So Good It Hurts?!

iStock_000006612240XSmallTwo Ways Your Creativity Can Hurt You

As an entrepreneur, adult with ADHD or other creative genius, your creativity is one of your most important assets. Your imagination knows no bounds and it’s a great strength. However, if you’re not careful, your best friend, your very own creativity, can actually hold you back.

Your Creativity Hurts You When You Use It to Explain What Happened

Things happen… constantly. Most events are completely meaningless in your life… in fact, you aren’t even aware of most of them. However, if you’re aware of something happening, you automatically try to assign it meaning. You have a voice in your head constantly evaluating every event and categorizing it according to its impact on you, and to determine its impact, you make up a story about it. Usually, making up stories is a good thing, but if your imagination invents a story that generates pain or self-doubt and paralyzes you, then you’ve just imagined shooting yourself in the foot!

Of course, most events have no effect on your life, are completely innocuous and/or have nothing to do with you. But you explain every one of them using scenarios you invent with that wonderful imagination of yours. Even events that affect you may not have anything to do with you; certainly, they’re not your fault. For example, if your parents divorced when you were young, you may have invented a story that “if I didn’t ADHD, my parents would have stayed together.” If you wave to someone across the street and she doesn’t wave back, you might interpret it as meaning “she hates me.” If you notice people laughing as you enter a room, you could decide, “They’re laughing at me.”

Your Creativity Hurts You When It Stops You Trying

You can even make up stories about things that haven’t happened yet. This is when your imagination really kicks into high gear. Your creativity makes you a fortuneteller! For example, faced with a new project, you might tell yourself, “I can’t do that! After all, I’ve never done it before.” Or you’re using the past to predict the future (it doesn’t work that well for the weather so why would you think it would work for your life); “I’ve tried that before and it didn’t work. These things never work for me!” You’re defeated before you try.

This, of course, is deadly for a Creative Genius. After all, as you unleash your creative genius and follow your passion, you’re going to be doing many things you’ve never done before. You should be stretching so far out of your comfort zone you won’t even remember what it looks like. You don’t need your imagination predicting failure before you get started.

Just the Facts, Ma’am

Detach fact from fiction and you’ll soon realize that while your parents did get a divorce, it had absolutely nothing to do with you. Yes, it affected your life, but you were not the cause and nothing you could have done would have prevented it. You invented that meaning using your wonderful (but sneaky) imagination! The girl who didn’t wave back just didn’t wave back. It doesn’t mean she doesn’t like you; it doesn’t mean anything. Your imagination decided she didn’t like you. Your imagination could have also decided she didn’t see you or that it wasn’t even who you thought it was, but even that is an invention! Yes, they were talking when you came into the room, but that’s all. Your imagination is hijacking your emotions by creating a story about how they were talking about you.

If you do things you’ve never done before, how can you predict what the outcome will be? (Actually, by imagining you will fail, you increase your chances of failing, but let’s not get into a philosophical discussion!) And if you try something new and it doesn’t work out the first time, is it possible that it might go wrong without meaning that “I’ll NEVER be able to do this!”? Hey, I’ll be that if you used your creative genius, I bet you could even come up with another explanation!

Things happen. They’re going to keep right on happening. You can continue to let your imagination hold you captive by inventing stories that make you feel bad or helpless. Or you can decide to examine the facts objectively without attaching a made-up meaning to it (and they’re all made-up!), a story that implies everything bad that happens is your fault, everyone is your enemy and you’ll never be able to do that! You can choose to see things objectively and save your imagination for creating new and exciting projects and ideas and free yourself from the pain your distorted or limiting beliefs are creating for you.

How Can I Use This?

  1. When faced with a recurring painful situation, ask yourself:
    1. What am I thinking about that situation? What do I think happened?
    2. What really happened? What are the facts, just the facts?
  2. When you hear yourself say, “I can’t”, ask yourself:
    1. Is that true?
    2. How do I know it’s true? And is it really, really true? Is there another explanation?
  3. Separate your distorted or limiting belief from the facts, and choose to only look at the facts. This will open up a completely new world for you.

