Mindset

Resolutions: Making Change Easier

Happy New Year!

Sorry for being so cheery while you’re down in the trenches, recovering from the season’s excesses. But I wanted to catch you before you lingered there too long, trading in your excesses for excuses. You know, the kind that keep you from making good on your New Year’s resolutions?

Last New Year, I wrote about Mindfulness. Today, I would like to tackle a harder topic.

Change.

Specifically – how to make it easier.

Most of us fail (Do you hear me? FAIL!!!) to keep our resolutions longer than a few weeks. Nothing new there. There are many reasons why we find it hard to change. I don’t care about any of them. All I care about is making change easier.

Last month I read (and then re-read, which I seldom do) the best book I have ever come across on the topic of change. It is called Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard, by Chip Heath & Dan Heath.

Today, I’m going to share with you what I’ve learned. My inclination is to explicate my learning in the form of a rather long book report. I love this book that much – I would be willing to revert to high school drudgery just to share my excitement.

But I know you don’t want to eat the whole cake, you just want to lick the icing off the top. So instead I will give you an ADD-digestible precis of the best bits – for those of you who haven’t read it, won’t read it, or don’t read period. If you want to eat the whole cake, go get it.

The Icing

Switch dissects change and blows it wide open. It unravels the mysteries of why it is hard to change and, more importantly, how we can make change easier.

Chip and Dan tell us that the biggest reason most of us find it hard to change is this:

“Your brain isn’t of one mind”.

Basically, there are two sides to our minds:

  • The Emotional Side – The Heath’s refer to the emotional side as “the elephant”. This is the side that is emotionally-driven, runs on instincts, wants immediate gratification and gives in to desires. The elephant likes to drink pina coladas in the rain.
  • The Rational Side – This is the logical-thinking, conscious and deliberate part of the brain, the side that plans, analyzes and exerts self-control. Switch refers to it as “the rider”. The rider likes to think about drinking pina coladas, count their calories and then reschedule them for a day with a fairer forecast.

The reason we don’t change is because our “elephants” and “riders” do not gel. When they disagree, the elephant always wins. Have you ever got in the way of an elephant and his chocolate bar?

If you want to get traction on making a change, you’ve got to get your elephant and rider in sync with each other. This is crucially important if you have ADHD.  Depleted dopamine means ADDers are hardwired to seek immediate gratification and pleasurable experiences. Malfunctioning prefrontal cortexes mean poor self-control and decision-making.

Compared to other people:

Our elephants are bigger and our riders have wandered off.

Riders know that short term sacrifices are necessary to achieve long-term goals. But self-control is a limited resource, especially with ADHD. When the rider fatigues, the elephant does what he wants. After 2 or 5 or 10 days of eating well and saying no to dessert, the rider gives up and the elephant eats the cake.

(Side note – my rider starts a new diet every Monday. Every Monday – for two years now. Seems my rider has a very obstinate elephant to contend with.)

Chip and Dan tell us:

“So when you hear people say that change is hard because people are lazy or resistant, that’s just flat wrong. In fact, the opposite is true: Change is hard because people wear themselves out.”

It would seem, then, that we need to train the rider to be stronger. Not so. It’s a common misconception to think that all we need is a better plan or to work harder.

You see, the elephant is the one with the power. If we get him on our side, change is inevitable.

When motivated, the elephant gets things done. Without the elephant on his side, the rider plans, over-analyzes and runs in circles, but doesn’t get anywhere. If we want lasting change, we have to break through to the elephant and guide the rider.

You’ve had the Icing. Now, Here’s Some Cake.

The Heath’s three-part “system” completely simplifies the process of change. If you want to know more about making change easier, I will condense the rest of the book into a sort of cake-pop for you. In order to change, you need to:

1. Direct The Rider

Change is hard because we overcomplicate it. ADDers can lack clarity by thinking too much instead of taking action. Finding the right course of action is helped by:

  • Looking for “bright spots” – imitate past successful efforts. Look for what is already working and do more of it.
  • Making positive choices easy. Create clear guidance and specific rules around your new behaviours. Take the ambiguity out of change.
  • Focussing on where, not why. Create a vivid picture of your destination in your mind.  Show the rider where he is going. If the destination is compelling enough, he will figure out how to get there.

