Life Success on YOUR Terms

You DON’T have to
Do  it their way
How does that change The Name of the Game for YOU???

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

Success Stoppers

It’s difficult for motivational coaches used to midwifing the success of client after client to believe that what works for so many doesn’t necessarily work for EVERYONE.

In particular, more than a few Success Gurus approach the subject of productivity and goal fulfillment from a paradigm that I believe does not work very well at all for citizens of Alphabet City.  In fact, it shuts many of us down.

These “experts” certainly don’t mean to shut anybody down – and many find it difficult to impossible to believe that they do.  Still, they speak in soundbites that encapsulate the cornerstones of their systems.

Get up Early … Give it your ALL … Bite the Bullet … Eat that Frog
Connect with the Pain … Exercise to FOCUS! … Clean out your Desk
Throw out the Clutter …  Accelerate your willingness . . .

They tend to promote techniques in alignment with the claim that increasing a commitment to change, demonstrated by “giving up your resistance” to what they are suggesting, is the single most important step that turns the tide for many of their clients, students and seminar attendees – and that it would work for you too, if you’d only give it a try.

What if you can’t?
– or –
(horror of horrors!)

What if you don’t WANT to? 

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


We are doomed to a life of struggle and poverty unless we can somehow force ourselves to do something that feels like climbing a mountain in cement boots or taking steps out of the way rather than in the direction we want to travel?

Is our reluctance a clear sign of something else – like fear of failure (or success), lack of motivation, or a vision that is insufficiently compelling?

Oh, please!

I have observed – time and time again in my Boomer-Generation life – that the only things insufficiently compelling are all of the “in order to” steps that have now been set in concrete —  attached to the result as if they represented stepping stones along the one and only path to a successful life.

Different strokes for different folks

The connections that make up the networks in our brains determine how are brains operate in a manner similar to how the network of roads in a city determine how various people travel.

How you get to a particular location in your town, for example, depends upon a great many variables: where you are coming from, the amount of gas in your tank,  the time of day, what else you are trying to accomplish on the same trip — even the type of vehicle you are driving and the state of your tires.

My friend Jason recently provided an excellent example, the day after he failed to see one of Cincinnati’s abundant potholes until he drove right over it.  Oops.

He was forced to replace the resulting flat tire with his spare.  He learned the hard way that driving faster than a certain speed was a recipe for disaster until he had four regular tires.

Rushing to get to an appointment the very next day, his spare failed on the interstate. There went his entire morning. He missed his appointment entirely.

Even though the Interstate was the direct route for a great many people, it certainly wasn’t a route primed for success for Jason!

Probability of results – the standard bell curve

What does SCIENCE have to say about it?

With technical advances like functional brain scans, science has discovered more about the brain in the last twenty years than in the previous hundred. And yet they are decades away from understanding the mechanisms of consciousness – how we do what we do.

BellCurveMeanwhile, scientists have undertaken studies that have allowed them to compile aggregates that attempt to explain human beings and their behaviors in a sort-of bell curve fashion — even though they also know that, individually, we are unique.

The one thing they know for sure is that each of us struggle through life’s challenges with brains that work slightly differently – and that some of us are doing very well with brains that are a whole lot more different!

Ironically, scientists have made as many breakthroughs by studying the behavioral and functional exceptions at the tail ends of the bell curve as they have about the so-called “normally” functioning brains that make up the center portion.

The initial question driving the American research in the recently launched Human BRAIN Initiative do NOT center on sameness, in fact, but on differences.

Here’s what Wikipedia has to say by way of introduction to this immense project:

The BRAIN Initiative (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies, also referred to as the Brain Activity Map Project) is a proposed collaborative research initiative announced by the Obama administration on April 2, 2013, with the goal of mapping the activity of every neuron in the human brain.

Based upon the Human Genome Project, the initiative has been projected to cost more than $300 million per year for ten years.

Source: NIH BluePrint

Click to enlarge to read, but please do NOT comment on ANY illustration pages – comment below the articles themselves — Source: NIH BluePrint

Which Means . . .

BRAIN Initiative scientists are asking, essentially, the following questions:

“How do the differences in the wiring and firing of human brains translate to their behaviors, their emotions, their approaches to practical tasks, and the way that they think?”


We don’t have the cognitive bandwidth to process each of the inputs of the of our senses, piece by piece, every single time we need to make a decision or recombine information to learn something new.  So the way in which we approach much of anything at all is determined by what science has decided to call our connectome – the wiring and firing of brain cells that make up our cognitive maps.

