Setting A Marker

How are you differentiating the days and weeks so they don’t all run together? Maybe now is the right time to set a marker so you can measure how far you have come and how far you are going to go!

We usually use the New Year as a marker. Out with the old in with the new. In March we will pass the marker of a year of COVID pandemic. If we aren’t paying attention it all starts to blur together and we limit our ability to see that change is still happening around us.

How are you going to keep track of the fact that you are still growing, adapting, and developing? Today is different than yesterday and tomorrow. What relative measurement will work for you to prove that you are still moving forward?

You could celebrate “mini-holidays” for the beginning of each week or month. Keeping a journal or log (and going back and reviewing it) allows you to track your changes. Setting a check-in with a friend or family member allows you to have an outside reference point.

My challenge to you is to create a benchmark for yourself. A metaphorical trail of breadcrumbs. By setting a marker you will be able to prove to yourself that the last 12 months were more valuable than you might believe. You will be setting yourself up to see how much change will happen for you in the next twelve months. How are you going to help yourself?-

Setting A Marker - Rhoads Life Coaching

finding meaning and purpose in daily life

Define Grace For Yourself

How do you define grace? Is it part of your life? What are you missing by not including it as part of being human?

Several times recently the idea of grace has come up in conversations. I was surprised in looking up the definition all of the different meanings it has. For today, my request is the to focus on the aspect of grace defined as “an act or instance of kindness, courtesy, or clemency“.

The unique thing about grace, though, is that it can’t be earned. If I can’t earn someone’s kindness or clemency, then it must be freely given. Our culture doesn’t take kindly to anything that can’t be earned or traded. Yet there is something very human about grace being freely given.

Is this an idea that exists in your world? For most of us it is easier to consider when thinking about religion or a higher power. Because of this, it also makes it more difficult for it to be part of our daily lives.

What if you were to apply grace as a tool in how you relate to others (and even yourself)? Take some time this season to consider where this unearned kindness does appear and where it might be needed more in your life. How do you define it? How can you develop it in yourself? –

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finding meaning and purpose in daily life

Repentance (Thinking In A New Way)

We have a complicated relationship with what we say we believe. For many of us our personal beliefs come from what we are taught about religion (both good and bad). One of the ideas we misunderstand is repentance.

We tend to think of repentance as feeling sorry or being guilty for doing something. This leads us down the path of avoiding the topic and seeing repenting as a trap. With this misunderstanding we lose the value of repentance as a powerful opportunity.

Part of the original Greek translation of our word repentance included the idea of ‘thinking in a new way’. The result of identifying our shortcomings was to create growth and development to something better. This thinking in a new way creates something better. We may have forgotten or not know this about how turning away from our old way of doing things creates a new opportunity.

What if repentance wasn’t a bad thing? Where in your life are you missing the opportunity to think in a new way. Where does the old thinking create hurt for you and others? Is it possible this old idea might be useful in your daily life? What if by repenting we are growing and developing into something new? –

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finding meaning and purpose in daily life

On Being More Specific

Whether in setting goals or communicating we often get ourselves into trouble by being vague. Where would being specific improve your daily life?

I have a friend who works in the IT department for a large bank. He takes service requests all day from employees with their computer problems. Almost every conversation starts with some version of, “My computer won’t work.” His job is to help each caller dig into the details of what “won’t work” means. It is an immeasurable help to him when the caller can give him specific details of what is happening. He is able to help them much faster and more accurately when they provide more information.

Where does this happen for you? All of us could use help in our communication. One way of improving communication is to be more specific in the words we use. “Please bring me that” is way less helpful than, “Please bring the red Philips screwdriver sitting on the front corner of my workbench in the basement.” See the difference?

What about goal setting or conflict resolution? It is easier to achieve goals when they are more specific. It is also easier to resolve problems when we are detailed in what the problem is.

Where are you lacking in being specific? What parts of your life would benefit from more details? My request is to practice for a week and see what happens when you add more intention into your text messages, emails, and phone conversations. I want to know if it improves your navigation through each day! –

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finding meaning and purpose in daily life

Emotional Saturation

I was being stubborn a few days ago and went for a run in the rain. It got me thinking about saturation. The deep puddles and cold wet clothes were a mirror for the emotional toll this year has taken on us.

Does that resonate? I’ve posted before about how our emotions are meant to be felt, not suppressed. There is a penalty for forcing our bodies to hold onto our feelings. We have to store them in our bones and tissues. If we store them too long they build up and we become saturated. Just like the ground on a rainy day.

Whether it is fear, sadness, anger, or any other emotion you have been feeling over the course of this year, at some point you may have been weighed down with carrying those emotions through the day. It takes energy to carry them! I got tired faster on my regular run lifting my feet higher through the puddles and carrying the extra weight of soaked clothes. We are exhausted from all of the emotions connected to 2020.

The relief does not come from ignoring and repressing what we are feeling (imagine wearing those soaked running clothes for the rest of the day). Part of the solution is unclogging the drains and allowing our emotions to flow. Unwillingness to admit you are tired from running in those heavy clothes, prevents a chance to dry out and rest.

What parts of your life have reached an emotional saturation? What do you need to do different to allow those emotions to flow in a healthy way so you are so flooded? –

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finding meaning and purpose in daily life

Stepping Off The Curb

What if the current change you are facing is more like stepping off the curb than jumping off a cliff?

I heard a cool story this week during a networking meeting that I wanted to share. After a period of indecision about starting their own business, this person had a friend say to them, “You won’t be jumping off of a cliff, you will be stepping off the curb.” The image clicked and allowed the business to be created (it is still thriving)!

