Mindset

The Birth of the Panther Squirrel – A Story of Reinventing Yourself

Once upon a time…

Forget it. Who starts a blog post like that? (I guess I do?)

Let me take a chance here. Today, I’m trimming the preamble and getting straight to the point. I want to talk to you about reinventing your ADHD life.

If you’re going to successfully create the life you want – a life where you capitalize on your unique strengths and live extraordinarily – you’d better start with a clear mental picture what it will look like. Otherwise, you’ll keep getting what you already have.

Start With a New Beginning

Reinventing yourself is a “process” that starts with a new story. This particular reinvention begins with the birth of a Panther Squirrel.

Yes, a Panther Squirrel. In case you’ve never heard of one, the Panther Squirrel is very rare. You’ve probably never seen one before.

You’ve Heard of Panthers Though, Right?

Maybe you have seen a panther before, most likely from a safe vantage point beyond an enclosure at a zoo. But if you’d seen one in the wild, you would know that a panther is an exceptionally adaptable animal, able to thrive in a variety of habitats. Sleek, powerful and fearless, the panther hunts with wisdom, stealth and agility.

The panther is an elusive and rare animal. Not exactly a distinct species in its own rite, “panther” is the name given to a black-coloured jaguar or leopard. It is much like those big cats, but also – quite different.

What about the Squirrel?

No doubt you have seen a squirrel before. They are quick-moving, fidgety little characters, seen scampering around forests and parks, foraging and gnawing endlessly at anything in reach. Playful and mischievous, they’ve been known to ambush unsuspecting campers with early-morning pinecone blitzes. When not seen directly, evidence of their presence is usually detected in the mess they leave behind them.

Exactly How Do Panthers and Squirrels Relate to ADD?

In case the gist is lost in translation, allow me to blatantly draw out the connection.

ADDers have a colloquial connection to squirrels, indorsed by cult merchandise proposing our fascination with them (“Oh look, a squirrel!”). It’s cute and trite, but at least this meme makes light something that confounds us at the core – distraction.

I suppose it eases the intense frustration we feel from our inability to direct our own minds. If slapping a slogan on a t-shirt makes it funny – aka less of a big deal – then why not?

We may buy the t-shirt (or poster, mug, tutu …) and that’s okay. As long as we don’t buy into them.

But you have to know this: We aren’t merely a scurry of squirrels. We are panthers, as well. We might be rascally and hyper, but we can be powerful, strong and focused too. We can be flexible, responsive and courageous. We can roar. And yes – we are rare.

We are the manifestation of a unique gene expression, a little different from the other big cats, but also – a little the same.

We tend to forget about that side of us. We’re too busy buying into those t-shirts.

Introducing the Panther Squirrel

Reinventing ourselves, rewriting our scripts and creating more empowering ADHD lives – can only occur when we allow ourselves to be both – the powerful panther and the high-spirited squirrel. They can coexist in one person.

No doubt we can be disorganized, unfocused, and messy. But when we see only this, we fail to pay homage to the panther within. We forget our prowess and strength. We ignore the fact that we can be tenacious and steadfast. We forget that we are also hunters! Remember, the panther is elusive – just because he’s not easy to spot, doesn’t mean he’s not there.

Contrariwise, when we try too hard to be a purebred panther, we discredit the squirrel within. I will tell you this right now: the squirrel is just as important as the panther. The squirrel notices and collects treasures the panther walks by. He can get in and out of places the panther cannot. He has an energy the panther could not sustain. The squirrel-side of us may be the subject of comedy, but it’s also the part that makes us energetic, enthusiastic and charismatic.

We are not panthers or squirrels, we’re both. We are Panther Squirrels.

So Rewrite Your Story’s Main Character (Hint: That’s You!)  

If you are truly reinventing yourself, the story you tell about who and how you are needs to allow space for both of these characters.

My fear is that some people think of reinvention as a sort “rebirth” with a completely new persona, like Madonna or that guy formerly known as Prince. Maybe your reinvention involves a few costume changes and a weird symbol, but I’m guessing you aspire to more powerful changes than just a new façade.

The life you want is one in which you are actually happier, right?

Your new story, if it is to be one that allows you true happiness, will permit you to be both ADD and not ADD. It will tell a story of someone who is scattered but strong, hyper but calm, and regardless of either – loving it all.

Let’s face it, can you truly be happy without letting yourself be who you are? What if being happier simply means being everything that you already are, but in a refined and better-defined version of it? Like an HD or better yet – 3D – version of yourself?

Start your new story with that kind of character sketch, and see how much more transcending your reinvention will be. See what life can be like as a Panther Squirrel. We all know that – if nothing else – it will certainly be a life less ordinary.

If you were a combination of two or more animals, what would you be? (Comments below!)

P.S. The inspiration for this post came from an awesome conversation I had with my coach (bigging him up here, cue the applause). Thanks coach!

P.P.S. You are never going to believe this! In searching for images for this post, I came across this post from dailymail.co.uk. Turns out there is such a thing as the Panther Squirrel. Who knew?!

Image courtesy of cheezburger.com
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2 comments on “The Birth of the Panther Squirrel – A Story of Reinventing Yourself

  1. Nicely articulated, Andrea. I love how you invite the reader to honor both the panther and the squirrel. Black and white thinking can have us think we can only be one or the other or that we have to be something we are not. Stand up fellow panther squirrels!

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