, feeling and living out daily. Without it, I could have easily gone down a wrong path with no one there to help me navigate the many forks in the road. The book of Proverbs says, “Do not be wise in your own eyes” (3:7) and “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction”(1:7). We need wisdom and instruction from others to navigate around the emotions, distractions, and potholes so that we don’t run the risk of being self-deceived or overlooking something important.
3. There’s just something about thinking your confusion out loud.
The ability to share my thoughts, frustrations and ideas with a group of friends who were committed to helping me during this season of life was edifying – and, to be frank, it just felt good. There was no judgment. Just fully present encouragers listening intently and coming alongside me during this confusing yet exciting time in my life.
4. Community breeds commitment.
There is accountability when you are working with a group of people. They know what you are trying to accomplish and therefore ask about your progress. By intentionally placing yourself in community, you are giving the group permission to hold you to some things and keep you true to what they know you need to do.
Creating a personal board of directors isn’t about bylaws and governance. It’s about friendship and truth; encouragement and laughter; advice and affirmation. It is about setting yourself up to have the most successful, sustainable, and enjoyable transition so that your second half is filled with joy, purpose, and impact.
Paul’s next article: How to Create Your Personal Board of Directors