Executive Functions & YOU


Executive Functioning
for Optimal Functioning™
What’s involved and what can go wrong?

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
another part of the Executive Functioning Series

MORE folks on Team EFD than folks with ADD/ADHD

The executive system is a carefully orchestrated combination of processes that, together, merge and mingle to make us human and to make us, well, us!

These functions continually work together to help us manage hundreds of cognitive and practical tasks of life, day in and day out.

Not only that, they do it in the blink of an eye, and primarily below the level of our conscious awareness. At least, they do it that way when everything is on board and working “normally.”

New here? Read What ARE Executive Functions? for more description & detail.

The area of the brain that makes possible many of the wonderful cognitive abilities differentiating humans from the rest of the mammals is the frontal third of the outer layer of the human brain, referred to as the pre-frontal cortex [PFC], right behind the forehead:

  • the last part of our brains to evolve,
  • the last part of our brains to develop in the womb,
  • and the last part of our brains to mature as we grow up

And it’s fragile

The PFC is especially vulnerable to damage — both before and after birth.

The living brain is soft, floating around inside a fluid filled environment keeping it from bumping up against the inside of a hard skull that, in turn, is protecting the fragile brain itself.

Your PFC can be injured very easily bumping up against that bony skull, even when no direct hit to the head was involved in the original incident.

Anything that makes the brain “slosh around” in the fluid in a manner that causes it to come in contact with the skull results in at least minor brain damage, and the PFC is often involved.

Read: How Do Brains Get Damaged?  Is YOURS?

THAT means that in addition to individuals with disorders, stroke or some type of substance-promoted damage affecting the PFC, anyone who’s been involved in almost any sort of accident is likely to experience brain-based executive functioning challenges of one sort or another.

It also means that most adults have at least a few EF issues, not only individuals with:

  • mood disorders (anxiety & depression included)
  • autistic and attentional spectrum disorders
  • TBI/ABI,
  • Parkinson’s
  • dyslexia & dyscalculia
  • more than a few neurological conditions such as
    sensory integration disorders 

in fact, almost all of what I refer to as the alphabet disorders — as well as, currently, MOST of us over 45, as the memory centers begin to age.

So what does THAT mean?

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How well do you REALLY function?


Soldiering ON with less
than Optimal Functioning™
when we could REALLY have a much easier time of it

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
part of the Executive Functioning Series
May is Mental Health Awareness Month!

Do you suffer from boiling frog syndrome?

You’ve probably already heard the story about cooking frogs by putting them in cold or tepid water, then slowly bringing it to a boil — even though they would have jumped out immediately if they were suddenly thrust into hot water.

Other versions of the story assert that, as long as the temperature increases slowly, the frog is able to adjust its body temperature to remain comfortable — until it ultimately becomes too weak to jump out before it’s cooked.

Just a myth, but apt

According to an interesting article on Wikipedia, neither version is true, but the analogy is perfect: as things slowly but steadily worsen, most of us adjust and accommodate, even when we could find ourselves in much better situations if we’d only react more quickly and reach out for help.

  • In my 25+ year coaching career, only a rare few individuals ever reached out for help or brain-based information until they were practically desperate, and almost all had been leading what I call “limp-along lives” for years.
  • More than a few had been taking pricey vacations or eating lunches in restaurants to get away from the stress of the work environment, or indulging in daily caffeine fixes at several dollars a pop, still convinced that they couldn’t afford coaching fees — until they felt they “had no choice.”

For YEARS it only made sense in the context of Boiling Frog Syndrome.

Even if they were cracker-jack “over-achievers” when they were younger, they contributed their functional and cognitive slow-down to aging
. . .  or the demands of parenthood
. . . or the increasing complexities of modern life
. . . or the rise of social media expectations

. . . or anything other than being flat-out worn down by repeated, unrecognized struggles with Executive Functioning they never understood how to overcome.

So What Goes Wrong?

It’s mentally and physically exhausting to continue to swim upstream.

  • As long as you are swimming with the current you get carried downstream with much less thrashing about on your part.
  • Not only that, when you’re swimming upstream, if you stop stroking for even a minute, your life goes backwards.  Nobody can keep up that kind of effort.
  • Before you realize it you are swimming alone, unhappy that life is so much work, but not really expecting it to be easier because you’ve always had to “work twice as hard for half as much” — or so it seems to you in your most private of thoughts.
  • You begin to believe that everybody struggles in the same fashion, but suspect that the others are somehow better able to cope than you are.

But it doesn’t have to be that way

It recently occurred to me that many people don’t reach out for help, perhaps, because they have forgotten (or have never really known) what effective focus and follow-through look like.

They’re falling victim to “that happens to everybody”
or “this is the best I can expect from myself” thinking
to explain and attempt to accept their various challenges.

Things can get WORSE as time goes by . . .

because each new skill must build on the ones before it.

If you never learned to add or subtract, multiplication and division would remain a mystery.

If you never really mastered basic arithmetic, how could anyone expect you to do well as you moved through school?

Similar to moving from basic arithmetic to higher math, learning how to manage life’s many challenges is also an incremental, multi-stepped process.

So, for the next few Mondays, I am going to detail the problems many of my clients had been putting up with because ““that happens to everybody,” and do my best to explain what’s behind the struggle — in the hopes that I will finally inspire more of you to spend a few months working with me to turn things around before you feel like you are about to crash and burn.

Lets START by taking a look at some of the problems
that are NOT “normal” functioning.
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A Shih Tzu’s take on Brain-based Coaching


April is Counseling Awareness Month!
and I can tell you all about how great coaching works

Guest blogger: TinkerToy

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

People coaches and dog coaches have a lot in common

And so do their clients! We all like treats and fun and attaboys — and we all hate the nasty voice!

Some coaches do that tough-love thing, but Mom doesn’t believe that the nasty voice ever works.  It just makes us too scared to keep trying.  She doesn’t even do the nasty voice when she tells me no.

And we all LOVE it when we can suddenly do something we never could before — it’s just that the things that 4-legses and 2-legses figure out how to do are different.

Mom coaches over the phone and I hang out in her office and listen in. She says the only reason I’m allowed to stay around and eavesdrop is because I can’t tell anybody except other dogs.  They don’t care anyway – they don’t even know these 2-legses.

But I’ve learned a LOT about 2-legs coaching that way, and Mom decided to let me tell you some of her coaching secrets (besides fun and laughing – there’s always a lot of that when she coaches).

FIRST you have to be ready, willing and able

Even the coaches who don’t know the first thing about how the brain works say that, but I don’t know why any coaches put it that way – kinda’ dumb if you ask me. What makes more sense is able first, then ready, and willing last of all!

When I was hardly bigger than my mom’s two fists I wasn’t able to do a lot of things I can do now easy-peasey.

