Conceptualization As a Tool – Rhoads Life Coaching

Do you think of conceptualization as a tool or skill? For that matter what IS conceptualization? We use it all the time, whether we know it or not. It is the ability to see what we want and how to go about getting it. It can apply to any aspect of your life.

We teach young athletes to visualize the skill they are trying to master as if it was happening. See the ball go in the basket. Watch yourself catch the ball. It helps the athlete to visualize what they have to do and the sensation of completing the task. It can be empowering and a powerful focusing tool.

Just like any other skill, it can be developed, There are different levels of conceptualization. It works at a very simple level, like completing a phone conversation; or at a very complex level of developing plans for a building or a business.

Why isn’t this skill transferred to our professional and personal lives? What would happen if were to see conceptualization as a tool at your disposal when you need it? How would your confidence, preparation, and follow-through change? Where are you not using as a skill?

Try being more intentional with your conceptualization of visualizing not only the how of completing a task or doing a difficult thing. Where is the best place to start practicing? –

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finding meaning and purpose in daily life

Scarcity Mindset (Never Enough) – Rhoads Life Coaching, LLC

We live in a culture of not having enough. We have created a scarcity mindset that is separate from not having enough. This mindset creates anxiety that saturates everything we do.

Brene Brown coins the term “scarcity mindset” in her book, “Daring Greatly“. In our culture of abundance, this scarcity is different. It is a belief that we don’t have (and won’t have) enough. The example is that starving from lack of food is different that believing we will starve. The belief creates a different kind of anxiety and fear. It exists separate from actually going hungry. When this belief takes hold we tend to hoard things and hold onto them. We worry about losing our stuff.

I would argue that we have so much of this mindset in our lives that we hardly even realize it is there (the fish doesn’t notice he is swimming in the water). We constantly don’t feel that we have enough money, time, happiness, love, good looks, rest, toilet paper, freedom, recreation, friendship, recognition, stuff, etc. The scarcity mindset is so woven into our personal and professional lives we have no concept of how much anxiety it creates.

Where do you have the mindset of never being enough? How does this scarcity mindset change how you see the world? What would your life look like if you were able to be free of the fear the things you want running out? –

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finding meaning and purpose in daily life

Ten Pounds of Stuff in a Five Pound Bag – Rhoads Life Coaching

Ever find yourself believing you can get more done by packing more into each day? At some point the scale tips and the productivity and fulfillment drop off. It’s kind of like trying to put 10 pounds of stuff in an 5-pound bag.

This is a funny image for me. It conjures Lucille Ball stuffing chocolates in her mouth as they come down the conveyor belt, or the frantic, fruitless task of trying to stuff a sleeping bag in a nylon bag. There is some humor in it, until we look at the fact that for some of us we live our daily lives this way. Each day becomes a futile effort to do more than is humanly possible. Maybe the humor helps to take some of the edge off.

Don’t get me wrong. I whole-heartedly believe we should be productive. But where did we tip the scales from being productive to being so busy that we lose the meaning and fulfillment of what we are trying to accomplish? Hopefully one of the silver linings of our recent stay at home lockdowns will be to see that we were pushing the limits on what we tried to complete each day.

Where does this appear for you? Your to-do list? The number of events scheduled in a day? Trying to fit one more chore in before heading out the door or going to bed each night? We each have our own version of this. The clue it is there when the pace is not longer sustainable. What is your version of this game?

The antidote? Slow down! Take some time to determine what is valuable and an important to you so you are better able to prioritize what you choose to do with your time. Practice saying NO to a few things. Finally, take a step back and look at the humor created with trying to cram the ten pounds of scheduled things you want to do into a five pound bag for each day. –

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finding meaning and purpose in daily life

The Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) – Rhoads Life Coaching

Our Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) creates a variety of consequences. Where are you spreading yourself too thin from the anxiety that you won’t be as fulfilled as those around you?

Three times this week FOMO came up in coaching conversations. It seems we have a lot of anxiety that we will miss something! In our social media world and in a culture that moves to pack more events into a calendar than is humanly possible, we fear we will miss something and not measure up.

My bet is that ALL of us have some level of this anxiety. Where does it show up for you? Not being able to say no to a request? Scheduling event after event until there is too much to do? Comparing yourself to the highlight reel of social media posts? Trying to keep up with the Joneses?

