Change, Growth and Decision Dilemmas


Decision Anxiety
Another glitch in the Change Management process

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Edited reblog from an earlier post, Choices & Decisions

Chocolate, vanilla or tutti-frutti? Early Monday or late Thursday?
This drawer or that one?  Move away or stay put?
Have a baby, adopt a baby or remain a dual-income-no-kids couple?

Avoiding the Agony of Deciding

We each must make a great many decisions every single day.  A few of them we think about consciously and carefully, and some we make quickly and unconsciously – sometimes even really big and important ones.

Since our mental processes are subconsciously influenced by our emotions and memories, more frequently than not we remain oblivious to what really drives those decisions we make.

Then there are the many times we’re thrown into the agony of indecision – even between choices that are actually too small to, ultimately, make much of a difference in our lives.

Change, Growth & Decisions

There is no doubt that the process of change and growth would be easier if it were as predetermined and automatic as the metamorphosis from caterpillar to butterfly.

However, I can’t help but wonder if, were we humans relieved of the task of having to decide what comes next, we would be more comfortable with life’s changes or more frustrated by them.

As difficult as most of us find the process, it seems we are practically “hard-wired” with some kind of drive to exercise our free will.

  • Since early childhood, few of us have been especially happy when someone else tells us what we must do.
  • More than a few of us absolutely refuse to acquiesce. (Why else do you think we describe that particularly early transitional stage characterized by the single word NO! as “The Terrible Twos?”)

So how come so many of us AGONIZE when it comes time to decide?

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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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Brains Need SYSTEMS to Develop


Learning CHANGES the Structure of the Brain:

Impossible in the face of chaos

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, A.C.T, MCC, SCAC

“You don’t cure a different organization of the brain;
you find ways and strategies of helping that brain learn [. . .] in a different way.
It’s not about cure, it’s about teaching different ways.

~ Maryanne Wolf
reading expert & author of Proust and the Squid

Building a Brain

While it is true that no two brains develop in a manner that is exactly the same, babies come into this world with a brain specialized for learning – a pattern-recognition device designed to bootstrap learning into a structure of additional patterns.

The brain develops in a manner not dissimilar to the way in which a computer uses certain hardwired sub-routines to locate and activate still more code that allows for the loading and interpretation of additional programs — which facilitates their use for creating new ideas.

The human brain builds the new structures and networks it needs to allow it to continue to learn.  The process by which it does that work is known as neuroplasticity.

Not all that long ago, most of the science-crowd mistakenly believed that there was a relatively early window in which neuroplasticity operated. It was once thought that all of the neurons our brains were ever going to have developed within that window, and the systems the brain used to learn were set after a particular point in childhood.

Baby brains develop amazingly quickly

If you’ve ever spent any time at all around an infant, you might recall their unfocused stare and their unselfconscious movements and facial expressions.

It may not be immediately apparent to parents who spend day to day time with the baby, but adults who visit only occasionally are usually amazed at how much more that child is able to interact with the world each time.

Suddenly, it seems, that tiny child is able to focus on an object of fascination.  S/he responds to the direction of a particular sound and reaches for things. The baby exhibits what adults recognize as curiosity about the world around them and develops preferences.

Order out of Chaos

Babies come into a world of seeming chaos: sights, sounds, temperature, texture and more, with little in place to help them make sense of it all. They have to build the brain that will help them learn for the rest of their lives.

The task of their amazingly neuroplastic infant brains is to learn to recognize the constants that help them to derive meaning from a cacophony of stimulation that the majority of us learn to filter out – eventually.

And it is the task of the adults around them
to provide those constants.

As infants learn to recognize the simplest thing, as far as adult sensibilities are concerned, their brains grow and change their structures. As the baby’s brain learns that certain types of vibrations need to be visually interpreted, others audially, and so forth, it reorganizes its pathways for the most efficient recognition and interpretation of incoming data. It condenses the complexities of sensory awareness to comprehend “meaning.”

