6 Ways to Own Your ADHD Story

ADHD Strategies    April 2, 2018

Brené Brown, researcher and author, has said, “You either walk inside your story and own it or you stand outside your story and hustle for your worthiness.

Owning your stories, even ones that include your ADHD, is one of the key elements to living a more connected and fulfilled life. By ‘owning’, I mean speaking up about the pieces of yourself that make you unique, without any expectation.

Owning your ADHD story isn’t easy but it’s key to not only your personal growth but in being able to enjoy meaningful connections with others. Owning your ADHD story takes courage, vulnerability, and a whole lot of here-goes-nothing leaps of faith, but when you get there, it is transformational.

So what does it mean to “own your ADHD story?”

In a nutshell, it means to be honest with yourself about your life: the good, the bad, the ugly….and the ADHD.

  1. Know your ADHD. One of the fastest ways to own your life is to know your ADHD, your specific challenges and strengths. Knowing how your ADHD uniquely impacts you and knowing your unique strengths, interests, and talents means you can leverage these in your favor. If you are not sure, ask someone you trust who will not judge you to describe their experience with your ADHD and what unique qualities you have that you may not be aware of.
  2. Get self-aware. Having ADHD can mean we have not had the luxury to spend time getting to know ourselves. However, by being aware of your perspectives, feelings, thoughts, beliefs, and wants for your life you can choose to keep or change them. Awareness helps us gain control over our actions and reactions and puts you in the driver’s seat so you can create your life and your ADHD story from here on out.
  3. Stop blaming and start growing. It’s so very easy to blame, especially since most of us with ADHD have had some sort of experience with being treated wrongly and unfairly. Whether this happened to you while growing up or as an adult, someone else’s bad behavior cannot be an excuse for you not living the life you want. Blaming gives others or something else power over you, which is really the opposite of owning our life.

And stop blaming yourself for the past mistakes or actions you regret.  You can’t change that you did them and holding onto them only holds you back, keeps you living in the past and drains precious energy and focus. Instead, learn and grow from these experiences and wipe the slate clean every day. Tomorrow is a new day. No one, not even yourself, can stop you from being the person you are meant to be or living the life you desire to live.

  1. Make a decision. Someone once said that indecisiveness is a form of self-punishment. Do you know what you really want for your life? Not what your parents, boss, spouse  or children want for you, or what you think you “should” want. Do you know what you want? How do you want to live this one and precious life?

To help you remember, think back to when you were a child. What did your heart most long to do? What made you happy? What filled you with joy? If the answers feel too big and even scary, you’re close to your answer. Owning our life means we decide, and when we decide what we really want and believe it’s possible, we set in motion the people and circumstances to help us achieve our dream.

  1. Become purposeful. Owning your life means you are purposeful with your life. You set goals for yourself and start creating daily habits that will support you in living the life you want. Having ADHD can mean that you are not very good at planning too far into the future, which is fortunate because being purposeful is about being present in this moment, this day, focusing on what we can change today. For instance, take the time to prepare for your day, before you are bombarded by the outside world. Mentally prepare yourself and decide what and how you want the day to be. Knowing what you want from your life includes making a plan with specific, measurable goals that mark your milestones of success. It’s amazing what we can forget with our ADHD brains when we don’t remind ourselves! One of the most satisfying things is to look back over the month and see all of the things you checked off your list without you even realizing it.
  2. Be Authentically You. Spending your life trying to be someone or behaving somehow you are not, is exhausting, will never be fulfilling and not how you want to continue living. Having ADHD means we have spent a lot of our lives trying to fit in. And even if this weren’t already incredibly difficult, it rarely worked the way we had hoped. Owning your ADHD life is about knowing yourself. What you value, what’s important and meaningful to you. You can start by noticing when you are not really being yourself and set the intention to self-correct. Also, trust your intuition.  People with ADHD typically have great intuition; you might have just forgotten how to use it as to guide your life.

Owning our ADHD lives can seem a bit overwhelming at first, but if you just start small and stay aware consistently, you will begin experience the peace that comes with these changes.

There is no better time to start than now. Own your ADHD life…you can do this!

What’s Your White Pebble Story?

ADHD Coach Training    February 28, 2018

What’s a White Pebble Story?

