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ADHD is NOT a Gift Unless You Leverage It - 092

adhd podcast Dec 21, 2021

Hearing that ADHD is a gift is hurtful and confusing to many adults.  In my Facebook group, whenever we create a post about ADHD being a gift, many members are angry because they don’t experience their ADHD as a gift at all. And, they are right.  Without well-developed Executive Functions skills, the gifts of ADHD aren’t available.  If you don’t take steps to more fully develop your EF skills, you could be locking yourself out of access to your creativity, unique problem-solving abilities, associative thinking, and seeing the possibilities in so many things in life.  And, you could be locking yourself into a lifetime sentence of underachieving, overwhelm, poor relationships, and so many other quality of life-threatening experiences.

Whether you are self-diagnosing or have received a diagnosis, there is so much that you have the power and control to change about the quality of your life IF someone would just tell you so.  Well, that someone is me.  If you want to leverage your ADHD, keep listening.

In this episode Dr B talks about:

  • How to leverage your ADHD as your super power
  • Life with well-developed Executive Function skills
  • Training your mind/brain to help you express your best self
  • Early bird enrollment open now - special bonuses available
  • Get on the informational Waitlist for the ADDventures In Achievement Foundational Skills (AIA-FS) program if you want to know more
  • Skip the Waitlist if you know you're ready to enroll now and claim your bonuses

Developing your Executive Function Skills and shifting your limiting beliefs is the fastest and most effective way to overcome ADHD limitations, find focus, gain confidence, and newfound freedom in your life!

My mission is to put an end to the worldwide needless suffering of adults with ADHD and those with under-developed Executive Function Skills - whether from ADHD, chronic depression or anxiety, trauma, addictions, or chronic illnesses.  And, you don't need a formal diagnosis to know you need help developing these executive function skills in order to greatly reduce your suffering.

 

Full Episode Transcript ADHD is NOT a Gift Unless You Leverage It - 092

Hearing that ADHD is a gift is hurtful and confusing to many adults. In my Facebook group, whenever we create a post about ADHD being a gift, many members are angry because they don’t experience their ADHD as a gift at all. And, they are right. Without well-developed Executive Functions skills, the gifts of ADHD aren’t available. If you don’t take steps to more fully develop your EF skills, you could be locking yourself out of access to your creativity, unique problem-solving abilities, associative thinking, and seeing the possibilities in so many things in life. And, you could be locking yourself into a lifetime sentence of underachieving, overwhelm, poor relationships, and so many other quality of life- threatening experiences.

Whether you are self-diagnosing or have received a diagnosis, there is so much that you have the power and control to change about the quality of your life IF someone would just tell you so. Well, that someone is me. If you want to leverage your ADHD, keep listening.

Years ago, I did what I considered a Public Service Announcement video and e- book about the elephant in the room. The elephant back then was that mental health professionals are not required to have any training or education about us adults living with ADHD at all. After years of pushing to get this required in the main university curriculum or even required as a single 3-unit continuing education course, I stopped pushing, because no one was interested in us. Years later, I see the elephant in the room are the under-developed EF skills and that we have the power and control to develop them and flourish in our lives. Seriously! This isn’t about curing ADHD, since there’s nothing to “cure” – rather it’s about developing the under-developed EF skills that make up the bulk of the diagnostic symptoms listed for ADHD. And, these under-developed EF skills are also a huge source of pain for those adults suffering with chronic depression, anxiety, and chronic illnesses, as well as trauma, and addictions. It’s common sense that when your energy is being diverted to these various conditions and situations, it’s not available to be focused on the development of your EF skills. Sooner or later, you are going to need to focus your intention and attention on EF skill development – and sooner is better by far.

It’s time to BE the change you want to see in your world. You can wish or hope for the changes, and maybe something positive happens. However, when you are BEING the change you want to see in your world, positive changes are definitely going to be happening.

We have so much more to work on than just ADHD or even EF skills. Over a lifetime, we experience traumas, develop limiting beliefs, we get stuck in outdated identities that limit us, navigate our relationships codependently, and choke on our accumulated grief and so much more.

The ADDventures In Achievement Foundational Skills program is the foundation you need in order to build a strong life structure, so you can then resolve the other issues that you might be facing as well. Once you’ve developed some EF foundational skills, you will be ready to move on to address the bigger and deeper issues and become the person you need to be in order to have the life you envision for yourself.

