Reflections From A 20-Year Mentee of Bob Buford
Two weeks before my friend and mentor Bob Buford passed away, I took a day of silence. A day alone with God in the beauty of historic Pinehurst, North Carolina. For some reason, I brought my whole file of notes, learnings and conversations with Bob over our 20-year partnership. In 1998, we locked arms to build the Halftime Institute, but he shaped my mind and heart along the way.
A typical mentoring time would be a 90-minute breakfast at the quiet, bespoke restaurant at the Hotel Crescent Court in downtown Dallas. First, Bob would want an unscripted update on my work, family, business, and heart. Somehow, he always knew where to dig in.
Through this 2-part series, I want to share the ten most powerful things he taught me. These reflections represent not just things I learned, but valuable wisdom we could all apply. Most of it was unexpected. All brought growth and joy. Each learning includes a quote from Bob and a question to consider how it may apply to your own life.
When I first shared with Bob my experience of sending my resume to 40 major ministries, offering my time to them for free, and being turned down flatly by almost all, he gave me this new perspective which has become the passion driving my work ever since.
“Perhaps God pulled you through this knot hole so that you could invest your life helping others avoid the very same mistakes?”
QUESTION FOR YOU: Who helps you frame up your life, providing a larger perspective?
“Let’s be known by what we are for, rather than what we are against. After all, there are so many great things to be for.”
When I was too caught-up in some social issue and wanted him to join in making a public statement, and when we were invited to speak on a radio talk show that was very one-sided, this quote helped me shape up a position based on specific issues and based on God’s word rather than getting painted into the left or the right with a broad political brush.
QUESTION FOR YOU: How is our culture’s desire to divide or label squeezing you into a place that limits your usefulness in some folks’ lives?
“Lloyd, your primary contribution is that you have the ability to get to the gestalt in someone’s life … you listen and can see what is the primary issue that they need to wrestle with and resolve.”
After several years of working together, this observation from Bob helped me understand in a deeper way my unique strength. I’m a ‘thought leader’ for folks in mid-life renewal. That has freed me to be the very best I can be at that one thing.
QUESTION FOR YOU: If your primary strength is not crystal clear to you, in addition to a formal strength assessment, who could provide feedback to help you get focused? Time is fleeting.
Folks come to the Halftime Institute for professional help as they reinvent themselves. We spent many hours together with small groups of successful leaders. If someone was obviously stuck yet resistant to explore or even envision ideas way outside their norm, Bob used to pull me aside quietly and say…
“My guess is that what’s holding them back is a ‘failure of the imagination’.”
QUESTION FOR YOU: Where might your life be constrained by a failure of your imagination?
Bob wanted to give his money away in his lifetime. I wondered what he was learning as he watched his net worth drop. So, I asked him. I was surprised by his response, and the depth from which he blurted it out.
“It’s not gone, I just reinvested it. I paid it forward. The only way I could really keep it was to give it away.”
He honestly believed that when he gave away his money to advance God’s work and serve others, that it was not gone, just reinvested with a long-term return.
QUESTIONS FOR YOU: How was this strong conviction formed in his heart? How can I grow in this space?
NOW…PUTTING THOUGHT TO ACTION
As a Halftime Coach, I help my clients focus on a few key areas to see major transition. If we dilute our focus over too many things, very little happens. In this way, let these first five areas of reflection sink in. Take time to look in the mirror and apply the one or two that are most needed in your life.
Don’t miss my next blog post where I share part 2 of the “10 Keys to Mid-Life Renewal.” I have saved the best for last.