And STILL we try to categorize

© Courtesy of Phillip Martin – artist/educator

It’s what our brains have evolved to do – beginning way back when only those who could quickly answer the following question survived to pass their genes along to us.

Do I eat it, or does it eat me?!

As the cerebral cortex evolved – that outer layer, the brain’s conscious thinking portion – there wasn’t a whole lot of room inside our skulls to allow for our brains to get much bigger, or our heads would have to grow so large our necks would snap.

So the “category method” was conserved for its efficient use of resources, which indicates that the brain is a pattern matching machine of sorts.

Similar to the way most of us store items in our silverware drawer (forks with forks, spoons with spoons), our brains store different inputs differently. When it comes time to retrieve information to be able to use it, the brain attempts to sift through the “drawer” where it usually keeps information of that type, rather than its entire “kitchen.”

Categories aren’t Constants

Based on a combination of genes, environment, experience, usage and personal preference, we each categorize according to our unique perceptions of our inputs.

Something as simple as an apple, for example, could be “filed” in any one of a great many categories:

  • Foods, healthy foods, foods I like (or don’t), or even “foods I can’t eat easily, now that I have dentures;”
  • Non-meats, non-protein diet items, fruits, Paleo-diet approved comestibles, fruits I can feed my dog without harming him;
  • Objects that are round, objects that are red, objects of a certain size;
  • and so on.

Thinking logically, given the vast number of connections we must make to explore intellectually (much less accomplish even a very simple task), one person’s cognitive map could not possibly be the same as his neighbor’s — even if we are comparing two so-called neurotypical maps from the fat portion of the bell curve.

Why ELSE would resources as great as $300 million per year for ten years have been dedicated to discovering how we DO what we do?

Also working against the logic of the reality of diversity is our brain’s addiction to certainty: we want to be able to size up our world and our fellow human beings quickly and once and for all!

Beyond the Meyers-Briggs, etc.

Productivity gurus and success coaches continue to invent methods that center on CATEGORIES.

  • They publish and market books, typing matrices, questionnaires or inventories that support their ideas about how humans operate – even though there are most certainly NOT millions of dollars worth of studies to support their ideas
  • And that’s fine.  Helpful, even.  Our brains like categories.

Not quite so helpful is what tends to happen next.

In an effort to be clear and concise, the gurus tend to communicate their “typing” in a manner that almost seems to insist that they are describing universal principles.

We’re encouraged to identify ourselves and our compatriots within one of their identified “types” — promoted to jumpstart understanding and communication, multiply sales, increase work-team or marital success — even to decide how best to educate our children.

The more people who find a particular chunking helpful, the more the ideas proliferate in a manner that seems to insist that there is something wrong with US if we can’t easily locate ourselves in one of them.

Hey – if the shoe doesn’t fit, don’t blame the FOOT!

Styles of Productivity

With apologies for seeming to attack any particular chunking as the article concludes, one of the more popular methods of late centers upon what is called The Four Styles of Productivity.

Carson Tate, founder of Working Simply, a North Carolina-based management consultancy and author of Work Simply: Embracing the Power of Your Personal Productivity Style has gotten quite a bit of press about the simplicity of her particular chunking system.  Less is more, I suppose.

According to Tate, each of us falls into one of four personal productivity styles. We have all four styles within us, she admits, but similar to whether we’re left- or right-handed, we have a strong preference.

Through her experience, reading and research, Tate claims to have identified four styles, each with distinct characteristics by which they can be identified: Prioritizers, Planners, Arrangers and Visualizers.

That method may well be useful as a place to begin – but four?
Really?  Only FOUR?

Come ON!

Doesn’t it seem a tad silly to base something as important as our own success productivity (or the success of our companies) on whether or not we (or they) “do it” in any manner that one or another system indicates is THE way it’s done?

Doesn’t it seem more logical for each of us to be encouraged to figure out how to drive the brain in our individual heads by examining the outputs of the brain in OUR heads – writing our very own User’s Manual to guide our actions and endeavors?

It does to me, in any case.

Throughout my adult life, I know that I have gotten into the most trouble when I doubted my own experience in response to the certainty of someone else promoting something else as the best way to go about this business of life.

Once I figure out what items that I, uniquely, need to have in place to function best, as long as I can set things up to keep those items in my life and use my own unique systems and strategies,  I do VERY well.

