Reflections on the Film, “NORMAL ISN’T REAL”

I was honored to be part of a panel with neurodiversity advocates Jonathan Mooney and Jodie Knowles as we discussed Kris Kornmeier’s brilliant film, “NORMAL ISN’T REAL: Succeeding with LD/ADHD” at the 2019 BOOST Conference in Palm Springs this week.

The film’s title says it all – what we consider to be “normal” is only an illusion. What exactly is normal? Average? The “Goldilocks of abilities” – not too much of this or too little of that? Not standing out? Not being different? Not being ourselves?

Redefine Yourself

I propose that we NOT strive to be considered “normal,” whatever that is, as each one of us is beautifully unique, with varied experiences, interests, values, strengths, passions … as well as personal challenge areas. We all have things that we’re really good at and we all have things that are harder for us, whether we have “disabilities” or not. We should not define ourselves by what challenges we might face, or what makes us not fit in somehow. We can learn to embrace who we are as people, with our strengths and challenges together, controlling our own narrative so that we can move forward toward our vision of the future.

Rewrite Your Story

As an ADHD coach, I have the distinct honor of helping people rewrite their stories with an ADHD lens, helping them appreciate who they are, what they’re good at, what they are passionate about, as well as what doesn’t come naturally. As people come to understand why certain things have happened, they move from self-blame to self-awareness and to self-acceptance; with the confidence that comes with self-acceptance, people are able to leverage their strengths, discover new ways to work with the brain they have, and thrive with ADHD.

Embrace What Makes You Uniquely You

What is your story and how can you rewrite it with an appreciation of who you are? Embrace what makes you uniquely you, for the world needs your passions, your talents, your interests, your energy, and your quirkiness in all its glory!

For more information about the film, go to https://www.normalisntreal.com. You’ll be glad you did!

October’s ADHD Awareness Month – Setting the Record Straight

It’s astonishing that although ADHD has long been recognized as a real brain-based medical disorder, we can still hear people say things like, “ADHD is just a manufactured ‘disease’ promoted by Big Pharma.” or “Yeah, everybody has a little bit of ADD.” or “People with ADHD just need to get motivated and try harder.”

During October of every year we celebrate ADHD Awareness Month, an opportunity to dispel the myths and share the facts about ADHD. This year’s theme is “Setting the Record Straight” and there are a number of ways you can get involved:

  • Submit a video for the ADHD Awareness Month Video Contest in one of four submission categories: Family, Child, Adult and Professional. Submissions will be accepted through Wednesday, October 10, 2018 at 11:59pm ET. Voting will begin on October 12 and winners will be announced on October 30, 2018. For more contest rules and submission details, go to the ADHD Awareness Month website.
  • Check out the wonderful ADHD stories or share your own in about 150 words – what do you want the world to know about ADHD?
  • Check out the creative ADHD Art or share your own representing what ADHD looks or feels like.
  • Submit your ideas for the ADHD Awareness Month Meme Contest. The contest opens on October 1, 2018.
  • Sign up for the 2018 International Conference on ADHD to be held in St. Louis, MO from November 8 – 11, 2018

Unless people live with ADHD themselves or know someone who does, it’s easy to buy into the myths. When we share information about ADHD and our experience with it, more people are given the opportunity to truly understand the challenges and the possibilities with ADHD.

Please help us set the record straight by sharing information about the contests and the website resources with family, friends and colleagues.

The mission of the ADHD Awareness Month Coalition is to educate the public about ADHD. The coalition members include the ADHD Coaches Organization (ACO), Attention Deficit Disorder Association (ADDA), and Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD).

How Do You “Convince” Someone to Try ADHD Coaching?

When parents call to explore possible ADHD coaching for their teen/young adult, a question that can come up is how parents can convince their son or daughter to try ADHD coaching.

Coaching is not is not something that happens to someone – it’s a process that people need to be committed to. All coaching, including ADHD coaching, is about intentional changeand parents or others cannot successfully convince someone to participate in coaching if they are not interested in the process.

Although some young people begin coaching with the gentle nudge from their parents, teens and young adults who make the best use of ADHD coaching…

  • have the ability to step back to see what is working (and not working) in their lives
  • are willing to accept help
  • are honest with themselves and the coach
  • and have the desire to change strategies, habits and attitudes that are not serving them.

So how does one prime the pump as a parent, nudging someone to at least explore the idea of ADHD coaching? It’s all about sharing what coaching is – and is not.

When the teen/young adult seems receptive, share with them information from this website or online sources. Talk with them about how sports coaches or music teachers work by helping people increase their skills and have more fun. ADHD coaches work in a similar way, assisting their clients learn personalized strategies, tools and new habits so that there is more time to enjoy fun things outside school or work.  

When I talk with students about ADHD coaching, the feedback that I get is:

  • Coaching is empowering as it provides nonjudgmental and supportive structure, while allowing clients to build skills and strategies for future success.
  • Students enjoy the unique relationship between client and coach, one in which the student is in the “driver’s seat,” setting the agenda for the coaching sessions.
  • Students like having someone they are accountable to (other than their parents) while they learn to be more independent and accountable to themselves.