Assimilation of the basic concept of Mom, for example, requires a complex network of connections that, very quickly, allows the baby to understand that the source of his or her food is mother, and that she is one single element:

  • those hands are part of my mother,
  • those arms are part of my mother
  • that face is my mother smiling
  • that other face is still my mother, frowning
  • those sounds make up my mother’s voice
  • and I have a voice too

A lot of brain-based learning must take place before the baby assigns emotional or intellectual meaning to what s/he observes, eventually able to extrapolate expectations of sensory awareness to form new ideas about his or her world like, “I have a voice too.”

A LOT for our brains to learn

It makes sense that it might have seemed that brain-development is essentially a childhood task. Because young children have so much to learn so quickly, brain growth and change seems, by comparison, to stop in adulthood.

It has been postulated that, because of the size limitations of the birth canal in an upright-walking human being, our babies are born essentially nine months premature.  The increase in size of the infant’s brain after birth is phenomenal, compared to the growth in an adult brain. A baby’s brain doubles in size in their first year alone. By age three it has reached 80 percent of its adult volume.

Highways and Byways

It is a logical extrapolation that after a certain point, the brain would use what it has built in a manner similar to the way in which a city uses it’s roads to connect grocery store to neighborhood to a particular location in the center of town. There may be a hundred ways to drive from place to place, but nobody sober cuts through yards to form new roads that were never there before.

Except, with the brain, that hasn’t turned out to be exactly true.
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Good news on brain-aging from The Nun Study


Healthy Brains for a Lifetime

We really DON’T have to lose it as we age

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, A.C.T, MCC, SCAC
Reflections on Cognitive Impairment and Dementia Protection

Cognitive decline is NOT inevitable

A quick review before some data that will bring smiles to a lot of worried faces (especially for writers!):

There is still a lot to learn from School Sisters of Notre Dame “Nun” Study — the longitudinal scientific exploration of aging and Alzheimer’s disease originally funded by the National Institute on Aging.  Data, tissue, and genetic material collected in this landmark study will, no doubt, prove invaluable to a great many meta-studies long into the future.

Thanks to the Sisters’ unprecedented generosity of spirit, however, we now know a lot more about how the brain ages than we did, even a few years ago.  We also know more about dementia and what factors seem to be neuro-protective.

The oft-cited study centers on a group of a relatively homogeneous order of 678 Roman Catholic sisters (American, no drug use, little or no alcohol or tobacco, similar housing and reproductive histories, etc.) — which minimizes extraneous variables that may confound other similar research.

Along with, ultimately, hundreds of others in their order, a few brave nuns agreed to volunteer for a long-term study of aging and Alzheimer’s disease, hoping to provide evidence that might be used to teach the rest of us how to escape the worst ravages of this heartbreaking illness.

To repeat a comment from my last article [You don’t HAVE to lose it as you age: Moving Past Mind-Blips and “Senior Moments”]:

Upon autopsy, even some of the individuals discovered to have what used to be accepted as “positive Alzheimer’s identifiers” (senile plaques and neurofibrillary tangles), managed to escape the behavioral devastation of the disease.

Others had only recently begun to exhibit signs of mental decline in the year or two before their deaths (at 80 and beyond), despite brains that would have predicted a significantly earlier onset of dementia.

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You don’t HAVE to lose it as you age


Moving Past Mind-Blips and “Senior Moments”

Maintaining & improving your brain’s vitality as you age

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, A.C.T, MCC, SCAC
Reflections on Cognitive Impairment and Dementia Protection

“A mind equipped with a wide range of
previously formed
pattern recognition devices
can withstand the effects of neuroerosion
for a long time.”

~ Dr. Elkhonon Goldberg, PhD, from
The Wisdom Paradox 


Along with suggestions designed to help, this article begins to debunk the myth of “to be expected” age-related cognitive decline — as it explains the mechanics of memory and outlines the functional trajectory of the healthy brain as time marches on.