Remember the story of Hansel and Gretel who found their way out of the dark, unknown forest following one white pebble after the other?  Well, for many, the road to discovering ADHD coaching and possibly becoming a certified ADHD life coach is like that journey home. And, it’s only when reflecting back, that you recognize the white pebbles that marked your progress…the steps, choices, decisions, and milestones that led you right to this place.

Like most white pebble stories, you may not know you’re even on a journey of discovery.  Nor the twists, turns, and even dead ends you might encounter that will unknowingly keep you moving closer and closer to your destination.  You are simply following your heart, intuition, and interests to the next opportunity and the next.  It’s as if you are looking for something…well…something different anyway…something more…but you are not entirely clear about what that will be, and yet, you trust you will know and recognize the end point when you arrive.  For some, this journey may take only months, however for most it is discovered only after many years of searching.

Along my white pebble journey to becoming an ADHD Life Coach, I followed my innate interest in people and relationships.  I finished undergraduate degrees in both nursing and psychology.  I was a college instructor and earned my master’s degree as a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner…white pebble…white pebble…white pebble.

Then my son, Blake, was diagnosed with ADHD and I felt completely helpless as to how to help him.

And I realized if I was feeling that way…someone who had a background, expertise, and rigorous training in mental health…what was everyone else experiencing?

Searching for answers in various books and resources, following potential opportunities and support for all of us as a family, I can look back and see pebble after white pebble being laid down, all leading me to that missing piece…ADHD life coaching.

Now as a trained certified ADHD life coach, I am aware that my purpose is to spread the truth about ADHD around the world and empower people with ADHD by reminding them of their innate awesomeness.

I have written several books. One has been translated into Spanish, and another is currently being translated into Turkish.

At each step a white pebble was laid down.

Over the past 15 years I have sat on almost every ADHD resource board out there, including as a founding board member of the ADHD Coaches Organization (ACO), CHADD’s Parent Advisory Board, ADDA’s telesummit board, ADDResources, TotallyADD and I write for Attention and ADDitude Magazines.

White pebble, white pebble, white pebble.

I have spoken nationally and internationally on the topics of ADHD and coaching. Basically, I think it’s safe to say…that if an opportunity arises to help someone understand more about ADHD — I am in!

Then when I started training and mentoring emerging coaches eight years ago, I laid down more white pebbles, which led me to being a coaching instructor.

Oh…something important about white pebble stories…at times there will be places on the journey where you come upon a fork in the road. You might remember these as times when you had to make a difficult choice because you couldn’t walk two paths at once.  This can be a very scary and challenging moment on our journey because it means leaving a path we are familiar with, our pebbles having shown us the way, and stepping onto an unknown path…that seems full of possibility.

I really loved being an instructor for the ADHD coach training school.  I was teaching people about ADHD coaching and helping them master the unique skills and competencies of being a coach.  I had learned exactly what it took to mentor coaches to confidently pass their credentialing exams and taught them from my experience as an entrepreneur how to make a living while making a difference.

And then came that fork in the road…

Students told me they wanted more from their training.  They wanted to learn about coaching students, families, parents, and groups.  They wanted a more holistic approach where they were taught about ADHD treatments, co-existing conditions, the impact of diet, exercise and sleep on ADHD and more about the ADHD experience across the lifespan.  They wanted to know about specific ADHD accommodations, about ADHD in different cultures, about the emotions of ADHD, how to build a coaching business without reinventing the wheel, and they wanted to be part of a strong ADHD coaching community.

So, standing at that fork in the road I did the only next thing I could…I stepped onto this new unknown path, the one that was full of new opportunities…laid down a rather big white pebble and opened the International ADHD Coach Training Center (IACTCenter).

Using my experience from all those previous years training emerging ADHD coaches, I tapped into my unique expertise in the medical, neurocognitive, entrepreneurial and coaching professions and designed the IACTCenter to include all of the best bits that worked and added in all that students had been asking for.

The result?  The most advanced and comprehensive ADHD coach training program currently available, one that truly prepares you to become a confident, competent and compassionate coach so you can work in the real world of ADHD and make a living making a difference.

Now… I ask you to reflect on your white pebble journey to reading this blog…

Do you remember when ADHD came into your life?

For most ADHD life coaches that happened when either they or someone they love were diagnosed with ADHD.  Is that true for you?  Are you or someone you love diagnosed with ADHD?