 

2. Motivate the Elephant

People fail to change not because they don’t know what to do, but because they don’t feel the change’s importance. We need to feel passionate about the changes we are making. Here’s how to get our elephants passionate:

  • Focus on positive feelings. Positive feelings encourage us to broaden our interests and become open to new ideas and experiences. This is particularly important to someone with ADHD, whose brain only truly engages with concepts that interested it.
  • Don’t raise the bar, lower it. Notice the little ways in which you are already closer to achieving your goal than you think. Focusing on the progress you have made rather than how far you have to go helps you do this.
  • Aim for small improvements rather than big shifts. Just as a snowball gains girth and momentum rolling down the hill, small steps taken towards your goal will eventually spiral. Focus on small, visible goals and consistently take steps towards them – until you reach a tipping point.
  • Develop an identity around your goal. Think about the change as an important part of who you are becoming.
  • Expect failure along the way. Abilities are muscles that can be strengthened, even through set-backs. Focussing on how you are growing keeps you moving forward towards the change.

 

3. Shape the Path

People will usually take the easiest path. Even when your rider and elephant aren’t synchronized, changes are made possible by creating an easy path to follow.

  • Tweak your environment. Make your new behaviour easier and the ones you don’t want, harder.
  • Build Habits. Small tweaks can add up to a big difference.
  • “Rally the herd.” Behaviour is contagious, so hang out with people who are seeking the same changes you are.
  • Keep it going. Change is a process. Reinforce “good behaviours” with acceptable rewards.

 

So there you have the icing and the cake pop of what I have learned about change, in a condensed form. The writers of Switch don’t make false promises that their system makes change easy. But they do suggest it will make change easier. I think that’s an offer we can all be happy with.

Though I have kept my summary concise, I do suggest you go and get the book. There are so many valuable nuggets in this book, it really is worth the investment of your time. However, if you aren’t much of a reader, I suggest trying an audio book. I only really “discovered” them this year but because of them, my reading list has grown exponentially – I’m now tallying around 40 books this year alone. Thank you audio books!

Tell me what you think about this post in the comments below. What are you trying to change this year? Do you think this post will help you in any way or does it just suck? Please share!

 

Mindset

13 Interrogation Tactics for a Confidence Break-Through (and why you deserve it)

IF YOUR CONFIDENCE HAS EVER BEEN AT ROCK BOTTOM, THEN MAYBE IT IS TIME TO HOLD THAT SELF-DOUBT ACCOUNTABLE FOR WHAT IT DOES TO YOUR LIFE…

The room is dark and damp, the lights are bright and oppressive. Self-loathing is in the interrogation room, charged with the crime of ruining your life. It says:

I don’t deserve to feel good about myself.

I have had so many failures and made so many mistakes, there is nothing in my life to feel good about. No matter how hard I try, I let people down. I let myself down. There is nothing about me to feel confident about. I don’t deserve it. I’m not good enough. 

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, Who am i to be brilliant,

Gorgeous, talented and fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of God.

 

Your playing small does not serve the world.

There is nothing enlightened about shrinking

So that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We are all meant to shine, as children do.

We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.

 

It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone.

And as we let our light shine, we unconsciously

Give other people the permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear,

Our presence automatically liberates others.” 

                                                                                                   

Says the good cop, quoting Marianne Williamson.

Nice try. Sweet, poetic, moving words but they didn’t break through to your self-loathing whose conviction in its righteousness is inpenetrable. It won’t budge, won’t confess its sins.

Enter the bad cop.

He has only one question for self-loathing and its kind of a rhetorical one at that.

 

“Who the hell do you think you are?”

 

You can tell by the tone he’s not looking for existential prose.

He’s stating a pivotal truth.

 

You don’t deserve to feel bad about yourself.

 

Your self-loathing doesn’t buy that. It has plenty of bonafide reasons to believe it has every right to be there. Failures from your past, experiences that shaped your lack of confidence and criticisms from important people whose opinions really mattered at the time.

But the bad cop doesn’t give up just yet. He’s got plenty of staying power, just like your self-defeat. He challenges you with these concepts:

 1. You are human.

We all make mistakes. Everyone knows that. Nowhere in the book of life does it indicate a cut off point which divides the worthy from the unworthy. Fifty mistakes and you’re a-okay, 75 and you’re a loser? Its not in the rule book – go ahead and check.

2. Your life is a miracle.

I don’t care what you believe about the origin of the universe and mankind, the fact that you are alive is a miracle. The plight that one single sperm goes through to force itself through the millions of others, through hazardous and hostile environmental conditions, to penetrate the egg and form the union that made you – is a miracle.

To loathe “that you” is pure irreverence to the majesty and miracle of life.

3. You’re not here for you. 

You weren’t born to serve only your own purpose. If that were the case, you would have manifested as a virus or a parasite. You are here to make a difference, no matter how small it may seem, to the world and the people in it. Confidence in your worth opens the door to making that difference in a bigger way. Self-doubt keeps you locked in the closet.

