#37 Kary Oberbrunner Wants You to Ignite Your Soul [Podcast]

Is your soul on fire? Too many of us live in a prison within our mind. We are trapped by our past choices, not realizing that today, right now, we can start a new journey.  If you feel stuck, you can create a new life. You can ignite your soul and live your own hero's journey.

Invest Wisely:  You'll Never Get the Average

One of the biggest roadblocks to setting good expectations about investing is focusing on average returns. We financial planners are the biggest abusers of this. No one gets average returns. By focusing on them, we set unrealistic expectations on what the experience will actually be.

Look at the returns of the S&P 500 stock index over the last 15 years. How often did it hit its average return?

In this episode, I discuss this and how to develop a better understanding of what to expect (and not expect) from your investment assets.

Plan Well:  How to Live an Intentional Life with Kary Oberbrunner

Kary Oberbrunner is like you or I. He went to school, got a job, got married and lived a normal life, until something happened inside him. His soul ignited. Today, he is living a more intentional life and is on a mission to help you ignite your soul and do the same.

Kary's message really resonates with me. Much of my life, I was blind to the choices I had. I felt imprisoned by my past decisions. I think many of us feel this way. We're not. Our prison is in our mind. If we break free from our past self, we can create the life we desire.

Kary and I discuss:

  • The roadmap from Day Job to Dream Job
  • How to get unstuck from your past stuck self
  • How day jobs are killing people
  • Why it's so hard to leave a day job
  • How to go from prison, to plan, to payoff
  • How to design your story
  • Why it's important to go through your own hero's journey
  • How to change your life in a half hour a day
  • Dream Job Boot Camp

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Take the assessment and let's compare results on twitter Tweet to @roger_whitney


The Retirement Answer Man Episode #37

Hey! Welcome! This is Roger Whitney. I am the Retirement Answer Man and this is the show dedicated to helping you find that balance between living well today without sacrificing your tomorrow. And, as we make financial decisions, I think that’s what we’re all trying to figure out – how do we make decisions so we can have a good life but have a good life later on, too? That’s what we’re going to focus on.

Before we even get started though, I want to issue an official apology for being a day and a half late in the release of this episode – #37. No excuses, but I will give you a reason. This last weekend, my wife and I went up to East Lansing, Michigan, and spent the weekend with a very close couple that we do a lot of things with, and we went to the Michigan State football game.

My wife and I met at Michigan State. We’re Spartans and we had a great time – not only at the football game and the fellowship with our friends but marveling at how crazy college students are. Were we that crazy when we were in college? Lord, I don’t remember. I’m too old to be that crazy now, I know that. But, anyway, I apologize for that. I’m really sorry because this is a great show.

In our Invest Wisely segment, I want to talk a little bit about that frustration that we all have because we never get the average annual return that we hear about all the time. It’s performed, you know, 9 percent over the last fifteen, twenty years. Well, we never seem to get that advertised average annual return and it gets really frustrating. I want to give you some color to the reasons why plus help you have a better understanding so that you can invest more wisely as you choose investments for your portfolio.

In our Plan Well segment, this is one of the best conversations I had. It was with Kary Oberbrunner and Kary is a great guy. He was a minister. He ran a church and now he’s an author and a speaker and he wants you to ignite your soul. He’ll explain what that means, but he believes you were created to be a soul on fire. And, until you are, life doesn’t really make sense. He and I will unwrap that and it’s a great discussion about how to live more intentionally in your life.

The third reason I’m really sorry that I didn’t post this a little bit sooner is because I have a great announcement. I think it’s a great announcement. I think it’s something that you’ll find a lot of value in. Well, I hope it’s something that you find a lot of value in. Starting the first Monday in December, I am doing a four-part series called “Retirement Plan Live.”

What I’m doing is, each week, you’re going to hear, you’re going to be able to a fly on the wall in a room and hear an actual retirement plan take place from the introduction of myself and a listener. This is actually a listener; I don’t know this gentleman other than us working together on this.