Has this ever happened to you? Where you had created a story that the change was going to be terrifying and dangerous, only to find out the first step created momentum and you were off and running?

Where are you doing this now? Have you created an image in your head that the next obstacle is a giant drop? That you will lose your security and identity and there is no point in proceeding? What if the change was more like stepping off the curb to cross the street? Is there any chance the things you will sacrifice will be much less than the reward?

Most importantly, how will be able to tell the difference? Do you have the ability to assess your situation and evaluate the risks? Who do you know and trust that can give you the perspective you need to get you off the curb?-

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finding meaning and purpose in daily life

Humility and Being Humble

What is humility and being humble? How do you experience it?

I’ve posted previously about our love/hate relationship with pride. If humility is the flip side of that same coin, I imagine we also have a tangled relationship with being humble. We think of it in terms of extremes and it is either positive or negative and either a sign of weakness or something others have too little of in the world.

Today I’m not talking about the long laundry list of all the places your neighbor or enemy need to be humble. I’m talking about you. How do you experience it? What do you believe about it? Where do you have too much humility in your life? What part of your life could benefit from being a bit more humble?

There ARE benefits of lowering our image of ourself down to that of others. There is a letting go and releasing the fight we find ourselves in to keep our self image above others. It offers the opportunity to find the areas of our lives that would benefit from being improved.

I dare you to take a look inside yourself over the next few weeks. Where have you been hard and cold to others? Where would being humble soften some of those edges, not only for others but for you as well?

If there are positive and negative ways to be proud, there are also positive and negative ways to be humble. Where in your life would adding some humility be helpful? –

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finding meaning and purpose in daily life

Through the Trench, Not Around

Through The Trench - Rhoads Life Coaching
Copyright Disney Pixar, 2003

Remember Dory and Marlin in ‘Finding Nemo’? In their journey, they were given the instructions to go through the trench, not around in order to find their way.

When they arrived the trench looked scary and dangerous. Marlin was able to convince Dory to swim up over the top of the trench. This unwittingly led them directly into a swarm of poisonous jellyfish. It turns out that avoiding the tough spot was more dangerous than going through. They both were seriously injured. Their journey nearly came to an end.

Have you felt like Dory and Marlin in the last few weeks (months)? We are facing lots of very large obstacles personally and as a community. Life looks and sounds scary and dangerous in many places right now. Have you been given a signal of which way to go? Can you trust it? Are you avoiding the tough decisions?

Ironically, this image of the trench is not new. This idea of being led safely down a treacherous road is at least as old as the Old Testament. The 23rd Psalm talks about being “led through the valley of the shadow of death”. Sounds like Finding Nemo!

What is your own version of the trench? Are you taking the easy way out by not participating in the tough situations we are facing? Will you be setting yourself up for more hurt later by not taking the tougher road? How are you going to find the courage to step forward and do the tough work? It seems like now is a great time to start. –

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finding meaning and purpose in daily life

Standing at the Doorway

I have written previously about how we are all standing at the doorway between our internal and external worlds. The external world we can all see and share. Your internal world only you can see. Understanding about our internal world has a dramatic influence on how we experience the external world.

In doing some of my own work this week it occurred to me that I get to choose HOW I stand at that door! Can you picture yourself standing at that boundary? Do you peer out fearfully? Does it feel like the external world is trying to knock the door down mentally, emotionally, or physically? Are you hiding what is behind the door so no one can see what is inside?

There are lots of different ways to stand at this threshold. The revelation is that you get to choose how you stand in that space. It is possible to choose to stand at equilibrium with the external world instead of barricading yourself inside that inner world.

What would it look like for you to stand at equilibrium at the threshold? To be safe in the doorway? Confident you can navigate both worlds. Ironically, if you are able to change your stance, both the external and internal world will appear different.

I dare you test drive this idea for yourself in the coming weeks. What do you have to loose? You get to choose who you are standing at that doorway. –

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finding meaning and purpose in daily life

Time To Vote

Whether you want it or not, it is time to vote. Unless you have been in a coma in a cave for the last 18 months, it would be difficult to ignore that collectively we have been ramping up to November 3rd.

I have talked with folks who are excited, hopeful, frightened, angry, exhausted, despondent, overwhelmed… You name it. All of our emotions, good or bad, are at the surface.

So my ask is simple. Please go vote.

I went back (since I’m always curious) and looked at the some of the previous elections. Did you know that in the last 12 presidential elections (1972 forward) less than 57% of eligible voters cast a ballot in each election? One year it was 49%! In the 2016 election 55% of eligible voters cast ballots.

Think about that for a minute. Only half of our collective voices are used to decide the direction of the country for ALL of us! For all of the toxic vitriol blasted onto social media, from both sides of the aisle, at the end of the day only half of those folks cast a ballot. I have trouble understanding the mindset that, “It doesn’t matter if I vote”. Nothing could be farther than the truth! This year seems to matter more than most.

We talk about voting as being a civic duty. A privilege. It is, but there is more to it than that. What is in it for you? It is the bedrock of my coaching practice that we each have a purpose and role to play in the bigger world around us. You showing up in your family and at your work is vital for all of the rest of us. Participating in the community is part of being the individual. By voting you get to use your voice to advocate for what you want. You get to fulfill part of your purpose.

Have you made a plan about how you are going to participate? Have you considered wait times? Will you need to review the ballot items before you arrive? Has Covid changed any of your regular voting norms?

This election will likely be the most important political event in our lifetimes. Regardless of civic duty or privilege, there is something in it for you. It is time to go vote. –

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finding meaning and purpose in daily life