Even once I got a little bigger, my tiny brain was still learning about things like eating crunchy food and running.

It took a while for my brain to be ready before it could even think about being willing to learn to do more – like where it was okay to go to the bathroom, and tricks for treats.

Not that babies are looking for coaching – that would be silly – but when grown up two-legses are sick, or in the middle of something they don’t need help with, or recovering from an operation, they might not be ABLE to add coaching to what they have to manage right then.

My Mom wants me to be sure to add that anybody who’s an active addict will never be able until they are clean and sober for at least a year and working a program. 

She says that first they have to be available for change, with a mind that’s not cloudy or thinking about drugs and stuff.

Next you have to be ready

The time has to be right and you have to make room in your days.

  • I’m never ready when I’m really sleepy, for example, not even to play some of my favorite games.
  • I’m not ready when other dogs are around either.  We all  have to have private time with our coach to be able concentrate on what were up to.
  • And I’m never ever gonna’ to be ready to cut back on my time with my fans at my Cheers bar (where everybody knows my name), even for all the best treats in the world!

Some of my mom’s earliest clients didn’t seem to be ready to make room in their schedules at all — not even for all of their appointments over the phone.

They kept missing them over and over – or calling to say that something had come up, like it was the very first time instead of mostly.

They kept themselves too busy to have time to even think about coaching tricks during the week, or do even the simplest coaching homework – like making a list of their challenges or something – and they weren’t ready to say no to something old  to make room for something new.

They just weren’t ready period, no matter how much they said they wanted their lives to be easier and better.

Poor Mom had to tell them to come back when they were ready. Even when she first started out and really needed the money, she never kept coaching anybody she couldn’t help.

Like CATS, for example – most cats don’t want to be ready.
They practically dare you to try to make a difference with them.

Different Rates

Mom does whatever she can to make coaching affordable for most anybody who really wants it, but she gives me the family discount (meaning free, since I don’t have any way to get money anyhow I barter with kisses).

But sometimes 2-legses haven’t made room in their budgets for their coaching fees – or else they spent the money they set aside on something they suddenly decided they simply had to have.

That meant they couldn’t keep coaching long enough for things to turn around in their lives (even for group coaching, which doesn’t cost as much as coaching with Mom privately).

That’s another way you have to be ready – for about six months for most 2-legses, according to Mom – which sounds long but really isn’t when you consider that your whole life can be more fun after you pick up a few new tricks.

Anyway, you can keep coaching for as long as you want once you know the basic tricks – even years for some of her clients.  There’s always more to learn, and she really helps 2-legses get things done from week to week, so life moves forward easier and faster.

Last but not least you have to be willing

Mom says that mostly means it has to be your own idea.  It won’t work if you’re doing it because somebody else decided it would be good for you, for example – or threatened you into it.  You probably wouldn’t let it work – like those cats.

Dog clients don’t have to worry about the next part, but 2 legses also have to be willing to tell the truth to their coach, even if that means they have to be willing to feel a little embarrassed sometimes (like when I get caught tearing up paper, for example – whenever it tempts me the room is covered in confetti before I can stop myself).

And you have to be willing to keep getting back on the horse – even though I don’t know if you have to actually be able to ride a horse to be able to get a coach.

I don’t think so, but I’m not really sure about that part.  You can ask my mom before you sign up for it, anyway.

The fun starts once you decide you are able, ready and willing!

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Dealing with Distractions


When the mind drifts away
Even when we’re trying hard to concentrate

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from The Challenges Series

This article (and Series) speaks to ANY of us who struggle with staying focused and on-task, by the way.  Distractibility is common with depression, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, and in plain vanilla brains with too much to do and too little time in which to do it all. What do you think is behind procrastination?

More about Distractibility

As I said in the conclusion to an earlier post of this series, Distinguishing Distractibility, most brains screen out persistent stimuli.  That talent is part of the mechanism that ensures the survival of the species.

In order to be alert to something that might be life threatening, the brain automatically decides that ongoing stimuli are merely “background,” no longer important enough to pass along to the conscious mind.

I’ll use the sense of smell to give you an example of what I mean . . . 

Because smells are processed directly by what used to be referred to as the limbic area of the brain (instead of having to go through the thalamus, like the other senses), most ADD/EFD and “vanilla” brains – those without the cognitive mix-ins – usually have the same experience of the way it works.

Lessons from the Kitchen

Have you ever prepared a Thanksgiving meal, or been in the kitchen while one was being prepared?

Think back to those amazing smells. Mmmmmmmmm – heaven!

Yet, if you stay in the kitchen, after a while you stop noticing them.

In fact, when another person comes into the room exclaiming, “Boy, it sure smells great in here!” you can’t really smell those amazing aromas anymore, even if you try.

Because cognitive bandwidth is a limited resource, your brain has “backgrounded” the persistent odors so that you will be available to pay attention to any new ones, possibly needing immediate attention — like the fact that the rolls are burning.

If you leave the room (or the house) for a few minutes then come back into the kitchen, even a short while later, every good smell will hit you like a wave in the ocean. “Wow. It does smell good in here!”

YOU don’t have to think about handling the “backgrounding.”

Your brain does that for you, just as transparently as your brain tells you how to walk down a sidewalk without your having to consciously consider each little step in the process — allowing you sufficient “brain space” to think about something else.

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Learning to Work Around “Spacing Out”


Honey, you’re not listening
ADDvanced Listening & Languaging

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from the Memory & Coaching Skills Series

Spacing out – when attention wanders

We’ve all had times when our mind goes off on a short walk-about as someone seems to go on and on and on.

But that’s not the only arena where attention wanders off on its own.

Have you ever gone into another room only to wonder what you went there to do?

I’ll bet you have little to no awareness of where your attention went during your short trip to the other room, but if you’re like me (or most of my clients and students), you’ve sometimes wondered if doorways are embedded with some kind of Star Trekkian technology that wipes our minds clean on pass-through.

Awareness is a factor of ATTENTION

Has your mate ever said “Honey, I TOLD you I would be home late on Tuesday nights!” — when you honestly couldn’t remember ever hearing it before that very moment, or only dimly remember the conversation for the first time when it comes up again?

Most of the time, when that happens, we are so lost in our own thoughts, we have little to no awareness that we spaced out while someone was speaking to us.

What do you do DO on those occasions where you suddenly realize that you have been hearing but not really listening?

Don’t you tend to attempt to fill in the gaps, silently praying that anything important will be repeated? I know I do.

It is a rare individual who has the guts to say, “I’m so sorry, I got distracted.  Could you repeat every single word you just said?” 

And how likely are you to ask for clarification once you are listening once more?

