Back Scratching-101: How to get support for YOUR objectives

MonGrumpHeadBeing in Community
means Supporting BACK

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

click image for source

A DAILY grump initiator . . .

that I must work with myself daily to find a way to
rise above to continue to do what I do here.

It’s more difficult to rise on Mondays.

It seems to me that many of my readers don’t understand how the blogging environment WORKS — because I simply refuse to believe that most of my readers are selfish (even on Monday Grumpy Monday).

I’m talking about common courtesy practices, not complex SEO tactics, by the way – extending toward someone who has extended toward you – which means:

  • Saying thank you in some fashion ON the blog of the person who liked or followed you.
  • Saying thank you in some fashion for information that helps you be more successful in your life (especially in your own coaching practice), whether or not you author a blog designed to do more than pay your own bills — ON the blog of the person who shared with you for free
    (Google can’t count email and phone calls, by the way – NICE, but decidedly unhelpful for getting the word out.)

I DO understand the time issue

I’ll be the first to admit that, after spending three to six non-billable hours every single day sharing what I have learned in the past twenty-five years (with the goal of helping those of you who can’t afford private coaching or ongoing coach training), I don’t always have a lot of time left in my day to run my life and make a living.

  • As a result, I don’t have the time in my day to visit, like and comment on the blogs of ALL of my followers and those who have left comments here.
  • Like everyone else, I must spend time paying my bills with at least SOME of what I do with my time (unless one of you would like to handle that little detail for me.)
  • But I do try to make time to visit those who comment, like and follow article by article.

I also spend a substantial time seeking links to blogs that have information adding content or context — through continuously curated links in my Related Content section (at the bottom of almost every post on

To give you easier ways to locate articles you want to read on, my LinkLists already make the GoogleBot a bit grumpy with me.  However, EVERY time I scratch a back that doesn’t return the favor amounts to Google promoting THEIR content at the expense of my own.

WHICH MEANS THAT increasingly fewer people are likely to benefit from what I do here, since fewer and fewer people are likely to see anything that isn’t listed early in the search results.

Since I don’t charge for content and support the site alone, I have no budget for a marketing staff and no time to wear one more hat. I have been counting on readers who benefit from what I do to help me spread the word.

Do you realize that every single time I link and the person does NOT link back, like or comment here, I fall further down in Google’s rating algorhythms?

Are you aware that Google counts comments, reblogs, links and likes to help counter inbound/outbound link imbalances?

Don’t those of you who also blog understand that leaving a comment here increases the number of inbound links to YOUR blog or website, as well as helping me promote this free resource?

Don’t forget that you can always check out the sidebar for a reminder
of how links work on this site, they’re subtle (scroll UP for it) ==>

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Monday Grumpy Monday

Monday Grumpy Monday Series headerI don’t wake up this way
but it rarely takes long before something sets me off

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

click image for source

click image for source

Rants and Ruminations

Maybe it’s something they do to the drinking water at the beginning of each week but, looking “backstage” at the articles in the category above, almost all of them were begun on a Monday. 

I seemed to need a place to vent – and you REALLY wouldn’t want to see those first drafts!!

Although I’ve written about it only a few times, the [non] workings of technology seems to activate my grumpy faster than almost anything else. Not only does the blaze build to a hotter fire, it seems to have been assembled with flash paper.


I almost always have the willingness to attempt to remain accepting and patient with people, especially one on one, but gol-dangit  [replace term with your favorite expletive] I firmly believe that THINGS need to be designed to work!

Ditto, anything on the internet, where my definition of “working” expands.

As much as I appreciate the blogging platform overall, on Mondays I could easily shoot the “geniuses” who believe that periodically and suddenly changing the user interface is a GOOD idea – and that all of their “good ideas” are improvements.

Intermediate messages like their current “beep-beep-boop” do NOT pass for humor in my universe either — especially since testing before launch seems to be a thing of the past, and developers no longer USE the platforms they design (or they’d know better!)


Spammers always make me crazy, of course – but not nearly as crazy as the procedures designed to avoid them.

Odd, isn’t it, that at the same time they force me to decifer squiggles and re-input new passwords to “protect” THEMSELVES from spam, they make sure that my information is captured so that they can inundate me with marketing (regardless of the fact that I consider it spam-squared!)

On Mondays I can’t seem to stop myself from ruminating over why they don’t understand that there is more to our lives than their capitalist imperatives – or perhaps they simply don’t CARE that they are being annoyingly narcissistic?

Herd mentality also gets my dander up – but it seems more likely to flake off into the universe on a Monday.  Why IS that?

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And the Winner Is . . .

The Glen Hogard Award – for
Distinguished Service to
the Professional ADHD Coach Community

An ADD Coaching “Lifetime Service Award”

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

Hogard-award-clip-artPresented to me in Phoenix
on May 3rd, 2014!!

Finally able to announce the news

I wish I could have told you all about this wonderful experience immediately after it happened – honored by my peers, as with the Academy –  but I’ve been totally covered up until a couple of days ago.

As I posted a few days ago in Waldo, Carmen Sandiego and mgh, blogging has been impossible, email languished broken and unseen and, for most of this year I have not had EVEN the time, the physical ability, the cognitive bandwidth or the computer connection to access the internet.

STILL, I want to finish this article to announce the news because this is a VERY big deal and I feel like I have earned the right to crow a little (and it will make me feel GREAT!)

Please indulge me as I exercise some bragging rights — as I tell you about my wonderful award!

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Waldo, Carmen Sandiego and mgh

carmen and waldo

click image for source

Famous Disappearing Acts

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie

OK – so I’m not quite as well known as my disappearing cohorts but, in 2014, until just a few days ago, I have been just as difficult to locate.

If the events of my life so far this year had been even a small portion of a TV show, comic book or game, the editors would have nixed the story line for lack of believability!

No matter. I want to fill you in on why I suddenly disappeared and what I’ve been up to lately.  It’s been scary . . . are you ready?

A bizarre form of isolation

Unable to work for the last EIGHT months(!), with blogging impossible for the most part, and email languishing still, functionality broken as a result of changes following the sudden sale of WebValance, my internet provider service since the debut of decades ago (necessitating settings changes there has been NO time to Sherlock or accommodate).

Hundreds of emails are floating somewhere in the ether of some cloud, unseen and unopened.

For most of this year I have not had EVEN the time, physical ability, cognitive bandwidth or ready access to a computer connection (or a working phone!) to connect in any manner at all.

And that’s just the background story (and only the “highlights”)!

I’ve also been forced to relocate my home and my business – with very little notice.

But I have, in fact, somehow stepped myself through a bazillion to-dos – and I hope that sharing my situation will serve as an example that YOU can get through whatever you’re going through too.

FIRST, the good news

I believe that, slightly past August’s midpoint as I draft this post, I’m just about at the turnaround point during what has been one of the most difficult years in my life.  And the way my life has gone, that’s saying something significant!

HOWEVER, after I provide an accounting of a few of the difficulties that explain where I’ve been for the majority of 2014, the next post will tell you about the BEST thing that has happened to me in a long, long time.

It came right smack dab in the middle of TWO practically impossible situations (of several months duration each!)

The TRULY good part, however, for all of us here in Alphabet City, is that my story provides yet another real-life-example of the resilience of the human spirit in the face of impossible meanness and lack of empathy and of the resources and drive deep within us — even in those of us who have no IDEA how we will survive what’s going on in the moment

And NOW, for the not-so-good part . . .

