Fear, ADHD, and Halloween

fearThe longer I coach, the more I question the need for Halloween and horror movies. Dressing up in costumes can be fun, but why do we treat fear as something unusual and exciting when, in reality, it is ever-present and paralyzing. I work with adults with ADHD, but I’ve found that regardless of ADHD, we’re already scared. All of us! Yes, me too!

Fear is very much a part of every decision we make. We fear failure. We fear being laughed at, not being taken seriously, not looking good or not fitting in; we even fear success! And we do everything possible to avoid facing these fears head on.

You don’t have to have ADHD to be scared; all creative geniuses have experienced a fear of failure. But, I think ADHDers are probably more familiar than most with how it feels to fail, and would agree that it is far from pleasant. The problem is, if you avoid any situation where failure is a possible outcome, you’re resigned to playing small, very small!

So what do you do with fear if you want to reach your full potential by playing full out? Let me share with you one of the strategies from the Conquer Procrastination module of The Maximum Productivity Makeover.

Be Aware of and Acknowledge Your Fear

The first step, once you’re aware of your fear, is to acknowledge it. That which you resist persists. And by the same token, you can’t change what you don’t acknowledge.

Examine Your Fears

The second step is to examine the validity of your fear. You’re afraid because you’re imagining the worst possible outcome. How likely is it that the worst will happen? What are all the possible outcomes of trying something new? The outcomes could be: success, failure, or, most likely, something in between. Ask yourself, is anything less than success a failure? And is there a way you can minimize the risk of the worst happening?

Can You Bounce Back From the Worst?

The third step is to consider how you would bounce back if the worst did happen. If you fall from a 6-inch ledge outside a window on the tenth floor of a building, fear is justified. Fear is, after all, a self-preservation mechanism. Unfortunately, fear is either “on” or “off.” In the presence of life-threatening danger, you react in a way that will preserve your life. However, when there is a small, or even imagined, danger, you react the same way.

However, if “failing” at something new means that you might look foolish or that someone could laugh at you, you can easily bounce back. I have full confidence in you. No one ever died of embarrassment (although, truth be told, we might wish we had).

Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway

Finally, after you realize that you can bounce back from whatever outcome you fear, and so, you realize “failure” really won’t be all that bad, especially compared to how much better life could be if you succeed, take your fear out for a drive… but keep it in the passenger seat. Acknowledge its existence, but don’t allow it to rule your life. In other words, feel the fear and do it anyway.

And one more thing about fear… Boo! Happy Halloween!

If fear is stopping you from achieving your greatest dreams, the Maximum Productivity Makeover starts in January 2012. Register and reduce the risk of failure.

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!)

Related posts:

Sing Your Heart Out
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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.

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.

Related posts:

Strengthened by Adversity

The Best Time to Have Adult ADHD

Sing Your Heart Out

Who Are You Not To Be Great?

5 Reasons to Unleash Your Creative Genius – Part 1

Surprised woman looking up with white backgroundCreative Geniuses (AKA ADHDers) often work undercover. Sometimes, you’re so well disguised you don’t even recognize your own inner Genius yearning for freedom. Of course, it can be hard to recognize your Creative Genius if you’ve spent many years ignoring it, tamping it down or covering it up so as to fit in with “normal” people.

As a Creative Genius, your brilliance lies in your non-conformity, but throughout history, non-conformists have been ridiculed, labeled as heretics, imprisoned or worse. Your parents, your friends and your school have invested tremendous effort to mould you, make you conform and teach you to do things the way everyone else does. Since the goal is standardization, they give no consideration to the effectiveness of this approach.

Little wonder many Creative Geniuses find themselves working in jobs they hate, doing things they aren’t particularly good at and expending enormous effort to overcome their weaknesses. You know (or at least suspect) you’d be much happier, and you’d probably be far more effective, if only you felt free to do what you really love and do it in a way that works for you, “acceptable” or not.

Many Creative Geniuses desperately want to explore and develop their talents, but find that when trying to keep up on the treadmill of life takes everything you have, there’s no time or energy left to even think about let alone make a change. Exhausted, sometimes it’s easier to blame your responsibilities and commitments to your job and family for your inability to pursue your passion or to explore and develop your strengths and talents.