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ADHD Brainwashing First, Transformation Follows

ADHD Brainwashing First, Transformation Follows

celebrateI’m sure you’re familiar with this quote:

“When it comes to the future, there are three kinds of people: those who let it happen, those who make it happen, and those who wonder what happened.” – John Richardson Jr.

I’ve always thought there are really only two kinds of people: victims and victors. Either you’re creating a life you’re excited about (the victor), or you’re complacent, letting things happen and just hoping to survive (the victim). As a victor, you’re moving forward, ignoring or beating every obstacle, paddling upstream… or you’re the victim, caught up in the challenges of a difficult life you didn’t ask for, swept along by the current.

You can choose to be the victor, or you can choose to be the victim. I’m not judging… We’ve all played both roles. If you’re a Creative Genius “in the rough,” a struggling ADHD adult, artist, author or entrepreneur, my husband and I relate to what you’re going through. We have both felt like victims of his adult ADHD.

We’ve struggled as a couple with almost every aspect of our relationship. We fought about the distribution of household chores, his driving, his impulsivity and as a result, my nagging, to name just a few. I felt very insecure and our entire family was often destabilized as Duane quit job after job because he knew he was about to be fired and moved us across the country (and back) in search of the “perfect” career.

Financial problems created by impulsive purchases and forgetting to pay the bills on time added to this feeling of insecurity. The car broke down because he’d forget to get it fixed and I didn’t have the energy to take on one more task. Every day was a disaster waiting to happen.

Fourteen years ago I was seriously contemplating divorcing my ADHD hubby. The only reason I stayed with him was his quirky sense of humor and my belief that he was a diamond in the (very, VERY) rough! Today, we are more in love and more passionate than ever about each other. We overcame our financial problems, we learned how to work as a couple, and Duane realized that it’s easier to turn the career you choose into the perfect career (in fact, it might be the only way to have that perfect career.)

What changed for us?

The other evening, Duane and I were discussing what came first, the change in attitude (for lack of a better word) or a better life (a better relationship along with financial and job security?) Did we enjoy a better attitude because things were going better, or did things go better because we adopted a better attitude? We arrived at the same conclusion: a better attitude comes first. It was only when we decided we were meant to be greater than what we had been so far that we empowered ourselves to take control of our lives. It was this belief that led us to make the choices and take the actions that lead to success, and without believing it first, we never would have had the courage to act.

We created and are still progressing toward a life we love by investing in ourselves, even when we didn’t have the financial means to do it.

Was it easy? No… and yes. (I know, I’m supposed to say Yes and No but I’m a bit of a non-conformist.)

It was hard.

It was hard having creditors calling us, and it was no fun not having money to have fun! But we realized that if we were unwilling to sacrifice some short-term pleasure, we were sacrificing something much larger… the future we could have had. So we created a system to manage and eventually eliminate our debts (no we didn’t go bankrupt), we cut expenses – restaurants, concerts, etc. – and found creative ways to have fun inexpensively.

Our youngest daughter needed us to advocate for her in school – she has ADHD and learning disabilities – and our oldest daughter needed our attention. While we both worked outside the home, we soon found that by committing to our future, we were motivated to learn to communicate better and learn to manage the household as a team and create a better life for our daughters and us.

There’s more (a lot more!) but I’d have to write a book or a soap opera script … maybe I will one day. :

It was easy too.

Our newfound belief in ourselves, the new vision of ourselves we created, and our improved attitude, which was the result of our self-imposed and self-inflicted “brainwashing,” made it so much easier because we knew our struggles were only temporary… we were taking action to move out of that crappy life.

Hope backed by action was and is still an amazing aphrodisiac for life. I invite you to choose to see the diamond in the rough, the Creative Genius that lies in wait within you, take control and create a life you love, one that allows you to act powerfully in your areas of strengths and passion.

How Can I Use This Today?