  • If you’re like most people, you probably assume that the reason you are slow to understand is because you missed the explanatory words during your “brain blip.”
  • If the conversation concludes with, “Call me if you have any problems,” I’ll bet you don’t reply, “With what?!”

That’s what the person with attending deficits or an exceptionally busy brain goes through in almost every single interchange, unless they learn how to attend or the person speaking learns how to talk so people listen.

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Beyond the Limitations of a Post-It Note™ Brain


 

TIME Perception is a factor of Awareness

The more conscious the process,
the longer it seems to take

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Reflections post from the Time & Task Management Series
Part THREE (Part I HEREPart II HERE)

According to Dr. David Eagleman, we humans are more than passive observers where time is concerned. And he should know. The author of Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain, has studied Time perception for well over a decade.

According to his research, we are not merely watching the river of time flow by as if time happened TO us, or we happened IN time. Science is learning that our brains are actively constructing time.

Re-engineering Brain Resources

In Eagleman’s words, It turns out that it has everything to do with novelty, and with how much energy your brain has to expend.

So, when you can predict something, not only does your consciousness not come online, but [the event] feels like it goes by very fast.

In other words, driving to work may seem relatively fast eventually. The first time you had to do it, however, it seemed to take longer because of the novelty, as well as the amount of brain-power you had to burn the first time you did it — before your brain was able to predict much of anything about the trip.

Essentially prediction means that if it’s something you’re doing repeatedly, you’re actually “rewiring” — reconfiguring the circuitry of the brain.

You’re actually moving things into your sub-conscious circuitry, which gives you speed and efficiency, albeit at the cost of conscious access.

So you have to pay a lot of conscious attention if you’re learning to do something new, like playing golf or driving a car.

After a while it’s not necessary, because you’ve changed the circuitry of your brain — no longer at the effect of the conscious awareness of what you’re doing.

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The Wisdom of Compensating for Deficits


Brain-Change vs. Compensation
TIME is of the Essence

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from the Self-Help Series – Part I

Arguing with YouTube

I have been watching a lot of brain-based TED Talks of late – talks from notables like the following:

I added links to those videos above so you can click to watch them too.

Their Advice for Us

Each of them hopes to direct the focus of the world to healing the problem rather than working at the level of symptoms.

That makes A LOT of sense, right?
I LIKE these experts, and applaud their efforts.
I have known about the things they espouse for many years now,
and I think each is a great idea.

HOWEVER, something about each of their talks left me with a sense that something was off, or missing — or that, in the way they came up with their advised solutions, they devalued or overlooked a point of view that was important.

It took me a bit of noodling, but I finally figured out what was bugging me.

Three things:

  1. The advice was presented in an either/or, better/worse, black and white fashion that, in some subtle manner, left me with an uneasy feeling. I was left with an impression that they each believed that their way of working was the best way for ALL individuals to proceed — and that we would be somehow foolish to approach finding a solution to compensate for our challenges instead of “fixing” the root cause.
  2. They seemed oblivious to the reality that, for a great many of us, some of their solutions are absolutely out of reach financially (Do you have any idea how much it costs to get a brain scan for diagnostic purposes, for example?)
  3. They left out the TIME factor altogether – and didn’t quite explain who was going to support us while we set about changing our brains by getting more sleep, changing our diets for optimal brain health and healing, or working through exercises that will improve short term memory (for example).

Few of us can afford to take a year or more OFF while we take advantage of the miracle of neuroplasticity to give our brains a fighting chance at “normalizing.”

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Slow-cooking CHANGE


Metaphors of Mind & Brain Redux
edited excerpt from Our Brains, Crock Pots™ and Microwaves (Jan. 2015)

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

The way in which my brain is rather like a Crock Pot™ frequently comes to mind. I put more than a few things in “slow-cook” mode, figuring that I’ll be better able to handle them later, and that they will still be “digestible” if I forget about them for a while.

By giving ourselves permission to do things our own way on our own timetables, our brain responds with a way to solve problems and work around challenges that works best for us.

I frequently use the term “slow-cook” as a communication short-cut when I coach. It is especially useful when I work with change resistance.

In my many years working with all sorts of individuals I have observed that what trips us up most is a process akin to denial – that just because something works for the rest of the world it darn well should work for us too!

If you want to understand how you work,
you need to pay deliberate attention
to how YOU work! Duh!

Until we begin to observe the unique manner in which we respond and react, we unconsciously defend or attack ourselves from expectations that, somewhere deep inside, we know are unrealistic, given our particular flavor of whatever is going on with us.

That way lies madness!

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

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Downloadable ADD-ADHD/EFD Coachablity Index™


ABOUT ADD/EFD Coachability

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

In early 1994, to better suit the needs and reflect the brain-based realities of individuals with Attention Deficit Disorders, Madelyn Griffith-Haynie requested and received permission from Thomas J. Leonard to adapt the Coachability Index© that he developed for Coach-U.

The language of The ADDCoach Coachability Index™ reflects the impact of the challenges of Executive Functioning Disorders on learning and accomplishment: brain-based struggles with short-term memory deficits, focus & decision-making, planning & follow-through, sequencing & prioritizing; activation & motivation, mood lability, time-sense & transition-facility chief among them.

© Don’t forget: Adaptions and/or duplication must credit both parties

How Coachable are YOU?

Although it’s been referred to as “ADD Coaching” since I developed and delivered the world’s first ADD-specific coaching curriculum several decades ago, it’s much broader in scope.

This is a particular type of brain-based coaching that works best for anyone dealing with Executive Functioning challenges and attentional difficulties: TBI, ABI, EFD, PTSD, OCD, ODD, SPD, ASD, PDA, PDD, MDD, MS, APD, and MORE.

While the magic of ADD/EFD Coaching is a product of the coaching relationship and it’s ability to compensate for unreliable executive functioning, it only works if and when clients are ready, willing and able.

Are you READY and WILLING:

  • to take the actions that will be necessary?
  • to make the changes that will be necessary?
  • to step, with power and ownership, into the life you were destined to live?

Heck yeah! Seriously, who says no to that?
Certainly not those of us who are struggling!
We’re always ready (for that last one, anyway)

It’s that “able” part that’s the kicker!

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Our Brains, Crock Pots™ and Microwaves


Metaphors of Mind & Brain

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

In our attempt to understand ourselves and our environment, we often end up talking about the brain — “that three pound lump of jelly you can hold in the palm of your hand” [~V.S. Ramachandran]

Even though science has learned to quantify a great many of the elements of the brain, most of us still search for metaphors and analogies as we attempt to describe our understanding and our experiences.

In my own mind, the way in which my brain is like either a microwave or a Crock Pot™ pops up frequently – and I use the terms as communication “short-cuts” in my coaching.

