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The Best Time to Have Adult ADHD

As an adult diagnosed with ADHD, one of your first reactions is likely regret at not knowing earlier. I often hear my clients say, “Things could have been so different for me if only I had known sooner that I had ADHD.”

The Best Time to Change

An ancient proverb tells us, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago; the second best time to plant a tree is today.”

This is true of trees, and of improving your life. Yes, if you had changed your life 20 years ago, you’d be reaping the benefits today. However, it’s never too late to change (or to plant a tree!). Start now to improve your life and you will reap the benefits of change in the future, and chances are, it’ll take a lot less than 20 years. On the other hand, throwing your hands up and deciding you are too old to change guarantees you’ll never benefit from your new found knowledge.

The Best Conditions for Change

Do you think you can’t really change your life until you’ve organized your home, or you get a better job or you get the kids out of the house? Or you may feel like the “old dog” and think it’s too late to change the course of your life or learn any “new tricks.” But what if you’re wrong?

What if you could change something today that would change your life for the better? What if you could make a difference right away? Your life would be better… for the rest of your life!

What if, instead of waiting until you had the “right” education, you got a job working toward your new career right away? Would the experience put you that much further ahead, both while you’re studying, and when you graduate? What if you could have a better life even if your house doesn’t look like a Better Homes & Gardens layout? What if you didn’t wait until you can take a year off to write your novel, but you began now to create your outline, do your research or even write, a bit at a time?

Instead of waiting until conditions are perfect to get into the life you want, could you start doing something today that moves you a little closer to it? More importantly, what regrets will you have in 20 years if you don’t plant your tree, or change your life, today?

If you think things could have been different if you’d known about your ADHD earlier, prove it! Now you know, so do something. Make that change, plant that tree, and avoid the bigger sting of, “I knew I had adult ADHD and I did nothing about it…”

Strengthened by Adversity

I wanted to share this inspiring story with you. After all, if you have ADHD or you love someone who does, you could use a reminder that it’s possible, even, under the right conditions, (which you CAN create, by the way) inevitable, to be wildly successful despite ADHD.

In an interview with the March edition of Success Magazine, Creative Genius, Sir Anthony Hopkins, describes the rejection and pain he felt as a child with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADHD) and dyslexia. Labeled a “problem child” and struggling in school, anger consumed him as he compared himself with his brilliant cousins who excelled academically.

“Act Happy” to Be Happy

Thankfully for those of us who have long enjoyed his acting, he chose to channel the fire of his anger to “rise above it” instead of becoming a negative force in his life.
Playing different roles as an actor allowed him to discover that being happy is a choice. He explains how, just as a great actor must do for any part, once you assume the “role” of a happy person, you program your mind to be happy and in the process you become happy. It took me years to realize that indeed, we all have a choice as to how we respond to life’s difficulties, and that choosing to be happy is just as possible and easy as choosing to be unhappy.

Choose Your Strengths

Adopting a strategy that every successful ADHDer will recognize, he chose a career that uses his strengths and talents while minimizing his weaknesses. This is not to say that everything comes easily. To succeed as an actor, he works extraordinarily hard and invests a lot of time and energy preparing for his roles so he’ll feel confident and at ease during rehearsals. He doesn’t waste time or energy making excuses why he can’t learn his scripts because of his ADHD and dyslexia. Instead, he realizes that, for the opportunity to pursue his passion, this is a small price to pay.

Give It Your Best Shot

When you focus your energies and efforts in an area of strength, you can do anything or overcome any obstacle, yes, even with ADHD. Sir Anthony Hopkins struggled in school, was labeled early in life, and works harder than other actors to overcome his dyslexia to read his scripts and compensate for the short term memory issues that make it so difficult to memorize his lines. And yet he doesn’t allow any of these obstacles to stand in his way.

