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You Think It’s ADHD That’s Been Biting You in The Butt All These Years - 080

adhd executive function podcast Nov 18, 2020

Being an Achiever isn’t just about developing your EF Skills; you also need to become the person who is the Achiever, instead of thinking of yourself as the person who is the ADDer.  Saying “I am an Achiever” is the first step to taking on an empowering new Identity, just as saying “I am an ADDer, is a step that reinforces keeping the same old disempowering Identity.    

Are you telling yourself stories or reliving your past failed attempts and making that your reality today?  You’re probably not doing this consciously, however, many of us base our current reality on possibilities of what you’ve done in the past.  Statements like, “this is just how I am” or “this doesn’t feel like me” or “I can’t see myself living that way” are common.  

The good news?

Executive Function skills can be learned, no matter what age you are.  No matter where you are located in the world.  All it takes is the right training, strategies and support. 

In this episode Dr B talks about:

  • What can happen when ADHD and under-developed executive function skills are lumped together for diagnosis and treatment
  • Giving a new meaning to ADHD and under-developed executive function skills
  • The importance of celebrating your wins
  • Enrollment open now for the ADDventures in Achievement Foundational Skills program

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 80 with Dr B

Hey there Achievers!

If you think it’s ADHD that’s been biting you in the butt all these years…

Think again!

It’s your under-developed Executive Function skills.

These skills are critical to living a productive and satisfying life, because they help you make better decisions, practice good time management and develop strong relationships.

Without them, it's easy to feel adrift in a sea of chaos.

Developing your Executive Function skills is a BIG key to your success!

➡ Staying on schedule
➡ Making better financial decisions
➡ Having healthy relationships
➡ Boosting your memory
➡ Paying your bills on time
➡ Maintaining a neat work space and home
➡ Following an organization system that works

The good news?

These skills can be learned, no matter what age you are. No matter where you are located in the world. All it takes is the right training, strategies and support.

Not sure if this is part of what’s going on with you? I’ve created an easy self-test to help you see how much of your life is affected by underdeveloped Executive Function skills.

So, if you want to learn the 13 skills you need to succeed and understand why it’s MORE than what we are calling ADHD, you can download the free guide and learn how you can tap into your full potential. The link is in the show notes.

Being an Achiever isn’t just about developing your EF Skills; you also need to become the person who is the Achiever, instead of thinking of yourself as the person who is the ADDer. Saying “I am an Achiever” is the first step to taking on an empowering new Identity, just as saying “I am an ADDer, is a step that reinforces keeping the same old disempowering Identity.

Let me explain. An Identity is a full package deal - complete with beliefs, behaviors and a way of life. Have you ever wondered why you can’t consistently be an Achiever, especially when you know what to do to achieve? Knowing isn’t enough. You might have the knowledge of what to do, but if you aren’t the person who can consistently do what you know, then the knowledge isn’t helping you – is it?

A quick example – when I say “I am an athlete in training” that is an Identity statement and I know exactly what my life is going to be, from my bedtime to waking up time, training, nutrition, hydration and so on. I know that I am “all in” on being that person when I make that statement.

If you’ve ever attended a 12-step meeting, they ask you to “identify” by putting up your hand and stating – “I am an alcoholic, addict, codependent, binge eater, smoker, gambler, etc.” Anything that follows the words “I am…” is an Identity statement about yourself. When I realized that years ago, I stopped making those statements. It’s not because of ego or that I didn’t know my history or where I started from; it’s that I didn’t want to continue to reinforce an Identity that I was undoing for good.

I am not ADD or ADHD. I am not an ADDer and neither are you. We are more than a label or list of symptoms. You and I are precious children of God or the universe; whichever you prefer. That is who we are – we are the human being that matters because we were born.

The human doing could be the addict, alcoholic, codependent or ADDer because the human being is struggling in life. However, all of those addictions are behaviors; not identities until we make them identities. I took a stand for what I believe roughly 30 years ago and still stand by that belief today. I am me. You are you.

