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Finding Silence

 

“We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence … we need silence to be able to touch souls.” – Mother Teresa

In my last post I asked you what your favorite sound was and I talked about the significant value that can come from replacing some of the noise in our lives with silence. This must have hit a nerve because I received more comments on that subject than any other to date.

One person mentioned that having some peace and quiet once in a while sounded wonderful but asked: How? When? Where? It may seem like finding a little time to think, pray, listen, and ponder life are beyond the realities of our world, a world in which we have to squeeze every minute out of every day. We can’t even wait a couple minutes for our latte to be made anymore. Now we order from an app and expect our beverage of choice to be waiting for us when walk into any Starbucks.

It may seem impossible to find time for silence … but it really isn’t. I live in the Los Angeles area where commuting to and from work in a throng of cars is the daily reality for over five million workers. Cheryl is a friend and is one of those millions, commuting each day to her job at an amazing ministry called Teen Challenge. She shared with me how she uses her commute time to double as solitude time:

“I oftentimes find myself driving with my phone on vibrate and the radio turned off. I find the quiet time in the car helps me be more alert as I drive as well as quiets my soul so I’m more aware of God’s presence in leading my day. Silence is definitely a gift from God to hear him much more clearly.”

Paul, a colleague at Halftime Institute calls Cheryl’s idea a “media fast”. There was a time in Paul’s life that he really needed to hear from God but he was having trouble doing so. He knew he had to do something so he implemented a media fast during his commute. He states that “before I knew it, I craved this time with God … I began seeing the fruit of my time with him – more patience, increased self-control, less pride, and greater joy.”

All of this from simply turning off the noise coming from the screens and radios during the daily commute. Can you imagine what could happen if you implemented a 30-day media fast at home and in the car?

If you need a super-focused time with God, we regularly recommend to Halftime Institute Fellows what we call a “solo-silent retreat”. In a nutshell, it’s getting alone somewhere for a day or two with only yourself, God, a Bible, and something to write with. If this sounds a little over the top to you, I can guess that after your first solo-silent retreat, you’ll be back for more. They are that powerful!

Perhaps one of these strategies, or a variation of one, will work for you. I could go on and list at least a dozen additional strategies that I have seen work successfully to help silence the noise in other’s lives but that would make this post much, much longer. Instead, why not reply to this note and let me know you want to chat? I am sure we can discover some strategies that would best fit your life. The alternative (not hearing God’s still small voice speaking to you) doesn’t seem too appealing.

Please feel free to reply to this e-mail if you want to explore this further. I’d love to hear from you.

Blessings on your continuing journey,

Bob Karcher

Author-Speaker-Coach

www.WhoAreTheJonesesAnyway.com

The best sound you’ll never hear

What is your favorite sound? What thought just entered your mind? Was it the sound of ocean waves gently crashing on the shore? Was it a favorite musical ensemble? Or maybe you love the sound of children playing. All of these are great choices.

How many of you thought of “silence” as your favorite sound? I’ll admit the question was a little tricky; we really don’t think of silence as a “sound”, do we? Yet, silence can be one of the most refreshing sounds you hear if practiced regularly. I’m not talking about giving someone the silent treatment … that’s something altogether different. What I’m referring to is spending some planned quality time in silence for the purpose of increasing your ability to hear.

In our activity-addicted world we have forgotten the importance of spending time in silence. Just take cell phones as one example. A Time article states that Americans check their cell phones eight billion times per day. Yes, I spelled that right … billion, with a “B”. Let’s get this a little closer to home. The average user (that’s you and me) checks their phone 46 times per day. And it rises if you are between the ages of 18-24. That group looks at their phones on average 74 times per day! And I bet these numbers are even higher now than when this research was completed.

When we add all of our other busyness to our cell phone usage, you can quickly see just how addicted to activity we have become. I’m not proposing we all turn in our cell phones … they have become an almost necessary tool in our lives. What I am proposing is we balance out all of the activity and noise in our lives with some silence.