In the Memory Issues Series, anyone currently struggling to fit into a neurotypical mold, even if you are GenX or younger, will find a lot of information that will help you develop effective you-specific strategies to work around some of the things that give you fits and shut you down.


Our Worst Nightmare

Staying in SHAPE as we age (Source HERE)

Most people who have lived with cognitive decline in an up close and personal fashion (in particular, the ravages of any of the dementias in a loved one), frequently report a back-of-the-mind concern that they are looking into a mirror of their future selves.

Time marches on, and we’re all getting older. The first wave of Baby Boomers – that spike in the population statistics once Johnny came marching home from World War II – turned 65 in 2012.

With the third-act aging of more and more of the Boomers, this conversation will become increasingly frequent, as those back-of-the-mind concerns rise to conscious awareness and become the worries of a greater portion of our population.

Take a D-E-E-P breath — you don’t HAVE to lose it as you age!!

Prevention is the better part of valor

You wouldn’t wait until the day before the marathon to train for it, would you? Same thing with healthy brain aging! Don’t wait until decline begins to start doing something about it — if you want to experience the rosy finish you can expect if you begin to employ neuro-protective techniques NOW

Good news for most Boomers –
it’s not too late to start turning things around!

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The Virtues of Lowering your Standards


Consider this a “Track-back Tuesday” post

Late last night (or early this morning, depending on where you are and how you track time), I received a comment from an extremely frustrated ADDer struggling with cellphone and I-pad impulsivity. Most of us can relate, huh?

You can read her comment HERE (my coaching response follows).

Double-checking one of my older articles that I suggested she read, I notice that it received fewer “likes” or comments than I thought it would when I wrote it. It struck me that MANY of you who read ADDandSoMuchMore.com only occasionally probably missed it, and it’s a goodie. It contains more than a couple foundational concepts that create issues that most people find problematic, and those of us in Alphabet City frequently find debilitating.

SO . . . I am reblogging my own post,
hoping it will provide a few keys to turn a few of YOUR locked doors.

If you want to add velocity to your self-coaching efforts, take the time to read the articles linked within that post as well. They will open in new tabs/windows, so you can click them as you come to them and keep on reading.

Enjoy!

ADD . . . and-so-much-more

click image for sourceclick image for source

 When “Good enough” is Good ENOUGH!

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

Let’s delve deeper into a couple of foundational problems,
particularly for those of us with Executive Functioning dysregulations:

* struggles with activation,and
* the perils of falling victim to black and white thinking.

Hand in hand, each exacerbates the other,
until it’s truly a miracle we ever get anything done at all!

To the neurodiverse AND the neurotypical

On a very different kind of blog, post-production supervisor and self-professed Edit Geek Dylan Reeve shared his thoughts on the very topic I planned to write about today (the image above is his). He began and ended his relatively brief article with a wonderful synopsis of exactly what I am about to tackle in this article.

In Defense Of ‘Good Enough’

For many people . . . ‘good enough’ is a dirty word…

View original post 2,887 more words

Productivity, Focus & Follow-through


What helps & what hurts
– so that you don’t unintentionally
make accomplishment harder  –

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

The Motivation/Activation/Focus Continuum

As I’ve explained in the Activation articles, cheerleading – or any other attempt to motivate someone who is struggling with activation – is likely to backfire.

There are many tips and techniques that can help a person who struggles with Executive Functions initiate action and stay on track to completion, but most of them are counter-intuitive. The “typical” advice only works for the “typical” person.

Attempting to explain the differences between the neurotypical and the neuro-diverse, I’ve said many times, “The reasons they don’t do things are seldom the same as the reasons we don’t do things.”

Different causes mandate different approaches and ideas.

One of the best ideas I know is to make use of the services of a Body Double – as long as both partners are aware of some of the unwritten rules of the game.