How many white pebbles have you laid down searching for and reading books about ADHD?  How many hours have you spent online trying to find the answers?  What career or professions have you had previous to discovering ADHD or coaching?

White pebbles typically also mark the classes, courses, people, groups, even conferences you attended trying to learn as much as you could about ADHD.  Each answer and piece of information, lead you further and further along the path.  Each step marked with a white pebble.

Let me ask you…could you have anticipated a year ago reading this blog curious about this profession called ADHD life coaching?

And if someone had asked you if one day you would be considering becoming an ADHD life coach might you have even said, “Never in a million years!”

Yet, here you are, perhaps feeling like this is exactly where you are meant to end up even though at one time you never knew it existed.

Discovering there is a profession to help yourself and others better manage their ADHD challenges…definitely a white pebble milestone!!!

I’m thrilled you are reading this blog and I’m hoping it will become one of your white pebbles along your journey!

If you are considering becoming an ADHD life coach I’d be honored to tell you more about the IACTCenter.  If not, I hope this helps you step onto the next path right for you.

Think your pebbles are leading you toward becoming an ADHD coach or just want to learn more? Visit http://IACTCenter.com.

 

Your ADHD Valentine in Love and Relationships

ADHD Strategies    February 1, 2018

Ahh Valentine’s Day. A whole day traditionally devoted to celebrating love. And as it is quickly approaching, my thoughts turn to relationships, all sorts of different ADHD relationships, and how ADHD can be a test for even the strongest connections.

When I work with adults, often the focus of our coaching sessions turns to a request for the best ways to handle conflicts with partners. I often hear these concerns:

“I’m tired of always being late. No matter what I do, I can’t seem to get there on time. I feel awful and he gets so disappointed and angry with me.”

“We got into a huge fight last night. She says I don’t listen to her and zone out in conversations. It’s not that I don’t care, but the problem is – she’s right.”

“I can’t believe I did it again. I missed our anniversary. I had it on my calendar, even left myself a note, but I completely spaced out about the date again.”

When one half of a relationship has ADHD, small adjustments in communication and expectations can make a world of difference. Here are some strategies and tools to try so your Valentine’s Day and everyday is harmonious and loving:

1. Post it, post it, post it. Lists can be a valuable time and relationship saver. You can use the basic post it note, sync your phones so they share messages and reminders or use dry erase paint on the kitchen wall – just make sure the list and reminders are in a prominent place so they can be seen and updated often.

Side notes– For non-ADHDers – Stay calm and caring if you verbally cue your partner to do something.  ADHDers – remember, reminders are not meant to be nagging nor judgmental. They are merely attempts to help keep everyone on track and aware of what needs to be done.

2. Be clear and concrete in your communication. Don’t just say you are going to work late. Try to set a time range that you plan to leave the office. Then set your watch to go off ten minutes before that time so you can wrap things up or call to say you will be later than expected. It may save many dinners from being cold or tossed in the trash with an angry hungry spouse waiting for you.

Side note – for non-ADHDers, ask for clarification. If your partner says they will come by after work, ask what that means…right after they get out at five, after they go home and change, sometime around dinner, etc. That way you both clear on the expectations.

3. Schedule planning meetings. Whether you connect in the morning to review the day’s events or sit down on Sundays to map out the week, make sure you review the list and calendar together, updating what needs to be done and cross checking any scheduling conflicts.

4. Before you launch into emotional discussions, ask if the other person is available to listen. This ‘availability’ means that the other person is in a place to focus and attend to what is being said. Limit other distractions and keep the conversation short and to the point. Ask the listener to repeat what he/she heard to determine if what was heard and absorbed is correct.

5. Know each other’s love language. Each one of us has a way we show and experience love. If your spouse feels love through your helping around the house, then start a conscious practice to finish that to do list. Or if they feel connected to you when you spend quality time together, schedule dates and attention. If feeling appreciated means giving your Valentine a thoughtful gift, be sure to keep a stash of paper and bows for those occasions. Your conflicts may not even be ADHD related, but merely misunderstanding of how you express and feel loved.

Each of these tips can be applied to any ADHD relationship to increase connection and reduce misunderstanding, whether that is professional, personal, parental or romantic.

I wish you all a wonderful, loved filled ADHD Valentine’s Day!