Feeling Burnt Out? I’m Not Surprised, and You Shouldn’t Be Either

lack-of-focus-300x249A few years ago, I had a large influx of clients. Within a month and a half, I welcomed seven new clients. Of the seven, six confided that they were on leave from work for burnout! One was on sick leave for burnout for the third time and, believing there must be some underlying cause, did his own research and discovered he’d been suffering from Attention Deficit Disorder (ADHD) all along.

I was intrigued by this seeming coincidence. I began reviewing my files to determine the number of clients, past and current, who had mentioned suffering from burnout at some point in their lives. I was shocked to discover that over half, 54%, of my clients had been on sick leave for burnout, depression or stress-related health problems at least once in their professional lives. Some had had several periods of stress-related sick leave.

I began digging deep into the literature and found one study that had been conducted on a group of people who were on long-term disability for burnout or stress-related health issues. What they found astounded me. Within that pool of 62 people, they found 24% suffered from ADHD and up to 56% met the criteria for ADHD but testing results were inconclusive because of other confounding issues.

When you consider that the incidence of adult ADHD in the general population is 4 to 8%, this indicates that there’s an increased risk for adults with ADHD; they are three to six times more likely to suffer from burnout or stress-related health problems.

Seeking to gain a better understanding of the mechanisms of burnout, I began to research in earnest. While there is no diagnosis of “burnout”, we understand it to be extreme exhaustion brought on by prolonged periods of stress. As I learned more, I realized ADHD-related burnout was quite different from neurotypical or “textbook” cases of burnout.

ADHD-Related Burnout vs. “Textbook” Burnout

The underlying cause or reason that people burn out differs between the two groups. Neurotypicals (people without ADHD) who burn out often do so because they are trying to prove themselves. They (or others, such as their parents) face high expectations and are trying to “over-perform” as a way of getting noticed. People with ADHD burn out because of the stress brought on by a fear of losing their jobs.  They work harder and put in longer hours trying to catch up because they don’t feel productive. They try to make up for their poor productivity and to hide the shame they feel about their inability to meet their workload.

Neglecting your own needs can exacerbate burnout. These two groups (neurotypicals vs. adults with ADHD) neglect their needs for different reasons; whereas ADHDers skimp on sleep, abandon exercise routines and work through their lunch hour and late into the night in an effort to keep up with what they see as the “normal” demands of their job, neurotypicals do the same but because they choose to use that time to fit in more projects that will give them more visibility.

Another difference between the two groups is that while in both “textbook” and ADHD-related burnout, employees suffer from cognitive impairment such as lack of focus, poor short-term memory and challenges with managing their emotions, for neurotypicals, the impairment is due to their prolonged stress and will abate after a period of rest. For adults with ADHD, the cognitive impairment is typically symptomatic of their ADHD (made worse by the stress to be sure) and is at the source of the burnout. Those symptoms remain even after long periods of rest, so a second or even a third bout of burnout is inevitable unless changes are made beyond simple rest, because the source of the burnout has not been addressed.

Recognizing the Source of Burnout is a Prerequisite to the Right Treatment

It’s true that in all burnout cases, rest is needed to reduce the effects of prolonged stress. However, for ADHDers, the treatment must also include an “attack” on the underlying source of the burnout, by managing the ADHD symptoms. The objective is to reduce the level of impairment resulting from the ADHD, and so allow the ADHDer to improve his or her work performance. One of the most dramatic ways to optimize focus improve productivity is for the ADHD-burnout sufferer to learn ADHD-friendly energy and time management strategies as well as organizational strategies. Helping the ADHD employee build awareness of the signs of overwhelming stress and helping them prepare a plan of action to enable them to respond to it effectively is essential to prevent future burnouts.

Finally, beyond simple rest, burnout victims benefit enormously from “recovery activities” such as improving health hygiene (sleep, exercise and nutrition), connecting with family and friends and engaging in creative activities. These help reduce the effects of stress and cut the level of stress to a manageable level.

In today’s society, it’s unlikely we’ll be able to eliminate stress that could lead to burnout.  However, we can learn to effectively manage that stress by recognizing the true underlying causes of ADHD-related burnout and treating the problem at the source.

