Interruptions – Rhoads Life Coaching

Every interruption (big and small) causes us to reset; reducing attention, efficiency and effectiveness. Personally or professionally, interruptions cost a lot of time and energy. Take a minute and estimate – how many times do you get interrupted in a day?

Microsoft studied its Excel users to determine how interruptions impacted their ability to efficiently work. They estimated it took 18 minutes to recover from an interruption and regain full effectiveness at a task. In addition, they estimated that each worker was interrupted every 11 minutes. Because of this, there was never a point during the study where the user was at full effectiveness due to interruptions.

Our lives are full of this! We are constantly bombarded by phone calls, emails, text messages, notifications, etc. These constant distractions prevent us from being fully present for just about everything we do. Interruptions drive through our day, just like the cars in this video, forcing us to reset. At what cost? Getting all of the details for a task? Completing a task without errors? Being able to complete a task on time or early? Being present when talking to your spouse or children? Driving safely in the car?

I am as guilty as anyone else of being distracted by interruptions. My challenge to you is to reduce them. Put the phone away when talking to someone. Turn the notifications off on your phone and computer when working on a project. Disconnect the notifications from your phone to your FitBit. Close the door to your office when having an important conversation. Schedule blocks of time on your calendar to complete a task. Anything to reduce the number of interruptions at work and home will lead to more fulfilling and meaningful work and fun. What will it take for you to start reducing interruptions? –

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finding meaning and purpose in daily life

How Bad Do You Want It? – Rhoads Life Coaching

I had to take my own advice today in filming at Rentschler Forest – twice the camera blew over (and I needed a heavier jacket)! Ok, Rhoads… How bad do you want it?

I’m a big fan (nerd) of reading historical markers. This one at Rentschler Park is for the 20 mile segment of the Miami & Erie Canal dug in the early 1820’s. BY HAND! In connecting Cincinnati to Toledo, not only was there a grand vision of connecting the west side of Ohio, there was also the practical application of having to go dig (with shovels) mile after mile of canal. A large group of people decided it was worth the effort to expend the time and energy to make that vision a reality.

Frequently in coaching we run up against obstacles as soon as a goal or vision is set. In assessing whether to move forward, my question to clients is “How Bad Do You Want It?”. The value of achieving the goal has to outweigh the effort involved to scale each hurdle. Remembering that value is what keeps us moving toward our goals, even if it is at a slow, measured pace.

What goals are you reaching toward? What obstacles are getting in the way? How do you remind yourself that what you are reaching for is valuable? How bad do you want it? –

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finding meaning and purpose in daily life

Propping & Collapsing – Rhoads Life Coaching

One perspective shift that has occurred for me over the last couple of years has been the introduction of the concepts of propping and collapsing. It was unsettling to me, once I started paying attention, how much I prop my body when I sit and stand. In an age of computers and cell phones, I can feel the physical toll on my body through the aches and pains of muscles and joints from not having good posture. I’ve had to work hard to change how I sit and stand!

This concept is easy to carry forward into other areas of my life. We all can think of a co-worker or teammate who has collapsed in some way and the staff and team having to prop up around them to continue on. Propping our finances up is not sustainable and eventually other areas of our lives pay the price. Emotionally and relationally propping and collapsing are not long term solutions. Are you someone who is always propping others up, or always collapsing on someone else?

Just like a dilapidated barn, the long term impacts of sustained propping lead to much broader collapse in our lives. So where are you propping yourself up? What part of your person has collapsed and forced stress on other parts of your life? Take some time to create a map for yourself of where stress occurs and where it can be reduced. Without intentional whole-person growth and development, sustained propping will undermine how we want to live. –

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finding meaning and purpose in daily life

Running With Your Head Up – Rhoads Life Coaching

It is a key athletic skill to be able to advance the ball downfield with your eyes up. Running with your head up allows you to see plays develop, to avoid potential obstacles, and to create opportunities as the game flows. We want our young athletes to learn this as quickly as possible to develop their game. How often do we forget to do this in our game of life?

It is difficult as a young athlete to trust your skills enough to dribble the basketball or soccer ball without looking at the ball. It takes a lot of practice to not put our head down as we run the bases. Hopefully you had a coach growing up that invested the time and energy to develop your confidence and ability to look up the field as you passed, dribbled, or ran. It allowed you to continue on to a higher level of competitive play.

How often do we develop this same skill in the other aspects of our life? What would running with your head up look like at your job? Are you developing this skill in your team or staff? Are you practicing this ability inside your friendships and family? Having the confidence and ability to navigate your own emotional and relational intelligence with a sense of seeing the field of play (not looking at our feet) will take you to the next higher level of navigating through life. –

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finding meaning and purpose in daily life

Getting Out of Your Own Way – Rhoads Life Coaching

Imagine for a moment standing one a board and being asked to pick it up without moving your feet. It would be almost impossible to pick up the board without changing your position or perspective. Life can be like this. Sometimes the obstacles blocking our path to our dreams and goals are internal. Where in your life would getting out of your own way open up opportunities?

