Love is like a box of chocolates

Love is like a box of chocolates:  Sorry Forrest Gump for massaging your quote.  I couldn’t resist taking this photo.  and reflecting on what love is, how it is, and how it can be a huge part of “happiness” but also “gratitude” All so tightly bound.

Love can be sweet and delicious and be embraced for a short time or savoured for a long time. It might end up differently to what you thought it might be, and not to your taste, and you can finish love. Like chocolate. Love can be in different forms, your soul mate, your children, your friends.  You can love spending time with them. You can love spending time with yourself. You can love the companionship of having a dog, a cat or a bird, a good book. -or you can love spending time with groups of friends (eg cycling buddies, thanks Kevin Andrews-) you can’t always marry love. Or if you are lucky you can marry your love.

This ties into being happy- being resilient, knowing gratitude, and setting goals or being in the moment. These momentary awareness’s are can be missed or can be challenging. Sometimes the love we have for our children can be tested and strained, as with partners. It can happen with or without ADHD.   We can help. We have private Life/ADHD coaching.  We run Parent as Coach and our Couples program. Coaching is like Mindfulness, objective and non-judgmental. Connect with us, and re-connect with your love.

Is ADHD real? Can Adults have ADHD?

Photograph courtesy of Queensland State Library-Thank you

So many of my clients that I see in part of my work are presenting for coaching or to get an ADHD assessment in their adulthood. They have so many questions because the notion of having ADHD as an adult comes as such a shock.

Often an adult will present to the clinic for assessment because:

  • they are struggling at work, study or at home and they or their loved ones have just had enough.
  • they have sought some help and the medications prescribed by the GP have not helped, often medications for anxiety or depression.
  • Their impulsive behaviours get them into lots of trouble, with friends (speaking before thinking and unintentionally insulting or offending someone) or financially (typically overspending or making bad financial decisions) or with their self-esteem (over eating).
  • They just can’t get things done, they procrastinate and struggle to activate
  • They get caught up in a lot of emotional behaviours -fighting with others, feelings being hurt more easily than others.
  • They are tired of saying “Sorry” – for being late, for being disorganised, for forgetting the needs of others (or themselves), paying bills late regularly, not making plans.
  • Sometimes they tell fibs- but not from a character flaw, but in a self-protective response (more of this in my next post).

Most of these things don’t sound like the ADHD that the general public think of as “ADHD”

If fact in the USA, the fastest demographic for ADHD diagnosis at the moment is for adult women.

Dr Ari Tuckman, a Psychologist in the US talks about four pillars of treatment for ADHD.  They are education, medication, CBT (Cognitive Behaviour therapy) and Coaching.

Our coaching clients find enormous benefits in the “designed pause” that coaching gives them.  Combined with our knowledge of ADHD we can help our clients find the right strategies for their situation. I firmly believe that coaching is a form of Mindfulness. Coaching is objective and non-judgmental. It gives us the opportunity to look at the current moment with curiosity and a new focus that is not tainted with a heavy emotional story- we just look at the facts, and the we look at where the ADHD traits are in the story.  We can then create a new story, one that is realistic, accountable and positive, based on the things that are great (such as the character strengths) of our clients.

You are the most important person in your life. Without you, you have nothing. If you are newly diagnosed or an adult with a history of ADHD (and told you had grown out of it) then heed this message.  The world of ADHD is a different world now.  You don’t have to hide, be ashamed or be shy about it.  There is help there, but better than that, understanding now. There are “Nay- sayers “about ADHD, their problem is their ignorance. Yep, I said it.  People that have a problem with the existence of ADHD are ignorant of the neuroscience that is available. They probably also have problems with being judgmental too.  And who are they to judge?

Be proud of your strengths, people with ADHD are frequently highly creative, fun to be with, often stand out from the crowd (think Will.I.am, Brittney Spears, Justin Timberlake, Emma Watson, Michael Phelps, Lisa Ling (U.S. reporter)  well known to be ADHD and public about it.

But it doesn’t matter who else is ADHD.  The most important thing is that if you are ADHD, then you have an opportunity to work with the “glorious strengths” – as described by one of my clients; but also take into account where supports might be needed for the challenges (I never, ever, never say weaknesses).

ADHD or not, to be aware and be grateful for the moment that we are in, is what makes a great life even better. We can help you find that moment.

Understanding and strategies for kids and families with ADHD-Parent as Coach!