“To hear, one must be silent.” – Ursula K. Le Guin

A little over a week ago I had the incredible experience of enjoying a weekend at a silent retreat with my father. This wasn’t the first time I’ve been to one of these. Dad took me to my first silent retreat when I was just thirteen years old and I have been to many since. At first it was little hard to get used to but now I can’t wait to leave the noise of the world behind for a couple days and go on one of these retreats. Every time I do, my hearing improves dramatically.

I’ve been asked what exactly what I’m “hearing” if I am at a silent retreat. My answer: God’s voice. I need and cherish God’s direction in my life regularly. But I won’t be able to hear Him if I don’t stop to listen. This may sound odd but it really isn’t. Think of what you need to do to listen, really listen, to someone. You need to stop talking, stop what you are doing, turn towards that person, and be still. It’s the same with God and yet we seldom set aside time to do this.

I need God’s voice and direction in my life. Without it I would experience far less clarity, joy, impact, and balance. I know … I’ve tried it the other way and it didn’t work too well. What about you? Could you stand a little less noise and activity, and a little more peace and God in your life? If you so much as sighed a “yes!” when you read that, then let’s get you started on a new path. It’s totally possible.

“OK, I’m in” you might be saying,” but how do I get started?” For now, how about starting small? Find even just five minutes by yourself each day. Just use that cell phone one less time and you’ll have reached your first goal. That’s a great start. You don’t have to go away for two days on a retreat to hear God’s voice. You can hear it right where you are.

Stay tuned because in our next post we are going to explore some great strategies to live with less noise and focus more on the things you want.

Please feel free to comment here or respond to this e-mail if you want to explore this further. I’d love to hear from you.

Blessings on your continuing journey,

Bob Karcher

Author-Speaker-Coach

www.WhoAreTheJonesesAnyway.com

A Four-Legged Stool: What Are You Going To Do About It?

“Those who say it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it.” ― Chinese Proverb

We recently saw a random quote on the internet that said “Nothing Changes if Nothing Changes.” So simple and yet so true! This quote’s author wasn’t noted but this person figured something out.

These past few weeks we have been writing about the four steps to moving from a life of mediocrity and discontent to a life of greater joy, impact, and balance that you may be seeking. Today we focus on the fourth and final step. If you missed any of the previous steps, you can catch up by clicking here.

With each of the previous three steps we’ve used a metaphor of constructing a four-legged stool to add some perspective to the process. Now, let’s get right to the fourth and final leg of this journey.

The Fourth Leg: What Are You Going to Do about It?

The final leg of your four-legged stool is just as important as the first three. You might have perfectly constructed your stool to this point, but if this final leg is not in place it means little. You can sit on a stool of three legs, but it will never feel complete or like you’ve “made it.” That’s because something is missing … this final step.

To construct your fourth leg, answer this question: “What are you going to do about it?”

A popular quote says, “With knowledge comes responsibility.” Simply said, when we learn new things we take on an inherent responsibility to use that knowledge appropriately. We can’t run from what we learn; we are meant to put our newfound knowledge into action.

However you answered the questions to the first three legs of your stool, they mean little if you don’t add this fourth leg and begin to implement the life changes required to move forward!

Yet, we need to be careful not to get so lost in our own busyness that that we forget who we are and why we are here. We need balance even in how we choose the things we spend our time doing. We can easily focus so much of our time on keeping up with the Joneses—and other activities that have no connection to our first three stool legs—that we choke out the very things that bring life and passion.

All of this may seem like pie-in-the-sky thinking that can be hard to wrap your head around. But, if you start with thinking about the things crowding into your schedule every day, there are likely some that have nothing to do with your life purpose.

Do any of them have anything to do with your life purpose?

If you are like most and find that your calendar is filled with lot of activity but very little purpose, now is the time to begin reprioritizing your time. Start small and focus on replacing just one or two unnecessary items on your calendar with doing things that you love to do and the world needs from you. When you’ve made that transition, do it again. Keep going until you made a significant transition in how you are spending your life.

Don’t just muddle through your life, letting unnecessary activities fill your calendar day after day. We each have the same twenty-four hours to work with each day. But none of us know how many days we have left, so let’s make today, and each day, count to the full!

Answering the four questions we’ve asked in the past weeks can be difficult. We know that and we can help. If you get stuck at any point along the way, drop us a note. We’d love to walk you through whatever life transition you are facing right now.