The first conversation is going to be unwrapping what are his and his family’s goals, dreams, and aspirations, and how do you put dollar numbers on them so you can work to achieve them.

The second conversation is to unwrap what his financial situation is in terms of his cash flows and net worth statement and making decisions – live – about those based on what he or we have identified as his goals and aspirations presenting whether they’re achievable or not based on the normal analysis that I do with clients every day.

And then, we’ll have an online webinar where I will actually present the plan and you’ll be able to see the plan dynamically. Here, myself and this listener walk through whether he is going to be able to achieve his financial goals as we’ve defined them with him, what adjustments he can make to maximize living well today without sacrificing that tomorrow.

You’re going to be able to be that fly on the wall and listen through an entire process from setting goals to analyzing the balance sheet to putting together the analysis and making recommendations. In that webinar, we’ll be able to have some great interaction where you can ask questions and hopefully this will give you some insight as to how a retirement plan process can work and a lot of the factors involved and that might help you make smarter financial decisions in your life.

I’m calling it Retirement Plan Live and it’s going to start the first Monday of December. Hopefully that will be something you can find a lot of value in.

Until then, you can reach me at rogerwhitney.com. Each week, I post a new planning worksheet. This last week, I posted a worksheet talking about the various types of company employer retirement plans. If you own a small business or you run a small business, this will give you a great advantage and disadvantage of all the different plans that are available for you – whether it’s a simple IRA or 401k or a Roth 401k and all those different types of things. It’s a good spreadsheet to give you a landscape of what your choices are if you’re a small business owner.

You can get access to that by going to rogerwhitney.com and registering for the Retirement Answer Library.

All right. Before we get started here, let’s have that all-important disclosure. That is only you know your entire financial situation. I don’t know anything about you so don’t take anything I say as a recommendation. This is helpful hints and education for you. Unless we’re working together, you need to take this as recommendations – no, don’t take it as recommendations – you need to take this as education and helpful hints.

If you’re going to make decisions, talk to the people that do work with you and walk with you in life, and that could be your financial advisor, your CPA, your legal advisor – they’re the people that you should rely on when you’re making decisions in your own life. That’s not only a great legal disclosure that I sort of munggled there, but I think you get the point; it’s also common sense and it’s a fundamental principle of planning well. Let’s stay to that, all right?

All right, let’s go the Invest Wisely segment.

Are you ever frustrated that you don’t get the returns that you read about when you look at an investment or you talk to a financial advisor? “Wow. Over the last fifteen years, this investment had a return of 8 percent. I want that!” and then you put money into it or you get a recommendation and you put money into it and you’re like, “I didn’t get that. Where’s my average annual return? This is nothing like I thought.”

I think we all get that feeling and that’s a big problem with investing – looking at these average annual returns – that could be in real estate or in stocks or in bonds or really anything. There’s a problem when you look at these long-term average statistics because they don’t give you a lot of color of what the actual experience is.

What do I mean by that? Well, let’s look at the S&P 500 index. The S&P 500 index is the major index in the United States. It’s meant to represent the entire US economy. It’s 500 companies. It’s an unmanaged index that has representation from all the major industries in the country so it represents the United States’ economy.

Over the last fifteen years – from 1999 to 2013 – it’s had an average annual return of 7.95 percent. If you were evaluating investing in the S&P 500 – which you actually can’t do; it’s an unmanaged index. It’s just a model but, if you were evaluating an investment that had a return like this over fifteen years, “Yeah, I want that roughly 8 percent return. Give me that!”

The problem is, if you had invested in the S&P 500 in 1999, you never would have gotten anything close to the average each and every year. So, it’s not like a CD that way, and we know that but, when we talk about these averages, it sets unrealistic expectations in a lot of ways and that’s something that you need to watch also or watch out for.

What do I mean by that? Well, let’s say you did invest in the S&P 500 at the beginning of 1999. Well, that first year, you would have been really happy because you didn’t get 8 percent; you got over 28 percent. So, yeah, you know, if it’s wrong but, to the good, I’m happy. But then, 2000, 2001, and 2002, over those three years, the S&P 500 was down over those three years and you would have lost over 43 percent. Whoa! Wait a second here. That’s definitely not the average annual return that I was expecting, right? And that’s the problem with averages.