And no, this isn’t pie in the sky; it’s real. My students are transforming their lives every day; having breakthroughs and insights that start to surface as they engage with the content, the community, and the live coaching. If you’ve ever wanted a coach-on-call, someone you can reach out to throughout the week, when you’re stuck, confused or overwhelmed, and just need some input to keep moving forward – well, my program is designed to do just that. 5 days a week I am your coach-on-call in our private, program forum. And I’m curious…could you benefit from having your own coach-on-call?

Since many of us have challenges with waiting for results, I’d like you to consider the growth journey of a new plant. You put seeds in the ground. You feed and water and watch carefully…and, nothing yet. You look again in a week….and, nothing yet. Just because you can’t see all the growth that’s taking place beneaththe surface of the ground doesn’t mean that growth isn’t taking place. And then, that spectacular day…you look and you see that there is a small, little green plant that is pushing its way to the surface of the ground and breaking through. Its growth is now visible. You are excited because you can see the growth. And, consider how excited you could be every single day knowing that the plant is growing and making its way to the surface to show itself to you, if you thought about it that way.

We’re not much different. Our growth might not be immediately visible and so we get frustrated or discouraged or even worse – we quit because we say that nothing is happening. However, just like the plant that was growing underground until it was ready to be seen on the surface, we follow a similar path.

You hear about under-developed executive function skills on my podcast and learn more about what that means. You identify with what it means for you specifically and you’re excited that there is something you can do to help yourself to live a more fulfilling life. And, you even learn about a program that you can enroll in that will take you on a 7-month journey from where you are starting to the visible expression of who you truly are.

And, like the plant, whose journey is underground in the beginning, our journey might be the same. You learn about the pre-skills and EF skills, and start to engage with the lifework, and begin to get a knowing of what it is like to live with these EF skills and then you begin to more fully express yourself as a human being who has well-developed EF skills. Will you see your growth in the very beginning? Probably not. Does that mean that you aren’t growing? Not at all!! Just as every plant grows at its own rate, so do we. What is evident, if you slow down enough to notice, is that you are feeling more hopeful and better about yourself.

I’ve walked this journey with so many adults over the years, and I notice the subtle changes as you’re growing (even when you don’t see them) and I know that they’re significant, even if they aren’t what you thought you would see first.

And then - the day arrives, and it’s different for everyone, where you see your growth and you’re excited. In fact, it wasn’t as hard as you imagined it was going to be and that surprises you. Harder isn’t better; and it’s definitely more stressful. How many times have you been told to work harder? And did that get you better results? I know it didn’t for me.

Back to the gift of ADHD. As I see it, it’s the associative thinking that leads us to many new ideas and discoveries when we are skilled at engaging with this super power. If we aren’t skilled, ADHD can run us into the ground and stop us in our tracks. Some refer to it as a blessing and others refer to it as a curse. I guess it depends on your Metacognitive clarity or perspective.

The longer I work with groups of students and help them to transform their lives from the inside out, the more I can see they need, even beyond the foundational skills. And, I am well aware that without the foundational skills, they cannot successfully navigate the waters of other issues that hold them back; issues that can also be resolved with the right skills and strategies for their situation.

More specifically, I did a podcast episode a while back about moving beyond the seemingly hopeless state of mind and body. I borrowed this idea from 12-step recovery where it states in the Big Book of AA: “We 100 men and women who have recovered from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body.” I realized that we too need to heal from the seemingly hopeless state of mind and body that so many of us experience as a result of our ADHD, and our under-developed Executive Function skills. And not just those with ADHD. So many more need to heal from their chronic states of depression, anxiety, illness, trauma and addictions that often lead to that seemingly hopeless state of mind and body.

Many professionals point the finger, metaphorically speaking, at the “disorder.” I look beyond those labels to what’s going on at a deeper level and see so many with under-developed EF skills that would benefit from the work that I do, even though they don’t have ADHD. I’ve stopped seeing myself as someone who only helps those with ADHD and expanded my view to see that I help adults with under-developed EF skills, no matter the cause of that under-development. Developing our EF skills is definitely something we can do for ourselves, which leads us to achieving a level of confidence and self-trust because we are now competent in our adult life. And, it’s something that is available to us all.

If no one else is telling you that there’s real hope for you and what you can actually do about your limitations, then I’m glad you’re listening to this episode today. After 30+ years of working with adults living with challenges that I used to have, and I no longer have, I am telling you there is real hope for a better quality of life for you. And, it isn’t even hard to achieve. If you’ve got at least 15 minutes a day, every single day that you can give to me to help you, then I can help you develop your EF skills. And, if you think you don’t have 15 minutes a day to give me because you are so busy with this and that, I need to ask you what is more important to you? Being busy with this and that, or investing 15 minutes a day so you don’t have to live the rest of your life being busy with this and that? Nothing changes, if nothing changes. And for things to change, you have to change.