 

4. You’re wasting time.

I’ve got some terrible news for you – you’re dying.

Every day we live, we are all dying. Its not a reason to get depressed. Its a valid and paramount reason to not waste a single minute of this life. This life that we have already established is a complete miracle.

If being small and self-oppressive serves in any way to make the most of your life, then go ahead and keeping on despising yourself. But most of the time, self-reproach stops you from doing valid and important things with your life.

 5. Your critics are human too.

The voices who have influenced your low opinion of yourself belong to people who have a multitude of their own sins. Casting stones may be one way of protecting themselves but it doesn’t mean that they have chosen the best self-defense strategy. Psychological offence is not the best defense, its the best demise of everyone involved.

6. Your inner critic doesn’t know everything.

If you are so wrong about everything, if you are such a failure and incompetent – why would that inner voice who tells you so be given so much undoubted authority? If you are incompetent, then isn’t it possible that inner critic is also incompetent?

7. You don’t know what you don’t know.

Lack of self-worth is usually a rigid, over-generalized belief that serves to feed itself by focusing on all the mistakes you have made in your life and your perceived inadequacies. No one with a strong conviction sets out to prove themselves wrong. How this translates in real life is that you never notice, or very frequently overlook or discount anything you have done that proves your worth and capability.

Self-doubt is a bias, a prejudice.

8. You aren’t omnipresent.

There is nothing about you that is always the same, all of the time. Its human nature to define the present and predict the future based on past experiences. But you are never exactly the same as you were the moment before. You are always capable of being different.

9. You aren’t omnipotent either.

You were designed to be flawed and make mistakes. Perfection is reserved for God, the Higher Power or Universe – however you choose to see it. Our flaws and mistakes are what challenge us to grow in spirit and determination. Which leads to the next point…

10. You’re stagnating.

You were made for growth and development. Hating yourself doesn’t help you grow. It keeps you oppressed.

11. You are in grave danger.

The voice of self-doubt usually grows as a protective mechanism to keep you from risking vulnerability and potential humiliation. What it also does is it exposes you to the risk of terminal disappointment. When you make it to 80+ years of age (God-willing) and you review the movie that was your life, you will rue all the things you never did or gave of yourself because you were filled with doubt.

You may also regret some lengths you went to in order to protect your fragile ego.

12. You’re setting a bad example.

If you are a member of any society (my apologies to cave-dwelling hermits who probably wouldn’t be reading this anyway), you are always influencing and affecting other people. Whether you mean to or not, feeling bad about yourself – to the extent that you don’t value who you are as being – says to others that there are particular standards that define worth. If those standards define you, they must define them.

Your self-reproach could inadvertently teach someone else to dislike themselves as well.

13. Your incapacitating humility is conceited and selfish.

Whoa, I can’t believe I really said that out loud.

Low blow, eh? I’m a bit nervous now, but let me explain. I have been locked in mental closet of rumination and self-reproach for many years, and now I am free I can say with experience I recognize its narcissism.

Worthlessness always has some roots in comparison. Its pretty conceited to think that your faults are so much worse than anyone else’s. Its arrogant to believe that the voice of self-doubt has more validity than any other possible opinion. Its selfish to hold yourself back from being your true self because of greed.

Greed? Yes, greed – indulging your own need for self-preservation while denying the world its right to benefit from the miracle of your unique contribution to it.

 

At the start of this series of gaining confidence as an ADDer, I told you I want to do everything I can to help you grow that confidence.

I didn’t say I was going to be nice about it.

If my hypothetical “bad cop” seemed a bit harsh, I can assure you that it wasn’t done sensationally or without good reason.

I know, intimately, what it is like to feel worthless and incompetent. I also know a lot about human psychology. Enough to know that the voice that feeds self-doubt is not kind or soothing. That voice is harsh, mean and just plain cruel.

That kind of voice does not respond to sweet and supportive words of encouragement like the beautiful sonnet from Marianne Williamson. It responds to a voice that lambastes it.

Fight fire with fire. So I have been cruel to be kind.

Please know this, as you finish reading this installment…

My “bad cop” was not talking to you. He was talking to the self-doubt that is interloping your psyche. If you want to start feeling more confident in yourself from this moment, the one thing you can do is make this differentiation.

That voice is not you. It’s just an opinion.

And opinions can be changed.

Mindset

The First (And Most Important) Step in Getting Your Act Together

It sucks when you really want to do something and you just can’t do it.

