Fractals are objects in which the same pattern is observed at multiple scales (larger and smaller) inside an object and the system around it. They are a way of describing the patterns of what seem to be random and chaotic things. They occur almost everywhere! We see them in waves on the surface of the ocean, the rivulets flowing into a stream and then a river, and the patterns of leaves on trees in a forest.
It was inspiring this week, in visiting the Holden Arboretum in Kirtland, Ohio, to see all of the fractals of leaves, trees, flowers, and sunlight creating patterns everywhere. Even the light changes in the video reflected the fractals created by the leaves above me! They are literally everywhere we look!
What if your life IS a fractal?
What are the potential impacts of that statement? How would you change your behavior if you lived your life through a fractal lens? I offer the observation that the randomness and chaos might be built into the system on purpose. There is a benefit to the fractals of your life. Suddenly there would be meaningful information in the chaos of your life!
If the complexity of the patterns we see on the ocean, or in the woods, or on the sand on the beach, the ceiling of a cathedral, or the feathers on a bird are mesmerizing, then we have the ability to see the beauty in the chaos of our lives. Suddenly each seemingly random pattern in your life becomes a “stitch in life’s rich tapestry” (Arthur Marshall).
Your life is a fractal. It is meant to be complex and seemingly chaotic. It is part of a larger pattern. Your purpose is to accept and see the beauty of your role in that pattern. – www.rhoadscoaching.com
Do you pay attention to the words you choose? When you are resolving a conflict are you using should’s and could’s to shame someone into compliance? In describing a goal your team wants to achieve are you using general terms that make the finish line vague and unachievable? Are you using too many words to give instructions, or too few? The words we use make a big difference in how we talk to each other (and ourselves)!
There are layers upon layers of complexity and power in the words you choose. Take the word spirit for example. It’s, root spiritus, is a very old Greek word that essentially means “breath”. Breath can be kind of a mundane word until you:
Inspire – breathe in
Conspire – breathe together or with
Respire – breathe out
Aspire – breathe up
What inspires you? Who do you conspire with to be connected to and supported by in the world? Do you breathe out all the stress and negativity in life, or hold it in until you pass out? Who do you aspire to be? What is the higher level of yourself that is being developed?
My request is to pay attention to the words you use. They are vitally important to how we engage with the world around us. They can make a difference in whether we move forward or backward in our development. Choose your words carefully! – www.rhoadscoaching.com
Do you know the difference between being anxious vs. being excited? They sometimes have similar symptoms. The butterflies in our stomach, tightness in our chest, sweaty palms, flushed cheeks, and holding our breath can all be indicators that we are anxious. They could also be indicators of being excited. What’s the difference?
Anxiety is fundamentally a part of fear. When we are anxious we are worried or scared or fearful of something. Excitement is an extension of joy. We are happy and joyful and anticipating something when we are excited. They are VERY different! Isn’t it interesting, though, that they might feel similar to us?
So why do you care? If anxiety and excitement blend together for us, it is possible to feel both at the same time. Where do you feel a mix of both? We have a tendency to lump excitement into anxiety. Instead of taking the time separate the two, we say we are anxious or nervous. It changes the tone of how we engage the world. Instead of being nervous of the outcome of an interview, or a performance evaluation, or a child’s recital or athletic event, what if you were excited to see the outcome? Suddenly a dramatic event isn’t fearful, but joyful!
What is the practicality of this? For most of us there is a blend of being anxious vs. being excited in most of the things we do. Instead of just being anxious, start practicing by saying out loud, “I’m excited to see what happens.” Just practicing changes your view of the event and the potential outcomes.
Webster’s dictionary defines a sanctuary as a consecrated place, or a safe place of refuge. We tend to think of of a sanctuary first as a room in a religious building. While that may be true, it isn’t limited to just a religious definition. Where is your sanctuary?
We each have places that are safe, a refuge, and our own version of consecrated or holy. They are places to regroup and recharge. It could be in a church, or out in the woods, on a boat in the middle of a lake, a workbench in the garage, or under a tree on a hot day. For the most part they are still and quiet places (even extroverts need to have a quiet place once in a while). It turns out we need these places. Not as a place to stay for prolonged periods of time, but as a safe base to re-call, re-collect, and re-fuel.
I was struck this week by being filled back up spiritually and emotionally by sitting still in a sanctuary. I hadn’t realized how much I needed it. How do you know when you need your sanctuary? What are your symptoms indicating you need to find a sanctuary? How will you know which of your needs are met by going? What are you losing by not having a place of safety and refuge? – www.rhoadscoaching.com
Sometimes clearing a space to work or think is just as important as knowing what to work on. How do you clear an internal space for yourself?
Just like my grandfather’s workbench. Or your desk at home. The kitchen counter top. Or the treadmill that has been used as a clothes rack, our internal worlds can be cluttered. Sometimes the clutter and chaos inside our thoughts and emotions prevent us from even deciding what to work on next.
I find it useful for, me and my clients, to practice clearing a space internally before moving into decisions or emotions. This becomes almost a meditation of sorts. Pick an image of what organizes things for your internally (a peg board, or cubbies on a wall, hooks or hangers). Then slow everything down inside. One at a time put each topic, thought, feeling, or even person in one of those places until there is enough space. From here, it is then possible to decide what is urgent and important to work on next! – www.rhoadscoaching.com
Have you ever noticed how sometimes it is difficult getting started? Not just with big projects, but in nearly all aspects of our lives. Why is that?