Microwaves

Most ADDers love microwaves — you know, “the ‘nuker.”  The rest seem to have a love/hate relationship with them.

“Want hot coffee now!” is a powerful incentive to consider the ‘nuker a necessity in my own life, in any case.

Microwaves work with ADD Brain Wiring.  

Crock Pots™

The concept of a Crock Pot™ is greeted less enthusiastically by almost everyone in the EFD crowd, ADD or not!

“Spend energy now, then wait 6 hours for food?
What moron dreamed THAT up?”

However, there are some dandy little benefits to a slow-cooker.

It is the ultimate procrastination permission-slip, for one thing.  It seems to me that I can forget about one of those things for days and still eat the meal whenever I remember that it’s waiting for me. (Just kidding – don’t try this at home!)

Click for Source: memoriesofatime.com

I use my brain that way some times

I put some things in “slow-cook” mode, figuring that I’ll be better able to handle them later, and that they will still be “digestible” if I forget about them for a while.

By giving myself permission to do things my way on my timetable, my brain responds with a way to solve the issue that works for me.

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

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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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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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ABOUT Distinctions & Definitions


Defining our Terms
Learning when and why they’re useful

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

Introducing the Distinctions & Definitions Series

click image for source - in a new window/tab

click image for source – in a new window/tab

Through the years I’ve become known for my love affair with words and, to my clients and students, for my facility with definitions and distinctions.  I truly love the specificity of the English language — and I like to share.

ADDandSoMuchMore.com regulars have probably noticed that more than a few of my articles offer, in addition to the content of the articles themselves, a definition of a term or two that I’m not sure all of you will find familiar.

I also tend to explain terms that I have coined — especially those that have become part of the ADD Coaching lexicon. These include words and terms we coaches use in a manner that is slightly unfamiliar, inviting consciousness to the conversation.

Occasionally I offer a definition of a word or a term I have coined that has not been adopted by the ADD Coaching field in general — those that I use in my writings, or in the coach trainings and other groups and classes that I offer from time to time.

For example:

Alphabet City — Note the slightly lighter color of that term, by the way – more dark grey than the black of the text that follows.  That’s because it is a link, in this case to the article that explains the “Alphabet Disorders” concept.

Unless you choose to focus there, it remains quietly out of the way of your thoughts as you follow mine.

Place your cursor over the link (but don’t click) and watch what happens. 

Did you hover long enough to see a little box pop up with a bit of information about what to expect when you click?

THAT’s how the links work on this site, for those of you who haven’t read the explanation on the skinny sidebar, always there to remind you  ====>

Most links on ADDandSoMuchMore.com open in windows or tabs of their own, so that what you were reading before you clicked awaits your return exactly where you left it. No need to search for some glimmer of recall that might remain frustratingly illusive.

Anyway . . .  some of you may dimly remember seeing, at the top or bottom of a particular definition, something like the text below:

© From my upcoming ADD Coaching Glossary

I’ll bet you’re waiting for my definition of “upcoming”

UNTIL my dominant hand was smashed in a mugging, leaving hand and forearm cast-immobilized and my ability to type or do much of anything at all dead in the water for almost three months, I was on-schedule to announce a publication date.

Life kept dishing it out, and I am now well over TWO YEARS behind on everything.  To maintain what’s left of my sanity I have decided I must push this particular project down on my to-list, postponing publication targets until a few other projects are completed.

So I want to tell you how I’m going to handle sharing definitions and distinctions meanwhile.

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Requests That Get You What You Want


requestSignRequesting-101:
Surprisingly easy to Ace — even easier to flunk

©Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from the Self-Advocacy Series
in support of the Coaching Skills Series

Please Read This Article Now

The heading above is a clear and clean example of a request — there’s nuthin’ fuzzy about it!

  1. It’s short
  2. It asks directly for what it wants
  3. It’s respectful — and includes the magic word
    (“please” – for those of you who didn’t have that kind of upbringing)
  4. And it is clear about the time-frame expectation.

It is truly a request, not a manipulation attempt.

In no way is it:

  • nagging or pleading
  • shaming or complaining
  • explaining or justifying
  • intimidating or threatening

Nor is it gift-wrapped in emotional subtext

There is no:

  • anger
  • frustration
  • disappointment
  • pouting
  • or any other emotional technique most of us tend to pull out when we are hoping to get what we want

As a result, it does not automatically activate emotional reactions like:

  • hurt feelings and defensiveness
  • pleas for exceptions or understanding
  • resistance or opposition
  • angry retorts or the urge to argue

It also makes itself ridiculously easy for the person on the responding end to consider, because it is it clear what’s expected if s/he responds affirmatively.

Responding to a request

There are only three ways a person can respond to a request:

  1. YES – in which case the expectation is that they will do it
  2. NO – we all know the pros and cons of that one
  3. MAYBE/IF – renegotiating the task or the time-frame

What seems to trip people up emotionally is the lack of the realization or acceptance of the First Codicil of Requesting.

Requesting: First Codicil

If any one of the three potential responses
is not an acceptable possibility,
you are making a
DEMANDNOT making a request —
(no matter how sweet your tone of voice)

The rest of this article will continue to expand on the request process — in a lot more words with a lot more examples — and will make a strong link between messing up the request process and all kinds of life struggles and relationship troubles.

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Predict it to Police It, Police it to PLAN it


 

Post-itsOvercoming the
Limitations of the
Post-It Note™ Brain

A Source of Struggles
in Alphabet City

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Part of ADD Coaching Skills Series

Dr. David Eagleman, author of Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain, has studied time perception for over a decade.

According to Eagleman and his lab, we humans are more than passive observers where time is concerned.

We are not merely watching the river of time flow by as if time happened TO us, or we happened IN time.

As with visual illusions and perceptions, science is learning that our brains are actively constructing time.

Re-engineering Brain Resources

In Eagleman’s words, “It turns out that [time perception] has everything to do with novelty, and with how much energy your brain has to expend.

So, when you can predict something, not only does your consciousness not come online, but [the event] feels like it goes [by] very fast.

  • So, driving to work [seems] very fast; but the very first time you did it, it seemed to take a long time because of the novelty, AND
  • the amount of brain-power you had to burn the first time you did it — before you were able to predict it.

Essentially what prediction means, if it’s something you’re doing a lot, you’re actually reconfiguring the circuitry of the brain.

  • You’re actually getting stuff down into [your brain’s sub-conscious] circuitry, which gives you speed and efficiency, but at the cost of conscious access.
  • So, if you’re learning to do something new, like playing tennis or riding a bicycle or something, at first you have to pay a lot of conscious attention
  • After a while you don’t have to, because you’ve changed the circuitry of your brain — but at the cost of being able to consciously know what you’re doing.”

