Your Internal Grinch

Don’t let your Internal Grinch steal the joy you have during this season!

I’ve posted previously about all the different roles we play in our daily lives. It is one of the foundational pieces of my coaching practice that each of us is a multi-faceted, dynamic being. We are complicated! Given all of that complexity, consider for a minute one piece of who you are includes Dr. Seuss’ Grinch, sitting atop the mountain alone and grumpy.

Part of Dr. Seuss’ genius was his ability to write about our internal world, just as accurately as the external world. How The Grinch Stole Christmas is about our own internal experiences. How do we know? Because if you pay enough attention to yourself you can start to see parts that conflict with your experience of the holidays.

Do you dread holiday parties? Worried the present you got isn’t good enough? Trying to keep up with the neighbor’s light display? Stressed about connecting with family you have been avoiding? Hurried to finish shopping? Ready to humbug the whole month and just stay locked away in your cave? How long is the line? Are you a wrapping paper perfectionist? Do you stress about spending too much money?

All of these (and MANY other variations) are versions of your internal Grinch stealing joy from the season!

If the Grinch has to learn to accept the season for what it is, what parts of you are missing the meaning and purpose you already have for this time of year? Where does your Grinch dress up like Santa and steal the joy of others?

My request is to pay attention to yourself. Watch out for your Internal Grinch. What does your internal world need to include the Grinch?

Regardless of your tradition, beliefs, and faith, may the next few weeks be filled with peace and joy and hope. Happy Holidays! –

internal grinch - Rhoads Life Coaching

finding meaning and purpose in daily life

False Positives

It might be dangerous to not know something, but it is a far greater risk to know something that isn’t true. Watch out for false positives!

Have you ever heard the quote, “I honestly believe it is better to know nothing than to know what ain’t so“? Any guesses as to who said it?

If you are like me, you would have said Mark Twain. That would be a false positive. Something you believed to be true, but wasn’t. As far as we can tell, Twain never said it. Josh Billings may have been the first and is quoted for this version.

False positives are inherently riskier than a wrong answer, simply by the fact that we believe them to be true. Usually believing something that is false will turn up evidence pretty quickly to the contrary. But believing we have the right answer usually means we stop looking for other answers. It creates a sense of completion.

Say you have a pregnancy test that gives a false positive. It says you are pregnant, but you actually aren’t. You might be really excited, or really upset, but the incorrect answer gives you a false impression. You head down the wrong path.

Where does this happen in your daily life? The belief that it doesn’t happen in your daily living is again a false positive. Where do you believe you have something right, that is dead wrong? It might be worth paying attention to yourself and observing where you are supremely confident. What stories are you telling that don’t match reality? What are you losing by holding onto false positives? –

false positives - Rhoads Life Coaching

finding meaning and purpose in daily life

Feeling Jaded

Would you know if you were feeling jaded? You would be limiting your choices and options if you were!

In a coaching conversation this week a person shared they were feeling jaded. In that one word I knew exactly what they meant! While the word itself is defined as losing enthusiasm for something, the image creates a much more rich explanation.

Unlike losing enthusiasm or apathy, jadedness conjures up images of being turned to stone. A hardness to things. Not just apathy, but a bitterness and distain for something that was previously a valuable connection.

I bet you feel jaded more that you think. Given all of the things are we have experienced individually and collectively in the last few years, there have been lots of opportunities to put up the shields and close off connections.

The dilemma with feeling jaded is not only do we lose connections with things we wanted to be connected to before, we also limit our future choices. By being hardened, we have less flexibility and options before us.

The antidote? Observe your jadedness. Ask, for a different perspective. Soften the edges. Choose a path that has more options and greater compassion for yourself and others. –

feeling jaded - Rhoads Life Coaching

finding meaning and purpose in daily life

Balancing vs. Juggling

Here is an interesting perspective: Do you approach your daily activities from a sense of balancing or juggling?

First, what is the difference between balancing and juggling? Sometimes I wonder if we confuse them.