I have even been accused of not being able to relate to ADD/EFD because I am obviously not a member of the club.  Me – the ADD Poster Girl!

The extent to which any one or several of the items I need to function best are missing or unavailable is the extend to which I flounder and fail – when others comment that I seem to be little more than a stuttering wonder!

I would like to suggest that might be true for YOU as well.  Get in touch if you’d like to hire me for some coaching help identifying what you, uniquely, need to have on board, and to midwife the process of putting those items into place.

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There’s a lot to know, a lot here already, and a lot more to come – in this Series and in others.
Get it here while it’s still free for the taking.

Want to work directly with me? If you’d like some coaching help with anything that came up while you were reading this Series (one-on-one couples or group), 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!"

10 Responses to Life Success on YOUR Terms

  1. Pingback: Slow-cooking CHANGE | ADD . . . and-so-much-more

  2. Hi Madelyn
    I really love the way You write. Lyrical, funny, too, inteligent, informative, critical.

    And I can totally refer to the non comment habits. I have traffic on my 2 Blogs many and many are especially reading 1 or two articles. But no likes, no comments. That can really be frustrating. Especially as it takes a lot of time and effort to write good articles, like yours. But I am sure it does make a difference even if there are no comments.
    I do hope you keep on posting whenever you feel like it. 🙂

    I was trying to find your Ebook Rewrite…Manual and it links me to a page error? Is it still there to read?

    And it is so wonderful that you put links to related articles but I for ex. didn’t get a notice when this happened with your link. Found it by accident. WordPress has become really aannoying with these changes….

    Good luck with everything you do..I will stay tuned!


    • WOW – you just made MY day! Thank you so much.

      lol re: WordPress “becoming” annoying. They do just enough right that I keep procrastinating moving off their platform, but their continuous “improvement” beep-beep-boop updates seem to make it take longer to publish every single time, and increasingly difficult to justify staying! (I doubt that MOST of them write — and maybe fewer read? There are TONS of complaints, but it doesn’t seem to make a difference in what they do)

      RE: Lack of follows/comments, etc.:
      I have come to believe that not remembering (or taking the time – or bothering – whatever) to click “like” to say thanks or give feedback in a comment is a “symptom” of the ADD niche. I really try my best not to personalize, but I get SO discouraged when I see tons of interaction on Mom Blogs, Decorating Blogs, etc. and frequently feel like I’m sending messages in bottles over here. I go on faith that what I share is helping – but I’d sure be happier with evidence (like yours – thank you VERY much!).

      It’s especially daunting when I can see by the timing and content of some of the writing of my COLLEAGUES (and former students) that they are reading what I write, yet they don’t even bother to feedback most of the time – and rarely give props with attribution, EVEN when I link to their blogs. (Sometimes it hurts my feeling to the extent that I cry, I’m not ashamed to admit – and other times it simply makes me furious – BOTH of which could be totally avoided by a click of the mouse button and an attribution footnote!).

      RE: eBook links – my own coach has suggested I remove them ALL and reformat/republish ::groan:: in a manner I can monetize to get just a bit of cash for at least SOME of what I do over here (I know YOU know how much time we spend publishing content – not even counting the time we spend staying up to date on our topics — ALL non-billable currently).

      Mea Culpa that any links remain to 404 – I have been editing to remove them as time permits – but the bulk of my time is now spend moving forward, not looking back.

      Again, thanks again for your comment. I’ll return the favor ‘ere long. Life got harried recently, so I’m scrambling.


      • Dear Madelyn
        You are very welcome! ❤
        And I am also a bit proud of myself to finally write a comment. As I am very bad with that. And I see, what wonderful connection and communication opens up.:-)

        In an ADD-Forum there was a discussion if people actually comment, cuz it was always the same ones who commented. and many many replied: No… I would like to…but then…forget…whatever…too complicated writing…mind is faster then writing… and so on..So a Yes definitely for the ADD thing!!!

        I also thought about writing a blog more on plus size fashion and DIY clothing—-but that would be my 3rd blog! but maybe one that would drag more comments?

        Another thing has maybe to do with age? Though mom blogs aren't sooo young people reading, really… And as I said my other blog that is about herbal medicine and in german and about making your own herbal medicine—hasn't much comments either- but A LOT of traffic. Maybe not an ADD-thing then?

