America’s Family Coaches' CEO, Gary Rosberg interviewed by the Opportunity Coalition's CEO, Brian Watson

Brian Watson:    Welcome to the Opportunity Coalition. Today, we have Gary Rosberg, the Founder of the Rosberg Group and America's Family Coaches. 

Gary, welcome to the show.

Gary Rosberg:    Brian, thanks so very, very much.

Brian Watson:    Tell us a little bit about – you have two different hats that you wear from time to time that are connected in some ways. But tell us a little bit about your organizations and what their focus is.

Gary Rosberg:    Well, thank you. Just in 2014, Barb and I launched a for-profit group called the Rosberg Group,, and we both do coaching for executive couples and their families, including multi-generational families. And so we partner with men and women that have been incredible and successful in the marketplace, and yet what they really desire to do is to help deal with the transitions of their life, to win with their adult kids and the next generation, and to strengthen their marriages.

One couple we worked with recently went overseas to see them at their European office, as well as their U.S. office. And they just said, you know what, we're just in our, whatever, 50s, 60s; we're getting ready to move into the latter phases of our life; and we have done incredibly well financially. But what we want to do is make sure that we button down the right toolbox for a strong marriage and family.

And so Barb and I are their coaches. So we do intensives, and we'll spend a few days with them, usually at their home or a place that they bring us to, and spend a couple of days digging deep, and loving on them and encouraging them and coaching them and assessing what's going well and where they need to sharpen their serve. And then over the next year or two at least monthly interact with them through videoconferencing for a minimum of 90 minutes at a time and coach them up and come alongside as their marriage and family coaches.

So primarily, Brian, they'll have executive coaches and financial coaches and attorneys and all sorts of different experts speaking into their lives. But what Barb and I want to do is to really bring the breadth and the depth of a strong marriage and family, and so we're absolutely humbled to get to do that.

Brian Watson:    With regard to that, was there a particular experience or situation that caused you to create this, I mean to see this need that you're trying to build?

Gary Rosberg:    Yeah, that's good, Brian. I did 25,000 hours of marriage and family therapy in the '80s and '90s. And then we began writing books and doing syndicated radio and speaking nationally and internationally. And so I've got a clinical background.

My wife is -- you met her briefly when we were at the C Lazy U Ranch -- and she is the greatest exhorter I've ever met. Whether it's kids or elderly or people in Malaysia or Singapore or Africa or people all around the world, Barb Rosberg is deeply loved; and she loves people. She's a (inaudible) person. She coaches people up. 

Two different people, a friend named Dwight Bain from Orlando, who is the Executive Director of the International Christian Coaches Association, and then our mutual friend, (inaudible) Baldin, both came to Barb and I, unbeknownst to each other, and said, as we step in this next phase of life, of influence, continue to win in the big with radio and conferences and the things that we love to do through our non-profit. 

But they both said, if the two of you took the training, which we did, and became executive coaches for couples and families, you wouldn't have a large number of families, but you could go deep with influencers. And bringing Barb's exhortation and encouragement and my coaching and counseling background, and so we're coaches. And that's also the name of our non-profit, America's Family Coaches. So it really was kind of a conversion of our giftedness at a stage of life that will also help us when we work with folks to contribute and help fund the work that we're so passionate about with our non-profit.

Brian Watson:    Now, I think there may be a perception in our society that the more successful a couple may become financially, the more pressure that may occur on their marriage. Do you believe that's true from the work that you're doing?

Gary Rosberg:    Yeah, I think it is, keeping in mind that the couples we work with are incredibly motivated. And they are very, very successful. And yet I think the further we go up the ladder – there's a famous pastor down in Dallas, his name is Chuck Swindoll. And in one of his books 20-25 years ago, he had a chapter called The Lonely Whine of the Top Dog – so The Lonely Whine, w-h-i-n-e, of the Top Dog. And I'll never forget that chapter, Brian. Essentially, when any of us earn our way or are thrust into an area of leadership, there are times when that is lonely.

And so when we can have people in our life that -- your audience doesn't know my style on this – but the thing I'll often say at men's events and at couple's events is, Surround yourself with some guys that aren't impressed with you. And it doesn't mean they don't honor you and respect you. 