An ADDer is a person who meets the criteria for the list of symptoms of ADHD (with or without hyperactivity). Oh, by the way, if you have a mind that is constantly busy with thoughts or images or daydreams; kind of like the freeway at rush hour, that’s hyperactivity – just cognitive, not physical. And since most of the adults living with an ADHD configured mind have this busy mind, perhaps we are all combination and not just inattentive. And certainly, a busy mind isn’t enough to determine you have an ADHD mind; it’s just one piece of the puzzle. There are many adults who have a busy mind and not ADHD.

Consider the following about ADHD and Executive Functions…

• There is a critical situation in the mental health field that isn’t widely known to you, the consumer of these services.
• Most every professional is studying the same outdated information about ADHD, Depression, Anxiety, Trauma and Addictions…
• Rather than studying what’s relevant, cutting edge and important to know so that you, the consumer, gain benefit more quickly when seeking services from a mental health professional.
• You probably know more about ADHD than many of the professionals you’ve sought help from. In some parts of the world, it can take months or even years to obtain a diagnosis of adult ADHD.
• And if you are the one who suggests that you might have adult ADHD, rather than a professional you are working with, is that your responsibility?
• The most common treatment route recommended for adults diagnosed with ADHD is medication, and the same is true for Depression and Anxiety; yet Depression will become the #1 disability in the year 2020.

• Treatment has plateaued and information is being withheld from you.

• It is not always true that medication is the best solution right away, in fact, for many of you it isn’t a good option at all and for others it’s helpful.

• I get it.

• All the professionals you’ve seen are telling you that you are in need of something outside of you, to help you cope.

• How many of your friends have been recommended and perhaps are taking medication for ADHD, Depression or Anxiety, yet not getting to the root issue and correcting it there?

• Probably lots of them!

• And how many of them are thriving with just medication and perhaps a little therapy or coaching?

• There are no skills in pills and if therapy or coaching isn’t providing EF skills training then something important is missing.

• Did you know that there are zero requirements for mental health professionals to know anything about adult ADHD or EF deficits? Zero!

• And that Executive Functioning has been lumped together with an ADHD diagnosis, and doesn’t even have a diagnostic code of its own in the DSV-5.

• For a field based on “do no harm”, that is not what is happening.

• You are being harmed every time you work with an inadequately trained mental health professional.

• You are in the middle of this poorly managed field of expertise where despite requests to have this information included in the curriculum as well as added to continuing education for those already licensed, the answer continues to be NO.

• Let me ask you this, do you like being told how things are and what the only options are that you have? Probably not.

• When someone tells you “that’s just the way it is with adult ADHD and you can expect to have a harder time than others”

• Do you accept it and allow THEIR beliefs to run your life?

• Yes?

• And are you sick and tired of their limited beliefs and methods not meeting your needs?

• Are you tired of the quality of your life getting worse and worse as the years pass because the real problem isn’t getting addressed?

• Are you tired of seeing time passing and feeling frustrated that you aren’t achieving the things you wanted to achieve with your lifetime?

• If you believe you have a right to the information that has been kept from you up until now

• That you have the right of informed consent – to be fully informed of all options available to you before you consent to how you will make the most of your time here…

• Are you are going to continue to be one of the millions who blindly follow the mainstream advice, which is giving you an incomplete picture of your options and not fully helping you to succeed?

• Or, are you going to release that reality and explore a different reality so that your needs get met and you live the successful life that awaits you?

• The world is presenting us with the answers, if we are present for them

• It is time we embraced those answers and change the options we see for our mental health needs

• That change starts with options thinking and curiosity about what’s truly wrong and what’s really possible

• Together as a people who have mental and emotional health needs, just as we have body health needs, we have a right to the complete picture

• If you are someone who believes that you have the right to take back the control and outcome of your mental and emotional health, then

• You already understand the need for change.