Body Double Confusion

An ADD Coaching technique I introduced in Body Doubles for Activation & Accountability, the Body Double concept underscores how simply having another person in the room can make things easier to do — because it is an externalized reminder of the need to stay on track for the person being doubled.

Haven’t you ever noticed how much easier it is to stay on track on certain types of tasks when somebody is observing?

Some repeat information from the earlier article:

  • It’s important to note that the Body Double does not actively help, advise, disrupt concentration or comment outside of a structured, agreed upon set of circumstances.
  • The Body Double’s only task is to sit quietly out of the way, reading or writing while the ADD/EFDer attends to work (unless it has been agreed in advance that s/he will interrupt a hyperfocused worker-bee occasionally to ensure that s/he stops for periodic breaks or for meals).
  • Frequently, the Body Double brings along a compatible task of his or her own – like journaling, knitting or catching up with email on a laptop or tablet.  They’re only there to externalize the observing ego of the person they’re doubling – the witness self of the person they are assisting.

I have observed for almost three decades now that having another person in the room actually helps those of us with activation and follow-through struggles focus on the task at hand, and stay on-task to completion — provided that the person in our space doesn’t feel it is their job to “help” us with what we are doing.

THAT’s where the confusion begins

In general, people tend to think about “helping” as an active state: donating food, clearing the table, fixing a flat — DOing something.

So when they are asked for help as a Body Double, they tend to be as much an active off-task distraction as a passive partner who helps to improve the odds that someone with Executive Functioning struggles will stay on track.

  • They often assume they are at least supposed to ask how things are going, or for a report of what has been done so far, or to remind the person of the items still undone (or something else that also needs to be done).
  • Unfortunately, intruding on the process in a manner that might be intended to be  “actively helpful assistance” actually makes things harder – sometimes much harder.

To be really helpful to someone already struggling with attention, focus and follow-through, a Body Double needs to be passive.

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

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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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Coaching Through the ADD Lens™ on Transformation Talk Radio


On Purpose with Karen Florence
interview with Madelyn Griffith-Haynie

OnAirCoaching through The ADD Lens™
Broadcast Thursday, August 15, 2013
at 10 AM Eastern
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Info about the show below
CLICK HERE to listen to it taped
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Tune in to the live shows at
transformationtalkradio.com

Call In Number: 1-800 / 930-2819

Tape of Show will be Posted on ShowPage
(Scroll DOWN below for links to more on topics introduced on the show)

[Don’t forget: links on this site are dark grey to reduce distraction potential –
they turn
red on mouse-over – hover before clicking for an info-box]

———————————————————————————————————————–
I use “ADD” to include AD/HD etc. Check out What’s in a Name for why.
———————————————————————————————————————–

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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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Cognitive Impairment and Dementia Protection


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while you’re reading. They turn red on mouseover
Hover before clicking for more info

Maintaining Cognitive Vitality

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, A.C.T, MCC, SCAC

treadmill_GreenSuit“A mind equipped with a wide range of
previously formed
pattern recognition devices
can withstand the effects of neuroerosion
for a long time.”

~ Dr. Elkhonon Goldberg, PhD, from
The Wisdom Paradox 

Our Worst Nightmare

How we hate the idea of losing our
hottie-bodies as we get older!

But that’s not the worst of it.

Probably the most frightening thing — for most of us old enough to truly understand that we will not live forever, anyway — is the idea that we might lose control of our MINDS as we age.

What strikes fear in our hearts is that we’ll lose the links to words, places, our fondest memories, the names of our children — the very things that define our sense of SELF.

Those who have lived with cognitive decline in an up close and personal fashion (in particular, the ravages of any of the dementias in a loved one), frequently report a back-of-the-mind concern that they are looking into a mirror of their future selves.

The first wave of Baby Boomers – that spike in the population statistics once Johnny came marching home from World War II – turned 65 last year.

Wow.

With the third-act aging of more and more of the Boomers, this conversation will become more and more frequent, as those back-of-the-mind concerns rise to conscious awareness.