Balancing is trying to find the distribution of weight between objects to allow them to remain static in position. In order to balance something, we focus our attention on a fixed point and attempt to find the place where things stop moving.

Juggling is different in that all of the objects are in motion and our attention is focused on the points that are farthest from our hands. If you look at your hands while you juggle, everything falls to the floor.

If you apply the mindset behind these two perspectives, there are appropriate times to balance and appropriate times to juggle. What if you are using the wrong tools in the wrong places? What if your ability to use each needs to be developed to a higher skill level?

Where do you use these skills in your daily life? Do you rely on one more than the other? Where could shifting to the other perspective help in making the day go better? –

balancing juggling - Rhoads Life Coaching

finding meaning and purpose in daily life


Self-efficacy is our personal opinion about our own ability to asses a challenge and find effective ways to cope with an obstacle or difficult situation. It impacts nearly every aspect of our daily lives and is a skill you can develop and grow.

A person with strong self-efficacy views challenges as obstacles to be overcome. They have a confidence that their previous experiences and current skills enable them to face a challenge successfully, even if the solution is not obvious. This mindset reduces stress levels and makes us more resilient to depression. In the last year and a half, our teachers demonstrated a very high level of self-efficacy in teaching through a pandemic.

Someone with a low level of self-efficacy views their own abilities as insufficient and shrinks away and avoids a challenge. This mindset forces us to not try when we are facing daily obstacles. Over time this behavior increases stress and can lead to depression.

Self-efficacy ends up being one of the cornerstones of coaching. It shows up in all of our choices each day. It is also a skill and habit that can be built and developed. You have the ability to change how you face challenges by developing your own self-efficacy!

In what parts of your life are you the most confident? What challenges do you shrink away from? What pieces are you missing to be able to grow your ability to step forward into a challenge instead of shrinking away? How can I help? –

self-efficacy - Rhoads Life Coaching

finding meaning and purpose in daily life

The Map Is Not The Story

Don’t confuse the labels you use to describe yourself with who you actually are. Just like how a map is a symbol of a place, the map is not the story or the reality of that place.

I’ve posted previously about the Cosmic Egg and the symbols like the serpent mound in Peebles, OH. We use symbols to create a map of meaning for ourselves. An important point, though, is that the map is NOT the story of what is going on.

If you were to go to a big city, say Chicago, a map of the streets, public transportation, restaurants, etc. would be really helpful. It helps to find the important things in a complex city. But the map is not Chicago itself. You can’t truly understand Chicago without being there. The same is true for us as human beings.

We like to create symbols, maps, and labels of who we are to better understand ourselves and each other. Introvert, extrovert, business person, parent, sibling, agnostic, atheist, rebel, care giver, Republican, Democrat… once you start creating labels of how we describe ourselves, it starts to paint a picture so we can understand ourselves and others can understand us. Just like the map of Chicago, these labels are not the real identity of who we are.

So here is my request. Pay attention to what labels you use when describing yourself and others. You are much too complex of a being to be limited by the labels and map of what describes you. Take some time and dig into that complexity and don’t hold on so tight to the map. Life will be much more freeing and meaningful.-

map is not the story - rhoads life coaching

finding meaning and purpose in daily life

Pride vs Arrogance

Do you understand the difference between pride and arrogance? They aren’t the same thing. Frequently our relationship with pride prevents us from seeing the difference!

I’ve posted previously that we have a weird relationship with humility. The same is true with pride. We want to be proud of ourselves and others, but we are afraid of being TOO proud. We think poorly of others, and ourselves, when we have too much pride.

What if we put ‘pride’ on a spectrum and tease out the positive and negative characteristics of it? On one end we have healthy pride where we lift up the valuable things we do and are in ourselves and others. It is possible with healthy pride to be proud of someone else’s accomplishments without being intimidated by them.

On the other end of the scale we have unhealthy pride. This is where arrogance lives. It is different from pride in that it tears others down. When we are arrogant we overstate the value of something at the expense of something else. It can even tear us down inside. This ends up being why we are so awkward about being proud of our accomplishments. We don’t want to be labeled as arrogant.

