Understanding Our Fear – Rhoads Life Coaching

Fear is a basic human emotion. It serves a purpose and we would not be able to survive without it. What level of fear do you live with though? Is it dramatic? Is it chronic? How often do we spend any amount of time and attention understanding our fear?

Part of the mythology we have of Winston Churchill is his description of the imaginary big black dog that came to embody the sum of his fears. In learning to not run away from his fear, he imagined his fears as a giant terrifying dog that sat staring at him as he sat in his chair by the fire. The more he tried to pretend the dog wasn’t there or to chase it away the more aggressive the dog became. Only when he accepted the fear as real and valuable would the dog relax and simply be present with him. By observing the dog and trying to understand it his fears abated.

We spend tremendous amounts of time and energy avoiding or denying our fear. In order to resolve our fear it must first be understood. What are you afraid of? We all have instinctual fears (ex, snakes, spiders, large predators, falling from heights). Our DNA knows to watch out for certain physical dangers. But what are YOU personally fearful of? Being alone? Being left behind? Failing? Not being perfect? Succeeding (yes, fear of success is a real thing)? Until you are able to understand where your fear comes from it is the shadow under your bed that is imagined to be more of a threat than it actually is. Take some time and simply observe your fear. Understanding our fear is the key to reducing it. There is a benefit to letting that big black dog be present and safe in the room with you. – www.rhoadscoaching.com

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finding meaning and purpose in daily life

All the World’s a Stage – Rhoads Life Coaching

“All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances, And one man in his time plays many parts” (As You Like It, Act II, Scene VII).

This sentiment is one of Shakespeare’s most famous lines (and has always been one of my favorite quotes). What I didn’t realize until I sat down to write this post is that when he wrote it around 1599 it wasn’t a new idea. It wasn’t even an original idea when the ancient Greeks were writing it into their plays in the first century. There is something inherently human about seeing ourselves on the stage of some grand play. Why does that resonate with us so much?

What are the roles you play in your life (there are more than one!)?

Sometimes we are the lead in our own story and sometimes you play a supporting role in someone else’s scene. Do you get upset when you play a minor role, or do you shrink away from the spotlight being on you when it is your time to shine?

If we are all in this production together, who wrote this story? There is meaning and purpose in telling a story. What is the purpose of your story embedded in our collective story?

We are actors and actresses here on the stage. Who is this play being performed for? What do you believe?

If you are truly a performer in this play and your role can change (and it does), then the roles you play are not who you truly are (you are an actor or actress, not the hero or villain you are creating).

Finally, in the roles you have been given are you putting your heart and soul into each performance (regardless of the size of the role)? Every production needs its players to meet their full potential. Where are you phoning in a performance? Where do you need to step up you game? You have been given a role. The world needs your performance! – www.rhoadscoaching.com

 

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finding meaning and purpose in daily life

 

Practicing Patience – Rhoads Life Coaching

What if practicing patience is just like any other skill? What if you were able to build patience just like you can build strength by lifting weights, or endurance by running?

As it turns out patience is an ability that can be developed. Each of us has things that challenge our patience. They are specific to who we are and taking the time to observe what specifically about a scenario causes us to be impatient is critical to developing more patience. Our impatience is also our own. When I lose my patience with traffic, or the person in front of me in line at the store, it is about me, not them.

If there are levels of skill involved, what is one level up from your current level of patience? What does 5% more of compassion and grace look like from you in a given situation?

All of that being said, the most important part isn’t the skill. It is the practice! What if you practiced being patient? You may be willing to practice a specific game or sport, or practice eating better, or practice communicating more effectively. What if you practiced patience? What would that look like?

What if you did more reps of practicing patience to build up your endurance and strength? – www.rhoadscoaching.com

 

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finding meaning and purpose in daily life

 

Adaptive Management (Don’t Get Stuck In Traffic!) – Rhoads Life Coaching

Adaptive management is the mindset that course adjustments will have to be made farther down the road. It sets a clear vision and desired outcome, knowing that changes will have to be made in order to achieve the vision. In my brain, trained in environmental science and ecosystem theory, adaptive management always comes to mind as we collectively navigate back to school at the end of each summer.

It doesn’t matter whether you have children in school, our community changes with the start of classes. If you aren’t paying attention to the timing of that change (because it is an incremental one), you can be stuck in traffic on the interstate far from a school building. If I don’t leave room in my commute for school to change the traffic patterns, then I find myself stuck sitting still on the highway.