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Brain-based Symptoms Mandate Brain-based Training



ACO Conference Binder 2012 –
Blog expanded Speaker Content

“Too many people don’t care what happens
so long as it doesn’t happen to them.”
~ William Howard Taft

“Always do right; this will gratify some people
and astonish the rest.”
~ Mark Twain

Throwing down the Gauntlet:
a challenge to ADD professionals

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

Brain-based Coaches for Brain-based Symptoms

As we learned in an earlier article in this series, TBI Part I, neuropsychological impairments caused by brain injury may be characterized in terms of three functional systems, foundational in the Challenges of ADD Spectrum dysregulations as well as those of the community of those who have experienced Traumatic Brain Injuries of various sorts.

(1) intellect, which is the information-handling aspect of behavior;
(2) emotionality, which concerns feelings and motivations;  and
(3) control, which has to do with how behavior is expressed.
Source: Neuropsychological Assessment, 3nd  Ed., 1995,  by Muriel D. Lezak

Remember also that, according to the
Brain Wellness and BioFeedback Center of Washington, D.C.
there is substantial overlap in the symptoms that are diagnostic
for both MTBI* and ADD.

“Overlap” commonly includes trouble with some or all of the following: 

  • attention
  • concentration
  • distraction hypersensitivity
  • short-term memory
  • organizing
  • prioritizing
  • impulsiveness
  • multi-tasking

 — and occasionally —

  • impaired social skills, and
  • mood swings

These observations are supported by quantitative data from brain imaging studies with children and adults diagnosed with ADD/ADHD.  Single photon emission computed tomography [SPECT] and positron emission tomography [PET] scan studies show decreased metabolism in many areas of the brain that are involved in various cognitive processes including attentional, inhibitory, and decision making behaviors.

—————————————-
*MTB – “Mild Traumatic Brain Injury,”  a term that has fallen into disfavor because there is nothing mild about it’s cognitive after-effects. Research has shown that even a “mild” case of TBI can result in long-lasting neurological issues that include slowing of cognitive processes, confusion, chronic headache, post traumatic stress disorder and depression.

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Does the Fee FIT? – Part 5


Do you REALLY “get what you pay for?”

© By Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, A.C.T., MCC, SCAC
The final article in the 5-part Coaching Fit Series

Courtesy of Phillip Martin - artist/educator

Courtesy of Phillip Martin – artist/educator

Figuring out the fee

It’s finally time to wrap up the articles about determining coaching “fit.”  I saved the best for last – the question on everybody’s lips.

How much can you expect to pay for ADD Coaching?

Well, that’s a bit like asking how much you might expect to pay for a car.  It depends on what’s available, as well as what you’re looking for.  But I’ll do my best.

As in any other field, fees tend to correlate with the experience of the service provider. Brand new graduates generally charge the least, and the coaches with the most experience generally charge at the top of the range.

Fees also depend on how much time you spend with your coach — once a week, two or three times a month, monthly check-in coaching?  How long is each session? Services will be priced to compensate the coach for his or her time as well as his or her expertise.

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Vision, Mission & Purpose – anchors in an uncertain world


Developing a Personal Vision, Purpose & Mission

© Developing by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CMC, MCC, SCAC
– part of the What Kind of World Series
and the DreamCatcher™ Program

roadmapDesigning a roadmap for your BEing through the development of a personal Vision, Purpose & Mission is a HUGE Game to play with your life.

Human Resource Manager promptings to the contrary, not everyone will reach a point where they are ready to work on their Vision, Mission and Purpose — at least not in a manner where it can fulfill its promise as a transformative insight into Identity that will forever alter the steps of your life.

Creating truly authentic Vision, Purpose & Mission statements that will call your life into being usually takes considerably more time and internal focus than most people are prepared to dedicate.

It is a process more globally encompassing than the work and business objectives that are the focus of most of what you will find discussed on the internet.

It’s a Stretch

It’s not an easy process, and is decidedly not for the faint of heart. If you’re not at least a tiny bit frightened or overwhelmed, you’re probably not playing a big enough Game. Embarking on this process calls for nothing less than stepping up and owning your personal power.

You are entering the domain of pure creation.

It may feel a bit like jumping into the deep end of the pool for the very first time.  It helps to have a kindred spirit in the water, arms outstretched – it’s as tough to do in an isolated pool as it is dangerous to attempt in a shark-infested tank.

I am in the process of creating mySelf anew, and I invite anyone who is up to it to join me here on this blog during the year I have given myself to focus on re-creation.

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Mind, Body, Heart and Spirit


“Extreme” Self-Care Coaching Lab:

Tending the Mind, Body, Heart and Spirit

by Peggy Ramundo, BS, A.C.T., SCAC
Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Speaker’s Content ACO 2013: Part 1

Extreme Self-Care is simple, but not easy
What Is It?
Putting your Self at the TOP of your To-Do List!

What follows is a synthesis of Conference Binder materials and Speaker’s Notes from the Coaching Lab presented during the  ACO Conference in Atlanta: April 2013

Extreme Self-Care

Extreme self-care is the foundation of a fulfilling life. To experience a high quality life, you need a “high quality you.” The only way to BE at your very best is to DO the very best for you — by making the quality of your life your #1 priority.

Extreme self-care means making intentional decisions about what you want — what brings you peace, joy, and happiness — getting into the zone, where you are in energetic alignment with your Highest Good.

  • It is about turning a deaf ear to the Shoulds espoused by others and by your own Inner Critic.
  • It is about giving yourself permission to “just say no” to those people and things that drain your resources of time and energy and ramp up your feelings of overwhelm.

Why It’s Essential

Remember the instructions flight attendants give passengers traveling with children regarding what to do in the event of a decrease in cabin air pressure?
Put the mask over your nose and mouth first and then over your children’s.

The reason, of course, is that you can’t help anyone else
if you are gasping for air yourself.

“Life is similar: while suffering, suffocating, starved, sapped, or scared,
we are in no condition to assist
[a client or] a friend in need,
much less be able to take pleasure in the moment.

Simply put, healthy “selfishness” is necessary for bringing joy
to others
as well as to ourselves.”  ~ Marcia Reynolds

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Participating in Online Communities for Mutual Support


Digital Literacies Peacock

Why a “Digital Literacy” Introduction?

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
See UPDATE 4/27 below

I recently received an invitation from Hazel Owen, a woman introducing herself to me for the first time after her first visit to ADDandSoMuchMore.com.

She became aware of me only because I had “liked” an article written by her (hold that thought – it will relate to unwritten “reciprocity norms” when you read the upcoming article).

Hazel is an education advocate who hosts an online community from New Zealand (which explains some differences in slang and spelling you will find in articles written by her).