Everything in life is a choice, and everything we want in life has a price tag on it. We are either willing to pay the price for what we want, or we aren’t. We trade our time, effort, energy and sometimes money for those things we most value. And, if you want to know what you value, take a look at your life and how you spend your time, effort, energy and money.

There’s an exercise in the MasterClasses that are part of the ADDventures program that I created, where students are working with their values. They are asked to pick their 10 top values from a list of values I provide. These are to be their current values. This means that there is evidence in their life that they are indeed living their life in alignment with those 10 values. If we can’t see those values, then they are “aspired to” values; not current values, and that’s fine. We just want to be clear so if they think they are living according to certain values and they really aren’t but want to, then we start with their real, current values, and we move in the direction of their aspired to values. You can’t transform what isn’t real; so, it’s important to make it real and sometimes real is very humbling.

Your brain and mind are a muscle of sorts and can be trained just like any other muscle. Many people go to a gym, workout to develop their muscles, and when they don’t see evidence soon enough, they push harder. It’s the equivalent of us being told that we just need to work harder and that if we did, things would work out for us. What an insulting statement that is. I worked so hard for most of my younger life only to be met with failed outcomes over and over again. Working harder is a lie; it’s not the answer. All that they are saying is to apply brute force, which is relying on or achieving an outcome through the application of force, effort or power in large amounts instead of more efficient, carefully planned, or precisely directed methods, such as the use of well-developed EF skills and strategies.

And what about your limiting beliefs? Are you aware of how many you have? I knew I had some and until I started exploring my beliefs and their source, I had no idea just how many limiting beliefs were running my life. I still uncover them as I live my life; and it gives me the opportunity to retire the new ones that I discover. What a gift to uncover a limiting belief that has been holding me back and I didn’t even know it was there until I did. Reframing my beliefs and teaching others to do the same while utilizing more developed EF skills provides such freedom. Do you think of your mind and brain as a muscle that you can train? And, what if the training that it’s received has been arbitrary and inconsistent so that the skills you’ve developed are also arbitrary and inconsistent? It might explain how you are able to do something in one situation and not do it in another situation because there’s gaps in your training. With just 15 minutes a day consistently, every day, you can build some amazing skills. And, they become your new norm.

I used to start my podcast episodes with “hey ADDers” – until one day I realized that I was starting with an identity statement that was reinforcing all the symptoms that define what being an ADDer is, and that wasn’t okay with me. I don’t want to reinforce ADHD or ADD as an identity, which is what an “I am” statement does. How many times a day do you start a statement with “I am…”? Statements like “I am depressed” or “I am anxious” or “I am lazy” or “I am stupid” or “I am slow” or…..; fill in whatever you have been saying about yourself. Those are all identity statements that you don’t want to reinforce. Remember, what you focus on grows. What fires together, wires together. And, you think and speak your life into existence, so be intentional and mindful.

I want to help you move from stuck to unstoppable or even neutral, through the development of your executive function skills because if there was ever a time that you needed these skills, so you can navigate the ever-changing world successfully – now is that time.

If you aren’t yet on my informational Waitlist for the ADDventures In Achievement Foundational Skills program, I highly recommend you find the link in the show notes and submit your information right away. We’re in early bird open enrollment right now, only for those on the Waitlist. So, if you need what I am offering, and want to learn more about what the program is about, now is your time. I hope to have the opportunity to help you in the program very soon!

If you want access to a great free resource on your EF skills, you can get that on my website with the link in the show notes.

If you aren’t yet a member of my Living Beyond ADHD Facebook group, I recommend you ask to join. When you do, please pay attention and take the time to answer the few questions asked so that we can approve you into the group. Otherwise, we can’t. We have rules so that the group is a safe space, free of judgment, and a place where you can show up and interact with like-minded adults – laugh a little, learn a little and most of all be connected to a positive energy community.

For those of you who have been long time listeners, you know I am big on WINS and their importance in your life. There’s another important aspect to focusing on WINS and that is you are training your mind every day to notice what is right with you, right with what you are doing and right in the world – in other words… WINS. And especially during a time in our world history when it would be easy to ignore what’s right or good or amazing – this is exactly what we need to be focusing on to keep the level of positives within us high, so it can offset the high level of negatives that we are bombarded with every day.

