Reflections From A 20-Year Mentee of Bob Buford

We all want to maximize our time on earth. Greater dividends in our relationships and our endeavors for the time and sweat equity we put in. Being a 20-year mentee of Bob Buford has taught me just that – how to have leveraged impact in all that I do.  

Bob Buford was intent on a “100X return” – one hundred times the benefit or life change, as a result of giving his time and money to meet others’ needs. His standard wasn’t just multiplication – it was 100X multiplication! Now that’s something to study, isn’t it? 

At mid-life, we develop a greater realization that our time on earth is limited and it helps us get serious about what is most important. Last week, I shared the first five of the “10 Keys to Mid-life Renewal”; including specific questions we each need to work through during this season.  

Today, I’m sharing #6-10 of the “10 Keys to Mid-life Renewal” reflections from two decades of sitting under Bob Buford.  

(For Part 1 of the “10 Keys to Mid-life Renewal,” CLICK HERE.) 



Bob and I shared a common love of art and spent several wonderful days together at the Metropolitan Museum in New York. He believed that art would bring depth to my thinking and strengthen my ability to observe. 

A package arrived at our home with two oversized art books and a hand-written note: “I want you to tear out a page of art each day and pin it up in your dressing room and just look at it. The best way to really learn art is to just look at it … And don’t worry, they were not expensive, I bought them used.” 

In this and other ways, he modeled a commitment to life-long learning. For many summers, Bob was a facilitator at the Aspen Institute, exposing him to the widest range of ideas and perspectives. He even hired a tenured professor of literature to come to his office each week and tutor him through the classics. 

QUESTION FOR YOU:  What will be your rhythm of lifelong learning? 



I asked my three closest friends to each send Bob an email with their observations of my life, my risks and opportunities. Sent only to him, not me. When we met next, he was armed with three very different, honest perspectives. 

“It’s obvious your friends care deeply about you but having reflected on their comments, I believe that in this next season you’re going to have to learn to live within your limits.” 

Ouch. What did that mean? Which limits was I oblivious to? How has he lived within limits that have kept him safe from embarrassing himself or God? 

Now this is worth noodling on. 

His advice was to read Jim Collins’ book How the Mighty Fall. “But it’s a corporate book,” I claimed. “Yes,” Bob replied, “but the factors that cause companies to fail apply to leaders in their personal lives as well.” 

QUESTIONS FOR YOU: Who in your life can reveal blind spots to you? What limits do you need to be more aware of?



“Friday through Sunday I’m at the farm, with just Linda, my wife. I may spend 7 or 8 hours reading in a weekend. I take long walks and watch the cows chew their cud…nothing’s more relaxing than that. It’s about silence, reflection, and time with the Lord and Linda.” 

At first, this struck me as overly rigid. But his intentionality had profound results over time.  

Today I have seemingly rigid rhythms: 

– I take three silent spiritual retreat days spread throughout the year. 

– I block off one workday each week as a “spouse day.” 

– I have a standing appointment on the calendar every morning to start my day with God. 

– I have a reoccurring 90-minute block of time to reach out to ten sons in our extended family and friends. 

Each of these fit in the priceless category. 

QUESTION FOR YOU: What adjustment in your rhythms might take your relationships and effectiveness to a new level?



After I turned 50, I went to Bob with a fear that I was losing my mojo, my drive, or my focus. 

“Lloyd, you’re not likely to lose your focus. In fact, you’re so focused that you run the risk of becoming uninteresting.” 

My family quickly affirmed that he was right. I just couldn’t see it. In fact, I sensed from them that I was already a little uninteresting or at least lop-sided. One of my top strengths, according to the StrengthsFinder Assessment, is Focus. Any strength taken too far becomes a weakness. 

QUESTION FOR YOU: What strength are you most likely to take too far? 



During the last mentoring conversation I had with Bob, he asked me what I was learning. A simple but powerful question. I told him that I was learning contentment. If “godliness with contentment equals great gain” (1 Timothy 6), then I have focused on living in godly ways but not on being content.  

“Oh … you’ve caught up with your dream. That’s what you do when you catch up with your dream – you learn to slow down and savor the journey. You learn contentment.” 

Hmmm, I didn’t know that. Some things in life have a natural progression. I had never actually expected to catch my dream but the instant he said those words I knew it true. 

QUESTIONS FOR YOU: Have you caught up with your dream? If so, what do you do now? If not, what will it look and feel like when you do?




I shared this much detail with you not because all these learnings apply to you, but rather, that in seeing Bob’s wisdom in his own words applied to my life, you would be encouraged to have such a source of wisdom in your life. 

LAST QUESTION: Who do you know who could be this sort of mentor to you? Who can ask you deeper questions? Who can help you grow in wisdom?  

Lloyd Reeb
Lloyd Reeb is a successful real estate developer and retirement housing owner who made a mid-life transition, looking for greater meaning, joy and impact in his second half. To his surprise he discovered that he was not alone in this journey and that many talented leaders are longing for midlife renewal.

Lloyd has had the privilege of investing 20 years helping leaders plan their second half. He helped launch the Halftime Institute, a global team that teach, coach and connect successful men and women in pursuit of significance.

In Lloyd’s words, “When all you've done or own seems to matter less …and your heart craves more meaning, joy and balance...when something triggers in your mind that you're entering your second half of life and you're unsure what your calling is for the next season... you’re in Halftime.”

Lloyd has taken the Halftime message around the world: speaking, teaching and coaching individuals through the journey. As a result, he understands the issues that surround your Halftime in a deep and practical way.

He is the author of From Success to Significance: When the Pursuit of Success Isn’t Enough, which is a road map for this mid-life transition. His book The Second Half: Real stories, Real adventures, Real Significance provides compelling evidence that your second half could be the most creative and productive season of your life.

Lloyd and his wife, Linda, have written the book  Halftime for Couples. His latest e-book is Finally Connected: Deep, Rewarding Relationships in your Second Half.

Lloyd and Linda live on Lake Norman in North Carolina. They have three adult children - 2 daughters and 1 son - plus a daughter-in-law, son-in-law, and 1 granddaughter.

Checkout Lloyd's articles:

Five Powerful Halftime Habits

Seeing the Hero In Being A Servant

A Write Way to Find Clarity

Check out Lloyd's TEDx Talk:

The Most Productive Years of Your Life May Surprise You