I found her voice, her background and her community impressive and fascinating, so I accepted her invitation to blog occasionally on her platform.

In THIS article, she is “returning the favor,” offering us some information I believe our entire community sorely needs — a beginners’ explanation of some of the “rules” of this whole “internet communities” thing! In other words, an introduction to the concept of Digital Literacy (dialogue with her in the comments section if you have questions – this lady KNOWs!)

Internet Alzheimer’s 🙂

Regular readers of ADDandSoMuchMore.com are most likely aware of my own technical challenges and frustrations. Most days I feel like a dolt who used to be on top of things.

Although I was once a computer professional myself, it was MANY years ago – decades that might as well be centuries in internet time.  The computer world moves rapidly, so practically nothing from those years offers me any help what-so-ever!!

In fact, after almost four years “off-line” as the result of some personal and health challenges, it seems now that my first instincts about how to do practically anything online are almost always wrong-wrong-wrong.

To make matters even worse, the people I asked (even paid!) for help didn’t seem to get it that I was unable to understand even their explanations, such was the depth of my cluelessness.

  • I had no IDEA how to “work” the software they suggested I download
    to “help.”
  • Other than “scroll” and a few other basic words that meant exactly
    what they used to mean, I was almost totally unfamiliar with the
    vocabulary they employed as they endeavored to enlighten me.
    Sheesh!

Oh goodie, more “in-order-to’s” to master .  .  . must I now give up bathing
and sleeping to fit it all in?

Hazel to the Rescue!

Hazel Owen
It turns out, you don’t NEED to be a technical guru to participate in the developing trend toward global connection.

There are a few basics you do need to know to keep from stepping in – um – trouble by violating the social expectations of the rest of Planet Internet.

After that, however, you can develop your “online literacy” at a pace most of us over here on Planet ADD will be able to manage without giving up basic self-care.

And now, without further ado, H-E-R-E-‘ s Hazel!

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Reflections on my return: ACO Conference 2013


I’m B-a-a-a-ck!

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

It was WONDERFUL!

Peggy Ramundo and I just returned from co-facilitating the coaching lab at the SIXTH Annual ADHD Coaches Organization [ACO] conference, again in Atlanta. ANOTHER great experience to reflect upon, now that I am home and almost unpacked.

Start saving NOW to BE there next year, in Phoenix, Arizona
May 2, 3, and 4, 2014 (pre-conference sessions May 1st)
Mark your calendars, and add a line-item to your budget.
[CLICK HERE for the 2014 Conference Page on the ACO website]

I am so grateful to have had another wonderful chance to swap expertise with my colleagues as I got to connect with many whom I’ve known for years, had the opportunity to meet many of my virtual colleagues “live and in person” for the first time, and to be introduced to many more I hadn’t had a chance to meet in any venue. What a feast!

And we had a BALL!

Again, I must second Dr. Charles Parker’s comment in last year’s 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.”

CONGRATULATIONS to the 2013 Conference Chair, incoming president Joyce Kubic (mentored by last year’s chair, Judith Champion), current president Sarah Wright, each of the presenters, the entire conference team and all of the on-site volunteers tasked with keeping the balls in the air in Atlanta.

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Leaving for Atlanta: ACO 2013



CrownePlaza_Atlanta

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

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

I’m leaving Cincinnati on Wednesday morning – yeah, THIS Wednesday morning, April 10, 2013.  Yiikes!

At almost dawn this morning, after packing and repacking all night, I finally had to give up and go to BED, even though I still haven’t streamlined my travel wardrobe enough to get it into one single suitcase.

Isn’t that the ADD way? 

What IS it about going away that makes it so hard to decide what to wear?  So many possibilities, so little time . . . (It must be figuring out the shoes, right?)

To make sure I arrive with my head on straight, this will be my last trip to ADDandSoMuchMore.com until my return a week from this Wednesday. Take advantage of my blogging hiatus to catch up on some of the articles you may have missed.  There’s LOTS here I’ll bet most of you have never seen.  Click around — it will be brand new to you!

Back on the Speaker’s Circuit!

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ADDer’s Got TALENT!


 Remember – links on this site are dark grey to reduce distraction potential while you’re reading.
They turn
red on mouseover (hover before clicking for a bit of info)

Getting OUT of our Boxes: Reframing “talent”

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

Grey_ACO_Book_Top

Getting ready for the 2013 ACO Conference in April

This year’s conference, again in Atlanta, will be the largest group of ADD/ADHD Coaches ever gathered. Come meet your colleagues and bask in the glow of ADD-literate transformation.

Over 100 ADD Coaches have already registered.  

We can make room for MANY more *IF* we have sufficient time to change the numbers with the hotel so that they can arrange the logistics BEFORE they sell the meeting and sleeping rooms to some other group.

CLICK over to ACO and register soonest!

A VERY different ADDed Attraction

Judith Champion (2012 ACO Conference Chair), Peggy Ramundo and I are organizing the first ACO Talent Show — this year in honor of the late Kate Kelly (Peggy’s You Mean I’m NOT Lazy, Stupid or Crazy?! and ADDed Dimension co-author).

Dean Solden (husband of Journeys through ADDulthood and Women with Attention Deficit Disorder author Sari) will be working his magic on the piano and acting as MC once more — as in the ADDA years, for those who remember those amazing (and hilarious) Talent Shows.

There will be a special video put together by comedian Rick Green (of ADD and Loving It fame), with edited out-takes from some of the footage from the original video that gained national prominence when it was featured on Public Television.

And YOU – let’s not forget to mention the STARS of this show!  

Come to the Cabaret!  Those of us who have been around practically forever are beyond eager to embrace our newer colleagues, and to reconnect with those we seem to meet only at conferences of this type.

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Endings and New Beginnings


 Rememberlinks on this site are dark grey to reduce distraction potential
while you’re reading. They turn red on mouseover.

Grey_ACO_Book_Top

Graduation for Another Class of
ADD Coaches

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

From 8:30 P.M. until a bit after 10:00 Wednesday night, January 9, 2013, Peggy Ramundo and I had another opportunity to witness Life Purpose in Action, as we attended the final class session of the 2012 Class of the ADD in the Spirit Coach Training.

The small class of individuals about to graduate delivered the content for us.

As always, we came away renewed, inspired, and grateful for the opportunity to be in a position to touch the lives of so many amazing human beings — and to step with them through the journey of training themselves to be of service in a field that didn’t even exist thirty years ago.

It is always fascinating to me to see how many different experiences result from the same training, additional examples of my firm assertion that “There ain’t no IS about ADD!”

Climbing up the Mountain, taking time to look DOWN

In addition to a group exam, one of the final assignments is a Personal Reflection Paper, where each student looks back along their training journey to see how far they’ve come, to attempt to determine what had been of particular value to them.

