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Transforming ADDulting with ADHD - 076

adhd podcast Jun 01, 2020

For those of you who don’t know me yet …

Albert Einstein is quoted as saying, Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

That was me; living the majority of my academic life believing I was stupid, and chasing degrees to prove I wasn’t. The degrees never resolved the feelings; only accepting the truth did. I was smart; just differently. I wasn’t broken. I didn’t need fixing. I needed to understand what was great about me and build on that. I have, and so can you!

The meanings you give the events of your life is so important.  They can either empower or destroy you. 

In this episode Dr B talks about:

  • Defining what ADDulting will look like for you
  • Success comes from building a strong foundation and continuing to practice the basics
  • Six important concepts that have radically transformed my life and others who apply these concepts
  • The importance of celebrating your wins

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 LBA with Dr B – Episode #076
Transforming ADDulting with ADHD
Monday, June 1, 2020

Today is Episode 76 with Dr B

For those of you who don’t know me yet …

Albert Einstein is quoted as saying, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

That was me; living the majority of my academic life believing I was stupid, and chasing degrees to prove I wasn’t. The degrees never resolved the feelings; only accepting the truth did. I was smart; just differently. I wasn’t broken. I didn’t need fixing. I needed to understand what was great about me and build on that. I have, and so can you!

The meanings you give the events of your life is so important. They can either empower or destroy you. I did a great job of destroying my self-confidence and self- worth with meanings that just weren’t true. When we moved to a new town, with a different school system, I either needed to be moved forward half a grade to 4th grade or held back half a grade to repeat 3rd grade. I was all for being advanced because I hoped that 4th grade would be more interesting than 3rd. Unfortunately, my parents and school decided I should be held back because I was small for my age and they felt it would be easier for me to fit in with those kids rather than the older kids. That was their reasoning and decision; I was not consulted, just told. The meaning I gave that event was that I was stupid; not smart enough to be advanced. That meaning stuck with me for years!

As a teen, I started observing people a lot more, trying to understand more about life and personal interactions. When I looked at the adults in my life, I was really clear that I did not want to become part of the walking dead, as I referred to them. They showed no spark or passion, day after day. If this was what becoming an adult was going to be, I wanted no part of it. Adulting is defined as the practice of behaving in a way characteristic of a responsible adult, especially the accomplishment of mundane but necessary tasks. I didn’t feel there was any playfulness or joy in adulting, according to that definition. Plus, the adults I saw around me definitely weren’t having fun or joyful about their day-to-day tasks. That definitely wasn’t going to work for me. And it probably doesn’t work for many of you either.

I decided that since I am the meaning maker of my life, I could define what adulting would be for me, and it definitely includes being playful, youthful and having fun, all the while being a responsible or rather “response-able” adult. I am an adult that is response-able; able to respond, and so are you. You just need to know ways to transform the mundane into the extraordinarily playful, fun and engaging experiences that you need them to be so you can get stuff done. I’ve successfully created an adult life according to my criteria and so can you! Remember, we are feeling-driven adults and need our feelings to drive us forward, not hold us back.

You may already know this, and it bears repeating - You are not alone! There are millions of adults all over the world with the same or similar struggles AND gifts you are experiencing. And let’s compound the problem even more so with giftedness, sensitivities, existential depressions, codependency and under-developed executive function skills. That’s a lot of factors impacting your life AND most of you have never been taught the tools to address any of these additional factors that are so prevalent in our lives.

If you identify with any of the following - being a daydreamer, procrastinator, perfectionist, poor decision maker, underachiever, are unrealistic, unreliable, under- motivated, often late, forgetful, socially awkward, disorganized, impulsive, or live in the moment seemingly oblivious to life going on around you - then you are in the right place!

You are also in the right place if you know yourself to be a daydreamer, bright, talented, creative, innovative, passionate, perfectionist, full of ideas and potential, and have lots of partially completed projects to your credit. Perhaps you even feel like a fake or a fraud, just lucky to have gotten this far in your life.

These “common symptoms” are just a sampling of the myriad of gifts and challenges an adult living with ADHD is facing, in addition to later in life diagnosis for so many women (and men too) because of the lack of training required for mental health professionals to even recognize, let alone address the challenges you experience, which can be significantly reduced or even eliminated, making room for your greatest gifts to be expressed in the world. I selfishly want to see or experience all of your amazing gifts once we get what’s in the way resolved.

