Asking For Help – Rhoads Life Coaching

What prevents you from asking for help? I have written previously about being stuck. One of the steps of getting unstuck is asking for help. Sometimes it is the most difficult step to take. There is a significant disadvantage to not reaching out to others. Frequently we get stuck because we run out of options and don’t have another viable solution. Asking for help creates new opportunities of finding solutions we didn’t have previously.

So how often do you not ask for something you need? A conflict? A job search? A new business plan? Getting started on a New Year’s Resolution? What keeps you from reaching out beyond yourself for help? Our pride, ego, fear, and shame keep us isolated from finding new solutions.

Given the obstacles you are currently facing, when do the potential benefits of asking for help outweigh the risks of staying isolated? What do you need to do to ask for help? – www.rhoadscoaching.com

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finding meaning and purpose in daily life

Practicing Gratitude – Rhoads Life Coaching

I have written about reducing negativity and “Tell Me Something Good” as ways to improve our mental and emotional perspective of the world. When strung together, these individual acts become a habit of practicing gratitude.

If you are searching for a way to change how you appear in the world, and how the world appears to you, developing the skill of being grateful will have a positive impact on every aspect of you life. Just like any other skill or ability, practicing gratitude can developed at different levels. Just like training for a race, or using a new software system, if you don’t practice and create a habit of developing gratitude, you will lose that ability.

Don’t be fooled, this is not a simple task. There are many many more self-help books and blogs and webpages on losing weight or building physical strength and endurance than there are “how to’s” on practicing gratitude. The culture we live in clings to negativity and fear and being grateful quickly becomes a challenging task.

So where to start? I recommend beginning with your phone. Take a few minutes and scroll through the photos on your phone. Not the ones you have posted to social media. Not someone else’s public highlight reel. The images you have saved over the last 12 months that mean something to you. Re-member all of the things that have happened (and you may have forgotten). The next level of development is to write the things you are grateful for down so you can see them. Write them into your phone. Make a spreadsheet. Put a list on the fridge. Create a journal and document your practice so you can see how it develops. The next level up becomes repeating this process frequently. Just like going to the gym, it is not a one-and-done activity. Write 5-10 things down 3 times a week just to start. How long does it take to get to 10 gratitudes in one day?

How will your outlook change if you develop this skill of gratitude? What will get in the way of practicing? What do you have to lose? – www.rhoadscoaching.com

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finding meaning and purpose in daily life

The Meaning In Our Symbols – Rhoads Life Coaching

We lose the meaning in our symbols if we believe the symbol itself is the object we are describing. I had the opportunity to travel to Peebles, Ohio to see the Serpent Mound  and contemplate how we use symbols to transfer meaning. If you haven’t ever been to see the Great Snake, I highly recommend it. In walking around this sacred site it is obvious something important is being communicated in the 1,100 foot image constructed on the hilltop above Brush Creek. Unfortunately the exact meaning of the symbol of the snake has been lost to history. 

Serpent Mound - Rhoads Life Coaching

Have you considered that nearly everything we use to communicate is a symbol to represent something else? The letters in the words of this post are symbols we have agreed as a language mean something else. You understand what I am trying to communicate when I type the letters “Great Snake” whether you have ever seen a giant snake or not. 

What symbols do you use? Our lives are saturated with symbols. Words. Images. Emojis. But what is the meaning behind each of these symbols? What is the message they are conveying? An important note is to realize that the symbol itself is NOT the actual object it represents. You would have to stand in front of the Serpent Mound in the quiet fog on the hilltop over Brush Creek to truly understand some of its power. A picture of it is not the same thing. 

What symbols do you use that have lost connection to their original intent? What purpose and meaning can be re-membered in the images and symbols you use to decorate your home or to communicate with those around you? How would life be more meaningful and intentional if the original, deeper intent of these symbols was reconnected? – www.rhoadscoaching.com

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finding meaning and purpose in daily life

Sometimes It Rains – Rhoads Life Coaching

In our high-pressure, fast-paced, win or get-out-of-the-way culture, rarely do we ever make room for a non-binary response. Is there room in your life for a pause? Becomes sometimes it rains.

One of my favorite movies from the 80’s is Bull Durham with Kevin Costner and Tim Robbins. It’s cheesy; it’s fun; and the mentorship and initiation of the young pitcher Nuke Laloosh has always resonated with me. At the end of the movie Nuke extolls his maturity with the wisdom, “Sometimes you win. Sometimes you lose. And sometimes it rains.”