But you know what, Brian? We all need guys that love us enough and develop friendship and walk with us that are not just going to tell us what we want to hear. And within the marketplace, it's easier to lean into people that have got a dog in the fight. They'll sometimes tell us what we want to hear. And so that's where the work of, in our situation, executive marriage and family coach that is committed to one thing. And that is strengthening and helping that executive sort through life. Help him or her sort through – okay, I've done it great in the marketplace; I've been successful. But I've got unique pressures sometimes that I didn't have when I was in my 20s and 30s, but I'm experiencing them now at these levels of significance.

And so I think there are some pressures. And sometimes it's just people wanting a safe place to unpack and to experience and experiment and just say, let's take a deep breath because we want to have a strong impact and influence in our family and our family legacy.

Brian Watson:    When you look at marriage counseling and/or coaching and people coming alongside – and I love how you use that expression, I use that a lot in my conversations in things that we're trying to do to have a positive impact on society – but I think a lot of people assume that if you're going to have a marriage coach, then maybe there must be some issue that you're having, and that's why you need to go and have this. But it sounds like a lot of your work is strengthening and developing and being more proactive than necessarily reactive. Is that a fair assumption?

Gary Rosberg:    Yeah, Brian, that's a great insight. In our material, in our website stuff, we say not everybody needs a marriage therapist – although I've been trying to find a good one, not for my marriage but for myself, for years. But we all need a coach, and so Barb and I demystify that; and it doesn't take long because we lead relationally. And we just climb in with them and just let them know, hey, we're going to speak in your lines and coach you and help sharpen your serve. And we all need that. 

One of the highest net worth executives that I've worked with came to me and said, here I've got all the money; I've got all the influence; I've got all the history; I've got everything. But I need some new tools in my toolbox at this stage of life. And that was a great way to put it – I just want some new tools in my toolbox. And so that's what Barb and I are committed to doing is helping equip. And I think we all need that. We all need to be teachable; we all need people around us that will coach us up.

Brian Watson:    My wife and I before we got married, we did some premarital counseling through our church. And it's one of the best things that we ever did to really talk about some of those priorities, about putting God in the center of your life and then your marriage and then your kids and all the other things that are on the outer rings. But the most important thing is that relationship with God and also your marriage because that really is that bedrock and foundation.

Do you believe that as a country, speaking about the United States, that marriage – it seems that there is just this onslaught and attack on marriage and keeping those strong. Do you think we are worse off today than we were at any time in our history, or are you seeing some bright lights where people are saying, you know what, this is important and I'm really going to commit to this and to make this what it should be?

Gary Rosberg:    My answer is yes, yes. I think in many ways – and this has happened on my watch because, Brian, I've been helping families for over four decades; so it's happened on my watch. Barb and I have sold almost a million resources between books and DVDs, syndicated radio; we've been in radio for 20 years. We've traveled the world, and this is our deal. And so on my watch, it has eroded more significantly, I believe, than ever before in the history of this country.

We were gathering with some of my Board members for dinner the other night, and I just made a comment to a guy on my Board, a guy I'd led to Christ in his 20s; and he's an incredible man of God. And I said, you know, I was doing a video conference in my office last week. It was in the evening, and there were a bunch of men who were on the conference. And I jumped in the car and I was driving home and it was about eight o'clock. And I was driving through my neighborhood, and it's a lovely neighborhood; and I could see big screen TVs flashing in just about every house.

I commented to Steve, 15 years ago, 10 years ago, if Barb and Gary Rosberg were hosting a date night in this community, there would be 700, 800, 900, 1,000, 1,200 people at the event, and everyone would come out of those houses. Today, a lot of guys are either not establishing appropriate margins and boundaries; kids are dictating the pace of the family; husbands and wives are being great parents and not so effective as lovers. People are cocooning more. 

There are so many variables, I think, Brian, that are facing off hurried families in the midst of this culture. So a lot of those guys aren't coming out of those houses; and if they are, it's taking the kid to a basketball practice. And so I believe, Barb and I have experienced the top of the influence and impact when there was more of a vibrancy. Yet we still see it in South Africa. 