Pick one thing you wish was different. To use a very simple example, let’s say you want the clerk at the store to be nice to you, instead of being rude as usual. Instead of being the victim of his rudeness, take a leap of faith and believe the clerk isn’t being rude. Provide yourself with a different point of view. He’s not rude; he’s just trying to serve you as quickly as possible. He isn’t purposely cold and unwelcoming. Now, believe this new point of view and act accordingly. Instead of glaring at the clerk because he’s so rude, smile and thank him for serving you so quickly. To push this experiment as far as you can, tell him you love coming to his store because you always get such efficient service (and that is true… you just wish he smiled while he was being so efficient!)

What’s your investment? You might have to admit you’re wrong and that the clerk is not actually rude. And what’s the potential payoff? You stop being the victim and become the victor. And there’s an excellent chance you’ll get amazing service accompanied by a friendly greeting (this visit and every time you return to this store!)

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Can Adults With ADHD Really Become Creative Geniuses?

reinvent-yourselfMany ADHD adults have tried different approaches to fit in. You’ve tried to be more “linear,” more “logical.” You’ve enrolled in Franklyn-Covey or Day Timer time management programs. They didn’t work. You’ve tried to emulate family members and friends, hoping, at least, to “look normal.” You’ve spent great amounts of time cleaning your office / desk / home, trying to achieve perfection.

“Help, I Don’t Think I’ll Ever Be Normal!”

But nothing was ever good enough. The saddest part is that many of ADHD adults eventually give up on themselves, thinking “I’m ADHD, I can’t get my s&#!t together, so how can I ever succeed?”
Of course, if you think you’re beaten, you are! If you think of yourself as defective, incapable, a victim of your ADHD, you can’t reach your full potential.

Become a Creative Genius Instead

I’ll explain. Recently I participated in a program because I wanted to bring my business to “the next level.” My business, like many others, has been affected by the economic crisis.
I couldn’t understand why I still had to struggle to make ends meet. After all, I had been working hard and investing a lot on myself and in my business. Then it dawned on me. The person I was then was not who I needed to be to take my business to the “next level.”

I’ll be honest; I had been working hard behind my computer screen. However, to grow my business I have to talk to people who intimidate me a little… okay, a lot. The current “me,” when faced with contacting these “scary” intimidating people, gave into the fear and cleaned my desk. This fearful desk-cleaning nut was not the person who was going to go far in business.

To become a successful businessperson, I had to reinvent myself as a successful businessperson and do what a successful businessperson would do. I had to be bold, to get out there and talk to people, and not just any people, but the very people who intimidate me. Oddly enough, once I figured this out, my fear was no longer in the way; I no longer let the fear stop me. No, the fear doesn’t go away, but I am not a successful businessperson who is able to feel the fear without letting it stop me from doing the things I need to do. Now I take action, making me the successful businessperson I longed to be.

Reinventing Yourself Can Be as Simple as Changing Your Point of View

When you reinvent yourself, you choose to be the person you need to be to achieve what you want, and then you take the actions that being this person allows you to take. Reinventing yourself as a creative genius allows you redefine yourself, which leads you to think and act with a very different perspective. As a capable creative genius, you no longer live within the limits your ADHD (and you) imposed on yourself.

When my husband tried to lose weight, nothing worked until he decided to reinvent himself. He reinvented himself as a healthy person and began to make the choices a healthy person would make. This allowed him to shed 120 lbs! Einstein chose to master his creative genius, not by trying to be “normal,” but by working on mathematical formulas instead of trying to improve his writing skills (he was dyslexic) or keeping his home spic ‘n span, (he delegated that to his poor wife). Judging from photos, he probably didn’t spend a lot of time on personal grooming either. To us it seems only natural.

If right now you see yourself as an ADHDer, consider perceiving yourself instead as a creative genius, who will have a huge impact on your world. This will help you think as a creative genius and choose activities that allow you to take advantage of your untapped potential instead of watching another TV show (that you really don’t like anyway!)

Seeing yourself as a Creative Genius gives you freedom and reduces the resistance you feel. You allow yourself to be Unstoppable!

How Can You Use This Tip Today?

