We’re Expecting!

Bet that headline raised a few eyebrows! No, neither of us are pregnant. Phew! Now that we have that cleared up, let us say again that we are expecting. Are you?

Let me clarify. When we hear someone is expecting, we most often think they are “expecting” a baby … sometime in the near future. But expecting can refer to something other than a pregnancy.

One online dictionary refers to expecting as “the idea of looking ahead to something in the future.” At this time of year we see many forms of “expecting” happening all around us. Children are expecting whatever they asked Santa for at the mall. Adults are expecting to see their children smile from ear to ear when they tear open their presents. And everyone is expecting more sweets than one should consume in a year.

The expecting we are referring to is much more enduring than any of these temporary pleasures. As we near the end of 2017 and roll into another new year, what one or two areas of your life do you want to be better than they were this year?

Notice we are not using the word “hope.” Hope is great. Hope is important. And without hope, we’d truly be lost. But expecting takes hope to another level, doesn’t it? It might even be a little too confident sounding for some folks who might say “we can’t expect anything … all we can do is hope.” With all due respect, we totally disagree.

When we set goals, make plans, and execute new initiatives in 2018, we aren’t doing so with a finger-crossing kind of hope. Rather, we do so with an expectation that we will be successful. We’re not saying that everything turns out as planned … nothing is perfect, and we often fail. But when we do, we simply adapt our plans and renew our forward movement expecting good things to happen.

Wouldn’t you rather have a high degree of expectation that something you desire will work out the way you planned? All of your plans can if they are reasonable, detailed, and hold you accountable in some way.

We ask again. What are one or two things do you want to be better in 2018 than they were in 2017? Are your finances in shambles? How’s your marriage or key relationship? What condition is your spiritual life in? Is that new job or promotion working out the way you wanted it to? What about your health and diet goals? We could ask about many other areas here but you get the point.

Which areas of your life could use a tune-up, or maybe a complete overhaul? What are you doing about it? Are you simply hoping things get better? Or are you stating priorities, setting goals, taking your first steps, and getting help from others when needed?

Look, it’s up to you. If you are like the rest of us and there are some areas in need of work (minor or major), then make 2018 your year. You can do this! You need to do this! You know you do!

Where do you start? Here’s a few basic steps to get you started:

  • Take plenty of quiet time (an entire day or more if you have to) and prayerfully consider where your life is and where you want it to be.
  • Envision what your life will be like one year from now when the changes you are expecting actually occur.
  • Decide what needs to happen in the first month. Then the second, third, etc.
  • Seek out experts to guide, encourage, and keep you on track. A coach, for example.
  • Start expecting a new, better you!

Move beyond hope in 2018. Start expecting greater things than you ever imagined.

Drop us a note if we can help.

 

Blessings on your continuing journey,

Bob and Susan Karcher

Authors | Speakers | Coaches

www.WhoAreTheJonesesAnyway.com

Share This:

How the Grinch Saved Christmas

 

It’s that time again. The season for giving is upon us. The Christmas music is playing, the tree lots are open, and a few lights are going up in the neighborhood. It all sounds idyllic, doesn’t it? But, the truth is, the real meaning of Christmas has been lost in all of the consumerism. Black Friday now actually starts on Thursday, Thanksgiving Day! Why sit around and spend time with your family and friends when you can go buy something on sale?

It all makes me think of the Dr. Seuss classic, How the Grinch Stole Christmas. We’ve all read this classic story by Dr. Seuss about the cranky, mean, Grinch trying to steal Christmas from all the Whos in Whoville. He snuck in late one Christmas Eve and stole their wrapped presents and cheerful decorations that awaited the Whos on Christmas morning.

Why would anyone want to do this? Well, the Grinch lacked any joy in his life, and his heart, we are told, was a tiny, shriveled little thing incapable of feeling anything for anyone other than himself. He really didn’t want all the pretty packages he stole, but he sure didn’t want the Whos to have them either. He was trying to steal the source of their Christmas joy just because he didn’t have any.

Andy Stanley once said “I wonder what I would have if I didn’t know what anybody else had?” It’s easy to try and keep up with the Joneses and lose sight of what really matters to us. It’s a trap that leads to a joyless life because you are never going to get enough in that scenario. The great industrialist, John Rockefeller, was asked one time “How much is enough?” He reportedly said, “Just a little bit more.” If Rockefeller — the very icon of wealth and prosperity — didn’t have enough, what makes us think we ever will?