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Reflections on my return: ACO ADD/ADHD Coaching Conference 2014

I’m B-a-a-a-ck!
(in body, if not in brain)

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

This one was even MORE WONDERFUL that usual! **

I just returned from the Annual ADHD Coaches Organization [ACO] conference, this time in Phoenix, Arizona. ANOTHER great experience to reflect upon, now that I am home and have had a solid twelve hours of “recovery sleep.”

CRAZY return, but soooooo worth it! **

It was well after two AM the morning after my afternoon flight back from Phoenix when I was finally unlocking my front door.  The l-o-n-g trip home was BRUTAL, so I babied myself for a day – mainlining caffeine as I typed, hoping to clear some cobwebs.

  • I almost missed a connecting flight because the first-leg flight was delayed coming, boarding & going!
  • I went without food all day (unless you count a kings-ransom chocolate bar and plastic cup of rock-hard fruit as food). All vendors but the fast food/gluten guys were MIA in Phoenix, NO time to do anything but sprint through the concourse in Denver, and NOTHING open in Cincinnati after midnight;
  • It took considerable time for the bag I checked through to show up after our Cincinnati landing; and
  • My cabbie drove me home from the airport by way of Alaska (or so it seemed as he kept asking, “Do you know where you are yet?”)

But it truly was soooooo worth it! **

In my [not yet unpacked] state, I have a smile on my face** as I recall wonderful sessions and wonderful conversations with wonderful people — OUR TRIBE!

Phillip Martin, artist/educator

Start saving NOW to BE there next year, AGAIN in Phoenix
May 1-3, 2015 (pre-conference sessions April 31st)
Mark your calendars, and add a line-item to your budget.

[CLICK HERE for the 2015 Conference Page on the ACO website – EarlyBirds $ave!]

WHAT a relief to be among the ADD Tribe,
where individuality is celebrated
rather than regimented!

If you’ve never given yourself the gift of getting to swim with the school of fish who swim like YOU, you simply must. It will change your attitude about ADD and about yourself — which will change your entire approach to life.

You NEED to get to know a great many more amazing folks like YOU, I promise: ACO, ADDA & CHADD give you 3 yearly conference opportunities.

We had a BALL — and you would have too!

ONE MORE TIME, I must second Dr. Charles Parker’s comment in his 2013 post-conference article on his Corepsychblog, “If you are an ADHD coach and haven’t yet connected with the ACO  . . .  now is the time to get on it and get cracking.”

** Even MORE wonderful because they honored ME with The Glen Hogard Award (more about that in a separate article, And the Winner Is . . . )

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Is Activation “Seeking System” Dependent?

“New” Ideas Illuminate Old Realities
I think I might be in love!

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
In support of the ADD/EFD Basics Series

Swooning over Jaak Panksepp: ACTIVATION ideas
(from cruelty-free experiments exploring animal emotions)


Jaak Panksepp, the father of Affective Neuroscience, is a very interesting “pioneer” intrigued by the neuro-scientific underpinnings of both human and animal emotional responses.

He has written a fascinating book with a slightly daunting title, The Archaeology of Mind: 
Neuroevolutionary Origins of Human Emotion.

Don’t let that stop you. It’s an “accessible to more of the general public” version of ideas he put forward in his considerably more “academic” offering entitled, Affective Neuroscience, published in 1998.

This long-awaited second publication is his updated attempt to share his life’s work – since the 1960s – the results of his cruelty-free animal experiments that led to identifying what he calls the seven networks of emotion in the brain: SEEKING, RAGE, FEAR, LUST, CARE, PANIC/GRIEF, and PLAY.

He says he uses all caps because these networks are “so fundamental that they have similar functions across species, from people to cats to rats.”

If the name sounds familiar

Those of you who are also regular readers of Discover Magazine may recognize Panksepp’s name from Pamela Weintraub’s feature article on “the rat tickler” entitled Humanity’s 7 Primal Emotions from the May 2012 issue.

Readers who were smart enough to start listening to The Brain Science Podcast when I first introduced it (or to download the pdf transcripts) might have been treated to three different samplings of Dr. Ginger Campbell’s excellent interviews of Panksepp (one a “replay” of an interview from her other podcast, Books and Ideas).

The rest of you – don’t feel left out – I’ve included links to these gems and others in the Related Content ’round the ‘net section below (a section found at the bottom of most of my articles.)

“Brothers under the skin”

You will learn that Panksepp decided, after mapping “brain firing” in laboratory animals for decades, that he could come to no conclusion other than the acceptance of the reality that humans and animals share a similar emotional make-up.

An idea not always embraced by some of his scientific colleagues, he believes that his work proves that his seven networks of emotion in the brain are common to ALL mammals, great and small.

Obviously, he’s convinced me! 


Those of us who have lived closely with our furry friends probably needed no convincing anyway.

You would never be able to convince most of us that our animals do NOT have emotions! But you know most of those science-types — skepticism is in their DNA. Until something is proven scientifically, journal-published and replicated, it’s merely an unsupported theory.

Panksepp is a rare and outspoken voice in the science field, I suspect only partly as a result of his many years of experience exploring the neuro-similarity between human and animal emotional responses. He calls for respect for the reality that animals DO feel, not only pain, but emotions like fear, anger, loneliness, caring, grief, excitement and joy.

He is a long-term ethics advocate as a result. He champions kindness, and urges the field to rethink the way that laboratory experiments are designed. He knows from experience that it is possible to develop methods that do not cause animals pain and undue distress, yet continue to get credible results from valuable and much needed animal research.

There’s a lot more to love about Panksepp’s work — click the links I have provided below to find out for yourselves.

THIS article, however, is going to give you just enough background to begin to explore the first of his seven primal emotions: SEEKING – because I think it provides a clue to our struggles with ACTIVATION.

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You’ll Get Through This – a book for tough times

Encouraging Words
when you’re “Walking through the Valley” in Terror

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
in the What I’m Reading Series

LucadoBookJkt_GetThruWhen the going gets TOUGH . . .

The tough reach out for help and inspiration!

“We pass much of life – if not most of life – at mid-altitude.  Occasionally we summit a peak: our wedding, a promotion, the birth of a child.  But most of life is lived at midlevel. Mondayish obligations of carpools, expense reports, and recipes.

But on occasion the world bottoms out.  The dune buggy flips, the housing market crashes, the test results come back positive, and before we know it, we discover what the bottom looks like.” ~ You’ll get through this – Max Lucado

Many thanks . . .

. . . to Wayne and Jeanie Smith, my friends from Little Rock who sent this book by post. It arrived today.

Having cared for me through the final stages of the healing of a crushed dominant hand as the result of a gang mugging last December, they – of all of the people in my life at this time – were aware of how very much I needed the thoughts in this small volume right now.

Say what?

Regular readers of the articles here on may have read between the lines well enough to realize that I’ve just come though a really tough two years, culminating (or so I’d hoped) in a December mugging at gunpoint when my dominant hand was crushed as the thugs pushed me face down to prevent me from being able to identify them.

I only recently had the cast removed, after THREE immobilizing months where there was precious little I was able to do for myself. I am in the process of recovering my former functionality and taking steps to put my life back together.  MORE each day, but not back yet ::groan::

JUST when I thought things couldn’t get much worse, they did.

Packing2MoveI received an official notice that, for an unspecified reason I don’t know or understand, my landlord decided, at this particular crazy time, to send me a certified letter saying she has “chosen not to renew [my] lease for any additional terms and to terminate [ . . . my ] right to occupy.”