Don’t Let Obstacles Stand In Your Way

Are you letting obstacles stand in your way? What can you learn from Sir Anthony Hopkin’s example as a Creative Geniuses and ADHD Adult? I was inspired by his story and realized each of us can:

  • Choose to use adversity as a springboard to greatness
  • Choose to be happy, “act” happy, and you will be happy
  • Choose a career that uses your talents and minimizes your weaknesses
  • Work hard and “over” prepare to feel confident and in control as you pursue every opportunity.
  • Don’t follow the crowd but make choices you intuitively know are right for you; success follows.

What other inspiring lessons can you draw from Sir Anthony Hopkin’s story? Or do you have your own inspiring story of overcoming adversity to succeed in spite of ADHD. Please share below.

Related Posts:

The Best New Year’s Resolution: No More Running Away

Sing Your Heart Out

Who Are You Not To Be Great?

Announcing: The Maximum Productivity Makeover for Entrepreneurs

Several entrepreneurs have requested that we offer an “Entrepreneur Exclusive” version of The Maximum Productivity Makeover for Creative Geniuses specifically for Entrepreneurs and Self-Employed Professionals. Entrepreneurs face unique challenges and have more flexibility in applying strategies to maximize their productivity than other Creative Geniuses.

It will include three one-hour morning group coaching sessions each month for six months, along with electronic books and workbooks accompanied by online audio and video instruction. Group members will select the day – Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday mornings starting in May. You’ll invest $267/month, which covers all materials, the group sessions and two additional one-on-one sessions with me. Visit the Entrepreneur Exclusive version of The Maximum Productivity Makeover for Creative Geniuses to learn more.

If you are interested in joining us, sign up by visiting the Entrepreneur Exclusive version of The Maximum Productivity Makeover for Creative Geniuses or if you still have questions, please complete a Request for Complimentary Session and check your interest as Maximum Productivity Makeover by requesting a complimentary session or call 514-807-5008.

Entrepreneurs Need Productivity Too

businessownerEntrepreneurship and ADHD go hand in hand. For many ADHDers, entrepreneurship is the best career choice. In the right business, one that excites you and that takes advantage of your strengths, entrepreneurial success is within your reach.

Entrepreneurship can solve many problems for ADHDers, after all, as an entrepreneur, you can’t fire yourself and you can definitely delegate those tasks that don’t interest you. There are many role models of successful entrepreneurs with ADHD, and I’m not describing a select few “rock star” business owners. Every day, I work with entrepreneurs successfully facing and conquering their ADHD demons, and even using their creative genius to their advantage.

Of course, these same entrepreneurs are quick to confirm that maximizing your productivity is an absolute necessity for any entrepreneur to succeed. Time is money; really, time is more valuable than money… you can’t get more time if you run out! You may not have a boss to impress (besides yourself), but the forces that will judge whether you were productive enough are even less forgiving than even the toughest boss. You need to be amazingly productive.

Most entrepreneurs start their business as a solopreneur. You’re responsible for every aspect of your business, from creating the vision right down to every gory little detail, like sales, invoicing, chasing payments and managing paperwork. And you have personal and home responsibilities, unless you want to come home late one night to find your suitcase waiting for you on the front porch!

You must maintain your health with exercise, a good diet and sufficient sleep because if you miss a day, there’s no one to take your place. And staying financially healthy, though often more challenging when you’re in the early stages of starting a business, is essential. There’s nothing more distracting than creditors’ phone calls!

It’s easy to see how so many entrepreneurs get overwhelmed or neglect essential aspects of their lives. So how do you do it all?

You adopt strong entrepreneur productivity practices. Productivity is not only about work performance, it includes all the commitments you make to others, to yourself, and to all that supports you, including your health, work-life balance and financial security. It’s about self-management.

Neglect your self-management and you’ll soon find yourself overwhelmed, possibly in divorce court and procrastinating on your invoicing or sales calls. And that spells T-R-O-U-B-L-E.

What have you been neglecting lately?

CADDAC 2010 ADHD Conference & Comedy Night

Wanted to let you know that I’ll be speaking in Toronto on April 25th and hope that if you’re in the Toronto area, you’ll attend this really cool conference on ADD, a rare event in Canada.

