Do You Know Her Dreams?

“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” – Walt Disney

This one is for the guys. Sorry ladies, you’ll appreciate why soon enough and might even want to share this article with “your guy” after you read it.

OK men, let me ask you one simple question: Do you know your wife’s or significant other’s deepest dreams? I’m not referring to her desire to get a small break from driving the kids around or curling up alone with a new book.

Those are great short-term ways to relieve temporary stress but what I’m asking you to consider goes much deeper than a momentary break from the pressures of daily life. What I am suggesting you consider are those deepest thoughts and dreams that, when she really thinks about them, bring a renewed sense of hope and purpose to her life.

What? You don’t know what those are? You’ve never thought to ask her? That’s okay, most of us don’t. I didn’t ask or know Susan’s dreams, not for a long time. Us men tend to get so darned busy cranking through our lives climbing the corporate ladder, providing for the family, and trying to be a good husband, father, and friend that we don’t take time to consider our own life’s purpose and dreams – let alone anyone else’s.

That’s a subject for another day but, since this is the “Month of Love,” I’m asking you to think about your Valentine for now. You see, like you, she has likely been so wrapped up working and making life happen for you, the kids, and others that she unintentionally turned her “dreamer” off years ago. Most of us do.

Is dreaming about life just for daydreamers – those that spend their days with their heads in the clouds, wishing for times past or imagining what might one day be? I don’t think so. We all have dreams. Kids do. Teenagers do. And it’s not too late for adults to.

What if you could be instrumental in helping your Valentine’s daydreams become a life-long reality? “But, how would I start?”, you ask. In our Fellows Program at the Halftime Institute, we encourage our clients to have the “Courage to Dream.” For your significant other, that might start with asking questions something like this:

  • If money was not an issue, what would you be doing for free if you could?
  • If you could have anything you most wanted in life, what would that be?
  • If you knew there was no way you could fail, what dream of a lifetime would you pursue?
  • What life values do you most want to be remembered for?
  • What issue in the world would you most like to make a difference in?

What do you think your wife’s/girlfriend’s reaction would be if you took her to a quiet, casual dinner and asked her questions like these? She would probably fall out of her chair. And so might you when you hear her responses.

When I first realized I needed to ask Susan about her biggest dreams, I thought I knew what her answers would be. To be honest, I did get some of it right, but I was also super surprised by parts of what she shared. And now I am as focused on helping Susan’s life purpose, hopes, and dreams become a reality as I am my own. It has proven the greatest gift I could ever give her.

Wouldn’t this be the best Valentine’s gift ever if you could help your Valentine move beyond hope in 2018 and start expecting greater things than she ever imagined?

If you would like some guidance with this, drop me a note. I’d love to help.

Okay ladies, this is where you share this article on social media and forward it to your guy with a little hint that this just might be the best article he reads all year. 


Blessings on your continuing journey,

Bob Karcher

Author | Speaker | Coach


Grey’s Anatomy Wisdom

“Never leave until tomorrow that which you can do today.” – Benjamin Franklin

Grey’s Anatomy. You’ve likely heard of or are an avid follower of this Seattle-based TV medical drama now in its 14th season. Several million viewers tune in weekly for each episode. Millions more binge-watch past episodes on Netflix. And it’s one of the most successful TV dramas ever.

Susan and I enjoy watching this series, but there are two parts of each episode that I enjoy the most … the beginning and ending. This is when the main character, Meredith Grey, shares some lightly philosophical views of the world from her point of view.

For instance, one episode started with this observation:

“I don’t know why we put things off but, if I had to guess, I’d say it has a lot to do with fear. Fear of failure, fear of pain, fear of rejection. Sometimes we fear simply making a decision because, what if you’re wrong, what if you’re making a mistake you can’t undo?”

In our last blog post, titled The Cowardly Lion, we addressed this issue of fear and courage but, the more I research this idea of fear keeping us from becoming all we are meant to be, the more I realize it deserves more than a single blog post. In particular I think it is worth taking the time to consider the implications of how fear keeps us from making decisions that could be great for us.

