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.

And so I DO!

Bday CakeAS I DISCLOSED in a prior article entitled Happy Birthday Lessons, because my birthday slid onto the Griffith family calendar at a VERY busy period at the end of the year, for every year since I left my parents home at 18 years of age I have made it up to the little girl I once was — for “understanding.”

I make a VERY big deal out of November 29th.

I promised that little girl that when she and I grew up, we would CELEBRATE like it was the most important birthday on the planet. I would let her have whatever her little heart desired for each and every birthday, happily ever after.

What she wanted Freud would have a field day with this – was exactly what her Mother wanted most but never got: A “Not-it!” Day.  And so that is what I give us every year.

I don’t expect myself to be responsible for a single solitary thing from the moment the clock strikes midnight on November 28th until whatever time I finally fade into oblivion the following night — or morning after, as it generally turns out to be.

I don’t allow anyone else to expect me to be accountable either.

I give myself one day of total freedom from accountability or expectations of any kind — the gift of allowing myself to do whatever I want to do the moment it occurs to me that I want to do it.

  • One day when I can refuse to be responsible or accountable for one darned thing!
  • My own needs and desires trump everybody else’s for one special day of
    the year – no kidding and no apologies
  • ONE day when the world will have to turn on its axis without my energy behind it


If this idea sounds like heaven to you, too, you probably need to follow me on the aha! trail.

So, for those of you who haven’t read it (or don’t remember it), stop reading the rest of this article until you check out Happy Birthday Lessons

For maximum impact, BEFORE reading below, DO the coaching exercises in that article, even if only in your head.

FINALLY learning how to take turns

ONLY once I had enough time to decompress, was I able to hear how absolutely NUTS my former idea of Self Care was – and IS!


  • ONE measly day a year out of MY OWN LIFE is
    devoted to what I, personally, want to do with it?
  • That’s a BIRTHDAY present?
  • What am I, the universe’s downstairs maid?

Why not one day a MONTH?
Why not one day a WEEK?

Mid-Life Make-overs™

And with that question, I actually began my sabbatical journey — submerging myself in a concept that the coaching field refers to as Extreme Self Care.

There was no escaping the reality of what I had done to myself by my own failure to set boundaries around how I spent my time and energies: I had allowed my LIFE to become a “should.”

  • Oh, it was subtle, the gradual erosion of Self and Self-Care until the lack of balance in my life was practically absolute.
  • The spotlight of the inequity of ONE measly day a year for me and three-hundred and sixty-four for what everybody else wanted or needed from me crystalized the cause of my summer burn-out — in sharp relief so bright I could barely see anything else.
  • I was a YES waiting to happen — until the only person I allowed myself to say NO to was mySelf! Except for one measly day a year.

And so I begin . . . reeling, thinking, sleeping, dreaming, journaling, listening to podcasts and taking copious notes as my subconscious mind mulled.

Recovering from Helper’s Disease

It’s clear to me that I need to figure out how to parse my time
in a manner that is fair to ME as I move forward.

  • What can I do more efficiently?
  • What can I do only a portion of?
  • What must I drop altogether?

Watch this space.

I have an inkling that I’m not the only one with “helper’s disease” out there!

Anybody interested in riding along, reinventing yourSelves as I reinvent my self over the next year?

I have designed a process for myself that I will be turning into a workshop I’ll be calling Mid-Life Make-Overs™.

Let me know if you’d like notification once it’s ready to go.

As always,
if you want notification of new articles or Series in any category on this blog – give your name and email 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 or article, you’re covered for this one too) STRICT No Spam Policy

If you’d like some one-on-one (or group) coaching help with anything that came up while you were reading this article (either for your own life, that of a loved one, or as coaching skills development), click the E-me link <—here (or on the menubar at the top of every page) and I’ll get back to you ASAP (accent on the “P”ossible!)

Related Content right here on

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!"

14 Responses to BACK – and still deciding

  1. Hi Madelyn! I’m ready for the Mid-Life Make Over and many other Make Overs as well! I’m just getting back on board a little at a time, with many distractions! I agree many people out here have “helper’s disease”. Are others expecting it from us or are we expecting it of ourselves?

    I haven’t forgotten about you during the summer, but I forgot about myself!lol I’m looking forward to reading around the web and will touch base with you soon if that’s ok as we did earlier or was that already a year ago?

    I’m so sorry to hear all you and Peggy have gone through this year! So sad! Know I do keep you in thought and prayer, the “invisible me” even when I can’t be found.