Going forward in 2003, it was up 28 percent. And then, over that whole fifteen-year period, the S&P 500 had its best return being over 32 percent and its worst return in 2008 being down 37 percent. Over that fifteen-year period, although it had an average of 7.98 percent, you would have had to go through a heck of a ride to achieve that average. If you had purchased that investment based off of what its average annual return was for some period going backwards in history and you had had those really down years, you might have bailed very quickly because you didn’t understand the nature of how averages work. It’s just, well, an average; it’s not the actual experience.

You never actually hit the average return in any one year. You have great years and you have really bad years. In order to invest wisely, I think that’s something we really need to make sure that we’re cognizant of so we can make more informed decisions of what we’re investing in and that’s one reason why being a long-term investor and understanding the nature of these things is so important because, yeah, that may be a realistic possible average to reach, but the ride to get there might be very different than what the overall experience is, and I think that’s one reason why we get so frustrated with investing.

We look at these average annual returns and we talk about these average annual returns, but you never actually get them so you go through a bad experience like, “Oh! This is rigged! They didn’t know what they were talking about,” or “I’m better off over here in a CD,” because you didn’t understand all of the color of how these averages work. Bluntly, my industry – the financial services industry and financial planners and financial advisors – we’re one of the worst offenders because we talk about average annual returns and, whether we provide the color or not, a lot of times, that’s what gets anchored in our minds – “I want that average!” – and it doesn’t always work that way.

A great analogy or metaphor – I always get those confused – of this is: think of Houston, Texas. The average annual temperature in Houston is roughly 72 degrees. Over a year’s time, the average temperature in Houston, Texas, is 72 degrees. Well, if you’ve been in Houston in August, it’s not 72 degrees; it’s like 100 degrees with a lot of humidity. It sure doesn’t feel nice and calm. Now, if you look at the average annual temperature in, say, Hawaii, it’s about 72 degrees. Now, there in Hawaii, it’s a lot more consistent. You don’t have all the swings of temperature, but it has roughly the same average temperature as Houston. But Houston’s going to give you a lot different experience. You’ll rarely get that average temperature of 72 degrees.

Understanding that and understanding how the different seasons work in terms of temperature is important, just like understanding the different seasons of investments is important. You may get a good average return long-term, and it’s okay to have a lot of variability in what that year-to-year return is if you understand it on the front-end. If you understand it on the front-end, that’s going to take you a long way to be able to invest more wisely in your life.

I wanted to make sure we talked about that because that’s something that gets overused a lot.

Now, I want to turn to our Plan Well segment and my conversation with Kary Oberbrunner – try to spell that or say that three times fast. Kary and I got to know each other over the last couple of weeks and he’s an author, he’s a minister, he’s run a business, and now he’s an entrepreneur. He’s going to talk about why your soul needs to be on fire and how you can live more intentionally in your life.

Here’s my conversation with Kary.

ROGER: Well, Kary, I’m going to ask you the first question that I – well, actually, you’re the first person that I’m going to ask this to, but this will be a standard question. What is your retirement plan and perception of retirement?

KARY: Great question, Roger. I’m just going to bust out with something that is probably non-traditional and it’s the fact that I’m already retired.

ROGER: Brilliant.

KARY: What do I mean by that? I’m 37 and I truly believe that I entered retirement – not because I’m a multi-multi-millionaire – not even close – but the reason why I’m retired now is that I truly have hit the bull’s eye about L.P. Jackson’s quote – and if you’ll forgive me for reading a long quote – actually, I have it memorized.

From the get-go, here we go. It says, “A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation. He simply pursues his vision of excellence and leaves others to determine whether he’s working or playing. To himself, he always appears to be doing both.”

So, Roger, I’m not working. I woke up today, fully excited to be on this podcast, fully excited to go to a men’s group, fully excited to drop my kids off at school, and then coach a bunch of my clients tonight, and it is all play.

