7 Tips to Put Into Practice Today
I’ve been studying what it takes to thrive in our second half and to finish well. I want to finish life strong but at 56 I also want to know more about how people finish well. I’ve been studying this over the past 20 years of coaching high-capacity leaders and couples.
From my observation, having people around me who will encourage and challenge me is one essential ingredient. A second is being in alignment with my spouse and putting her interests ahead of mine. If Linda is thriving, it goes a very long way toward helping me and our family to thrive. This discovery, I am embarrassed to say, surprised me.
Good, open, and honest communication with your spouse will allow them to understand what is happening as we plan for the second half, and will help them think about what they desire in this next season. This kind of communication doesn’t happen easily, I’m afraid.
Most couples drift into their second half without a plan…they have plans for where they want to live winter and summer, plans for hobbies and plans for travel. Some have an estate plan. But few have a plan for life – what they will do with their lives together.
As we move from our first half to the second half, we have the opportunity to move from making a living to making a life.
Do you want to thrive or just merely drift?
Below, I’ll share the essential tips I’ve amassed from my 20 years of studying finishing well. Some may seem obvious, but don’t underestimate the value in doing each one well. Take these seriously to help you thrive in your second half.
- Make time together to listen to each other. Schedule this time. Turn off your phone. Really listen.
- Make it safe. Articulate that you see an opportunity for you to plan the second half together and you want to begin by listening to them and their desires, when the time is right. Make it clear that you are not going to run on ahead. Share how much you appreciate all they have done to make the first half what it was.
- Make a point to be curious and intentional. Use questions to guide your conversations. Such as, “Honey, what would you like more of and what would you like less of in this next season?” Or, “As you think about this next season of our lives together what excites you…what worries you…” and then let your spouse fill in the blank.
- Make new discoveries. What do you still need to discover about your spouse? What is your spouse’s love language? Take the Clifton StrengthsFinder and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, and learn a little more about each other. If you’re courageous, maybe ask what their deepest disappointments were in the first half? When were they most at peace?
- Dream separately, then make a plan together. We have found that dreaming together often causes one spouse to feel overwhelmed or at risk. Usually one spouse is better at vision and the other is more reality based. So do the dreaming separately, and then bring those ideas together. We can help with this.
- Make your plans known. Share your plans with your friends and your adult kids. This brings new dimensions of perspective and accountability. Ask for their feedback and get their unvarnished opinions about what you are thinking of doing. Every year, I share my next year’s Roadmap with our adult kids and my three personal board members – Linda’s dream and aspirations are always front and center in my plan. Sometimes, it feels risky sharing it, but I know I need their accountability.
- Make yourself second priority. Put your spouse’s interests and calling ahead of your own. This is a lot easier to write than it is to do. One place to start is to ask our spouse, “What is the most meaningful thing I could do to make your life better?” Then, see how you may be able to do that.
I believe that our second half can be the greatest time of our life. Our marriage, meaningful work, and our families could be better than ever.
Well, these aren’t my smart ideas – they are the distillation of 20 years of coaching successful couples on a journey to a significant second half.
Which of these tips can you put into practice today?
Where do you feel stuck?
We’re here to help. The joy of being a coach is to help leaders get unstuck and get engaged purposefully with forward momentum. Don’t hesitate to fill out the Contact Us form below, and let’s start a conversation about how you will finish well.