Unless she decides to be kind enough to grant my request for just one more month, my goose is cooking!  At this point, she is insisting that I “vacate the premises no later than May 31, 2014 in accordance with the Ohio Landlord Tenant Act” — or face official eviction.

Essentially her original notice meant, “Get out within THIRTY short days or I’ll set things up so that you will never get anyone to rent to you in this state and all your worldly goods will be forcibly removed and disposed of” — a landlord right according to Ohio law.


  • I must pack and move with full usage of (essentially) one non-dominant hand (once I scramble to purchase boxes and bubble wrap and packing tape, oh my!)
  • I have no place to quickly evacuate TO, since plans were already in the works to relocate by early Fall, not to lock myself into a brand new one-year Cincinnati lease on another apartment — or to jump through the hoops of an interim move.
  • I haven’t a clue what to do with all of my furniture, clothing, and belongings until I can figure out what situation, climate or location I need to pack FOR.
  • I still haven’t been able to replace everything stolen from me in the mugging (including meds) — AND —
  • With plane tickets purchased and hotel paid for, I am locked into being in Phoenix for a solid week of the time in which I have to do it all, leaving me a scant THREE WEEKS!!

. . . Just the tip of the iceburg of what I’m currently attempting to handle!
(Nobody’s forgotten that I continue to struggle with ADD with high distractibility and short-term memory deficits, PTSD and a bodacious sleep disorder, right?)

MOREpacking2moveI think you’ll have no trouble believing that FREAKING OUT might be an understatement of my emotional tone many minutes of my days lately!

Reading Max Lucado’s little book, page by section by page, every time overwhelm threatens to engulf me, has become my refuge.

It is helping me reframe, recenter and shift my come-from.

So I hope you can take the circumstances above as an excellent background from which to encourage any of YOU who are struggling to pick up a copy and read it!

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New title sells books – sells OUT lives

AD(H)D does NOT exist?
Give me a BREAK!

Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, ADD Coach Training Field Founder; ADD Coaching co-founder; ADD Poster Girl

NotAgainBookHere we go again!

This might turn out to be another of the “shortest articles I’ve ever written.”

Shoot — it might be one of the ONLY short articles I’ve ever written (the list of “related articles” of outrage may well be longer!)

In this instance, it will be a cinch to be brief, since there’s not much to say about this utter nonsense — books on this fallacious point of view seem to crawl out of the woodwork about every seventeen years – like locusts!

And just as big a nuisance.

While more than disheartening, it is no real surprise to see that ANOTHER New York Times best-selling-author-wannabe has decided to make a fortune pandering to soundbite-mongers with a new book brandishing an incredulous title – a book with a cover that looks suspiciously like the one above (albeit with different words).

It’s yet another of the opinion-presented-as-fact books written by unthinking MDs who make the incendiary, controversial and condescending claim that ADHD does not exist.

The sound-bite press will make sure it will make headlines, no doubt, despite the reality that hundreds of expert MDs, scientists, geneticists and respected health organizations can site HUNDREDS of studies to back up their extremely credible and well-respected claims that it most certainly DOES TOO!

Will this NEVER stop?

So how many HUNDREDS MORE children are now going to be left to flounder until they are failing as ADDults because their parents will take this rubbish seriously?

How many HUNDREDS more ADDults will not be able to receive the help they need because their non-expert doctors will believe the popular press around this blather?

How many government officials will read this prattle and ring in to make it even MORE difficult for those of us who rely on medication to remain medicated?

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Goals drive habit formation

What is it that you really want?
(What habits need to be in place to obtain it?)

©Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from the Time & Task Management Series:
Habits, Decisions & Attention-5

This article walks you through the process of change with specific examples from my own life.  Yep, knowing what to do and DOING what you know are two completely different things!  I’m hoping reading about my own current process (and challenges) will better explain how you can work on your own. 

I believe you’ll find it worth the time it takes to read it — and if you can stay tracked well enough to click a few of the internal links and read those too (now or later), I believe you will be rewarded with a more than a few functional dividends.  Doing it in a vacuum is doing it the HARD way!

Good-bad_HabitsGood Habits are useful “in order to”-s

We don’t replace bad habits or set good habits in place for their own sake.  If we’re smart we work on habit management because good habits make it easier for us to take consistent action toward something important that is currently tough to actuate.

What is it you really want?  What’s the goal?
For me, that’s the ability to FOCUS intentionally. 

The biggest challenge for this ADD Poster Girl is distractibility. I juggle A LOT of what I callinvisible balls” – environmental stimulation that neurotypical brains filter out automatically.

Those of us with executive functioning disorders and dysregulations have impaired filters, so we expend unnecessary cognitive energy “juggling.”  That makes it harder to focus, prioritize and activate.

I’m big on what Andrea Kuszewski (self-described science nerd, Aspergers coach, and card-carrying member of Team-ADD) calls “attention allocation.” I call it Intentional Attending.

Neatness counts.  So does organization.

So habits that make those elements a no-brainer to keep in place are key — especially now, following almost three months with my dominant hand and forearm in a cast, when I wasn’t able to do even the simplest thing to clean up after myself.  I count on my systems to do what I do — and many of the systems I have come to count on suddenly disappeared when I was mugged and my hand was smashed.

So the woman who founded The Optimal Functioning Institute™ is back in the trenches with those of you have never really taken the time to develop your systems optimally – so that you can FUNCTION optimally.

It won’t help any of us to deny our challenges — but it really won’t help to agonize over what’s making things more difficult.  We need to dedicate as many brain cells as possible to making things easier.

Reflect & Recognize, Strategize – and move ON!

It won’t be easy, and when you first start the systems development process it may seem unnecessarily complicated, but it’s essential.  And it will certainly make life easier going forward. You don’t want to spend the rest of your life spinning your wheels, do you? Follow along as I walk you through the process.

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AHAs! and DUHs! — HUH?



I could’a had a V-8!
They don’t SAY “duh!” — but they might as well have

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

click image for bookpage

click image for bookpage

Duh!s and Aha!s

Aha! seems to have worked its way into the blogging mainstream.  You’ll see it used as a noun – an Aha! – and pluralized, used as a category – your Aha!s.

Duh! not so much — even though it will probably turn out to be the more useful of the two (at least it will if you adopt the manner in which I encourage you to reframe its meaning).

You’ll run into aha!s all over the web — so let’s begin with the concept that’s not quite so common.


Duh! is usually used to comment on an action perceived to be foolish or stupid (like “I left the keys in the ignition – duh!“), or in response to a concept perceived to be blatantly obvious (like “Science “proves” men and women are different – duh!“).

Even though they are frequently meant to be funny, I call those old paradigm duh!s.  The coaching reframe is used as a distinction to move life forward.  It lets us all off the “stupid” hook. 

I want to encourage the use of the term as a light-hearted reminder that knowledge is a term meaning little more than a holding tank of information provided or discovered.

None of us are born knowing everything we need to know – even the Einsteins among us. 

  • We learn it when we learn it, and not one moment sooner.
  • Let’s take the shame off “not knowing” so that learning becomes fun again.

The ADDCoach Coaching duh! used to lighten the mood following a sudden realization or understanding of a concept or procedure that the person with the insight might otherwise be tempted to believe should have been obvious;

A good-humored reminder that all learning is a good thing – once clarified, duh!s underscore how the understanding of one simple thing can change how an individual thinks about things or tackle tasks from that point forward.

© from Madelyn Griffith-Haynie’s upcoming Coaching Glossary

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So Who’s Ready for ACO 2014?

