Your Creative Self

In addition to all of the other roles you play, there is a part of you who loves to be creative. How well do you know that version of you? When was the last time they were allowed out to play? You aren’t being fully human until you know your creative self.

I have posted in the past about the different roles we each play as a person (lots of different hats). You are a complex and multi-dimensional person! In addition, I have also talked about being creative and the vital (if not required) role creativity plays in our daily lives.

Today I am asking you to combine those two ideas into a new perspective. Who is your Creative Self? Given all of the things we have been through in the last few years and all of our work stress, family stress, and general daily stress, I am willing to bet that creative role has been stuffed into a corner and hasn’t been able to stretch much lately.

Ironically, part of the solution to navigating through some of the doldrums of life is to develop your own personal creativity! How are YOU creative? There are nearly infinite ways to be creative. Who is the part of you that finds joy and fulfillment in doing those things? How old are they? What clothes do they were? What music do they like? Most importantly, where have they been lately?

My request is simple. Find a way to let that Creative Self out to dabble and play. You get to pick the topic. But don’t spend the next two months sitting on the couch watching Netflix. Shake the cobwebs off and practice being creative! –

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finding meaning and purpose in daily life

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! –

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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? –

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finding meaning and purpose in daily life

Thresholds In Behavior – Rhoads Life Coaching, LLC

Independent of our beliefs and values we each have thresholds in our behavior. These thresholds are specific to each situation and are influenced by the behavior of those around us. Knowing how they function helps to understand how we work.

Mark Granovetter and other social scientists developed theories around predicting behavior based on the peer pressure of the group around an individual.

Some of us have high thresholds that resist changing behavior in a crowd. An example could be how emergency responders might run toward an emergency instead of away as crowds tend to do.

Some of us have low thresholds where we change our behavior quickly with the crowd. An example being when someone calls for quiet and a group stops talking all at once.

These thresholds come into play for all of us and are unique to nearly every situation we encounter based on the size of the group, the situation at hand, and a wide range of other variables. Granovetter observed how sometimes we even work against our own beliefs and values once that threshold is triggered. The group has influence on the individual based on the threshold.

Have you seen this play out recently? It is possible for one individual to have a low threshold for needing a stockpile of toilet paper and a high threshold of resisting wearing a mask.

How does the threshold model play out in your life? Do you know it is there? What are your thresholds? What are the tipping points for your family, friends and co-workers? Is your low resistance or high resistance to a threshold helping or hurting you? –

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finding meaning and purpose in daily life

Acedia (Drifting Into Not Caring) – Rhoads Life Coaching

The ancient Greeks had a term for the apathy of sustained isolation. Acedia is the sense of drifting into not caring. Knowing it is happening is the key to getting out.

Remember the poppy field that Dorothy and her friends wander into in the Wizard of Oz? Or the dwarves getting lost in the forest of Mirkwood in the Hobbit? We sometimes find ourselves wandering through a monotonous dreary stretch of life that creates an apathy that almost puts us to sleep.

I have been battling this myself for the last few weeks and have coaching clients who are describing the same thing. Virtual hang out with friends aren’t as novel as they were 5 months ago. I’ve watch ALL of Netflix and am almost finished with Prime. Who cares, right?

If the ancient Greeks had a term for it, it can’t be something new to the human experience. In my brain, the fact this malaise isn’t new is helpful. Someone has been here before. How did they get out?

For the Greeks they found help in reconnecting. When they found themselves experiencing acedia they would double down and reconnect with those they cared about. The relationships and sticking together was they way through.

The first step to reducing this apathy and anxiety is to recognize that it is there! The second step is to reconnect. Who have you lost contact with in the last few months? Who do you need to reach out to? Now that you have completed step one, who do you need to call? –

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finding meaning and purpose in daily life

Our Service to Others – Rhoads Life Coaching, LLC

We hold up as heroes those who make it their career or calling to serve others. Part of our own development is to find our own way to find purpose and meaning the service to others.

Who are the everyday heroes you hold in high regard? Our military service members? Our law enforcement officers? The medical community? Teachers? Those stocking the shelves at the store?

We have been doing a lot of that lately. Lifting those up who stand at the front line of our communities and serve us unselfishly. Putting the needs of others first is a trait we value, all the way down to our philosophy and religions.

What if these heroes weren’t just meant to be public servants, but also role models to emulate? How are you developing the service part of yourself? What would it look like to put the needs of those around you above your own? As it turns out, the meaning and purpose we find in the world comes from that connection of helping each other.

What prevents you from developing your service to others? It could be as simple as feeling patriotic in wearing a mask in public. Not for your own safety, but the safety of those around you. Maybe you could be just like our heroes. What do you have to lose? –

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finding meaning and purpose in daily life

Our Culture of Comparison – Rhoads Life Coaching

We swim in a culture of comparison. It is so much a part of who we are we don’t even know we are doing it. It is like the air we breath. In order to know where we are in terms of our identity and success, we automatically compare ourselves to those around us. It is how we calibrate.

