Yesterday, my husband, Duane, and I celebrated 29 years of marriage. I would like to say it was all blissful but I’d be lying, and I’m a terrible liar. (Not the anniversary! That was wonderful! I mean the 29 years of marriage!)
Until Duane received his diagnosis of ADHD in 1996, neither of us knew what the problem was. Duane and I struggled with dividing household chores (the struggle was not in dividing them, I did it all despite his best efforts and promises to do better), with our finances and the added pressures of Duane’s frequent job changes as he became bored with or lost his jobs. Under so much pressure, we fought… a lot. Duane’s impatience and emotional outbreaks affected our relationship and his relationship with our daughters. The entire family was dysfunctional.
After his diagnosis, Duane began his journey toward embracing the positive and overcoming the negative aspects of his ADHD. Duane and my youngest daughter, as is quite common, received their ADHD diagnosis around the same time – Kyrie was diagnosed first and as we read about her situation, light bulbs went on about Duane’s struggles. And while only Duane and my youngest were diagnosed, I think of us as a family with ADHD. We could only solve this problem working together, and so this was as much my journey as theirs.
Today, as an ADHD coach, when I work with an adult ADHDer, some of our biggest challenges are with the spouse. And I get it. Been there, done that! Being a member of family with ADHD can be exhausting, nerve-wracking and absolutely frustrating. And I think what I found most frustrating is that I thought I had no control over anything. Once I learned that there were some things I could do to make life with ADHD better for all of us, the building process began and the frustration diminished.
Here’s what I did to fix Duane:
- First, I changed my mindset. I realized that I wasn’t the only one suffering in the family. I know Duane had it worse than me – he was living it 24/7. He wanted to be a better partner and a more patient father. Our daughters suffered too. They saw their parents constantly worried, fighting or impatient. Kyrie struggled with her ADHD and learning disabilities, and our oldest daughter, Jennifer, felt neglected as all our efforts were directed at helping Kyrie and Duane. Duane wasn’t the only one who had some work to do, I did too. As parents, we feel for our children and would do anything to make their hurt stop, after all they didn’t ask for this. Oddly enough, we don’t always feel the same empathy towards our spouses with ADHD (even though they didn’t ask for it either!) I let go of my martyrdom and embraced empowerment, realizing that at any given moment, people do the best they can with what they know at the time.
- I learned all I could about ADHD. I didn’t just learn so I could help my daughter (which as a mother, I would do without question) but also for my husband. The more I knew, the more empowered I felt. I read books, listened to webinars and went to conferences on ADHD. Attending our first ADDA Conference as a couple was a life-changing event. We both learned so much, met other people coping successfully with what we were going through and left empowered.
- I became part of the solution. Duane struggles with several aspects of ADHD, but the worst is his short-term memory, which IS an ADHD problem. So why was I asking him to do things or to pick things up at the store when he didn’t have a pen and paper or his PDA to take notes? I also often asked him to help when he was tired or distracted. How likely was that to turn into a positive situation? It was only when I was willing to let go of the way things were done and turn responsibility over to Duane that we began to make progress. He told me he’d take over certain tasks, if he could do it his way. He took over the grocery shopping. I offered my help if he needed it (secretly thinking we’d probably starve to death waiting for Duane!) To my surprise, he created his own system for doing it (don’t ever tell him I said this, but it’s much more efficient than the way I did it!) and we’ve never looked back.
- I took care of myself. I lowered my standards on things that didn’t really matter much, especially in the beginning. So what if I didn’t clean the house EVERY week and cook ALL my meals from scratch? Instead of chasing dust bunnies, I spent time with friends to relax and return to my family a lot more ready to laugh as freak out at the wacky situations most ADHD families encounter regularly.
- The most important thing I did was to notice any positive changes. As Duane began to work with his physician and his coach, I avoided nagging about what wasn’t yet addressed – change takes time – and made sure to notice what was moving in the right direction. And I was sure to let him know how much I appreciated it.
There are several other things we did to improve life as an ADHD family. We learned to communicate better how we felt rather than blaming, and we shared our dreams and aspirations. We started dating again; no, we didn’t have much money back then, but using Duane’s vivid imagination, we found fun things to do that cost little or no money. We didn’t get bogged down by social norms of gender roles and what constitutes woman’s work and man’s work, opting instead to take on the jobs around the house that we were better at or liked more.
We even created our own secret language to use discretely in public (I could provide Duane with cues to appropriate behavior in social situations, for example. And he could signal when he couldn’t take another minute of the 47 family members sharing a cabin in the woods for Christmas anymore and needed a break for some peace and quiet.)