Take a D-E-E-P breath — you don’t HAVE to lose it as you age!!

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Everything I know about Systems I learned from Cristopher Lowell


Remember – links on this site are dark gray to reduce distraction potential
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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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

Remember – links on this site are dark grey to reduce distraction potential
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.

——-
Graphics gratitude:  Stopwatch Guy & Gas Pump from free-clipart.net
 ADD Coach Success Systems: Marty Crouch: Webvalance Internet Partners
Convertable/bad exhaust from webweaver

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

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

Related Content on ADDandSoMuchMore.com

You might also be interested in some of the following Coaching Skills and Practical Application articles

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

Related articles around the ‘net

Attentional Spectrum Books


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


ACO Conference Binder 2012 –
Blog expanded Speaker Content
Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – Part 4c


“It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.
Albert Einstein

“We spend our life until we’re twenty
deciding what parts of ourselves to put in the bag,
and we spend the rest of our lives trying to get them out again.” 

~  Robert Bly

The Attentional Spectrum through The ADD Lens™

As I compiled this list of “ADD-related” books, I became crystal clear that my concept of “related” is that the book sheds some positive-minded light on the process of attentional regulation.

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Brain-Based Blogs & Websites



ACO Conference Binder 2012 –
Blog expanded Speaker Content
Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – Part 4b

 “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.”
~ Alan Kay

“I worry that our lives are like soap operas.
We can go on for months and not tune in to them,
then six months later we look in and the same stuff is still going on.”
 ~ Jane Wagner — The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe
(
Lily Tomlin‘s one-woman show)

Tuning in to our future AS it is invented

AS I INDICATED on The Brain-based BOOK list, I have been distracted from compiling EACH of the Brain-based Resouce Lists so many times, that looking for all of their pieces has become an Easter Egg hunt!

So here’s a great start, with my apologies to all of the wonderful brain-based blogs and websites that didn’t make it to THIS version.

Even though “quick” changes are possible after post, I have a VERY full plate, so even a teensy-tiny edit or addition could take longer than you’d like – please don’t personalize.

Try to remember that, as The ADD Poster Girl, make-wrong shuts me down too, and admin is NOT my thing!  We all have to be willing to take a few dropped admin balls as par for my course. (HOWEVER, if you would like to gift me a full-time admin-assist, let’s talk!)

The way it stands NOW, as far as I’m concerned I deserve gold stars for staying tracked to get this done in any manner what-so-ever! 

Parodying an oft-quoted sentiment:

Nobody ever said, when they were about to die,
“DARN, I wish I’d made more time for administrative detail!” 

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Brain-Based Books



ACO Conference Binder 2012 –
Blog expanded Speaker Content
Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – Part 4a
Last Edited: March 29, 2012

“…some things you get taught.
And some things you just learn.”
~ Anna Quindlen

“Only a group of people who share a body of knowledge and
continually learn together can stay vital and viable.”

Max DePree (author of The Art of Management)

Feed
Your Mind

Many of you know that I am a voracious reader.

Reading scratches an itch in my brain. It’s time-off for good behavior. It centers me like nothing else.

Relatively rare in the ADD community, I’ve loved to read since I first learned how — took to it like a duck to water, as they say.

My Love Affair with WORDS

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Lessons from the TBI Community


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they turn red on mouseover – hover before clicking for a bit more info first


ACO Conference Binder 2012 –
Blog expanded Speaker Content
Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – Part 3a

Intractable Ignorance:
forming an opinion without knowing very much about a subject
while refusing to investigate any information
that might change one’s mind;
closed mindedness;
cognitive inflexibility.

Feed Your Head

I will always stare in mouth-open amazement whenever I hear statements that might as well be saying, “I don’t believe that ADD is a legitimate disorder”  from intelligent and otherwise well-informed individuals.