When our kids or any family member has ADHD or in their make-up, life can be challenging. It can be like a roller coaster of emotion. Effective management of ADHD can provide a positive turning point, both for the individual, family and the home environment. At Connect ADHD Coaching we help families focus on the right information, and the right strategies and the skill building that helps the family function better. Register on our website and for details of our upcoming online, 4-part Parent as Coach program. (See Parent as Coach Tab)

At Connect ADHD we specialize in ADHD and Executive function coaching. Executive skills are the skills we use to be successful in our environment. We use insights from current neuroscience and coaching skills to give parents and care-givers the knowledge and tools they need guide their child through the daily challenges faced. You can join anywhere from Australia or even overseas.
The program fee is $220 and runs weekly for 4 weeks.
Tuesday July 11
Tuesday July 18th
Tuesday July 25th
Tuesday August 1st.
Can’t make a session- don’t worry as all sessions will be recorded for those who register.
This program is an excellent opportunity to gain current, neuroscience based knowledge but also find community. This is your opportunity to ask questions and be heard, and to process strategies that fit in with you and your family. This is a small group session so places are limited.

Register now to ensure your place

Five lessons on focus and mindfulness I learnt from my beautiful naughty dog.

 

We have a 10-month-old dog, Casper, who has taught me some GREAT lessons in Mindfulness and focused attention. At Connect ADHD Coaching we use mindfulness techniques in a number of way for our clients.

  1. Being more mindful and focusing where I hang (or used to hang) my $60 bra (the bra I used to have, before it was destroyed by said pooch)
  2. Noticing where I leave my sports socks and sneakers…the ones I used to own…. before being destroyed by….said pooch)
  3. Becoming non- judgmental about when “an incident” occurs…socks, shoes- at the end of the day, they are just material possessions.
  4. Objectivity is also getting some excellent practise; instead of old habits and processes running the routine I now look at the moment I am in now, and what the opportunities are moving forward.
  5. Being in the present moment of beauty and the joy it brings. Being amongst unconditional love and spontaneity. Being outdoors, breathing in fresh air, having fun, getting green time, not screen time. Noticing the beauty in a butterfly floating by (distracting the dog, distracting me), being totally in the current moment.

How do you find ways of being mindful?

ADHD in Adults – 10.5 things you should know. – 10.5 things that can help you move forward

 

Is ADHD the same as ADHD in kids? If so, then why are some adults not diagnosed until after they leave school?

If this is the case, then here are 10.5 things you can learn about ADHD.  Now, notice I changed my terminology from “should “to “what you can”.  In the first instance, I violated a personal rule when talking about ADHD in my capacity as an ADHD and EF coach.  To me, “Should “is a dirty word. The “S” word in fact.  “Can” is far more enlightening and much less associated with guilt. So, from now on, no more “shoulding”.

 

  1. ADHD is not just in kids, not just in boys- many adults are quite shocked when they are finally diagnosed, particularly women.( See our website for our thoughts on this http://www.connectadhd.com/uncategorized/adhd-is-just-in-kidsright/)
  2. Find a practitioner who actually knows about ADHD, sees ADHD clients and actively keeps up to date with the condition. If you practitioner says “it’s not ADHD, your too old” head out the door and don’t look back, move forward. Refer them to our website.
  3. Be heard, it is your experience. Talk to someone who knows and understands the condition. If those around you don’t understand, know that your experience and feelings are real, not just an “ADHD moment”. Once we understand the reason, we can do something about it. Once they understand, they can hopefully understand  you better.
  4. Be proud of your strengths, people with ADHD are frequently highly creative, fun to be with, often stand out from the crowd (think Will.I.am,  Brittney Spears, Justin Timberlake, Emma Watson ,Michael Phelps, Lisa Ling (U.S. reporter)  well known to be ADHD and public about it.
  5. Use supports systems and strategies that address what challenges you (notice I didn’t say “weakness” – another dirty word in my ADHD dictionary). If you had poor vision, you would get glasses…if you have ADHD there are accommodations that can help.
  6. ADHD Coaching can change your current habits and be a turning point to move forwards. If there is ADHD or executive function (EF) challenges, ensure you get help from a coach that has been trained specifically in ADHD coaching. Ask for where your ADHD coach has trained. It should be an academy/institution associated with the ICF (International Coach Federation) or PAAC (Professional ADHD Coach) association.  Find someone you like and trust. Someone that not only hears what you say, but listens also.
  7. Mindfulness– too much to say, contact us and we can explain!
  8. Stay positive- you may have had your fair share of negative feedback in the past. It might still be happening. People with ADHD are often “people-pleasers” for this very reason. They may crave positive feedback. Finding your strengths (and dusting them off, and giving them a polish if they have been buried for a while) will give you the very tools you need to move forward in a positive way. As I tell my clients, “whatever has happened in the past is just good information” …it’s true.
  9. Be advised by your doctor if medication is right for you. Dopamine availability is a key factor in the treatment of ADHD. Do not be afraid. Be careful. Be informed. Be open. Don’t be scared by misinformation.  If you were diabetic, you might need insulin.  If you are ADHD, you may well need medications.  There are stimulants AND non-stimulant treatment available. It’s all about balance.
  10. And 10.5- This one is so big, it’s the 1.5. You are the most important person in your life. Without you, you have nothing. If you are newly diagnosed or an adult with a history of ADHD (and told you had grown out of it) then heed this message.  The world of ADHD is a different world now.  You don’t have to hide, be ashamed or be shy about it.  There is help there, but better than that, understanding now. There are “Nay- sayers “about ADHD, their problem is their ignorance.Find your community. Coming soon in 2017 we are starting a Facebook community called Connect  ADHD .