ADHD is a case of mistaken identity. You’re not broken or stupid. You’re sensitive, creative, curious and live with an unharnessed power that takes you in lots of directions – sometimes all at once. You need tools and strategies. You need personal understanding and appreciation of who you are and what you have going for you – so you can learn to Harness Your ADHD Power and Live Beyond ADHD.

I understand you might be feeling overwhelmed by the sheer number of things on your plate. Or frustrated and exhausted by your many attempts to resolve your problems. It all seems to take so much effort to just get started, let alone complete something. I get it; I do.

Listen up. Your life is worth more than a quick fix with Band-Aid solutions. Using the same thinking that got you into this mess won’t work. Neither will wishful thinking. Real problems deserve real solutions. You need to be well informed and equipped with the tools to make a positive difference in the outcome of your efforts.

Otherwise, why bother?

Success comes from building a strong foundation and continuing to practice the basics. Great baseball players practice batting. Great musicians practice scales. Great actors practice lines. It takes practice to generate success.

YOU are the meaning maker of your life. Situations change when the meaning you give them changes; and you change.

You live in a human body; a sacred space that houses your mind, heart, and soul. You are given the choice to live fully, being mindful of your choices and self-care, or to live limited, shackled by ignorance and immaturity.

The essentials of your body, mind and heart do not arrive fully trained or shaped into their most graceful and powerful resourceful state. Rather, you are tasked with guiding your essentials into their fullness.

Minds are ever curious and attracted to the novel and immediate stimuli. Hearts long to connect and love. Bodies want to move and reach out and touch life. Your mind might feel disruptive and without loyalty to your daily needs. Your heart might be overly connective and looks for love in all the wrong places. Your body may be in motion all the time to the point of sheer exhaustion, yet it doesn’t feel good to live that way.

Viktor Frankl said, "When we are no longer able to change a situation - we are challenged to change ourselves.

Many of you are surprised when you hear from me so quickly and with a personal message to you as well. It’s who I am and how I live. I respond quickly when you reach out because time is one of those assets that can’t be restored. When it’s spent, you have one less day. And if you feel like your life is passing and you aren’t achieving all that you want, then responding quickly is important. How much time do any of us have? Not all that much. Time doesn’t stand still for any of us; whether we are ready to move forward or not. I learned long ago that I wanted to “live ready” for the unfolding of my life. I didn’t want to have to pass on any more opportunities because I wasn’t ready and couldn’t say “yes” when it was important to do so.

If my podcast is the first time you’ve heard about executive function skills and strategies, you are not alone. If you’re an adult who received a diagnosis of adult ADHD, executive function skills should also have been assessed and discussed with you, in my humble opinion. And, if you’re still waiting to get an assessment, whether that’s weeks or months from now, the same is true. Unfortunately, the odds of getting that assessment are pretty small; just not part of what is done traditionally, and yet the odds of having executive function deficits along with ADHD are very high; in fact, almost a given that you will.

Today’s episode is about transforming adulting, so it works well for those of us living with ADHD, as well as offering you hope; real hope. How much time do we have? Not much. So let’s get to it.

Today’s important points are:

1. Defining what “adulting” will be for you, so long as your definition achieves the needed outcome of being a responsible (response-able) adult 2. Six important concepts that have radically transformed my life and others who apply these concepts

Now back to being an adult with ADHD or executive function challenges in today’s world. I know there are many reasons why you haven’t heard about under- developed executive function skills until listening to my podcast show or haven’t gotten diagnosed until much later in life. We can’t change those facts. However, now that you know, you can get moving on what you’re going to do about your deficits as well as make the most of your strengths. I have stories to share with you, including actions steps, and a favorite quote of mine.

But first, I want to talk about celebrating your WINS, big and small, since WINS are such an important part of my philosophy. Remember, what we pay attention to grows, so paying attention to what’s right instead of what’s wrong helps to generate more of what’s right. Seems simple enough. And when you acknowledge and celebrate your WINS with a full heart of appreciation and authenticity, you are giving yourself a priceless gift. No one else may feel excited about your WINS, and that’s okay for now, because living in awe of yourself and what you learn and love about you is critically important to your well being. And if you want a safe space to celebrate you and your wins and more, be sure to join the Living Beyond ADHD Facebook group right away. It’s a judgment-free, safe, supportive space to just be you, the human being and celebrate you and what’s right, as well as get help for what is challenging to you.