But rather than blame anyone, consider instead that it is your responsibility to yourself and to your family to live your best life, to inspire, to motivate and to lead your family. And the best way to lead is by example. You will succeed when you pursue your passion, doing things your own way and creating in the way only you can. Even better, you will show (instead of just telling) your children that they too can live a successful life, not by conforming but by standing out, not by playing it safe but by throwing themselves wholeheartedly into life.

What better lesson could you teach your children, and who better to teach that most important of all lessons than a Creative Genius?
Here are five more reasons why you must unleash you Creative Genius:

1) It’s great to be great
You’re a Creative Genius, but when you don’t work with your strengths, you’re sapping all your greatness as surely as if you were Superman carrying a pocketful of kryptonite. Work with your strengths and reclaim your Creative Genius status. Instead of worrying about fitting in, you’ll shine, and when you shine, you share the best of yourself with your family and the world.

2) You can only truly be happy when pursuing your passion
Nothing is more motivating, energizing and inspiring than pursuing your passion. Little wonder since your passions are where your Creative Genius lies. No one is happier than a person striving for greatness while chasing a dream that ignites his or her passions. What’s more, happiness attracts happiness; your happiness grows exponentially, and your happiness rubs off on the people around you.

Many of my coaching clients struggle with the decision to strike out in a new direction in life. They fear leaving the status, perks and big money their unfulfilling career provided, assuming that pursuing their passion means abandoning those things. Passion and profits are not mutually exclusive, but while you may lose some of those things, you’ll gain a huge amount of satisfaction and joy in your life.

Continue to Part 2

Related posts:

Strengthened by Adversity

The Best Time to Have Adult ADHD

Sing Your Heart Out

Who Are You Not To Be Great?

What on Earth Is a Creative Genius Coach?

I’ve been coaching ADHD adults for five years. I’ve been married to an ADHDer for 26 years, and I raised a daughter with ADHD as well. However, you may have noticed that in my recent articles, I’ve begun to use “Creative Genius” rather than ADHD when I describe my clients. I’m even changing the name of my blog to “Unleash Your Creative Genius.”

I’m not changing my coaching clientele, so you might wonder why I would change the name of my blog. It was not an easy decision, but I feel it’s the right one. I’ve always preferred to define things by what’s right rather than by focusing on what’s wrong. As your coach, I must believe in your abilities. After all, there will be times, especially early in our relationship, when I’ll be the only one who does! Your family may doubt you, your boss may doubt you, your friends may doubt you… and you’ll almost certainly doubt yourself. You’ll appreciate having someone in your corner.

I have no problem being in your corner. When I work with my clients, I am constantly amazed by your positive characteristics – your ability to hyperfocus, your passion and excitement (for just about everything!), your astonishing creativity – and I choose to focus on those positive traits rather than on your occasional distractibility, your forgetfulness or your struggle to follow through on projects.

I am not minimizing the impact of ADHD on the adults who live with it or on their families. Nor am I trying to “pretend it doesn’t exist.” I speak from personal experience when I describe the devastating effects ADHD has had on my daughter and on my husband. I would never deny that without the right help and knowledge, life with ADHD is something to endure rather than enjoy.

However, what you focus on grows. If you focus on the problems of ADHD, you’ll have more problems. However, if you focus on developing your strengths and talents, forget about trying to fit in and throw yourself wholeheartedly into the pursuit of your passion, you’ll soon discover that, ADHD or not, you have many positive traits. Focus on those and guess what grows?!

Watching my husband transform from a struggling project manager to a successful vice-president was astounding, and the inspiration for me becoming an ADHD coach. Five years of working with ADHDers has confirmed that my husband’s story, while inspiring, was not unique. Many, if not most, adults “suffering from” ADHD are Creative Geniuses who simply have not yet tapped into their strengths. In a statement to the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Professor Michael Fitzgerald agreed, describing links between ADHD and creativity, risk-taking, and high levels of novelty seeking, the very characteristics that are the keys to success as an artist or entrepreneur!

