Ahhh…the comfort zone. That comfy familiar place where we feel safe. Here we can kick back, relax and pat ourselves on the back. Livin’ seems easy…but there is an underlying restlessness as if something is missing. Is this the comfort zone or…are we “zoning out”?
Recently, I was asked to do a keynote talk at an international coaching conference and was surprised to realize I was more unnerved than usual. Talking in front of large groups is my “comfort zone”. In fact I love it. Being uncomfortable rather than excited at the prospect of doing this talk was confusing until I realized that I had gotten into a comfort zone with my public speaking and this talk was challenging me at a new level. A level that really was what I wanted.
As an ADHD / Business Coach, I am constantly asking my clients two things – what is their purpose and what are their values.
For most of us, our purpose and values are what motivate us. They are the foundation and blueprint for what’s important for us. They are the basis for the choices we make and the actions we take and they are not really good at kicking back and playing it safe. They challenge us to live the fullest life possible. When we are living in a way that honors our values and is on path with our life purpose, we feel passionate, enthusiastic, and satisfied with our lives. Things feel in balance.
The journey to living authentically and connecting with your values and purpose can also feel incredibly uncomfortable.
Or if you are like me downright scary! When we step out of our comfort zone, into our life, there is going to be fear. It’s normal. Fear of being seen. Fear of not doing it right. Fear of not being liked. Fear of failing anything and everything. Excuses for not making the change start popping up out of nowhere as those darn pesky negative thoughts run rampant.
So what do you do when you realize your purpose and values really are much too big to fit inside that comfort zone? When you know that if you don’t change or grow, you aren’t living authentically.
I do what my good friend and mentor David Giwerc, director of the ADD Coach Academy recommends. I pause. Take a deep breath and have what I call a “coming to Jesus” moment when I ask myself these questions: 1. How do I need to honor my values? 2. Is staying where I am (a.k.a. the comfort zone) living my purpose? And, 3. Would I expect anything less from my clients who I ask every day to brave the fear and live outside their comfort zone?
So, if you are noticing that you might be feeling a wee bit uncomfortable with a recent change of events that seems to be challenging you, you might want to ask yourself these questions:
1. What is your purpose? What is the change you want to see in the world? Are you living your values authentically? Are you talking about wanting a change, or complaining about a current situation, and not doing something about it? Remember, all we can change is ourselves.
2. If not you, who??? Don’t be swayed by the excuse that you are not ready or that maybe someone else needs to do it. Without your willingness to step into the fear, the current situation will continue for far too long. Or worse, never be resolved. YOU were given this purpose, desire, vision and opportunity for a reason. It is meant for you to do.
3. How does this step align with what is important to me? To my values? Chances are there will be a direct connection between this opportunity and who you really are. In fact, it may even be that there is a part of you that is actually excited and would love to do this new thing.
Now I will tell you a couple secrets to help you take that step outside your comfort zone…I believe we are natural born doers. WE were created and put on this earth to do something. You were born with a purpose and passion meant not just to be felt as a dream, but to experience it coming true.
I also believe that it was not intended for us to fulfill our passion, purpose or dream alone. We are meant to connect with others with a similar destination who bring their unique strengths and gifts to making it come true. They are out there just waiting to join you on this path.
So I challenge you, once you know you need to take that step, find someone to work with. Work in a duo or group. Two heads are better than one, but even more important, two hearts, two minds and four hands make it possible. No one says you have to do it alone.
What are some of the ways you are stepping out of your comfort zone? I would love to hear
Incredible as it sounds, I still am amazed at how often I hear people say “I don’t believe in ADHD.” You probably have heard it too. And if you are like me, the moment those words come out of their mouth, every hair raises on the back of your neck, the fire starts to churn in the pit of your stomach and your mind feels like it is going to explode. No matter how many times it happens, no matter how many times I hear the words “I don’t believe in ADHD” I am dumbfounded as to how it is even possible to live on this planet and doubt the reality of ADHD.
Not believe in ADHD? Not believe in ADHD??? Bear with me here… isn’t that like saying you don’t believe in the sun or the wind or the stars, or growing older…or love? We can’t “touch” any of those things either, but we know they exist because we see evidence of them. The warmth and shadow of the sun, the movement from a strong breeze, the wrinkles appearing on our face, and the miraculous indescribable feeling of love. Do people not understand that believing that something is not real, doesn’t make it not true? Not believing in ADHD doesn’t make it not real.