ROGER: I think that’s brilliant and that’s a lot of what we talk about here. Everything is defined as a destination that you have to struggle towards rather than a journey – a life journey.

KARY: Totally.

ROGER: I love that and I share that sentiment and I’m living the same thing as best I can.

KARY: Awesome.

ROGER: I want to talk a little bit about your story. Can you share a little bit about your story and then get into the concept of your book? So, who is Kary and how did you get to where you are now?

KARY: Sure. Kary is a bald dude with a girl’s name who has an extremely thin head.

ROGER: He really does too, by the way. He really does.

KARY: Besides that, Roger, I went up through the chain in a faith-based culture which I was a leader of an organization. I mean, I did the whole thing – bachelor’s, master’s, and even doctorate. Sure enough, man, I kind of woke up one day, if you will, by watching Shawshank Redemption late one evening. And, by the way, I already felt it. I felt that I just needed the movie to give me permission. It’s not like I was that blind. But I’m sitting here watching the movie about Andy Dufresne stuck in a prison, much against his will, and he has a choice – to become institutionalized like everyone else in the prison where you simply accept your circumstances, you accept your life and you essentially die just so you can numb your pain; or I realized, you know what, I can be like Andy and I could break free from my day job, and it’s scary and it’s unsafe, but – let’s see, at that point, I was about 34 when I started having those thoughts. I’ll tell you what, Roger; I ended up taking a wild ride where I chipped through the prison cell and I escaped.

ROGER: And that is the basis for your book, Day Job to Dream Job.

KARY: Totally.

ROGER: Is that why you wrote the book? Was it that revelation and wanting to create a roadmap for others?

KARY: Yeah. You know what’s interesting, Roger? This is my sixth book. I had plenty of desire to want to break free before, but I kept telling myself the lie that, “Oh, my next book is going to be the New York Times bestseller that’s going to get me an escape plan from my day job,” and, of course, that’s a lie and I’m glad it didn’t happen because I wouldn’t have had to become anything different in order to break free. But, I’ll tell you what, Roger; you say, “Is this my story?” It is my story and I actually wrote part of the book in Shawshank prison itself which is 90 minutes from my house.

ROGER: Now, is this because you were institutionalized there?

KARY: Ah, I never spent time there. That’s good. I never spent time there on the inside. But, you know, when I write a book, Roger, it’s really for my stuck self – my past stuck self. Does that make sense?

ROGER: Your past stuck self.

KARY: In other words, every book that I’ve written has been me saying, “I don’t know the answer to this thing so I’m going to go on a journey and figure it out,” and, as I go and figure it out, I kind of let the reader peek in as me, the writer, talking to my past stuck self about how to find the answer to the problem.

So, for Day Job to Dream Job, my past stuck self was a guy who had, you know, tons of talent, like all your listeners do. That’s why they’re listening to your podcast because they are learners, growers, and they understand that you have tons of value, Roger, and they’re gifted people, but they’re stuck – some of them. If I can write to my past stuck self – guess what – the reader can also relate and identify as well.

ROGER: I agree with you, 100 percent. That whole process, and reading, you identify with it if you’re in that same situation. That’s awesome.

Now, let’s unpack it a little bit.

KARY: Sure.

ROGER: You start off with “day jobs are killing people.”

KARY: Yeah.

ROGER: What do you mean by that and, you know, what facts do you have to back that up?

KARY: Yeah. So, that is a pretty profound statement. It’s pretty, pretty intense and a lot of people say, “Oh, that’s hyperbole. There’s no way that that could happen.” But I’ll tell you what; the research doesn’t lie and I have to thank one of my mentors, Dan Miller, who is kind of the grandfather of this topic.

Yeah, I mean, according to Los Angeles Times, there’s a 33 percent increase in heart attacks on Monday mornings. According to Entrepreneur Magazine, there’s a 25 percent increase in work-related injuries on Mondays. According to the National Center for Disease Control and Prevention, more people die at 9:00 Monday morning than any other time of the day. And then, the craziest thing is male suicides are the highest on Sunday night as men think about returning to their careers on Monday morning. Most men commit suicide on Sunday night – higher than any other time of the week.

