Creative Spark (Erasing the Blank Page) – Rhoads Life Coaching

How do you spark creativity? Are you intentional about trying to find sources of inspiration? What tricks do you use to make a creative spark?

Just like any other skill or strength, the ability to generate that creative spark can be developed. Some of the most innovative businesses and people in the world intentionally spur themselves to be creative. They go out of their way to create new ideas.

I recently heard the phrase of using that creative spark as a means of “erasing the blank page”. The image comes to mind of the writer stuck in front of a blank screen or page, searching for inspiration. Stalled out with nothing to say. The idea of putting something, ANYTHING, on the page erases the blank page and allows the words to flow. This could apply to your career, a relationship, eating better, searching for a new job… just about anything.

So how do you do that for yourself? The belief that we are not creative is false. Everyone has some form of creativity. When you get stuck, what do you do? Do you go for a walk? Talk to someone who is creative? Find an inspiring place to sit? Search a completely different topic or industry for ideas? Find ways to intentionally make a spark and keep being creative! –

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finding meaning and purpose in daily life

Please and Thank You – Rhoads Life Coaching

It struck me reading an article this week of how computer designers are creating computers and robots to be more responsive to users saying Please and Thank you (to the machine). We consider it valuable enough that we want our machines to learn to respond positively to being treated well. It got me thinking – Do we do this for ourselves?

As we continue to develop our businesses, one of the most significant deciding factors becomes customer service. Your competitors are looking for an edge in better serving and competing for your customers. The simple courtesy of saying please and thank you has proven to make a tangible difference. One of the biggest pieces of feedback given in employee satisfaction surveys is wanting a direct supervisor to genuinely acknowledge an employee’s contribution with please and thank you. Are you doing that for your customers and employees? Your competition may be getting ahead of you if you aren’t!

Want a simple way to improve relationships both personally and professionally? Go back to preschool! Say please and thank you! –

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finding meaning and purpose in daily life

Eat the Frog First! – Rhoads Life Coaching

In his book “Eat That Frog!”, Brian Tracy rifts off of a Mark Twain quote addressing procrastination – You are given a list of tasks to complete for the day and one of them is to eat a live frog. Which task do you do first? Always eat the frog first!

We ALL have examples of spending time and energy avoiding tasks we don’t want to do. The irony of this week’s video was the several tasks I avoided early in the week delayed me in getting back out to the park to record the Spring Peepers calling. If I had done the uncomfortable tasks first, I would have been able to get to the fun stuff!

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What tasks are you avoiding at work or home? Are there conversations with clients or family you are avoiding? You spend energy each day dreading, avoiding, and probably making things worse by procrastinating on getting the tough stuff done. There is a tangible benefit by doing the unpleasant task first. It removes that energy drain and creates the opportunity to be more productive and enjoy the day.

Unfortunately, knowing there is a benefit to eating the frog first and actually do is a problem. Unless you show yourself the benefit of doing the tough task first and create the motivation and accountability to actually do it, those frogs will still be there at the end of the day.

What is your biggest frog? What will it take to eat the frog first? –

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finding meaning and purpose in daily life

Are Emotions Good or Bad? – Rhoads Life Coaching

It has come up in several conversations recently about how much time and energy we spend trying to separate ourselves from our emotions. I usually end up asking the question, “Are emotions good or bad?” The answer is important as it indicates how we view ourselves and believe the world should work.

The assessment that emotions could be good or bad is a thought. We try to sort our feelings into thoughts. By creating the belief that emotional responses are bad we create the illusion that we have control of our feelings. Our brains are fooling themselves. Emotions aren’t good are bad simply because they aren’t thoughts. Emotions serve a purpose – to be felt!

Now before you move onto something that doesn’t cause an emotional response, hear me out. There are healthy times to feel anger (when an injustice has happened, a wrong needs to be right). We have sadness and grief in order to mark that we have experienced a loss of something valuable. Envy and jealousy tell us we are not where we want to be compared to others and if we want something better we need to change something for ourselves. In the same way, prolonged uninterrupted happiness makes us think something might be wrong. If you are more than 12 years old and your mother is still cutting your meat at the dinner table, her love might be an unhealthy blurring of lines between her identity and yours.

Instead of good or bad, I offer the hypothesis that emotions are meant to be felt and are gauges of health. Emotions aren’t the indicator that something is wrong, they are the engine that is driving us forward. Being able to observe, understand why, and find a healthy expression of what we are feeling.