Do you think this is accurate? Do you think fear actually keeps us from doing things … even things that could turn out great? Take a minute here. Think back over your life. When has fear kept you from making a decision to do something you either needed or wanted to do? For some of us, we may not have to go back much further than a week or so.

Now … think through that decision. What was at the root of that fear? Do you wish now that you had moved forward? Is it too late to reconsider? Should you?

I believe we all desire to experience life as fully as we can and yet we allow fear to keep us from much of it. The more I speak with and coach folks, the more convinced I am that fear is at an epidemic level. This isn’t based on any qualitative research I’ve conducted but rather on the real-life realities I see and hear all around me. I bet you see it too.

What can we do about it? We can start with ourselves. We often have 20/20 vision when we look into a friend’s life and “clearly” see that they are letting fear hold them back. Yet, the mirror seems a bit foggy when we look at our own situations.

Take some serious time … just you and a journal … and look forward at opportunities you are now considering or are about to. How might fear be driving any of those decisions? Then consider how Meredith Grey ends the same episode quoted above:

“Even the biggest failure, even the worst, most intractable mistake beats the hell out of never trying.”

Move beyond fear this year. Start living life the way it was intended for you to live it.


Blessings on your continuing journey,

Bob Karcher

Author | Speaker | Coach


The Cowardly Lion

You’re right, I am a coward! I haven’t any courage at all. I even scare myself.” – The Cowardly Lion

You all remember the Cowardly Lion from The Wizard of Oz, right? He’s the one that said “I haven’t any courage at all” but, in the end, proved he had more than enough courage to face his biggest fears.

I believe what the Cowardly Lion actually suffered from was not a lack of courage, but fear. And that fear held him back from becoming all that he was meant to be, but only until he stopped letting fear keep him from being the courageous lion he was born to be.

Have you ever let fear hold you back and keep you from becoming all that you were meant to be? Are there areas of your life where you wish you would move forward but feel like you can’t because you fear doing so?

Fear can be a good thing. It’s meant to warn us of situations in our lives where we need to be extra cautious. But fear can also create such a grip on us that we freeze in place and never find the courage to move forward, be bold, and fully experience life.

Some have a fear of roller coasters or driving on freeways. These aren’t the types of fears I’m thinking about. For some these are very real fears that don’t necessarily keep them from fully living their lives. But there are fears that do keep us so bottled up that we won’t step out into new horizons where we can thrive.

Fear of the unknown. Fear of failure. Fear of saying “yes.” Fear of saying “I’m sorry” or granting forgiveness. Fear of admitting wrongdoing. Fear of being rejected. Fear of loving or being loved. Fear of doing something God has called you to do. These and others are the fears I think really hold us back.

I’ve been a victim of fear … more times than I like to admit. It’s a trap that’s easy to fall into. One of my greatest fears in life has always been a fear of failure. I have been so focused on success that failing, at anything, was not an option. This fear has kept me from what likely could have been some amazing times in my life.

One of those times was when Susan and I were called to write Who Are the Joneses Anyway? The entire idea of writing a book, speaking on stage, and sharing the craziest parts of our lives with the public was enough to make me sick. And then there was the fear of failure! I mean, who would care about a book from unknown authors? I didn’t know anything about book publishing! I was totally out of my league. I could hear everyone laughing at me if we failed.

Luckily, I decided enough was enough! I wasn’t going to let fear hold me back from what God had designed me to do. There came a point when I simply had to say “enough!” … I’m not going to let fear of failure keep me from fully experiencing all that God had planned for me … not anymore.

This was a very real “ah-ha” type of life-changing moment for me. I summoned the courage to move beyond fear. And I’m glad I did. Our book has seen success and, better yet, it is changing lives for the better. That is something to be excited about. defines courage as “the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear.” It’s also “having the courage of one’s convictions, to act in accordance with one’s beliefs, especially in spite of criticism.”

You see, courage is not the absence of fear; it’s facing your fear head on, not letting it hold you back, and moving forward confidently in spite of it.

Are there any big decisions or dreams you are considering but you think you can’t move forward? What are they? Is fear holding you back? Aren’t your dreams worth a shot? Doesn’t the world deserve all of you?

Why not be like the Cowardly Lion, summon your courage from deep down, and, despite potential criticism, move beyond your fears? Isn’t it about time?