ACO Conference 2014 — May 2-4
Pre-Conference Sessions May 1

The Phoenix Airport Marriott

The Phoenix Airport Marriott

It’s almost here –
will I see YOU there?

Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

Planning, Laundry, Packing, Rushing!

It’s almost time to leave for the 2014 ACO Conference, this year in Phoenix!
Ill be flying out of Cincinnati early Wednesday evening – April 30, 2014.

Yiikes!  There are only a few weeks left! Are you ready? 
(Have you even registered yet?)

  • The pre-conference is Thursday – hey, that’s May Day! – with the opening reception that night.
  • The Conference proper begins bright and e-a-r-l-y on Friday, May 2nd
  • The final sessions conclude around lunch-time on Sunday, May 4th

So much to do, so little time!

stuffedSuitcaseAfter packing and repacking all night for last year’s ACO Conference, unable to streamline my travel wardrobe enough to get it into one single suitcase, I finally had to give up and go to BED.

Colleague and business partner Peggy Ramundo and I were scheduled to leave Cincinnati in mere hours!

Atlanta seemed close enough for a girls-on-a-road-trip, so we decided to go for it. Since there was room in the car, I allowed myself to take w-a-y too much stuff. BAD idea.

It turned out to be significant hassle at the other end.

  • The conference hotel staff forced us to switch rooms mid-conference “due to technical difficulties” (don’t even ask – and I hope I never have to stay there another time!) 
  • So I had to pack it all up and take it on the road again — knowing that I would have to do it one more time at the end of the conference.  (So how late IS late check-out?)

What IS it about going away that makes it so difficult to
decide what to wear?

So many possibilities, so little room in the suitcase
(I’m convinced that it’s gotta’ be figuring out the shoes.)

Isn’t that JUST the ADD way?

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Top Ten LOUSY Product Designs & other nutsy things

Doesn’t Anybody TEST Anymore?
(or maybe they don’t use their own stuff?)

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from the Top Ten Series

TEN of my [least] Favorite Things

A drawing of a woman surrounded by stuff - a rocking horse, a floor lamp, a trunk, a bowl & pitcher, a painting - wearing a hat with a price tag still attached
Life is frustrating enough for those of us with Alphabet Disorders (ADD / EFD / TBI / OCD / etc)

It’s adding insult to injury to expect us to PAY for lousy design that makes things harder still.

We can’t even boycott most of the time, because there are so few alternatives.  Whatever happened to “Form follows FUNCTION????”

Hate to be a hater, but . . .

COME ON! It simply can’t be the GOAL to frustrate the @#$& out of one’s customer base, or can it?

Scroll on down to check out what makes ME crazy (er!) — and I know I’m not the only one.  Let’s all get together and hang the perpetrators in effigy.

JUST in case you are starting to think I am getting grumpy in my old age, you can always jump over to my list of Top Ten Products I wouldn’t want to live without.  (I also say nice things in MORE Top Ten Products)

Down below – in the comments section – add your own “favorite” hatefuls – after you’ve primed your pump by reading about ten of mine.

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Changing a habit to change your LIFE

Habit Formation Pragmatics
(Like, how LONG do we have to do something before it becomes a habit?)

©Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from the Time & Task Management Series:
Habits, Decisions & Attention-3

Out with the old, IN with the new . . .



“Everybody knows” that, according to established learning theory, it takes approximately thirty days of daily practice for a new behavior to become a habit. Right?


Google will tell you that it takes somewhere between 21 and 28 days. Various blogs and websites will cite various numbers, somewhere between three weeks (21 days) and five weeks (35 days).

Did you know that, until 2009, there had been
no scientific evidence for anybody’s numbers.

The 21-day myth that reputedly started the process of conjecture is frequently blamed on a plastic surgeon, Dr Maxwell Maltz.

Maltz noted that amputees took, on average, 21 days to adjust to the loss of a limb.  He proposed that his 21-day observation indicated that people would probably take 21 days to adjust to most major life changes.

In 1960, Maltz published that observation, his conjecture, and his other thoughts on behavior change in the blockbuster hit Psycho-Cybernetics.

That particular book, selling over 30 Million copies, greatly influenced most of the motivational speakers in the “self-help” field. Well known authors and gurus like Brian Tracy and Tony Robbins (even Zig Ziglar) have frequently made reference to content from Psycho-Cybernetics.

The reality that Maltz actually reported that it takes “a minimum of about 21 days” got lost as more and more people repeated content from his book, whether they’d actually read the book themselves or not.

Before long the relative became repeated as an absolute:
“It takes 21 days to form a new habit.”

  • Enter the age of the Internet and the popularity of blogs and blogging, and repetition was substituted for research.
  • Codicils to the process of habit formation were tacked on, and the time-frame was lengthened by a week.
  • Evidence to the contrary was dismissed, usually by saying that if the individual didn’t repeat the exact same action for thirty days without exception, it wouldn’t work unless s/he started over again – that it had to be thirty days in a row.

I’ve been guilty of passing that myth along myself – usually adding that “it takes those of us with Alphabet Disorders longer to get those thirty days IN!”

“If fifty million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing.”

~ Anatole France

Only in 2009 did anybody publish the results of a STUDY of habit formation — reinstating its relativity and disclosing an average almost three times higher than what was commonly reported.

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Coaching the Easter Bunny – when help hurts

EBA Client’s Story
(With Permission)

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

I usually use pseudonyms in my client examples to protect client confidentiality.  When I DO use a real name, it is always with client permission — the Bunny himself has vetted this post.

How it happened

The Easter Bunny was one of my first clients, way back when coaching itself was a budding profession. (Oh, you’re a coach.  What sport?) 

This was before I founded The Optimal Functioning Institute™ — even before I began taking registrations for the first group to go through the A.C.T. program, the ADD-specific coaching curriculum I designed that launched the the entire ADD Coaching field.

At that time I was one of the very few coaches on the planet at all, and one of the fewer still who understood how to work with ADD.  So that’s the reason the Easter Bunny found his way to me. Now you might assume from that explanation that EB, as he is known to his friends, hired me to help with his own struggles with ADD

Seriously, a bunny delivering baskets of colored, hard-boiled eggs? YEARLY!? To every kid in America? One would suspect AD“H”D.

But one would be wrong.

He came for Mentor Coaching, hoping to learn how to help someone else — his business partner and very best friend in the whole wide world (who has ADD, possibly with anxiety comorbid).

BECAUSE his very best friend was no longer speaking to him — due to an incident that could have been avoided if EB had only come to me sooner.

He agreed to full disclosure of his story so that none of you would make the same mistake with someone you love (because that’s just the kind of hare he is).

A Strange Duo

It’s essential that you understand from the start that EB’s best friend is a real chicken.  No, really – a chicken (like the kind that lay eggs, right?)

In fact, the whole colored egg thing was his best friend’s idea to begin with.  He needed EB’s help since most of the chickens he knew were armless types, and the whole idea just took off from there.

Eventually it became a Big Magilla production — with an entire fleet of bunnies collecting eggs, hard-boiling eggs, coloring eggs, putting eggs and grass in baskets, and helping with deliveries.  (I mean, they’re EGGS, right?  They go bad — it’s not like they could stockpile.)

Another interesting fact you may not know is that Big Magilla was the very first company on the planet that was completely integrated. They have actively recruited both chickens and bunnies since inception, male and female, young and old — regardless of breeding, color or markings.