So, are emotions good or bad for you? I would challenge you to look at feelings as neither good or bad. What do you need to do to view emotional responses as indicators of what is going on around you? How might your reactions to things change if emotions are useful instead of something to avoid? –

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finding meaning and purpose in daily life

Archetypes (Our Higher Selves) – Rhoads Life Coaching

Have you ever considered that there are higher forms of yourself? In addition to all the other roles you play, there are aspects of who you are that are common to all humans. Carl Jung calls these aspects Archetypes. They can be developed and used just like any other facet of who you are!

Just like the different layers of rock at the Trammel Fossil Park, there are layers to your personality. The upper layers are more sophisticated and have more ability and potential than the lower layers. How do we know? Because these same common roles show up in different cultures all over the world. Our stories, movies, TV shows, plays, and mythology are indicators of how everyday people have these archetypes in them. It isn’t an accident that Dorothy needs four different characters to return home from Oz. Nor is it an accident that Frodo can’t get all the way to Mordor without the Fellowship of the Ring.

Why do you care? If you can accept that archetypes are an aspect of each of us, becoming aware of how they appear inside of you, then you can begin to develop each of them in your daily life. You have the ability to empower your warrior to solve a difficult task done more effectively. What if your wizard or sorcerous was able to find a creative new solution to a problem that prevented your warrior from having to go out and fight again? How you appear if your inner king or queen accepted their own worthiness in asking for what is needed?

These higher forms create potential. By calling down, connecting to, and developing these archetypes in ourselves, we have the ability to change how we appear in the world in very powerful and meaningful ways. –

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finding meaning and purpose in daily life

Creating Meaning – Rhoads Life Coaching

One of the most significant things that separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom is how we are creating meaning in life. Other animals are able to learn and adapt, but (as far as we can tell) they are unable to step outside themselves and make sense of the world. We spend a lot of time wanting and needing meaning in our lives. Do you think about how you create meaning though?

We can create meaning out of almost anything. Your child’s security blanket, a lucky penny we pick up on the sidewalk, weddings, funerals, graduations, etc. The things we find meaningful are unique to each of us through our vision, values, priorities and goals. We create meaning, though, by stepping back from ourselves, observing, and making sense of what we see.

It is critical for our personal and professional development to be able to see the context of how we fit into the world around us. By making sense of this context, by knowing why, we are able to see our own value and purpose. THIS is meaningful.

If meaning can be created, it can also be developed – just like any other skill. Where do you find meaning in your life? Where is meaning missing? What do you need to do to step back and observe yourself as you go through your day? To make sense of how your daily life fits into the bigger picture? –

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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

Knowing vs. Understanding – Rhoads Life Coaching

Do you keep track of how to define knowing vs. understanding? When we teach young children to brush their teeth, we begin by teaching them HOW to brush. It takes a while to learn to know how to brush! The understanding of WHY to brush their teeth is different. It isn’t a requirement to understand why brushing is important in order to complete the task. As they get older (and probably after a couple of cavities) the understanding of why to brush enables their brushing to develop to a higher level of skill and effectiveness.

We have all run into the fast food server, or the unmotivated co-worker, who clearly knows how to do their job, but does not have a developed understanding of why their role is important to the business, community, or even themselves. In order to grow personally and professionally, it helps to identify the areas where knowing must change into understanding. This can apply to any aspect of life and creates a sense of purpose and meaning in our daily tasks.

Where does this happen for you? What aspects of your life are you going through the motions because you know how to do something, but have not paid attention to or developed your understanding of why. A skill or task at work? How to navigate a conflict with a family member? Why you have such a difficult time overcoming a personal obstacle? Where is there an opportunity to develop your knowing vs. understanding? –

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finding meaning and purpose in daily life

What Are You Willing To Give Up? – Rhoads Life Coaching

Frequently we get so focused on what we must gain in order to change we forget we must also be willing to give something up. What must you let go of in order to grow?

When coaching, it is sometimes difficult to miss the armloads of preconceived notions, belief systems, biases, fears, grudges, hopes, dreams, successes and failed attempts a client may have trouble seeing over and through as they try to develop something new in themselves. All of these things have served a valuable role in helping the person get to this point in their life, but sometimes this mass of stuff prevents being able to do something different.

It helps to imagine these internal biases as physical objects (maybe rocks, or bricks) that get carried into every situation. By creating this image, it is easier to understand how we are unable to pick up something new, because our arms are full of the past.

Suddenly it is possible to entertain the option of setting something down, before a new mindset or belief can be picked up. Take a few minutes and think about a struggle you are having in your growth and development. What is it you are trying to achieve, and what are you holding onto that is preventing it from happening? What must you let go of in order to grow? –

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finding meaning and purpose in daily life

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? –

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finding meaning and purpose in daily life