I mean, I have more and more data, including 70 percent of American workers right now that are experiencing stress-related illnesses. They’re sick because of their stress-related illness according to their work. So, it is a very big statement but, when you look at the facts, it’s 100 percent accurate.

ROGER: So, why do you think people are working so hard?

KARY: I think that, like Shawshank prison, we believe the lie. I mean, even at 34, Roger, I was staring at health benefits. I was staring at retirement plan, tuition for my kids, a salary, not to mention the social benefits of a job like title and then friends, colleagues. I had been there twelve years. So, I’ll tell you what, Roger; the day that I packed up my office, after I made the decision, kind of created the exit plan, I realized, even at 34, as I was packing my box, I thought, “Now, I know why people never leave a job,” because there’s a death. You literally have to grieve a chapter of your life. You know what I’m saying?

ROGER: Yeah, and a lot of it is you’re leaving that whole social circle as well.

KARY: Totally.

ROGER: That support. Sort of like Shawshank; everybody just stick with the program, just go with the program because it affirms it for them as well.

KARY: And that’s why that old guy – Brooks – in the movie, he couldn’t cope with it. You remember the old guy who gets out? He tried to go back and get a job at a grocery store, get an apartment, learn how to live on the outside, and he said, “Forget it,” and he hung himself because – check this out, here’s the deep thought of the day – Brooks was a prisoner on the inside even though he was free on the outside. But Andy became free on the inside first before he became free on the outside, and that’s the trick.

ROGER: And it always starts on the inside and then you either foster that and let it bloom or you suppress it.

KARY: That’s true. And just because your listeners are amazing, I’ll share with them something that they already probably know and that’s that I am so into going from prison to plan to payoff and not prison to payoff. There’s too many podcasts, too many books out there that say, “Oh, you know, just go in and tell your boss you’re done. And then, the next day, go to the beach and sit there and wait for some seagull to drop money from the sky.” I say, “Look at Andy, 19 years in prison, planning to get out.” Now, I don’t think it takes 19 years. But I know you have skills in financial planning and you would tell people that a little over time makes a huge difference, isn’t this right, Roger?

ROGER: Yeah, and we heard a very profound quote when we were together recently that you have to be a slave to the compass to have the freedom of the seas, and that goes to that planning.

KARY: I love it. I love it. That is so true.

ROGER: Well, we painted this picture – or you painted this picture – of the prison and I agree 100 percent because we think that we’re on this track and there are no options and, from a retirement perspective, we’re told 24/7 that we’ll never have enough money so there’s this pressure to sacrifice now so you have security later. Now, let’s go to the plan part of it – because, I agree, just simply pursuing your passion is a sure recipe for disaster – what is a plan that gets you between that payoff and prison?

KARY: I get this from Dan Sullivan, he’s a great mentor from afar. Anyway, any money that’s ethically earned – ethically earned, not drug dealing, okay? Any money that’s ethically earned is the direct byproduct of value creation which means that, hey, nobody’s paying me because I look nice, okay? Trust me. That means that I can’t go from day job to dream job because I’m a model – because I’m not.

So, what does that mean? I’ve got to create value for people and a lot of people who want to go from day job to dream job, they have the desire first, but they have zero clue on what they’re going to do. First of all, I say that’s okay because you need to have the desire first. Desire is the word to give birth to. So, people that are listening are having this desire to give birth to something else, they just don’t know what it is for most people. So, what I challenge people with, the first step of the plan is called “design your story.” People want to buy you when they identify and believe in your story.

How do I know this to be true? Gillian Michaels, you know her? The gal from Biggest Loser?

ROGER: Oh, yeah.

KARY: Gillian did what’s called her GPS. In the book, I talk about your Guru Positioning Story – your GPS. Every one of your listeners has a GPS and that GPS can be positioned in the forefront of their dream job.