Make 2018 your year! Start expecting greater things than you ever imagined.


Blessings on your continuing journey,

Bob Karcher

Author | Speaker | Coach

Four Ways to Give Thanks This Year

I will give thanks to you, LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.
  I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High.
– Psalms 9:1-2 (NIV)

Thanksgiving Day is upon us! So why another Thanksgiving-themed blog? Well, because I think focusing on being thankful deserves more than a single day. In fact, we should be thankful every day. Most of us are so blessed and it’s easy to forget that in the hubbub of everyday life.

My brother once said that sometimes “it seems as if Thanksgiving is just a speed bump on the road to Christmas”. Our culture seems so driven towards Black Friday and Christmas that we hardly even notice Thanksgiving along the way. And now many retailers open their doors on Thanksgiving Day itself because we can’t wait even one day to get our hands on the newest gadgets we simply must have.

One of the truly great things about Thanksgiving is getting the family together for at least one day or one meal. A lot of families are spread out all over the country or overseas and the holiday is a chance to reconvene and reconnect. When you do that this year, let me suggest four things that you can do with your family, friends, and neighbors this year between football games and turkey legs:

Reflect Talk with each other about how things are going. Ask each other, “How’s the year so far? Are there any issues that are troubling you? What about successes?”

Doing this will get us past the surface talk that sometimes dominates the Thanksgiving meal and allow us to really talk to each other in a deeper way. What you will find in this exercise is that there have been a lot of blessings during the year. There was a song I sang growing up that said to “Count your blessings, name them one by one.” The truth is, it would take me a really long time to do that. That in itself is a blessing.

Encourage – Think of someone in your family or social circle that has had a rough year. If you can’t think of anyone, widen your circle – you won’t have to look far. Then, do something encouraging for them … something that makes their life a little better. This doesn’t have to be big or expensive. Remember, time and a listening ear can be the most treasured gifts we ever give to someone. The Golden Rule may be a good one to focus on if you’re still looking for ideas. Give them a call and really listen. Put them on your prayer list and pray daily for them.

Share Do something generous. We can all find someone that is worse off than we are. Do you have anything you really don’t need or can go without this month so you can totally bless someone? Or how about inviting someone over to share the Thanksgiving festivities — food, football, fellowship — with your family? Again, your idea here doesn’t have to be gigantic. Just reach out and make a difference because, after all, giving IS better than receiving, isn’t it?

Practice – Take these ideas with you into the coming holiday months and the New Year. In other words, don’t wait until next Thanksgiving to do thankful things. Commit to leading a thankful life as a big part of who you are and the way you live. They say “practice makes perfect,” so why not be perfect at giving thanks? I can think of worse things to be perfect at.

Here’s wishing you the best season of giving thanks ever.

What Would You Do For Free?

“No, my son, do not aspire for wealth and labor only to be rich. Strive instead for happiness, to be loved and to love, and most important to acquire peace of mind and serenity.” – Og Mandino

At the start of my transition following a 25-year tenure in the world of advertising and publishing, I spent a lot of time trying to determine what my next career would look like. Finding my next big opportunity became my mission, the only thing that mattered.

I became obsessed with this mission. What company would I work for? What position would I have? What would my salary and benefits look like? All I cared about was finding the biggest title and compensation package I could get my hands on.

And my approach was all wrong. At first, anyway.

That was back in my old Keeping Up with the Joneses days. After running into one wall after another, I began seeking counsel from those friends, colleagues, and family members I trusted most. One of them asked me a paradigm shifting question that I’ll never forget. He asked: “What would you do for free if money were not an issue? Find that and go do it.”

Wow! This friend really challenged me to stop looking for my next job and start looking for my calling … that thing I was made to do. Friend and mentor Bob Shank, founder of The Master’s Program, would say it like this: “it’s the difference between what you’re paid to do and what you’re made to do.”