ADHD and Sleep Issues from A to Zzzzz

If you have ADHD and you struggle to fall asleep, you’re not crazy, you’re not being bad and most of all, you’re not alone. Several studies have revealed that people with ADHD are more likely to have irregular circadian rhythms. What’s a circadian rhythm? According to the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, “circadian rhythms are physical, mental and behavioral changes that follow a roughly 24-hour cycle, responding primarily to light and darkness in your environment.”

Are You Out of Sync?

Circadian rhythms are the changes that happen in your body that make you sleepy at night (when it gets dark) and make you want to wake up in the morning as it grows light. As many as 70% of adults with ADHD complain they have difficulty falling asleep, wake up tired (or not at all without enormous effort) and feel out-of-sync with the rest of the world.

If you work independently and don’t need to follow the same schedule as the rest of the population (perhaps you live on a desert island?!), this may not be a problem. (Sounds pretty lonely though!) However, if you must interact with family, friends, peers, customers or anyone else who’s not on the same schedule as you while they’re awake, this can cause problems.

It’s Not Just “Beauty Sleep”

Falling asleep at 1 or 2 AM may not be a problem if you’re a freelancer who answers to no one in real time and you can wake up at 9:30 or 10 AM, but if you have a day job or if customers expect you to answer the phone between 9 AM and 5 PM, you’ll have to cut your sleep short to make it to the office on time. The resulting lack of sleep will affect your ability to focus, your capacity to deal with and manage stress and the functioning of your working memory.

If you’re “tired” of struggling (wink! wink!) luckily, studies show that you can adjust your circadian cycles with a few relatively simple techniques. As someone who has struggle all my life with insomnia, I have tried many of these strategies myself. Here are a few that have the biggest impact:

Humans are like plants; our internal clock is usually set with day light. When daylight hits your eyes, your brain signals your body to increase your body temperature and starts secreting hormones, like cortisol, to modify the electrical activity in the brain. In the evening when light begins to dim, this triggers the production of the sleep-inducing hormone, melatonin. In ADHDers, however, melatonin production is often delayed.

1. Manage Your Light

If you struggle to fall asleep, start dimming the lights at home as early as right after supper. Stay away from blue-light-emitting sources, like computer screens at least 3 to 4 hours before you need to fall asleep.

2. Exercise

Many of my clients with ADHD report dramatically better sleep quality with earlier sleep onset when they engage in cardiovascular exercise (not at bedtime, but during the day!). Cardiovascular exercise is any activity that makes your heart beat faster for at least 20 minutes, such as jogging, taking a brisk walk, moderate biking, aerobics, cross-country skiing, hockey, basketball, skating, etc. Pick one or more sports you enjoy and do at least 20 minutes each day. You’ll find your sleep will come more easily.

3. Top Up on Melatonin

Studies have shown that supplementing melatonin with light management can advance sleep onset. You can find melatonin supplements at some pharmacies and certainly at health food stores. They work even better when you use them in combination with light management.

4. Zone Into Sleep With Sound Waves

Research shows that the brain is frequency-following, that is, you can train it to fall into a certain brainwave pattern by listening to sounds in that frequency. Our brain regulates our state of wakefulness by changing the amplitude and frequency of brain waves. To fall asleep, we produce Delta waves in lengths of 0.5 to 4 Hz. Some sounds induce our brain to fall into Delta waves. I use the sounds of the ocean and find that it really works for me. My youngest daughter, Kyrie, and ADHDer, had problems falling asleep until we started playing ocean sounds, along with improving her sleep hygiene, at bedtime.

5. Change Your Mind

Many ADHDers find their thoughts churn at bedtime, which keeps them from falling asleep. By thinking about what happened today or what will happen tomorrow, you’re activating certain hormones that keep you awake. Changing what’s going on in your mind might be as simple as reading stories – not work-related stuff – before bed. If you struggle to put a novel down, read short stories like the ones you’d find in Readers’ Digest.

6. Do a Mind Dump

If you’re still plagued by concerns over what you have to do, dump all those thoughts in a notebook that you place next to your bed. “Dumping” will help you avoid staying awake because you’re afraid you’ll forget.

