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Discover What’s Right With You & How It Can Help You Get Things Done - 045

podcast productivity Sep 25, 2017

Hey ADDers! So glad you could join me for today’s podcast episode. I’ve talked a lot about the challenges of adult life with ADHD, including Executive Function Deficits, and I’ve offered you lots of action steps to take. I’ve also talked about you as the “human being” and not the “human doing.” I got to thinking that I haven’t talked about Strengths, or rather “your strengths” yet and so today’s the day for that. I remember this information was important to me years ago and perhaps it will be important for you as well.

First, a little about what’s right with you. Each of you came to this lifetime with gifts and strengths. Whether you appreciate or value your gifts and strengths is a different issue; however, you have gifts and strengths. That said, accepting what your gifts and strengths are and working with them seems like the best road to personal happiness and success. And I don’t mean accepting with resignation or resentment. Look at your gifts and strengths with a sense of admiration and start wondering where and how you can utilize them. At least for the time being, stop longing for what you don’t have and start appreciating what you do have. It’s the only way I know of that you’ll be able to shift your mindset so you can truly start wondering where and how you can best utilize them.

In this episode, I’m going to be taking a look at The VIA Classification of Strengths and helping you to see what’s right with you so you can leverage that for a happier and more productive life.

You'll learn about:

  • Wisdom & Knowledge
  • Courage
  • Humanity
  • Justice
  • Temperance
  • Transcendence

In the program, you’ll learn from my 30+ years of experience in weekly coaching calls, workshops, and a private forum space for deep personal work with other like-minded adults where you have access to me 6 days a week for support, solutions and accountability.  I don’t believe in Band-Aids that will only disappear down the road.  I believe in helping you move from stuck to unstoppable by getting to whatever you’re missing and need to learn.  We’ve all had a belly full of judgment, criticism and punishment, whether it’s come from others or ourselves.  I encourage you to break free of that life and join us for your ADDventures in Achievement™.  Until then, become part of the Facebook community I created, Living Beyond ADHD, where I generally go live for Q & A about your most pressing issues as an adult with ADHD.

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 Today is Episode 45 with Dr B

Hey ADDers! So glad you could join me for today’s podcast episode. I’ve talked a lot about the challenges of adult life with ADHD, including Executive Function Deficits, and I’ve offered you lots of action steps to take. I’ve also talked about you as the “human being” and not the “human doing.” I got to thinking that I haven’t talked about Strengths, or rather “your strengths” yet and so today’s the day for that. I remember this information was important to me years ago and perhaps it will be important for you as well.

Years ago I took the Free Character Strengths Test on the VIA Institute on Character website. The link to access their free assessment will be in today’s show notes. I’m also planning on doing a live Q & A in the community group about the results of your assessments and how to leverage your strengths. If you’re not already a member of that community, I’d love for you to join us for this discussion; the link for the community group is also in today’s show notes.

https://www.viacharacter.org/Survey/Account/Register.

There are 24 strengths that this test evaluates and VIA ranks them for you in their free report. They also have paid reports that go into more depth about your strengths; if that’s of interest to you. You’ll see all that information on the VIA website.

I’m going to approach today’s topic of what’s right with you a little differently. In the strengths assessment, there are 6 core categories – Wisdom & Knowledge, Courage, Humanity, Justice, Temperance and Transcendence, and then various sub-categories within each core category. I’m going to share a short story illustrating each of the 6 core categories, including some background information about each, and some actions steps you can take if you relate to that story and core category, followed up with a favorite quote of mine, as always.

First, a little about what’s right with you. Each of you came to this lifetime with gifts and strengths. Whether you appreciate or value your gifts and strengths is a different issue; however, you have gifts and strengths. That said, accepting what your gifts and strengths are and working with them seems like the best road to personal happiness and success. And I don’t mean accepting with resignation or resentment. Look at your gifts and strengths with a sense of admiration and start wondering where and how you can utilize them. At least for the time being, stop longing for what you don’t have and start appreciating what you do have. It’s the only way I know of that you’ll be able to shift your mindset so you can truly start wondering where and how you can best utilize them.

So, by taking this free assessment, you’re going to learn what your strengths are; things that you are already good at and have an easy time doing; in fact, you might say that they come naturally to you, which is the whole point.

