It was during this season that JT started reading the book, Halftime, with a group of six peers for four hours each month, including Halftime Institute alum, Dick Gygi. JT recalls how helpful it was to process his halftime journey in a group of peers, noting specifically that the feedback was invaluable. He learned through this experience that corporate recruiting was not his “sweet spot” because it lacked the relational dynamic that he craved.
JT recalls traveling with his Halftime peer group to Memphis, TN to hear Halftime alum, Bob Musokowski, share his story. “He said ‘this is hotel earth, folks. This isn’t our permanent home and you have to make a difference.’ and his words and his story made a profound impact on me during that season.” He remembers how encouraged and inspired he was as he heard stories of other halftimers and got to know what they were doing.
Following the book study with his peers, JT felt a burning desire to not only get back to his sweet spot, but also incorporate his passion to make a difference in the lives of widows and orphans. So, he began to prayerfully conduct low-cost probes.
“I love the concept of the low-cost probes. That’s where our first fundraising project started, which became the foundation for Both Hands. That’s when I decided that we were going to do this full-time. I remember one person came up to me and said, “I think this is going to be bigger than Habitat for Humanity,” and I was blown away.”
The halftime journey is often one that involves the whole family, and the Olsons were no exception. JT’s family had to make some serious adjustments in order to make the launch of Both Hands a feasible reality. Until that time, his wife, Sara, had stayed at home with the kids homeschooling. In an effort to support their dream for Both Hands, Sara went back to work full-time outside the home at Belmont University. The entire family leaned into the transition to make it happen. Not only that, but JT sincerely feels that the organization is really a by-product of a whole network of people coming together to make a difference. It has truly been a God-sized dream that has come true through the prayers and service of countless people.
As JT thinks back to those early days and all that has happened since, his encouragement to other halftimers is this: “You have to live like there’s a God. God is wanting us to do something that requires His help. Let’s do something that’s only going to work if God does it.”
When we asked JT what advice he has for other halftimers, he said without hesitation:
“If there’s something in your heart and soul that is pulling at you, PURSUE THAT. If it lights your fire, pursue it. I started Both Hands when I was 52. My parents passed away when I was 12. Someone pointed out to me that it was 40 years after being orphaned that God made this a reality, which has neat parallels to the Bible. God has prepared me for this specific place at this specific time.”
In 2017, JT self-published his first book, The Widow, The Orphan, & Me, in which he shares his life story and the foundation of Both Hands. As Dave Ramsey says, “[It] probably won’t take you long to read, but its impact might just last a lifetime.” You can get a copy of the book from the online store on Both Hands’ website here.
Our aim in spotlighting various Halftime Institute alumni each month is to inspire, challenge, and encourage you in your second half journey. May JT’s story be an example of how God can use your first half to powerfully equip you to do the “good works which he has prepared in advance” (Eph 2:10) for you to do in your second half.
If you would like to re-engage in coaching or get connected with other alumni to conduct low-cost probes, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Visit the Alumni page and fill out the form to let us know how we can best support you.
We’ll leave you with this inspiring quote from JT:
“When I get up in the morning, I don’t want Satan and his little minions checking the box that says “not a threat.” I want him to growl that I’m up and awake and making an impact. For that, I have a target on my back- but I’d rather be in the battle than on the sidelines watching.”
May your Kingdom impact make the enemy growl, and may the Lord protect you as you continue on in the battle.
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