ADHDers need to be vigilant about taking care to engage in good sleep hygiene. Lack of sleep DOES NOT CAUSE ADHD; however, lack of sleep can make your symptoms worse, so taking care of your brain and its creative genius by sleeping enough can help reduce your struggles. Everyone, whether or not they have ADHD, needs 7.5 to 9 hours of sleep per night; less sleep than that and you’re not able to tap into your brain’s potential.

If you find that one of these strategies has helped you, or if you have your own approach that works wonders, please share it in the Comments section below.

And have a life time of great night’s sleep!

Adult ADHD’s Dirty Little Secret Revealed

adhd-heroWhat did I accomplish all day? Many of my adult ADHD coaching clients and learners ask themselves this question every day. Heck! You’re likely asking yourself the same question today.

What’s most frustrating is that while you came into work fully intending to tackle the three-inch pile of work in your inbox, and you didn’t stop all day, now you’re leaving the office with a six-inch pile! To add fuel to the fire, you’re leaving two hours past quitting time. What happened?

You’re “Suffering” from OCB

Many adults with ADHD engage in what scientists call “organizational citizenship behavior.” You helped person after person; you put out fires for your team, you saved your boss’s day and you even “rescued” another department struggling to meet a deadline, all while your own work continued to pile up. The solution seems obvious until we look at why you do it.

It’s All About Rewards

Why wouldn’t you just let your colleagues deal with their own work challenges and instead, deal with your own work? Helping your colleagues solve problems provides you with something you crave. Everyone enjoys accolades and recognition, but ADHDers require more immediate feedback than is typically handed out in the workplace. Positive feedback is often only offered as part of a bureaucratic process of annual evaluations; it’s too bad we don’t do the same with negative feedback. No one seems to have a problem dishing out negative feedback immediately and often at high volume!

How Will You Retire Your Hero Suit?

Let’s suppose you decided to do your work instead of helping your colleagues. You won’t be nearly as motivated to do your own work when getting through your piles rarely seems like “saving the day.” No warm fuzzy feeling and what about feedback? If you’re lucky, your boss has a great memory and mentions your great work the next time you get your next annual evaluation in five, six, or twelve months from now. Not very immediate, or gratifying, is it?

Three Great Ways to Deal with OCB

I’m not proposing you retire your hero suit altogether; after all, helping your colleague also provides goodwill you can use to get out of a jam in the future, that is, if you and your colleague can remember the numerous incidences when you saved the day. You might also enjoy other aspects of OCB, such as the teamwork and camaraderie it provides. However, approached correctly, your OCB can actually help you craft a better work environment.

  1. Identify ways you can be more present to what you accomplish when you complete a task you’ve been assigned. You can give yourself your own immediate positive feedback.
    1. Some of my clients pat their own backs – no joke! They lift their right arm straight in the air above their head, bend at the elbow and pat away.
    2. Others print out their to-do list so they can enjoy the sensation as they energetically scratch out the task off their list for the day.
  2. Target a job that allows you to do more “hero work.” I’m not suggesting you slip permanently into a spandex uniform and call yourself a superhero. Rather, choose a career where your strengths can be put to good use, such as in a customer service role, or researching solutions for people etc.

I can already hear some of you say “Yeah! but…”

  1. You may not be able to leave your job because your family depends on you, or you have great benefits, such as a pension and medical plan. What you can do, though, is ask your boss for more feedback, or look for opportunities within your current organization that allow you to do more hero work. Many organizations are willing, even eager, to offer new positions to existing employees rather than lose a good employee to the competition. Seek out a position where you have more opportunities to solve problems or work on special projects.

You could also take on a slightly bigger challenge that will make your organization a better place to work for everyone. Whether you’re playing the hero and saving the day, or you’re completing your normal workload, ask your internal clients about the impact the work you do has on them, and then reciprocate. Tell them you appreciate what they do; be specific and honest. It is amazing what one person can do in a workplace. Teaching others how they could thank someone by modeling what you are looking for can, over time, even change workplace culture. It’ll certainly make your day more enjoyable.