The dilemma is by leaving healthy pride out of our lives we diminish the value of the good things around us. My challenge to you is to sort out for yourself how pride is difference from arrogance in your own life, and value the healthy things that don’t bring others down. –

pride arrogance - Rhoads Life Coaching

finding meaning and purpose in daily life

Paradox (Meaning Between Opposites)

The idea of paradox is the awareness of two opposite ideas that reveal some sense of meaning or truth. Part of being human is the ability to observe paradoxes. As humans we ARE paradoxes. We are each mixtures of good and bad, light and shadow.

You have to spend money to make money.

“Tis better to have loved and lost, than never have loved before.” – Tennyson

If I know one thing, it is that I know nothing.

This is the beginning of the end.

Just like everything else, there are layers of complexity to paradox. From the simplest ideas (Less is more) to mind bending complexity (check here for few samples), they are part of how we understand ourselves.

The truth or meaning coming from these opposite ideas is its own new thing. A third piece that is the precipitate coming from the chemical reaction of two contradicting things. Think about that for a second, you have the ability to create meaning in a new space by comparing contrasting things.

Given all of the polarity and contrast in our world right now, what would happen if you started looking for the truth and meaning between the opposites? The simplest place to start is observing yourself.

Where does paradox appear in your daily life? How will observing it help?-

paradox - Rhoads Life Coaching

finding meaning and purpose in daily life

Businesses Do Not Exist To Make Money

It is sometimes the simplest ideas that are the most profound. The idea that “businesses do not exist to make money” seems simple. Not paying attention to it, however, has significant (and very complicated) consequences.

Has this thought ever crossed your mind? Did you immediately disagree when you read it? Is it a thought that lives in the back of your head without you being aware of it?

When I heard this phrase a few weeks ago, I had to laugh. Yes, it makes sense. But what do we really believe about it though? And how do we act on a daily basis?

Every single business (even the ones who are trying to increase wealth) are providing a service. To help achieve some vision of the future. If businesses only existed to make money we would not have traded goods or services prior to money existing. Businesses existed before money!

So what are the consequences of ignoring the idea that businesses do not exist to make money? We get greedy. Our behavior hardens and we start to act like machines. If there is anything you can do to bring purpose and meaning back into your professional life, start looking at our businesses, clients, and co-workers as having a purpose other than making money. –

Businesses do not exist to make money - Rhoads Life Coaching

finding meaning and purpose in daily life

Impostor Syndrome (Phenomenon)

Three times this week someone has mentioned having impostor syndrome! So it must be time to talk about it!

Ever have the feeling you shouldn’t be included in a group and that someone will find out? THAT’s impostor syndrome. Actually it isn’t a syndrome at all. Suzanne Imes and Pauline Rose Clance coined the term Impostor Phenomenon as it isn’t actually a diagnosable syndrome. But we all have it at some point in our lives. Some of us feel it when we are new to a group or a career, or when we don’t trust our own abilities.

Having this phenomenon creates a lot of anxiety. We all experience it in a variety of ways and for some of us we may have it about one topic while the person sitting next to us is having about something else.

The antidote?

There isn’t an easy fix. For some of us it goes away once we are older and have some more experience.

As with most of these internal battles we have with ourselves, it helps to name what is going on. “I fee like an impostor” said out loud relieves some of the tension.

Have some compassion for yourself and take stock of what talents, skills and experience you bring to the situation. Make a list!

Make a note for yourself that social, racial, and gender cues make this phenomenon worse. Pay attention to the scenario you are in, even you don’t feel like the impostor!

Ask for help! I’ve posted about this before. The fear of asking for help prevents so many options for us in life. And finally, take a break when you recognize that your stress is high. By pausing it allows the fear to dissipate and creates the ability to shift your perception of what is going on.

Where do you feel you are an impostor? What evidence is there to suggest this isn’t true? How different would your experience be if you believed you weren’t an impostor? That sensation isn’t helping you! –

Impostor Syndrome - Rhoads Life Coaching

finding meaning and purpose in daily life