It sucks even more when you know you can, but for whatever reason, it seems you can’t get your sh*t together and get it done.

If only I could get organized, then I could get this project done.

If only I knew where to start, then I could get this business up and running.

If only I would pay more attention to what I am doing, I wouldn’t lose everything I own.

If only I’d start remembering to do the important stuff, my bank account wouldn’t have gone overdrawn again for the third time this year.

 If only I’d get it together, I could really go for my dreams. I could live the life I want. I could stop living on the edge of greatness and become the person I really want to be and know I could be.

Why can’t I just get it together?

Have you been there? Cryptic words written on long-gone but not forgotten report cards echoing through your memory… “Would do well to pay attention.” “Must try harder.” Reminiscent of troubles that have repeated themselves throughout your life’s timeline…

Pay attention? Try harder? Thank you very much for the well-meaning advice, but when you take your car into the mechanic for a service, you don’t expect him to turn around and say to you “Your car needs a service”. That part is obvious. What you really want to know is: what needs to be done and how are you going to do it?

We are always trying harder. We are always paying attention. In fact, we overpay it. If attention was a currency, then we ADDers invest in so many different funds it would give the hardiest of accountants a stroke trying to keeping track of it all. We hemorrhage attention and have no innate ability to cauterize it. That’s why we can’t get our acts together.

So where does that leave us?

Usually, we just try harder. And hope that this time it will really work.

Like the latest business cliché, we don’t want to try harder. We want to try smarter. Most of us have this latent sense that we are capable of so much more than what we are doing right now. We sense that we could do great and wonderful things if a few habitual barriers would just get out of our way. And we tell ourselves that we will be truly happy with ourselves once we finally get our act together.

I hate to tell you this but it doesn’t work that way. That little piece of misinformation is what keeps you chasing your own tail in life’s revolving door of chaos.

The truth, in fact, is diametrically the opposite. You will get your act together in a much greater way once you become happier with yourself just the way you are.

It sounds crazy. Its feels counter-intuitive. How could being happier with how I am right now help me get more organized and on top of my game, if how I am right now is a complete mess?

I’ll tell you how in a minute, but first let me share with you a little analogy. When working as a Cognitive-Behavioural Therapist, I did a lot of work with people suffering from Panic Disorder. If you’ve ever suffered from a panic attack, you can appreciate how dreadful this condition can be. The question I was most often asked by clients at the beginning of therapy was:

“When will the panic attacks stop for good?”

My reply was always the same.

“When you stop being afraid of having them.”

This is the irony of Panic Disorder. It’s almost impossible to have a panic attack if you are totally comfortable with the experience of them. They’re never going to feel nice. But if you get to a place where they are reduced to the annoyance-level equivalent of a hiccup, they’ll pretty much disappear.

And so it is with ADHD. Not saying ADD will disappear once you learn to accept yourself with it. But the grip that ADD challenges have over your life will loosen. The less important they become in your mind, the less power they will have over you. New ways of being will finally feel free to manifest in your life when they no longer fear getting caught in the crossfire between you and your “old self”. When you open up your arms and embrace who you are right now, you are also welcoming the you that you are becoming. (Click to tweet)

When will you start getting your sh*t together?

When you stop being afraid of who you are with ADD.

This is what I am talking about…

Obviously, there is a lot more to getting your act together than this. But learning to embrace yourself as you are is the first and most crucial step in breaking through the glass ceiling of ADHD and moving up to the next level.

This post is the first in a series I intend to do on the topic of learning to be confident in yourself and flourishing with ADD. If you have any questions you would like addressed in this series, here’s your chance to let me know by leaving a comment below. If you are a blogger, don’t forget to sign in with Commentluv so you can promote your latest posts as well.

Creativity

50 Inspirational Quotes for ADDers to Live By

If I am completely honest with you, which I always am, doing this post today makes me feel like a bit of a rip-off artist.

For a couple of reasons. Firstly, doing a compendium of inspirational quotes is hardly an original idea. If you’re not an avid blog reader you’ll have to trust me when I say this topic has been done literally thousands of times before. Put it this way: an post about quotes is to blogging what a banana peel and an idiot are to slapstick comedy. Cliche.

The other reason it makes me feel like a swindler is a pretty obvious one, but I’ll point it out anyway. I am creating a post almost fully comprised of other people’s words. It’s like plagiarism – only justified through the use of proper punctuation.

So why do it?

You know me (you do by now, don’t you?) – I am eternally transparent and honest about what I am thinking and doing. I am also pretty upfront about why I write what I write. So here is the explanation.

