When You’re Not Fond of Worms (and don’t eat frogs)

When your day starts slowly
and other tales of functional differences

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

Hey, Early Birds!
You can have MY worms
(never much cared for them myself)

What’s so sacred about MORNING?

I’ve never been able to make friends with the neurotypical glorification of black and white thinking. 

Their gurus seem to believe that there is some secret magic WAY to do things that will bring everybody success, happiness and all of life’s goodies — tied up in a pretty little package topped by a lovely little bow.

Many people actually pay good money
to find out what it is.

Then they write books about it, and blog about it, and do TeleClasses about it — repackaging to pass it on: Early Birds get all the good worms. Make sure to Eat your Frog before Breakfast.

SORRY – no such “WAY”

It’s easy to conclude that they’re on to something, those gurus and their disciples. After all, many of them have lives that look highly successful.

How nice of them to entertain us with such a lovely fantasy: if we do what they did, we’ll have what they have.

The gurus only seem to have the secret.

What the followers of those particular gurus are actually paying for to take those seminars is a blueprint of the way those gurus need to do things.

  • It might well have worked for them.
  • It might even work for YOU.
  • But then it again, it probably might not.

YOU are not them.  If what they suggests fits with your functional profile, congratulations — assuming, of course you can stay the course.

pretzelPerson2Turning yourself into a pretzel, however, attempting to do things THEIR way, is the recipe for a dish even less appealing than those worms and frogs they seem to be so eager to suggest as necessary items on the pathway to productivity and success.

If you want to find out what will work for YOU,
you have to take a careful look at how YOU work,
and tweak from there.

Unfortunately, there are quite a few things to understand about functioning before you can figure out why (and where) you operate differently in areas where many others seem to function well.  We ALL have to do that, by the way.

  • That looking takes a great deal more time than most of us are prepared to give it.
  • So most of us struggle on until we find ourselves at the bottom of our own metaphorical wells, wondering what we did “wrong.”

I’ve been working on it myself, practically full-time for thirty-five years now, and I still run into roadblocks I must stop to Sherlock.  Yet I believe I have discovered the real secret to success, and I’m not going to charge you a ton of money for it.  Not even one red cent.

Are you ready for the REAL secret way?

Be sure to check out the sidebar for how links work on this site, they’re subtle ==>

*THE* Secret to SUCCESS

Here’s the biggest “secret” I’ve discovered: functioning is a moving target, and what we need to do for productivity and success is directly tied to our own unique functional profile.

Prime functioning is a factor of the combination of a great many things, each of which can change suddenly and all of which change as we go through life.

No two of us have exactly the same functional profile – not even among those who consider themselves neurotypical.  We each have our own individual playbook – our Owner’s Manual, I like to call it.

click image for source

click image for source

Your very own Owner’s Manual

I’m about to give you a sneak preview of one of the books in my upcoming ADD Lens™ collection.

This series of books has been written to explain how to work with each of the Challenges identified in an assessment instrument I designed very early in my career – The Challenges Inventory™.


Throw out the Old Manual

I remind my clients that all human beings come with an Owner’s Manual. We’re born with it. However, in the rush of birth it often gets tossed aside and misplaced.

Parents, doctors and nurses have their focus on the immediate well-being of a tiny newborn.  They usually scramble to locate that darned manual just before the bassinette is wheeled away to the nursery. Somebody grabs the first manual they find and snuggles it next to some brand new little baby.

You have been trying to live by the manual snuggled next to you in your bassinette ever since – despite wildly varying degrees of success and failure.

I hate to be the one to break the bad news, but you simply have to know the truth.

It’s the wrong manual.

I’m so sorry that nobody discovered that earlier, when it might have been possible to locate the right one. Now its gone forever, attached to the life of some other poor soul who’s been trying to live his or her life by the wrong manual too.

So throw that manual in the garbage where it BELONGS!

If you want to know how you work, you’ve got to take a look at how you work. That’s what this book, and each and every book in the ADD Lens Series™ is about – looking at your life in a way that will give you the information you will need to write a new manual.