• What the mental health field is doing isn’t addressing your complete needs

• The way I see it, you have a couple of options:

• You can do nothing and continue believing you are

• Being taken care of well by those who serve you

• And allow your mental and emotional health and well-being to be in the hands of others

• Or join me in making a change in beliefs and actions for your mental and emotional health and well-being and letting others know what you’ve learned and that education and EF skills training will give you control over the outcome of how your mind functions

• You are the thinker of your thoughts and you are the meaning maker of your life

• The choice is yours.

• This is a multi-generational problem that is only getting worse.

• Will you put your foot down NOW and have the problem stop with you and this generation?

• Our children, the next generation, need us to be fully functional to raise them to be fully functional too.

• They are looking to us.

• What are you going to show them? • And when are you going to show them?

• The time is NOW – it’s the only time we actually have to make a change – this moment - NOW

In the Foreword of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous printed in 1939 it states: “We, of Alcoholics Anonymous, are more than one hundred men and women who have recovered from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body. To show other alcoholics precisely how we have recovered is the main purpose of this book.”

A seemingly hopeless state of mind and body is reaching epidemic proportions as it relates to depression, anxiety, trauma, chronic illness, ADHD and addictions (both behavioral and substance). And underlying these various conditions, I am seeing the compromised development of executive function skills and strategies, which are the essential skills we all need to thrive as adults in today’s world. If you can’t plan, organize, prioritize, get started and keep going until the end, or regulate states of overwhelm and analysis paralysis so you can make a solid decision, it’s going to cost you dearly.

So glad you could join me for today’s episode. Are you telling yourself stories or reliving your past failed attempts and making that your reality today? You’re probably not doing this consciously, however, many of us base our current reality on possibilities on what you’ve done in the past. Statements like, “this is just how I am” or “this doesn’t feel like me” or “I can’t see myself living that way” are common. In fact, pay attention to your language and your sensory modalities with the words you use – “I see” or “I hear” or “I feel” these are indicators of visual, auditory or kinesthetic modalities of what’s primary for you. You can turn it around to see, hear or feel in the positive instead of the negative.

What’s wrong, if I’m going to use that word, is what lies deep inside our mind – our subconscious mind; the part of your mind that stores all the stories and associations and meanings that you’ve made out of the events of our lives.

In the ‘70s when I was studying hypnosis and the theory of the mind, we were taught that only roughly 10% of our mind’s capacity is conscious – meaning only 10% is actively engaged in thinking, logic, reasoning and will power. The other 90% is actively engaged in identifying and associating and reacting to what is already stored in our subconscious mind. Ever wonder why you get triggered so easily by things that happened in the past that really don’t seem like they’re a big deal? The events of today are getting fueled or amped up by the meaning we gave to the events of the past and raising the level of intensity we experience today.

I’ve said this before… You are the meaning maker of your life. You spin the stories, the meanings, the reasons, justifications and logic that drives your life on auto-pilot.

Similarly, we need to be “all in” with whatever approach we decide to take to help ourselves achieve a more productive and satisfying adult life. Based on my own recovery from how it used to be to what it is today; I suggest a daily plan of being in action on the steps you need to take to put your challenges behind you. The steps we need to take differ from those of AA, however, there are similarities.

Here are a few examples:

1. We need to recognize the underlying issues, not just the symptoms.
2. We need to rework our beliefs so they support our healing.
3. We need to acknowledge that the support of a community is essential to our growth and healing.
4. We need to take a personal inventory and executive function skill assessment to gain clarity about how our thinking, feelings, habits and lack of skill development have been contributing to our seemingly hopeless state of mind and body. The skills we need to more fully develop include our ability to have perspective, inhibit, shift, emotional control, self-monitor, initiate, hold and integrate information with our working memory, plan, schedule, organize, prioritize, have a clear sense of who we are and where we want to go, focus, task monitor, organize our physical things and maintain what we achieve. We also need to learn how to trust ourselves and keep our word to ourselves; not just with others. We need to learn to be 100% responsible for the outcomes we are seeking, even when no one else knows what we are pursuing; we know.
5. We each make this journey for ourselves; however, it doesn’t imply that we go it alone; not at all. We need the mirroring and support of others – a community - to more fully understand our common challenges, and to encourage each other to be “all in” and do the work we all need to do so we can receive the benefits.
6. We need to become aware of our “exits” or ways that we escape the healing work, and close all of our “exits.” We need to focus on the path through our issues, rather than the escape hatch to avoid them.