If you want your life to be different, you’re going to have to start living differently. “Nothing Changes if Nothing Changes.”

 

Blessings on your continuing journey,

Bob and Susan Karcher

Authors-Speakers-Coaches

www.WhoAreTheJonesesAnyway.com

 

A Four-Legged Stool:What Are You Living For?

“Every decision you make, makes you. Never let other people choose who you’re going to be.” – Cassandra Clare

We have talked with too many people in their later years that, when looking back over their lives, are startled with just how unfulfilling and pointless their lives have been. Oh, they may have worked hard, made it to the top of their organizations, and are revered in their social circles. Still, there is little contentment.

As they put everything they had into attaining worldly success, they look back now to see that the world didn’t provide what they were looking for … things like true love, joy, deep friendships, and the knowledge that they did it “right”.

When your days on earth are over, will you discover that you wasted your life on meaningless things that have no lasting or eternal value? If you died tomorrow, what would others say?

The Third Leg: What Are You Living For?

In our last couple of posts we’ve been busy building a four-legged stool. The first leg of this stool was added by answering the question “Who are you?”. The second leg asked the question “Why are you here?”. Now it’s time to add a little stability to your four-legged stool by answering this question: “What are you living for?”

You see. You might know who you are and even why you are here. But, then you have a decision to make. You can choose to live according to your life’s purpose … or run from it. We have seen people do both and we can say, without any hesitation, that those who followed a life based on who they are and why they are here lived lives of much greater joy, impact, and balance than those that did not.

One of the most influential people during the transition from our days of keeping up with the Joneses to where we are today was Dr. Gary Miller, then provost and senior vice president at Biola University, where Bob earned a degree in organizational leadership.

During a graduation-day luncheon, Dr. Miller was the keynote speaker, and he had the foresight to ask the group some tough questions. His questions, roughly paraphrased, went something like this: “What will you do with all that God has given you—your life, career, experiences, and now, this new degree? Will you seek the things of this world: money, status, position, power, and fame? Or will you seek the things of the Kingdom? Will you seek to use what God has given you to live out His purpose, serve others, and make a difference in the world?”

Ouch! Hard-hitting questions, but we knew our answers immediately. We chose the latter. We admit we had absolutely no idea then what that meant or how we were going to live out our answers, but it was exactly the right questions at the right time. It pierced our hearts and sent us on a long quest to discover who we were, why we were here, and what we were living for. Bob Buford, Halftime Institute founder and bestselling author of Halftime, relates in his book how he came to his decision on what he was living for. In his book, Bob Buford recounts being challenged with a similar question. The question he was asked is, “What’s in your box?” This box could contain the one thing, and only one thing, that at its core would define what his life would stand for.

Buford was a very successful businessman and could easily have chosen from a long list of goals and accomplishments to put into this box that would define his life. What did he choose? Jesus! Jesus was the one thing in Buford’s life that rose above all others. Jesus was a nonnegotiable aspect of his life that was more important to him than anything else.

What are you living for? There are multiple ways we could ask you this question. The particular phrasing of the question isn’t important—but your answer is! Take as much time as you need to fully consider this question and the real implications it has for living a life focused on those things that matter most to you. It is that important. Your response just might surprise you.

Stay tuned for our next post when we will cover the final leg of this four-legged stool.

 

Blessings on your continuing journey,

Bob and Susan Karcher

Authors-Speakers- Coaches

www.WhoAreTheJonesesAnyway.com

 

A Four-Legged Stool: Why Are You Here?

“It isn’t about what you do; it’s about why you were created!”

Do you wonder why you are here and what you should do with your life?

Everyone eventually searches for real meaning in their lives. Without meaning, we are left simply drifting along like a ship on a windy ocean with no rudder. In our work we have never personally met anyone who was born knowing the reason why they are here. It’s a question we all ask and yet the answers are as varied and as unique to you as your DNA.

We search because the reason for our existence is not easily found and requires quite a bit of introspection. The good news is your answer is out there for you to find … if you know where to look.

In our last post (click here if you missed it) we introduced the first question (leg) in our four-legged stool concept: “Who are you?” Today we ask the second question. Remember, these questions aren’t special – it’s your answers that are! Like before, today’s question requires contemplation and honest self-evaluation. Take the necessary time to thoughtfully consider your answer.