And once you know what your strengths are, you’ll be able to think about how you can use them to help you with some of the day-to-day challenges you’re facing, whether that’s your organizing, prioritizing, decision-making, focusing, following through, self-management, relationship with time, transitions, planning, scheduling and so on.

What’s really important here, I think, is that when you are tackling those day-to-day challenges and feel that you have nothing going for you; that everything about organizing or prioritizing is a challenge, that may not be the case when you can look at these tasks through the lens of your strengths. Hopefully you’ll understand what I mean as we go on today.

A quick little example is that you might not have a sense of urgency in your day-to-day tasks and hence you’re late with assignments or other things, yet you can clearly understand the sense of urgency through the lens of your strength of Bravery when there is a threat and you act right away and take care of the threat, either to yourself or others; you just do it because people with this strength act this way.

Another quick little example might be you not knowing what to do or where to start on a project by yourself, yet through the lens of your strength of Teamwork, you work well as a member of a team and can see what is yours to do and you get it done. Again you just do it because people with this strength act this way.

For years I’ve approached my challenges from the perspective of getting stronger where I am already strong (because I’m more motivated to do that) and then my strengths end up helping the weaker parts of me to get stronger much faster because I’m not focused on all my weaknesses and getting dragged down by them. In fact, I feel a sense of success and achievement by working to strengthen my existing strengths and then leveraging them to my advantage. This always just seemed like the logical way to go because working on what I’m challenged by is slow and frustrating at times, even when I’m loving and patient with myself.

I’ve recently come to realize that I’ve spent a lot of my lifetime learning from some great teachers as well as doing my own self-study, and have learned about a lot of assessments and tools and ways of thinking about my life challenges or working with my mind that have allowed me to move forward and achieve goals that I never thought were possible for me to achieve, even though I wanted to achieve them. My training in Hypnotherapy, Neurolinguistic Psychology, Cranial-Sacral Therapy and Somato-Emotional Release Work, Physical Fitness Training, Homeopathy, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Native American Spiritual Practices, and time spent working in law firms and medical offices while pursuing my somewhat non-traditional education and licensure are all coming together now as part of what I’m bringing to my students in the ADDventures in Achievement program.

I know just how complex the challenges are that I’ve faced in my own life journey, and from those of you I’ve worked with, I know your challenges are equally complex. I’ve needed the non-judgmental, loving and safe support of others to keep going and get to where I need to for my own healing, and love that I get to provide that for others now, no matter where you all are located in the world.

I’ve learned that everything you or I want or need in life is going to cost us in time, effort and energy; that’s just what it takes to get there. You can write down your goals and say what you want, and if you’re not willing to commit to give whatever it’s going to take to achieve your goals, then they aren’t going to happen for you. You’ll either have to downsize your goals or upgrade your commitment to do whatever it’s going to take, because there’s no discount on the life that any of us want; we have to invest fully.

In previous episodes, I’ve talked about the neurological levels model of Robert Dilts: environment, behaviors, capabilities, beliefs and values, identity and spirit. I’ve also mentioned that I have gained a lot by starting with spirit and allowing spirit to flow into everything.

What I’ve learned recently is just how critical my environment is to my overall health.

I’ve had some health challenges recently that just weren’t resolving. As the curious and determined person I am, I’ve changed my foods, my lifestyle, my shampoos, make up, cleaning products, checked my water and A/C and heating systems, removed excess indoor plants because of the soil, and yet I missed something very important that was right there all the time; I just had to look up. There was a leak in one of my skylights and that created a mold problem. Mold kept being detected as a health issue for me and I had thoroughly explored the usual suspects, such as the shower, bathroom, closets, upholstered furniture, heating & A/C vents and they had all been ruled out. However, the leaky skylight and the only rug in my entire space that hadn’t been professionally cleaned in years kept exposing me to mold spores every day I worked in that room.

I tell you this story because some of the symptoms of mold exposure are the same as those of ADHD and executive function deficits, and I encourage you to look around your own environment and see if you have anything around you on a daily basis that could be contributing to you not feeling your best and making your ADHD or executive function abilities worse. Scary symptoms of mold infection or mold toxicity are: psychological distress such as anxiety or depression, exhaustion, changes in touch or sensation, muscle weakness, aches and pains, vertigo, coordination problems, sinusitis, strange rashes or hives, mental fog, breathing problems, hair loss, sore throat, cold and flu symptoms, headaches, memory loss, headaches, and digestive issues.