Knowing what my life was like before healing from my own seemingly hopeless state of mind and body, and what it is today (still a work in progress), I am in awe of the transformations and so grateful for my willingness to do the healing work. I definitely know a new freedom and a new happiness, and see how my experiences can benefit others; how it can benefit you. The vehicles for sharing my experiences have been Facebook live videos, this podcast show, and my online programs.

YOU are not alone in your pain or your potential! There are millions of adults all over the world with many of the same struggles you are experiencing. I know the struggles from speaking with people in the UK, Ireland, Australia, Canada and throughout the USA. However, unless I help you get out of your pain and into your potential, then it’s good to know that you’re not alone, but what about your pain or your serious problems? What happens to them? I’m getting there.

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 is actually pretty cool once you have a different perspective and the tools you need for your own success.

It’s almost story time but first, YOU need a WIN. You need to acknowledge and celebrate at least one thing that is good about you or has gone right for you today. Perhaps you’ve joined the Living Beyond ADHD Facebook group and are benefiting from the live Q & A videos I do there 2x/month; that’s definitely a win. Or maybe you’re feeling less alone as a member of that community because of all the interacting on posts and during the FB lives; that’s an awesome win. Or maybe you’re becoming clearer about your automatic reactions and habits and have started to take them a part and create new ones that benefit you; that’s a great WIN.

It’s really important that you celebrate a WIN today, even if you are feeling so bad about yourself because your ADHD has taken your life to an all-time low and you just don’t feel you can turn it around yet another time. I get it, and yet it doesn’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. Your 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.

Let’s transition now to our story for today, with 2 important points and action steps plus a favorite quote of mine.

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

Today’s 2 important points are:

1. What can happen when ADHD and under-developed executive function skills are lumped together for diagnosis and treatment
2. Giving a new meaning to ADHD and under-developed executive function skills

Now back to being a Human Being and an Achiever in today’s world with the unique brain that we each possess.

I’m going to share a story with you today as well as talk about your responsibility in this (that’s right - response-ability or your ability to respond) – since you’re not off the hook here. You are 100% responsible, 100% of the time for the outcomes in your life. I hope this story will resonate with you and be of benefit.

Transitioning to today’s story:
• Betsy grew up believing that her ADHD was a disability because everyone at home and in school told her so.
• They told her about the many things that she wasn’t able to do or took too long to do hence she was “dis-abled” or globally unable.
• Betsy loved to visit the library and did so every week. No one saw the point in her visits there since she wasn’t going to read beyond an elementary level.
• That might have stayed true if Betsy hadn’t seen the books, “As a Man Thinkith,” a Course in Miracles, daily lessons, and Think and Grow Rich. All 3 books had the same message for Betsy, which was that whatever she believed is what would be true for her and would be what she achieved. The books didn’t say that it had to be something that was true for anyone other than her. It seemed like a powerful secret that Betsy had discovered and held close for years.
• When Betsy graduated high school, everyone was shocked. They wondered how such a disabled young girl could have achieved such a feat.
• And when Betsy applied to attend university, there were still doubters ready and willing to offer their opinions about how Betsy would just be wasting her time, effort, energy and money because she was dis-abled and that’s just how it was.
• Betsy knew better. She had learned about the power of her mind to craft a reality for her that she could lean into and live a purposeful and successful life. She believed she could do that again with her university education, and she did just that.
• Her other secret weapon was that she sought training to develop her EF skills so that she would be unstoppable.