Knowing what to say and do in these moments has taken years of understanding and practice which I am hoping to pass on to you here. First, it helps to understand that these people are CHOOSING not to believe in ADHD despite the evidence. Despite the percentages, studies or personal stories that support the existence of ADHD they really don’t want to hear that. They really don’t. In fact, I bet if you tried to share with them this logic, they will start answering back with “evidence” of their own. Second, don’t go there. Keep away from the bait of getting hooked by their remarks into trying to defend the existence of ADHD. Remember, it takes two to have an argument. Instead, practice staying in the perspective of curiosity. Be curious about how “interesting” it is that they don’t believe in ADHD in this day and age. It’s almost impossible for someone to not be engaged when we are asking them about themselves. Learning this has spared me from wasting oodles of energy that I have then been able to use to make a difference in the very real lives of people with ADHD.
You see, most people who don’t believe in ADHD either 1) probably have ADHD themselves and it’s scary as all heck to take a look at that, 2) they know someone very close to them that has ADHD and it’s scary as all heck to think that they or their loved one is anything like that person or 3) they have just landed on earth and are from another planet and are really confused. Being scared or confused doesn’t allow someone to be open to learning or hearing the radical possibility that ADHD is real.
Instead try this:
Practice taking three deep breaths and then responding with:
- “Really? What do you know about ADHD?” or
- “Really? Who do you know that has ADHD? or
Stay away from convincing, advising or trying to get them to see your point of view. It will just be frustrating. Rather remain curious, about how in the heck they ever came to that conclusion (sorry, I couldn’t help myself), works much better to open up the possibility for new ideas to emerge. Try it. You will be amazed at how often the “non-believers” are just like we were at one time. Trying to make sense of this ADHD thing. Scared, confused, unsure.
As we move into this New Year, one of the most frequent questions I am asked by my adults with ADHD and entrepreneurial clients is “How can I be more productive and get things done?!” Unfortunately there’s not an easy answer that works for everyone. The problem is that the answer to this seemingly impossible goal is really solved only when we have considered the answers to some more specific questions.
If asking yourself “How can I be more productive? or “How can I get things done?” isn’t working for you, try considering your responses to the following questions to help you figure out what is getting in your way and how you can solve the real issue.
For when you are dealing with a long list of To Do’s:
- What project, if completed, would have the most positive impact for me?
- If I could do any of the projects on my list, which would I do right now?
- If I could do any of the projects on my list, which can I accomplish right now?
- If I set a timer, what can I accomplished in the next 5 minutes? 30 minutes? 1 hour?
To help you with a specific task or project:
- What is it specifically that I want to get done right now?
- How will I know when I have completed it?
- What specifically will be the result and what will it look like?
- How will someone else know when I complete it?
- What’s important to me about completing this task?
- What is the result I really want?
- What’s the best way for me to accomplish this task?
- Is this a bright shiny object (distraction) or one of my “disco balls” (reflects my goals, values and what’s important to me.)
- What are the specific priorities for this task? Have my priorities changed?
- If I don’t know what the priorities are, who can I ask?
- Does this task have a “hard” deadline, not one I made up, and what is it?
- What is the benefit to me to complete this task?
- Who have I told that I am going to get this done? If no one, who can I tell?
- Who else is expecting me to complete this?
To get you started and moving forward:
- What three parts of this project can I get done right now?
- What three easier tasks can I do right now to get things started?
- What is the first next step to accomplishing this task? What comes after that?
- How can I “chunk” this project down into smaller do-able pieces?
To help you dealing with external obstacles and distractions:
- Is this the best time of day for me to be working on this project? If not, when is the best time?
- Is there a better “place” to be working on this project?
- What support do I need to follow through on completing this project?
- Do I have all the tools I need to complete this task?
- What do I need to set aside right now to be able to focus on this task?
- Have I allowed enough time right now to complete this project or piece of the project?
- Is my environment optimal to accomplishing this task? (light, temperature, noise)
- What are my biggest distractions to getting this done?
- How can I eliminate or minimize predictable interruptions? Have I done this?
- Have I taken care of what my body needs before trying to accomplish this? (food, water, rest)
To help you overcome internal obstacles:
- How am I making this harder than it really is?
- How can I make this task easier? More enjoyable? Simpler?
- What’s more important to me…done or perfect?
- What will it feel like when I complete this task?
- How will I reward myself when I complete this?
- What is the benefit to me to complete this task?
- When was I able to complete a similar task? What about that can I use right now to get this task done?
What do you find helps you “get it done”? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below!