In our fear we worry we will not be enough. We won’t measure up. There will be something wrong with us if we miss an event. Or that every event might be a life changing experience. All of these fears end up being about how we perceive ourselves and the stories we tell about who we believe we are. Ironically, the fear of missing out is about our relationship to ourselves, not the events we might miss.

The antidote to FOMO? SLOW DOWN! Take a few deep breaths. Take a break from social media. Create white space in your week to not have a meeting or event (what a radical idea!). Most of all, don’t compare yourself to others. The person you are comparing yourself to is just as insecure about missing out as you. It is the insecurity that keeps this hamster wheel spinning. By being comfortable with who you are as an individual, you are able to choose what you do and where you go. By being more than enough for yourself, there is no need to fear missing out. –

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finding meaning and purpose in daily life

We All Have To Go Together – Rhoads Life Coaching

I wrote last week trying to describe the consequences of ignoring our social contract. Implicit in this contract is that if the ‘haves’ get too far ahead of the ‘have-nots’ our contract will collapse. In order to achieve the things we want as a community, culture and society, we all have to go together.

Have you ever thought about that? Our culture is wired to try and ‘get ahead’. We believe the path to success is ‘win’ against the competition. The eat or be eaten mindset doesn’t account for the fact that a social contract still exists regardless of how we approach life. Suddenly the gap created by getting too far ahead creates a problem. To say it a different way, leaving the ‘have nots’ too far behind breaks our unspoken agreement of how to treat each other as humans.

We have watched this play out across the country over the last few weeks. The separation has become unsustainable. Unless those of us who stand in a place of prosperity and privilege pause to help those struggling behind us, we will not be able to continue forward. Because of this social contract, the ‘haves’ are bound to the ‘have-nots’ and must help if we want to keep going.

How does this play out for you? Are you aware of the contract? Are you aware of your place in it? If you are like me, you come from the privileged side of the equation. What are we being called to do to help? We all have to go together. In order to do that, we must be willing to help those less fortunate than ourselves. What is your role in the solution? –

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finding meaning and purpose in daily life

Our Social Contract – Rhoads Life Coaching, LLC

Without signing anything, we enter into a contract with those around us. When our social contract is broken a replacement must be found for society to move forward.

I found myself without much of a voice this week, given the place of white male privilege I speak from. I don’t have much to add to the conversation, as it isn’t my voice that needs to be heard. So I tried to listen. In listening, I came across Trevor Noah’s May 29th YouTube post about George Floyd and the protests and riots around the country. I highly recommend checking it out.

In listening to Trevor’s calm, heart-felt perspective, he offered a phrase that really help me – that of a social contract. The idea that we as communities have an implicit and sometimes unspoken contract with each other in the expectations of how to treat one another.

Trevor went on to describe that when this contract is broken it is difficult for the “have-nots”, the disadvantaged, to reestablish that contract without upheaval and unrest. Given the powerlessness of the African-American community towards violence from the law enforcement community, the massive protests we are witnessing make sense – and are even necessary.

This helped me a lot. I am deeply sad about the deaths of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery and the systemic racism of Amy Cooper. There are countless other examples of this broken contract. But, the idea of the contract existing creates a pathway to something new. It creates a mechanism to sue for equality and peace. We need a new contract.

Given all of the disparity in our culture, protests make sense as a way of resetting that contract. You have a role to play in creating the next contract. How will you play your role? Now is the time to act. –

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finding meaning and purpose in daily life

Waiting On The World To Change – Rhoads Life Coaching

In 2006 John Mayer won a grammy for his song, “Waiting On The World To Change.” In the popular lyrics he sang about being able to see the problems of the world and not having leadership to follow. His message and belief was he did not have the power or means to change the world, so he would keep waiting for the world to change itself.

I have always had a problem with his sentiment and belief. It is the waiting passively that I disagree with. I understand the feeling of powerlessness and being overwhelmed with the number of injustices in the world. But as the last 14 years have demonstrated, the world is not going to change for you. You have to be the spark that creates the change.

Now, much more than ever, the world needs something different to happen. Each of us is responsible for becoming the agent for those changes. If you see inequality or injustice in the world, now is the time to find your role in activating yourself and others in making those changes. Ironically, the simplest place to start is by changing our own internal world. If I become less negative. If I develop and grow, I am by default changing the world around me.

