Mindset

ADHD Restlessness – Sit & Stay Is Not Just For Dogs Anymore

If you’re restless and you know it clap your hands. If you’re restless and you know it stomp your feet. If you’re restless and you know it and you really want to show it, if your restlessness and you know it, do something else!

Doing something else has been the story of my life.

“What are you doing?” someone asks.

“I’m looking for something else to do, that’s what I’m doing”, I say.

I’m not talking about the distractible part of my ADHD brain. I can be completely focused and still have the urge to move on to the next thing. Even when I am interested in that thing I am doing, I still feel compelled to do something else. I can be having fun, a lot of fun for crying out loud, and still be thinking “When is this fun going to be over so I can move on to the next thing?”

This Restlessness has a Siamese twin following it everywhere. She is called Impatience and let me tell you: she is a b*tch. But I won’t get started on her right now. These two hijackers seemed to have permanent residency status in my psyche. Meaning, they are the part of my ADHD I have yet to achieve significant mastery over.

You too?

My ADHD Restlessness… is not what I thought

Recently I had an epiphany about those crazy sisters Restlessness and Impatience. Through talking with my own coach, I discovered a new awareness about myself. This was following a cognitive preference survey I took, and learned a few things about myself I had not known previously. Or paid much attention to anyway.

I am built on forward motion. It is a fibre that is weaved through every cell of my being. This is the H part of my ADHD. It doesn’t always look like it on the outside, but inside that engine is always revving. Always looking forward, always moving forward. I don’t dwell on the past because I can’t go back in time. But I can get to the future if I keep moving, so guess where I dwell?

It’s not necessarily helpful. You can’t stop and smell the proverbial roses in the future because it hasn’t happened yet. And who cares? By the time I reached the roses I would have already started looking for the lilacs anyway.

Mindfulness practice has helped, to a certain extent. But not as much a conversation with my coach did.

See, I thought I needed to master my restlessness. Find a way to manipulate and manage it, the way I have done with my organization skills and attention span. This is a perfect example of how a one-size-fits-all approach will never work, especially when you’re trying to fit the “size” on ADHD.

The logic behind my view of restlessness was that I needed a better “strategy”. Not so. See, it’s not so much that I need to be moving. It’s that I need (NEED!) to be going somewhere. I simply need to be going. And I’m seldom happy for long when I get there, and that’s why I am eternally searching for the next thing.

So in the end, I didn’t need a strategy, I needed a way to re-frame this restlessness. I wanted desperately to be able to sit and play with my kids, be in the moment with them, and not feel the constant urge to tidy up the toys or start a load of laundry. I wanted a way that I could enjoy laying on the beach, without continually thinking about moving on to another beach or wondering if we should have chosen some other outing for the day.

I wanted to be able to sit and stay.

Here was the clincher for me. In order to sit and stay, I needed to honour my need for forward movement, which can also be expressed as “growth” or “making gains”. By focusing on the personal growth I am achieving through sitting and staying, just a little bit longer than I normally would, I have learned to linger.

This lingering is helping me move forward in leaps and bounds on some major personal and relationship goals I have. I am turning my challenge in on itself, leveraging it is a strength.

I needed to see “staying” from a different perspective. With every moment I am able to linger, when old fibres compel me to move on, I am going forward personally – further than I have ever gone before. Because going is really about growing.

Tell me about your restlessness, where it shows up and how you manage it. Have you had any other challenges that you’ve turned in to strengths? Share your experiences in the comments below.

Growth

Four Habits that Will Get You Out of A Rut

It doesn’t need to be pointed out that I haven’t been around lately.

If you haven’t noticed, then disregard that statement. Obviously it’s you who hasn’t been around in awhile. Where have you been, by the way?

As always, I like to fess up and lay it all out of the table – my thoughts that is, not supper. That you can collect for yourself from the pans on the stove. That’s the way I roll, baby.

Uh-hum, quit circumventing the issue and get to the point, narrator. What I am meaning to say is…

I’ve had writer’s block.

Let me back it up a minute. I have, in fact, written lots of posts during the time I’ve been AWOL. In the same fact – I haven’t actually finished any of them. They started off strong, but dried up quickly like dollar-store felt pens.

Lately, I haven’t written much more than a grocery list on a scrunched up post-it note. I won’t dispute that it was quite an eloquent grocery list, but still, not quite worthy of publishing here.