And so now 29 years later, here we are still married, and much, much happier. We laugh a lot more and fight a lot less. I can safely say that Duane is my best friend and I, his. Was it easy? Absolutely not, but I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished together and I know it was definitely worth it.
This just in! ADDA has just announced their speakers’ lineup. You already know ADDA will be holding the Adult ADHD Conference July 18-21 in Detroit, Michigan at the Renaissance Center. Now, I’ve got a sneak peak at upcoming highlights (I don’t think they’ve even put it on their site yet!) What an incredible line up of speakers including, not one but, three keynote speakers!
In my last post, I mentioned that Sari Solden, who on her own is worth seeing, would be opening the conference with the first keynote address. Now it is official, both Dr. Ned Hallowell, author of “Driven to Distraction”, “Delivered from Distraction”, “Married to Distraction” and many more, and Canadian comedian and co-creator of “ADD and Loving It?!”, “ADD and Mastering It” and a founder of TotallyADD.com will be keynote speakers.
I’ve had the privilege of seeing Ned Hallowell give keynote speeches on two different occasions, and I have found him to be incredibly insightful and hilarious.
I’ve also had the privilege of collaborating with Rick and Ava Green on various projects related to TotallyADD.com. Rick was even a participant in my program, “The Maximum Productivity Makeover for Creative Geniuses” (aka ADHDers). During the program, we worked together for more than six months, and I witnessed his great sense of wonderment and his insightful take on life with ADHD.
Any one of these speakers would be worth a trip to Detroit. All three in the same conference will be amazing, as each of them excels at delivering a message that is inspiring, entertaining and beneficial.
There will be many breakout sessions over the three days with professionals working with adults with ADHD presenting their very best material covering strategies to improve your life in many areas of expertise, from career, to productivity, to legal, to organizational strategies and more. You’re sure to find many sessions that will answer your questions, provide the strategies you’ve been looking for and making your life with ADHD easier.
They’ve even added special sessions aimed at spouses of ADHDers. I’ll be participating in panel with Linda Anderson, Ava Green and Bruce Greenfield, all non-ADHDers in successful marriages with ADHD spouses. There really is something for everyone.
Finally I’ll also be conducting two breakout sessions of my own:
• ADHD and Burnout: Essential Strategies to Help Prevent ADHD-Related Burnout, and
• ADHD and the Science of Change: The Power to Take Control
The Early-Bird Special discount has been extended to May 10. This was changed to make sure people had time to register once the conference program was posted, but it won’t be delayed again, so don’t put it off… the price will jump dramatically before the conference starts, and you know you want to go, so make sure you get the best deal possible, register now. Members save even more (even more than the cost of joining!) so I highly recommend you join ADDA at the same time.
By now you’ve realized I’ll be going. Having already been to three ADDA conferences, it’s an easy decision for me. These conferences are fantastic… if you’re an adult living with ADHD, it will change your life. My decision is made even easier knowing it’s within driving distance from Toronto, Ottawa and even Montreal; carpooling will likely be an option.
So as they say at ADDA, I’ll MEET YOU IN MOTOWN!
Recently the ADD Association, an organization that offers education, advocacy and awareness for Adults with ADHD announced that they would be holding a national conference aimed at ADDers in Detroit, Michigan. This is great news!
The 14th International Adult AD/HD Conference will take place July 18th to 21st, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan at the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center with the theme, Reach Out for Connection, Hope and Empowerment.
My First Experience of the ADDA Conference
Having been to the last three ADDA National Conferences, I am amazed at how ADDA consistently offers excellent conferences with great speakers. This year should be another amazing year with keynote speaker, Sari Solden, author of Women with Attention Deficit Disorder and Journeys Through ADDulthood. I heard Sari speak at that first conference and I thoroughly enjoyed her analogy about “sheep shame”, her own personal battle with ADHD. She was insightful, funny and entertaining and I look forward to hearing her speak again.
When we first heard of the ADDA conference in 2005 from a friend who had been to a few of them, Duane and I decided to go to see what other nuggets on ADHD we could get. What we found surpassed our expectations. For Duane and many of our local friends who came with us, not only did they learn new strategies and tools, they increased their self-acceptance, they found a community, and felt free to “let your hair down”.
For me, as a spouse, I began to better understand what it was like for Duane to have ADHD and learned how I could partner with him (instead of act like his mommy) to create a life that we both can enjoy.