You have been given talents and strengths. You have a purpose. That purpose is NOT to sit by and wait for things to get better. Your purpose is to participate in making the world a better place. What is your version of that? How will you begin? Who will go with you?

Siting passively waiting for the world to change is a trap. It is time to do something different. The time is now. –

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finding meaning and purpose in daily life

Your Oxygen Mask First – Rhoads Life Coaching, LLC

In order to effectively help others, we must also take care of ourselves. When the oxygen mask drops down, your job is to put your oxygen mask on first.

Remember the pre-flight instructions from the steward or stewardess on your most recent flight (the instructions you ignored as you settled in)? Those instructions are there for a reason. It is imperative that if there is an emergency and the cabin depressurizes, in order to help the person next to you, your oxygen mask has to be put on first! If you don’t do this, you will pass out before you can help the person next to you. Then you BOTH will be in trouble!

The same is true for life guards. Each life guard must learn to stay safe before trying to help someone in danger. If they don’t keep track of their own safety, they could drown, causing the person they are trying to help to also drown.

To be clear, I am not talking about being selfish. My example is in the context of helping others. By not taking care of yourself, you may be robbing others in the future from receiving your help.

This applies to teachers, therapists, first responders, health care workers, and even parents teaching and working from home in the middle of a pandemic.

Do you pay attention to taking care of yourself while helping others? What parts of yourself are you neglecting? What are the potential consequences if you do not stay healthy physically, mentally, and emotionally? Where are you forgetting to put your oxygen mask on first?-

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finding meaning and purpose in daily life

Definition of Optimism – Rhoads Life Coaching, LLC

What is optimism? It isn’t limited to just being positive. Optimism is being able to see a way through; seeing obstacles as temporary and having the ability to overcome them.

In reading Kara Jillian Brown’s recent article on the definition of optimism, I was struck by Deepika Chopra’s specific definition of optimism:

“The true definition of an optimist is someone that is very aware and mindful of all the setbacks and roadblocks and less-than-ideal things that happen in their life. The caveat is that they are just aware that those things are temporary, and they have the ability to overcome them.”

Does that fit your definition of being optimistic? I would argue that most of us see optimism as being positive and up-beat and happy in all situations. That’s not what Dr. Chopra uses in her definition.

Look again at the words she uses. Aware. Mindful. Temporary. Ability. Overcome. It helps me a great deal to be able to see myself as optimistic without pretending that I am happy all the time. Yes, it is important to be joyful and less negative, but it is also possible to be optimistic and still be worried or scared.

We are all facing a lot of different challenges right now. Are you able to see our troubles as temporary? Are you able to see a way through all of this? Can you see yourself overcoming these challenges?

At the end of the day optimism is a choice. What prevents you from choosing to find a way to overcome your troubles? My challenge to you is to choose to find solutions; to see a way through. Take a chance and change your definition of optimism. You have the ability to choose to be optimistic. –

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finding meaning and purpose in daily life

Everything Needs A Context – Rhoads Life Coaching

It is difficult to overstate the idea that everything needs a context. It is impossible to accurately create decisions without taking the context of a situation into account.

Do you remember the chemistry or physics teacher in high school that taught the lesson that numbers are meaningless without units? The speed of an object in miles per hour versus kilometers per second makes a big difference! Context matters!

A few months ago walking into a bank with a mask on would have caused panic. Now we might be upset if someone didn’t wear a mask into the bank. The context has changed!

What happens if we take something out of context, or read the wrong story into a scenario? We come to the wrong conclusion! The menacingly misnamed “murder wasps” have arrived in the Pacific northwest for the first time. If we read the wrong frame of reference, we create a story where thousands of people are a risk of being killed by an aggressive insect. If we leave the context out, we miss the fact that our threatened honey bee populations are now MORE at risk, which has significant impacts to the way we create our food.

Where in your life do you forget to put things in correct setting? In a conflict with someone? When making decisions about budgeting income? When setting goals for yourself? Every aspect of our lives is impacted by all the other areas.

If we leave the context out of how we talk to each other or how we make decisions, we limit our ability to make better choices. Everything needs a context! –

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finding meaning and purpose in daily life