Goal Setting for Creative Geniuses: Taking Action


In the first part of this lesson, Goal Setting for Creative Geniuses: The Big Why, we looked at how important it is to have a good reason you want to accomplish whatever it is you’re trying to accomplish. It doesn’t matter if you call it a goal, an objective a desire or a New Year’s Resolution. Regardless of how important the objective is to the people around you, and that includes everyone from your boss to your children, you’re unlikely to achieve it unless you have a compelling “why” that will keep you motivated when you just feel like giving up.

Today, we’ll learn about a strategy that will make reaching your goals much more likely and more predictable.

Achieving most worthwhile goals require some repeated actions on a consistent basis. Achieving a goal that doesn’t require a continued effort and repeated action is usually not a challenge for creative geniuses. You’re here at your desk and you want to go to the fridge for a drink. This is a goal that will require a small effort over a relatively short period of time. On top of that, the motivation is built in. That drink is going to taste great!

No, the goals that challenge creative geniuses are those that require you to sustain your effort for a long period of time, and that effort includes doing things you’ll find difficult or worse, boring! For example, if you’re trying to increase sales in your business, you can’t just pick the next name on the list and go sell them something. Not every person you talk to is a prospect, and not every prospect becomes a customer. In order to increase sales, you must increase the number of people you speak with. Some of those people will become prospects. If you speak to more people, you’ll have more prospects. Then, you need to pitch to more prospects. Some of those prospects will become customers. If you pitch to more prospects, more prospects will become clients. Only a sustained, consistent effort will result in more sales.

Let’s look at another example. If you want to be and feel healthy, you must consistently sleep better, you must exercise more and you must eat more nutritious meals. You will not have a healthy lifestyle if you stay up all night every night and then sleep 50 hours on the weekend. You cannot eat junk food every day for lunch and hope to recuperate by eating nothing but vegetables on the weekend. (Besides, you’re supposed to be catching up on your sleep, remember!)

If you want an organized home, you’ll be much more successful if you determine a place for each item and get in the habit of putting things away where they go right after you’re finished with them than you will if you do a “spring cleaning” every other week. Clutter is impossible to stay ahead of any way but with small, consistent actions.

une-petite-etapeTo achieve the goals that preoccupy most creative geniuses, the key to success is a series of small actions that move you in the right direction repeated routinely. Alone, these small steps look easy, and they are easy! Anyone can eat one healthy, balanced meal. It’s easy to get to bed on time once. The challenge is to do it again, and again. The thing is, it really isn’t any more difficult to eat balanced meal every day than it is to do it once. A healthy meal is the result of a series of identifiable, repeatable steps. Every time you follow those steps, the result is predictably a healthy, balanced meal. We call those series of repeatable steps that give a consistent result a routine. How then do you ensure you repeat those same series of steps over and over until you achieve you ultimate goal: good health? The best way to consistently get the same results is to turn that routine into a habit.

A habit is simply a routine that you’ve repeated so many times that it has become mechanical. You’ve followed that same series of steps so many times that the new pathways you created in your brain to allow you to prepare a healthy, nutritious meal have become four-lane highways. Your automatic reaction to hunger is to prepare a healthy meal. No thought is required.

Habits become so ingrained they become the easiest way for you to act. This reduces the amount of energy you use to accomplish those repeated steps. The human brain is bombarded daily, with stimuli it must react to, with choices it must make decisions about and problems it must solve, that it welcomes, and even encourages you, to use routines and habits. In fact, without routines and habits, you’d find it very difficult to get out of bed – the decisions you’d need to make before you even left that house would leave you exhausted!

You can reach any goal that’s important to you, break it down into a series of repeatable steps or routines, and turn those routines into habits. Creating those routines and adopting habits that help you progress toward your objectives reduces the energy you must expend. In fact, this is the easiest way to achieving almost anything.

So, given the goal you’ve set for yourself, what routine could you create that would move you in the right direction? Once you have a routine that delivers consistent results, repeat that routine again and again until it becomes a habit. Once you’ve created that habit, success is inevitable!

In the next part of this series, I’ll share a model you can use to help you turn those routines into habits more effectively.

Great Speaker Lineup for the ADDA Conference 2013

By Linda Walker

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!

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.

Breakout Sessions:

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!

Sing Your Heart Out

Very few of us have yet to hear about the newest “Idol” sensation. If you always root for the underdog, as I do, I’m sure you felt vindicated when a very down-to-earth Susan Boyle sang her heart out.

Has the “in-crowd” ever picked on you? Has anyone told you that you’re not quite… cool, pretty (or handsome), rich… enough? If you’ve ever settled for less because someone thought you weren’t good enough, if you’ve let life rob you of your dreams, then you probably felt as anxious as I did when Susan Boyle walked on stage and the audience laughed at her.