Both Duane and I came back with a much better understanding of the impact of ADHD, a large number of strategies – many of which I still use in my day to day coaching – and a commitment to return to every ADDA national conferences.
I was especially touched when one young woman who had written a song but struggled to get up and sing it. I wasn’t sure if it was a problem with her guitar or just her profound shyness. But with the help of some of the participants and the encouragement of all, she finally got up and sang during the ADDA Talent show. Her song spoke of the challenges of ADHD but also of the hope that resided in her and it moved many of us in the room. The talent show reminded us to pay attention to our strengths, a key to having a wonderful life with ADHD.
Each Conference Better Than the Last
My first experience of ADDA’s conferences was great but each year, each conference was better, so I can only imagine what lies ahead for us.
Given the quality and variety of subjects of importance to ADHDers, the conference is relatively inexpensive, especially if you become a member of ADDA. And why wouldn’t you, for as little as $45, you gain access to regular webinars, access to a large number of free resources and deep discounts on conferences. For many of you, the central location of this conference provides many travel options, such as car pooling.
Early-Bird Special in Effect
You can probably tell that I’m going and I hope you’ll join us. The early-bird registration discount ends on May 10th but don’t wait. Commit now before you forget, sign up now.
Reach Out for Connection, Hope and Empowerment
July 18-21, 2013 – Detroit, Michigan
Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center
Montreal Adult ADHD Support Group will be hosting a conference on ADHD Coaching
Given by ADHD Coach Linda Walker (aka me)
Tuesday, March 5, 2013 at 7 pm
Royal Victoria Hospital at Peel and Pine Street
at the Allan Memorial Institute (2nd building from Pine and Peel entrance).
All are welcomed
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
As a coach, I work with adults with ADHD, and one of my most important tasks it to help them to respond to their situation rather than reacting. When they are first diagnosed, especially when their ADHD is discovered later in life, interpret their diagnosis as, “I’m broken!” The search for a cure begins immediately. They turn to their doctor, “Now that you know what it is, isn’t there a pill that fixes it?” We are conditioned to “react” with medication rather than respond with lifestyle choices – miracle diets make headlines when the only real solution is to eat less and exercise more.
Even adults with ADHD who discover that “pills don’t teach skills,” and that with or without medication, you still need to change your approach to life so it’s more “ADHD-friendly” perceive themselves as broken and begin looking for a quick “fix.” You look for training to help you overcome your weaknesses by working longer and harder, being more disciplined, being more driven… you struggle with time management so you take training to improve your time management, you struggle to make decisions so you find an expert in decision-making processes, you work with an organizer so you can finally get your files in order… In every case, you seek, and struggle to apply, advice from experts who are well-meaning and knowledgeable, but who are “neurotypicals.”
You seek out experts, but they are experts in the way non-ADHD people do things. What they teach you are strategies and techniques perfectly adapted to help non-ADHD adults manage time better, to get organized and to make better decisions. Unfortunately, when these strategies fail, as they must since they’re not designed for adults for ADHD, you blame their failure on your own shortcomings. As an ADHD adult, you rarely question the strategies, or the expert; you shoulder all the blame.
Sometimes, initial improvements provide a false “A-HA!” moment because the ADHD brain loves anything new, but over time, these strategies cannot work effectively for you because they deny that you are different from neurotypicals… not worse, not better… but different. This is like you cutting off your left hand so you’ll be forced to do things the “right” way, right-handed. In fact, for many, many years, left-handed people were beaten in school for trying to write with their left hands. Being left-handed was seen as being “broken” or worse, evil! However, we now know that if instead, you learn to work with your left hand you’ll have more success in life than if you deny your differences. Why, it might even work to your advantage… left-handed pitchers are often harder to hit than right-handed pitchers.
So if your reaction to your ADHD has been, “Can’t somebody fix me?!,” and you’ve been trying to adopt a “neurotypical” approach to managing your life, I highly recommend you choose instead to respond by embracing your ADHD. Embrace your uniqueness and learn to work with your ADHD, adopting ADHD-friendly ways to manage your life. It is only when you accept your uniqueness and respond to it as merely a difference rather than a defect… when you stop trying to be right-handed like everyone else but seek out left-handed tools, that you experience growth and freedom.
We’re launching two coaching groups for The Maximum Productivity Makeover for Creative Geniuses (AKA ADHD Adults). The groups start on Tuesday, October 16th at 1 pm ET (7 pm Central European Time) and Thursday, October 18th at 7 pm ET (3 pm CT).