I’m looking forward to how I’m going to feel in the next week or two now that the rug is out for cleaning and the skylight and surrounding wood areas is scheduled for repair very soon.

So back to the original question about HOW can you leverage your strengths, once you know what they are, to help you create a happier and more productive and successful life for yourself?

You are going to need to choose one area to focus on first, and make the amount of the area small enough to be achievable by you. For example, if your highest rated category of strengths is Wisdom & Knowledge, and your highest within that core category is Creativity, perhaps look at how you could leverage your creativity, which is thinking of new, novel and productive ways to do things and apply that to a challenge in your life. What are some alternative ways to view the challenge, approach working with it and even utilize aspects of it in your life? You might be pleasantly surprised at what your creativity can offer you if you apply it in new ways.

And once you know what your strengths are, if you find yourself ignoring them and slipping back into old patterns or ways of living your life, pay attention to whatever is causing you to slip and not sustain the new ways. Don’t just let it be; tackle it and clear whatever is in the way rather than letting your behaviors or thinking deteriorate.

We’re getting closer to today’s 6 short stories, background information, action steps and a favorite quote of mine. So let’s keep going…

I want you to remember that you are NOT what you do or don’t do; you are more than that. WE are NOT defective or less than as people – as human beings; we’re just wired differently and the difference doesn’t have to be a limitation once you know what you need for your own success.

Remember, I wasn’t born knowing all of these systems and structures and methods that I needed to put in place to move myself from stuck to unstoppable, and neither were you. However, so long as you are “teachable”, and willing to be a student of your own life, you can learn just like I did.

It’s almost story time but first, YOU need a WIN. You need to remember and acknowledge and celebrate at least one thing that is good about you or has gone right for you today, just one thing. Perhaps you take the strengths assessment today after listening to this episode; that’s a WIN. Or maybe you use the information you get about your strengths to start making some changes in your life; certainly a WIN. Or perhaps you tell a few friends about the strengths assessment, encourage them to take it and you all work on leveraging your strengths together; that’s definitely a WIN. Whatever you choose is up to you; however, I want you to choose something right now and celebrate it – either a loud or to yourself. I want you to have a WIN and acknowledge that at least one thing has gone right in your day, is right about you, even if you are feeling defeated because you have so far to go and you just don’t know if you can make it. Those feelings don’t take away from the fact that at least one thing has gone right today or is right with you. You are a precious child of 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. You’re value comes from “who” you are; not what you do. Got it? I hope so because you’re going to keep hearing me say it, because it’s so important to your self-esteem and quality of life.

Remember that this is a process, so please don’t let yourself off the hook here with taking action once, not getting the results you hoped for, and stopping there. Seriously!! Did you learn how to do anything significant or important with just one attempt? I know I didn’t, so keep going!! You’re learning to do, not just standing up and doing, like you’ve known how all your life. Get real here!!

In this episode, I’m going to be taking a look at The VIA Classification of Strengths and helping you to see what’s right with you so you can leverage that for a happier and more productive life.

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

Now back to being an adult with ADHD in today’s world. I’m going to use myself as the story example for each of these today.


Transitioning to my first story, which is about wisdom & knowledge, the cognitive strengths that entail the acquisition and use of knowledge…

· For as long as I can remember I have felt like I would be a student for life. I love learning about so many different things and integrating all that I learn into something useful in my life; perhaps this describes you too.

· To me this core category of strengths has nothing to do with IQ or being a measurement for how successful someone with ADHD will or won’t be. I say that because if there are executive function skills missing or many that are weak in the areas of being able to plan, schedule, initiate on day-to-day tasks or important projects without delays or procrastination, then all the wisdom and knowledge in the world won’t save you.

· For years I’ve been unable to take my 30 years of wisdom and knowledge about what has helped me and many other adults I’ve worked with to be successful, and share it more broadly. I know that I rate high in this category and all the sub-categories; however, it has been the executive function skills I was missing that had been stopping me. It’s only when I learned them that things started to change for me and I could actually put my wisdom and knowledge to work in the greater world at large.