  • Part of the the lack of acceptance and understanding is certainly the fact that ADD/EFD is what we call an invisible disorder — unlike many physical disabilities, for example.
  • Behaviors are visible, of course, but far too many people labor under the illusion that all “[mis]behavior”  is ALWAYS within the volitional control of the person exhibiting the behavior — despite a great deal of research and a great many books from credible sources pointing out the fallacy
    of that assumption.

The far greater problem, however, is ignorance – insufficient information.

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Gathering the Tribe: TBI-2



ACO Conference Binder 2012 –
Blog expanded Speaker Content
Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – Part 3b

Intractable Ignorance:  forming an opinion
without knowing very much about a subject,
refusing to investigate any information
that might change one’s mind;
closed mindedness; cognitive inflexibility.

It takes a village to educate a world

To underscore an essential point, I want to reiterate what I said in the first part of this article, making a comparison between the challenges of Traumatic Brain Injury and Attention Deficit Disorder [Lessons from the TBI Community]:

Individuals who find it difficult to “drive their own brains” (in either community) are FAR from having the understanding and support they deserve — from their professional caretakers, the people who claim to love them, or the random strangers on the street who believe they have the right to voice their opinions about the what a fellow human being “should” be able to do “if they really wanted to and tried hard enough.”

Calling the Tribes Together

In the remainder of the TBI section of the Brain-based Resources Series, we’ll take a closer look at some of the well-documented cognitive, mood, and behavioral changes that accompany both traumatic brain injury and Attentional Spectrum Disorders, in service of several underlying objectives:

1. To underscore, embrace and understand what TBI-focused neuroscience has come up with that the ADD community can use to increase our own Read more of this post

BRAIN-BASED OVERVIEW


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while you’re reading. They turn red on mouseover
Hover before clicking for more info


ACO Conference Binder 2012 –
Blog expanded Speaker Content
Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – Part 2

Neurons that wire together fire together;
Neurons that fire together WIRE together 

We now know that the brain’s neural network respond to stimuli in a self-organizing pattern – beginning with our very first experience with a novel stimulus.

Cause and Effect Linkage

Which neurons “wire” together depends on whether the stimulus is congruent with brain expectations, whether it is reminiscent of another pattern of stimuli, and what happened NEXT.

Some self-help books refer to this neural patterning as “recording new tapes,”
furthering that analogy with terms like “playing old tapes”
— as they encourage us not to.

In actuality, we have no choice: the human brain automatically “searches its database” faster than we can exert any conscience influence over it in the moment!  It’s designed that way to safeguard the survival of our species.

We can, however, make a few tweaks to the system after the fact.

That’s the exciting implication of what we now understand about the brain’s neuroplasticity – the fact that it can CHANGE creates the opportunity for ADD Coaches to make a positive difference in the lives of our clients.

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Getting OVER Overwhelm


Brain-based Coaching Secrets
that Beat Back Overwhelm – free TeleClass

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

Are you overwhelmed by all there is to DO to keep your life and your business on track?

TeleClass Over – Sign up Link Disabled

Are you over-committed, under-prioritized, and dog-tired of feeling like you’ll never be able to catch up on things?

Did you sign up for this blog, hoping to take advantage of the information here to help you cope, but day turns into day and you STILL haven’t had a spare moment to really explore?

Register to be able to call in for this TeleClass

  • Do you ever hear your inner voice muttering that your thoughts and actions are so scattered you surely must have undiagnosed ADD?
  • Is your ADD diagnosed, but things seem to keep getting worse, so you’re concerned that there might be a whole lot more going on?
  • Does your short-term memory seem to be slipping?  Are you more and more frequently dropping things out, forgetting what you went into the next room to do, fumbling over names  — and nouns?  Do you secretly wonder sometimes if maybe you are sliding into some kind of atypical, early onset Alzheimers?

If you even hesitated over the questions above, you’ll want to be sure to tune in to this week’s Getting over Overwhelm free TeleClass — Thursday, May 31st, 2012.

