Avoiding the Holes in the Road

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Holes in the Road

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

Drawing of a businessman in a suit, carrying a briefcase, about to fall into a hole because he cannot notice that the manhole cover has been left off the manhole (he is reading)

Everybody hates stepping in a hole
we didn’t know was there.

It’s embarrassing.  We feel so awkward.
That’s also how clothing gets dirty,
ankles get twisted and legs get broken.

Knowing about the holes in advance changes how we “walk down the road.”

Holes in life’s road can be a result of:

  1. Individual Challenges
  2. Individual-specific combinations of Challenges, and/or
  3. The degree to which Challenges are troubling
    •  Relative to your Baseline functioning
    •  Relative to each other

An ability to predict the combined impact of functional elements on the likelihood of accomplishment will help you realign your expectations realistically – as it helps you to realign the expectations of others.

Realigning Expectations?

YES!  It’s essential.

I’m not talking about “dumbing down” or making excuses – and
I’m certainly not talking about adopting a “victim” mentality.

I’m talking about changing your approach to things to fit how you work BEST.

Just Do It! ???

According to many of the self-help gurus, when a goal becomes important, successful people make themselves Do it NOW!  That means that they are ready-willing-and-able to prioritize life’s many demands so that they are able to focus on the most important tasks for as long as they must.

Successful people are determined people who, after an interruption, shift back to what they were doing quickly (and with relative ease, since it’s so important, doncha’ know).

And you know what’s sad?

Those successful people truly believe that they are successful because they have gotten in touch, by whatever system their particular self-help guru espouses, with just HOW important their goals are, and just HOW important ongoing, focused action is to the attainment of their goals.

  • It’s difficult for people who CAN do those things to believe that it is not the same process for very many others.
  • They tend to believe that everyone can and will accomplish more by setting goals and sticking to the game-plan – meaning, I suppose, “forcing themselves” to stay on task in a fit of resolve.
  • Most of them haven’t the slightest clue that motivation and ACTIVATION are two different things – or how de-motivating it is to have to leap activation’s tall buildings yet again after every interruption or distraction — and every repair deficit situation.
Yes, BUT . . .

For over two decades, I have tried, unsuccessfully, to explain what it’s like to live with executive function deficits to those whose brains work like well-oiled machines.

I know I have not been successful when I hear some of the comments reported by so many who struggle with intentionality – and especially from those who struggle to live with those poor souls.

If you are reading these words, you are probably in one camp or the other.

  • Maybe so, but my client really IS running a racket!
  • Yes, but my teenager disobeys me deliberately!
  • But this employee never LEARNS from his mistakes.
  • You don’t know my sister – she’s chronically late because she doesn’t care about anybody but herself.
  • My son refuses to listen.
  • My daughter is not really trying — she’s too smart to act this dumb!
  • My husband finally tells me he’s ready to take care of that mess in the garage, and I find him waxing his CAR!
  • Is it too much to expect my wife to remember to pick up the KIDS when she says she will?

And I know that attitude of disbelief has infected the individuals on the receiving end of those comments when I hear conclusions like:

  • I’m probably just not smart enough.
  • Maybe they’re right, maybe I don’t care enough.
  • Don’t enable me – I self-sabotage

and saddest of all,

  • I guess I’m just a bad kid.
IF YOU ARE . . .

Reading Through these articles for YourSelf

If you are a member of Team ADD, the more you learn about how your particular Challenges Profile affects your LIFE,  the more you will have very clear examples of what works for YOU, and what doesn’t.

You will be on your way to collecting some evidence of success to bolster your belief in your own abilities.

Reading to Help Others

Those of you who are hoping to help someone else – a loved one or a client – will be able to understand better:

  • why your client “lies” about the check that’s in the mail,
  • why your husband’s attention wanders whenever you try to talk about the most important issues in your lives together,
  • why your wife procrastinates, and
  • what’s going on when people you care about fritter their lives away on activities that are unimportant while urgent matters fall through the cracks.