I’ve been in a rut; one that has two grooves to it. The first one is marred by a paucity of interesting thoughts and inspiring ideas worthy of committing to HTML. Basically, I’ve been brain dead. I realize that admission doesn’t bode well for the rest of this post, but bear with me. It might get interesting yet.

The second groove? Well, I’ve also lacked the words with which to capture ideas, even if I could manage decent ones. In short… me aint writing good sh*t.

If good ideas are the essence of your inspiration, then the words are the tools with which you manifest it. My ideas and vocabulary have sucked lately.

I hope you feel sorry for me because I sure do.

But here’s the thing. I suspect having writer’s block is no different than getting stuck in any other rut one might find oneself in at various times in life. (The fact that I have referred to a group of people, collectively, in the singular form of “one” shows you just how blocked I am. If ExLax was psychoactive, I would be a junkie by now.)

But still. Is not having any good ideas much different than getting stuck in the same old patterns of unhealthy eating, or being consumed by the monotony of the daily grind’s unchanging melody in any other way? Is it any different than losing your keys for the umpteen millionth time or continually putting off an important chore to float off in the twitterverse for hours upon end?

It’s all a form of getting stuck. Stuck on words, stuck for ideas, stuck on behaviours, stuck in repetitive thinking patterns. Stuck in a sticky situation. With only a stick to get you unstuck, if you can stick to the effort it takes to get unstuck.

Can anyone help me out here? You can see I’m still stuck.

“Why yes, I can!” says me. I am talking to myself, even though I have all of you here. Because I can’t hear you, while I can hear me. In my head of course. I dare not talk out loud to myself, lest it seems abnormal and frightening to the fly sitting on the desk beside me. I am an animal-lover, after all.

And now for the conclusion of the post…

“Wait a minute!” you say. “How can you conclude a post when you haven’t even gotten to the point!”

“Aha, but I have!” I reply. The whole point is here – if you look for it closely.

I don’t think that ruts have much to do with being stuck. They have to do with being uninspired. The more uninspired you are, the less motivated you feel to do anything about it. The less you do about it, the more you stick to the same old groove for the simple reason that any other groove … is not really that inspiring anyway.

And that’s how you get stuck.

But there are three ways to get out of writer’s block, or any other ruts that hold you captive.

 

  1. You get started, even if you’re not inspired.
  2. You keep at it, even if the tools you have aren’t the best, or you aren’t doing as well at “it” as you would like.
  3. You keep going, knowing that you will only get inspired and find the tools by actually doing the thing you want to do. You won’t get anywhere by just thinking about it.
  4. You commit to learning, rather than mastering, your craft (or new habit). Learning allows you to make changes that will help you get continually better. Mastering is an either/or scenario that makes it more likely you will give up when things aren’t going well.

 

In essence, people are always wondering how or where they can find the motivation to change the way things are for them.

They can’t. They have to start making those changes, even when they don’t feel like it. The motivation part comes later.

Admittedly, this was a pretty terrible post, even by my meandering and sometimes nonsensical standards. It wasn’t pretty and it certainly wasn’t easy. But it was a post. I wrote it. And by writing I am slowly getting back into the writing groove.

It can only get better from here. (“That’s an understatement”, you say. “It surely couldn’t get any worse.”)

Be warned though, there are also a few things that will keep you stuck in a rut, so watch out for them too:

 

  1. Thinking something is only worth doing if it can be done perfectly.
  2. Waiting for inspiration to move you towards action (in times of stuck-ness, it is the action that creates the inspiration not the reverse!).
  3. Using distractions as excuses for not putting the time in.
  4. Giving up and not bothering at all.

 

You can never get unstuck if you stop trying to get unstuck.

And expecting perfect execution of your efforts, or immediate mastery of your strategies as deal-breakers for whether or not you will try in the first place… is like drowning on purpose so no one notices you’re a clumsy swimmer.

On a final note –

I want to thank you from the bottom of my restless heart for sticking with me through this sloppy post. Am I happy with the way it turned out? Not incredibly, no.

But I’m happy I wrote it because it means … I am writing again. I hope my sloppy post gives you permission to get out of your own rut.

Share your tips for getting unstuck or out of a rut in the comments below. And if you are experiencing writer’s block like I was, check out my friend Bryan Hutchison’s post on helping your creativity by decluttering (your mind and environment) – over at positivewriter.com.

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.