I often talk with teens and young adults in an introductory call, sharing that I “get” ADHD personally and professionally. We talk generally about what school is like for them, what’s easy for them and what is a little more difficult, how ADHD can get in their way, and then we talk about ADHD coaching if appropriate. Even if students are not ready or interested in ADHD coaching, just having a conversation with someone who understands and who offers nonjudgmental support (and a little bit of laughter) often makes a big difference!

So let me know how I can help you – or your teen/young adult. I am happy to assist you in any way I can.

What does Pi Day have to do with ADHD Awareness?

Happy Pi Day. Pi Day is observed on March 14 (3/14) because 3, 1, and 4 are the first three digits in π. (For those who don’t remember high school math, pi (π) is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter so the formula is π = C/d.)

Pi Day has gotten me wondering. How is it that Pi Day has gotten recognition and acceptance – and even celebration – when many people may be only vaguely familiar with the concept? They don’t question it. They don’t say that they don’t believe in pi. They don’t say it’s a made-up thing. They don’t say it’s an excuse or that the circumference or diameter of a circle need to try harder.

Wait a Minute – Where’s our Day? Where’s Our Celebration?

Although October is ADHD Awareness Month, there is no ADHD Day, despite the fact that ADHD affects people 24/7 … every day. ADHD doesn’t only impact those diagnosed with ADHD, but it affects the whole family system – the people with the diagnosis and those who love people living with the consistently inconsistent and often frustrating characteristics.

What ADHD Awareness Looks Like

If we have ADHD, it would be helpful to be aware of the challenges (and gifts) of ADHD. How much different would life be if we were able to understand and accept our ADHD and executive function challenges … and then implement the strategies, tools and habits that would allow us to live the life that we envision more easily?!?

Imagine what it would be like to start with an understanding of our own ADHD and go from there in designing a life that uses our strengths to work around those things that don’t come as easily to us. Imagine what it would be like to stop focusing on what might have happened and instead recognize our missteps as learning opportunities so we might set ourselves up for success.

If we are living with someone with ADHD, how different life would be if there were more awareness and honest, loving communication about personal ADHD challenges and strategic ways to work around them for effectiveness, family harmony and life balance? It all starts with awareness.

Personal and Public Awareness

Start with your own awareness of how ADHD impacts you and your loved ones … and then share what you know about ADHD with educators, people in the workplace, family members, and others who can benefit from knowing more about this brain-based condition that affects approximately 4.4% of the adult population and about 9% of children.

And if you are curious about how ADHD coaching might help in increasing awareness and developing personalized strategies, tools and habits, feel free to contact us. We’d be happy to help in any way we can.

Succeed with ADHD Telesummit

I am thrilled to be a speaker at the Succeed with ADHD Telesummit again this year. The telesummit is a free event where over 20 ADHD professionals and experts will share information and some of their most helpful tips to succeed with ADHD. The speakers will focus on adults and families living with ADHD, though some of the talks may be of interest to students, as well. Check out the details below:

Telesummit 2017

Succeed With ADHD Telesummit”
The week of July 17th – 21st
REGISTER HERE

Click on any of the links to register or get more information about the wonderful speakers, their topics, or the schedule. The telesummit includes talks by Alan Brown (ADD Crusher), Rick Green (TotallyADD), Tara McGillicuddy (ADHD Support Talk Radio), and Dr. Charles Parker (Neuroscience Consultant and Psychiatrist) among others. I will be speaking about ADHD-Friendly Goal Setting on Friday, July 21 at 3pm Pacific / 6pm Eastern.

You can listen by phone or online to each of the 20 calls FREE at the scheduled call time and you’ll have access to the replays for 24 hours after each live call.Interested?

Be sure to save your seat at Succeed with ADHD Telesummit. And if I can be of assistance to help you or a loved one succeed more easily with ADHD, I would love to hear from you.

 

Video Contest for ADHD Awareness Month 2017

What have you found to help yourself, your children or others successfully manage ADHD? Are you interested in making a short video sharing your experience or highlighting a helpful strategy as part of the ADHD Awareness Month’s video contest?

As a Board Member and representative of the ADHD Coaches Organization (ACO), I am thrilled to join other volunteers in the ADHD Awareness Month Coalition in sharing information about ADHD during October’s ADHD Awareness Month. This year’s theme is “Knowing is Better: ADHD through the Lifespan.”

As part of ADHD Awareness Month 2017, the Coalition will be holding a video contest asking people to share a one- to two-minute video about their experience or their best tips for living well with ADHD. Videos can be submitted by:

  • children under the age of 18 who have ADHD
  • parents with a child with ADHD under the age of 18
  • adults of all ages living with ADHD
  • professionals (coaches, counselors, teachers, doctors and others who work with children or adults with ADHD)

Prizes will awarded to winners in the Child, Parent and Adult categories.