Where gender equality is concerned the bunny brigade has a pristine record but, for obvious reasons, the chicken cadre is primarily female — not really discriminatory since the ability to lay is what they call an essential job skill.

They employ the elderly, handicapped and mentally impaired mostly in the basket department – which has turned out to be a wonderful idea.  Some of the most talented and industrious basket weavers in America work for Magilla.

The kids are interns – grass cultivation and packaging mostly.

All things considered, it is a very forward-thinking business model.  But when one of the founding partners isn’t speaking to the other, that’s a crisis that needs a turn-around coach.

That’s when EB found an early Trainer-Team listing on the CoachU website and decided to hire me.

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Brain-based Habit Formation

Habits and the Dopamine Pleasure/Reward Cycle
(change your habits, change your LIFE)

©Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC from the Time & Task Management Series: Habits, Decisions & Attention-2

The Power of HABIT

Charles Duhigg, in an award-winning book entitled The Power of Habit, published in 2012, reminds us that transforming a habit is rarely easy, quick, or simple — but it is POSSIBLE.

I’ll go him one further.

As long as you will follow a simple 4-step procedure as you set your habits in place according to what science has learned about how the brain works, it is PROBABLE!

Now that science understands more about how patterns and pattern-recognition impact the the human brain (a pattern-recognition “machine,” after all), it is possible for any one of us to transform our entire lives through the power of habit.

In other words, we now know why habits develop, how they change, and how to build and rebuild them to our exact specifications — and feel GREAT about doing it.

Yea verily – even those of us who are citizens of Alphabet City can take advantage of the power of habit to change our experience of living.

What’s Possible?

Click the book jacket above to read a brief excerpt on the NPR site that tells the story of an small-town army major, a self-described “hick from Georgia” who almost single-handedly stopped a pattern of escalating riots in an Iraqi village, simply by analyzing the patterns that produced “the riot habit” and making ONE fundamental tweak.

“Understanding habits is the most important thing I’ve learned in the army,” the major in the excerpt linked above discloses. “It’s changed everything about how I see the world.”

  • What might be possible in YOUR life if you understood what the major knows about the neurology and psychology of habits and the way patterns work within our lives, businesses, and social groups?
  • What if you understood how to apply what you’ve read here on about the needs of neurodiversity to the neurotypical advice about motivation and habit formation — so that you could tweak the “standard” information that dominates the info-market to make it all work for YOU?

Take a moment to really think about THIS:

What might your life look like one short year from now if you actually applied what you learned here, step by step?

  • Would you be healthier?  Wealthier?  Happier with your marriage and family life?
  • Would you finally find the time to write that novel, or start that new business, or to take the necessary steps to move into that lakeside house you’ve always dreamed about?
  • What WOULD you do, tweaking the old expression slightly, if you understood how to set it up so that you could not fail?

That’s exactly what this Series is offering you — right here and at no charge what-so-ever until January 2016, when it will become available only in a paid format by eBook subscription.

For those of you who want to add velocity to your progress (or who need the structure of a little nudging along the way), I will soon be announcing a TeleClass that will expand on the principles offered for free, and serve as a MasterMind Group to keep you going — but I’m getting WAY ahead of myself here.

For right now, keep reading — and do the exercises that will be included as we move through the articles that explain the dynamics and outline the process.  Take advantage of this opportunity while its still free for the taking.

I’ll be working right along with you as I recover from the mugging incident last December, and redesign my own life.

So let’s get to work.  What’s going on in that brain of ours that keeps rotten habits in place, and how can we use that understanding to transform our lives?

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BraveHeart Award!


Another Cool Blogging Award!!

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

The Brave Heart Award – an award for Survivors

I am honored to have been nominated by former award-winner Louise Collins, who is a truly brave and amazingly forthcoming survivor of so many different events and conditions in her young life that it boggles the mind.

Like many of us, she blogs to help others feel less alone, to process her feelings about what she is living through, and to make sense of the emotional (and functional) effects that she continues to experience.

Please have a look at ABOUT ME on IllicitbyNature for her own own description of who she is and what she is attempting to process.  Her words are inspiring and will be helpful to many of you, especially those struggling with depression or PTSD. (be sure to remember to “like” or comment, so she’ll know you were there)

Her homepage can be found by clicking http://www. which will open in a new tab (or window, depending on the settings on YOUR web-browser)

Conditions of Acceptance

To accept the award, I had to complete a number of tasks, beginning with those immediately below (more info further down):

  1. Thank the person who nominated me.
  2. Answer a list of twelve questions – which you will be able to read below, along with my answers
  3. Pass the acknowledgment on by nominating twelve additional blogs, none of whom have been nominated before.
  4. Notify my nominees that I have nominated them and share their names with links to their blogs on my blog
    (my list of nominees is further down – keep scrolling – along with the instructions needed to be able to accept the nomination)
  5. Include the Quote below with the notification of nomination

which I formatted to be ADD-friendly – shorter paragraphs and slightly adapted — to be able to nominate those dealing primarily with the chronic abuse that comes as a result of being diagnosed with one of the Alphabet Disorders – ADD, TBI, OCD, PDD, PDA etc.- abuse that results from the actions and comments from the many who simply don’t understand.

The original version contained the word “abuse” alone, which has a more specific meaning to those who have been physically or sexually abused – or to those diagnosed with PTSD. (copied further down without modification)


Stand Strong You Are Not Alone

I call you a survivor, because that is what you are. There are days when you don’t feel like a survivor and there are days when the memories trigger your past and it feels like you are losing the fight – but you are not. Take the past and heal with it. You are strong.

I want you to know that any abuse you experience as a result of your diagnosis is not your fault. It does not matter what age it happened. You did not deserve it, you did not cause it, and you did not bring it on yourself. You own no shame, guilt, or remorse.

In your life, you have faced many demons, but look around you and you will see there is hope and there is beauty. You are beautiful, You are loved, there is hope.

You deserve to be loved and treated with respect. You deserve peace and joy in your life. Don’t settle for anything less than that. God has plans for you. Your future does not have to be dictated by your past.

Each step you take you are not alone. Stand Strong.


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Habits, Decisions and Attention

Why Crazy/Busy People NEED Habits
. . . Making friends with setting them in place to serve you

©Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from the Time & Task Management Series:
Habits, Decisions & Attention-1

Another adorable Phillip Martin graphic

Another adorable Phillip Martin graphic

Say hello to the HABIT habit!

It seems to me that every March tends to be “habits” month around the blog-o-sphere. Good habits, rotten habits, lapsed habits; developing new habits, tweaking old habits, breaking bad habits — I always seem to run into a bunch of “habit” posts every March.

Why is that?

I’m guessing it’s because there’s been just enough time since New Years for practically everyone to have fallen off the Resolutions Wagon — except, that is, for the few disciplined and rare individuals who made it a point to develop new HABITS as structures to support their new goals.

Or maybe its just me. In any case, let’s jump on the bandwagon and explore the topic for a bit – starting with taking a stab at defining the term.

HABITS are actions or behaviors performed regularly and automatically – usually on a pre-determined schedule – bypassing the necessity of much real-time decision-making agita (and without a great deal of activation energy required).

Once we have developed a habit, we “just do it” – primarily because we have done it repeatedly in the past, usually in response to some sort of prompt that triggers the behavior, setting us up for a life that runs about as smoothly as life ever runs.

So how come we resist developing them?

Let’s face it – doing something repeatedly (and regularly) eventually activates our “I don’t wanna’-s.”  We like to think we prefer to hang looser with life — even though we’re not crazy about reeling from the chaotic state that living structure-free usually creates.