Background facts about Wisdom & Knowledge: Cognitive strengths that entail the acquisition and use of knowledge:

· Creativity – thinking of novel and productive ways of doing things (very common in the adults I’ve worked with)

· Curiosity – taking an interest in something for its own sake

· Judgment – thinking things through and examining them from all sides

· Love of Learning – to master new skills, topics or knowledge just because (very common in the adults I’ve worked with)

· Perspective – looking at the world in ways that make sense


If you relate to my story about Wisdom and Knowledge, you action steps might be:

· Focus on what your sub-category strengths are and think about how you can utilize them to your benefit

· Follow Through on actually utilizing them in the ways you’ve considered and see if your life gets any easier or you’re able to do things more quickly or gain more pleasure from what you’re doing

· Self-Management of your state or mindset to appreciate yourself for all these strengths you have and allow yourself to be proud to be you and excited about what you will choose to do as a result of knowing these are your strengths


Transitioning to my second story, which is about Courage, the emotional strengths that involves the exercise of will to accomplish goals in the face of opposition, external or internal

· I feel that my strengths in this category developed later in my life. I have certainly persevered for most of my life; doing whatever I had to do to finally complete my undergraduate degree and move on to my Masters and then to my Doctorate degree. There were many reasons why it took almost 15 years for me to finish a 4-year undergraduate degree; the point is that I stayed with it and finished so I could continue my higher-level education.

· To me this core category of strengths is about so many things. It’s about standing for what you believe and being honest about your truth; the truth about who you are. It seems like it’s taken a long time to get to the place in my life where I am comfortable enough in my own skin to be a more full expression of myself and of Courage.

· I was taught years ago that modeling behaviors is important so that others can follow someone’s lead. I have followed the lead of those I admire and hope that my steps of Courage help you to be more Courageous in your life.


Background facts about Courage: Emotional strengths that involve the exercise of will to accomplish goals in the face of opposition, external or internal

· Bravery – not running away but standing your ground for what’s right

· Perseverance – finishing what one starts; persisting in spite of obstacles

· Honesty – speaking one’s truth and taking responsibility for feelings and actions

· Zest – living life as an adventure; not doing things halfway or halfheartedly


If you relate to my story about Courage, you action steps might be:

· Focus on where you are currently courageous and where you aren’t courageous, see if you can get to why you lack courage in certain situations

· Follow Through on stepping up more often and living in your integrity and truth

· Self-Management of your fears or concerns about living with Courage and doing whatever your personal work is around these concerns or fears


Transitioning to my third story which is about Humanity, the interpersonal strengths that involve tending and befriending others

· I feel that my strengths in this category also developed later in my life. My earlier years were more about solitude, and then I swung into codependency. I feel that I’ve finally found the middle path and don’t lose myself in relationships.

· I know I was rather naïveté when I was younger and the motives of others weren’t as clear to me as they are now.

· To me this core category of strengths is about humanity to self as well as to others; and I think that’s what I needed to learn all along.

· I learned that when I’m taking care of myself and my needs, I’m “full” and can be there for others in the fullness that I’ve always wanted to be.


Background Facts about Humanity: Interpersonal strengths that involve tending and befriending others

· Love – valuing close relations with others, where sharing and caring are reciprocated

· Kindness – helping others with favors or good deeds

· Social Intelligence – knowing what to do to fit into different social situations


If you related to my story about Humanity, your action steps might be:

· Focus on what you need to develop in yourself to tend to the needs of others without losing yourself in the process

· Follow Through on developing yourself so you can be there for others without losing yourself

· Self-Management of your feelings about being close to others and sharing and caring in reciprocity


Transitioning to my fourth story, which is about justice, the civic strengths that underlie healthy community life

· For as long as I can remember I have fought for the underdog and what I feel is “right” or just in the world. I am bothered by the injustice that I perceive around me because justice seems so logical and right.

· To me this core category of strengths is about us as “human beings” not “human doings” and that our value is a given.

· I think it’s also about my need to make sure that no one is left behind who wants to advance themselves; that we all have the right to become the expression of the strengths and gifts we were born with and can contribute to the betterment of life for all of us.