Having a WINS mindset will transform how you experience your life, if you let it, even during very challenging times, like now. How you experience your life and the meanings you give the events of your life contribute greatly to the quality of your life. We don’t always have control over the events or experiences; however, we do have control over the meaning we give them.

We know that what you focus on grows and that it’s important to stand guard at the doorway to your mind and not let in things that don’t serve you. So why focus on anything but WINS? That way, you will continue to attract more and more WINS into your life all leading you to the state of mind and life you want.

You are a precious child of God and the universe; and are called a “human being” not a “human doing” for good reason. You don’t have to earn your value; you were born with it. Your value comes from “who” you are; not what you do. And if you need a place to know that is true, be sure to join the Facebook group, Living Beyond ADHD, so you can be with others who will celebrate yours WINS with you and affirm that you are more than okay as you, the “human being.”

So, what’s it going to be for you today? If you made a decision to love yourself unconditionally and put on your own oxygen mask first every day, those are awesome WINS. If you’ve slowed down and started to savor the time you spend with yourself, and with others you love and care about, those are great WINS. And, if you have given of yourself in some way this month, and it has brightened someone’s day, that’s a HUGE win! You never know how even the smallest gesture can make the biggest difference in someone’s life. You get the point; celebrate all of them. And none of this “half-hearted celebrating”; you’ve got to mean it. Exaggerate your emotions. Big emotions. YES!!! WOW!!! AWESOME!!! Be sure to celebrate your WINS – big and small – because celebrating daily builds consistency and makes a faster difference in your life.

How much time do we have? Not much. So, let’s get to it.

I make a point of reviewing your Waitlist submissions and what you all say about your life and your struggles. It’s heartbreaking because you are all writing about your under-developed EF skills; not about ADHD, which is fine. And, that happens if you are living with chronic depression, anxiety, illnesses, trauma, addictions or ADHD. The energy and focus needed to develop your EF skills was diverted and derailed and used elsewhere. And, now you need to proactively and intentionally resume the development of these EF skills. It doesn’t just happen on its own.

I’m curious - Has there been a time in your life when you placed yourself in a well- structured system such as academia or the military or anything that organized your life for you and told you when and where you needed to be and what you needed to do to fulfill your commitment in their system? For many of us, being in such a structured system is great, except for the fact that they don’t teach us how to create that structured system for ourselves so that when we leave their system and environment, we are able to continue to thrive in such an ideal system. It’s a huge missing piece.

Imagine placing yourself in another well-structured system, except this time you learn how to create such a system for yourself and not just operate within a system created for you. How does it feel to know that you can create your own effective, well-structured system and function as well as you want to? Exciting? Not only will you place yourself in a space with Structure. Support. Skills. Strategies. You will learn how to create this type of structure and support for yourself by developing your EF skills and strategies and asking for help when you get stuck. If you’ve been blaming yourself because this hasn’t been your life, please stop. You haven’t been in a space to learn and you can’t expect it to happen just like magic, because it doesn’t. It needs to be intentional.

Do you believe it’s possible for you to transform your life in 7 months? If yes, great. And if no, that’s great too. You don’t have to believe that it’s possible for you to do so; however, you do need to work the program so the evidence can show itself to you. And, I know you can be responsible for this outcome, because we are all response-able – that is, able to respond.

In a previous episode, I referred to this quote by Gandhi:

“Your beliefs become your thoughts
Your thoughts become your words
Your words become your actions
Your actions become your habits
Your habits become your values
Your values become your destiny.”

Let’s take this quote apart so you can see how the life you are living today and the life you will be living in the future are created.

• “Your beliefs become your thoughts”
o A belief is not a fact; it’s you placing your trust or confidence in something. It’s an attitude or an opinion that something is true, in your mind. In order to hold a belief to be true, you have to eliminate or ignore anything that is contrary to your belief.
o If you “believe” something, you are operating as if it is a fact and then take that “belief” and it is the basis for your thoughts.
o Example – you hold a belief that the world is a scary place. Therefore, your thoughts will reflect your belief and you will think thoughts that frighten you and make you uncomfortable.

• “Your thoughts become your words”
o Thoughts are things. What you think becomes the words you use in your mind and when you speak.
o Example – I can’t go certain places because my thoughts are the words, I say to myself, about what I can and cannot do, and so I limit myself by the words that I use that come from the thoughts that I am thinking.

• “Your words become your actions”
o If I say that I cannot do something, then I cannot do it and won’t even try to do it because it all started back with a belief I had about it and that runs my life.
o Example – if you say, I am not prepared to run a company, you will not step up and assume the role of leader because your words say you aren’t prepared and hence you act unprepared and you feel unprepared and it just becomes a cycle.