We all face obstacles in our career path, business development, teamwork, and relationships. It is very easy to explain away limiting factors, conflict, and challenges as being created from external sources. It would be naive to believe, though, that each of us doesn’t play an equal role in how we meet the obstacles in front of us. We get in our own way through negative beliefs, binary thinking, and the skewed stories we tell ourselves.

Where are you avoiding working on healing a damaged friendship? Who are the clients and customers you are not engaged with to your full potential? Who is the teammate or staff member you have built a process around in order to avoid a tough conversation? We all have examples of making choices to not change that end up blocking our own path. Frequently to our own detriment.

Where in your life are you making choices that keep you as your own obstacle? What do you need to do in order to find a creative solution of stepping off of that board in order to move forward and pick it up? –

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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? –

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finding meaning and purpose in daily life

Same Amount of Time As Everyone Else – Rhoads Life Coaching

Who do you look up to? What about this person is inspiring? Better yet, how does this person accomplish whatever you find inspiring? Whether you look up to a professional athlete, a business person, a family member, or a historical figure, this person has accomplished something significant with their life. How did they achieve this given that they have the same amount of time as everyone else?

Think about that for a minute. Bill Gates, Mother Teresa, Warren Buffett, Lebron James, and Dwayne Johnson all have the same 24 hours each day that you do. How are they able to get so much done day-in and day-out compared to the rest of us? While talent and resources play a role, at the end of the day it boils down to motivation and drive. How much do these people WANT to create their future compared to the rest of us? Based on their success, a LOT more!

The point becomes –

What are you doing with the 24 hours each day that you are given?

We need to be healthy by eating and sleeping, but how much time do you spend on tasks and distractions that do not reflect your values and priorities?

Have you ever quantified how you spend your time each day? Make a log! How much time do you spend in the car? On social media? Texting? Watching television or movies? Once you have quantified your ‘average’ day (make sure it adds up to 24 hours!), are there areas you can reduce to add more meaningful activities? What would your life be like if you were able to spend more time doing the meaningful things that are important to you? –

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finding meaning and purpose in daily life

Your Future Self – Rhoads Life Coaching

Because you are able to imagine a version of your future self, you are able to develop a relationship with that future you. It is reasonable to expect that you will exist at some point in the future. Whether it is 1 year, or 5 years, or 10 years, some version of you is out there in the future. If that future self pauses to look back at the current you (you do this every day looking back into the past), then for a moment you and your future self are headed toward each other in time. Eventually you will meet! Someday you will reach that future date and become the future you.

For now though, the two versions of your being can catch a glimpse of each other through time. What do they think of each other? If they were to meet, what would they say to each other? Would they be happy to satisfied with who you are and who you are becoming? What advice would they have for each other?

This is a powerful perspective! Who is that future self? Being able to imagine that vision of the future helps to guide and inspire every single decision you make each day. Are you on the right path? Creating a relationship with your future self allows you to create a vision of the future to direct your current choices!  –

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finding meaning and purpose in daily life

Focus and Distractions – Rhoads Life Coaching

We walk a daily path between focus and distractions. The practice of focus keeps our attention on what is most valuable to us. Distractions shift that focus away. We are inundated with distractions that prevent us from focusing.

I recently led an exercise where we quantified the impact of distractions on very simple tasks. Taking two children’s puzzles, two teams completed as much of two puzzles as they could in a short time. Then the two teams switched every 20 seconds between the same two puzzles, for the same amount of time, resulting in a 50% drop in pieces completed. Finally we combined the two puzzles together and work on both puzzles at once, resulting in ANOTHER 50% drop in pieces completed. The more distractions, the less focus! Even on a simple task, the distractions had significant impact.

If it takes on average 15 and 20 minutes to reach peak focus on a task, and most people experience some form of distraction every 11 minutes, we are constantly re-focusing before we are interrupted again. Is your job like this? How about your family conversations? We lose valuable time, energy, and effectiveness in all aspects of our lives from distractions.

In order to focus it helps to identify the few things that are the most valuable to complete in any given event. What are the five most valuable things that must be done today? Naming them each day creates focus.

Where are your greatest sources of distraction for a particular topic? Does the phone need to be put away? Do you need to close the door to your office for a few minutes? Being intentional about creating time and space for task reduces the number of distractions.

How are you going to focus and reduce distractions during your busy week? –

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finding meaning and purpose in daily life

Celebrating Each Win – Rhoads Life Coaching

We teach our athletes to celebrate every touchdown, foul shot, or at bat. Think about that for a minute. Even if the game can’t be won, our athletic teams practice a philosophy of celebrating each win.  Why don’t we translate that same philosophy to our relationships and careers?

Why is there a gap between athletics and other careers in how we approach daily work? Sometimes businesses fail to honor good work as it is expected and “part of the job”. But when our teams score touchdowns or hit home runs we cheer even though it is that team and athlete’s “job” to play the game.

What if we coached our employees and co-workers to celebrate the same way a team runs to the end zone after a touchdown? How would our careers be different?

To be clear, I’m not talking about end zone dances or high-fives or head-butts in your office. There can be a personalized version of that same intent though. There is an advantage to any team to cheering each other on. What is your version of that in your daily life and career? What would it take to celebrate each win? –

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finding meaning and purpose in daily life