For those who are registering by September 30th, we’ll also include two bonus conferences:
Adult ADHD: You, Me and My ADHD
When diagnosed, most adults with ADHD feel relief. You feel vindicated, that you’re not, in the words of Kate Kelly and Peggy Romundo, “lazy, stupid of crazy!” But your partner felt relieved too, but for an entirely different reason. Unfortunately, your partner was thinking, “Great! Now we can fix this thing and get on with our lives!” Maybe you were too!
Linda Walker, whose husband was diagnosed with ADHD only after their daughter’s ADHD was recognized in school, was at her wits end when she learned her husband also had ADHD! As Linda explains, “Once we discovered ADHD wasn’t something you could cure, that it was genetic and permanent, I was devastated! It felt like a life sentence… I was condemned to “taking care of” my ADHD spouse, being the responsible one, the only adult in the family!
In this session, now-ADHD Coach Linda Walker and her husband of 28 years, Duane Gordon, successful artist and ADHD poster-child, share some of their secrets for surviving adult ADHD and creating a thriving relationship. It is possible to transform a “life sentence” into a lifelong commitment.
Adult ADHD: Create Time to Succeed
Catch-22 was a great novel, but it sucks when it’s your life. You desperately want to improve your productivity, but you don’t have time to learn how. Adult ADHD has turned your life into perpetual chaos and confusion. Not a minute to spare and yet you’re never caught up! You need to learn new self-management strategies and skills so you can impose order in the chaos, take charge of your own life and master your ADHD, but to do that, you need to make time in a filled-to-overflowing schedule. Catch-22!
Duane Gordon, ADHD Coach Linda Walker’s husband had hit rock bottom. Demoted and threatened with dismissal, he had to do something, but what? In their first session, Duane’s ADHD coach pointed out that he was trying to fit about 220 hours of activity in an average week (and that’s before sleep!)
After saving his job (and earning a promotion to vice-president), he went on to pursue his dream of being an artist, which he had abandoned many years earlier as he struggled to meet the demands of college and his career. In this session, Duane, Linda’s Maximum Productivity Makeover co-developer and guinea pig, shares strategies and techniques he used to create time in an overloaded schedule to master his ADHD and take charge of his life.
To register, visit The Maximum Productivity Makeover for Creative Geniuses Website.
My husband, Duane and my daughter, Kyrie created a video for ADHD Awareness Week. Please visit and vote for them (or the best video). They are all amazing.
http://www.adhdawarenessweek.org/vote-for-your-favorite/. Hurry as voting ends today!
In my article, “Decisions, One of the Hardest Things You Do,” I described the amazing power of routines, habits and systems to reduce the decisions you make. Making decisions is hard work, and adults with ADHD struggle to make decisions more than most. Replacing decisions with routines gives you more energy. But, I often hear new clients (or people who’d love to be my clients, if they only believed it would work for them) say they can’t develop routines, systems or habits.
If You Think You Can’t
I choose my clients carefully. If you can’t imagine at least a tiny light at the end of a long tunnel, even the best coach in the world can’t help. You don’t need to believe in your unfailing ability to make your dreams come true. As an adult with ADHD, you’ve faced too many setbacks and fruitless struggles to have absolute faith, either in yourself, or in anyone who says they can help you achieve what you haven’t been able to on your own.
When I first meet a client, I often hear a familiar story. Imagine Stan calls to inquire about coaching for his ADHD. Even though he’s not happy, Stan works in the same job he’s had for years (or if he’s lost his job, probably not for the first time, he works in the same career) and he doesn’t like it. It takes all his time and energy. He leaves the office late, so tired he can only collapse in front of the TV, lacking energy to engage with friends or family, and he crawls out of bed the next morning to do it again.
When I tell Stan I work with Creative Geniuses, adults with ADHD who are bright, creative and ambitious, I hear Stan snort and I know he’s checking if he dialed the right number. Stan remembers being like that, but no longer. I want to encourage Stan, but encouragement isn’t enough unless he can find at least a nugget of self-confidence, a belief in the possibility that things could get better.
What does this have to do with routines, habits and systems?
Duane, my husband, an adult with ADHD (and my guinea pig), felt trapped in his life too. He believed he couldn’t develop routines or change his habits. But our lives are controlled almost entirely by routines and habits. Duane wanted to be an artist, but he didn’t have time to draw or paint. His job took all his time and energy, condemning him to an unfulfilling life.