• “Your actions become your habits”
o If my actions are oriented to get things done the fastest way, without attention to detail, then this will become a habit of mine; habits are shortcuts and they don’t require any thought.
o Example – you are in the habit of being yourself and the actions you take every day reflect this. You don’t stop to consider your actions because you have already habituated your identity.

• “Your habits become your values”
o What you do without thinking about it, without questioning it, becomes your habits and then your values
o Example – even if you say that you want to live a healthy lifestyle, and you are in the habit of eating fast food every day, your habit indicates your values with regard to your health. It’s the difference between “current values” and “aspired to values.”

• “Your values become your destiny”
o Your current values are what is evident in your life day-to-day. And if you are living a values-driven life and your values are of a lesser quality than the life you aspire to live, then your values are driving your destiny.
o Example – if we are again talking about health again, if you’re living a “current values” driven life (not aspired to values) and those values are leading to a poor quality of life, that’s going to be your destiny. Or, you can upgrade your values to change your destiny; it’s up to you.

The widespread needless suffering of millions of adults around the world has to stop, and I am doing what I can to stop it with this generation; with us. We all need to address our limiting beliefs and under-developed Executive Function skills if we want to live the life that is possible for us with those changes. If we want further changes, we need to upgrade our values, identity and our thoughts. We’re the meaning maker in our life and we get to choose what the meaning of anything is going to be. We don’t control all the events that happen; however, we can choose our thoughts, attitude, and the meanings that we give to our life events.

We all need empowering beliefs and well-developed Executive Function skills to thrive as adults in today’s world. Because, if we can’t plan, organize, prioritize, get started and keep going until the end, or regulate states of overwhelm and analysis paralysis so that we can more easily make good decisions and know they are good decisions, it’s going to cost us dearly – every single day.

So slow down and become a student of your own life. Understand what you need to succeed with the multi-faceted brain that you have. Take action on what you learn about yourself. This is the lifework that lies ahead for you, if this is your time.

You came to this lifetime with an empowering gift, and I would love it if each and every person on this planet were able to express his or her unique, empowering gifts freely, without the threat of being shamed or criticized. Let’s put an end to that stigma once and for all.

A Favorite Quote: George Bernard Shaw said, “Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”

What this quote says to me is that if it is to be, it’s up to me to train and change my mind. You and I have the power to shape our minds. So, start asking yourself “How can I” and do that – rather than surrendering to defeat because you never challenged the illusions or lies of your current limitations.

Whether you’re learning from my podcast episodes or live videos or you’re working with me directly, you are in my world and I’m here to serve your needs. So be sure to reach out and get your needs met. It’s up to you to take action so that things can change for the better for you. And they can only change for the better for you if you change.

Make it a priority to get on the informational Waitlist for the ADDventures In Achievement Foundational Skills program for January 2022. We are currently in early bird open enrollment for those on the Waitlist and have special bonuses for you during this time. Learn what’s possible for you and decide if now is your time. I hope it is.

If you want to know more about the state of your EF skills, get the free PDF about under-developed EF skills that could potentially be holding you back.

And, join the Living Beyond ADHD Facebook group, for community support and engagement, if you are seeking a non-judgmental community to lean into while you are waiting for that and more in the ADDventures program.

If you enjoyed today’s episode or any of the previous episodes, please share this podcast show with others. I would also be grateful if you’d rate the show and write a positive or inspiring review on iTunes so I know I’m meeting your needs. It means a lot to me to know that your life is getting a little bit better every time we get together.

So be sure to check out the show notes for the many opportunities available to you as well as ways that we can work together and stop your needless suffering. If you’re really serious about putting an end to your suffering now, you will find real solutions to the challenges that you’re experiencing, and I would love to help you realize a new freedom, that is…if that’s of interest to you. Thanks for listening… Until the next time… Bye for now…

Resources referred to in this episode:

• AIA Executive Function Foundational Skills Program & Waitlist: https://www.drbarbaracohen.com/AIA

• Free PDF - 13 Signs Weak Executive Functioning Is Holding You Back: https://www.drbarbaracohen.com/Executive-Function

• Living Beyond ADHD Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/livingbeyondadhd

 


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Please rate the show and leave a thoughtful review on iTunes so I know you're benefiting from the episodes.  The greater the number of reviews, the higher the ranking, and the easier it will be for others to find the show; people who also need this information.  

Let's put an end to the worldwide needless suffering together! We can do this!