How to Have a Hall of Fame Transition

How to Have a Hall of Fame Transition
Thomas Thompson
April 12, 2022
min read

A few years ago, one man made a decision that shook up the entire NFL.  Tom Brady went to Tampa Bay.  The GOAT was gone from the Pats.  He took his 6 Superbowl wins and walked away…only to grab another ring with Tampa Bay.  And he may not be done yet.


As a Broncos fan, I was thrilled to see him get out of the AFC.  As a leader, his move inspired me.  A 43 year old man making a career switch after 20 seasons with the same team takes courage.  It’s an invigorating (and a little scary) move to start something new halfway through your life.  


I know because I’ve done it.  And others have too.


I coach leaders who are wondering, “Could I do something different in the next phase of my life?”  

Some refer to this wondering as a Mid-life Crisis.  But it is the opposite.  This wondering is the beginning not of a Mid-life Crisis, but a Mid-life Transition.  Whether a career change happens or not, taking time to intentionally think through the move into the second half of life prevents a Mid-life Transition from becoming a Mid-life Crisis.


So if you are beginning to ask that question, and considering a move, let me give you three phrases that can guide your journey.


1. “Doing not do.” 

My leadership coach used this phrase with me a few years ago.  I was getting hung up on what I wanted to do.  He had me add three letters—ing—to the word do and changed the question to, “What kinds of things would I like to be doing?  What kind of people would I like to be doing it with?”  That I could answer: I wanted to be doing conversations with leaders.  Armed with that insight, I could begin to look at pathways that would let me do that.


Action Step:  Create two lists focused on doing—what kinds of things you would like to be doing, and what kinds of people you’d like to be doing them with. This RESOURCE can help you narrow down who these people are.


2. “What not how.”  

It always happens.  I’m coaching a client who starts to dream.  I see their eyes light up as they talk about what they would love to do.  And then, they interrupt themselves with this statement: “But, I don’t see HOW that could work.”  And just like that, they’ve cut off their future before it even got rolling.  Look, I know the How is important, and will have to be figured out.  But in this beginning process, the How is the enemy of the What.  How short-circuits the dreaming.  So fight it.  Set the How aside.  And give the What space to breathe.  


Action Step: Write the word HOW on a sticky note.  Then put it somewhere out of sight.  Now that you know you can come back to the how later, take time to explore the What.


3. “When not if.”

"If" maroons us in the present.  "If" keeps our future foggy.  “If I were to do something different.  If I was going to change careers.  If I ever pursue my dream.”  


Try switching "If" out for "When."  


“When I am done with this job.  When I am working for myself.  When I am spending my days doing _______.”  When anchors us in the future.  When starts to make things real.  And the more real it becomes, the more we get to try on this potential future, we can roll it around in our minds.  You can find excitement grow.  Or you may discover that you don’t like the taste of these words in your mouth.  And that helps you eliminate this path and narrow towards the right one.  Either way, you are moving towards the life that you would love.


Action Step: Start using when instead of if and pay attention to how that change feels as you say it to yourself and those closest to you.

I'd love to talk with you more about this. Shoot me an email and let's start your Hall of Fame Transition today.

I founded Thompson Leadership to come alongside leaders like you. Together, we will unpack your unique leadership, unearth your biggest challenge, and create an action plan to close the gap between where you are and where you want to be.
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