I was reminded of that line this week as we watched the rain wash out several days worth of plans and activities. We put so much pressure on ourselves to constantly produce that we sometimes we lose track of the benefits of having to stop and rest every once in a while.

It helps to have our planned daily tasks snatched from us every once in a while. It forces us to pause, reflect, and rest. So when you have a rain out or a snow day are you frustrated, or can you build a personal philosophy that it is ok to have your plans disrupted once in a while? If it causes a LOT of frustration for you when this happens, what is it about you that can’t let go? How can you build room in your being for an unscheduled pause? – www.rhoadscoaching.com

 

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finding meaning and purpose in daily life

How Do You Play? – Rhoads Life Coaching

Play is an important part of being human (regardless of your age). Taking time to get lost in something you enjoy is critical to finding meaning and purpose in our lives. As a culture (and especially as adults) we are terrible at playing. We tend to get so focused on the list of things we want to accomplish and check off the list that we forget to refuel ourselves. Even when we create space to re-create or vacate, we fill our recreation and vacations with endless tasks that are more ‘doing’ than ‘being’.

There are lots of components to what play is, but to critical parts are:

The ability to lose track of time while playing.

And being sad when it has to end.

Have you ever observed a small child on the playground? They get lost in the experience. They could be there for hours without stopping. And how often is that child upset when it is time to go? They were having fun! They were lost in play!

So what about you as an adult? That need still exists. How do you refuel yourself with something play-full? If you are ‘getting things done’ and being productive, you aren’t playing. But the possibilities of being creative and having fun without direction are nearly infinite. By not taking time to play we are making all of the work we do more valuable than who we really are. What is the point of all of the hard work if enjoying life does not become a priority? So where are there opportunities to introduce more play into your life?

Do you know what play is for you? It is worth exploring and creating! – www.rhoadscoaching.com

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finding meaning and purpose in daily life

Worry Worry Worry – Rhoads Life Coaching

How much do you worry? What do you worry about? Do you pay attention to amount of time and energy you put into worrying?

Worry is different from fear in that by worrying we end up right back where we started and nothing has changed. It is the same as rocking in a rocking chair – it is something to pass the time, but not matter how long or fast you rock in that chair, you finish right where you started. Some of us have graduated from the rocking chair to the hamster wheel of worry, and we worry as fast as we can and never go anywhere. This is different from fear as fear motivates us to DO SOMETHING! Fear, whether we like it or not, prompts us to change.

Worry can also be like a slow leak in a tire. It drains our energy and time. Have you ever had a tire on a car or bike that slowly leaks? It isn’t draining fast enough to prevent you from getting through the day, but every once in a while you have to stop and fill it back up. It takes time and energy from other things. Worrying distracts our attention and effort.

So how to stop worrying so much? First is to pay attention to what you worry about. How often do you focus your energy on a particular topic and never do anything about it? By observing what we worry about it is possible to begin to understand the story behind WHY we are worrying about something. By understanding the story it creates the opportunity to change how you approach a concern, or gives you the opportunity to let go of the worry around it. – www.rhoadscoaching.com

Worry - Rhoads Life Coaching

 

finding meaning and purpose in daily life

The Critic (Critical Self-Talk)- Rhoads Life Coaching

One important aspect of personal growth and development is the ability to recognize that we have lots of different aspects to who we are. One important aspect to watch out for is The Critic.  This negative part of our personality blames, shames, and steals energy and power. He or she gives the running negative commentary while we go through our day and is a pro at endlessly micro-analyzing the tapes of our mistakes and failures after the fact. When you hear yourself saying out loud or saying to some one, “It wasn’t good enough!”, or “I should have known better!”, or “What is wrong with me?” – THAT’S the Critic. This part of you is frequently relentless and can adapt to how it delivers it’s negative message. It can be vicious and sinister!

Another important aspect of The Critic is – you weren’t born with this piece of you. If you find that hard to believe, watch your local preschooler play as they run around in their super-hero cape. They don’t have that critical self-talk built in yet! They have to be taught to believe they aren’t good enough or that they don’t fit in. Critical self-talk is a product of our early growth and development!