Background Facts:

ADHD diagnostic criteria are a list of symptoms that are based on boys’ symptoms not girls, and the criteria is certainly missing many of the symptoms that adults manifest in addition to the following. Additionally, the 3 core symptoms of ADHD being inattentive, hyperactive and/or impulsive are what medication can be helpful for, if that is what someone opts for. And unless all the rest of the symptom list is directly the result of those 3 core symptoms, then they are the result of underdeveloped EF skills and need training to develop them.

• DSM-5 Inattention Impairments – need 5 of 9 for adults
o Inattention to details, careless mistakes
o Difficulty maintaining focus
o Doesn’t seem to listen when spoken to
o Doesn’t follow thru on instructions, tasks
o Difficulty organizing tasks and activities
o Avoids sustained mental effort tasks
o Often loses necessary stuff
o Easily distracted
o Often forgetful in daily activities

• DSM-5 Hyper-Impulsive Impairments - need 5 of 9 for adults
o Fidgets, taps hands, feet, squirms
o Leaves seat when expected to sit
o Runs or climbs inappropriately
o Unable to play or do activities quietly
o Always “on the go”
o Talks excessively
o Blurts out answers before question finished
o Has difficulty waiting turn
o Interrupts others

• We are the thinker of our thoughts and the meaning makers of our lives. We get to decide what something means or does not mean.
• If you believe something to be true with all your heart, you will find a way. Whether that way is apparent to anyone else is irrelevant; it is true for you.
• Many adults have stopped believing in the miracles long before the end of their days, and so their days continue in emptiness until the actual end.
• Everything is made up anyways. We spin the stories or rationale for the facts every day. And we know that if we ask 10 different people about the facts, we will hear 10 different stories.
• I am not saying that what you can’t do in that moment isn’t true, whether it’s that you can’t walk or read or balance yourself or see a pattern. However, that doesn’t mean that it will be true forever. You can learn to see the pattern or read the words and make meaning out of them if the right teachers and tools are available to you to re-pattern your mind into what you need it to be to achieve what you need and want to achieve.
• And once you have re-patterned your mind, you can re-pattern anything that your mind controls.

If you relate to Betsy’s story, your action steps are:
o Focus first on what’s right with you and your situation, and see the possibilities before you tackle what you need to upgrade or change.
o Follow Through on leveraging your strengths or gifts in the service of your dreams. They can only take flight with wings, not weights.
o Self-Management is critical for the times when your mind slips into disbelief and you weaken in your resolve to achieve your dreams. Forgive yourself for the slip, learn the lesson, and double your efforts moving forward instead of giving up, because it is only in giving up your belief in the inevitability of your success that you will truly fail.

A Favorite Quote:

Socrates said, “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” The question I have for you at this point of our journey together is, “Are you ready to build your new life and move into it, rather than continually trying to remodel your old life?” I hope so – it’s a much better use of your energy.

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.

In the show notes you will find links and information for:

• 13 EF skills:
• Our Living Beyond ADHD FB group, where I go live 2x/month to answer all of your questions as well as offer a little additional training:
• The Waitlist for my signature program, ADDventures in Achievement Foundational Skills: (enrollment for the January group is starting now)

I appreciate you showing up to listen today and in the future. I’ve been away for a while and will be returning to producing regular new episodes for you. I’ve missed sharing value information with you and hearing how you’re benefiting. As a subscriber, new episodes will automatically be in your feed as soon as it releases.

If you enjoyed today’s episode or any of the other episodes, please share this podcast show with your friends and family, as well as rate the show. If you’d like to do a little more, write a thoughtful review on iTunes so I know I’m meeting your needs. I love hearing from you, my listeners, wherever you are located in the world. 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. I have solutions to the challenges you are experiencing because I lived with those same challenges, made my way out, and definitely want to help you get out too, that is…if that’s of interest to you. Thanks for listening… Until the next time… Bye for now…


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