We go to South Africa every year; this will be our seventh year. And when we go there, we'll do sometimes 20 events, 20 events, typically 20 events, all around that great country. And it's almost like living in the U.S. in the '80s and the '90s. People are still coming out. People are still enthusiastic. People are crossing churches and having non-denominational gatherings. People that don't follow Christ are coming to events; and we love to influence there because we're embedding, if you will, the message that God has given us for the last 14 years to teach these teachable people. 

So I think it's tougher, Brian. I think it's tougher. And it's tougher for our kids' and our grandkids' generations.

Brian Watson:    So if people wanted to take a first step about learning more about having a coach or some of your work, how would they go about getting that information?

Gary Rosberg:    Well, they can go to the Rosberg Group; and Rosberg is R-o-s-b-e-r-g: And we have a very simple website, and they can learn. We do essentially three things. We partner with couples for a year, but preferably more than a year; so we do it couple to couple. The second thing we do is small group gatherings, and that's where we met you and your wife. We were at a ranch with a friend who had heard us speak at a marriage conference and brought nine of his best friends and their spouses. And we spent three days, I think, with them, doing what we do – just loving them, and speaking into them, and teaching them what we call Six Secrets to a Lasting Love that we believe will strengthen a marriage.

And then we do platform events for corporations, for churches, for cities, and quite a bit with military, such as one of the biggest parts of our non-profit, America's Family Coaches, and in South Africa.

Brian Watson:    Well, thank you for sharing that. You're doing good work in strengthening those marriages, and I'm sure you have some wonderful stores to share.

I want to transition now though to you a little bit on a personal level and try to understand a little bit more about what drives you and the impacts you'd like to make. Gary, what is one of your favorite quotes or sayings and why?

Gary Rosberg:    You know, Brian, if you had asked me yesterday – if we did this interview yesterday, I would have answered differently. But I was up in the night. Do you ever get up in the night? God is stirring in your heart? And Barb and I have toured with a national artist, a guy named Geoff Moore. And Geoff did a song a number of years ago called Only A Fool. So I got up at about one, and I was up until about three; and I was reading in the Bible. And Paul in his writing to the Corinthians made a statement that is a little bit of an unsettling statement because he talks about those who think that we are wise in the world's eyes many times have to become a fool with our passion for Jesus in order to really grasp the meaning of life.

And so he talks about finding the big in the small. And something is stirring in my heart, Brian. So this is a very – your listeners are the first people to hear it, I guarantee. But it's finding the big in the small. Barb and I, again, we have done all of the big arena events. I've spoken to hundreds of thousands of men at Promise Keepers over 12 years. We've done everything in the big arena of marriage and family in our country and beyond.

But the greatest joy that Gary and Barb Rosberg have is in the small. And so it's coaching these executive couples; and that's our for-profit. But then there are two groups that we get to work with. And one is my wife has designed a storytelling necklace, Brian, that teaches the Six Secrets of Lasting Love that we've been teaching since the year 2000. She designed it for South African women, and they're women from the Zulu tribe. The last couple of years, Barb has placed these necklaces that donors purchased and donated to our ministry to give them to 400 Zulu women in South Africa. 

Now, the uniqueness of these women is they're caregivers for double orphan children whose parents have died of AIDS or vulnerable, at risk children whose parents are dying of AIDS.  And so I want you to envision stepping out of the city of Cape Town or Durban or Johannesburg and going off into these villages where these kids are starving; these kids have no parents; these kids have experienced sexual abuse and all sorts of pain. And these precious women, they're gogos. So they're grandmothers; that's South African for grandmother. They're aunts; they are just women that care, feed these kids. 

And then Barb Rosberg shows up in their life and bestows this necklace upon them in a ceremony with a Zulu translator. And here's where it gets really crazy with the big in the small. Barb texts them every week. So these women, most of them don't have homes. Many of them live on the street, and yet they all have cellphones because that's the only way of communication in Africa. So Barb texts them; it's translated into Zulu. 

So when we return each year, my bride is like a rock star with these women. And they can't understand her without a translator, but they love her; and she loves them. And she hugs them and she kisses them on the cheek and she prays over them and she embraces them. And they rush to see her. They wear their tribal dress, and they paint their faces to honor Gogo Barbie they call her. And so we're finding the big in the small, and that's where my wife's greatest delight is.