This thinking revolutionized my way of thinking, particularly about my career approach. Rather than starting with questions related to how much I wanted to make, I started with goals related to what I wanted most from life. I remained focused on ensuring my career supported rather than competed with these goals. To give you a peak under the hood, here are some of the top goals that made my list:

  • Become a better husband and father
  • Learn what “abiding in Christ” means and move towards that
  • Live a life of generosity and service
  • Seek joy, impact, and balance

These and other goals now keep me focused and serve as a filter for all decisions I make. Without these at the forefront, it would be too easy to slip back into my old pattern of life choosing me rather than me choosing life. And I don’t intend to ever go back.

So, let me ask you these questions. What top goals have you set to guide your life, family, ministry, and career? Are they serving as true filters for all that you do? Do others know about your goals and help hold you accountable to them?

Setting and living by effective goals is not something that happens overnight. It’s hard work. Contact me if you want some pointers.

Blessings on your continuing journey,

Bob Karcher

Author | Speaker | Coach

Because It Really Does Matter

“Every instant of life matters. Humility is knowing so. Passion is feeling so. Wisdom is living so.” – Unknown

This past week has been disturbing as we were all shocked by the shooting rampage in Las Vegas, the largest mass shooting in our country’s history. We remain dumbfounded on exactly how to process the reality that these types of events are escalating in America, a land blessed with so much.

In our last blog post titled How to Do What Matters we asked a question that we now ask again: “Is life choosing you or are you choosing life?”

We have been reminded in dramatic fashion that living life fully every day matters, it really matters!

In the past two weeks, we received word that three, yes three, of our family / friends passed away. And you want to know the really unsettling part? All three were between 53 and 60 years old. That is way too soon for anyone to lose their life.

Of course we had no idea when we wrote that blog post that we would be sitting through three memorial services in such a short time or be faced with the Las Vegas massacre. A certain passage from the Bible (James 4: 13-15 MSG) speaks to the brevity of life and has been ringing in our ears all week. It reads:

13 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”

Greg Murtha, former president of Halftime Institute, personally lived and learned the meaning of this Bible passage. In a past blog post, we wrote about Greg’s struggle with cancer. After multiple surgeries, 75 rounds of chemo, and two heart attacks, cancer took Greg’s life this past June. He was 52.

Before passing, Greg was able to share his thoughts on life and what he learned through his struggle in his book, Out of the Blue. This book, which we highly recommend, published a few weeks after Greg’s passing.

We don’t mean for this blog post to be all negative, but we do hope to shatter the perception that our days in the distant and immediate future are guaranteed. The events above should, if nothing else, prove this. None of us are promised tomorrow but we often live as though we are.

If you knew your life was coming to a close, what would you do differently? What would you do more of … less of? How would spend your time, your love, your money? Who would you spend time with? What would you tell them? What impact on the world and personal legacy would you work towards?

Go ahead, take some time (soon) to seriously ponder these questions. And then start living like you aren’t promised tomorrow … because none of us are.

Drop us a note and share how you are going to live differently starting today than you were yesterday. Then, go make a difference.

Blessings on your continuing journey,

Bob and Susan Karcher

Authors | Speakers | Coaches

How to Do What Matters

“Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me. Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful, that’s what matters to me.” – Steve Jobs

I don’t know about you but a quote talking about “what matters” gets me thinking. Steve Jobs’ comment is one of those. How do we know what matters … and what matters most? Is it the same for me and for you? How do we know? I mean, heck, if I’m going to think about doing what matters, I want to do what matters most! Don’t you?

I have to admit that I have been through seasons where I was just going through the motions rather than living life like it was the one life I was created for. Going through the motions can sneak up on you. Even now, if I’m not careful, my days can quickly fill up with so much useless “activity” that, at the end of the day, I feel like I ran a marathon but on a treadmill; I put in all the work without getting anywhere.

“Is life choosing you or are you choosing life?”

Have you ever had days like that? Be honest with yourself. Is life choosing you or are you choosing life? What I mean is has your frenzied life taken over your daily schedule or are you dictating how you spend your days?

Don’t get me wrong, not all of our daily activities fit nicely into that “what matters most” box (think laundry, dishes, oil changes, and the like). There will always be chores but we can become so busy “doing” that we forget the joy in simply “being.”