CADDAC 2010 ADHD Conference & Comedy Night

A One Time Weekend Event That Can’t Be Missed

For Parents and Caregivers, Adults and Adolescents with ADHD and their Families, Educators, and Medical Professionals

Our featured speaker this year is the renowned Thomas E. Brown PhD. Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine, Associate Director of the Yale Clinic for Attention and Related Disorders, and well known author.

Our addtional speakers are Rick and Ava Green, Dr. Kenny Handelman, Dr, Laurie Dietzel, Linda Walker, Laura MacNiven, Dianne Azzarello and Heidi Bernhardt

Date: Saturday April the 24th – Childhood ADHD
Sunday April the 25th – Adult & Adolescent ADHD

Location: Blue Danube Banquet Facilities
1686 Ellesmere Road, Toronto

Comedy Night Fund Raiser:

Featuring Rick Green with highlights of his one man show and Dave Hemstad performaing his comedy act including ADD and Sports.

ALSO
Don’t miss our “Dinner & Interactive Forum” with the conference speakers and comedians.

For more information: http://www.caddac.ca/cms/page.php?199

Is That the Best You Can Do?

runninglikecrazyCreative Geniuses, including adults with ADHD, often use procrastination, sometimes even intentionally, to get things done, at least those things that don’t pique your interest.  For days, perhaps even weeks, you try to coax yourself into completing a task you’ve committed to or have to do.

Each time you sit down to do it, you’re distracted by something more pressing, more important or, let’s face it, more interesting, and despite your effort, you don’t make a dent in it until…

At the last minute, mere hours away from the deadline, you swing into action!  With adrenaline pumping, you’re able to focus like a laser and plow through the project or task.  You’re “in the zone.”  Nothing keeps you from getting it done, not the ringing phone or emails arriving, not your colleagues or your hunger, family commitments fall by the wayside as does everything that normally distracts you.  You’re a machine!

Most Creative Geniuses recognize themselves in the above description, and even tell me how amazing it feels when they are able to achieve this level of focus, even hyper-focus.  Many admit it’s their standard approach for anything they do.  And they insist the work they produce is great.  But is it?

Or if it is great, have you ever wondered how much better you’d be able to do if you were able to achieve the same level of focus without waiting until the last minute?  Could you go beyond great and be amazing, perhaps even be the best?

For Creative Geniuses, time is often elastic; when you’re in the zone, you’re three times as productive as most people but you can’t accomplish a boring task in a month of Sundays!  No wonder you’re usually a poor judge of how long something will take to complete.

In fact, you may even rely on external signals (your boss screaming, “You haven’t started yet!?”) as an indication of when to start working.  Unfortunately, it’s half-past the eleventh hour and there’s no time to review or do a final check, so even if your work is good, it’s far from the best you could have delivered.

If you think there are benefits to procrastination, consider these questions.  Even if you’re “getting by,” ask yourself, could you do better if you started earlier?  Are you tapping into your true potential when you use this procrastination strategy to get things done?  How much better could your work be if you’d had the time to put your best effort into it?

Many Creative Geniuses tell me, “If it wasn’t for the last minute, I wouldn’t get anything done!”  If you rely on that approach, you’re shooting yourself in the foot.  Maybe it’s time to consider learning some alternative strategies.

If you’d like to learn some alternative strategies for conquering procrastination, visit www.CoachLindaWalker.com/conquer-procrastination.html.

The Best New Year’s Resolution? No More Running Away

wayforward-signMost people run away from New Year’s resolutions. That’s because typically, New Year’s resolutions don’t work very well. They last an average of 17 days… for adults with ADHD it’s likely closer to 5 days! Ever wonder why New Year’s resolutions haven’t worked for you? Maybe you need to stop running away.

As an ADHDer, you receive plenty of suggestions for resolutions you need to make, from your spouse, parents, colleagues, boss and friends, about your tardiness, disorganization, poor productivity, impulsiveness… need I go on? Always the people-pleaser, you impulsively (Oops! One down already!) resolve to be on time, better organized, and more productive this year. A few days later, you throw up your hands in surrender… nothing works.