How to Ask for Accommodations at Work (Without Coming Out About ADHD!)

The workplace has become a very challenging place, even for neurotypicals. Maybe it’s always been this way, but with the speed things happen today, increased expectations from bosses and clients and world-wide competition for your job, it certainly seems more stressful than ever. If you have adult ADHD, you add a big bunch of extra challenges to the mix:

  • Inattentiveness and lack of focus can lead to missed details, and make it challenging to accomplish work that requires concentration at the best of times,
  • Forgetfulness has very likely already led to more than one missed commitment and the resulting loss of credibility,
  • Disorganization has you feeling overwhelmed, distracted and jumping from one task to another,
  • Procrastination leads to last-minute, gun-to-the-head, high-stress production to meet deadlines, causing you great stress,
  • Or you play the hero, pitching in to put out other people’s fires while your own work goes undone,
  • and more.

These extra challenges make the workplace a veritable minefield of reprimands and disappointments, but what can you do about it?

The obvious answer, and the one most experts provide, is that “You should ask for accommodations at work.” That sounds simple, doesn’t it? Accommodations have been proven to help, and it’s likely they would help you, but there’s a little problem. How can you ask for and get accommodations unless you disclose your ADHD at work? And as we know, there are risks associated with that.

So what can you do? There are ways of asking for accommodations without disclosing your ADHD. If you don’t feel it’s safe to disclose your ADHD at work, or if you’d just rather not, you’ll be happy to hear there’s a “formula” that will help you to ask for “accommodations” without outing yourself. Use this model “script” to write down what you’d like to say, adapted to your specific circumstances, practice and use again and again with success:

Step 1. Describe your specific struggle and the circumstances surrounding it.

Step 2. Describe a possible solution you’ve thought of.

Step 3. Describe the benefits your boss, your co-workers and you will get from implementing this solution. WIIFY & M (What’s in it for you and me.)

For example, if there’s too much noise in your cubicle farm and you feel you’d be able do a better job preparing a particularly challenging report that you need to do regularly if you had a quiet place to do your work, you would apply the three steps as follows:

Step 1. Describe your specific struggle: Say something like, “I really struggle to stay focused on the XYZ reports because of all the noise in office.”

Step 2. Describe a possible solution: “I’ve thought of one possible solution: when I work on these reports, would it be possible for me to use a closed office, conference room, or to work from home?”

Step 3. Describe the benefits: “This will help me get it done much faster, so Joe can get started on his part sooner, and I’ll complete it with fewer or no mistakes so it’ll reduce the time you spend double-checking everything.”

You’ve done a good job of selling the solution by pointing out the benefits to all, it doesn’t sound like you’re whining… and no one mentioned ADHD!

So the formula is:

accommodations-ask-formula

 

“Job accommodation means modifying a job, job site, or the way in which a job is done so that the person with a disability can have equal access to all aspects of work.”1

Job accommodations may also include the use of tools such as headsets, assistive technology, training, job restructuring, job reassignments or even an administrative assistant.

One of my clients, an administrative assistant, had to review all of her supervisors’ direct reports’ expense reports once a week. This was tedious work that required a lot of focus and some quiet uninterrupted time. The challenge she faced was that she was expected to answer the phone at the same time, which led to numerous mistakes. Here’s the script she used:

Step 1. I’m really struggling with reviewing your direct reports’ expenses. The challenge is that each time I answer the phone, I lose track of where I was before the call. This leads to missing details or making mistakes.

Step 2. I know that I need two or three hours of uninterrupted time when I am most focused to ensure I don’t make these mistakes. I’ve found a possible solution: Could Carol take my phone calls on Tuesday mornings so that I can do the work uninterrupted?

Step 3. With this solution in place, I’ll be able to dramatically reduce mistakes and make sure all the receipts are there and accounted for. This will prevent you from getting calls from the Accounting Department or the company paying out more than allowed by receipts. With fewer interruptions, I may even be able to get it done faster.

Her supervisor thought it was an excellent idea and allowed the phone call transfers so my client was able to complete this work without mistakes. And they all lived happily ever after!