So, what’s it going to be for you today? What are you going to celebrate? Maybe you’ve begun to meditate 5 minutes every day; that’s a great WIN. Perhaps you’ve taken on the lifework of seeing yourself and your life with greater clarity, so you can make better decisions and adjust an area of your life that truly needs it; that’s a wonderful WIN. Perhaps someone criticized you this week and you were able to see it as their perspective and not necessarily your truth; that’s definitely a WIN. You get the point; celebrate all of them; big and small. And none of this “half-hearted celebrating”; you’ve got to mean it. Exaggerate your emotions. YES!!!! WOW!! AWESOME!! You want your acknowledgement and celebration to register in your neurology with the power to move you and shift your state. Many of us need a higher level of stimulation or intensity for things to register. So, if that’s you, give that to yourself and exaggerate your celebration so you can actually feel it.

And listen…you’re not broken or defective or less than! You’re YOU! You have gifts and talents that you may not think much of, like you’re really great at playing the guitar or packing a vehicle for a camping trip, because those talents aren’t paying the bills. I get it. And yet these are things that are really great about you and need to be appreciated and celebrated.

You are a precious “human being” whose value is a given; because I am not talking about you as the “human doing” that most of society views you as, and especially in this challenging world experience we are all living with. It’s true that you may be missing some skills that have been making your life very difficult up to now, and yet skills can be learned. I am not making light of your struggles or unhappiness; not at all. I want you to know that there are answers to your struggles. If you are willing to be a student of your own life and develop a deeper understanding of yourself and how you are put together, and offer yourself a lot of compassion and patience, plus the time, effort and energy it’s going to take to make the necessary changes, these things can happen for you. I know this is true because my students are learning skills they’ve been missing most of their life and it’s amazing to share in the transformation of their thinking and behaviors and aha moments.

Please don’t let yourself be one of the 80% of people who don’t ever make it to more permanent change or even the 80% who want to change but never actually end up making the changes they want for many different reasons. There is training and support available to you to ensure, to the best of my ability, that you don’t become one of the 80% who don’t make it. Rather, that you are one of the 20% who do.

Let’s transition to some stories and action steps now. Our first story is about Linda and how she defined and developed her “adulting” life, so that she played to her strengths and was still a responsible (response-able) adult, as well as action steps you can take to start developing your own “adulting” life.

• Linda was in her mid-40s and recently diagnosed with adult ADHD. Her life was a mess: behind in filing her taxes for 3 years, always paid her bills late despite having the funds to pay them on time, never on time for anything, no consistent system for living her life and was amazed that she made it to her 40s without things being worse. Her ADHD medication didn’t make a dent in these adulting challenges; which was hugely disappointing to her.

• If she didn’t have to deal with this mundane “adulting” stuff, her life was really great! She had lots of creative interests that she enjoyed. She did well in her job because it was highly structured for her and the expectations were clear for her role in the company, plus she had an assistant. It was just the “adulting” stuff that bored her and kept getting pushed aside for more interesting activities and engaging time with friends.

Background Facts about “adulting”

• Again, adulting is defined as the practice of behaving in a way characteristic of a responsible adult, especially the accomplishment of mundane but necessary Tasks.

• The big picture goal for “adulting” is that we are able to behave responsibly which I see as response-able, and accomplish the necessary tasks of our life in a timely fashion. Beyond that, it’s up to each of us to determine what responsible or response-able is (criteria) and how we can shift our perception of those tasks to actually enjoy doing them (state change).

If you relate to Linda’s story, your action steps are:

• Focus
o How are you going to define being a responsible or response-able adult and will your definition work well for you and whoever else is directly impacted by your life choices?
o How can you make bill-paying fun? Or, cleaning your home fun? How can you reframe mundane tasks into enjoyable ones?
o How can you shift your attitude from resistance to playfulness so you have a fun time accomplishing your tasks?

• Follow Through
o Determine your criteria for adulting.
o Make sure you are set up for fun before you start any task that you used to view as mundane.
o Take what you decided on for a test drive by putting your criteria into action. Make sure it gives you the feelings you need to have fun while you are accomplishing.

• Self-Management
o Watch out for the 2-year old inside you that doesn’t want to play this game. Find out how you can engage him or her in this playfulness.
o Make sure you are emotionally committed to this new way of adulting.
o Resolve any conflicts within yourself as quickly as possible so that any setbacks are brief and you get moving forward again.

Transitioning to our next story about the six important concepts that have radically transformed my life and others who apply these concepts.