These types of resolutions come ready-made with two problems: 1) you’re running away from something you don’t want instead of towards something you do want, and because of that, 2) your motivation quickly disappears and you must rely on willpower.

There’s nothing exciting about working on your weaknesses. You don’t dream of being less weak; you dream of being stronger. Since your resolution doesn’t excite and energize you, each day you will yourself to be “less weak.” Unfortunately, willpower is a finite resource. Relying on willpower to change an ingrained habit is like dog sledding across the Sahara with a team of Chihuahuas!

2010 could be the year you achieve great things

2010 could be the year you achieve great things (they’re great because they’re things that you actually want!) and overcome some of your weaknesses in the process. Find goals that ROCK you and compel you to change. Choose resolutions that fuel your resolve in the face of difficulty, that move you toward something YOU want and that allow you to work in your areas of strengths.

Move toward your strengths, not away from your weaknesses

Don’t resolve “not be tardy.” Instead, resolve to live a calmer, more harmonious and Zen life. If you really want to live a calmer life, you’ll quickly realize that scrambling to get to appointments on time is stressing you out. You realize that if you plan your time, organize your things so you know where your keys are when it’s time to go and leave early, you’ll arrive calm, in control and totally Zen (and as a bonus, you won’t be late!)

Instead of resolving to manage your time better, resolve to take on a new hobby or spend time each week developing a new skill that takes advantage of one of your strengths. To free up the time to do something you really want to do, you’ll be motivated to organize your things so you won’t waste 45 minutes a day looking for them.

Before long, you have a new hobby you love and you’re a calmer, happier person to boot! Getting better organized and improving your time management is just a means to an end, a happy coincidence. Spending more time doing what you like to do is the fuel that takes you there.

Take a new approach towards goal setting

Take a new approach to your New Year’s resolutions for 2010. Run toward your strengths instead of away from your weaknesses. Ask yourself:

  1. What are my greatest strengths, abilities and interests?
  2. If I knew I couldn’t fail, what outrageously compelling resolutions would I make this year?
  3. What parts of my life would I be willing, even eager to change if it was the only way to honor my outrageous and compelling resolutions?

And if you’d like to learn how to free up some time to pursue your resolutions and compelling goals with ten amazing strategies that improve your productivity by working with your strengths instead of against them, get your free (but amazingly valuable report!), Productivity Myths Busted now.

ADHD and Motivation Part 3: Find Your Real Fuel

full_tankIn the first article of the series I introduced the option to inject interest in anything you want to complete to help increase your motivation. The second article of the series introduced the possibility of using momentum to overcome your motivation issues when you have ADHD. This third article is sure to really rock your world.

Some people call the Maximum Productivity Makeover for ADHD Adults the ultimate time management program for ADHDers. Actually, this self-management system will teach you how to manage your time, energy and life. You learn amazingly powerful strategies proven effective by ADHDers just like you, who struggled just like you, but who’ve transformed their lives completely using these very strategies. You can use it to make your dreams come true too.

The Maximum Productivity Makeover is hard work though. I’m a firm believer in working smarter rather than harder, but it’s still hard work to learn how to work smarter (Annoying conundrum there, isn’t it? Seems there’s going to be hard work either way… so I highly recommend the approach with less work… learn to work smart!) Ok, so there’s work involved. But if it’s worth it, hard work doesn’t scare you, right? Especially when you can see the payoff. That payoff, what we call your “fuel,” is actually your key to success.

You’ll do the work, in fact, you won’t even notice that there’s hard work involved, if the reason driving you to do the work truly motivates you. All you need is a good reason. And there’s only one good reason for you to tackle any program, including The Maximum Productivity Makeover. What’s that reason? You’re the only one who knows what it is. But you may have buried it long ago.

You want to transform your life because the way you’re living now doesn’t match the amazing future you imagined for yourself before “life” started to beat you down. Before you struggled to sit still in school. Before all those report cards suggested you could do much better, if only you tried harder. Before your career so drastically failed to measure up to your aspirations. Before your spouse despaired of ever having help around the house instead of what seems like just another kid.