If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m bit of a science nerd (visiting the forested wetland at Gilmore Ponds for this video was really cool!). But, Newton’s First Law of Motion states that an object at rest tends to stay at rest unless an outside force is acted upon it. The corollary to this is the initial effort to start an object moving is greater than the effort to keep an object moving (creating momentum). It turns out this doesn’t just apply to apples or rockets or automobiles. In a way, it applies to all aspects of our lives.
You can create intellectual momentum. Frequently getting started on homework is the hardest part! You can create emotional momentum. Tough conversations are easier once they are going.
For a lot of us though that getting started part is much more difficult that once the momentum is created. How does that show up for you? What aspects of your life (big and small) do you find that initial hurdle of getting started? Are there things that you really want to do but have never achieved because that initial effort was too great?
For me (and when I am coaching), the motivation and then accountability of getting started becomes a big factor in creating the things we want for ourselves. Finding that vision of how things will be once you are going, and then creating that initial burst of energy and effort to get over that first hurdle of getting started, makes growth and development much easier on the other side. – www.rhoadscoaching.com
How do you define the difference between whether a person is an introvert vs extrovert? Do you use a binary system of either being one or the other? Have you ever limited yourself as being too introverted to attempt to show up in the world publicly? Or too extroverted to connect with someone at the personal level?
A black and white definition of introvert vs extrovert limits our ability for personal and professional development. An alternative hypothesis is that being an introvert or extrovert is like moving up and down the spectrum of color. We have the ability move up and down the spectrum and step into varying levels of connection.
The ability to choose something other than your default of introvert or extrovert is a skill that can be developed just like any other. The ability to grow comes from viewing this spectrum like a battery. Just like your cell phone or laptop charge, it takes energy for introverts to be more extroverted. The same is true for extroverts to be more introverted. Introverts recharge by finding solitude and quiet space and time. Extroverts recharge by connecting with others in high energy places.
What is in it for you to step out of your comfort zone and be more introverted or extroverted? What opportunities are you missing by playing small, or by not focusing on the details? Take some time to figure out how to appear different in the world. Then, how to recover from stepping out of your comfort zone?
One of my favorite stories is the legend of the poet Rumi walking through the gold smithing market of Konya and hearing the music of the hammer strokes creating the gold jewelry and wares for sale. Instead of seeing the hot, bustling, smoky, hectic and repetitive monotony of the market, Rumi saw the world being created through daily life.
Are you able to see the beauty in your daily tasks?
If you aren’t, what prevents that from happening?
How many times have you driven to work? Your life would be a lot different if you were not willing to make the effort to take that trip every day. How many emails have you sent? Your business would not be as productive if you were not sending emails. How many soccer/swimming/tennis/football/volleyball/baseball/basketball practices have you sat through? Your children would not be learning and growing and developing their view of the world without this effort! Are these repetitive tasks the monotonous hum-drum of life, or the world being created? You get to pick!
There is certainly an advantage to changing this perception. Suddenly your daily tasks are part of a bigger growth and adaptation that is always happening at a global scale. Even the laundry and the groceries become more important! Is there a disadvantage to seeing the world this way? I have trouble thinking of one!
What are the hammer strokes of your daily life? Where are the most repetitive things that become mundane and routine? What would it take to shift your perspective and see the world unfolding in the repetition of your daily life? – www.rhoadscoaching.com
In recent coaching conversations, I have encouraged individuals to speak up for themselves or others when a conflict is not being resolved or values are not being met. That has me thinking this week… how do you use your voice?
If we think of each of the many roles we play on a daily basis as each being able to speak, then we have as many voices as we do roles. Sometimes those voices don’t speak up, aren’t heard, or are trampling over other voices both internally and externally.
It is critically important to be able to observe ourselves in how we treat ourselves and act around others. In a world where it is so easy to sound off on social media, what voices are not being heard and what voices are too loud? OR, does your voice match the values and priorities you say you have? If not, why? Does your voice need to be softer? Louder? More certain? Less negative?
Taking a look at a bigger scale, your voice has a role to play in your family, career, community, and world. What is that role? Are you speaking up for yourself and others about what is important to you? The world needs your voice, whether that is a community level, or privately to an individual in need.
You have a voice! How are you using it?
Interested to learn how coaching would work for you? Message Rhoads Life Coaching to sign up for a FREE consultation! – www.rhoadscoaching.com
Have you ever thought about HOW you trust something? I have written previously about the components of trust. But, did you know there were different trust styles? Robert Fisher created a model for describing them and it is a useful tool in coaching around the topic of trust.
The four trust styles are:
Trust Until – A positive approach of looking for the facts until I see data to prove that I can’t trust you.
Trust Still – A positive approach of believing in something even if there is data that does not support trust.
Suspicious Until – A negative approach where I am reluctant to trust until I see data that supports being able to trust something.
Suspicious Still – A negative approach where I am unable to trust even in the face of data that says I can.
What style do you use? It should depend on the situation, your personal experiences, beliefs, and personality. You likely use all four in some fashion. But do you rely too heavily on one? What styles do your customers and clients use? Your employees and coworkers? Understanding why you (or someone else) is using a specific trust style may help in building trust in that relationship! Which style is your default, and which style do you need to practice developing? Are you using the appropriate style at the appropriate time? – www.rhoadscoaching.com