“But I’m so busy”, you say. I know. Most of us are. So start with today. What’s on your calendar today that matters? Anything? If not, you can replace it with something important you’ve been wanting to do for a long time. Consider visiting your parents, getting some quiet time in, calling that friend in need, or writing that thank you note. I bet you have a long list of things that really matter that you’ve been wanting to get to.

Starting today is the best way to start. But I hope you don’t stop there. I hope one of the things you take time for is exploring your ambitions, dreams, passions, and God-given life purpose. Take a longer view of your life course. Is all of today’s “activity” making life better for you, your career, your family, your community, the world?

Think differently about how you do life each day. What if you evaluated each activity and challenged just how important it is versus many of the other things you could be doing? You have the ability to ask God what it is He made you for, dream how to make that happen, and begin leading a life in such a way that you can go to bed each night and say I’ve “done something wonderful.”

Why not start today? And, tomorrow, drop me a note letting me know what you took off your calendar and what you replaced it with that really matters. Then, enjoy your day more than you planned to.


Blessings on your continuing journey,

Bob Karcher

Authors | Speakers | Coaches



Climbing Ladders

Our level of ‘I’ve gotta have it’ will never match our level of ‘I can’t afford it.'” – Bob and Susan Karcher

How is it that here in America, easily one of the most prosperous nations of all time, so many of us end up significantly in debt or even bankrupt? A big part of the answer is that we have made chasing the American Dream our primary focus. We have moved beyond simply providing for our families, conditioning ourselves to measure success in terms of how well our neighbors are doing by comparison. We have stopped focusing on the true standard—one between us and God—that tells us what we are called to be and do. Instead, we judge success by how high we’ve climbed on our own proverbial ladder.

We have all heard of the corporate ladder, and many of us have worked very hard to move up that ladder in our careers. I certainly did. As I made my way through the publishing industry for 25 years, I fervently sought each new promotion and the added pay and bigger title that came with each.

A closely related cousin to the corporate ladder is what we call the “Joneses Ladder.” It represents our ambition and drive to continuously reach for that one more thing that we believe will finally bring total satisfaction and financial peace.

While on the Joneses Ladder, we start to believe that fulfillment and success lies just one rung up from our current position. We rationalize reaching for the next level by telling ourselves we’re not asking for too much. “We are not trying to compete with Bill Gates or Oprah Winfrey,” we say, “that would be impossible. If we could get just one level higher on the ladder, we’d have what we need. And then, we would surely be happy!”

But once we have firmly arrived on the rung of the ladder we were reaching for, suddenly the next rung up on the ladder looks closer than ever. And then something triggers our desire to go higher—the neighbor who got a new car, the friend who got a higher-paying job, or the relative whose kids seem more successful than ours. Or it may be the next job, the next promotion, the next sale, the next accomplishment. The list can be endless.

We come from different levels of education, income, and status. But no matter what level we are on when we start, our level of “I’ve gotta have it” will never match our level of “I can’t afford it.” Instead of being content with our own comfort level, we want more than we can afford—and we keep reaching higher and higher for the next rungs on the Joneses Ladder.

Climbing the Joneses Ladder will never lead to lasting contentment, as there’s always some new level we’ll strive for if we allow ourselves to. As a result, the happiness we seek as we climb becomes impossible to attain because the Joneses Ladder rests on a shaky foundation and is leaning against a crumbling wall that assumes our achievements and acquisitions define who we are. They do not! All of our achievements can’t hold a candle to the joy we can discover when we start with a solid rock foundation.

If you find yourself precariously hanging onto a failing ladder, it’s never too late to refocus your life on the prizes that really matter – like faith, family, impact, and generosity. Strive for these and you’ll discover greater joy than any ladder-climbing could ever bring.

Enjoy this video. It will help bring this message to life.

Blessings on your continuing journey,
Bob Karcher

Author | Speaker | Coach

“I’m fine, thank you.”

Person one: “Hi, how are you?”

Person two: “I’m fine, how are you?”

Person one: “I’m fine, thank you.”

Person one and two: Depart and go about their days

How often have you had this exact conversation with someone? Like the rest of us, it’s likely been so many times that you couldn’t count them if you wanted to.