  • Putting things off until they reach some sort of crises point isn’t really a great system for grown-ups.  But deciding when and how to work everything we need and want to do into our crazy/busy lives is tough — especially for those of us with activation or transition troubles.
  • Having to negotiate timing, self-to-self, is annoying, yet do-it-now is seldom convenient.
  • Until the habit is in place, we have to decide to “make” ourselves do things, day after day after . . . I’m really not in the mood right now day!

Then there’s the parent trap. Since many of what could be excellent habits NOW were foisted upon us as children, some of us have not treated those habits with the appreciation they deserve as a result.

  • Those of us who didn’t have the good sense to hang on to many of the habits our parents tried to instill in us have been making life harder than it needs to be.
  • Trust me – it took me YEARS to get over my “nobody tells me what to do now that I’m on my own” unconscious teenaged rebellion.  When I finally wised up, it took me a few years more to put those habits back in place.

False Economy


Let me clue you in on something I learned
the hard way:

The neurodiverse can’t afford
NOT to put habits in place.

  • There’s not enough time in anybody’s life to DECIDE about every little detail of life here on this strangely ordered planet the neurotypicals have set up where all of us are forced to live.
  • Especially not the way the ADD-brainstyle goes about deciding — agonizing for days as our brains search the known universe to make sure we consider every possible parameter of possibility first!!
  • If you’re a member of team ADD/EFD – or seem to get stuck (or simply worn down and worn out) by having to make too many decisions – it makes sense to try to expend as little effort as possible getting through your day by making a few choices “ONCE and for all” – which is where habits are golden.

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PROGRESS, not Perfection

The Long Road Back:
Learning patience – Recovering Resilience

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from the Self-Health & Walking a Mile in Another’s Shoes Series

A Little Background click picture to visit source click picture to visit source

“The journey toward resilience is the great moral quest of our age.”
~ Andrew Zolli, co-author of
Resilience: Why Things Bounce Back.

Bouncing back myself

Regular readers know already that, between Christmas and New Years, I was mugged at gunpoint getting out of my van in front of my house, and that the thugs shattered my dominant hand. 

That left me pretty much helpless – and unable to work – until the cast came off in the second week of March. 

Since I work for myself there is no regular paycheck if I can’t do the work, so it’s been a scary time.

Only once my cast came off, about 75 days later, am I finally able to really concentrate on jumping through all the hoops necessary to put things back together – a DAUNTING idea! (See When Fear Becomes Entrenched & Chronic for just HOW daunting!)

Not only do I need to recover my sense of safety and security in my world and get back to work, I need to recover my STUFF!

  • The band of thugs made away with my purse, containing my make-up and favorite hairbrush, my brand new iPhone, the keys to house, car and storage space, and a-whole-lot-more, and my wallet (with all forms of identification, the plastic cards one uses for money these days, and all the merchant cards one shows to buy much of anything anymore).
  • They also grabbed my tote containing a number of things, the most devastating to my ongoing functioning being my datebook and address book.
  • It ALL needs to be replaced – starting with figuring out who and what I call to DO that – along with everything that expired while I was incapacitated (like my car insurance and tags, for example), and making sure all my regular bills are paid through the end of March.

If you’re one of my few neurotypical readers, you’re probably not envying my process, but my ADDers (etc) r-e-a-l-l-y get what a terrifying process that is!!

Spending a few weeks with my friends in Little Rock has been very healing, and getting back at least partial use of my dominant hand has made a huge difference.

Yet, I still have a long way to go before I will be able to say that I have climbed out of the hole I found myself in rather unexpectedly, almost three intermidable months ago.

I feel SO far behind, wondering if I will EVER be able to catch up!!

Since I promised to let you know what I am doing to continue to heal and how its going, I’ll check in every week or so with an article that will be a bit like a diary of my progress, coupled with any related insights, thoughts or ideas about executive functioning as I step back from the PTSD edge.

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When Fear Becomes Entrenched & Chronic

Chronic Anxiety & PTSD
Understanding Fear & Anxiety – Part 2

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from the Self-Health Series

When what happened leaves marks

broken-legIf you broke your leg, you’d go get it set, right?

Whether it was a little break or something catastrophic that required an operation and pins, you would feel “entitled” to go for professional help and would have no doubt that you needed it, right?

While you were in a cast, you’d probably have the good sense not to try to walk on that broken leg. Most of the people around you would be able to understand without explanation that you needed crutches to get around.  Right? It would go without saying that you had to take it easy while you healed.

EVEN if you broke your leg doing something stupid that was entirely your own fault, you would probably feel very little shame about having a broken leg – a little embarrassed, perhaps, but you’d still allow yourself to get what you needed to heal.

YET, when the problem is mental, we tend to try to soldier on alone. 

  • Maybe we think things are not “bad enough” that we are entitled to professional help.
  • Maybe the stigma still associated with the term “mental illness” stops us cold.
  • We probably find ourselves struggling with the concern that others might believe we are weak or over-reacting if we can’t seem to pull things back together alone.
  • Perhaps we have collapsed psychological difficulties with “crazy,” and we certainly don’t want to believe we are crazy!

The only thing that is CRAZY is denying ourselves the help it would take to manage whatever it is that we are struggling with so that we can get back to being our own best selves – and most of us are a little bit crazy in that way.  I know I am, in any case.

In one masterful stroke of unconscious black and white thinking, we label ourselves powerless when we are unable to continue on without help, struggling against impossible situations sometimes, as things continue to worsen — if we’re lucky. 

  • Because when things continue to get worse, it will eventually become obvious that we are clearly not okay.
  • We’ll eventually reach a place where it will be impossible to deny ourselves the help we need to heal.
  • If we’re not lucky, we are able to continue living life at half mast: limp-along lives that could be SO much healthier and happier.
  • If we’re not lucky, our mental reserves will be worn out by limping along, and we are likely to reach a place where it seems as if our dominant emotion is anger, or we will slide into chronic, low-level depression – or worse.

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Understanding Fear & Anxiety

Moving Beyond the Fears
and Anxieties that Keep us STUCK (Part 1)

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from the Self-Health Series

FEAR: The primal emotion most studied in neuroscience


The study of fear has consumed many hundreds of researchers for decades. The events following 9/11 and the war in Iraq has only bolstered this field of research. 

Finding new molecules that erase traumatic memories (or enable soldiers to keep from feeling fear) are research priorities in the United States.

~ Dream Life of Rats: Pure Science Specials (season one, episode six;
originally aired on 5/29/2013)


Platitudes Begone!

Troll the internet – or browse the shelves of your local library – and you will find a blue-million self-help offerings with advice to help you conquer “fear.” The majority of them hold out the promise that they can teach you to “feel the fear and do it anyway” or “stop fearing change to change your fear,” and other related blather. 

These ways of working may help with lack of activation or with task anxiety but they will rarely make much of a dent in fear.

They’re lightweights, those offerings – their authors really don’t understand the extent to which many people experience FEAR. Most of them are, metaphorically, pushing anti-heartburn remedies to help with heart attacks. They’re talking about situationally-induced moments of anxiety that our self-help culture mislabels “fear.”

If you are one of the many who are periodically frozen by anxiety disorders, reeling from a recent and dramatic accident, suffering from flashbacks related to PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), and other more extreme situations that prompted more extreme emotional responses, pouring through those offerings looking for HELP will only increase your feelings of helplessness, which will very likely increase your feelings of fear.