Here’s the quick story for Gillian. Gillian was overweight. She was a gal who got made fun of in her high school. She was called Muffin Top. She hated to go to the lunch room because of being made fun of. She hid out in the classrooms and the libraries and – guess what – she came from a broken home and then she fell in love with this thing called martial arts. She found discipline. She found this sense of purpose through martial arts. She got hooked. She opened her own gyms.

As she began to open up her own gyms, obviously, Gillian is Gillian and she became just passionate about this and fitness and people’s baggage about why they struggled with weight and – guess what – the Biggest Loser picked her up. Now, she has a huge empire – apps, video games, major empire. But she didn’t say at 17, “I’m a muffin top gal. Let me just create an empire.” No, no, no, no, no.

What she had to do was go through her own hero’s journey and, through her own hero’s journey, she realized, “Wow. I am struggling with this big obstacle called weight and it permeates every area of my life.” She conquered it and now she’s been able to monetize the solution which now helps free other people.

So, the first thing I would say to your listeners is you’re probably unaware right now of your own guru status because you’re too close to it. What question do other people ask you about? At least three people. It could be, “How do you fix your car?” How do you decorate your house?” “How do you have such well-behaved kids?” Whatever people come to you about and say, “How do you do that?” That’s a huge sign that says that they see you as a guru on that topic. Does that make sense, Roger?

ROGER: It does. Let me challenge you a little bit on that.

KARY: Go for it.

ROGER: And that is it doesn’t have to be – and I don’t think you’re implying this – it doesn’t have to be some grandiose empire-building idea.

KARY: Yeah.

ROGER: A good example is one of my long, long-term clients. His day job to dream job was he got outsourced out of a large telecom company. He was forced into figuring it out and he just always wanted to work outside so he built a sprinkler company and he is in hog heaven just digging in the dirt with a crew of three or four people and he’s having more fun than he’s ever had. It can be something as simple as that.

KARY: Totally. I mean, it can even get even simpler – like, meaning, the founder of Spanx, right? Sara Blakely – I think that’s how you say her name. How did she come up with a multi-million-dollar undergarment company? Well, because one day she’s like, “I can’t fit into my jeans so I’m going to cut off pantyhose.” So, in other words, her problem of not looking great in jeans, and she’s solved herself – because that’s a big thing, you’ve got to provide a solution, just like your sprinkler guy – solution to somebody’s problem or pain. Guess what – it has now become a multi-million-dollar company.

ROGER: Now, could this be just as simple as “I don’t want to give up my day job but, if I can find my value that I can add as a person and build that on the side that I don’t have to be totally imprisoned in the day job”?

KARY: That’s a great strategy. Many people underestimate, just like your investment brilliance – because I heard you speak on it – it was great. If you ever are near Roger, ask him to give his forest fire talk on finances. Wow. That was awesome. So, great job for you, Roger.

Where was I going with that? Because now I’m thinking about your talk. What was your question?

ROGER: We were talking about sort of straddling between that day job and dream.

KARY: Oh, yeah, yeah. So, most people underestimate the value of half-hour a day. People blow a half-hour a day searching on the internet, recreationally, watching reality TV, even sleep. You know, some people are just sleeping too much. I’m all for sleep, but some people literally hit snooze six times – that’s their morning ritual. In that half-hour, if they spend that half-hour a day within a week, what is that? Let’s just say that’s, what? Is it two and a half hours? Two and a half hours a week, you can do crazy things in two and a half hours a week. After a couple of months, you can write your first ebook. You can upload it to Amazon for free. That can become a tool that can include backlinks to your website that people can engage with you in coaching and consulting. There are so many things, Roger, that can happen on the side. Like you’re saying, you don’t have to go in, shut down everything, and say, “Here, I’m going to jump in full-time.” In fact, I think that that is probably the exception.

I do have clients who walked into their office one day and were told, “Today is your last day,” and these clients have fear, they’re scared, but we get them going through my program called Dream Job Boot Camp. We get them in real-time, high-priority creating what’s called their dream job or plan. But, most often, it’s a slower process than a fast one.