Our joy can’t be tied to our possessions. The Whos had it right. When they all awoke Christmas morning, they were astonished that all their gifts and decorations had been stolen. At first, they weren’t too happy. All of the work. All of the money. All of the surprises. Gone!

Luckily, Lou Lou Who arrives on the scene and makes this now famous declaration:

“I’m glad he took our presents. You can’t hurt Christmas, Mr. Mayor, because it isn’t about the gifts or the contest or the fancy lights … I don’t need anything more for Christmas than this right here: my family.”

Immediately Mr. Mayor, and all the Whos in Whoville, knew Lou Lou was right. They had focused too much on the wrong things … competing with their neighbors for the most decorated home, the biggest gifts, and more. But after Lou Lou’s declaration, all the Whos began to celebrate Christmas without the presents or decorations.

The Grinch was confused. Of course, we know he later learned that the key to the Whos’ Christmas joy wasn’t based on stuff—it was based on giving. And when they didn’t have presents to give anymore, they gave of what they had: themselves.

This was so moving that it changed the Grinch forever and his heart grew three sizes. The same person who wanted to silence others’ joy was now transformed into a joyous, generous giver himself.

So, what about you? What is your focus this season?

This Christmas, may we, too, be givers. And, if we are lucky, our hearts will grow three sizes, refocusing us once again on the true reason for this blessed season.

Share This:

Show Me The Money

Money is a good thing, even a great thing—if used correctly. We need money to conduct commerce, provide for ourselves and our families, and help others in our communities in times of need. But can too much money turn into a bad thing?

The answer here, as with medicine and sunlight, is that too much money can become a bad thing for some people and in some situations. It has a great deal to do with how we attained it and what we do with it. But can too much money bring about our own destruction? Having money is not the issue. The problem is focusing too much on money or mishandling it.

A good example of this is individuals who win the lottery. In an article in Forbes magazine, author Susan Adams explores cautionary tales of lottery winners who have gone bankrupt. She writes, “Sudden wealth is most likely to exaggerate your current situation, but it won’t fundamentally change your sense of well-being. If you’re unhappy, you’re not good at managing money and you’re surrounded by people you don’t trust, a big win will probably make your problems worse.” According to one source Adams cites, 44 percent of lottery winners have spent all their winnings after only five years; another she uses indicates that lottery winners are twice as likely as average people to declare bankruptcy.

Professional athletes can also fall into the money trap. Some have little experience managing money, and then overnight they suddenly become incredibly wealthy. Then, if their career is cut short, they might not be able to maintain their large lifestyles when the excessive money stops rolling in. It isn’t the money itself that’s the problem—it’s when it becomes our preoccupation. It’s when we move it from its place as a tool and make it our focus—our god.

The temptation to use money to keep up with the Joneses can start at an early age. Even worse, we can easily pass unhealthy views about money on to our children. What other conclusion are they to make when we put our jobs and acquisition of wealth ahead of them? What else would they learn other than what they see their parents doing?

We think we’re providing a better home, the best toys, and the latest electronic gadgets. We’ll work long hours and make painful sacrifices, thinking it’s for the best. But our children really don’t want all the stuff; they want us—our presence. Instead, through our actions and our words, we might inadvertently pass down a legacy of keeping up with the Joneses to our children

A friend of ours relayed a story to us that makes this point better than anything we could write. She tells of a friend, a single mom who worked long hours in the banking industry. When her daughter turned eighteen, the mother asked what she wanted as a gift. The daughter’s answer: “I would love for you to take time off work and spend the whole day with me.”

The mother refused, reminding her daughter sternly, “Who do you think pays for your room, your car, your insurance, your nice clothes, and your cell phone? I have to work to do that!” Our friend told this mother, “I think she just told you that you are more important to her than all those things you buy her.” Unfortunately, this mother didn’t heed the advice, and years later the preferred focus on work cost her a relationship with her daughter, who now has very little to do with her.

Is the acquisition of more money and stuff or a greater lifestyle blinding you to the impact this drive for more can have on those closest to you?