Interview on the Economic Impact of ADHD and It’s Big

Attention Talk Radio interview as Jeff Copper and I discuss the findings of a journal review on the Economic Impact of Childhood and Adult Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in the United States.

Among notable information:
“The overall national annual incremental costs of ADHD ranged between $143 and $266 billion”.
Adult ADHD counts for $105 to $194 billion and yet are an area where very few resources are provided.

Another interesting fact that might get the business world’s attention is that a very large proportion of the costs are in the area of productivity losses and revenue losses at $87 to $128 billion. Of course, this is in 2010 US dollars. For Canada, with its population at around 10% of that of the US, the proportion would likely be about 10% of these figures give or take a billion or two.

ADHD adults lose an average of $10,532 to $12,189 in income per year compared with the average of non-ADHDers.

ADHD and Relationships on CJAD Radio

Last evening had the opportunity to be interviewed by Laurie Betito on the Passion Show on CJAD Montreal 800 AM.

Host of CJAD's Passion show, Laurie Betito, and ADHD Coach Linda Walker

Host of CJAD’s Passion show, Laurie Betito, and ADHD Coach Linda Walker

It was lovely meeting Laurie and having a chance to help more adults with ADHD have a better lives.

As you know, internationally, it’s ADHD Awareness Month. It’s time we take the stigma out of ADHD and help ADHDers live their full potential.

If after listening to the show you think you may have ADHD, there is a test you can complete at www.coulditbeadhd.ca

Listen to the show on ADHD and Relationships with the link below:
ADHD and Relationships with Laurie Betito and Linda Walker

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/113776351″ width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

Taking Charge Creates Ripples

for Audio, click here

Recently, I met someone for the first time, and as usual, I explained that I was a coach working with adults with ADHD. As happens so often (far more often that simple coincidence would account for, I’m convinced, but that’s another story!), he declared that he’d been diagnosed with ADHD. His biggest issue, he mentioned, was that he found it impossible to stick with any routine. He felt he simply didn’t have the necessary self-control.

Take Charge With Self-Control

I smiled, although somewhat sadly. His response, and his evaluation of his own abilities, is one I hear frequently. It can be hard for anyone to set and achieve goals, but one of the ways to make it easier is to create a structure using habits and routines that help you achieve goals almost on autopilot. If you’re convinced you don’t have the self-control necessary to create habits or to stick to routines, it becomes far more difficult to achieve your goals and realize your dreams.

You Think You Have No Self-Control

Recently, I had two participants in my group coaching program, each of whom swore they had never been successful reaching goals because they had no self-control. They both felt powerless, resigned and completely at the mercy of their adult ADHD. If you have no self-control, how can you take charge of your life? Without self-control, you must be at the mercy of some outside controlling force, and in this case, they were turning that power over to their ADHD.

However, just as people have varying degrees of strength, there’s no one who doesn’t have any muscles. Some people have a naturally larger body frame and so are stronger initially, but regardless of your size, you have muscles, and a lack of strength does not mean you’re destined to always be weak. No matter how strong you are when you start, you can train and exercise your muscles and grow stronger. With the proper training, you can grow to be immensely strong.

There’s Some Good News

There’s some very good news about self-control. Research shows that self-control can be exercised and strengthened. Regardless of how much (or little) self-control you feel you have, you can train yourself to have better self-control. Some people may wonder why they would want to improve their self-control through training and exercises, but your level of self-control affects your level of success in your career, your relationships, your finances and your environment (would you like to live in a clutter-free home). Working out will build your muscles, but not everyone is interested in becoming a bodybuilder. However, building your strength will also let you lift your child in your arms, load your luggage in your car to head off on an adventure or move the couch to find the TV remote! So if you want to take charge of your life, you WILL need to develop your self-control.

And There’s Even Better News

The even better news about self-control is that just as working out in the gym to improve your strength has positive repercussions throughout your life, develop self-control in one area of your life and it will spill over into other areas. If you choose, for example, to abstain from eating sweets for a period of time, you’ll soon find you’ll begin to exercise more self-control in other aspects of your life as well. In his research on the effect of self-control training on overall self-control performance, psychologist Mark Muraven discovered that after two weeks of strengthening willpower (by abstaining from eating sweets or performing a challenging hand exercise), participants also tested higher in a difficult concentration task that required a large amount of self-control. Other studies show that starting and sticking with an exercise routine can help you improve your finances, your focus, control your temper, reduce clutter and more.