    Take care and stay safe,


    • EDIE! You have been much on my mind as I furiously attempt to play catch-up with all left undone during my hiatus – but I haven’t gotten over to say hi on your blog. (We all need vacations from out post-vacation catch-up, huh?)

      Soon is good re: touch-base (but it might be a longer soon than either of us want it to be!!



  2. Pingback: BACK – and still deciding « The Inner Limits

  3. Madelyn,

    I too am delighted you have returned to the keyboard.

    In my experience, sometimes it is about what we DO next. Doing is, of course, how we touch everything here on planet Earth. But also consider the flip side of the coin.

    We can look at the value of the journey as in either arriving at, the rewards of being at the destination, or as in the value we receive in the experience of observing the journey along the way, the traveling itself. In a similar way, it also may be possible to look at the experience of life through the lens of “what to do next?”, like the arriving at the end of the journey, or to look at it through the lens of “being present with the experience of life”, which is not about doing at all.

    The first is targeted action toward finite objectives. As a professional project manager, I can agree there is great value in creating precision in the perspective from which the question is asked, “what do you want to do?”, and more importantly, “why do you think (or feel) you want to do that?”, and “what is behind that desire?”, and “is that the best way to get there?”

    But just as important is knowing that although we often believe that the gratification comes from the doing, it actually comes from inner reflection, the inner experience, the being, just the simple experience of what is present in the moment that the doing is taking place and our awareness of or our experience of our participation in it.

    Sometimes I enjoy just listening to life, observing it, letting it surprise me. Not from a doing place, but from a being place. That’s when I am able to move beyond my ADHD for a while. It is a much needed step off the treadmill for a while.

    ADHD Coach, PMP, Software Engineer, Success Coach, Business Coach, Couples Coach, BeyondADHD.,com


    • GREAT comment, Steve – being still and observing, especially as you describe it above, as a technique to move “beyond ADHD” is a great way to explain your focus for your company! Peggy and I are so PROUD of you — and of all our recent grads. (not that we are not proud of ALL our grads, but most do not stay in touch so we can only wish them well in abstraction).

      Please read my responses to Kim and Annie below – an explanation of the l-o-n-g crazy mishmash article that auto-posted via some fluke in the universe (now replaced above with the one that was SUPPOSED to get published), AND my comment in answer to Annie – about the next ASCT group.

      Could use your help getting the word out that Peggy is making appointments for “fit” interviews.

      I will be posting more details here as time goes on, we come to a few more decisions, and I have time to create and format content without unbalancing my own life. We will be reaching out to ALL ASCT grads with a request to help us fill this class to capacity while we take time to develop an ASCT-specific website.

      I can count on YOU, right?


      • Absolutely. I would like to see one place for your grads, from all of the classes you, Peggy, and Kate taught.

        I still maintain an early class mailing list I started in 2001 when I was graduating with my Masters degree. I have been doing this a while and started several like the ACO mailing list. I also run 2 other lists. There are other newer tools available for WordPress today. I now have 4 WordPress sites I am managing. All of them are small.

        We can take this discussion off line. But I may be able to help with the technology.

        Very warm regards,


        • GOD BLESS – off-line by phone?


          • Madelyn,

            I must have missed your reply, sorry.

            Anyway it works for you.

            Google+, by phone, email, Skype, Twitter (not big enough messages to do much good in this case), carrier pigeon (but my dogs would bark at them when they arrived), smoke signals (but I think we are too far apart for me to see them), telepathy (not so accurate yet, at least on my side), message in a bottle (probably not efficient or quick), sent by sea creature (hmmm – oh yeah, you aren’t near the ocean, that’s just me), sattelite? (I don’t have access), …

            ADHD can be creative but how about we stick with one of the first few.

            As a fellow student…

            You have my phone #.
            Google+ search for:
            Skype: Strategies2Succeed

            Steve Kohlenberger,
            Success Coach to those in the Engineering Professions and Creative Enterprises.

            Remember, in America, if you have ADHD, you are have a 30% chance of becoming an entrepreneur. My job is to help you be successful finding the right strategies for you.

            P.S. Psychologists have shown the best way to create inner happiness is through gratitude. It needs to remain part of the class. It is essential for both coach and client to help shift from the natural dragging down that comes from coping with AD/HD.


            • Creative, yes – but how much time do we throw down life’s black holes creating ALL the different ways to approach a project vs. “just” DOING the darned thing?

              RE: gratitude – yep – one of the best and simplest reframes available and an instant mood elevator, leaving us in a place of hope that the stuff we attempt will LAND!