We use adaptive management all the time whether we know it or not. We modify our plans and adjust as things change. But how often do you create the opportunity for adjustments to be made in the future? Where in life do you have the expectation that once things are in motion you won’t have to change them?

A sailing crew expects to have to adjust course as the wind changes. A gardener knows that weeding and trimming will have to occur to have a healthy garden. Where in your life are you not using adaptive management? In a relationship? A job search? In working through a conflict with a co-worker or loved one? Where does adaptive management need to be built into your approach? Not having that mindset sometimes gets us stuck. – www.rhoadscoaching.com

 

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finding meaning and purpose in daily life

The Voices In Your Head – Rhoads Life Coaching

You have conversations with yourself all the time. Conversations in your head that no one else can hear. These voices in your head weren’t there to begin with. They aren’t who you really are. They can be added and subtracted from the conversation.

How do I know this? What data do I have to prove this to be true? A few weeks ago someone was relating a story to me and said the turning point for their decision was when “I could hear your voice in my head saying…”. It is a little unsettling to think that my voice is being heard in someone’s internal conversation, but similar things happen to all of us! I read poetry in the voice of a dear friend. When I tell my Internal Critic to “Shut Up!” it is in the voice of the most powerful person I know. The point is that the different voices in your head, the ones making up the conversations you have with yourself, were added as you developed through life. They are still being added. And most importantly THEY AREN’T YOURS!

We have a tendency to believe the different sides of these internal conversations are who we truly are. This isn’t so. Your mother’s voice in your head saying to put a coat on before you go outside is her belief system. Your grade school art teacher, who determined for you that you don’t have the skill to be creative, is not yours – but it whispers in your ear. Our parents, a coach, a teacher, a sibling, a minister, a partner or co-worker – anyone can be the source of one of these voices (both helpful and harmful). We use the voices of our heroes to inspire us!

If these voices can be added, they can also be taken away. In the end you get to control what parts of the conversation to listen to. The real power is in choosing. Take some time this week to listen to the voices in your head and start to choose which ones to listen to. – www.rhoadscoaching.com

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finding meaning and purpose in daily life

Sarcasm (Contempt Through Humor) – Rhoads Life Coaching

How much do you use sarcasm? How frequently and with what intensity? Do you take pride in being sarcastic?

Sarcasm is defined as “the use of irony to mock or convey contempt“. We love it. It is so pervasive in how we communicate with each other it is difficult to stop it once it becomes a habit. The dilemma becomes that barb of contempt still carries a negative charge when it is wrapped in humor. If sarcasm is about contempt, then we are delivering disgust and anger under the guise of a joke. We use it so much in our culture it becomes difficult to know when we are being serious with each other.

It feels good to be sarcastic. It diffuses the tension. It releases energy. It points out a problem that needs to be addressed. Unfortunately, sarcasm doesn’t offer a solution. If someone can’t tell if you are being sarcastic (or worse if you are being serious), it becomes an obstacle that is preventing a solution instead of creating one.

So again, how often are you sarcastic each day? Who are you the most sarcastic towards? If you are pointing that contempt towards your clients, coworkers, staff, friends, or family you are bringing negativity to a conflict without a solution. Take some time this week and observe your sarcasm. Reducing it even by 10% each day will have an impact on how you address the world and how it responds to you. – www.rhoadscoaching.com

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finding meaning and purpose in daily life

Avoiding Being the Bad Guy – Rhoads Life Coaching

How much energy do you spend on a daily basis avoiding being the bad guy? In a conflict is it more important to be seen as being on the right side of an argument instead of resolving the conflict? Our unwillingness to accept the negative aspects of who we are set us up to for failure.

If you step back and look at the overall arc of the stories we love the most (what is yours?), our heroes and heroines wrestle with the negative aspects of their personality. We identify with the character that is able to work through the unsavory shadow in their personality to find a resolution to their story. But do you act that way in your life? Most of us go WAY out of our way to avoid that shadowy part of ourselves that is willing to blow up a situation in order to skip working hard to resolve it. By avoiding looking in the mirror at that unsavory character we miss important clues into how we got into the situation to begin with. That bad guy actually holds the clues we need to resolve our conflicts. Dorothy has to face the Wicked Witch in order to move forward. Luke Skywalker has to meet Darth Vader to save his own world. Frodo has to look into his own hear and the heart of Sauron to choose something different.