1. Stand for something every day

• Everyday I moved from lying in my bed to standing up on the floor. • So I had this idea that I could stand for something and affirm something out loud when I stood up each and every day.

• And whether that was to declare that I was going to stand for compassion or justice or for keeping my word or whatever value or ideal I wanted to stand for that day that I needed to strengthen or wanted to strengthen, that is the first thing that I started to do.

• Then I would look for opportunities in the course of the day to see where I could actually do these things and review at the end of the day for accountability to myself of where the evidence is that I stood for that.

• WHAT will you stand for every day and HOW will you start implementing this in your life?

2. Clarify my goals

• I have detailed criteria to know precisely what my goal is; I spell it out

• What do I need to see or know about my goal and know when I am achieving it?

• WHAT are your criteria for your goals, stated with clarity and details?

3. Daily consistency

• I know it’s essential to take even a baby step every day; my baby steps all add up to my goal achievement

• I get to celebrate taking that step every day

• WHAT will it take for you to practice consistency every day?

4. Be willing to go to any lengths to achieve goal

• This means I don’t quit, I don’t stop and even if I don’t know how, I reach out and ask for help to find out what is possible for me

• I ask myself question like - How can I achieve this goal? What are the options?

• WHAT are you willing to go to any lengths for?

5. Keep word to self

• This has to do with my values and living in integrity

• I don’t say it if I know it isn’t going to happen

• If I say it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen, even if I have to work later, even if I have to work on a day that I don’t typically work

• Whatever I have to do to keep my word is me going to any lengths

• I see this as a pledge or vow with myself and I am training my brain to trust me and believe me when I say I am going to do something

• WHAT will you do to consistently keep your word to yourself?

6. Personal time for reflection

• At the end of the day, I review the day and ask myself how I did with these concepts?

• I make note of any insights or realizations that I can use to improve on for tomorrow.

• WHAT is the value of reflecting time for you?

Remember that no matter what you identify with in this episode, you need to cultivate a “practicing mindset” and set time each day to practice these new ideas and skills. This doesn’t have to be hard or boring; make it fun and playful and you’ll look forward to practicing new stuff.

A Favorite Quote:

Alexander Graham Bell said, “When one door closes, another door opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.” So, the question I have for you at this point of our journey together is, “Are you longing for what was, so much so that you are missing what can be? I hope you will release any regret about the closed door, so you can fully embrace the doors that are opening for you, even now.

That’s about it for today’s episode about the 6 important concepts that can radically transform your life as well as making “adulting” fun and playful.

I’d love to know how my show is helping you. You can do that by rating the show and writing a brief, thoughtful review on iTunes. The more ratings and reviews, the more exposure the show gets to help those who need this content.

With increased ratings and reviews it helps me in my mission to put an end to the needless suffering in the world from under-developed executive function skills that are rampant in adults with ADHD, depression, anxiety, trauma, addictions and chronic illnesses.

Listening to every podcast episode is a small action step, and something that can help you move your life forward, one episode at a time, if you take action on the steps I include for you. If you just listen and hear the value but don’t take action, you won’t gain the value that’s there for you. Remember, for things to change for the better for you, YOU have to change – which means you need to do your best every day to do something that will lead you in the direction of your destination.

Part of what I love about the growing communities of the Living Beyond ADHD Facebook group and the ADDventures in Achievement programs is the support that members are receiving from one another. Years ago I conceived of something I called “The ADD Squad.” The idea for The ADD Squad was an outgrowth of my growing up years watching the TV show, Little House on the Prairie, where it didn’t seem to matter whose barn burned down, the town rallied and raised a new barn so that family could be okay. I’ve always felt that the world might be a much better place if we viewed each other that way. In other words, seeing the needs of others and reaching out as a community to help one another because we can, rather than just thinking of our own needs. In the case of my online program, the reaching out has been the sharing of knowledge, support and time to help one another and it’s amazing to be a part of. We are not alone in this life of ours! We are all inter- connected in such unique and mysterious ways, and we can see that even more so by developing our executive function skills and strategies.

Whether you’re learning from my podcast episodes or live videos or 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 things can change for you.

Definitely make it a priority to join the Facebook group – Living Beyond ADHD – you won’t regret it. I’ve got something special coming up for the group later in June. It means a lot to me to know your life is getting a little bit better every time we get together. Be sure to check out the show notes for free content and ways we can work together. You will find solutions to the challenges you are 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…


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