  • Throwing those simplistic offerings in the garbage is the first step toward real healing.
  • Understanding what’s going on is the second step.
  • Allowing yourself to reach out to professionals who specialize in PTSD or TBI is certainly worth considering seriously, and
  • Patience is the fourth key: giving your nervous system time to heal as you reframe your approach to life and de-condition your fear response.

By the way, if you are among the majority of folks who are currently stopped by one of those “situationally-induced moments of anxiety that our self-help culture mislabels ‘fear,'” the information in this article can help you, too (but you might want to hang on to those other offerings to read later).

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Up all Nite? Sleep away the Day?

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, A.C.T, MCC, SCAC
ABOUT Chronorhythm Sleep Disorders – Part I

lazyMaryVictorianLazy Mary Will You Get Up?

You’ve probably heard that old nursery rhyme where the first sing-song verse admonishes Mary for being “lazy” because she is still abed, then sing-song Mary responds that, “No, no Mother she won’t get up. She won’t get up today.”

Um, just A BIT black and white perhaps?

As reflected in that early childhood ditty, from the point of view of a great many of the world’s larks, once they themselves are up-and-at-em, not only do they consider those of us still asleep lazy, their assumption seems to be that we intend to remain slug-a-beds FOR THE ENTIRE DAY!

At least that seems to the [lack-of] thinking behind the many ways in which they state their expectations to those of us who “refuse” to toe their normative expectation lines, demonstrated by bounding out of bed with the first rays of the sun, bright-eyed and ready-for-bear.

A little empathy and understanding, please

I’m wondering if their tune might change – even a little bit – if they understood that going to sleep and waking up at an hour the “majority-rules” universe considers decent isn’t as simple as it sounds for those of us with sleep TIMING disorders.

For many of us, adjusting our sleep timing to fit
majority-rules norms is a CAN’T, not a won’t.

Flip things around for a moment

Regardless of how many of you out-vote us on the “decent hours” referendum, we have as much difficulty adjusting to your sleep schedule as many of you seem to have adjusting to ours.

  • Many of you say you get too sleepy to remain awake at hours where many of us are highly alert, getting things done, or finally getting into the flow.

Unless it’s New Year’s Eve when you insist on keeping to your truncate-tonight to rise-early-tomorrow schedule, we do our best not to call you names and judge your party-pooper sleep preferences.

I promise it’s no fun, night after night, to be the only person you know who is wide awake once the rest of what seems to be the entire world anywhere near your timezone has toddled off to bed. Life get’s lonely.

And mean. The expectation that we will be awake and alert once YOU have had sufficient sleep is annoyingly inconsiderate, actually.

It’s worse at the other end of the day as you tut-tut-tut yourselves off to bed when we are finally wide-awake and fully alert.

  • The rest of you put yourselves to bed “early” with the realistic expectation that you will be able to fall asleep once you get there.

You seem to believe in your heart-of-hearts that little trick would work for us too, with seemingly no awareness of the reality that most of us have failed at our attempts at it many, many, MANY times.

Our brains and bodies are telling us that it is simply the wrong time to sleep!

  • What if we insisted that you go to bed in the early afternoon,
    hours before you feel the call to sleep?

A time or two to resolve your sleep-debt might be nice, but beyond that, I’ll bet you wouldn’t fall asleep, stay asleep or get restorative sleep either.

And I’m fairly certain you wouldn’t respond positively to our insistence that you stop in the middle of whatever you are doing to go lie down in a dark room with your eyes closed.

I suppose we could force you to lie there quietly for a solid eight hours —  but you still wouldn’t get a solid eight hours of restorative SLEEP.

Your brains and bodies would insist that it was the wrong time for it!

THEN how would you feel?

How would you feel about life and about us when you opened your eyes in the wee hours of the next day to our scowling faces?  What could you have done wrong in your SLEEP, right?

Would your groggy mind understand this logic? We are angry with you simply because you are not eager to bound happily out of bed when our clock insists that it is time for you to get up!

Would it make you feel any better, about life and about us, if we were to remind you forcefully that you WOULD have had enough sleep if you’d simply shut your eyes and counted sheep or something when we put you to BED!?

If you really tried to imagine yourselves into the scenario above, you’d have to admit that we’re a lot nicer to you about the sleep-timing mismatch than you’d be to us if the shoe were on the other foot!

The sleep-timing mismatch truth to tell, we’re a lot nicer to you than you are to us as it stands NOW – any chance we could improve on that sorry state of affairs?

Maybe if we take a closer look at what’s going on here . . .

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November 24 is N-24 Awareness Day

A SHOT at Fixing Broken Sleep Clocks

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Another article in the Sleep Series

“Too many people don’t care what happens

so long as it doesn’t happen to them.”
~ William Howard Taft


Your chance to step up and make a difference

We have known for DECADES that as many as three quartersof those of us here in “Alphabet City ~ 75% ~ have chronic problems with sleep and sleep timing.

Many of us have trouble falling asleep almost every night — until and unless we are, literally, exhausted.

Some of us continue to have trouble letting go of the day even then.

Almost all of us, EVEN when we are well rested, struggle to come to alertness when we awaken, regardless of what time of day that might be — frequently for well over an hour or more after first opening our eyes.

Our eyes may be open, but our brains are still half-asleep
— almost every single “morning” of our lives —

Were you aware that, for longer than the Baby-Boomer generation has been ALIVE, there has been only asmall pocket of concerned individuals — dismissed as mavericks, complainers, enablers, alarmists, incalcitrant slug-a-beds, fringe-scientists — who have been interested enough in the quality of the LIVES of those who were so affected to lobby for efforts to understand why?

As I wrote in materials for the world’s first ADD-specific coach trainingback in 1994, almost 20 years ago now with numbers like 75%, if this were heart disease (or any other population), I’ll bet you that MOST of the scientific and medical community would have been ON it!

By supporting the recently formed non-profit, Circadian Sleep Disorders Network, together we can finally CHANGE that sad reality.

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Life, Death, Mental Health & Sleep

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, A.C.T, MCC, SCAC
Another Article in the Sleep Series – Video below


I’ll Sleep when I’m Dead . . .

That’s how I began Sleep and Cognition,
an earlier article in the Sleep Series.

I went on to say:

In my hurry-up-there’s-so-much-more-to-DO experience of living, almost everything auxiliary to my current attempt to focus frequently seems like a necessary but unwelcomed interruption to what I liked to think of as “life” — as annoying as ants at a picnic.

But I know better now where SLEEP is concerned!

WHY we need sleep

Yes, sleep deprivation makes us drowsy and unable to concentrate.  It feels lousy when we struggle to keep our eyes open. But that’s not the half of it!

A LOT happens during that prone period where it seems to us that nothing at all is going on. We need adequate, high-quality sleep for our nervous systems to work properly.

As science conducts increasingly more sleep studies, it has become clear that sleep deprivation leads to impairment of our memory processes, physical performance, and intellectual prowess (leading, for example, to a proven reduction in the ability to carry out mathematical calculations).

Extreme sleep deprivation leads to hallucinations and an impaired ability to regulate mood. 

But that’s not ALL

Animal studies have shown that sleep is necessary to remain physically healthy and, in some cases, to remain alive.

  • A rat’s average life span is 2 to 3 years; rats deprived of sleep live for only about 3 weeks.
  • They also develop abnormally low body temperatures, along with sores on paws and tails, most likely developed as a result of impairment of the rats’ immune systems.