The Second Leg: Why Are You Here?

Your stool’s second leg is constructed by figuring out the answer to the question “Why are you here?” Some refer to this as their calling, mission, or purpose. The specific label isn’t necessarily important, but resolving the question is.

Too often, we default on this answer and go for something obvious, convenient, or generic. If your answer is your job, you have more digging to do. Our professional roles do not define who we are in this world. It isn’t about what you do; it’s about why you were created!

There is a defining scene from the movie City Slickers, starring Billy Crystal and Jack Palance that captures how personal and frustrating seeking an answer to this question can be. In the film, Mitch Robbins (Crystal) struggles to discover the secret to life. Curly (Palance) asks Mitch, “Do you know what the secret to life is?” Mitch says, “No, what?” to which Curly responds by holding up one finger and saying, “This.” Mitch is clearly confused. Curly looks at his finger and says, “One thing. Just one thing. You stick to that and everything else don’t mean s***.” Mitch presses Curly for what this mysterious “one thing” is. Curly then says, his eyes sparkling, “That’s what you’ve got to figure out.”

We might often feel like Mitch—we just need someone else to tell us what our “one thing” is. The problem is that it’s different for each of us. We can’t tell you what your one thing is. No one can … no one but you that is. While seeking input from others can be helpful, only you can make this decision for you.

So how do you do it? For some it seems obvious; for others, it requires the hard work of sorting through options until you uncover your one thing. It can be the work of a lifetime.

Perhaps the things you are most passionate about are a clue. What do you care most about? Bill Hybels, in his book Holy Discontent, describes our passions as those things that make us really angry, that we truly love, or that make us want to do something now. He calls these our areas of “holy discontent.”

Another great way to think about this is to consider those things in life that are most important to you. We call those your “non-negotiables”. What is irreplaceable to you? What things would you never consider changing? Basically, when your life is added up some day, what things do you most want to be remembered for?

Are you struggling? Seek help from your family, friends, and others you trust. And a good life coach will have the tools and resources available to help guide you through this question until you get to an answer.

For us, discovering the “why” leg of our four-legged stools took time spent in exploration and discovery. It was not quick or easy. It was, however, absolutely worth pursuing until we had our answers. We encourage you to go the distance and stay engaged until you discover why you are here.

Discovering your one big thing, or your calling, always starts with you—how you are uniquely shaped and how best to interact with the world and people around you.

Stay tuned for our next post when we will cover the third leg of this four-legged stool.

 

Blessings on your continuing journey,

Bob and Susan Karcher

Authors-Speakers-Coaches

www.WhoAreTheJonesesAnyway.com

 

A Four-Legged Stool: Who Am I?

“Our souls are not hungry for fame, comfort, wealth, or power. Our souls are hungry for meaning, for the sense that we have figured out how to live so that our lives matter.” —Rabbi Harold Samuel Kushner

For us, moving from a life revolving around materialism and performance-based satisfaction to an intentional, authentic life focused on things that really mattered was not always an easy journey. We discovered we needed to be intentional about making decisions and to put a plan in place to move from where we were to where we really wanted to be. This reality will be true for you as well if you are seeking a similar life transition.

It isn’t enough to decide that you have been focusing on the wrong things and expect change to happen automatically. You can’t just identify what is wrong; you have to do something about it. It starts with reimagining what a successful life looks like for you. You must decide what your life goals and priorities are.

Decide who you want to be, what’s most important to you, and how you want to spend the rest of the one life you have been given. This is key to moving forward and embracing a new life.

As a professional life coach, Bob often leads new clients through a series of four strategic questions. We will cover the first of those questions today. The remaining three will be covered in the next few weeks.

We refer to these four questions as life’s four-legged stool. There is nothing special about any of these questions – but your answers are! Your responses to these questions will be unique and special to your life and serve as a solid foundation upon which you can sit confidently.

Each question will require contemplation and honest self-evaluation. That is the reason for not covering all four in one post – we encourage you to take time to prayerfully consider each. Change requires hard work and should be well-thought-out.

The First Leg: Who Are You?