[Don’t forget: links are dark grey to reduce distraction potential – they turn red on mouse-over]

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A Bunch of Words about FIT – Part 1


I Don’t Tweet, Don’t Ask Me

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

You can’t Tweet a novel.

Neither can you expand on a concept effectively when you are limited to a handful of characters barely greater than the number of tiles you might draw in the average game of Scrabble!

Since “profound relating” is at the very top of my personal list of Core Values, I find “Twitter expectations” more than a little unsettling — especially when they are shoved down my throat as THE way to reach your clients (or anyone else!)

I have been accused of a lot of things in my life,
but “brief” was never one of them.

As a result, most of MY students and clients are more likely to appreciate something with a little meat on its bones than to extol the virtues of “The Cliff Notes approach to idea dissemination.”

Some of us LIKE words.  Most of us who like words really don’t care much for “brief.”  It’s a matter of perspective and personal preference, not an addendum to Robert’s Rules of Order.  So when I hear apologies for the length of a post on blog after blog, I want to weep.

For those of us in love with language, LESS is simply … well, less!

It’s a matter of FIT.  And whether you are coach, client, or both, the concept of FIT is probably THE single most important coaching concept underlying coaching success.

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ABOUT “From My Books”


Blogging by Book Excerpt

Drawing of rolling book cart like those found in smaller libraries - loaded with booksAbout those orphaned books I mentioned in Menage a Moi — I suddenly had an epiphany.

Why wait for publication to start getting the content in the hands of those who need it???

So, as time permits (or whenever I’m too covered up to write a new post for one of the other categories), I’ll pull content from one of my MANY books in process to share with you in this section.

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Key Tasks for ADD Coaching


Old headshot of Madelyn (a.k.a. MGH) long familiar from the webADD-Specific Coaching Skills

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

Ten Key Areas That Need Time & Attention

A Therapist or Doctor may or may not have the time to work with any of these areas.

A “vanilla coach”** may not find these skills important, agree that they are useful — or even understand why they might be an appropriate part of a coaching relationship.

An ADD Coach, however, must be prepared to include a certain amount of work in each of the following arenas — understanding how to use EACH of the ten skills below.  It’s a coach’s job to work with clients to remove “what’s in the way” of shining success.

Back-filling basic skills — insufficient, underdeveloped, or missing as the result of kludgy Executive Functioning –is the most likely suspect in the ADD population, rather than lack of motivation, resolve, ambition or many of the other things-in-the-way that are more common among vanilla clients.
———————
**vanilla = unflavored by ADD – a “vanilla coach” means the coach doesn’t work with ADD/ADHD/EFD clients and/or has not been trained in an ADD/ADHD/EFD-specific, brain-based coach training, regardless of whether they fall on the Attentional Spectrum personally or not.

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ADD-flavored Coaching


Never forget that YOU are “the temp in charge” of
your ADD client’s Executive Functioning Clubhouse!

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

Drawing of the human brain with the prefrontal cortex highlighted (the seat of the executive functions)Failure in this arena is the biggest mistake I see in otherwise excellent Coaches, and it turns pretty darn good Coaching into absolutely lousy ADD Coaching in a heartbeat.

An ADD coach must identify and presence the “Name of the Game” whenever they coach any ADD client. No matter how high functioning,

ADD clients hire coaches for help in an area where they are struggling – and the source of the struggle is usually in the area of activation and follow-through to completion.

The main reason we ADDers struggle with activation and follow-through is because in our pre-frontal cortex [PFC], the Executive Functioning Clubhouse, the receptionist seems to take frequent breaks — and we get distracted and wander away before she returns with some necessary piece of our process!  If we could stay on track without your assistance, we wouldn’t have hired you in the first place.

Erratic Executive Functioning is the one thing that never changes with ADD, no matter how much ADDers know about ADD work-arounds or how well they understand themselves.

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Listening for Time Troubles


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

Illustration of the Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland - RUSHINGStruggles with Time
and Follow-Through

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

Most ADD/EFDers have trouble with T-I-M-E.  We run out of it, we are continually surprised by it, and we sometimes seem to be completely unaware of it.