This mean you have the ability to change that critical self-talk. If it wasn’t hardwired in you to start, then there is a chance of re-programming that code! It starts with self-observation and trying objectively to observe what your specific Critic is about. Change only comes from being able to see what is going on inside you. You have the ability to take that power back, as The Critic is not who you really are! – www.rhoadscoaching.com

 

The Critic - The Critic

 

finding meaning and purpose in daily life 

Attracting the Life We Live – Rhoads Life Coaching

We are attracting the life we live. Whether we intend to (or even want to), we are in a relationship with the world around us. That relationship goes both ways. I have posted previously about how reducing negativity impacts our daily living and how the lenses we wear impact our perception, but because the relationship goes both ways, the world also responds to our actions, thoughts, beliefs, and even energy.  This paradox may be difficult to discern.  Which comes first, my positive outlook and hope, or the opportunity to be positive and hopeful? The reality is that the world responds in kind. If we are negative we receive negativity. If we are hopeful we receive hope. This creates an opportunity to change the world around us. If my attitude and energy impact the world’s response, then choosing how I relate to the world changes my own reality. This does not mean we will receive all of our wishes. It does not mean we won’t encounter obstacles. But  we have the ability to attract the life we want to live. We can do so by working to live the life we want. What life are you living now? Are you fearful? Negative? What changes do you need make on a daily basis to live the life want? – www.rhoadscoaching.com

attracting life

 

finding meaning and purpose in daily life

Urgent vs. Important – The Eisenhower Method

I wanted to share a tool that has been around a long time and that I have used for several years with great success with my coaching clients. I have always called it the Urgent vs. Important Grid. Today I learned it is called the Eisenhower Method as it was coined by President Eisenhower as his method for prioritization. Frequently, in our hurried lifestyle, we convince ourselves that everything has to be done right away. This is rarely the case. Eisenhower developed his matrix separating tasks into urgent and important in order to help him prioritize.

The designated quadrants are as follows:

  1. Important/Urgent quadrant are done immediately and personally (e.g. crises, deadlines, problems).
  2. Important/Not Urgent quadrant get an end date and are done personally (e.g. relationships, planning, recreation).
  3. Unimportant/Urgent quadrant are delegated (e.g. interruptions, meetings, activities).
  4. Unimportant/Not Urgent quadrant are dropped (e.g. time wasters, pleasant activities, trivia).

The exercise becomes deciding where to place each task. As much as we would like to think  it is possible, not everything can go into the Important/Urgent quadrant. In fact, regardless of the time-frame, a healthy prioritization of tasks would have an equal number in each quadrant. It is possible to create a matrix for a specific project, the weekend, or for the next 6-months.

The matrix is fluid. Once a task is complete a task from a different quadrant can be move up. If urgency increases quickly a task may leap over other tasks. A burst pipe in the kitchen or a sick child jump into the Important/Urgent grid unexpectedly.

There is a benefit of taking pressure off by designating some tasks as Important/Not Urgent and Urgent/Not Important instead of everything being Important/Urgent.

I use this matrix as a spreadsheet on my desktop that gets updated daily. I have seen it used on sheet paper or flip-charts or dry-erase boards. For some reason, being able to move post-it notes from one quadrant to the next, or off the matrix completely, is very satisfying.

So how to decide? How do you determine which task goes where? The process is a reflection of your priorities and values. It is critical that some tasks require help. It is also critical that important tasks not be neglected. If a task sits in the Not Important/Not Urgent quadrant for too long, maybe it needs to be dropped entirely from the list. If the Urgent/Important quadrant has tasks there needs to be a very good reason to work on something else.

So make your own matrix. Test it out and see how it works. Pay attention to what variables you use to decide. Hopefully this tool allows for more effective, efficient, lower-stress decision making and prioritization. I have found it to be a very useful tool. Be sure to post questions and comments. I am curious to hear how it goes! – www.rhoadscoaching.com

 

*There are dozens of different styles of this matrix on the web. This example was created by Kelly Ohaver in 2015

 

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finding meaning and purpose in daily life

BREATHE! – Intentional Breathing – Rhoads Life Coaching

Looking for the first step in reducing stress and anxiety? Take a deep breath… all the way in and all the way out (and then repeat!). The easiest and simplest step to beginning to slow down and be more intentional about choices and actions is to focus your attention on how you breathe. Create a habit of finding your breathing several times a day. Notice when you are only taking short deep breaths. Simply reminding yourself to slow down and take a couple intentional breaths will automatically begin to reset your brain and body to a lower level of stress, helping you think clearer. You are hard-wired with a system that allows you to ramp up or slow down. It is just a matter of remembering to take some intentional breaths. – www.rhoadslifecoaching.com

 

 

BREATHE! - Rhoads Life Coaching

 

finding meaning and purpose in daily life