If you don’t know who you are, you will grasp whatever is easiest and within reach. So many grasp for the life of the Joneses—trying to discover identity and purpose through performance, comparisons, and competition.

We too often try answering this question in terms of what we are or what we have. “I’m an accountant, a plumber, an attorney, a teacher, a nurse, a broker,” we might say. Or maybe we mention the company we work for, the neighborhood we live in, the floor we work on, or even the type of car we drive. But this is a flawed approach to stating who we are.

Thomas Merton comments on this question in his work New Seeds of Contemplation: “There is only one problem on which all my existence, my peace, and my happiness depend: to discover myself in discovering God. If I find Him, I will find myself, and, if I find my true self, I will find Him.”

The theme verse for our book Who Are the Joneses Anyway? says “It’s in Christ that we find out who we are…” (Ephesians 1:11 MSG)

Each of these quotes point in the same direction. They both state that when we find God we will discover who we are. This is where we discovered the starting point of our transition. Part of the process of figuring out your “who” is discovering how God uniquely wired you to be unlike any other person ever created. You have a distinctive DNA, your fingerprints are unlike anyone else’s, and no one else has eyes exactly the same as yours.

You also have a personality that is yours alone. There are many assessments available to better understand your unique “you.” Bob uses several of these when he works with clients, including Gallup’s StrengthsFinder and a favorite called Psycho-Geometrics.

Discovering who you are can be the toughest leg of your stool to figure out and there are many approaches you can take including these assessments, conversations with loved ones, journaling, discovering your passions, and more. Don’t rush this step—you will be glad you didn’t. Drop us a note if you have any questions or would simply like a little help learning how to get started discovering your “who”.

Stay tuned for our next post when we will cover the next leg of this four-legged stool.

 

Blessings on your continuing journey,

Bob and Susan Karcher

Authors-Speakers- Coaches

www.WhoAreTheJonesesAnyway.com

Are You Enjoying Your Life? What Is Keeping You From Truly Living?

“The Western world is awash with plenty. People living in those countries have more choices in the cereal aisle of their local grocery store than most people have in their entire lives. But has [this] created contentment and fulfillment?” – Gary A. Miller, PhD

In 1913, Arthur “Pop” Momand highlighted the side effects of the American Dream that urges us to do things in order to impress other people and create a sense of social standing. His cartoon strip, Keeping Up with the Joneses, followed the McGinis family as they competed with their neighbors, the Joneses, in social status and the accumulation of material goods.

Interestingly, in the twenty-six years the strip ran, the Joneses never actually appeared in the cartoon—a clever way for the author to show that the Joneses represented much more than just the McGinises’ next-door neighbors. They were the pressure of society given a name, and though the strip was comical, it dealt with an issue that has plagued humanity throughout our existence. This was such a big problem in the early twentieth century that the phrase “keeping up with the Joneses” has endured in common usage for more than a hundred years.

Is this still an issue today?

I would argue that it is, both from my own experience and what I hear on a regular basis in the heartfelt confessions of friends and clients. The mental games of comparison, competition, and striving plagues us.

Gary A. Miller puts it like this, “We face a formidable enemy that constantly reminds us that the only thing that satisfies is just a little more.”

Just a little more. It sneaks up on us. It helps us rationalize that next choice, that next purchase. It affects our daily choices and our perspective on how our life is going overall.

If you have ever compared your life to someone else’s and found yourself trying to measure up to theirs, you have firsthand experience of the power this force has to change your perspective. When we imagine someone else’s life as better than ours, what we have acquired or accomplished can somehow become dissatisfying—not good enough.

That feeling is what my wife, Susan, and I experienced in our journey. We spent years comparing and competing with the picture we had in our minds of what life should be like.

Friends and clients have shared that they are stressed and working too much, and their families hardly know them. They are never home, their marriages are difficult, and they are barely hanging on. Their lives are like running a marathon on a treadmill—they put in all the work but don’t get anywhere.

Others share they have it “all”—everything life has to offer. Yet, deep down, they know they were created for more and want their lives to count for something more meaningful and have greater impact than just a collection of titles and possessions.