And then on the other side is for me, we had served military families for eight years; distributed over half a million dollars of our books and DVDs to military personnel worldwide, over 24,000 resources; and now we have become specialists in working with wounded warriors. The big in the small for Gary Rosberg is working with a double amputee; a burn victim; a traumatic brain injury; post-traumatic stress; a soldier, a marine, an airman, a sailor that has been wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan, is married. 80% of those guys will divorce. And so I'm working with Green Beret couples; I'm working with airmen, and have found this niche. And we've become the marriage coaches for a group called Helping a Hero out of Houston that builds houses for heroes, and then we are their marriage coaches. And also now working with the Green Beret Foundation. 

And so, Brian, that's a long answer to your question; but it's amazing to have done – and, again, I give God the glory. We've gotten to do so many remarkable things. So we're spending much of our life in these very, very unique places with executive families; and we love it. Yet I'll turn around and then be with a guy that was at the top of his game when he joined the Green Berets or top of his game when he was a soldier and went off with great intent to help protect our country, and he comes home a different person. And that life and those kids deserve everything we can do for them.

So Barb and Gary Rosberg are finding much of our call in ministering in the small places in order to be found faithful. And not walking away from elevating Christ, Brian, because only a fool would do that. And so we're giving our lives to that.

Brian Watson:    Well, Africa is one of my favorite places on the planet. I've been to South Africa, and I absolutely love it there; and I appreciate your work. And as you were speaking, it always is interesting to me that what as humanity we may think is big is probably small to the Lord and vice versa. What we sometimes think is small is what is the most important thing to pleasing Him. And so it's great that you're having that; that is for sure.

What is some of the best advice you have ever received?

Gary Rosberg:    I think part of it is, don't give up. I was a freshman in high school during the riots of the '60s in Chicago. My freshman year of high school, I earned 27 "Ds" success and 3 "Cs," had parent/teacher conference student meetings every six weeks of report cards every six weeks. Five thousand kids in my high school; it was chaos; it was mess. And I was playing in a rock and roll band, way in over my head; and my heart was hard. And I was flunking everything, and so every six weeks my parents would face off every one of my teachers, my counselor, and hear how much of a failure I was.

And there was a first-year English teacher, a guy named Mark (inaudible), long hair, loved the Rolling Stones; I loved the Rolling Stones at the time. And he would come into that room – he was 21-22 years old -- slouch in his chair. It drove the school counselor crazy that he would slouch in his chair. My parents would hang on to every word he said because he said, you know what? Gary is doing very poorly in English. Something is going on in the kid's life, but I believe in him. And. Gary, I'm telling you, don't ever give up. And I believe Gary will make it through high school. I believe Gary is going to be successful at some time in his life.

You know, Brian, when we all look back – the Hebrews, when they read a letter, they don't read from left to right; they read from right to left. And so when we read right to left, we get a better understanding of the aha's in our life. And so when I read right to left, as a Hebrew letter, I understand God's sovereignty; I understand his providence; I understand the situations he's allowed me to experience of depression, of loss, of incredible stuff that I've gone through in my life. And I realize that there's purpose in it.

And then you pick out those people that have showed up when it wasn't popular to show up. And this freshman English teacher showed up in Gary Rosberg's life at just the right time. And I was hard hearted towards him; but I tell you, on the inside, I was screaming for someone to believe in me. And I think we all need to recognize those people in our life. We need to be those people in other people's lives and look for the opportunities to celebrate those that have done it for us.

Brian Watson:    Yeah, I believe that's so true. I've had the opportunity to be a mentor in what we call Save Our Youth, which is an inner city mentoring program. And it's the idea of coming alongside and investing in another life and believing in that life and having an impact. And so I actually believe about those moments; that's so true.

Gary, what is your personal definition of success? You obviously spend a lot of your time around very successful people from a worldly perspective and in other areas as well. But in seeing all of that, what is your definition of success?

Gary Rosberg:    I think it's living well and finishing strong, Brian. If I write you a letter or chat with you on the phone or whatever, invariably I will close it with the three words, "Guard your heart." And I did a book on that years ago; it's from Proverbs 4:23. And when Solomon wrote it, here's what he said. He said, "Above all else, guard your hearts towards the wellspring of life." And that verse is the key verse in my life that I live by.