Stay tuned for more information about the video contest’s rules, submission guidelines, and timelines. Check the website, www.ADHDAwarenessMonth.org, for updated information. In the meantime, start thinking about the experiences or tips that you might want to share in a video.

This video contest is part of ADHD Awareness Month, October 2017, brought to you by the ADHD Awareness Month Coalition. The mission of the ADHD Awareness Month Coalition is to educate the public about ADHD. The coalition members include the ADHD Coaches Organization (ACO), the Attention Deficit Disorder Association (ADDA), and Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD).

 

2017 ADHD Professionals Conference

I am honored to be presenting at the 10th Annual ADHD Professionals Conference with my Research Committee colleagues, Dr. Rebecca Toney and Casey Dixon. During our presentation entitled, “The Power of Research to Transform Coaching,” we will be discussing the direct application to ADHD coaching of research regarding strategic self-control, cueing desired actions and self-monitoring for success.

It is exciting to be part of a vibrant community of professionals attending the ADHD Coaches Organization conference in Reston, VA. We have the opportunity to meet and greet colleagues and friends, increase our knowledge base, share ideas for the application of evidence-based practices and generally connect and collaborate for the benefit of the ADHD community.

Adjusting Your Aim

Michael Jordan said, I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty six times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

Michael didn’t give up in the face of failure. He paid attention to what worked and what didn’t work, adjusted his aim and didn’t let the missed shots keep him from trying again.

We need to do the same.

Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck found through research that one’s mindset makes all the difference. With what Dweck calls a “fixed mindset,” people believe that their intelligence and abilities are pretty much carved in stone, unable to be developed. If Michael Jordan had felt that way, he might have stopped trying after the first missed shots.

It takes a leap of faith to keep moving toward one’s goals in the face of failure, especially when one has ADHD. But we can learn to develop what Dweck calls a “growth mindset,” the belief that we can build on our inborn intelligence and talents through dedication and effort. This mindset can help us learn from our mistakes, more easily move toward our goals, and continue to grow and change throughout our lives.

Missteps are part of life whether you have ADHD or not. But it seems that those with ADHD feel each misstep that much more. Instead of beating ourselves up for things not going as they might, we can look at what happened and ask, “What did I learn from this?” It helps to anticipate what might get in the way of our goals as we readjust our plans. And then we can take the next shot with confidence that it will work…or that we can adjust our aim again to get closer to our goal.

Give us a call. We would be delighted to talk with you about how ADHD coaching might help you adjust your aim and move toward your goals with ease.

Happy ADHD Awareness Month – Knowing is Better!

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October 1 is the beginning of ADHD Awareness Month. This year’s theme is “Knowing Is Better.” It’s always better to know what is getting in the way so that you can take positive steps toward managing ADHD.

Despite the prevalent “Squirrel!” jokes, ADHD is no laughing matter as it affects 9.5% of children in the United States and 4.4% of U.S. adults. Research has shown that ADHD contributes to problems in school, lost productivity at work, challenges with relationships, and problems with the law, among other things. But a lot can be done to reduce the symptoms of ADHD and improve functioning…and awareness is the first step.

October is your opportunity to share what you know about ADHD and rebut many of the myths that have negatively affected children, youth and adults with ADHD.

Below are some actions that you can take to help yourself or others learn more about ADHD:

As we raise awareness, more people can get the assistance they need to live happier and more rewarding lives.

 

 

 

 

Wacky Ways to Succeed with ADHD

Sarah and I are very happy to be contributing authors to the ADHD Awareness Book Project’s Wacky Ways to Succeed with ADHD, joining other ADHD coaches and experts from around the world in sharing strategies, stories and tips to help people live well with ADHD.

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What I love about the idea of the book is the permission to find your own way to circumvent challenges, however “wacky” they might seem to someone else.  It’s an invitation to experiment, play with possibility, and use the creative, out-of-the-box thinking that is so common to people with ADHD.

HONOR YOUR UNIQUENESS

Every person with ADHD has a unique combination of strengths, values, interests, and challenges.  As people pinpoint what is getting in their way, they are one step closer to crafting personalized strategies that can help them work around things that do not come as easily for them.  We learn from what didn’t work and we build on what has worked in the past, tweaking as necessary until we find something that allows our strengths to shine!  And if the strategies stop working after a while, we figure out new ways to work more effectively, focus more easily, and keep starting on projects until they get done.

One person might go to sleep in their workout clothes so that they are much more likely to exercise when they wake up.  Someone else might program the coffee maker to brew at a certain time so they can gently awaken to the smell of coffee ready to be poured.

FIND WHAT WORKS FOR YOU

We can get stuck in the shoulds, thinking “I shouldn’t have to do X, I should do Y.”  But just because someone else does something a certain way doesn’t mean that we have to use the same strategy.  We need to find out own, albeit wacky, ways that work for us.

So experiment a little!  Be creative!  Find your own “wacky” but effective-for-you ways that help you live and flourish with ADHD!

And if we can help you devise personalized strategies that work with your ADHD, feel free to contact us at Info@FocusForEffectiveness.com.