There are no original ideas these days. Everything you read, whether through the medium of books, blogs, newspapers or the back of shampoo bottles – has all been thought of before. However, the ingenuity of literature comes not from the idea itself, but how its presented or dressed-up, if you will. Old ideas continue to be fresh and relevant when you put your own stamp on them.

Of course there are some original ideas hanging around in the creative jungle waiting to be snared, but I can’t think of any because… no one has thought of them yet. If you don’t quite follow me, close your eyes and try to imagine a brand-new, completely original colour – one that’s never been seen before. (I’ll give you a few minutes to scan your cerebrum…)

You see what I mean?

What we imagine or create is a combination of things we have already witnessed, but the way we combine those things is unique to ourselves.

So I can create my own rendition of a quotation-round-up post, but what about the fact that a bulk of the content, or in essence the storyline of this post, has been created primarily by the words of other people?

I have no excuse other than the fact that I love quotes. Apparently, so do a lot of other people, or bloggers at least.

To me, an inspirational quote is not merely a statement grazed from some famous person’s speech or an abridged form of a celebrated soliloquy. It is a concise, well-composed statement that powerfully articulates an important concept, one that is spoken by … anyone. Famous or not. I may have generated one of two inspirational “quotes” in my time. I’m almost certain that you will have too, whether or not you realize it. It’s not who says it that’s important, it’s what’s said.

The power of the inspirational quote is that, by employing a few carefully chosen and arranged words, it conveys a much bigger message in a single dose. Quotes can move you or simply make you laugh. They can motivate you, help you switch perspectives, or even shift entrenched emotional states. They can make you feel validated, vindicated, understood. They can innervate, intrigue, and inspire you to be in a different state, even if for just a moment.

Inspirational quotes make an effect on you, and they do it with very few words (“unlike me”, I’m thinking).

They are like self-help in a shot-glass. Like injectable therapy. The ultimate philosophy-hack.

That’s why they are wonderful for us ADDers. We like things with a kick – short, sharp, quick and powerful. We like short-cuts. We are drawn to metaphors that evoke vivid imagery. Many of us also have a love of language and play with words like they’re a form of linguistic Lego – quotes can be a fun and engaging way to inspire us.

But most importantly, there are times in life that we ADDers really need some inspiration. Or motivation. And certainly validation.

So without any further ado, firm in the belief that I have sufficiently defended my decision to “sell-out” with this cliché post, I present to you my top 50 quotes that every ADDer should live by.

Because this post will end up being a bazillion words, I have cataloged them according to the conditions for which they are most useful. You don’t need to read the whole post. Chances are good I have lost your attention already … (c’mon my ADD friend, don’t you realize I know you too?!)

Even if you don’t read the whole thing – make sure to skip to the comments at the end and share with me some of your favourite inspirational quotes. In fact, I even challenge you to create one or two of your own quotes and share them. If you’re worried about what other people will think, don’t – I have a quote for that too 🙂

Strength, Perseverance, and Overcoming Challenges

For those times when we feel like everything is impossible for us and are fed up with working so hard to do things that come easily to others. A few reminders that the daily trials and tribulations are what build our characters, give us strength and flexibility, and shape our determination.

“Stand up to your obstacles and do something about them. You will find that they haven’t half the strength you think they have.” Norman Vincent Peale

“Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.”Art Linkletter

“Good timber does not grow with ease; the stronger the wind, the stronger the trees.” J. Willard Marriott

“The human spirit is never finished when it is defeated… it is finished when it surrenders.” Ben Stein

“It is not what happens to you that determines how far you go in life; it is what you do with what happens to you.” Zig Ziglar

“Inside of a ring or out, ain’t nothing wrong with going down. It’s staying down that’s wrong.” Muhammad Ali

“That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” Friedrich Nietzsche

 

Risking the Humiliation of Failure

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For those times when by reaching for our dreams, living our adventures, or expressing our souls, we open ourselves up to the vulnerability and pain of possible failure, knowing that without that risk there can be no success.

“Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dream.”

“… often just before the big achievement, comes apparent failure and discouragement.” Florence Scovel Shinn

“Behold the turtle: He only makes progress when he sticks his neck out.” James Bryant Conant

“I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why . . . I succeed.” Michael Jordan

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” Winston Churchill

“You miss a 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.” Wayne Gretzky

“Defeat is not the worst of failures. Not to have tried is the true failure.” George E. Woodberry

“I don’t think there’s any artist of any value who doesn’t doubt what they’re doing.”
Francis Ford Coppola

 

Being the Boss of Your Mind

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As we reside in our minds, we must remember that we are also the CEO of them. We lead the direction our minds take, and everything in life is experienced through our state of mind.

“Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will.” Zig Ziglar

“Never tell yourself … I can’t go on. If you do you’re licked, and by your own thinking too.” Norman Vincent Peale

“The state of your life is nothing more than a reflection of your state of mind.” Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

“Chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken.” Warren Buffett

“You become what you think about.” Earl Nightingale

“Some people have a negative attitude, and that’s their disability.” Marla Runyan

“If I shall have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it, even if I may not have it at the beginning.” Mahatma Gandhi

“Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.” Charles Dickens

“The last of the human freedoms: to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” Viktor Frankl

“Happiness is to be found along the way, not at the end of the road, for then the journey is over and it is too late. Today, this hour, this minute is the day, the hour, the minute for each of us to sense the fact that life is good, with all of its trials and troubles, and perhaps more interesting because of them.” Robert R. Updegraff

“When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than any talent for abstract, positive thinking.” Albert Einstein

“We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements of life, when all that we need to make us really happy is something to be enthusiastic about.” Charles Kingsley

“There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.”
William Shakespeare

Giving Yourself the Present

To help us never forget our being while we’re so busy doing and thinking.

“Plenty of people miss their share of happiness, not because they never found it, but because they didn’t stop to enjoy it.” William Feather

“I can feel guilty about the past, apprehensive about the future, but only in the present can I act. The ability to be in the present moment is a major component of mental wellness.” Abraham Maslow

“Every moment and every event of every man’s life on earth plants something in his soul.” Thomas Merton

Going With the ADHD Flow

For when we are finally ready to give up being normal, and ready to be wonderfully, gloriously, successfully ADD.

“Work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along.” Napoleon Hill

“To be upset about what you don’t have is to waste what you do have.” Ken Keyes, Jr.

“Happy people plan actions, they don’t plan results.” Denis Waitley

“The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they cannot find them, make them.” George Bernard Shaw

 

The Positive Symptoms

The yin and yang of ADD – reminders that not all the symptoms are always bad all of the time. To help us remember that sometimes a strength can come as a side effect of a “deficit”

“When your desires are strong enough you will appear to possess superhuman powers to achieve.” Napoleon Hill

“It’s always fun to do the impossible.” Walt Disney

“Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.” Helen Keller

“The crisis of today is the joke of tomorrow.” H.G. Wells

“Thinking: the talking of the soul with itself.” Plato

“Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking and go in.” Napoleon Bonaparte

“Some say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.” John Lennon.

 

Dancing to Your Own Drumbeat

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No matter what other people think or how they may judge you or how you live your life – remember that you are the leading actor in the starring role of your life; they are merely supporting characters. There is no shame in authenticity but conformity for the sole purpose of fitting in, even when it goes against your true character, is negligent to the soul.

“Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires…courage.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

“If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.”
George S. Patton

“Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.” Judy Garland

“Every production of an artist should be the expression of an adventure of his soul.”
W. Somerset Maugham

“Art is either plagiarism or revolution.”
Paul Gauguin

“The two worst strategic mistakes to make are acting prematurely and letting an opportunity slip; to avoid this, the warrior treats each situation as if it were unique and never resorts to formulae, recipes or other people’s opinions.”Paulo Coelho

 

I hope you enjoyed – let me know your thoughts and share your own inspiration in the comments below!

Growth

The 5 Powers of Coaching You Never Knew About (And How It Can Change Your Life)

 

“Stand up to your obstacles and do something about them. You will find that they haven’t half the strength you think they have.” Norman Vincent Peale

 

Everyone has obstacles. EVERYONE HAS OBSTACLES!

Sorry for shouting. It’s just that on this path we call life, we tend to forget a couple of really important things along the way. The first of these being the fact that we aren’t alone in our vulnerability and tendency towards screwing things up.

The other thing we forget? That by turning to each other for support, we leverage our skills together towards removing the obstacles we face. Two heads are definitely a lot better than one at turning mountains into mole hills.

Support can come from a lot of different sources. It can come from family and friends, from employers or even from groups of people who share a common experience. But the best kind of support is the kind that comes from within. Being helped is great, but being aided to help yourself is even better.

You know, that teach a man to fish kind of thing…

Coaching is a perfect example of such help.

ADHD coaching is quickly becoming one of the most popular “non-medical” ways for managing the challenges of ADHD, and can be a powerful way of helping people reach their goals. Its power is rooted in the strength of the coaching relationship and the never-wandering focus on the goals you design for yourself.