Look for Opportunities Instead of Problems

So, rather than focusing on the areas of your life where you lack self-control, consider where you do have self-control. We all have habits and routines (and they’re not all bad!), just as we all have muscles. Take charge of any aspect of your life that you can. Practicing self-control will build those muscles and you’ll soon be able to apply your new-found strength to other areas of your life, areas where, in the past, you may have felt completely out of control. You might just be surprised where the ripples spread.

Enjoy the Ripples!

Remember those two Maximum Productivity Makeover participants who swore they would never be able to get into a routine? Though they started small, as they worked through the program, they were able to successfully introduce routines in their lives. Building on that success, it wasn’t long before they also noticed that they were able to greatly improve their time management skills and have a significant positive impact on their performance at work. They’re enjoying the ripple-effect of taking charge of their lives, and you can too!

What You Can Do:
1. Work your self-control muscle by taking on a challenge that requires you to do something you’d rather not do. For example, cut out sweets, sit up straight, take the stairs, or whatever you choose that’s a little outside your comfort zone.

2. Plan for how you’ll deal with those times when you feel you want to give in, give up or just not bother. When Duane quit smoking, every time he felt like having a cigarette, he kissed me instead. I always made sure to comment on how nice it was to kiss him without his breath smelling like an ashtray.

3. Give yourself a self-control break. After challenging yourself, you sometimes feel depleted, so don’t try to do too much at once. Give yourself a chance to bounce back.

4. So now, go ahead and take charge!

Make Like a GPS… Recalculating!

This week while coaching one of my Maximum Productivity Makeover groups, one participant mentioned that she felt ashamed that she had not completed something she had committed to the previous session.  It is common for adults with ADHD to feel this way.  After all, they have been punished, embarrassed, and put down for making mistakes all their lives.  They’ve been subjected to this for so long that they’ve now taken over the job and beat up on themselves!

I would like to propose a different option: pretend you’re a GPS, just say, “Recalculating!”  When you’ve made a commitment and have tried your absolute best (and remember that your best is “everything possible given what you knew at the time”) but you just weren’t able to pull it off, there is no shame in failing.  Instead of putting yourself down, consider what you have to learn.  Examine what went wrong; maybe you need a new system or you tried to tackle more than you could handle.  Whatever it is, you gain nothing from throwing your hands up in defeat, hanging your head in shame, or resorting to blame and finger-pointing.

If instead, when you get lost you react like your GPS does, and “recalculate”, that is, allow your “mistake” or missed goal to become an opportunity to learn and to readjust how you do things, you need never feel that shame again.

This is not to say that you shouldn’t keep your promises and honor your commitments.  Instead, adopt a new “learning approach” to making mistakes.  Ask yourself, “What have I learned from this experience?”, “How can I make this work next time?”, “What do I need to do before I attempt this?” and “Do I need some help?”

And then simply recalculate… uh, recommit.

Learn to Manage Your ADD; Enrich Your Relationship

ADHD Relationship TroubleIf you’re in a relationship and you have ADHD, Saint Valentine’s Day may not always be a fun day.  In fact, romance can be hard to come by any day of the year.  Your ADHD might be getting in the way of both of you thriving in the relationship.

My husband, Duane and I have always been very open about how his ADHD almost destroyed our marriage.  Today, we have an amazing relationship, but Duane and I used to have many fights.  I often felt I had three children instead of two; and that first child was very temperamental.

What was the most difficult wasn’t what he did, but the fact that I couldn’t rely on him to help me with anything life threw at us: financial problems, car accidents, illness, demotions, professional problems, and worst, relationship issues.  I felt exhausted most of the time because of everything I had to do: managing the budget, taking care of paperwork, dealing with the children’s schoolwork and day care, meal planning, school planning, car and home repairs and the list goes on.