Wednesday night, they shared their papers with each other and with us.

Each has grown during the year they spent with us, each in his or her own individual fashion, and some in ways they were surprised to discover.

  • An individual whose pre-ASCT life had been focused more on pragmatics (who enrolled here in spite of  the spiritual focus of this particular ADD Coach Training) became fascinated by meditation and Tapping [EFT], now a regular part of life;
  • Another individual, with a background of spiritual training who came because of it, will be using skills learned here in the corporate arena in a traditionally non-spiritual field!

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HEADS UP ADD Coaches: ACO Conference 2013


ACO 2013 is ramping up – sign up soon to save

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

You Mean I’m NOT Lazy, Stupid or Crazy?! author Peggy Ramundo and I will again be “presenting” together at the 6th Annual ADHD Coaches Organization [ACO] conference, at the beautiful Crowne Plaza Hotel in Atlanta one more time — facilitating, actually, a live-and-in-person Coaching Lab with practice, practice, practice (and no-make-wrong group feedback). 

And that’s only ONE good reason to be there!  

I want to repeat Dr. Charles Parker’s comment in his 2012 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.”

Joyce Kubric, the 2013 conference chair (mentored by last year’s chair Judith Champion), has put together a conference team of amazingly generous individuals who are working like beavers to make this an experience like no other.

This year’s presenters have been chosen, and you can click over to the ACO website  to see what’s coming together in that regard.  (Along with, oh yeah, signing up to BE there).

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Everything I know about Systems I learned from Cristopher Lowell


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while you’re reading. They turn red on mouseover.

Systems Development Coaching and Christopher Lowell?!

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Another article in the Coaching Series

I really love the heart inside this man, and think many of you will too — but this article is primarily a light-hearted introduction to a number of foundational concepts (which will be especially valuable for those of you who struggle with impulsivity and have come to be wary of decision-making as a result).

Because I wrote this as the holidays were getting underway, the article ends with some suggestions to help  navigate the decisions of the shopping frenzies of Black Friday and Cyber Monday — and they apply to the entire Christmas Shopping season.

They ALSO will be helpful things to keep in mind for anybody who struggles to resist the allure of certain kinds of places to add to your collection of whatever
(you know what I mean and you know who you are!)

Decorator and Systems Guru

The minute I became conscious of the “TV hypnosis” experience, I realized the danger. Since I wanted to spend my life DOING, not watching, I chose to banish the bugger. I haven’t owned a television set in decades.

As a consequence, I came years late to the Christopher Lowell party — aware of his existence only after I picked up a discount decorating book at one of those “odd lots” resale stores.

If you’ve been following this blog for long, you might recall that curling up on my chaise with a huge cup of coffee and a decorating resource is my cookie. (click on: Virtue is Not its own Reward, part of the TaskMaster Series, for more about this Cookie concept and how I use it in MY ADD-drenched life)

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Of Bribery and Labels


Remember – links on this site are dark grey to reduce distraction potential
while you’re reading. They turn red on mouseover.

Reframing the Bribery Label

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

If you’ve been reading this blog for very long, you know how much I sincerely dislike labeling of any kind — especially those labels that come from personal opinion (the kind that seem to squeak right under our conscious “judgment” radar the moment a label slips into common usage).

The labeling category is where the term “bribery” falls for me, and this article is my attempt to reframe it before it slides across the line into the make-wrong category.

Make-wrong is a term used in the coaching community to refer to judgments that might as well be saying, “Anybody sane knows there is a right and a wrong way to do life, and this communication identifies an item on THE unacceptable list” (in contrast to one’s personal unacceptable list).

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Running Your Practice so it Doesn’t Run YOU


Remember – links on this site are dark grey to reduce distraction potential
while you’re reading. They turn red on mouseover.

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Part 1 in the Practice Management Series

FIRST, Get a Mentor Coach —

Flying coachless is doing it the hard way

Coaches who get professionally mentored get up and running faster than those who use the “lone ranger” approach — up to 4 times faster. (According to Thomas Leonard, founder of Coach U – which trains non-ADD coaches).  

They make more money, attract and keep more clients, and have more satisfaction with their practices.

No Kidding!

Even though I refer to Thomas’ statement quite a lot NOW, I wasn’t sure if I believed it when I first read it in the early ’90s

I wasn’t totally convinced when I mentored with him, when I heard the words come out of his very own mouth in his typical “just what’s so” charge-neutral fashion — but I certainly embrace it whole-heartedly now!

It not only turns out to be true with “vanilla” coaches, it seems especially true in the ADD Coaching field.

  • The added accountability certainly helps us follow-through, so days don’t turn into weeks, months or years of “meant to but never did.”
  • The “externalized pre-frontal cortex” dynamic, to keep rumination at bay is essential.
  • And nobody could fail to appreciate the “Sherpa” component — unless the only way they can learn is through repeated recovery from mistakes that could have been avoided.
  • The primary value of Mentor Coaching, however, seems to be its “Challenging” feature: on our own, we seem to set smaller goals to keep from overwhelming ourselves with “over-the-top” inhumanly unrealistic ones.

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Free ADD Coach Training: 5 Short Weeks to a Major Shift



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while you’re reading. They turn red on mouseover.

Avoiding the Holes in the Road, # 2

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

An Oldie but Goodie
Adaptation by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

 originally, Autobiography In Five Short Chapters
by Porsche Nelson (Al-Anon ACOA)
with gratitude to Glen Hogard for the source –
see his comment (below) for still more

This article is an ADD Coaching reframe of a story that has been passed around in productivity circles for years — you may have heard it with “5 Chapters” instead of “5 Weeks.”

With a few tweaks, it’s not only a great training tool, it is a perfect illustration of the dynamic in an effective ADD Coaching relationship.

Free Coach Training:

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ADD/ADHD and TIME: will ANYthing work?


Time Management Tips and Tricks

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
PART ONE of two: In support of The Challenges Inventory™ Series

Like I said in an older article, “Listening for Time Troubles – struggles with time and follow through,” a great many ADDers have trouble with T-I-M-E.

• We run out of it
• We are continually surprised by it, and
• More than a few times we seem to be completely unaware of it.

All ADD Coaches worthy of the term must remain aware that Listening For and Languaging to your clients’ awareness of time, and their relationship to time (oh yes, my friends, they most certainly DO have one) almost always involves some serious sleuthing on the part of the coach!

However . . .

Lest I be accused of keeping all the good stuff for the carriage trade (remaining mindful of the need to avoid joining the “Ten Time Tips that will Pay your Mortgage and put hair on your grandfather’s chest” crowd), I’m going to share five underlying principles that I listen for and try to language to my clients and students.