First, visualize your life as a creative genius. See yourself working with your strengths, imagine feeling competent, and smile to yourself as you visualize enjoying the fruits of your labor. Get out a piece of paper and describe what being a creative genius allows you to do that you can’t do right now.

Now, given the potential reward, don’t you think it’s time to unleash your creative genius? What action would you take if you were a creative genius? Well, you ARE a creative genius if you say so, so take that first step. Be bold and don’t allow your old self to stop you.

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Obstacles to Unleashing Your Creative Genius
Being ADHD vs. Having ADHD
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The Maximum Productivity Makeover for Inattentive and for Overwhelmed Adults with ADHD

adult adhd,productivity and adhd, work and adhd

The dates of this program have changed. The start date of the program is Saturday, October 9, 2010 at 11 am ET and sessions take place every 2nd Saturday mornings to accommodate more people. For more information check out The Maximum Productivity Makeover for Adults with ADHD Group Coaching Program Web page.

Obstacles to Unleashing Your Creative Genius

creativegeniusUnleashing your creative genius takes time and energy. You have amazing ideas. They’re creative, out-of-the-box and so crazy they just might work, if only…

As an entrepreneur, adult with ADHD or other creative genius, you don’t lack imagination. I’m convinced that a creative genius or, even two or three, already have the solutions to many of the world’s problems, but they just can’t seem to bring them to fruition. One of the biggest regrets my clients share with me when we first meet is, “I feel I have so much potential, but I can’t seem to execute any of my brilliant ideas.”

The sad part is that not only are you missing out on a more fulfilling life but the world, your community, your family and your friends are also missing out on everything you have to contribute.
You’re so busy making a living, keeping your job, saving your marriage, staying out of trouble, the list goes on… that you just don’t have the time and energy required to realize your creative projects. Paradoxically, your ADD brain, provides you with the flow of ideas that lead to unconventional creativity, but also creates the obstacles that prevent you from bringing them to fruition.

To accomplish your projects, you need:

  • To conserve energy so you have some left over at the end of the day to implement your ideas;
  • To organize your time so you are able to allocate time to work on them;
  • To create a better environment (physical, financial, social, family, body, etc) to support you;
  • To recognize and develop your strengths and minimize the impact of your weaknesses;
  • To manage your projects by creating systems and habits that will allow you to accomplish even the most boring task to make your creative ideas happen; and
  • To overcome procrastination.

My clients and I work on together these areas. You bring the creative genius, and I offer the focus, action and success. :). Hey, I like that!

In a few days, I’ll provide some ideas on how you can accomplish these things and allow your projects to see the light of day.

Now, how can you use this information today?

  • First, identify the obstacles that keep you from moving forward with your projects.
  • Second, consider what first two or three steps you can take to meet one of these needs.


Related posts:

What on Earth Is a Creative Genius Coach?
5 Reasons to Unleash Your Creative Genius – Part 1
5 Reasons to Unleash Your Creative Genius – Part 2

Being ADHD vs. Having ADHD

beyond-adhdAdults with ADHD often refer to themselves as “ADHD Adults,” as if ADHD is something that you are instead of something you have. I’ve never been comfortable with that idea, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on the reason until…

Last weekend, I met a woman whose child has a severe handicap. She explained that for years she had felt doomed to caring for a handicapped child for the rest of his life, or at least the rest of her life. She defined him by his disabilities instead of seeing the child behind the label.

However, she had a personal breakthrough when she began to see her son as a child with a handicap rather than as a handicapped child. When she began to notice and concentrate on his strengths, his qualities, his abilities and his persistence, well, so did her son, and before long, miracles began to happen. Her son began to develop physically and intellectually beyond anyone’s expectations.

Though it may sound like trivial wordplay, seeing yourself as an adult with ADHD instead of as an ADHD adult changes your perspective, and it allows you to see the whole person that you are with your talents, dreams, abilities and all your other gifts. Yes, you still recognize that ADHD may make some things more difficult, but it doesn’t make them impossible, and hey, it might even make some things easier. This new point of view lets you see new opportunities, bringing what’s possible into focus instead of holding your attention only on the impossible.