I see the qualities of a Creative Genius every day in my clients, who yes, are ADHD adults, but who are also quite often artists, authors, inventors and/or entrepreneurs (as many as 50% of all entrepreneurs have ADHD, were diagnosed with ADHD as children or show many of the characteristics of ADHD adults). Your ability to hyperfocus on activities that truly interest you allows you to optimize learning, providing the perfect incubator for developing your Creative Genius. A quick look at some of the most creative people in almost any field today reveals that most share many ADHD traits, and more than a few have confirmed their diagnosis of ADHD.

Creative greats such as Oscar-winner Sir Anthony Hopkins, entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson (founder, Virgin Enterprises), entrepreneur David Neeleman (founder, Jet Blue Airlines and inventor of the electronic airline ticket), TV handyman Ty Pennington (Extreme Home Makeovers), TV host Donny Deutsch (Big Ideas TV show), writer, actor and TV producer Rick Green (The Red Green Show, ADD and Loving It), award-winning actor Patrick McKenna (Traders,The Red Green Show, and ADD and Loving It) and Howie Mandel (Who Wants to Be A Millionaire) all use their great passion, energy, propensity for risk taking, creativity and their ability to hyperfocus to develop their talents with amazing results.

I have changed the name of my blog because, while I still help adults with ADHD overcome the negative impact of ADHD in their lives, I’m not coaching an ADHDer; I coach the Creative Genius that is within you.

Tell me what you think of this new direction.

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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.

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ADHD Vacation Strategies

organized-family_vacationI’m finally back from vacation with my husband. While I’m a bit sad my vacation is over, I’m happy to be back to my life’s purpose: helping entrepreneurs, artists, ADHD adults and other creative geniuses take advantage of and develop their strengths. Visit my Facebook page at http://tinyurl.com/adhdcoachand become a fan.

I realize that while I’m just getting back from my vacation, many of you may be on the way to your vacation. Vacation is a great time to reconnect with family, friends and activities you enjoy. It can also create chaos in your life, especially if you’ve managed to create structures and systems that work well for you.

ADHDers, I’ve who, with coaching have built habits, reached life-changing objectives and organized their lives fear losing what they’ve achieved because of the disruption that vacation brings to your day-to-day. After all, there isn’t any structure, no more commitments and no time clocks telling you when to be where.

Here are a few steps to felling more in control and yet still enjoy your vacation:

1. First, realize that you are not your systems and habits!
They don’t define you; they are tools you use to make your life easier. You’ll be able to create habits to support you while you vacation.

2. Continue using the habits and systems that don’t rob you of fully enjoying your vacation and that give you energy.
If you exercise in the morning, keep it up. If one of your habits is to make your bed as soon as you get out of bed, keep that up. These don’t take away from your vacation time and may increase your energy and reduce your distractibility.

3. Make lists
Don’t rely on your memory. Lists that will support you include a list of things you need to take with you, to bring back, to manage while your away (stop the newspaper delivery, get the dog babysat, getting your plants watered etc.), a list of activities you want to attempt to include.

4. Use your creativity and your sense of adventure to create a more exciting vacation.

5. Stick with your strengths and get help around your weaknesses.
Duane has a passion of art and a great sense of direction. He sought out the most wonderful works of art hidden off the beaten track throughout Rome. Without him, I would have missed most of the exciting things we saw, and I’d still be lost in Rome! On the other hand, Duane tends to struggle with administrative details like making travel arrangements, juggling reservation, tickets, insurance and organizing the finances, so I was happy to help out there. With each of us contributing to the effort using our strengths, the vacation was thoroughly enjoyable!

Vacations should be as fun as you remember when you were a child and summer holidays stretched out before you, filled with that tantalizing mix of lazy days and exciting new adventures. If you feel anxious before your vacation, remember that what you’re feeling is normal. Even if it is “as good as a rest,” everyone struggles to adapt to change. Applying these five strategies will help ensure your vacation is restful instead of stressful.