If you want a complete transformation so you can have a “normal” life, you need to keep digging. No child ever dreamed of having a “normal life,” unless a normal life includes slaying dragons! If you want an amazingly creative mind focused like a laser with the power to realize any dream you imagine just to impress your… wife, boss, mom, dad… you’re not there yet. Keep digging.

Keep digging until you find that old, buried, hidden and mistreated dream. Keep digging until you feel the passion you felt when you were younger and not as “realistic” as you’ve become.

You’ll know you’ve found that passion again, because your life will change… dramatically, drastically, amazingly! While programs like the Maximum Productivity Makeover for ADHD Adults provide the tools, it is YOU, your dreams, that provide the fuel! And the fuel determines the miles you travel, and the speed you move.

Great New Adult ADHD Web Site

totallyaddDid any of you catch the Canadian show, ADD and Loving It, that featured Patrick McKenna and Rick Green, both formerly of The Red Green Show. It aired in September on Global.

If you’ve never seen the show, it’s worth you purchasing it when it’s available. Using humour, both McKenna and Green, “come out” with their own battles with ADHD and discuss the myths, the challenges, the truths and everything in between about Adult ADHD.

Why am I talking about this now? They, along with Dr. Umesh Jain, an ADHD specialist, and Ava Green (Rick’s very talented wife), have launched an exciting new Web site called TotallyADD at http://www.TotallyADD.com.  Provided in entertaining video format that includes a touch of humour, this Adult ADHD-specific site offers expert information on ADHD.

Don’t miss the opportunity to learn more about ADHD and to help others around you understand it better.  If you want a few good laughs, and at the same time a dose of common sense, watch Rick’s Rants. They are a riot.

ADHD and Motivation Part 2: Using Momentum

adhdbraininterestThe title probably gave it away, but this is the second part in a series of articles. In the first article of the series , we talked about injecting interest, novelty, challenge and sometimes urgency to make a boring task more enticing.

Today, we’ll look at a way to motivate you to do a task you find boring or difficult (and not in a fun, challenging way) and which you just can’t make interesting.

First, let’s stay away from guilt. You are not the problem, the task is. It’s boring, or worse. Guilt doesn’t work, and the negative feelings guilt leads to can throw you into a whirlpool of negativity.

You can recognize the dangerous slope to guilt when you start asking yourself, “Why?” Why can’t I do this? Why can’t I just focus? “Why” is not a productive question, and even if you had the answer, you’d be no closer to getting your task done.

There is, however, a guilt-free way of getting that challenging task done. In fact, this approach is so powerful I often refer to as an ADHDer’s “secret weapon.” There are two different ways of using momentum to tackle any task; we’ll look at one in this article, and the second in Part 3 of this series.

A physics law states, “An object in motion tends to stay in motion, and an object at rests tends to stay at rest.” If you can’t get started on a task, it’s very likely that situation is not going to change. If you can get moving, however, it’s much easier for you to keep moving.

Adults with ADHD often struggle with motivation because, unlike neurotypicals, when a task is boring, your brain doesn’t activate at all. While neurotypicals may find the task equally boring, they’ll still be able to activate their brains enough to focus and get it done.

ADHDers facing a boring task struggle to get their brains energized, and without that energy, you are unable to block out distractions so you can focus and get it done. Instead, you notice every stimulus and if anything is more enticing, before you know you’re doing anything but the boring task.

You can use momentum like a booster cable in a car. You can jumpstart your brain using a short, interesting or energizing task or activity. Do something you enjoy, like playing a musical instrument, drawing or taking a brisk walk outside. Once your brain is “in motion,” you can stop the activity you enjoy and move quickly to work on the boring task for as long as your brain can take it.

If you find yourself struggling again, move back to the short energizing task, a bit like putting your foot on the gas to keep a sputtering motor from dying.

Try it. I’m sure you’ll find it very effective. I’ll see you back here soon for part 3 of this series on ADHD and motivation, where we’ll look at another way you can use momentum to get more done.

In the meantime, please share your ideas for short, energizing or interesting activities you use to jumpstart your brain and activate your secret weapon, momentum.

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