When working on the challenges of ADHD, a coach won’t to tell you what to do but will help you figure it out for yourself. After all, you are the expert on your own life and no one else. At the same time, being helped through coaching is likely to be different from any other kind of help you’ve had in the past. So it may help to know a few key things to expect before jumping into it.

1. Coaching is based on a strong partnership.

We’re not talking about the same kind of partnership that you see in the doctor-patient, therapist-client, or any other kind of “helping relationship”. Those relationships tend to be based on one person being the expert and the other being the recipient of that person’s expertise.

Coaching is based on a strong connection and rapport between two people, whose aim is solely to help move the other person forward. A coach doesn’t necessarily know more than the client, but he or she does know how to ask all the right questions to help that person unlock their strengths and remove limitations.

The real power of this kind of relationship is based on a strong alliance between the two people, which stems from good rapport. If there is no rapport – don’t hire that coach. Trust me when I say that a good coach won’t agree to work with you if you don’t seem to connect.

2. Coaching is goal-oriented. On YOUR goals.

Some people come to coaching because their spouse gives them an ultimatum, or their bosses gives them one last chance to salvage their position with the company and offers coaching as the “fix”. Coaching is not a fix. It’s a method.

No matter the catalyst, regardless of the instigator, once you get in to coaching you will quickly figure one thing out – it’s all about you baby. Nothing is more important than what you think, what you want, and where you want to be.

3. As much as coaching supports you, it will equally challenge you.

Just as a sports coach inspires his player to be confident in their abilities, he also motivates and challenges his players to get even better at their game. Your ADHD coach is no different, but in this case, your game is your life.

Coaching isn’t just sappy “pep talks”. A coach asks the right questions to get you thinking, and then asks more right questions to get you acting. Thinking + acting = changing. Seems like an over-simplified formula, but when was the last time you sat and thought about an ongoing challenge from a different perspective? An ongoing challenge is usually ongoing because the thinking behind it has been unbending and rigid. Change the way you think about something and you are likely to change the thing itself.

Change the way you think about something and you are likely to change the thing itself. (Click to tweet)

 

4. Coaching is so transparent it’s practically see-through.

There are no tactics, magic tricks or head-shrinking psychological tools to mess with your head. A coach is present, authentic and completely up front about what it is he or she is thinking or curious about. He’ll say “Hey client – I’m wondering something about you right now and want to know if I’m right – can I share it with you?” A coach knows he may be right and he may be wrong, but he won’t know unless he asks.

He not only welcomes, but expects you tell him when he’s got something wrong. Not many professions allow the client to take such a lead, but coaching not only allows it but depends on it. Why is this? Because coaching is all about you.

5. Like I said, it’s all about you baby.

When is the last time you sat down and talked to someone for an hour straight about your goals? Or the last time you had someone else’s undivided attention and interest in what was on your mind? Has anyone ever asked how best they can support you in reaching your goals?

If you said “no” or “never”, I would not be surprised at all. Relationships aren’t built to focus only on one person’s experiences or goals, and the ones that do don’t tend to last very long.

Yet this is the concentrated focus required to make a life transformation possible. Before you deem the method as being egocentric or self-involved, let me invite you to think about it objectively, as if removed from the process.

When a company designs and launches a new product or endorses a new operational procedure, there are likely to be a few, if not several, meetings dedicated solely to those aims. In that same token, wouldn’t it make sense that there should be a few “meetings” dedicated solely towards your aims if you are in the position of redesigning your life? It’s not selfish, its good business sense. Your life is the most important business you will ever run.

Coaching is a safe place where it’s completely okay for it to be all about you.

I could talk forever about it, but I won’t because words can never portray the magnitude of a person experience. If you are thinking about trying coaching, the most important thing you need to know is that there is nothing sophisticated or mysterious about it. But the way it helps you explore and leverage your strengths, unlock your limitations, and catapults your towards achieving your goals can be simply magical.

 

Productivity

Warning! The Myth About Change & Living Your Adventure

Change is hard or so they say.

I say:

No it’s not. Not as hard staying the same when the same isn’t working anymore.

Change is just unfamiliar.

The experts, whoever they are, say the hardest part about change is the fear of the unknown. There is a supposed comfort in believing the devil you know is better than the one you don’t. Personally, I’d rather not know any devils but I wouldn’t stay with one to avoid another.

They also say people fail to make changes because the patterns they are accustomed to are easy and automatic. Whereas as change requires effort.

What do they know?

Personally, I think the biggest barrier between the life you know and the life you want comes down to a simple human habit: unrealistic estimations.