Still others don’t have a clue who they are. They struggle each day searching for significance and acceptance. They try everything they can think of—social media, shopping, alcohol, drugs, new fashions, and more. No matter what they do, they can’t seem to find contentment in any of it.

Some have passionately shared that they “hate” their life. They might have everything we think we’re supposed to want: the home, the job, the cars, and all the toys. But they find themselves worn out from spending all of their time maintaining their possessions. They have yet to learn that God is better than stuff.

Not everybody hates their lives, but how many of us are really happy?

How many of us are really content? Is true contentment even possible?

How many of us are enjoying our lives and spending more time loving, giving, and experiencing freedom, rather than the opposite?

It’s time to live our lives with a new perspective.

Before you think I am suggesting you sell everything, move to the wilderness, and live off the land, understand this change to the simpler, fuller life I am talking about doesn’t require changing your location. It is about being more present right where you are because you know who you are and why you are here. It is freedom from keeping up with the Joneses, from living someone else’s life, and from being caught up in the rat race. It is freedom to be more completely present with your spouse, your kids, and your community in a way that will make your life richer and more worthwhile.

Bob Buford put it eloquently when he said, “Many of us can feel like we are simply getting by and trying to keep up with some undefined, external forces that we don’t understand. Instead, we can experience intentional, authentic lives filled with passion and purpose.” This is exactly what the Halftime Institute exists for – to help gifted individuals move from simply getting by to living with passion, purpose, and balance.

How would your life change if you focused on who you are, why you’re here, and the difference you want to make with your life?

Think of the possibilities if you started living your life more intentionally, doing more of the things that matter most—and less of everything else. Could life be less hectic?

What if you spent more time doing things today that could lead to a better tomorrow, instead of just trying to survive each day?

What if you could live more simply, yet more fully?

Take a moment to imagine the decisions you would make differently if you experienced a shift of perspective like we are describing.

Sometimes a major life event gets people’s attention. Other times, it’s the accumulation of life’s pressures all adding up. It’s different for everyone—and very personal. Whatever your own journey looks like, only you can experience it for yourself. You are the only one who can discover the real you, but it might take the help of a coach to unearth the important discoveries. That’s why I became a coach – to walk alongside others and help them in this journey.

Some call it purpose, passion, calling, or a host of other things, but basically it’s just this: You must learn who you are. You must learn why you are here.

And you must decide how you are going to live your life.

 

Blessings on your journey,

Bob Karcher

Author | Speaker | Coach

What Happened in Halftime?

What Happened in Halftime?

“[Success] comes from having a meaning in your life, doing what you love and being

passionate about what you do. That’s having a life of success.” – Tim Tebow

 

Super Bowl 51 is in the history books but many fans are still amazed with the final

outcome of that historic Sunday evening. New England fans are celebrating the very

first Super Bowl overtime victory. Meanwhile, Falcons fans remain dismayed that their

team squandered a 21-3 lead at halftime, leading to the largest comeback ever in the

Super Bowl.

 

So, what happened? Halftime happened! And just what happened during halftime that

day? Well, I wasn’t actually in the locker rooms for either team but we can all guess at a

few things that took place.

 

For sure, the players all received a well-needed respite from being on the battlefield for

thirty minutes. The Patriots most likely reviewed their first half strategy and looked

ahead to the second half, adjusting their game plans as necessary. The goal? To win

the game – no matter what the score said at the end of the first half.

 

For the Patriots, they emerged onto the field a renewed team and they executed their

strategy all the way to a stunning victory! The Falcons, on the other hand, misspent a

sizable lead and Atlanta’s first potential Super Bowl victory. Some say it was bad luck;

others insist New England simply outplayed their rival. How do you see it?

 

In his bestselling book Halftime, Bob Buford uses halftime in a football game as a

metaphor to explain a similar time that needs to occur in our lives. Consider any football

game. Doesn’t it make sense to take a break from an exhausting first half before

charging into the second? Can you imagine what it would be like for the players to play

sixty minutes of football straight without a break – and without a chance to revisit their

game plan if necessary?

 

But we often do something similar in our own lives. We charge through our first halves

trying to play the game the best we can – starting a career, raising our family, living

paycheck to paycheck, and struggling to make ends meet. We win some – we lose

some.