And although Stan is unhappy, he’ll stick to his routine. If he loses his job, he’ll find a similar job. He watches TV out of habit. Though he’s convinced he cannot develop routines and habits, routines and habits (that he created!) gave him the life he wants to escape!
Ironically, routines and habits provide the fastest route to create the life you want. Duane’s poor impulse control and attempts to self-medicate (common in ADHD adults) led to an unhealthy lifestyle. Duane was more than 100 lbs. overweight, smoked two packs a day and never exercised on purpose! Every attempt to change his life (quitting smoking, crash diets, joining a gym) ended in failure.
You create your new life, whether you change your health, your career, your relationships, or all of the above, by developing routines and habits that guide you gently in a new direction. When you give your life a drastic makeover, you lose your existing routines and habits. But since you actually do want to get rid of them, who’d suspect there’s anything wrong with that? The problem is that without existing routine and habits, you have nowhere to anchor new ones.
Baby Steps Will Get You There
Rather than changing his lifestyle all at once, Duane took baby steps, anchoring new routines and habits to the existing ones. True story; to begin exercising, Duane decided to walk around the block each time he went outside for a cigarette! It’s far easier to develop a new habit by anchoring it to an existing one, even if you know the anchor habit will eventually disappear. Today, Duane no longer smokes; he exercises regularly, and has lost over 100 lbs. (and has kept it off for more than 10 years.)
This approach is guaranteed to work, but when Duane goes from morbidly obese and smoking two packs a day to a healthy lifestyle within one paragraph, you might think the changes took as long to make as they do to describe. It didn’t, and you can’t instantaneously duplicate those results in your own life.
You can take the first step, but it’s the beginning. Beginning is fantastic, amazing, beautiful, even magical, but no matter how your beginning turns out, you need courage to take the next step once that first step works (or doesn’t.) Some steps will fail. Perseverance matters more than any one event.
I am picky choosing my clients because beginning is not a magic ticket to freedom. That first step is the tip of the iceberg. And unless you can imagine that light at the end of the tunnel, you probably won’t try. And if you do try and it doesn’t work (and by “work,” I mean getting you 100% of the way there) you’ll quit.
Instead, you’ll keep your job (until you can’t anymore), you won’t have time and you won’t enjoy your life… but you’ll accept it because you everyone says you should be grateful for what you have. You fall for, “You need to face reality.” But “reality” is a lie. If you don’t get what you want, it’s because you believe it’s impossible, and if you get what you want, it’s because you start, even though you know it’s impossible, and you keep at it even though you know it won’t work, until one day you look around and realize, you did it. When I choose a client, it’s someone who’s ready to start even knowing it’s impossible. When we work together, you’ll be surprised just how far we can get.
One of the hardest activities you’ll undertake today is making decisions. As our society becomes ever more crowded with options, and information about those options, the number of decisions we make, and complexity of the analysis required in making those decisions seems to grow daily. Making decisions is hard work. No wonder you’re tired at the end of the day.
Tim Ferriss, author of “The Four Hour Workweek,” theorizes that we all start the day with the ability to make a certain number of decisions, and that once you’ve reached your limit, whatever it is for you, the remaining decisions you make will be less than optimal. You’ll be tired, less creative, cognitively impaired. To use a modern metaphor, you have limited bandwidth, and each decision takes up some of that bandwidth. Once it’s used up, you won’t have enough remaining bandwidth to pursue big dreams.
Some people have a greater-than-average capacity for decision making, just as some people have a natural advantage in certain sports. Of course, others have a lower decision-making capacity. Perhaps ADHD lowers your decision-limit. You can still make decisions, but the more decisions you make, the more likely the quality of your decisions will suffer.
Save Your Decisions for Things That Are Important
If you have a limited number of decisions you can make easily and correctly each day, it makes sense to save your decisions for things that are important to you. While eliminating frivolous decisions can benefit anyone, if you have ADHD, reducing the number of decisions you make unnecessarily gives a bigger pay-off. This is why rituals, routines and systems are so powerful for adults with ADHD.
Develop Routines In Lieu of Decisions
Developing routines eliminates daily decisions by making them once rather than repeatedly. Save your energy and your creative genius for decisions that count. If each day you debate over going to the gym, you waste energy and some of those limited decisions you can make each day. If instead, you decide (just once) you’ll go to the gym every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, you’ve eliminated three decisions per week.
Michael Phelps, the Olympic champion swimmer who happens to have ADHD, was born with bigger lungs than 99.9% of the population. Some people are born better swimmers; perhaps some are born with more decision-making capacity. But just as we are not all capable of Michael Phelps exploits in the water, we can’t all be gifted in decision making.