Fear is another barrier to change. But if fear (or anxiety) could be broken down to a simple formula, it would look like this:

Fear = an overestimation of the likelihood of a perceived bad thing happening + an underestimation of one’s ability to cope

If we applied this logic to change, the fear of changing your life, or really going for your goals, would look like this:

Inability to make a change = an overestimation of how hard something is (or likelihood of failing) + an underestimation of one’s capability to do it or to cope with the consequences of not succeeding

I’m not a maths lover but I do like formulas for the simple reason that they break complicated things down and make them clearer. I like real life examples because they give those complicated things some context. I hope sharing mine with you helps.

I’ve lived across the world. In 1999, I left a cushy government job that paid handsomely for a youngster in my profession to backpack Australia for a year. I’d sacrificed prestige and my rung on the ladder for menial jobs and adventure. Then I moved back home with Peg and Al (as my parents are affectionately known), only long enough to recompense my bank account and set off for England.

After seven years and a lot of living, my partner and I decided it was time to move to back Canada (it’s a place north of the US), with our baby. But the nomads in us weren’t yet settled. We took a detour through the American West, 10 month old baby in tow, living out of suitcases and a rented vehicle. We ate out at supermarkets and chain restaurants. We even survived a mugging and a protracted case of unexpected morning sickness. Two months of fun, adventure, sickness, irritation and quite a few moments of “What the heck are we doing!?”

Did we doubt the decision we’d made to travel? Of course. Especially when that pink pee-stick surprised us one morning in a Super 8 room, somewhere in the Coachella Valley.

Would we change it if we could? Never.

At the end of the two months, we’d had enough. We took a quick trip to Hawaii to collect our thoughts (lay on a each and do noting) and flew home to Edmonton where we stayed. It wasn’t the original plan, but that was how it ended up.

None of it was easy, but all of it was much easier than anyone could have predicted.

The thing people most often say when I share my story is this:

“Wow that sounds like fun, I wish I could do it (apart from the mugging and morning sickness)”

And I say:

“Why couldn’t you?”

Of course you could. If I could do it, with all my executive dysfunctions, any sensible person could do it. It depends on how much you want it and how much you believe in possibility. It also depends on how much you are willing to fail.

The only thing that really stands in the way of living a life you really want is whether or not you really want it.  And what you are willing to do to get it. Travelling across Western USA with “two babies” really wasn’t as hard as filing income taxes every year or working at a dead end 9-5 for an entire mortal life. We do hard things all the time.

When it comes to the possibility of living your dreams, the proof is in the pudding. You only need to do it once to realize that it was your own head holding you back all those years. Of course you need to plan and prepare but being adaptable and open to changing your plans will serve you equally as well.

Our intention had been to travel Western Canada after America to find a place we’d really like to live. But because we’d overstayed our time in America, we decided to go straight home. And because of that, we settled somewhere that (as it turns out) we really didn’t care for all that much.

Still, none of this was hard.

It’s not that we couldn’t have carried on traveling to find the “perfect” place in Canada. We changed our plans to do what seemed like the right thing at the time. Many times I have asked myself if we should’ve forfeited the American trip to spend more time looking for a great place to settle down.

The answer I have always come up with is “no”.

Although we haven’t been incredibly fond of place we are living, it was exactly where we needed to be at that time our lives. We’ve learned a lot of things and made a lot of priceless connections with people we’d otherwise never have met.

And had we not traveled, we’d have rued the fact that we never got in “one more adventure” when the opportunity presented. Regret is much worse than uncertainty or even failure.

When it comes to changing your life you need to have a plan – just don’t get too attached to it. Be ready to change course mid-journey, because sometimes it’s the road you never planned on that leads to the best destinations. When it comes to reaching for your dreams, strike a balance between determination and adaptability. If you are too attached to certain outcomes, you’ll miss what is already there or what could be.

Realize that your estimation of whether or not your dream is possible is the one thing that will determine the success or demise of it. If you think it’s too hard you won’t bother trying. If you want it bad enough to make it happen no matter how hard it is – you’ll do it.

And no matter what, be prepared to fail.

Failure is rarely as bad as you predict it will be, but limiting your life to avoid it is worse than you can ever imagine. (Click to tweet)

 

Go back that equation at the start of the post and look at it. Can you see that you won’t be able to quantify any of those variables of change-making until you try it?

Change isn’t hard. Staying the same when the same isn’t working – is.

And four years later, it’s time for another change. We have finally found that place where can see ourselves putting some roots down and are moving there next week.

Will it work out? I don’t know. But I can’t wait to find out!

Pass this post on to someone you care about whose fear or failing is stooping them from making an important change in their life. Remind them that there can be no failure when learning is present.