Background Facts about Justice: Civic strengths that underlie healthy community life

· Teamwork – working well as a team member and doing one’s share

· Fairness – treating all people according to notions of fairness and justice

· Leadership – organizing group activities and seeing that they happen


If you related to my story about Justice, your action steps might be:

· Focus on what you believe about justice and it’s sub-categories

· Follow Through on living your life according to the values and principles you want to uphold

· Self-Management of your feelings about the injustices in the world and what you can or can’t do to make a difference and where


Transitioning to my fifth story, which is about Temperance, the strengths that protect against excess

· Earlier in my life, I had problems with excess. It seemed that there was never enough of anything. I always felt the need to do more, be more, and I wasn’t all that disciplined.

· To me this core category of strengths is about restraint from self-judgment in favor of self-forgiveness, about regulating myself in place of doing whatever I feel like, when I feel like it, and not with positive intentions.

· I think it’s also about my need to master myself so that I can live as a better person in the world and in my relationships with others.


Background Facts about Temperance: Strengths that protect against excess

· Forgiveness – accepting the shortcomings of others and yourself

· Humility – letting one’s accomplishments speak for themselves

· Prudence – being careful about one’s choices; not saying or doing things that might later be regretted

· Self-Regulation – controlling one’s emotions; being disciplined and regulating what one feels and does


If you related to my story about Temperance, your action steps might be:

· Focus on where you are pulled into excess in your life and see if you can determine what that is doing for you

· Follow Through on what you learn from becoming more self-aware and utilize those insights for self-betterment

· Self-Management of any feelings of scarcity that are driving the need for excess


Transitioning to my sixth story, which is about Transcendence, the strengths that forge connections to the larger universe and provide meaning

· I love this strength and it’s connection to my spiritual life; to my intuition.

· To me this strength is what connects us all to one another; it reminds me that I am not alone in my challenges, my gifts or my joys.

· I feel this strength is connected to my strengths of wisdom and knowledge; it’s how I am driven to continue to seek insights and learn more about the bigger world and what connects us all at a much higher or deeper level.


Background facts about Transcendence: Strengths that forge connections to the larger universe and provide meaning

· Appreciation of Beauty & Excellence – noticing and appreciating beauty, excellence and skilled performance in various domains of life

· Gratitude – be aware of and thankful for the good things that happen

· Hope – expecting the best in the future and working to achieve it

· Humor – bringing smiles to other people; seeing the lighter side

· Spirituality – having beliefs about the meaning of life that shape conduct and provide comfort


If you related to my story about Transcendence, your action steps might be:

· Focus on cultivating your gratitude for all that you are, for those in your life and for the expression of excellence wherever you experience it

· Follow Through on bringing hope into the world wherever you can and shed some light into the darkness of many

· Self-Management of your feelings to stay in balance and harmony within yourself


A Favorite Quote:

Eleanor Roosevelt said, “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” The question I have for you at this point of our journey together is, “Can you go to the mirror and look your fears in the face, and do what you think you cannot do?” I hope so. It’s totally worth it!!

That’s about it for today’s episode on Strengths. I hope you were able to hear yourself in many of my examples, and that you’re excited to start exploring how you can enjoy your strengths and what’s right with you. In fact, I’d love to hear what you discovered about your strengths and how you are benefiting from this knowledge.

It means a lot to me to know that your life is getting a little bit better every time we get together. I do hope that you will take some of the action steps I’ve suggested because for things to change, you have to change. And that means taking action, like checking out the episode links so you can benefit from all of the resources I continue to create for you in addition to this podcast show, if that’s of interest to you. Remember, there’s a PDF transcription of this episode in the resources. Plus, I’d love to get to know you in the community group I created on Facebook and interact with you when I go live there.

If you benefited from today’s episode, take action now and share this show with your friends and family; perhaps rate the show or even write up an honest review of this episode. Whatever you’re willing to take action on today will ripple out into the world and impact the course of your life as well as that of others you may never know about.

And if you don’t want to have to remember to look for new episodes, just subscribe and the newest episode will be in your feed by 1 am Pacific Time on Mondays and Thursdays.

So thanks for listening… Until the next time… Bye for now…

 

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