 

As the world throws its best defense at us we struggle to keep up. When things get

tough, we try harder, double-down, work more, travel more – trying to win at this game

called life. We don’t think we can afford the time to reassess where our life is headed or

if our life trajectory is leading anywhere close to a “win”. And along the way we just

might miss out on those things in life that are most important to us.

 

That’s not the way it has to be. We can, and should, take the time to consider who we

really are, what’s most important to us, and what we want our lives to count for other

than an impressive résumé, a corner office, and all toys we can accumulate.

 

That’s where a personal “halftime” comes in. It’s a respite from being so totally

immersed in life that we can no longer “see the forest through the trees.” We get to

reimagine what we stand for, what we really want to be doing, and go do it. But this can

take time … more than the 30 minutes given players in the Super Bowl.

 

Bob Buford writes “what’s important is that you start by discovering the way you are built

so you can use your uniquely developed talents for purpose.  Don’t expect to solve all

your first-half issues and plan for the second half in a few hours … it will never happen if

we don’t give it the time it deserves.”

 

As a Certified Halftime Coach with Bob Buford’s Halftime Institute, each day I have the

pleasure of walking alongside men, women, and couples that are reimagining their lives.

They were focused on winning in their first halves but where they were headed isn’t

where they want their lives to end up. They are changing their game plans to win at

what really matters to each of them uniquely.

 

Some of the first questions we ask are these: “If it was ten years from now and you

were living your perfect second half, how would you know? What would it feel like?

What would you be doing?”

 

How would you answer these questions? Getting from where you are today to where

God is calling you to be takes a journey. But it’s a journey worth taking. And, who

doesn’t want to win at life – no matter what the score said at the end of the first half?

 

If you feel like you are at a point in life that you need to assess where you are and

reimagine a plan for you second half, drop me a note. Let’s chat. No obligation beyond

that … just a conversation on life. And if you would like a copy of Bob Buford’s book

Halftime, let me know that too. I can arrange to get you a copy.

 

Blessings to you on your journey,

Bob Karcher

Author-Speaker- Coach

www.WhoAreTheJonesesAnyway.com

Giving = Love?

Giving = Love?

 

“It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.” – Mother Teresa

 

February has been called “the month of love”. I’m not sure about you but I’m not seeing a whole lot of “love” in the news lately. Our “me-first” culture often creates and sustains a perfect environment for the opposite of love – selfishness, indifference, and hate – to take root, like some kind of virus we can’t find a cure for.

We propose one solution: generosity. Generosity is the best antidote we know of for treating selfishness and indifference. Generosity is not simply giving money away as some may suppose – it’s much more than that.

A simple way to describe generosity is showing kindness toward others. But what does this look like? It means giving of ourselves, all that we are and have, for the benefit of others. We can be generous toward others in the smallest of ways, and in doing so begin to detox our culture of its greatest ills. This is because it is literally impossible to be truly generous and selfish at the same time.

While leading a life of generosity seems like a no-brainer, many of us struggle with how to do this. You may even think you don’t have anything to offer or that your little gestures wouldn’t make much of a difference when compared to the enormity of the problems this world faces. Or maybe you fear that by giving too freely you would have less. On the contrary, the opposite is true.

 

When you live a life of generosity a fuller, richer life awaits you.

 

Let’s see how this works. We can probably all agree that the teaching “it is more blessed to give than to receive” is true. But if you are like many folks we talk to, you may have some questions: “Where do I start? What do I give? How do I give?”

The answers start with looking at what is right in front of you. We never have to go very far to see needs all around us. What’s right in front of you today? Take a look around; people are in need everywhere. Consider how you can make a difference starting today, doing what you can, when you can, with what you have.

There are countless ways for generosity to take hold in your life. Even small efforts like ridding our lives of clutter and giving our excess to others can make a big difference. Perhaps for you giving can start by simply clearing out a closet of old clothes you haven’t worn in a while and giving them to someone who needs them.

Be intentional in finding little ways to bless others every day, like holding the door open for others before rushing in yourself. Or carrying groceries to someone’s car. Or generously giving away compliments like they were free candy. This alone would make a nice contrast from the complaints and criticism so predominant in our culture today. Even a smile can be an amazing gift to someone who’s having a bad day. And the gift of listening can change a friend’s life.