ROGER: Now, what if you’re later in your career? It’s never too late to start this, right?

KARY: I have an 80-year-old client.

ROGER: Awesome.

KARY: Named Pat Gano. Her and her husband, Pete – he’s 76, she’s 80, and they are just beginning their consulting practice. They’re both authoring their first book through a program I do called Author Academy Elite and it is awesome. She is on fire. Watch out, world. Pat will tear you up. She’s more alive than some 25-year-olds.

ROGER: Now, that is awesome. I want to make sure we work in this quote because I heard this in my introduction to you on another interview that you did and it goes back to, when you’re at this point, this journey of day job to dream job – and I think it is a journey and your book gives a great map for that – it starts with that, again, internal – that idea with your head. Can you expand on that and share the quote from the Lord of the Rings?

KARY: Oh, yeah, yeah. So, when I was playing the game, Roger – what do I mean by that? I was too safe. I was too comfortable. I had my day job. I had my salary. I had my benefits. Because I was there for twelve years, I had a long leash. So, they basically said, “Okay, you do your day job well,” which I did. And then, they said, “Okay, in the fringe time, you can kind of write, you can speak,” and all this stuff.

So, my coach calls me up one day, Chet, and I’ll never forget it. He called me and I walked outside to take the phone call because, whenever Chet calls, you don’t want people listening in, okay? Because he’s going to call you out, he might cuss at you and he’s going to basically sniff out your imposter tendencies. So, he says, “Hey Kary. How are you doing?” I say, “Great, Chet.” He said, “Ah, I saw you on Facebook. Looks like you just spoke somewhere recently.” “Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, things are great.” He said, “Really? Things are great?” I said, “Yep, yep, things are awesome, man. I’m doing the day job. I’m kind of living, you know, the author-speaker world, the coach thing,” and he says, “Well, is your employer happy?” I said, “Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, they know everything. It’s all good.” He said, “Is Kelly happy?” “Oh, yeah, yeah, Kelly’s great. You know, she’s got safety, security, and everything’s cool.”

ROGER: And Kelly’s your wife, right?

KARY: Kelly’s my wife, yeah. And then, he says, “Is God happy?” I went quiet because, I mean, how do you answer that? You know what I’m saying? I mean, you know, what do I say? “Yes, he’s happy”? I mean, I don’t know. So, I got quiet and he says, “Kary, I think you’re full of something,” you know, then he cusses at me – and this is the way Chet rolls. I don’t use that vocabulary. I’m like, “What? What are you talking about?” He says, “You’re coaching people, telling them to live their dreams, telling them that they need to be on fire, and you are playing it safe. You are scared.” I’m like, “What are you talking about?” He says, “Kary, you can’t take the ring and stay in the Shire.” If you’re not a Lord of the Rings fan, you won’t get it. But, if you are, you understand that the Shire was the place where the hobbits lived. It was a place of parties, gatherings, gardens, simple life, and taking the ring was this epic adventure of fear and transformation and risk, and that’s it! Chet nailed me to the wall. I had this big talk that, “Oh, go out there and change the world and be bold and be on fire!” and then here’s me, fearfully collecting my paycheck because I’m too scared to do what I am passionate about full-time.

ROGER: That is so powerful to me – that one simple phrase.

KARY: It is.

ROGER: So, we get the prison. I think most people would relate to that on some level. And then, you unpacked a little bit of the plan and some of the payoff, and I think it’s really important to know that having a soul on fire doesn’t have to be becoming a Gillian Michaels or anything else. It’s writing your own story. It’s really living intentionally rather than living in fear and in that prison even if you don’t even realize you’re in a prison.

KARY: Here’s what it is simply. It’s not living life with any have-to’s. Now, hear me out, okay? Marriage is tough. Parenting is tough. I get it, okay? Maybe you have a sick child where you have to take care of them. I get it, okay? What I’m talking about though is, in the areas where you have choice, the areas where you go to your job for 40-plus hours a week, if you use statements like, “I have to go to my job. I have to go do this report,” that’s a big sign that says you are, in a very subtle way, communicating your own imprisonment. That’s a prisoner talking. You know what I’m saying?