When you see past the “disability” to focus on your gifts, you begin to unleash your creative genius. Yes, you have ADHD, but it doesn’t have you.

How Can You Use This Tip Today?

If you’ve been defining yourself or someone you know as an ADHDer, adult or child, change the language you use. This simple change provides a new perspective and allows you to see the person in a completely new light.

Next, begin to notice your talents, strengths, dreams and hopes and concentrate on those while acknowledging and seeking help to manage any obstacles your ADHD creates. You’ll be amazed at the miracles that become possible.

20 ADHD-Friendly Ways to Re-Energize Your Brain

Taking a break may be better for productivityIn part one of this series, Be Productive: Take a Break you learned how important it is for ADHD adults and other Creative Geniuses to recognize when it’s productive to take a break. Yesterday, I discussed the science behind re-energizing your brain. Today, I have a list of possible break activities you can use to get your second wind. Every one of them is better for you than watching TV or playing a video game. Hopefully, these will inspire you:

  • Short 20-minute nap
  • Vigorous exercise, such as a brisk walk around the block
  • Activities you enjoy such as Sudoku, office-chair chariot races
  • Laughing – read a joke, watch a very funny short video
  • Read for enjoyment
  • Listen to music
  • Better still, listen to music as you play air guitar or air drums
  • Dance
  • Draw or do something creative
  • If you’re extroverted, chat with a friend (co-ordinate breaks so you’re not disturbing people!)
  • Meditate (if it energizes you)
  • Play a musical instrument for one song
  • Stretch, yoga, Tai Chi
  • Visualization – imagine yourself on the beach, on a water slide, parachuting…
  • Deep breathing
  • Drink water
  • Journal rant – write what you’re feeling and thinking – get it out of your system
  • Dreamscape – think of your dream vacation, dream house, your dream date (McDreamy or McSteamy for any of you Grey’s Anatomy fans)…
  • Walk to other parts of the building where you work and visit

Years ago when I still had a job, for a break a bunch of us decided to see how many people we could fit in our über small coffee closet. Weird, I know, but we had fun and while we were crammed together, we started talking, others began to entertain. By the way, we fit 26 people in a 15 square foot place.

Be creative and have fun!

How Can You Use This Tip Today?

  1. Choose from these or hopefully get inspired to find your own productive break activities and schedule time in your day for these types of breaks when you run out of steam. You’ll be amazed what happens.
  2. Choose a personal activity you’d like to do in the evening and see how you feel.
  3. Let me know how it goes; write your comments below, and please share your ideas as well.

What Constitutes a Productive Break: It Isn’t What You Think

A few days ago, I discussed the importance for ADHD adults and other Creative Geniuses to recognize when it’s productive to take a break . Today, we’ll discuss what constitutes a productive break and a bit of the science behind it.

Why Bother?

Choosing productive, rejuvenating breaks doesn’t only benefit your employer, if you have one; it benefits YOU. If you take a re-energizing break when you need it, you’ll regain your energy so that you’ll have mental and physical energy to finish your work on time but better still, you’ll also have energy left to engage in personal goals and projects and unleash your creative genius.
Many ADHDers work late to make up for a perceived lack of productivity. You work late so you get home late, feeling tired and with little energy left to pursue your own passions. Discovering the best way, the most productive way, for you to take a break is not only altruistic; it serves your needs as well.

What Constitutes a Productive Break?

In modern society, we’re encouraged to “take a break” using external forms of stimulation such as watching TV, surfing the Web or playing video games.

You might even feel that since these activities are stimulating, they’ll give you energy and allow you to bounce back from feeling tired. Unfortunately, they are not only addictive, some of these activities actually totally drain your energy supply and, worse, leave you drained even after you’ve stopped engaging in them.

I know you’ve heard how bad TV and video games are for ADHDers. I don’t want be another nagging voice telling you to “Turn off the TV and go outside!” so let me take it a bit further and explain a bit of the science behind the issue.