We have relaunched our website! Leave a comment on this post.  What do you think? What is your experience with ADHD? Did you like this post and was it helpful? Do you have anything to ADD (!)   Let me know.

The Four Letter “F” Word

Living with ADHD or executive function challenges can lead to a lot of frustration. Sometimes, you even feel like saying the dreaded “F” word. You know the one, the one that slips into your mind and makes you feel bad that you’ve thought and then worst of all, more so than saying it, you’re living it. Fail!  It’s the worst “f” word I know.

How can we avoid that word when we are stuck in habits that aren’t serving us? And added to that, amongst a landscape of ADHD, it’s hard to get the mindspace (some may say headspace but I think of it as mindspace) to break away from those habits.

The answer to that is setting realistic goals.  Goals that we can achieve and help us feel like a winner and not a loser. Sounds like simple solution, but then why aren’t we already doing it? The ADHD brain behaves differently regarding messaging and reactions. Impulsive actions and poor working memory are at play in the cycle of history repeating itself and getting stuck in unhelpful cycles of behaviour.

Simple strategies, such as learning to pause, or taking time out to figure out an action plan that will work for oneself are great ways to start implementing significant change. Change works best when it comes from within. What does this mean?  It means figuring it out for yourself, rather being told what to do in a way that is meaningful for someone else.  Coaching isn’t “telling people what to do” but rather uncovering a client’s motivation and strengths and assisting the client work out what is best for them.

This is where there is strength and strategy in coaching.  The ADHD coach is trained in specific techniques to help those with ADHD work on tactical and not psychological issues. By that, I mean, coaching encourages us to look at our learnt behaviours and what has happened in the past, and use that as information. We only have the minute we are in now so, time to use that information and use it logically to move ahead. Coaching with Connect ADHD coaching uses the philosophy of SMART goals to break the task down into logical steps that take into account how our client’s work best, and find out exactly what is getting in the way.

Is your relationship with time fractured?

 

Is your relationship with time fractured?

 

An inconsistent relationship with time can invade many areas of an individual’s day to day experience. The effects can be disastrous in the workplace, in relationships and can play a significant part in one’s self-efficacy (a belief in their ability to perform and succeed)   It can affect an individual’s sense of self-worth and foster negative thoughts such as guilt and shame.

Frequently my clients share with me that they are tired of apologizing for being late, adding to the already stressful feeling of running late.  They intend to get there in time, but got stuck behind a truck, an old driver, or having a bad run of traffic lights (…yet again). When an individual feels shame, they feel disconnected from others, not worthy of belonging.

It can also shape or even taint other people’s opinions also of the individual as well,

“My friends don’t even expect me to be on time anymore, and you know, they are right…”

“I was passed over again at work, time management again seen as on ongoing weakness”

 

Being consistently late can send the following messages that you’re

  • disrespectful of other people by not valuing their time commitments
  • Lazy or  being “flakey”
  • Disorganized
  • Unreliable
  • Not committed or interested

 

These labels can further reduce an individual’s feelings of self-worth. Little wonder anxiety creeps in. Is that what we really want? How is it that history tends to repeat itself and you are running the same 20 minutes time and time again?

Here are a few reasons how Executive Function challenges (often seen in ADHD) can impact one’s relationship or sense or time. Inconsistencies if the following areas of

  • Inhibition
  • Attention management
  • Emotional regulation
  • Working Memory

 

Inhibition can play a role. By this I mean that there is often a temptation to “just do one more thing before I leave the house”. So by not inhibiting that urge precious time is lost, and one is running late, yet again.

 

Attention management can be seen in literally not noticing the time.  Perhaps the individual is intensely interested in reading a book, looking at something on the computer, or watching TV.  Suddenly you’re supposed to be somewhere in 15 minutes but it will take 30 minutes to drive there…because you’re late, there are no parking spaces left, and the clock is still ticking by….