ROGER: So, if we hear that self-talk, that defines that we’re in that prison and that’s the spark – if you understand that you’re saying those things – and then that is just the first step of a journey of figuring out how do you get to a place where you’re not saying those things, where you’re not feeling imprisoned, and that’s what your book does, right?

KARY: Totally. I used to look at the clock and say, “Oh, my gosh, is time going by slow!” you know? At my day job. And it wasn’t that I hated my day job, but there were enough parts of it – including our marathon meeting Tuesdays – that I agonized over it and I talk about that in the book. I say ten signs of epically bad meetings and a large part of my week was meetings. So, here I am, an entrepreneur, wanting to be lean, mean, and a mover and a shaker, and change the world, and a large part of my life is in meetings that never accomplish things and repeat the same information and never implement. It’s like, “Whoa! Hold on. Do I want to reach the end of my life and say, ‘You know what? I survived 25 percent of my working life in meetings. Amen!’” You know? That is my destiny in life. Like, no!

You know, I’m a man of faith. I believe in this one story that is told my Jesus about the parable of the talents. Notice the parable of the talents, one’s given five, one’s given two, one’s given one. The guy with five isn’t told how to increase his. He’s just given five talents and he goes out and he makes it happen. He’s kind of a dream jobber. He goes out and he increases and multiplies those talents. Same thing with the guy with two. The guy with one noticed. He buries it because he says, “I was afraid,” and so many people bury their talents, their life, their dreams, because they are afraid and you don’t need to be 80, you don’t need to be 30 – it can happen to any one of us.

ROGER: Now, if there was a spark with any listener or reader of the blog that I do associate with this, if there’s a spark in their soul for this – now, I’ll have a link to the book so they can start to foster that spark into a flame – what else can they do and what other resources do you have?

KARY: Yeah. Number one, they can go to karyoberbrunner.com. Just Google it; it’ll say you spelled it wrong. “Did you mean this?” and that’s all fine. So, you go to karyoberbrunner.com. A couple of cool things there. Number one, you’re going to see my GPS. So, if you want an example of someone who’s got a GPS in video, you’ll see it right there – a four-minute video. You’ll hear my story. But the cooler thing is that, right there underneath that, we have what’s called a free igniting souls assessment.

So, this is for people who say, “You know what? I might be stuck. I don’t know. I might know who I am – I’m not sure though.” You take that free assessment and what happens, Roger, is it scores you and it says, “Okay, in the area of who you are – your identity – you’re a 73 percent based on your own questions. In the area of your why – your purpose – you’re a 52 percent. And, in the area of where you’re investing your life, you’re a 20. Oh my!” and then it’ll say, at the end of that test, it’ll say, “You might want to check out this free video that will give you more clarity and training on how to discover your why – your purpose.” So, it is a free system that my business partner, Bill David, and it’s killer. People are taking this hundreds a day at times and finding hope and healing.

ROGER: That’s awesome and I’ll have a link to that in the show notes.

Kary, thank you so much for sharing your story and you definitely are a soul on fire and that’s awesome.

KARY: Roger, it was a blast getting to know you more this past week and, hey, if anyone needs a speaker, I’m telling you, I was impressed with Roger so get him before he’s booked. How’s that?

ROGER: Hey! I love that. That’s a great way to close.

KARY: Awesome.

So, what did you think? Go take Kary’s assessment. I’ll have a link to it on my website – rogerwhitney.com. Take his assessment on whether your soul is on fire or not and tweet to me and tell me what your results were. I took the assessment and we can talk a little bit about this so we can all work to live more intentionally in our lives. I want to thank you so much for joining me today. My name is Roger Whitney. I’m so excited about the Retirement Plan Live event that we’re going to do on December 3rd where we get to walk through a full retirement plan and you get to be a fly on the wall to see a retirement plan actually be created…


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