They can no more will themselves to cognitive focus than a near-sighted child could will herself to “try harder” to be able to bring the blurry words of a book into visual focus.

Ongoing accomplishment is possible, but not through an exercise of will demonstrated by forcing.

IN FACT, trying to MAKE them do it through efforting will backfire!  

  • Oh, maybe not every single solitary time — some days their functional temperature will be higher, so they will be ABLE to do what seems so important to you (because they really don’t like to displease you time and time again).
  • But I will promise you a YEAR’s free coaching that your Beloveds are doing it in spite of what you think you are inspiring them to do, NOT because of it.

Individual differences mandate different approaches
mentally as well as physically.

If we expect to be winners in this game called life, we have to understand our cognitive strengths and limitations as well as our those of our physical apparatus

  • Athletes must understand the strengths and limitations of their bodies to be successful.
  • We all must understand the strengths and limitations of our individual brain wiring to be able to motivate, initiate, and stay on task to completion.

Never Push a Rope

Continuing to attempt the same thing in the same way, expecting a different result, is like pushing a rope – lots of side-to-side movement but no gain in forward momentum.

Understanding your very own executive functioning abilities and challenges increases your ability to predict yourself reliably – so you will know in advance when it is important to change how you attempt to do any of the various activities that make up your life.

Understanding the elements of your Challenges Profile™, the working diagram of the core elements of how you operate, will shine a light that will allow you to avoid “the holes in your road” because you will finally be able to see them BEFORE you hit bottom.

LinkList to all of the Optimal Functioning (Challenges) Series of articles

© 2013, all rights reserved
Check bottom of Home/New to find out the “sharing rules”

The above text is excerpted from Rewrite your Owners Manual,™ the third of the twelve eBooks
in the upcoming Optimal Functioning eBook Series™
2000, 2006, 2011 Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, ALL rights reserved

AS ALWAYS, if you want notification of new articles in the Challenges Series – or any new posts on this blog – give your email address to the nice form on the top of the skinny column to the right. (You only have to do this once, so if you’ve already asked for notification about a prior series, you’re covered for this one too).  STRICT No Spam Policy

IN ANY CASE, DO stay tuned.
There’s a lot to know, a lot here already, and a lot more to come
Get it here while it’s still free for the taking.

Want to work directly with me? If you’d like some one-on-one (couples or group) coaching help with anything that came up while you were reading any of the articles of this Series, click HERE for Brain-based Coaching with mgh, with a contact form at its end, or click the E-me link on the menubar at the top of every page. Fill out the form, submit, and an email SOS is on its way to me; we’ll schedule a call to talk about what you need. I’ll get back to you ASAP (accent on the “P”ossible!)

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About Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, MCC, SCAC
Award-winning ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching field co-founder; [life] Coaching pioneer -- Neurodiversity Advocate, Coach, Mentor & Poster Girl -- Multi-Certified -- 25 years working with EFD [Executive Functioning disorders] and struggles in hundreds of people from all walks of life. I developed and delivered the world's first ADD-specific coach training curriculum: multi-year, brain-based, and ICF Certification tracked. In addition to my expertise in ADD/EF Systems Development Coaching, I am known for training and mentoring globally well-informed ADD Coach LEADERS with the vision to innovate, many of the most visible, knowledgeable and successful ADD Coaches in the field today (several of whom now deliver highly visible ADD coach trainings themselves). For almost a decade, I personally sponsored and facilitated seven monthly, virtual and global, no-charge support and information groups The ADD Hours™ - including The ADD Expert Speakers Series, hosting well-known ADD Professionals who were generous with their information and expertise, joining me in my belief that "It takes a village to educate a world." I am committed to being a thorn in the side of ADD-ignorance in service of changing the way neurodiversity is thought about and treated - seeing "a world that works for everyone" in my lifetime. Get in touch when you're ready to have a life that works BECAUSE of who you are, building on strengths to step off that frustrating treadmill "when 'wanting to' just doesn't get it DONE!"

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