And I think if Gary Rosberg is successful at the end of the day, when all is said and done, I will have guarded my heart. And that means guard my heart from temptations, from power, from control, from negative emotions, from resisting the integration of the public man and the private man. Because I believe the more we are integrated with who we are when nobody's looking, which is our character, then we are pleasing to God; and we can help imprint and encourage other people. And so that's really, at the end of the day, how I would define success: He guarded his heart.

Brian Watson:    That's very powerful. Thank you for sharing that. 

Gary, what do you believe is one of the biggest challenges or threats facing our country or world today?

Gary Rosberg:    Well, I think it really connects, Brian, to what we just chatted about. It's the hardness of the heart. And we get hard hearted because we're hurt; we get hard hearted when we're betrayed; we get hard hearted when we're deceiving ourself; we get hard hearted when, quite honestly, we believe our press clippings. Up close and personal – and I've worked with Nashville artists and famous sports people and heads of state, of governments – and when you get up close and personal and you peel that stuff away, I mean, it really is true. We're just a man; we're just a woman; we're just a person trying to make sense of our lives and make a difference in other people's lives.

And I think when we give ourself to a hardened heart, Brian, that's when I think it's the biggest risk to being used and to use the breath and the life that we're given by God every day because he numbers our days, I believe. And I think that's the biggest risk; it's becoming hard hearted and isolating, deceiving, controlling, disconnecting, having a dislocated heart.

And when you contrast that, Brian, the biggest influencers I know are the people that walk with a limp. It's people that have embraced the pain; they have embraced suffering. They have people in their lives that love them enough to tell them the truth. And at some point they realize that their live is not about them; and it's about giving their life away so that you can experience what you thought you already had, and that is significance. And it happens with surrender. It happens with serving. It happens in the small places.

Brian, I don't know if you've ever read Henri Nouwen. He was a famous priest, taught at esteemed colleges and universities, an author and speaker. And he spent the last number of years in Ontario, Canada, in a home for disability. He is defining for me. He and Nelson Mandela are the two guys that I most study today, two men that lived in the big but they ended in the small. And they ended in the small places with gratitude and faithfulness. And it's where people captured something in their lives that we're still reading about today. That's much of what's storied in my heart as I sit and interact with people today.

And people want to do that. They want to make a difference. They want to be useful. They want to be significant. Success comes pretty easily to most of us. But it's significance and surrender and service that I think is when we're at the top of our game.

Brian Watson:    I've never heard it put that way: People walk with a limp. And I think being real and true, and I've often thought even in my own world, you see a lot of people that attain success. But they don't attain the significance, and significance is about that service and loving on others and having that positive impact. And it's very powerful some of the things that you just shared for sure, so thank you for doing that.

Gary, if you could make one change in order to make the largest positive impact in the country, world, or within marriages, what would that be?

Gary Rosberg:    I can tell you. When my daughters came to me and said, Dad, what do I look for in a husband? My first comment was future income potential; and they would laugh, and I would laugh. I would say, you know, you guys need to take care of me and Mom later. But then they'd say, no, Dad, really, what do you look for? And I think this is – it's the one word, Brian, that if it became epidemic, we would all be better off. And it's two words, be teachable – be teachable.

And Barb came to me one time, my sweetheart – we've been married almost 40 years now – and she said, "Gary, you are the strongest man I've ever met." 

And I looked at her and I said, "Is there a second part to this comment?" And she said, "Yes."

And I said, "Do I want to hear it?" 

And she said, "Probably not." And she said, "If you want to."

And I said, "Yeah."

She said, "You're the strongest man I know; but when you get a smidgeon of yourself, you're dangerous."

And I tell you, Brian, only a lifelong mate can speak that boldly into the chest of a man. And she said, "Gary, when you walk with a limp, when you're teachable, when you embrace that frame, when you walk in brokenness and your spirit is open to what the word of God is giving you, to what godly men are speaking into you, when your kids and your grandkids want to spend more time with you than they do with a video game or going to see somebody else because they know that when they're in the room with you, they're the only person in your life, when you're teachable and you embrace that, that's when you're at the top of your game."

And so I think that's what I would pass to you – your great listeners and constituents, Brian, that entrust you with this incredible opportunity -- that we need to be teachable. We need to be willing, like that executive couple I talked about earlier, to say, you know what, Rosberg? We've got it all, but we need some new tools in our toolbox. I love that. I love that kind of spirit, and I'll go to the end of the earth for that guy because he's teachable. 