How it is that being “fine” has become our standard greeting with each other? This greeting has become so customary that we simply state it without thinking about it. And it means so little anymore. Often we even move so quickly through this small talk that someone could say they are fine, yet have tears in their eyes, and we wouldn’t notice.

All of us seem to be fine all of the time. But we are not. Sometimes we are broken, offended, depressed, hurt, sick, and sometimes so completely shattered that we are barely hanging on. Urban dictionary say’s “I’m fine” is “one of the biggest white lies anyone could say.”

Another way of saying “I’m fine” might be “I’m doing great.” Have you been doing great the hundreds, perhaps thousands, of times you’ve answered with “fine?” In this drive-thru, microwave, ATM, Twitter world, we often move so fast that we fail to stop and really pay attention to the person right in front of us … or even to ourselves.

I totally understand there are times when it may not be the right time or even appropriate to dump all of our problems on someone. We could be in a professional setting where it wouldn’t be prudent to break down in tears. Or we think that if we share our issues it will look like we are weak simply seeking sympathy. Maybe we don’t want to admit to others that something is wrong. And surely a complete stranger on an elevator would feel totally out of place if we started crying out of the blue.

Yes, there are times when we really are doing great. Yet, when we aren’t, when would it be appropriate to share what’s going on with someone else and seek advice, counsel, prayer, or even just a listening ear?

I don’t mean to be pointing the finger because I am as guilty of this as anyone. There have been times I was really struggling, even holding back tears, when friends, even family, have asked how I am and guess how I responded. You got it. I said “I’m fine” … although I was nowhere close to doing great.

One of the best lessons I’ve learned through my Joneses Journey is the more deeply, authentically, and intimately I communicate with someone, the more that person feels safer to reciprocate in the same way with me. And the resulting conversations mean so much more than simply talking about the weather, sports, or shopping.

So now I take more risks in getting to truly know the people in my life. As each day passes, I have less and less time in this one life I’ve been given. I don’t know how much time I have but I sure don’t want to spend any of it in superficial conversations with family, friends, clients, or others that I know well.

What about you? Are you ready to take some risks (small ones at first) and actually get to know that person at church that you’ve been sitting in the same row with for a year or that co-worker just three cubicles away? I can promise that you will not regret stepping out if you do so in an appropriate, loving, and sincere way.

Blessings on your continuing journey,

Bob Karcher

Author | Speaker | Coach

Attaining The Perfect Life

“The funny thing about the questions of life is that the ones we ask at the end are the ones we should begin with.” – David Green

How much time do you spend thinking about what a perfect life would look like? I never used to but now I do; in fact I’m as focused on it as any goal I’ve ever had. Let me clarify. I’m not suggesting that I, or my life, could possibly be found without fault. None of us can make that claim.

Still, wouldn’t aiming for a perfect life be a well-intentioned goal? Assuming you think this a good idea, here are some questions you may have: What does that look like? Where do I start? How do I measure it? What should I focus on?

I’m glad you asked. Start with the end in mind. In his new book, Giving It All Away … And Getting It All Back Again: The Way Of Living Generously, David Green comments on asking questions such as this:

“The funny thing about the questions of life is that the ones we ask at the end are the ones we should begin with. It is tough to craft a meaningful life without considering our end: What do we hope for, what do we dream for, relative to our lives, our family, our children? … I hope that some of the questions we put off – about our mortality, about our sense of meaning and success – we can begin to address right now.”

Sounds right doesn’t it? We seem to wait until it’s almost too late to consider what’s most important to us, leaving little time or hope of achieving our goals. That works about as successfully as waiting until we’re 75 to start saving for retirement.

This is why in our Halftime Institute Fellows Program we initiate thinking around Perfect Life Scenarios early on. You can’t move forward if you don’t know where you’re headed. But if you define who you are and what you most want your one life to count for, you can put goals, strategies, and guardrails in place to make sure you are moving from where you are to where you want your life to be.

Even with the best of plans life can still have a way of taking us off track. We’ve all been there. That’s why sometimes it simply boils down to doing the best we can, when we can, with what we have. The key word there is “best.” Let me know what comments or questions you have. I’d love to help.

Blessings on your continuing journey,

Bob Karcher

Author | Speaker | Coach

It's in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for.

Ephesians 1:11