Short Course on Brain-Wave Patterns

Your brain produces waves in response to your activities and depending on the activity, your brain waves fit various patterns. Your ability to focus also depends on those brain-wave patterns. Beta brain waves keep you alert and able to focus. Alpha waves indicate that your brain is at rest. Delta waves occur when you are asleep.

Since the aim of a productive break is to rest your brain but then allow it bounce back and regain energy, at the end of a productive break you need to be producing beta brain waves, right?

Now the Studies

Studies using EEG and MEG (to measure your brain wave activity) have shown that when people watch TV, their brain produces Alpha waves; this is why you tend to watch TV to relax… it is relaxing. But here’s what’s crazy-bad for you: when you turn off your TV set, the sense of relaxation ends but your brain remains passive and lacks alertness. In other words, TV “sucks the energy” right out of you.

Video games are no better. Studies that measure brain activity show that video game players show an overall decrease in Beta waves; the more you play video games, the longer Beta wave patterns stay near zero even when you’re no longer playing.

I’m not saying you can never ever watch TV or play video games again. But if you’re taking a break because you want to regain energy so you can unleash your creative genius after your break, those activities are big no-nos.

Conclusion:: Watching TV and playing video games does not allow you to regain the Beta brain wave production you need to feel alert and energized.

Tomorrow, I’ll share 20 ADHD-Friendly Ways to Energize Your Creative Genius Mind.

How Can You Use This Tip Today?

If you’d like to progress in your personal projects and goals by taking full advantage of your creative genius, commit to doing something other than watching TV, playing video games or going on the Web, before your personal development activities.

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Be Productive: Take a Break

5 Reasons to Unleash Your Creative Genius – Part 2

ADHDers aspire to more than they often achieve. Unleash your creative genius.Earlier this week I published Part 1 of the 5 reasons to unleash your Creative Geniuses. ADHDers and other Creative Geniuses spend so much time and energy at work, they have little left for anything but family, and even that’s on back order. We discussed the importance of working with your strengths and passion as a way of crafting an amazing life. Here are other compelling reasons why you must unleash your creative genius.

3) You’ll reach your full potential
“Be all you can be” is more than just a U.S. Army recruiting slogan. People have different strengths and talents. The truly successful discover their special ability and pursue that one thing with unerring diligence until they are the best at it that they can possibly be. Your potential for greatness lies not in struggling to improve your areas of weakness, but is found in developing your strengths, talents and passions.

Working to overcome your weaknesses saps your energy. Unleashing your Creative Genius energizes you, allowing you to make huge strides in your areas of strengths. The thrill of pushing the envelope of your own abilities and always striving to reach just a little higher is far more enjoyable than the nagging disappointment you feel when you suspect you’re capable of more.

4) The world needs your talents and strengths
The world is in serious trouble and we need your help. Right now, thousands of gallons of oil are spewing into the Gulf of Mexico daily, global warming is a dangerous reality, millions of people are without food, water or medical services and war rages in many areas of the world.

I’m not implying that you put on your mask and cape and save the world, but we need the strengths and talents of every Creative Genius to help find solutions to problems.

5) Someone inspired you – pay it forward and inspire others
It’s rare to turn on the TV or open the newspaper to discover good news. The media focuses on bad news in the form of disasters, crime and corruption. If you’ve been inspired to unleash your Creative Genius, please “pay it forward” and provide the inspiration for another Creative Genius who’s struggling to fit in rather than standing tall and standing out.

And because your deserve more, here’s a bonus reason you must unleash your Creative Genius:

6) The world needs more passion!
The world needs your passion. Nothing is more contagious than a smile on the face of someone passionately pursuing a dream they believe in. It seems each year brings the threat of some new pandemic, but imagine what would happen if this caught on instead!

So what are you waiting for? Unleash your Creative Genius!

You may be ready and willing to unleash your Creative Genius but lack the tools to manage the mental and physical energy required to get there. That’s why I created The 10 ADHD Productivity Myths, Busted! report, a free report with implementation email series to help you discover how to achieve this.

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