        Sometimes it is good to remind others. Maybe You wanna ask your collegues who read and refer to your articles to please give you at least a like or a reference in their articles? I know, I am quite proud to do this myself, but sometimes a reminder personally and not generally can help.

        I myself will try to remember to at least click a "like" when I like something, not only reading, if I don't find the time for a comment.

        I totally agree that you should sell your ebooks. Of course it is good to give away free content, too, but your articles are already so informative- so get some money for your ebooks! :-))

        I wish You all the best and good strength and luck with ongoing projects and life.


        • I agree that a Plus-size blog would find an audience in an under-served market (who would probably be grateful, but still might not comment). Maybe a good start would be curating the topic on Pinterest to determine interest, THEN to start the new blog?

          Still, I’m wondering what it would do to your life balance. I only have ONE blog currently (tho’ a ton of Pinterest Boards, ’cause they take much less time) — but I still spend waaay too much time sitting in front of a computer screen for waaaay too little ROI in terms of my values and goals. My choice has been to scale back.

          From the “universe is perfect” standpoint, maybe it’s a good thing that comments and attribution are lacking. Otherwise I might be tempted to spend MORE time online when I need to be getting out in the actual world interacting with “people with bodies” (lol – my nickname for NON-virtual relationships).

          Good luck to you with whatever you decide to do with YOUR precious life. Thanks again for spending moments of it over here – and for taking the time to comment.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Our Brains, Crock Pots™ and Microwaves | ADD . . . and-so-much-more

  4. wendy says:

    I have been lagging lately. I have had this page open for so long now…reading just a little at a time…yes I’ve been that slow. Have you missed me? I’m still a bit out of it, and may be for a while yet, so forgive me for not being around much.

    I’ve never understood why everyone thinks that people are supposed to fit nicely in these little nooks they come up for us. If we don’t fit in the “normal” perimeters then something is really wrong!!

    People are different….unique. That’s just the way it is.


    • Of course I’ve missed you – but then, I’ve missed everyone! I haven’t been spending NEARLY as much time on WordPress for the past few months myself. Hardly any, comparatively.

      As I have been warning for over a year, and finally languaged clearly on January 21 at the end of Our Brains, Crock Pots™ and Microwaves:

      “NOTICE: Beginning next week, I will be turning more of my attention to endeavors with a greater ROI (return on investment), so the number of articles posted per month will decrease substantially.”

      I have finally been forced to conclude, Wendy, that I just simply can’t justify the time giving away what I could be selling when folks don’t even help me get the word out, and very few comment – especially given the fact that the events of 2014 decimated my savings. It breaks my heart to come to this conclusion, but really, if I can’t see evidence that what I do here is making a difference, really there is NO point to continuing to do it.

      As I said in the article linked above, I’ll jump on from time to time to visit people like you, but I have finally been forced to conclude that I have been fooling myself and wasting my time. Details at the bottom of the article linked above, right under “Leave me feedback, I keep sharing – that’s pretty simple too!”

      YOU, Wendy, have been one who has kept me going for as the last year – so thank you SO much for your ongoing support and expressions of love.

      Liked by 1 person

      • wendy says:

        I do understand you frustration. I have it often….but my blog is more of a diary, that I hope helps some people just not feel alone….yours in a resource. I hope you can keep it up a little. Don’t put so much of you in it…but don’t close it up….there is so much on there that people can use.
        I would think professionals who work with people with ADD could use your expertise so much.

        If there is something you want to write on my blog….I’m open for a guest post. I don’t have a lot of readers any more.
        I do have quite a few who read about bipolar. Not that I want my blog to be just about that. I want it to be more about dealing with chronic illnesses in general. Any chronic illness can strip so much from your life.
        ……think about it.

        I do hope you thrive in whatever you decide to pursue.
        I will miss you terribly if you leave.
        come by and see me, you know I haven’t been posting much either….not even once a week lately.
        wendy xoxo


        • Wendy, you have always been a dear. I may take you up on your offer. Chronic illness – physical or mental – makes life so difficult (and so much more so when you have both). Let’s hope Goethe was right when he said, “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”

          As to my decision that I’ve been wasting my time – my life, actually – it’s more than frustration. Lack of traffic on my blog is merely a symptom of my more than bitter disappointment with the entire mental health field, coaches included. I do plan to write here occasionally, but it’s way past time for me to spend the majority of the minutes of my life on the remainder of my own life.

          I’ll stay in touch with YOU for sure!
          xx, mgh


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