So how often do you position yourself to avoid your own internal bad guy? What are the consequences? What would happen if you had a conversation with that negative character and asked for their help? Instead of avoiding being the bad guy, ask that part of yourself why it is acting that way. It has clues to help you solve your dilemma! – www.rhoadscoaching.com

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finding meaning and purpose in daily life

Self-Compassion – Rhoads Life Coaching

How would you define self-compassion for yourself? What would it include? What does is not include? We frequently have more compassion for others than we do for ourselves. Self-compassion, however, is the source of compassion for others.

So what IS self-compassion? Would you know it if you see it? Do you allow yourself to recover from making mistakes? Do you not compare yourself to others? Do you give yourself positive affirmations about how you feel, look, treat others? Are you willing to forgive yourself the way you forgive others? Do you hold yourself to a higher standard than those around you? Do you believe you are doing your best on a daily basis?

My bet is that most of us have less compassion for ourselves than we do for others. A test for this is to think of a dilemma or struggle you have been in recently. Take a minute and observe the conversations you have had with yourself about this situation. Now think of someone you care deeply about (a child works best) and sit them in your spot. Would you say the same things to them? If the answer is no, you likely have more compassion for this person than for yourself. Again, if they were sitting in your seat, would you allow tell them to have more compassion for themselves in treating themselves that way? There is a subtle message embedded in that difference between how we treat others and ourselves. By not having as much self-compassion for ourselves as we do others, we send a message that we aren’t worth as much as others. This is FALSE! Again, would you let your child treat themselves that way?

So where to begin on building more self-compassion? First, is always observing yourself. What does that critical voice say to you? Do you fight back? How often do you beat yourself up for something? Second, is to imagine putting that loved one in your place and saying the same things. You wouldn’t do it, would you? Finally, it is treating yourself as an equal to others. Affirming the things that go well in your life is a essential.  Where do you need more compassion in your life for yourself? – www.rhoadscoaching.com

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finding meaning and purpose in daily life

Assuming Goodwill – Rhoads Life Coaching

How do you engage the world? The attitude you choose determines how the world responds to you. Assuming Goodwill towards others goes a long way towards changing the world around you.

So what is Goodwill? Well, Ill-will would be wish wishing harm on others. Goodwill becomes having a positive and affirming attitude towards the people you meet. Assuming Goodwill would be CHOOSING a positive and affirming attitude with each situation you encounter- before it happens!

Do you do that?

When the phone rings at work, what is the thought that goes through your head right before you answer? Or when your supervisor schedules an unanticipated team meeting, what is the story you tell yourself? Is the person who just cut you off in traffic really trying to kill you?  Is the person checking out your groceries at the super market lesser of a person than you? Pick your favorite stereotype – “Millennials are so…”, “Pittsburgh fans are so…”, “The government is out to…” – The stereotype we choose for each group dictates our initial response.

It is important to note that whether you are using Ill-will or assuming Goodwill – you are making a choice each time. The data to support this is the person next to you is frequently choosing something different in the same situation (Ask a Pittsburgh fan). If it is true that you are choosing, then that means you have the ability to choose something different. To be clear, I am not talking about trust. It is possible to assume goodwill with someone you don’t trust (what would THAT look like?).

What does choosing Goodwill look like for you? With whom are you not assuming Goodwill?  How would you appear different in the world if you chose Goodwill once or twice more each day? – www.rhoadscoaching.com

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finding meaning and purpose in daily life

Essence and Personality – Rhoads Life Coaching

There are two main pieces of being human – our essence and our personality. Almost everything about how we think and act can be sorted into these two categories. Both are intricately woven together to create the person you are. In my coaching practice I have found it useful to describe the relationship between essence and personality as if the two were a peach pit and the fruit of a the peach. Your essence is who you really are at the core. Depending on what you believe about how the universe works, there are higher and lower levels of who you are as a being and this essence is part of those higher levels. The essence has a job of being passed onto the next level.

The fruit of the peach is your personality. It grows and wraps itself around the essence. It’s growth and development is vital to the survival of the pit. The fruit’s job is to nourish the pit. The rub in all of this, however, is that the fruit has to come to some level of understanding that it’s role includes aging, weathering, and letting go. In order for the essence to have room to grow, the personality has to eventually step back.

The relationship between your essence and personality ends up being your relationship with yourself. Ironically, this relationship with yourself is the filter through with your engage the rest of the world around you. Whole religions and philosophies have been developed around describing this relationship. Based on what you believe, developing this relationship with yourself may be your purpose in life.

So what parts of you are your personality? What parts are your essence? How can you tell them apart? Are you developing your essence? What would that look like for you? – www.rhoadscoaching.com

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finding meaning and purpose in daily life