In humans, it has been demonstrated that the metabolic activity of the brain decreases significantly after 24 hours without sleep. Sleep deprivation results in:

  • a decrease in body temperature and an increase in heart rate variability
  • a decrease in white blood cell count, which correlates to a decrease in immune system function
  • a decrease in the release of growth hormone which, in children and young adults, takes place during deep sleep — and, among other problems,
  • a disturbance in the production and breakdown of proteins (in most bodily cells) – normally carried out during the deep sleep phase.

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How to live a life that doesn’t suck

from Selorm Nelson - click graphic to read

from Selorm Nelson – click graphic to read

Does anybody REALLY live
“a LIFE they LOVE?”

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
A Walking a Mile in Another’s Shoes Post
Part 1 in a Series

I know, it’s a bizarre way to begin

It is an ESPECIALLY bizarre question out of the metaphorical mouth of a coach.

For those of you who aren’t yet aware, “life” coaching is a profession renowned for holding the “Live a life you LOVE banner aloft (above a table marketing miraculous services that will transform your life with the click of a PayPal button).

I’ve used the phrase myself – more than a few times.  It seemed a handy “short-hand” in my attempt to describe the benefits of coaching. But today I’m giving that hyperbole a bit more thought.

Maybe it’s because I’ve been under the weather all week and I’m now in the grouchy phase where I’m feeling sorry for myself – but I think the topic merits some frank discussion, don’t you?

Because I think we’re focusing on the wrong objective, which will continue to lead us astray.

I’m coming to believe it’s a set up, actually — for an expectations mismatch that will make us truly miserable, regardless of what our lives look like at any particular moment.

If it works for you, carry on. I’m all FOR hyperboles that work, but I’m not sure this one does.

I’m wondering if it’s time to move on to something that works better with the way our brains are designed. Do your best to read with an open mind.

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The ADD “ADHD” Club is Open for Membership – No Application Needed

ADD-HD Awareness Ribbon

Welcome to the Party – BYOB (brain!)

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
In support of the Brain-Based Coaching Series
An ADD Awareness Post — PASS IT ON!


Attentional Deficits:
NO ONE is Immune

As I said in Types of Attentional Deficits:

EVERYBODY living in an industrialized society in our CrazyBusy world will have Challenges with attention and focus, and ANYBODY anywhere who has current health challenges of any type will find themselves included in one of the three main categories I introduced in that article.

  • We ALL experience attentional deficits that cause problems in our lives, making it tough for us to stay intentional long enough to reach our goals.
  • Whether physical, neurological, or situational, when attentional challenges rear their ugly heads, deliberate strategies must be consciously employed to make it extremely easy for us to attend, register, and link for memory.
  • Otherwise, the chances are good that we will have little more conscious awareness of what’s happening in our own lives than a sleepwalker dreaming about being awake!

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Forgetting and Remembering

When Memory Fails

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
From the ADD & Memory Series
Forgetting and Remembering Part 1

Red telehone with memo


There are three harbingers of Old Age:

one is memory loss
and I forget the other two.

What IS Memory, anyway?

All kidding aside, when we think about human memory loss, what is it that we think we’re losing?

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BACK – and still deciding

What Are You Doing for the Rest of your Life?
by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

QuestionMarkGuyThat IS the question, isn’t it?

After spending A GREAT MANY minutes of my life creating a great many articles that could be autoposted while I went “away” so that I could focus on myself alone for a while, and. . .

After leaving my earlier
See You In September post . . .

I attempted to abandon my hyper-focus on current endeavors to investigate a single question:

What do I want to DO with the rest of
the minutes of my life, given the options
now available to me.

I’m coming to believe that is NOT the question that will yield fruit for me.

  • I am not unsatisfied with what I DO. In fact, I love what I do.
  • I believe it is a large part of what I’m here TO do – my purpose, if you will.
  • Secure in that awareness, I suppose I am more fortunate than many who are still trying to figure out what they are here to DO.

Different questions, different directions

I have come to believe that I need to focus more on my “environment,” so to speak

  • WHO I do it for and with
  • Under what circumstances
  • WHERE I AM while I am doing it
  • What is missing from my experience of doing what I love, and
  • How I’m going to keep a roof over my head
    and food in my belly while I am doing it.

I am, and will be, sharing my process because I now believe that is the crux of life satisfaction for YOU, too.

But whether you find value in the sharing or not, and whether or you ever let me know whether or not you do, it helps me process to write it down and share it. And so I will.

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The Impulsivity Rundown™

Widening the gap between Impulse and (re)Action

(from an upcoming book, The Impulsivity Rundown © – all rights reserved)

Impulsiveby Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Part of The Challenges Inventory™ Series

Garden-Variety Impulsivity

Let’s be really clear about the focus of The Impulsivity Rundown™.

While ADD is included among the list of diagnostic Impulse Control Disorders, we’re NOT going to focus on the more extreme end of runaway impulsivity.

Impulsivity that leads to the kind of serious harm where you are likely to spend some time in an Institution, or spend more than a few years on an analyst’s couch, or wind up on a first-name basis with every Police Precinct in your area, is beyond the scope of ADD Coaching or this Series — things like:

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A lever for when you are REALLY stuck

Keeping on Keeping ON it

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
An article in the Org&Task Series

ReadTree“Having come to the conclusion that there was
so much to do that she
didn’t know where to start,
Mrs Fowler decided not to start at all.

She went to the library,
took Diary of a Nobody from the shelves and,
returning to her wicker chair under the lime tree,
settled down to waste what precious hours
still remained of the day.”

~ Richmal Crompton, Family Roundabout

The secret of getting ahead is getting started.
~ Mark Twain

Ay, there’s the rub!

Have you ever had a day – or a series of days – when you simply couldn’t seem to get started doing much of anything?

CLICK HERE for an article on Activation that will help you begin to understand that dynamic.

The article below will give you something to try that might actually get you going.

It works for me most of the time, anyway.  I call it The Backwards To-Do List. 

But first, let’s talk for a minute about the downside of goals and goal-setting.

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This is your Brain on Sleep – Stages of Sleep

Cycling through the Sleep Stages
Part of the Sleep Series

© by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, A.C.T, MCC, SCAC

“Sleep is not a luxury or an indulgence but a
fundamental biological need, enhancing 
productivity, mood, and the ability to interact with others.”

~ Russell G. Foster, a leading expert on chronobiology

zzzzz_in bed_blue 298x232Gettin’ those Zzzz’s

Until the mid-twentieth century, most scientists believed that we were asleep for approximately a third of our lives — experienced, primarily, in a uniform block of time that was the opposite of wakefulness.

THAT was pretty much it.

Their assumption was that sleep was a homogeneous state.  It’s most salient feature was considered to be the fact that you were NOT AWAKE.  Duh.

The main side-effect of sleep deprivation, so it was believed at the time, was that you got sleepyOh my.

  • It was assumed that we needed some sort of down-time to recharge our batteries somehow.
  • There was so little curiosity about sleep, very few scientists felt that it was worthy of the time or money for research.

In the 1950s, the breaking news from one of the few sleep labs was that sleep actually consisted of two distinct states:

  1. Rapid eye movement sleep [REM], which distinguished dreaming sleep, according to what they knew at the time
  2. AND . . . the rest of it!
    (imaginatively referred to as “non-rapid eye movement sleep” [NREM])

You probably already know that REM sleep was so named because it was noticed that the eyes moved quickly back and forth under closed eyelids – rather like they might if the sleeper were speed-reading a teeny-tiny English-language book.

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