All ADD Coaches worthy of the term must remain aware that Listening For your client’s awareness of time and their relationship to time (yes, they do have one!) almost always involves some serious sleuthing on the part of the coach!.

The Following Exercise is designed to help ADD Coaches sharpen their Listening FROM Skills

Not a coach?  That’s OK – answer the questions below for yourself.  The information will be useful to you in a Peer Coaching relationship [click HERE if you don’t have one of those].  Your functioning insights will be valuable even without an outside observer, but it might be difficult to sherlock in real time or to actuate changes.  Do it anyway.

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10 Essential ADD Coaching Concepts


by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Another article in the The ADD Coaching Skills Series

Graphic of a man with a map, sandles & a sword about to enter a maze - in the center we see the top of a brown, furry head, with hornsMore than any other client type, the ADD client knows more about what’s going on with their functioning than their coach ever will!

The trouble is:

1 – they don’t trust what they know,
2 – they don’t know how to explain their experience, and
3 – they can’t figure out (in a vacuum) what they need to DO to become intentional with attending.

As difficult as it may be to sort things out without an executive functioning crutch (that’s you!), the last thing they need is a coach who tries to coach them “by the book” – especially if that book was written by the ADD clue-free.**

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The Art and Science of the ADD Question


Don’t ask, DO tell

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

nicubunu_Broken_heartMy heart breaks when a client whose brain-style is NOT neurotypical tells me about past coaching relationships that haven’t worked out.  

I wish I could tell you that it is rare for me to hear about that sad reality, but that would not be truthful.

As I have continued to say since 1994, the truth of the matter is that coaches who don’t truly understand how to work with the ADD/EFD brain-style – even those who are well known for being highly effective with other types of clients – tend to do more harm than good with clients who have Attentional Spectrum challenges.

While I have empathy for any coach who wonders why they couldn’t be effective with any particular client, my heart shatters when I hear from clients with executive function struggles whose coaches don’t seem to wonder about their own contribution to their client’s struggles.

White cake with white icing (and a cherry on top!)ADD Coaching is not simply ADD icing on a “vanilla” cake!  

No matter how comprehensive your “vanilla” coach training, to coach ADD/EFDers (or ANY client with one of what I refer to as one of the Alphabet Disorders) you simply must Rewrite your Coaching Manual™ with an understanding of how the brain “normally” works, what’s going on when it works differently, and what’s needed to work with clients for whom that is the case.

Line drawing of a person throwing a piece of paper and a huge question mark into a trash can.What you will discover when you do is that there are standard coaching basics that won’t work AT ALL with the neurodiverse.

Never.  Nada!  No way, no how!

No matter what you’ve learned – or how well your vanilla skills work with how many bazillions of non-ADD/EFD clients . . .
you simply MUST throw them out when your client has ADD/EFD/TBI/PTSD – or any OTHER Attentional-spectrum, neuro-diverse component to their make-up.

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If the shoe doesn’t fit, don’t blame the foot!


ADDvice Gone Bad

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

How come nobody asks US?

Isn’t it amazing how many times we’ve been urged to TRY HARDER, to do life better-faster-slower-different – before anyone has really listened to what WE have to say about why it isn’t getting done in an expected fashion?

We wouldn’t dream of asking a child with poor vision to squint her way into focus, yet many of the things asked of us (and that, by extension, we expect ourselves to be able to do) are equally, ridiculously impossible.

As we work together to develop ways to help you get things done,
let’s start by distinguishing can’t from won’t.

REGARDLESS of what you hear – or have heard – from the ADD/EFD-clue-free:

As you begin working your way through this site, unless you have a solid sense of a block that is keeping a won’t in place, it will be MUCH more effective to assume that the things you say you want to accomplish but aren’t getting done are can’ts.  

If we start THERE, we can turn those can’ts into CANs.

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