Now, you contrast that with somebody that's not teachable; they become hardhearted; they disconnect. And I think that's when people break down, marriages break down, families break down, communities break down, and the culture breaks down.

Brian Watson:     It's interesting the interaction between being teachable and that hardness of the heart. And it's also interesting how the lord will tend to put things in your life to have you be a little bit more teachable, shall we say, whether you want to be or not. So I appreciate you sharing that.

Gary, if you could provide some parting advice or golden nuggets of wisdom for our listeners, what would those be?

Gary Rosberg:    I think love well. You know, Brian, life is so short. I mean, life is so stickin' short. And having spent 40 years working with people below the water line of life – and I worked ten years in corrections, ran a correctional institution, was a probation officer – spent 20 years doing therapy, and then the last 10-15 years writing books and radio and speaking. But what Barb and I do is we spend our lives below the water line of life; and whether it's with America's Family Coaches, our non-profit, or the Rosberg Group, it's up close and personal.

What I am imploring people to do, including the wife of the Green Beret yesterday on the phone, the young man that emailed me in the night that just came home from a Black Hawk helicopter pilot unit in the Mideast because is his wife is leaving him and it's crumbling; and his commander sent him home to meet with me to speak into his life. And he's just saying, "Dr. Gary, will you help me? I'm reading your books. Will you help me personally?"

And when we hang up this phone, I'm going to call him. And what I'm going to remind him is to love well because life is short. And you know what, Brian? Every one of us, at the end of the day, I think we want to be remembered as somebody that loved well. And we grasped every day that we had; we showed gratitude to God for it; and we loved those in our lives better, with more abandon, with more passion.

I went through cancer two years ago. And the two best friends in my life, virtually every time I see them or talk to them, I tell them I love them. And they say, "I love you, Gary." And these are strong men. But you know what? I'm not going to miss expressing my passion for other people and reminding them of the impact that they're having on my life. 

So I think it's to realize life is short and to love well and to express it to other people. People – they need to hear it; I need to hear it; we all need to hear it.

Brian Watson:    It's interesting when you were saying that. I think that the world would tell you to live well. And when you remove that "i," just one little letter, and you transition that to "love well," what a positive impact that makes. And so take more of the "I" out of it and focus more on loving others and being transparent, real, I think is very, very powerful. So thank you for sharing that.

Gary, if you could tell the listeners again a little bit about how they can get ahold of you and reach your website, we'd appreciate that.

Gary Rosberg:    Yeah, if there's a couple that would like to be stepping into a relationship with Barb and I as their marriage and family coaches, it's: And it's R-o-s-b-e-r-g. That's also for speaking; so we do speaking all over through that process. 

And then if they're interested in learning more about our non-profit – our books, our DVDs, our work with military in South Africa, the storytelling necklace that now is going to India and New Mexico and indigent areas around the country in the world – that's:

Brian Watson:    Gary, I want to thank you for your time today. And thank you and Barb for the great work that you're doing in the big and in the small, and having a positive impact around the world and sharing proof.

Gary Rosberg:    Brian, thank you. And to all of your listeners who know you – they don't know me, they know you – I just wanted to bless you, Brian, and to encourage all of your listeners to realize the impact and the influence that Brian is having. Because we met on a dude ranch when nobody else was looking, and I was there to serve couples; and you were there with your wife and a colleague, and I think your teenage or college-age son. And we met in a very small place; but very quickly, we began to talk about things that made a difference.

And, Brian, I believe you're tribe is going to increase. You're having an influence and an impact. And for those that have followed you, it was fun to see up close when nobody else was looking, and to hear your passion and your care to reach out to other people. I'm cheering you on, and it's good to be your friend.

Brian Watson:    That's very kind of you. You and I only spent a few minutes together, and this conversation here is the longest we've ever spent together. And I was just moved by your work and really appreciate it. It's interesting, I think, oftentimes to be open to those new relationships and meeting people and learning about what they do. And I don't think things happen just by mistake or by chance. I think there's a reason behind it. So again, I really appreciate your time and the work that you're doing and look forward to growing a relationship. I appreciate it, Gary.

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