Eventually I stopped fighting about it and became resigned that life with Duane was always going to be a burden. I’m glad things have changed and that our relationship has become one of love (which it always was) and support where both of us thrive.

When One is Hurting, Both Are Hurting

Whether it’s ADHD causing the struggle in your relationship or not, one thing is certain, when one of you is suffering, the other is suffering too.  My father is deaf, so when he watches TV, it’s loud, so loud that when we visit, we can hear the TV blaring from the corner of their street (their house is about 10 houses in!)  My father’s loud TV was making my mother, who’s a calm person who enjoys peace and quiet, absolutely miserable.

Finding a Solution for One Spouse, is a Gift for the Other

One Christmas, Duane and I gave my Dad a headset that connects to the television.  As a result, my father could control the volume of the TV through his earphones and suddenly, the household became quiet again; both Mom and Dad were happy.  My father’s deafness made my mother miserable until we found a solution for him.  She often tells me that it was one of the best gifts she ever received; and it wasn’t even her gift!

The same is true of ADHD, whether you’re an adult with ADHD or the spouse of an ADHDer, if you are struggling, both of you are hurting.  And when the spouse with ADHD learns how to manage life better, both of you (and your children, family, friends and co-workers) live a better life.

When Duane spoke to me about hiring a coach, I admit I was sceptical.  After all, we had spent a lot of money on numerous well-known Time Management Programs and even special programs for Goal Setting and even Financial Planning, but nothing worked.  What finally made me take a leap of faith was the belief that if we didn’t do anything, nothing would ever change and we would both be doomed, along with our children, to a mediocre (at best) life.  That may seem harsh, but we were in “survival mode,” and when you’re focused on simply surviving, it’s impossible to reach any level of self-realization.

It was only when Duane sought help with an ADHD coach that I stopped hurting.  As he learned new skills such planning, time management, focusing etc., he became a better partner for me and our relationship flourished.

If you have ADHD and you are struggling because of it, forget the flowers and the candy and consider getting help to manage your ADHD.  It’s not selfish… it will be a gift for your spouse as well.  And if your spouse has ADHD, make getting help your gift to them and your spouse will return the gift to you many times over.

Attitude Is Everything!

PS: main focus on thumbRemember the experiment I invited you to do in the last article ( ADHD Brainwashing First, Transformation Follows ) about changing your point of view before you get the results you’d like to see. If you recall, the lesson is that belief in the possibility always comes before the results you are seeking. If you don’t believe something is possible, you won’t make it happen. Instead, as soon as things start looking as though they aren’t going your way, you give up, usually accompanied by an, “Ahah! I knew it wouldn’t work!”

If you’re looking for proof, waiting to see the results before you believe they are possible, you already have your belief… you believe it’s not possible.

Often times, you consider doing something to improve your life, saying:

“I’d like to buy that book….”

“I’d like to take that course…”

“I’d like to hire that person…”

The sentence continues: “…but… “followed by “…I can’t afford it” or “…I don’t have time”.

Actually, in your head (or hidden in your heart of hearts) is the real rest of the sentence… It is, “…because it won’t work for me anyway.”

If there was no question that the:

Book would reveal the secret to achieve your dreams…

Course would teach you exactly what you need to know to win your dream job…

Interviewee sitting across from you was exactly the right person to help take your company to the next level…

You’d do it in a heartbeat, budget and agenda be damned!

But you have proof that it won’t work, because nothing else you’ve started (with that same attitude) has worked. But imagine if the results depend on the attitude and not the other way around! What becomes possible? If instead, you believed it would work, you’d find the time, the money or whatever resource you need. You’d make it happen.

How You Can Use This?`

  1. Write a statement describing what you’d like to do, followed by “but,” and then followed by the obstacle you perceive.
  2. Consider what your real belief is about yourself. Is there any other underlying belief that could be stopping you? .
  3. Now consider, if you didn’t believe this, what could you make happen? .
  4. If you like what you imagine, change your belief. (Yes, it’s that easy.) .
  5. Related posts:

    ADHD Brainwashing First, Transformation Follows
    Sing Your Heart Out
    Who Are You Not To Be Great?