Systems Eliminate Unnecessary Decisions
Automating or systemizing activities to eliminate unnecessary decisions pays off big-time. The rewards for adults with ADHD are extraordinary. After all, if your goal was to cross the river but you could not swim, you would benefit far more from a canoe than Michael Phelps, who could dive in and be on the other side before you had your life jacket on!
If it can’t be automated, can you create a ritual or routine around it? Do you decide each morning to brush your teeth? Or do you do it automatically? These are simple examples of an extremely powerful strategy, just one of the powerful strategies you’ll implement in your own life in the Maximum Productivity Makeover.
Many adults with ADHD overwhelmed by the decisions they need to make every day often despair because their efforts to create routines and systems have failed. They tell me they’d love to become more productive by creating systems, routines and habits (and thus eliminating energy-draining decisions), but all their past efforts have come to naught. In fact, they’re convinced this strategy can’t work for them. Well, I have good news about that…
Stay tuned, because in my next article, “Routines and Habits: Yes You Can,” I’ll share some of the secrets adults with ADHD can use to establish routines and habits (even if you’re absolutely convinced it’s impossible for you!)
You’ve heard the expression, “You can’t see the forest for the trees?” Some people get bogged down in details, focusing on the “trees” and losing sight of the bigger picture, the “forest. But this is rarely an ADHD trait.
I’ve long remarked that most adults with ADHD are “forest”, or “big picture” thinkers. You are visionary, with an ability to clearly see your dreams and what they’ll look like and what it’ll be like when you experience your dreams realized. (Some of you may have lost this ability, or rather, you’ve lost the desire to indulge in your ability to imagine a fantastic future because repeated failure has beaten down your motivation and your belief in the possibility of a better future, but you likely still have that ability, and you can recover.)
A clear vision is very powerful for staying motivated, even against great odds and obstacles. It’s also essential when leading others. A clear and exciting vision and the passion and talent to share that with others is powerful for motivating others to join you in achieving your dream. That’s why many ADHD adults become successful entrepreneurs.
One of the frequent challenges faced by visionaries, however, is that you might never make progress toward realizing your vision. It’s not much help to have a great dream if you never make it out of the starting gate. Goals must be set and steps must be taken. (It’s a lovely forest, but you’ve still got to deal with those trees!)
If you’re not a big picture thinker, you usually think of goals in concrete steps. When you have a dream, you think, not of the big picture, but of the goals or steps you’ll need to take to realize your dream. “Tree” or concrete step thinkers are more likely to take action than big picture thinkers, especially when something is new, difficult or complicated. However, if (or should I say when, since you surely will face challenges when you have big dreams and ambitious goals), you hit a snag, you are more likely to lose your motivation.
If every time you deal with a tree, you’re faced with another tree, it’s easy to forget, not only about the forest, but about the beautiful cabin by the pristine lake waiting for you on the other side of that forest.
The Best Approach
The best approach to reaching ambitious goals according to research is a combined approach of the big picture view to motivate you and others with a step-by-step process to getting there. When I read about this research recently, it confirmed what we have been preaching for six years in Succeed in a FLASH, one of the six modules of The Maximum Productivity Makeover. Of course, we don’t just recommend it, we coach you into adopting both approaches.
Adults with ADHD often struggle to shift back and forth between the two approaches. Many prefer the “forest” approach, while others, having experienced numerous failures, get stuck in the “trees”, constantly analyzing each step and ruminating over everything that could possibly go wrong. Neither makes much progress. How can you, an adult with ADHD successfully combine the two?
What Can You Do?
If you’re a tree thinker, sit down and imagine what things will be like when your dream is realized. What will you see? How will you feel? Engage all your senses… If it’s relevant, imagine even what you will smell. How will your life be different once you’ve achieved this goal? In other words, why is this important to you? Once you’ve created a clear picture in your mind’s eye of the successful outcome, create a way to revisit this regularly. You can create a vision board, find a song that represents for you the way you feel when you’ve reached your goal and play that song to recreate the feeling of success or write a newspaper article announcing your success as if it had already happened.
If you’re lost in the forest, you’re motivated, but not making any progress toward your goals. Determine a few steps, or even just one, that will allow you to make progress toward the realization of your dream. Notice that I did not say, “the next step” because often, the order in which you do things is less important than just making progress. Make a regular appointment with yourself to plan another step. What’s another step you could take?