Stop for a moment and consider what you can start doing to give more of yourself. You may think you don’t have much to give, but it doesn’t have to be your money or possessions. When you focus on who you are, why you are here, and what you want to do with your life, you will begin to find that you have a lot of something that people around you need: YOU, the authentic you.

If you give of yourself each day you can have an amazing impact on the world. Pursue what you are passionate about and commit to loving others. If we all committed to do this starting today, this February just might become the greatest month of love ever!

Where will you start being more generous in your world?

If you enjoyed this post, please let us know by clicking on the social media buttons and sharing this with your friends. We’d really appreciate that.

 

Blessings and love to you all,
Bob and Susan Karcher

Authors-Speakers-Coaches

www.WhoAreTheJonesesAnyway.com

 

One down … eleven to go

One down … eleven to go

 

“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people just exist.” – Oscar Wilde

 

Do you think the above quote is an accurate reflection of most people? What about those in your community? What about you? Which of these will define your life in 2017: living or existing?

Play along with me for a minute. Pretend it is next New Year’s Eve, December 31, 2017. Now look back over your year; what do you see? If you keep going the way you are today, will you have simply existed … or will you have lived an active, thriving life?

If your life is already thriving, awesome! What makes it so? If it’s not, how can you move from existing to a life that is thriving? What changes need to happen? Which of these are in your control? Which are not?

Unfortunately, too many of us are simply living day-to-day with no purpose — we just exist. It’s not necessarily anyone’s fault. Our culture teaches us that if we could just acquire more and do more we would be happy. But that’s not living your life, that’s trying to keep up with someone else’s.

The day you decide to start living your life with purpose, the purpose God designed you for, is the day you will transition from existing to living.
It’s always a scary move to step out in faith and seek what your God-given purpose is. It can be even scarier to start doing what you feel God is calling you to do. But it can mean the difference between living fully and simply existing. Wouldn’t that be worth the risk?

When you simply exist, trying to keep up with the Joneses, you push yourself to be successful and achieve what you think you are supposed to. If you go too far, you can come to dislike life’s pressure cooker—maybe even life. You might even hate the race and what it’s costing you and your family; but maybe you’re more afraid of stopping.

Or maybe you still feel like you are winning your race—it’s exhilarating, and the price to pay hasn’t hit you between the eyes with its sticker shock yet. You are in your prime, handling the strain, and gaining ground. The sky seems to be the limit.

But no matter how good the race is going for you right now, ask yourself if you feel like you’re really living when you’re just trying to keep up with the Joneses. What will your children remember more? Will it be your title, the big house, the fancy car, and the unlimited cell phone data? Or will it be your eighty-hour work weeks and that you weren’t around very much?

More money will never make you feel alive—you can make millions and feel dead inside. More stuff won’t do it—you can spend your way through a lottery jackpot and still be destitute in heart. Going faster and passing others up won’t do it—you can meet and exceed every goal you or others set for yourself and still be unfulfilled.

Living for the Joneses will always, invariably, have consequences. Yours might even be significant: children who don’t know you, health sacrificed on the altar of production, stress-induced health issues, a marriage on the rocks, a life that falters. We don’t know your consequences, but be assured, they are coming so long as the Joneses is your goal.

If you are like me before my “Joneses Moment”—afraid and unsure about taking the next step—you may be tired, burned out, and desperately thirsty from racing through a spiritual and emotional desert. But you don’t have to be. Don’t be afraid of leaning into God and asking what He has planned for your life. I’ll guarantee you one thing … it’s always much better than anything you could ever dream up.

Tackle your fears head on, conquer them, and experience a more fulfilling life! A life that makes you come alive—the kind of alive you can feel only when you are living God’s purpose for you.

Today is January 31st. One month down; don’t let the other eleven this year slip by just as fast without pausing long enough to ponder the questions this note has raised in your mind. Contact me if you want to chat. As a professional life coach, I help others get from where they are to where they want their lives to be.

 

Looking ahead,

 

Bob Karcher

Author, Coach, Friend

www.WhoAreTheJonesesAnyway.com

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

Ephesians 1:11