I’ll even tell YOU what I tell them 5 System Basics – but few clients ever really hear me the first couple dozen times, so don’t be too surprised when some of these basics float right past you too.

Let ’em simmer in your brain’s slow-cooker — as long as you don’t actively resist, fighting the ideas or ruminating over the thoughts that yet ANOTHER person simply doesn’t get it, you will be one step closer to getting a handle on this time thing.

Even when you’re desperate, change is just flat-out HARD!

ADD

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while you’re reading. They turn red on mouseover.

ADD/EFD ain’t EASY!

If you read more than a few articles here on ADDandSoMuchMore.com, you will begin suspect that I’m not particularly fond of tips and tricks — and you’ll be absolutely right about that.

Why not?

For the most part, they don’t work.

The neurotypical advice almost always scratches where it doesn’t itch. The reasons they don’t do things are seldom the reasons we don’t.

And then they fire the “resistance” salvo our way — and we fight the urge to do something that will send us to prison for life as they sing another rousing chorus of the “you’re-not-really-trying” hymn of the republic.

Even most of the ADD/EFD-flavored tips and tricks miss as many flavors of ADD/EFD as they catch. It is simply impossible for anybody to write a book that handles all situations for all people – at least not a book anyone could lift. I know. I’ve tried. (Why do you think my articles are so darned long, linked to so many others to cover each individual point in yet another long post?)

So, for the most part, most of the tips and tricks books don’t really work for a great many of us.

WHEN they don’t work, it shuts us down.

We self-flagellate (then ruminate endlessly)

  • Didn’t I do this right, or am I missing a key point — AGAIN?
  • Everybody thinks I just don’t want to succeed, and that’s just not true!
  • Will I ever get a clue?
  • What’s wrong with me?
  • NOW what am I going to do?

We get defensive (then go on the offensive)

  • This book got great reviews, how was I supposed to know it was crap?
  • I work a full-time job and have primary responsibility for 3 kids: meals, laundry, school activities, sick days — how am I supposed to squeeze all these lists and things into my day? Who is this written for – ladies who lunch?
  • Yada, yada, yada, YADA!

Ultimately, we come back to where we started, concluding that “fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants” management is the most we can ever hope for – until the next time, that is, that things get SO unmanageable that we fall prey to yet another tips and tricks ploy.

Can you tell I’ve been there?

I finally figured out WHY all those tips and tricks didn’t work for me: they weren’t written for ME,
they were a
compilation of items that worked for the author (who was, very likely, NOTHING like me!).  [See Why Tips and Tricks Fail for more]

Once I learned that the root of my chronic disorganization had a NAME, and began to look at everything through The ADD Lens things began, ever so slowly, to come under my control. Simply having a diagnosis shifted my shifted my expectations.

As I said in an earlier article: until we believe we can, we can’t!! 

“How many times can we keep trying until we decide it’s impossible?

It’s a coach’s job to avoid sending their ADD/EFDers off to tilt at windmills. That means, you absolutely must DETERMINE THE CAUSE before you begin to work on solutions.

How much sense does THAT make!!”

But what do you do if you don’t HAVE a coach?

Do whatever you can to remedy that sad situation.  You simply must.

Dr. Edward Hallowell has been quoted many times saying that, “[ADD] Coaching is the single most effective tool for ADD self-management” FOR A REASON!

Coaching may well be “optional” for many, but those of us with “alphabet disorders” (ADD, EFT, TBI, PTSD, OCD, etc.) need the externalization of our prefrontal cortex activities as much as a sailboat needs ballast to keep it from tipping over in the first substantial gust of wind.

And not just any coach – a comprehensively trained, brain-based ADD coach — a coach who has been trained to listen for EFD issues, and understands how to coach them!

Don’t “cheap out” on yourSelf
(and don’t let money be a stopper)

  • If you can’t afford the fees that professional coaches charge, ask about the possibility of a reduced rate. Many of us maintain a few sliding-scale slots, simply because we KNOW how important that external PFC support can be.
  • If you can’t afford even the low rates that many of us slide to, apply for coaching with a student, mentored through an coaching intern program — or go for Group Coaching.
  • If even that is beyond your budget, check out, sign up or get on the waiting list for my next really-low-fee PEER Coaching Basic Training. (click here for information)  Start looking around for a buddy who’s in the same situation — the two of you can trade accountability coaching forevermore. (You don’t even need to take the class, by the way, but it does help increase the effectiveness of what you do together quite a bit).

MEANWHILE . . .

Coming up are some essential concepts that need to be in place before you stand a prayer of a chance — really!  

Don’t beat yourself up about that reality, use it as a lever to adjust your expectations appropriately, and to help you to figure out where you need to concentrate your
time and effort ASAP (accent on the “P”ossible).

Trying to systematize a life without the basics is like trying to
to start a car that’s out of gas.

  • Agonizing isn’t going to make a bit of difference.
  • Neither will “voting” – you may not like the idea, they may not like the idea. Sorry Charlie, it is simply what’s so
  • Hearing what a doofus you’ve been for not focusing on that little gas detail (especially hearing it internally) will shut you down and delay you further.
  • Go for the gas.

Like a mantra: essential concepts need to be accepted – with systems and work-arounds in place – before you stand a prayer of a chance.

Working effectively within the boundaries of time is an exercise in systematizing.

  • There are a lot of pieces to that systematizing concept.
  • “Pieces” require juggling, cognitively.
  • Cognitive juggling is highly PFC intensive [prefrontal cortex]
  • Guess where the ADD/EFD/TBI/PTSD
  • brain is most impaired?  YOU GOT IT – the PFC.
  • Don’t make it harder than it is already – make friends with the upcoming concepts.

UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS WARNING:

The upcoming five concepts that will begin to put some gas in your car are simply that: FUEL.

Until you make sure your “car” has fuel, you can’t do much about checking to see if the starter needs fixing.  You may also learn you need to adjust the steering mechanism.  Oh yeah, and you certainly won’t get very far on lousy tires.

  • You don’t expect your car to magically transform with a little gas, do you?
  • How about a whole tank full of gas?
  • How about gas and four new tires?

Yeah, right!

Try to remember that the next time the beatings begin, as well as when you feel defensive and become offensive.

You can’t eat an elephant in a day — EVEN if you take tiny bites.

In Part Two of this article, we’ll talk details about those Five Systems Basics.  Scroll down for other related articles here and elsewhere.

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Graphics gratitude:  Stopwatch Guy & Gas Pump from free-clipart.net
 ADD Coach Success Systems: Marty Crouch: Webvalance Internet Partners
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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!)

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For links to still more: run your cursor over the article above and the dark grey links (subtle, so they don’t distract you) will turn dark red; AND check out the links to Related Content in each of the articles below

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