To be able to DO that, we are going to have to Sherlock your functioning the same way that Sherlock Holmes looks for clues to a crime – with no pre-drawn conclusions.

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, from the upcoming Rewrite Your Owner’s Manual

Sherlocking your Functioning

© PhillipMartin.info

© Phillip Martin – artist/educator

Becoming aware of who you are

One of the reasons a good differential diagnosis includes a history is that looking at the trajectory of your life – the plot so far – helps differentiate between a number of conditions with similar symptoms

Since many of us here in Alphabet City have little to no reliable memory of what happened last week, let alone the events of our childhood, data is frequently collected from family, teachers and spouses as well. 

We do seem to do our best work in community – ALL of us.

Collecting information is also a useful technique to help us “diagnose” our particular functional flavor.

Let’s start from the very beginning – from the moment you open your eyes.  How alert are you?  Forget what you’ve always been told you should be able to do upon awakening.  How difficult is it for you to actually do it?  How long does it take before you feel like your brain is on board and engaged?

There are a few “extreme larks” who wake up chirpy, but most of us fuff about for at least thirty minutes or so, feeling ourselves become increasingly alert as we go about our normal activities – making our beds, brushing our teeth, getting dressed for the day, eating our breakfasts – clearing the cobwebs.

And THEN there are the rest of us – the morning zombies We fight brain-fog for much longer than the others.  It’s not your imagination – it’s not just you – and the reason those morning people make it look so easy is because, for them, it IS easy.  For you and me it’s swamp-jogging.


click image for source

Why do we have to be so
black and white about it?

Why do we all have to do everything according to “majority rules” precepts?

The dawning of the morning is the time for larks. They begin to fade with the light.

What happens the longer we owls are awake?

  • As they begin to fade, we begin to come alive.
  • We’re at our cognitive prime at the end of the day,
    when they are essentially as “worthless” as we are in the morning.
  • If WE ran the world and bludgeoned an eye for an eye, I wonder what they’d be blogging about?
  • HOWEVER, if we could work together, leveraging each of our strengths, we could have the whole day covered!  Prime cognition staffing our world 24/7.  Competition and turf-building are simply HABITS Habits can be changed.

So HERE’s a radical idea

  • Why don’t we stop making ourselves wrong for being different?
  • Why don’t we stop making each other wrong for being different?
  • Why don’t we ALL stop trying to compensate and celebrate what each of us does well?

Why don’t we stop spending so much of our time and energy attempting to change others and much of the rest of it struggling to bring our areas of inadequacy to adequate – not simply to make friends with the time of day that our functioning is best, but across the board.

Why don’t we spend ALL of that time and energy Sherlocking our functioning to discover what we are uniquely suited to do and developing that to EXCELLENCE?  And why don’t we ALL take advantage of each of our areas of brilliance by working together?

AFTER ALL, nobody’s good at everything.

“In a cooperative situation the goals are so linked that everybody ‘sinks or swims’ together, while in the competitive situation if one swims, the other must sink.”
~ Morton Deutsch, The Resolution of Conflict: Constructive and Destructive Processes

Well, like I said – it’s a radical idea.  But if we worked together we could make it happen.

It takes a village to transform a world.
I’m up for the challenge.  Anybody else?

What kind of world do YOU want?

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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!"

6 Responses to When You’re Not Fond of Worms (and don’t eat frogs)

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  5. janetkwest says:

    Reminds me of “who moved my cheese” from years ago. Functioning and success are not located in a drawer. I have good weeks and bad weeks. Here’s to hoping your’s is better than mine!!


    • No such luck. SOME good things, but mostly not. Still quite challenged attempting to recover from this year’s hatefulness without dropping any new balls.

      Activation to keep ON keeping on to organize this new apartment is a real struggle. My to-do list goes on for PAGES (all either urgent or important).

      Pinterest has become my new nemesis. Hyperfocus, anyone?

      xx, mgh


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