This comparison is a trap. Either we compare ourselves to those who are less than us in order to feel better. Or we compare ourselves to our idealized version of whatever it is we are trying to measure. Note that I didn’t say, compare ourselves to those better than us. Comparison can be healthy in terms of competition, but rarely do we ever compare ourselves to someone at our own level where it is possible to complete. We compare ourselves to the imagined best. And we end up being “never enough”.

So where do you compare yourself to others? It might be easier to list where you don’t compare. Is it the better job? Or size of house? The marriage/relationship? Their hair? Where they went to school? The team they root for?

The trap in our comparison culture is that it spirals out of control into judgement. ANYTHING you can do to reduce comparison to others is an automatic decrease in stress, envy, jealousy, and conflict. Where is the easiest place for your to start? –

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finding meaning and purpose in daily life

Definition of Optimism – Rhoads Life Coaching, LLC

What is optimism? It isn’t limited to just being positive. Optimism is being able to see a way through; seeing obstacles as temporary and having the ability to overcome them.

In reading Kara Jillian Brown’s recent article on the definition of optimism, I was struck by Deepika Chopra’s specific definition of optimism:

“The true definition of an optimist is someone that is very aware and mindful of all the setbacks and roadblocks and less-than-ideal things that happen in their life. The caveat is that they are just aware that those things are temporary, and they have the ability to overcome them.”

Does that fit your definition of being optimistic? I would argue that most of us see optimism as being positive and up-beat and happy in all situations. That’s not what Dr. Chopra uses in her definition.

Look again at the words she uses. Aware. Mindful. Temporary. Ability. Overcome. It helps me a great deal to be able to see myself as optimistic without pretending that I am happy all the time. Yes, it is important to be joyful and less negative, but it is also possible to be optimistic and still be worried or scared.

We are all facing a lot of different challenges right now. Are you able to see our troubles as temporary? Are you able to see a way through all of this? Can you see yourself overcoming these challenges?

At the end of the day optimism is a choice. What prevents you from choosing to find a way to overcome your troubles? My challenge to you is to choose to find solutions; to see a way through. Take a chance and change your definition of optimism. You have the ability to choose to be optimistic. –

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finding meaning and purpose in daily life

Giver and Taker (The End of The Gangplank) – Rhoads Life Coaching

There is a healthy balance between being a giver and being a taker in how we relate to others. The extremes of one or the other lead to problems. Do you consider yourself worthy of being both?

If we took a poll of all the people you know and asked them whether you were a giver or taker, what would they say? Some of us hope to be perceived only as a giver. We have a negative perception of someone who is too much of a taker. There is an unhealthy balance of being too selfish. BUT, there is also an unhealthy balance of being too much of a giver! The best answer is for there be be some balance of give AND take. What would your friends, family, and co-workers say?

Take it to an extreme… You and I are running down the gangplank on the Titanic. We race to the bottom and only one seat is left in the last lifeboat! Who gets the seat? Again, an old version of me would have helped you get in the raft. I would have been happy to help you! I would sacrifice myself to give you the chance to live.

What are the consequences of this “self-less” act? The world loses the future value I would add. My family would lose a member. All of my future would would be gone.

My point is not to get into a debate about how to decide who gets in the lifeboat. My point is that each of us has equal value in the world. The healthy response to this extreme situation is there should at least be a very strenuous debate at the bottom of the gangplank about who gets to go forward.

Do you treat yourself with equal value those around you? I know a lot of folks who don’t! Do you treat those around you with equal value to you? Your answer says more about you than it does someone else.

How do you appear in the world? Are you a giver or a taker? –

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finding meaning and purpose in daily life

Creating An Intention – Rhoads Life Coaching, LLC

I have written in the past about setting intentions and how creating an intention allows us to choose who we are as beings instead of the limitations of what we do.

How is setting an intention different than setting a goal? Frequently our goals are short term projects that don’t really change who we are or how we engage the world. Creating an intention offers an opportunity for BEING someone different.

Every year I wrestle with whether to set a New Year’s Resolution. I never have much success with them. A few years ago I started setting a yearly intention of who I wanted to be in the coming year. These intentions are not set to be a box to check or a lofty vision, they are set to create room for me to grow as a person.

In the past I have set annual intentions around being more patient, being joyful, reducing negativity, or having more courage.

This year I my intention is to be more hopeful.

How will it go? Check back in a year and find out!

What if creating an intention was more useful to you in the coming year than a resolution or goal? What intention would you create? Who do you want to be in the coming year? What is your intent? –

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finding meaning and purpose in daily life