 

Emotional regulation can also effect performance and the management of time. Often reported to me is the fact that someone hates getting somewhere early as they are really afraid of being bored when they get to their destination and there is time to spare. Motivation also might be at play here.  It is often easier to arrive at a place you are genuinely interested in going to compared with somewhere that is of limited interest or attending something that can be interpreted as a chore (even if it is important). It is interesting to observe that Uni students will often unintentionally run late to get to lectures, but are never late to get into an exam for example. Lectures can feel like a chore and there is no significant consequence if it is missed at that exact time. Motivation to attend can be inconsistent. “I can always catch up later”…but sometimes that later doesn’t happen.  The stakes are just too high (and the consequences very scary) to miss an exam so motivation is high.

 

Working memory can effect time management also.  Common examples of this are “I forgot I had an appointment”, “couldn’t remember the time for the job interview or forgot it altogether”, “Couldn’t find my car keys, or my wallet or my work ID badge”, “forgot to set my alarm clock and slept in …again”

 

We specialise in helping people discover their executive function strengths and challenges. We can share some easy strategies and reminder systems that really work. This may help our clients move forward with a positive perspective and greater self-awareness.

To find out more about how Connect ADHD Coaching can help you address your relationship with time, click here www.connectadhd.com and head for the “referrals “tab if you want to hear more about what we do.

 

Today is always the best way to start a new way to moving forward to the life you deserve to live. Connect ADHD Coaching may help as we focus on the underlying neuroscience combined with our expert coaching skills and Psychoeducation, using our unique models, tools and also current aps to support people who are ready to move forward.

Are your goals SMART?

14989472410_a1aa0d8773_m copyStephen Hawking famously said “My goal is simple. It is a complete understanding of the universe, why it is as it is and why it exists at all”

Goals can mean many things to many people. Goals can be very small or very large, short term or long term. Interestingly, Stephen Hawking stated his goal as being “simple” and yet it regarded the very largest thing that has ever been.  What perhaps made it simple is that he was able to focus on it.

This was from a man who faced many challenges, every minute of every day.

ADHD or Executive function issues often get in the way of us focusing on our plans, which get in the way of us completing tasks and in turn reaching our goals. Sometimes we don’t even get started, let alone finish.

Planning and goal setting gives us structure. It helps us to be organised. It is important for everyone to have structure, but it is crucial for ADHD/EF affected people to have it.

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Forgetfulness, disorganization, (no one really likes to admit to this one) distractions and largely blaming others or external factors are often the main reasons we don’t achieve what we set out to.

This is where good basic planning and goal setting can help. While usually routine for most, it can be an immense barrier for people experiencing ADHD/Executive Function (EF) challenges.  ADHD/EF coaching can provided the scaffolding of this process.

Whether it is studying for an exam, getting the kids out the door in the morning madness or being successful at work, planning and goal setting with Executive Function (EF) in mind can be key to success.

Challenges in EF can reduce or block our success.  Think of executive function as self management or self regulation. For example, when we feel highly stressed combined with feeling disorganized, we can easily feel overwhelmed and believe we are not able to think straight.

When our executive functions are working well, they can look like this:

  • We have good time management
  • We are not easily distracted
  • We have control over our emotions
  • We are organized
  • We are flexible
  • We remember to do tasks
  • We are able to start tasks and finish them
  • We prioritize well
  • We think clearly.

When our EF is not performing consistently, we may come across as:

  • Distractible
  • Emotional
  • Disorganized
  • Inflexible
  • Forgetful
  • Lazy
  • Vague
  • Scatty
  • Having poor judgment

It only takes one of these elements to be a disservice to who you are.

The EF affected person is not broken; they are just experiencing inconsistent levels of EF performance often due to a variety of influences including an underlying condition such as ADHD.

SMART Goals

Heard of SMART Goals?  It is an acronym for a method of breaking down the attributes of something you desire to achieve.

If your goal or task can be broken down to meet these criteria, your plan will be well informed. Motivation and your goals work hand in hand to present the opportunity for you to become the person you want to be.

Specific

Measurable

Achievable

Realistic

Timely

At Connect ADHD we use SMART Goals within the structure of specific goal setting. We connect with the client and their  goals to understand what their goal is, why it is important, what supports are needed, and help the client uncover the resources needed and the steps to take to get it done.

We gain clarity, insight, design strategies, move towards activation and change.

The Coaching relationship also provides the “checking-in” structure to encourage accountability and help meet the client’s goals. While goal setting is a great habit to get into, it is not always enough.

Coaching has the benefit of looking at other factors at play, such as the environment, old habits and learned behaviour and the way we think.  Our coaching model incorporates these factors.  We also work to a process that works towards providing clarity for the client’s perspective, to gain insight into the potential to design strategies with the client’s strengths in mind, to motivate and activate towards real change.