 

Blessings on your continuing journey,

Bob & Susan Karcher

Authors | Speakers | Coaches

www.WhoAreTheJonesesAnyway.com

Share This:

Designer Living – Part 2

“What we possess no longer defines our lives.”

In our last post we introduced you to Charles and Leann. Remember how they found themselves in a new neighborhood and lured into a “Keeping up with the Joneses” lifestyle? If you missed that article you can catch up here.

Here we now share the rest of their story. Read along and learn how Charles and Leann struggled through their newfound lifestyle, made some tough decisions, and rediscovered their true selves. We think you will find their story fascinating. You can read this story as well as others in our award-winning and bestselling book Who Are the Joneses Anyway?

————————————————————-

Charles and Leann weren’t earning enough to keep up with the lifestyles of their new neighbors, but that didn’t keep them from feeling like they needed to. Over time, the pressure grew. It eventually drove Charles to gambling as a way to make extra money and help him feel he was equal to his new friends, most of whose wives didn’t have to work to make ends meet like Leann had to.

“It’s probably a confidence flaw—like I wasn’t good enough—that drove me to take desperate measures,” Charles told us. “Actually, I donated a lot of money, but now I can see my intentions were misplaced even there. I was donating the money to make me feel good, like a big shot.”

Gambling to make extra money turned into an addiction. Charles found himself staying up all night, then going to work and running on fumes, becoming an absent husband and father at home. Then, just as quickly as he had won, Charles began to lose. He tried to catch up, placing his bets on credit cards. “Let’s just say I had become addicted, out of necessity to sustain this new lifestyle we felt expected to maintain,” Charles said.

Then one day Leann found the credit card statements and was astonished. “At this rate, we are going to end up homeless!” she remembered saying.

“Just the way she said that stopped me dead in my tracks,” Charles recalled. The peer pressure drove them to spend more than they earned and him to gambling. They felt crushed. Keeping up with the Joneses in their town had broken them, financially and otherwise.

After realizing how deep they were in debt, Leann remembered “breaking down in tears—more than once.” They knew they had to look deep within themselves, make some changes, and begin the long process of digging out of their self-created mess.

It was a long road, but eventually they made it. The key was deciding who they were and what was most important to them. From that starting point, Leann and Charles began moving forward confidently, living within their means, and making better daily decisions between needs and wants.

“We bought used furniture,” Leann shared. “I want people to feel welcome when they come into our home. I want it to look beautiful, but having our guests feel loved, blessed, and hugged is most important. The furniture, new or old, will never add a single thing to that.”

“What we possess no longer defines our lives,” Charles offered, to which Leann added, “And the rat race isn’t either.” They admit they are still learning each day. Refocusing and sticking to their priorities has resulted in less stress and more joy as they move forward.

————————————————————-

Can you relate to Leann and Charles’ experiences? We love how they fought back from the brink of disaster and now willingly share their story with others.

What emotions does this story stir in you? Have you ever been through a similar experience? Respond here. We’d love to hear from you.

Thank you for reading along. We are honored that you have done so.

 

Blessings on your continuing journey,

Bob and Susan Karcher

Authors | Speakers | Coaches

www.WhoAreTheJonesesAnyway.com

Share This:

Designer Living

“And the craziest part: They all thought it was normal.”

As we shared our Who Are the Joneses Anyway? story with others, it became more and more apparent that we were not alone in experiencing some of the things we went through in our old “Keeping up with the Joneses” lifestyle. Not even close! So we began interviewing some of these folks and taking notes along the way.

Leann and Charles were one of the couples we interviewed and they allowed us to share their story. The following is an excerpt from our book Who Are the Joneses Anyway? (names have been changed).

————————————————————-

Leann and her husband, Charles, had just moved their family into a new, nicer neighborhood. She and Charles decided on this particular neighborhood because they were looking for some of the same things a lot of young parents want: better schools, sports opportunities for the kids, and a newer home. However, after one particular day, Leann wasn’t so sure this new neighborhood was as nice as she thought.

One afternoon at her kid’s school, Leann had just loaded the kids into the family car when one of her newer “friends” literally yelled to her from across the parking lot: “Hey, Leann! Are you wearing Lee jeans right now? Get those off, and don’t ever wear those again! That’s embarrassing!”