You can see that she notices the audience laughing at her, and you hold your breath, wondering if she’ll try anyway. Will she put herself out there, risking the embarrassment of people laughing at her? And then, thankfully, she opens her mouth, her heart, and she sings. Oh, does she sing! Despite the ridicule, regardless of her age, ignoring that people obviously thought she wasn’t “cool,” Susan felt the fear and she did it anyway.

We all wish we would have been able to do what Susan did, but even the most self-assured among us would have doubted their ability, but not Susan Boyle. She wanted a chance, and she refused to let life rob her of her dream.

Like a scene from Revenge of the Nerds (I know I’m dating myself!), Susan rocked, I mean, she blew people away! Many people, including some big, burly, tough men, admitted that when they watched her sing, they had tears in their eyes. Susan proved the naysayers wrong and won the audience’s hearts in the process.

Has life robbed you of your dream? Do you have a song in your heart that needs to come out, or a project that seems out of reach? Has someone told you that you just aren’t good enough, cool enough, rich enough? Or worse, did you believe them? Are you settling for your life, never to reach your full potential because of your age, your looks or ADHD?

I challenge you to ignore the naysayers and take a risk. Open your mouth, take a breath and sing your heart out. Until you do, you’ll never know what greatness lies within you.

Improving ADHD Performance Starts With YOU Management

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ADHD Adults struggle with their performance at work and in their personal lives

The biggest complaints I get from new clients is about their performance at work, problems with relationships as they fail to live up to their commitments with others, their tendency to procrastinate and wait until the last minute to get stuff done, and feeling that they don’t live up to their full potential because of these.

They think that these are different problems but they are really symptoms of the same problem: ADHD productivity issues. Learn to manage your productivity and these problems get solved.

Planning, organizing, engaging in, executing and following through on your commitments in your professional and personal life require you have a handle on your productivity. The problem is that ADHD adults struggle with exactly these issues because of their brain differences.

They try traditional time management systems like Franklyn Covey, Day Timer, Harvard that don’t work for an non-conventional brain. Often, the reason clients show up at my door is that they’ve tried these program and nothing worked. You have a Turbo Limited Edition brain so these programs’ don’t provide you with the right instruction manual for your brain.

You need a YOU Management program that recognizes your unique brain differences and allows you to work WITH your brain instead of against it. This means:

  1. matching your brain’s natural energy cycles with the tasks on your To-Do list;
  2.  creating ways to conquer boredom by “automating” the boring stuff; 
  3. overcoming your tendency to procrastinate by getting at the root of the problem; 
  4. using your natural strengths and talents to improve your productivity; 
  5. controlling obstacles to your productivity, like interruptions and losing things; 
  6. using a method to better manage your life so that you commit to and execute those activities that are important to you; and 
  7. choosing tools that allow you to maximize your time and avoid problems.

 The most important thing to recognize is that trying to do things like everyone else does leads to disaster for ADHDers. You need to manage YOU by working WITH your brain not against it.

Adult ADHD: Enough to Move You

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Dr. John Ratey, co-author of Driven to Distraction and Delivered from Distraction, and speaker at the ADDA (ADD Association) Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota that took place July 10 to 13, 2008 spoke about adult ADHD and exercise.

He makes a good case around the fact that exercise is an important component to overcoming ADHD. As Dr. Ratey mentioned, more than 10,000 years ago, humans walked, ran or sprinted an average of 10 to 14 miles per day just to survive. They hunted and were hunted and so those who could out-run and out-plan their prey or preditors got to survive. This in fact, put ADHD adults at an evolutionary advantage. This ability to move quickly, this need to move, and make impulsive decisions actually aided in the survival of the species.

Now, fast forward to modern humans, we’re lucky if we walk, run or sprint 10 steps in our day. As a result, the same traits that ensured their survival in the past, create an unsatisfied need to move in ADHD adults. As a result of our sedentary lifestyle, ADHD has become a disorder.

To counter this, exercise becomes an important part of the solution. He described many convincing studies that described how exercise not only helps ADHD adults and children but is good for all brains because:

  • it increases blood flow by increasing the number of blood vessels in the brain;
  • it increases the release of neurotransmitters responsible for ADHD: norepinephrine and dopamine
  • over time, you build more receptors, enzymes and blood vessels in your brain
  • it helps control impulses because exercise arouses the brain
  • it reduces the need for disciplinary issues in school

His new book, Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, is available at bookstores and describes much of the research on the importance of exercise as a way of improving the brain’s executive functions and thus, reducing the effects of ADHD.

 He recommends:

  • find an exercise you enjoy and make it fun
  • make a commitment with yourself and others to help you stick to it
  • select more challenging exercises involving balance such as karate, danse, tennis, volleyball, etc.
  • use music to stimulate you
  • go outside to exercise whenever possible
  • make it into a ritual

As an ADHD Coach, I can safely say that my clients who have the most success in their lives despite their struggles with ADHD are often those who have adopted a more active lifestyle.

If you’ve never liked exercising or have found good excuses for not doing it, I challenge you to find something you’ll enjoy and begin with babysteps that you build on and

Get moving!