  4. Hi, Madelyn. It’s nice to know that others struggle with these identity crises! I have struggled for most of my adult life in trying to figure this out. I like your idea of retreating from the world for awhile so that you can even try and contemplate these questions! I actually am surprised that you wonder what your calling is, when you have made such a big impact on the ADD area. Maybe your idea about changing the who/where will help you get closer to your ideal work.


    • Second response to your comment follows, Kim – this one was simply an explanation and thank you to you guys for commenting positively to an article that was a hot mess!
      Thanks, Kim (& Steve & Annie) – for reading & commenting on this *ODD* hybrid article practically the moment it was published. Too bad it wasn’t ready to go first ::grin::

      What happened here was an ADD oops – either mine, WordPress’s or the universe’s. (if you’re reading this comment, I’ve fixed it & the article above it is what was supposed to go “live!”)

      Somehow, the wrong “draft” auto-posted at the wrong time, before I had a chance to get back to my computer, double check the blogs in the queue, and locate the I’m Back article I’d been working on in dribs and drabs during my hiatus. I needed to make sure it was ready for its close-up before I set it “live” manually.

      Bummer – it was half one article and half of yet another – how I jumpstart articles in series to save me about a half an hour on each post, so that I don’t have to take the time to re-input & html code to format the content that remains the same or similar (headers, the ending instructions, categories & tags). THEN I delete the old stuff as I write the new.

      Generally I do NOT have multiple drafts, I edit in place, but WordPress was NOT cooperating!!! AGAIN. This time it was not “saving” all the edits (or overwriting them with their “autosave” feature before *I* could save them), and the process of recovering my older versions overwrites and loses all newer content.

      I was NOT in the mood to rain on my own parade as I dealt with whatever they were doing to create the mess to begin with – so I copied the html and began anew with a new version title ## each time it happened, but NOT queuing for auto-post. Oops! THAT’s probably how the wrong “number” posted. I must have missed something or clicked the wrong box.

      So the first thing I did on my return at 10:30pm 9/16 was to mark the content PRIVATE so that nobody else would wonder if I’d lost my mind, until I had a chance to put a few (physical) things away, sit down at the computer to re-edit and compile this baby, and return it to it’s rightful place in the blogroll.

      Aye me! One of the BIGTIME tolerations of my life is WordPress blogging admin – you have no IDEA how much unbillable time is thrown under THAT bus that is a TOTAL and unnecessary waste of anybody’s time that could be avoided with a bit of attention to testing and notification on their part — dealing with this nonsense is one of the MANY niggling items I KNOW I do NOT want to do, going forward!

      Thus, my dilemma re: HOW to move forward — most cental is how I release/create the time to research and implement a better solution without undermining my resolve to limit my “working” hours to 40 so I have TIME to focus on my own life and future as I enjoy today.

      Hope you’ll come back (or DID) to see what I MEANT for it to say!!



    • EVERYBODY reaches a point where they wonder about their own purpose on the planet in a manner that most of the world considers “an identity crises,” Kim.

      Only those of us who live truly examined lives contemplate the question most of our adult lives. You and I are members of CCCC: the Conscious Co-Creation Club!

      I highly recommend taking a protracted period of time to percolate what’s next. In the past few months, in addition to concentrated and ongoing attempts to support Peggy through her grief as best I could, and some time for personal R&R (a LOT of sleep!), I have reframed my entire [non-show biz] life for at least the second time.

      The first was during the 12 weeks I worked with Thomas Leonard on his truly brilliant Personal Foundation. My life was LITERALLY an entirely different life at the end of three short months – primarily because I downsized ALL else to prioritize time to do the work!

      In the next year I will be “painting” the work of art that will fill my new frame. Hope you will join me in some fashion.



  5. annieller says:

    Welcome back Madelyn!


    • Thanks, Annie. “What I did on my summer vacation” would make a doozy of an essay if I were in school — on an inner trip as long overdue as some of the outer trips I intend to take! Hope to hear more from you soon.

      Btw – Peggy is not exactly *ready* to resume, but we ARE going to begin filling the next class of ASCT – which will begin on Wednesday, January 22, 2014. She IS finally in a place to discuss the changes we intend to make going forward, beginning with this NEXT group.

      Until we have the time and focus to come to a happy agreement on ALL details, all we can say presently is that we are accepting interviews, that the thrust and core of the curriculum will remain essentially the same — and that all prior grads will be audit-eligible at no fee, as promised.

      I know you were eager to do so before the $%!^ hit the fan, so I hope to see you there. I miss your energy.



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