“I wanted to crawl into a hole…I just cried when I got home,” Leann told us. She went on to admit, “Until that moment, I didn’t know there was a difference between Lee jeans and designer brand names. I just bought what I could afford and what fit me. But, I’ll tell you what, it made me become more mindful of what I wore. From then on, I was really careful about what I bought because I was so worried that I would receive more negative comments, especially in front of my kids.”

This wasn’t the only time their family felt the sting of social comparison. Leann also told us about a time they were left feeling unwelcome in their new neighborhood and school—all because they brought a case of sports drinks that wasn’t the leading name brand to a local soccer league game their kids were playing in. They dared bring an off-branded sports drink!

They wrestled with feelings of inferiority over that incident too. Leann recounted, “I thought they were saying, ‘Oh, there’s that family who couldn’t afford to bring Gatorade.’ In fact, we couldn’t. We had to live within our means. But slowly we started living beyond our means, just to keep up.”

These were the beginnings of a new life that Charles and Leann had never experienced before. And with this new reality came something else: pressure. As they put it, “We felt compelled to keep up with the lifestyle we now found ourselves surrounded by. It added a whole new layer of stress to our lives that made it difficult financially and emotionally, and, at times, it affected our confidence.”

“I don’t think we even knew what was happening right away,” Leann explained. “But before you knew it, we felt like we needed to drive a newer, larger, ‘better’ car. Everyone around us seemed to drive a Suburban or Escalade.” And that was just the beginning.

The pressure mounted. Leann recalls, “All the good people and the friends we met were living the same life—the rat race—and nobody could breathe. Everyone was exhausted trying to make it all work. And the craziest part: They all thought it was normal.”

————————————————————-

Can you relate to Leann and Charles’ experiences? If so, reply to this note and let us know. We would love to hear from you and we may even share your story in a future article like this (with your permission of course).

Want to know what happened with Leann and Charles? Be sure to read our next blog post and we will share the rest of their story and how they worked through their predicament.

Blessings on your continuing journey,

Bob and Susan Karcher

Authors | Speakers | Coaches

www.WhoAreTheJonesesAnyway.com

Share This:

We’re Celebrating

“The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand.” – Vince Lombardi

We can’t believe it but this week already marks the one-year anniversary of our first book, Who Are the Joneses Anyway? – Stop Living Someone Else’s Life and Start Becoming who You are Meant to Be. This past year has been a whirlwind of learning new things, executing our strategic plan, and giving it our all. As the quote above says, we believe “we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand” … and it’s paid off.

In the past year we watched our book become an Amazon bestseller and an International Book Awards category winner. In addition to that, we launched a website dedicated to our book and started a blog called Upshot. If you haven’t checked these out lately, click on the hyperlinks and you’ll be taken there.

With all of this success, we know we would not be here without YOU, our readers, who have so enthusiastically referred and endorsed our work. We owe each of you a huge thank you. In fact, we think you should be the ones getting a present on this anniversary.

“So, what’s next?” or “when’s your next book coming out?” we are often asked. While we have ideas for another book, we remain committed to our two-year strategic plan for marketing this first book before starting on that.

But there is something on the horizon coming soon … an all new YouTube channel called, you guessed it, Who Are the Joneses Anyway? We are super excited about this. Our original plan called for a podcast but we have decided that the video format will work much better for what we want to accomplish.

With this new digital platform we will share content from our book, dig deeper into some of the book’s concepts, and chat with folks like you. Many of our readers have already agreed to join us on our new “show” to share their own “Joneses Journeys”. As they do so, we will have a chance to learn how they moved from where they were to living the intentional, authentic lives they were created for. If you would like to be considered as a featured guest on our new show, just drop us a note. We’d love to chat with you about that.

We’ll be announcing the launch of this new channel soon … so stay tuned.

In the meantime, if you still have not purchased your copy of Who Are the Joneses Anyway?, perhaps you are the type that wants to sample something before you go all in. We get it. That’s why we developed an offer that allows you to download a complimentary chapter of our book. Just click here to check this out.

We’d love it if you would pass this note along to your social circles. We’ve made it easy for you … just click on the icons below and you’ll be taken to your social media profiles. Thanks so much in advance.

Blessings on your continuing journey,

Bob & Susan Karcher

Authors | Speakers | Coaches

www.WhoAreTheJonesesAnyway.com

Share This:

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

 

Share This:

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

 

Share This:

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

 

Share This:

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

Share This: