Flashback: Can This ADDer Be Saved? – Part 2


Katy Moves Forward

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

This week let’s take a look at some of the background details of the story begun in Part-one of this 4-part article, posted last Monday.

Click HERE to read PART 1 of this story

This part of the story outlines the steps Katy took to locate her support structures, leading up to her decision to hire Donna as her coach. Throughout this story I will continue to use “ADD” instead of the DSM-5 “ADHD.”  Click HERE to find out why.

 

A few Coaching Results from Clients themselves found HERE

You GO Girl!

After that fateful day when Katy Nolan finally “hit the wall,” she did something that is still rather unusual in the ADD universe: she began looking for a Coach immediately.

Since she was intimately aware of every little detail of her best friend and next door neighbor Barb Sitwell’s coaching sessions, Katy knew right away that she, too, wanted that kind of help.

Those first couple of years after diagnosis had been extremely frustrating for Barb, and both women could really see the difference in Barb’s life since she and Larry could finally afford to have Barb begin working with her Coach.

Katy believed she had all the ADD-info she needed

After all, she had been listening to Barb process every step since diagnosis, and they both had seen Barb’s many challenges for years before that, even though they only recently understood the reasons behind them.

Since she and her best friend were so very different, Katy wasn’t at all convinced
that it would turn out that she herself had ADD.

Still, she liked the idea of having some kind of guide to help her step through the process, identifying and prioritizing each of her own inevitable next steps following what Barb called Katy’s recent Boggle – no matter what the reason behind it turned out to be.

Whatever was going on, she was sure she didn’t have time to agonize over how to proceed without upsetting the tenuous control she exerted over the responsibilities she was already juggling.

Unlike their friends the Sitwells, the Nolans were a two-income family. They didn’t have to wait for a raise or a promotion to be able to hire the services Katy needed and wanted, and Katy couldn’t fathom finding the time or energy to add self-education to a schedule that was already jam-packed.

But which coach?

Although she trusted Barb’s Coach Donna already, and it was obvious from her work with Barb that Donna had a lot of information about ADD under her belt, Katy was initially concerned that the sessions would take place over the telephone.

She also wondered if hiring an ADD Coach before she
knew for sure if she even had ADD might be premature.

She was dubious of any advice to hire a Coach and a therapist, and more than a little ambivalent about the possibility of medication.  Still, she was more than ready to embrace any diagnosis that would offer an explanation for her feeling that she was always swimming against the current,” swept backwards every time she missed a single stroke!

After quickly mulling it over, she decided that placing a call for an appointment to check out her considerations and assumptions with Donna might be wise.

Besides, at this point, she didn’t know what else she might try.

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Flashback: Can This ADDer be Saved?


A Tale of Two Clients – Part 1

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

In a comment communication with  mike2all on his blog ReadAfterBurnout.com, I was recently asked about my coaching.  I took his question to mean, “How does your Coaching work?”

After a relatively brief response to his question I also encouraged him to take a look at a 4-part series of articles written shortly after I first began blogging here on ADDandSoMuchMORE.com.

That got me thinking that it might be time to repost an edited version of each part of this short-story like article.  I doubt that many of my new readers in the past five or so years since these articles were originally published have seen any of them.

They are written in a “magazine conversational” style, and are each relatively quick reads. STAY TUNED for newly edited versions of the remainder of the story.

Can This ADDer be Saved?

A few brief stories of Coaching Results from Clients themselves found HERE


 

And so it begins . . .

Like many of us, Katy Nolan was a full time homemaker with a full-time job.

She adored her husband Paul, a terrific father — but not really much help around the house, meaning not really much help with anything having anything to DO with running a household, actually.

Sometimes she joked that she had three kids — Mary, her second-grader, Tom her big fourth-grader, and Paul, the baby! Fortunately, Katy was one of the most organized women anyone knew, so she managed somehow to keep the home-fires burning, despite the demands of  a high-stress job.

Most days she managed to stay on top of things, but she went to bed exhausted every night and woke up every morning dreading the day. She loved her job, her kids, her marriage, and their newly remodeled home — but deep in her heart she hated her life.

“What’s wrong with me?” she often wondered.

THE DAY THE WORLD CHANGED

The words that started Katy’s day were about the worst she could possibly imagine, “Mommy, I don’t feel very good!”

“Not today!” she complained under her breath, feeling guilty for the thought.
“Please let her be well enough to go to school today and I promise I’ll be Florence Nightingale tomorrow!”

Her upcoming week was booked solid with urgent work to-dos and a million errands related to the upcoming Easter holiday. She had taken the day off to work on an important report due Friday — without the distractions of the office.

For some reason she usually struggled to get her thoughts on paper at the office with the background of the constant ringing of the telephones and chatting of her office-mates.  She also struggled against the frequent interruptions of her new boss, the micro-manager’s micro-manager. Her recent memo about the “slippage” of the quality of Katy’s reports was scathing.

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10 Organizing Principles for the Organizationally Impaired


NOT Your Mama’s Organization

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
In support of the Challenges Inventory™ & ADD Coaching Series
my edited reposting of a five year old article

If at first you don’t succeed . . .

I know.  I’m right there with you.  You’ve read all the books and made a good stab at following their advice, and you still live in what might affectionately be called a pig stye if only it were that neat.

Give it up!

Those books were NOT written for you and me.  They were written for fundamentally organized people with relatively reliable follow-through skills and abilities.

They simply needed a little how-to help and advice.

I don’t work their way.
Do YOU work their way?

How DO you work?

If you don’t get real about how you work, you will never be able to determine what YOU need to do to to keep from spending half your life looking for things that were “right here a minute ago” — and the other half tripping over dirt and detritus.

As I began in an even earlier post (ADD & Organized?) . . .

Yea verily, even YOU can learn to be organized
just as soon as you understand
the reasons why you’ve been stopped in the past.  

Those of us who struggle with any of what are referred to as Executive Functions work a bit differently than those neurotypical folks.  We do not have vanilla-flavored brains.  We’re more like the ice cream with the mix-ins.  Our stoppers are not their stoppers.

HERE’S the KICKER: it’s a different mix of stoppers for every single one of us.  

So much for helpful hints and tidy lists!  

That said, I’m going to go w-a-a-y out on a limb by offering my top ten organizing principles that I now call, collectively, The Executive Functioning Organizing Manifesto — a summary of some basic concepts that need to be embraced and understood if you want to have a shot at working out what you need to do for YOU to be organized.

In future posts in this series, I will expand on some of the points below.
For NOW, print ’em out and hang ’em up and follow them!

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Productivity: Paying Attention on Purpose


Keeping our Attention on Intention
Accountability check-ins for purposeful follow-through

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

The Link between Attention and Intention

Many qualities and skills combine to produce successful follow-through. Today, we are going to focus on the importance of attention.

If you ever hope to stop scratching your head or beating yourself up over your struggles with staying on track and getting things done, understanding the implications of the concept of attention is foundational.

Every single technique I have developed, coached and taught over the last 25+ years has been structured with the underlying goal of strengthening  the attentional muscles – or compensating for them when they are weak.

No matter what your most frustrating problem is: clutter-management or up-front organization, making yourself start or procrastinating at the back end, time or mood management  — and a whole host of other challengesunderneath them all is a problem with attention allocation and management.

If you don’t understand how to work with yourself to focus your attention on what you want, when you want and for as long as you must, you’re going to have problems in some or all of those arenas.

So let’s get to it!

As I said in Brain Waves, Scans and ATTENTION —  One of the goals of comprehensive brain-based ADD Coaching is to identify areas where our clients can improve on the intentional direction of attentive awareness.  Nobody gets much done if they can’t focus very well on what they’re attempting to DO.

HOWEVER, without supportive follow-through structures in place, whether professional, partner or peer, the self-discipline to stay focused and in action for as long as it takes, is rare.

As our attention meanders from distraction to competing priority our willpower seems to drain away, leaving us wanting nothing so much as a vacation or a nap!

And then we turn on ourselves, beating ourselves up with negative thoughts and comments we’d never say to another living soul.

Related Posts: How to STOP Chasing your Tail
Productivity, Focus & Follow-through

How Come?

In case you missed it in Why Accountability Leads to Follow Through, it’s not that we’re lazy or lack sufficient motivation, even though many of us have been accused of exactly that, far too many times.

It’s that few of us realize that, no matter how strong our initial commitment, will-power requires cognitive bandwidth that is limited in supply. Just like a a muscle, it can only be exercised for so long – and handle so much – before it gives out.

We see the negative effects most dramatically in the citizens of Alphabet City, whose attentional “muscles” aren’t as strong to begin with. However, we can ALL use a little wind beneath our wings to help us keep on keepin’ on.

Related Post: From Impulsivity to Self-Control

Unfortunately, it becomes difficult to impossible to reach that happy state of managing our attention with intentionality until we understand what it is, exactly, that we are attempting to manage.

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Why Accountability Leads to Follow-through


Keepin’ on Keepin’ ON
Accountability check-ins for follow-through

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

Structures for Accountability

Have you ever gone on a weight loss diet?  Even if you are one of the few people in America who have no personal experience with that particular follow-though struggle, I’ll bet you are familiar with somebody else’s on again/off again attempts at “losing a few pounds and getting into shape.”

Psychologist Dan Ariely, author, professor and Duke University’s founder of The Center for Advanced Hindsight has made a comprehensive study of self-regulation abilities.

He’s noted that people can promise themselves they will stick to a plan (as with a weight-loss diet), and have all the motivation in the world (like a serious health concern, for example) but, without external controls, most people are unlikely to follow through on their commitments to themselves.

Why else do you think so many people trying to lose weight turn to Weight Watchers and other organizations that use an accountability/motivational check-in format?

Related Post: Productivity, Focus & Follow-through

Without support and check-in structures in place, having the self-discipline to follow through for as long as it takes is rare.

  • Haven’t you noticed that you have a better shot at staying on task when someone is watching?
  • Didn’t you study more diligently when you knew a test was coming up?
  • When your follow-through energy begins to flag and you start to get discouraged, doesn’t having somebody in your corner who reminds you of how well you’ve been doing make a difference?
  • When your will-power wilts, doesn’t it help to have a champion in your corner?

It’s not that we’re lazy or lack motivation — it’s that we don’t realize that no matter how strong our initial commitment, will-power requires cognitive bandwidth that is limited in supply.

Just like a a muscle, it can only be exercised for so long – and handle so much – before it gives out.  We need a little wind beneath our wings to help us keep on keepin’ on.

Related Post: Can This ADDer be Saved?

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Getting along when only ONE of you has ADD/EFD


When you love someone who seems to respond in non-loving ways
Adjusting expectations of HOW to get to WHAT

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

She is so selfish;
He never listens;
It’s like s/he disobeys deliberately!
At this point s/he’s just making excuses.

The blind leading the blind?

Whether you are a parent, a partner or a teacher of someone with Executive Functioning challenges, unless you truly understand the parameters of the problem you are, essentially, “blind” about how to interact with them to get what you want from the relationship.

And they are, essentially, “blind” to your expectations and why you are so frustrated when they don’t measure up to your standards.

Related Post: Executive Functioning Disorders – NOT just kid stuff

The hallmark symptoms of Executive Functioning Disorders (of which ADD/HD is only one) negatively impact what I refer to as attentional mechanisms. That can show up a number of ways in day-to-day behavior, but the symptoms that seem to be the most frustrating — the ones I hear about most often — include inattentiveness or forgetfulness, difficulty completing tasks, and impulsivity.

Related Posts: Symptoms of Attentional Struggles
Types of Attentional Deficits

How ADD/EFD Affects Relationships

Alone or in combination, each of the hallmark symptoms can have a devastating impact on relationships. When responsibility for children are part of the puzzle, these issues become all the more complex.

Without the appropriate diagnosis and treatment, ANY of the implications of Executive Functioning struggles can destroy marriages and other relationships — needlessly.

Below are only some of the problems that have been reported to me most often when partners, children or students have Executive Functioning issues, interfering with their ability to direct attention at will.

  • Seeming inability to handle responsibilities
    Forgetting to turn in completed assignments, pay bills or put a toxic substance away from the reach of children, neglecting to clear debris or mend a hole in the fence that keeps the family dog from running into the street are only a few of the many complaints I have heard over the years.
  • Difficulty listening and paying attention
    Many tend to “zone out,” interrupt and talk out of turn, making communication a struggle for both of you. It can also cause the “vanilla” partner to feel as though what s/he has to say isn’t valued or important to the “EFD flavored” partner.
  • Trouble remembering promises & completing tasks
    Thanks to glitches in the short-term to long-term memory circuit, problems with Executive Functioning regulation frequently lead to forgetfulness, which usually shows up as poor organizational skills like: missing important events like birthdays and anniversaries, or repeatedly forgetting to stop at the store on the way home to purchase the ingredients for that very night’s dinner. What may look like a lack of willingness to do what they say they would do (or to finish what they start) may translate into an apparent lack of commitment when it comes to jobs as well as relationships.
  • Impulsive behavior
    Attempts to wake up a sluggish brain often leads to a craving for stimulation. With little attention to thinking through the consequences of their actions, this can result in irresponsible, even reckless behaviors (from experimenting with drugs to speeding and jumping from lane to lane despite the fact that there are children in the car).
  • Emotional volatility
    They may seem to simmer with chronic low-grade irritability, or temper tantrums may flair over things that seem inconsequential to you, leading to harsh words and major misunderstandings. Arguments can quickly spiral out of control because the person with “the problem” seems unable to talk through issues calmly.  The truth is that conversational hot buttons are being pushed on both sides, inadvertently instigated by a frustrated “vanilla” partner.

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Peer Coaching: What kind do YOU want?


What IS Peer Coaching
and how can it help YOU?

It depends on who you ask

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

Source: FreeClipArt.net

Peer Coaching vs. Professional Coaching

The most obvious difference is the fee: Peer Coaching doesn’t have one.  It is also about the only difference with which everybody agrees – besides the importance of confidentiality.

Before I tell you about the brain-based, life-basics type — the kind that helps most of us struggling with Executive Functioning keep our lives in balance, juggling all of the pieces that have to stay in place (but rarely DO) — let’s take a quick look at some other types of “Peer Coaching.”

What other types?

There are probably as great a number of different interpretations of Peer Coaching and the benefits of working with a Peer Coach as there are types of coaching.

  • Businesses and Business Coaches tend to see Peer Coaching more on the order of mentoring.
  • Educational Institutes see it closer to tutoring when students are involved, and teaching skills mentoring and curriculum development when two educators work with each other.
  • Many Coach Training institutes pair the students, but a great part of their time together is spent discussing their curriculum.

A quick search on Google brought up the following definition from the ASD site:

Peer coaching is a confidential process through which two or more professional colleagues work together to reflect on current practices; expand, refine, and build new skills; share ideas; teach one another; conduct classroom research; or solve problems in the workplace.

I Beg to Differ!

Jumpin’ on the Bandwagonfound HERE

As new disciplines become popular, people tend to jump on the bandwagon.

As a result, identical terms become bandied about in a variety of other situations, to take advantage of the marketing advantage of piggy-backing on the popularity of certain terms.

The meanings of those terms change with each new application – just like that old “whisper a word in the next person’s ear” game of Telephone that children used to play.

That first happened with coaching itself.

  • 25 years ago, those of us who were the pioneers of the Personal and Professional Coaching field spent hour upon non-billable hour coming up with a clear definition of the emerging field of Coaching that distinguished it from any other discipline, along with a set of core competencies, a professional code of ethics and standards, and a certification body.
  • Despite that fact, once Coaching received a certain level of awareness in the mind of the public, all sorts of environments began to boast that they offered “coaching” – skilled or unskilled – and no matter what they meant by the term.
  • Within a decade, the term Peer Coaching was similarly co-opted, as each different environment came up with their own particular idea of the meaning of the term.

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Gotta’ love the DSM-5 — NOT?


dsm5-apaRead it and Weep or
Work Around It?

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

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

I have written this article for ADD Coaches, ADD Professionals, and ADDults who are struggling to find a knowledgeable doctor.

I have none of those highly revered statistics to cite, but I believe it is safe to say that the fifth full revision of the DSM (the first significant update in almost twenty years) . . .

  • is the least popular
  • with the greatest number of advocates
  • for the greatest number of disorders and conditions
  • in the history of the DSM!

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A lever for when you are REALLY stuck


Keeping on Keeping ON it

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
An article in the Org&Task Series

ReadTree“Having come to the conclusion that there was
so much to do that she
didn’t know where to start,
Mrs Fowler decided not to start at all.

She went to the library,
took Diary of a Nobody from the shelves and,
returning to her wicker chair under the lime tree,
settled down to waste what precious hours
still remained of the day.”

~ Richmal Crompton, Family Roundabout

The secret of getting ahead is getting started.
~ Mark Twain

Ay, there’s the rub!

Have you ever had a day – or a series of days – when you simply couldn’t seem to get started doing much of anything?

CLICK HERE for an article on Activation that will help you begin to understand that dynamic.

The article below will give you something to try that might actually get you going.

It works for me most of the time, anyway.  I call it The Backwards To-Do List. 

But first, let’s talk for a minute about the downside of goals and goal-setting.

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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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Organization & Task Completion


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

Investigating the link between
Organization and Task Completion

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
An article in the Org&Task Series
In support of The Challenges Inventory ™ Series

It’s no good running a pig farm badly for 30 years while saying,
‘Really, I was meant to be a ballet dancer.’
By then, pigs will be your style.
 ~ Quentin Crisp

graphic thanks to Phillip Martin, artist/educator

Happy Brand New Year!

Hey – last January – did you make any Resolutions for the upcoming year?

Or are you someone who is more comfortable Setting Intentions, making a Vision Board, or coming up with a list of S.M.A.R.T. Goals to live into?

Maybe you’re a real go-getter who does all four!

So let me ask you the Dr. Phil question:
How’s that workin’ for you?

What’s your success ratio?

Did you lose the weight, get in shape, stop smoking, finish your degree, clean out the garage . . . or any of the other things you hoped to complete in the years that came before this one? (um . . . like “Get ADDCoach.com redesigned and up and running again,” Madelyn? And, oh yeah, those books you keep meaning to get published?)

Like me, is Déjà Vu all over again the best description of many of the items from your yearly resolution ritual?

Or are you one of the many who have given up and given in, convinced of the futility of making resolutions you never complete anyway?

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Ten ADD Organizing Principles


NOT Your Mama’s Organization

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
In support of the Challenges Inventory™ & ADD Coaching Series

As I began in an earlier post (ADD & Organized?) . . .

Yes, even YOU can learn to be organized —
JUST AS SOON AS YOU UNDERSTAND
the REASONS why you’ve been stopped in the past.  

HERE’S the KICKER: it’s a different mix of stoppers for every single one of us.  

If you don’t understand how YOU work, you’ll never be able to determine what YOU need to do to to keep from spending half your life looking for things that were “right here a minute ago” — and the other half tripping over dirt and detritus.

So much for helpful hints and tidy lists!  

That said, I’m going to go w-a-a-y out on a limb by offering ten ADD organizing principles that I call, collectively, The ADD Organizaing Manifesto — a summary of some basic concepts that need to be embraced and understood if you want to have a shot at working out what YOU need to do for YOU to be organized.

In future posts in this series, I’ll expand on some of the points below.
For NOW, print ’em out and hang ’em up!

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Avoiding Re-Boggle


Re-Entry

Excerpted from my upcoming Boggle Book ©Madelyn Grifith-Haynie-all rights reserved.

The only thing worse than Boggle
is re-Boggle.

Have you ever noticed that when things go wrong first thing in the morning, they seem to continue on a downward trajectory all day? That’s because your brain is “primed” to respond to situations that match your prior experience.

We’ll talk more about that in a minute, but for now, I want you to memorize the following sentence:

Once your system is “sensitized,”
it takes increasingly less stimulation to activate it.

So let’s talk about how to DE-sensitize it.

As you read in the article on the TBZ, after a relatively short period of time, once you have removed yourself from the possibility of continued over-stimulation, you will notice that you are calm enough to think about leaving your Temporary Boggle Zone (or your perfectly designed Boggle Space, if you’ve given yourself that gift while you’ve been reading this series over the past few months).

Boggle Technique has helped enough to enable your “real” self to peek tentatively out from behind the banshee clone that took over your body just moments ago — because you removed yourself from the environment where you became over-stimulated.

Relatively quickly, you will begin to notice that you are bored, or that you feelling a bit silly, or that you are eager to do anything except continued breathing and affirming.

When you reach that point, you are ready to begin to think about the situation that caused the Boggle in the first place.

  • If you feel any twinges of re-Boggle as you replay the scenario, go back to square breathing.
  • Only when you can focus calmly on the activity that precipitated your retreat are you ready to even begin to think about re-entry.

Don’t leave yet.

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Boggle Bait


Phillip Martin artwork – THANKS!

Panoramic

Excerpted from my upcoming Boggle Book ©Madelyn Grifith-Haynie-all rights reserved.

Understanding Boggle Build-up

In the last section, Anticipating Boggle, you began to pay attention to the unique way that YOU build to the Boggle point, and you began to capture your personal triggers in real time.

Continue what you’ve been doing for the rest of the month, with the addition of a few more lists that will give you the perspective of specialized cycles.

That Time of the Month

Every one of us has regular dips in functioning, male or female, ADD or non. Your biological rhythms are not constant. They are, however, predictable, given close enough attention.

Have you ever taken the time to observe those times of the month when things go well, as well as those times of the month when they do not?

  • Do your eating patterns change during this period?
  • How about your sleep habits?
  • What ELSE is different?
  • How does that affect your functioning?

Write down anything you can recall from memory, and begin to pay attention to the changes through the cycle of a month as you continue to track your day-to-day Boggle triggers.

Anticipating Boggle


Jaws Music

Excerpted from my upcoming Boggle Book ©Madelyn Grifith-Haynie-all rights reserved.

All artwork on this page: courtesy of Phillip Martin

Remember the movie about the great hunt for the killer shark that turned a formerly peaceful resort town a living nightmare?

Remember the gradually building staccato music that warned the audience that something terrible was about to happen?

Not only did that musical build-up fail to make it any less startling when those great jaws suddenly loomed into view, it actually heightened the sense of anxiety and impending doom, making the appearance of that shark all the more frightening.

By the midpoint of the movie, people were squirming in their seats and holding their hands up ready to cover their faces with nothing more than the music itself, even when the visual was seemingly placid.

That Jaws music meant something dreadful was just about to happen.  The viewers had become sensitized to expect the worst from the first few notes of the theme.

Guess what? You have your own internal version of Jaws music sensitizing you to expect the worst as well.

You probably don’t consciously realize that you are poised for Boggle from the first moment that one of your early Boggle triggers is activated, but you certainly do experience a mounting sense of anxiety and dread in your body.

Just like our cave-forefather Og’s body was preparing to run like the wind from the moment he saw that first sabre tooth tiger on the horizon, you are now on high alert, fearful of what is likely to happen next unless that “Jaws music” STOPS.

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Boggle: Cooperation & Support


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 more info

Dealing with Others

Excerpted from my upcoming Boggle Book ©Madelyn Grifith-Haynie-all rights reserved.

Reasonable Accommodations

Whether you have been doing the work or not, simply by reading the articles in the Boggle series, you have begun the process of taking responsibility for your ADD in some brand new ways.

Congratulations.

A major tool is the Boggle Space. Are you ready to add it to your toolchest?

My partner will have a fit if I try to claim a space all my own.

Let’s face it — in order to set up a Boggle Space that will work for us, we will be asking for some accommodations from our loved ones.

But aren’t we already? 

Living with a loved one with ADD places a lot of demands on the rest of the family.

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you don’t want to ask for one more thing. What you are requesting is an accommodation that will lessen the other demands your ADD will place upon everyone in your life.

You do have to find a way to initiate the conversation, however, and that can be daunting, I know.

The steps of the following communication technique have been useful for some of my clients.  Adapt the language to your personal style.  Combine steps, if it makes more sense to you, but make sure you don’t skip any of the steps in the process.

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Boggle: To Design is to Decide


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 more info

Onward and Upward

Excerpted from my upcoming Boggle Book ©Madelyn Grifith-Haynie-all rights reserved.

Now you are ready to design
your Boggle Space.

Re-read through the lists you have created (in that notebook I hope you took the time to create).

We want to work with externally stored information that will allow you to work with minimal decision anxiety.  

Remind yourself what is soothing to you and what you definitely do not want around.

Don’t wait to decide at the moment you are faced with the objects in the space.

  • Deciding is one of those pre-frontal cortex stressers.
  • The farther away from the actual experience, the easier the decision.

Have you ever noticed how much easier it is to pack for a trip with a list?  That’s because you separated the process of deciding from the actual handling of clothing.  If you try to decide on the spot, ad hoc, you will have a much tougher time.  The further the decision from the action, the easier the action.

Prelude to disaster – clearing cobwebs

As I said at the end of the last article, before you go back to designing your Boggle Space, we need to clear away possible mental roadblocks to keep you from cheating yourself out of the success that you deserve.

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Boggle: The TBZ


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The Temporary Boggle Zone

Excerpted from my upcoming Boggle Book ©Madelyn Grifith-Haynie-all rights reserved.

There is no reason to go another day without a Boggle Space.

While you are preparing your very own Boggle Space, there will be many times when you will need a place to go NOW.

When those times arise, the Temporary Boggle Zone, is command central: the TBZ.

Where is the neatest corner of your living space — out of the normal traffic patterns of your household?

It also needs to be a place other than the Boggle Space you are designing for yourself. If it is behind a door you can close (and lock!), so much the better.

Claim it as your own. 

For now, place a chair in that out of the way corner – facing the corner, if need be — somewhere, somehow you will not be able to see looming reminders of anything you need to handle.

Explain to the people you live with that you are developing a system to deal with ADD and emotional reactivity, and that you need their help.

Whenever you go to your Boggle Space, they must leave you totally alone until you “come out” — they can ask you no questions and you will be taking no phone calls.

The only emergencies you will even consider must involve bloodshed,
fire or flood.

Other Ways to Get it Done

Some clients have used a second bathroom for a TBZ so that they could avoid having to “train the family” or deal with the teasing that would probably follow in the early stages of the process.

That method would never work for me because the bathroom is one of those rooms that seems to always need some kind of attention and I don’t find the reminder of that fact particularly soothing.

The only rule here is that you must find a place that you can use as a TBZ immediately. You are going to need it sooner than you think. And the sooner you learn to use Boggle tactics the easier your life will be.

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Coaching Tips For Parents Of LD & ADD/HD Children


Artwork courtesy of Phillip Martin

Playing on the SAME Team
Guest blogger: Dr. Steven Richfield

A parent writes:
Both our son and daughter struggle with learning disabilities and Attention Deficit Disorder.

As they struggle so do my husband and I. Communication breaks down into arguments, problems arise in school and among peers, and we are often unsure of how to handle their emotional ups and downs. Any suggestions?

Children with LD and ADD/ADHD present unique challenges and rewards to parents. The vulnerability of a fragile ego, the unthinking behaviors rooted in impulsivity, or the steep decline of emotional meltdowns, can render even the most patient parent looking for tools and techniques to manage their child’s unpredictable behaviors.

These scenarios fall under the heading of what I have come to call the “Now, what do I do?” syndrome. It is a question echoing through the minds of all parents at one time or another.

As a child psychologist who trains parents who regularly witness these scenarios, I help empower parents with tools and tips to manage the emotional and social currents of ADHD and LD children.

Here are some to consider:

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TaskMaster – Getting Things DONE!


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by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Part One of the TaskMaster™ Series

Taming Training 101

You are about to learn to become your own Task Master.

Nooooo – I don’t mean standing with a chair and a whip, caging the beast that is YOU.

The TASKS must be trained.  They need to be tamed so they’ll work the way YOU need them to work.

Task taming is a multi-stepped process:

•  Tasks must be trained initially, then
•  Revisited and re-trained every time you learn something new about what you really need.

Let me guess . . . at this point, ALL you know about what you really need is that whatever others tell you to do doesn’t seem to work for YOU, right?

I’m about to let you in on an important ADD secret that many of us had to learn about the hard way. Shhhhhhhh!

At least 80% of what others have been telling you wasn’t designed to work for you!

  • It was actually intended to chastise you for not ALREADY knowing how to make it work, and
  • to get you to stop looking to others for help (especially them!)

Really! And I’ll bet it worked just as designed.

Think about it. Didn’t you feel thoroughly chastised, tongue-tied about what to say next, and reluctant to ask for help the next time?

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Surviving Beloved’s ADD


Ten Tips when the ADD/EFD is Beloved’s

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

As you read the article below, don’t get hung up on the use of “ADD” as the diagnostic handle. I use it to refer to the ATTENTIONAL struggles common among all of the Executive Functioning Disorders.  The article will also be helpful if your Beloved’s “handle” is TBI, EFD, OCD, or any of what I refer to as the Alphabet Disorders.

As I mentioned in the first article of the Beloved Series, I get a lot of differently phrased questions from spouses that, essentially, all boil down to the same thing:

How do I deal with ADD
when it’s not my ADD?

Great question!  Relationships are tough enough without additional complications.

Throw in a little ADD for-better-or-for-worse, and it starts looking like a promise you might just have to break.

Toward the end of When Beloved Has ADD, I encouraged you to believe that  ALL the relationship goodies are beyond that “wall” of “I can’t deal with this another minute!” – as is your own inner healing, the need for which is bringing everything to the surface in this manner.

That’s cold comfort when somebody else’s ADD repeatedly complicates your dream of riding off into the sunset together, happily ever after.

The relationship you dreamed of is still there – behind that wall of pain, rejection & reaction. As awful as it feels, there is a shiny silver lining to this blackest of clouds, whether you work it out with this Beloved or not.

MEANWHILE, this section will give you Ten Tips designed to help immediately. Don’t worry – your needs won’t get overlooked, and CAN’T get overlooked, but I can’t do much to help there in ten quick suggestions.

If you want some immediate relief to avoid damaging your relationship beyond repair while we’re working on how to change dynamics on the home-front, try one or all of the tips below.

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When Beloved Has ADD


HOW COME I’m the only grown-up
in this relationship?

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

Another adorable Phillip Martin graphic.

I get a lot of differently phrased questions from spouses and partners that, essentially, all boil down to the a similar frustration:

How do I deal with ADD
when it’s not my ADD?

Their words are different, their issues are slightly different, and their frustration levels can be anywhere from hopelessness, to exasperation, to panic, to RAGE.

When posted on one of the ADD bulletin boards I try to support, there is usually embarrassment tinged with a light sprinkling of shame in the tone of their posts – as if they should be able to figure it all out without help or information.  So THAT’s a good place to start here.

Your FIRST task is to stop being so hard on yourself –– for your frustrations OR for posting them on “ADD sites.”  I promise you that those sites are are frequented by a lot of other spouses desperate for information before they commit Hari Kari – or worse!

Most people, myself included, admire your willingness to use that safety valve and the honesty with which you post your frustrations.  It IS frustrating to be “forced” to deal with an Executive Functioning Disorder as confusing as ADD/EFD, especially when it isn’t even your own!

One of the things I always need to remind the ADD half in couples coaching is that the non-ADDers deserve extra credit for sticking around rather than running away screaming!  Being pre-frontal cortex backup is NOT an appropriate part of the “standard” deal.

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Can This ADDer Be Saved? – Part 4


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Finding the Right ADD Coach for YOU
— Ten Points from Katy 

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

*”Katy,” “Barb,” and the details of this story are a composite of the process and progress of several ADDers working with the author, to honor the confidentiality of the client/coach alignment and to better illustrate a sense of the ADD Coaching process.
————————————————————————————————————–

 Click HERE to read PART 3 :” Katy’s Coaching Notebook
(links to ALL below)

Hyper-organized, list-makin’ Katy suggests you make SURE you can answer yes to each of the following ten points as you interview coaches to work with your own precious life.

(“Life is where you find it” Barb says, “Interview, schminterview, go with your gut!”).

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Can This ADDer Be Saved? – Part 3


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Keeping Track to Focus Energy

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


*”Katy,” “Barb,” “Donna,” and the details of this story are a composite of the process and progress of several ADDers working with the author, to honor the confidentiality of the client/coach alignment and to better illustrate a sense of the ADD Coaching process.
——————————————————————————

As you learned in Part-2, Katy did something that is still rather unusual in the ADD world:

She called an ADD Coach immediately.

Katy had already learned a lot about ADD listening to her best friend Barb’s process since her diagnosis.  She just never imagined that any of her own struggles might be ADD-related.

She and Barb were so different.  SHE had always been so in-control and competent! Barb had always been the maverick — a free-wheeling spirit who never seemed to get it all together.

Still, the more Barb talked, that fateful day in the kitchen, the more she could see how similar differences might have different presentations.

Besides, Katy was sick and tired of being sick and tired, and was desperate for explanations, even though she was half afraid she would discover there were no answers.

If it worked for Barb . . .

Katy could really see the difference in Barb since she started working with her ADD Coach Donna.  Not only had Barb learned a great deal more about ADD, she was finally doing something other than dreaming about becoming a professional photographer – something Katy knew had been Barb’s dream goal since the two best-friends first met.

Donna helped Barb figure out what it would take, and then coached her through each of the steps on her road.

Barb hadn’t found her dream job yet, and she certainly isn’t pulling in a six-figure salary, but some of her photos were beginning to show up in print somewhere besides her basement studio.

Katy wanted the kind of focused guidance Barb had received prioritizing her inevitable next steps, without upsetting the tenuous control she exerted over the responsibilities she was juggling already.

Tracking in her Coaching Notebook

Donna, Katy’s ADD Coach (as well as Barb’s), requests that each of her clients immediately set up a coaching notebook: a three ringed binder with tabbed dividers, where they can securely “file” everything coaching-related in one easy-to-locate, easy-to-update, easy-to-grab location.

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Can This ADDer Be Saved? – Part 2


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Katy Hires an ADD Coach

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

*”Katy,” “Barb,” “Donna” and the details of this story are a composite of the process and progress of several ADDers working with the author, to honor the confidentiality of the client/coach alignment and to better illustrate a sense of the ADD Coaching process.
———————————————————————————————

 Click HERE to read PART 1 of this story

You GO Girl!

After that fateful day when Katy finally “hit the wall,” she did something that is still rather unusual in the ADD world: she began looking for an ADD Coach immediately.

She had already learned a lot about ADD since her best friend Barb’s diagnosis, listening to her process her growth as well as her frustrations.  She could really see the difference since Barb started working with her Coach.

Katy knew right away that she, too, wanted help identifying and prioritizing each of the inevitable next steps.  She didn’t have time to agonize over how to proceed without upsetting the tenuous control she exerted over the responsibilities she was already juggling.

But which coach?

Although she liked Barb’s Coach Donna immediately, felt she could trust her, and could tell that Donna had a lot of information about ADD, she was initially concerned that the sessions would take place over the telephone.

Katy was also dubious that she needed a Coach and a therapist, and more than a little ambivalent about the possibility of medication — even though she was ready to embrace any diagnosis that would offer an explanation for her feeling that she was always “swimming against the current, swept backwards every time she missed a single stroke!”

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Can This ADDer be Saved?


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A Coaching Story – Part 1

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

*”Katy,” “Barb,” “Donna” and the details of this story are a composite of the process and progress of several ADDers working with the author, to honor the confidentiality of the client/coach alignment and to better illustrate a sense of the ADD Coaching process.
—————————————————————————————- 

Like many of us, Katy Nolan was a full time homemaker with a full-time job.

She adored her husband Paul, a terrific father — but not really much help around the house: not really much help with anything having anything to DO with running a household, actually.

Sometimes she joked that she had three kids — Mary, her second-grader, Tom her big fourth-grader, and Paul, the baby! Fortunately, Katy was one of the most organized women anyone knew, so she managed somehow to keep the homefires burning along with the demands of  a high-stress job.

Most days she felt on top of things, but she went to bed exhausted every night and woke up every morning dreading the day.  She loved her job, her kids, her marriage, and their newly remodeled home — but deep in her heart she hated her life.

“What’s wrong with me?” she often wondered.

THE DAY THE WORLD CHANGED

The words that started Katy’s day were about the worst she could possibly imagine, “Mommy, I don’t feel very good!”

“Not today!” she complained under her breath, feeling guilty for the thought.
“Please let her be well enough to go to school today and I promise I’ll be Florence Nightingale tomorrow!”

Her upcoming week was booked solid with urgent work to-dos and a million errands related to the upcoming Easter holiday. She had taken the day off to work on an important report due Friday — without the distractions of the office.

For some reason, she just couldn’t manage to get her thoughts on paper with the constant ringing of the telephone and chatting of her office-mates, along with the frequent interruptions of her new boss, the micro-manager’s micro-manager. Her recent memo about the “slippage” of the quality of Katy’s reports was scathing.

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Trusting YOUR Instincts about FIT – Part 4


You CAN Trust Your Instincts

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
The fourth article in the 5-part Coaching Fit Series

Listen with an Open Heart and an Open Mind

Listen to the coaches you interview with an open mind.  Expect them each to have certain procedures and standards you will be requested  to agree to follow if you coach with them.

A coach for whom “anything goes” will probably not be the best coach for you in the long run.  Listen to why they feel their procedures are important and what they are designed to accomplish.

THEN listen to your heart and instincts. 

Although NO relationship with another will ever be “perfect,” keep looking until you find a situation you can relax into, *especially* if you get the sense that you are being talked into something you’re not sure you want.

Don’t forget that you don’t have to be *right* about your instincts to keep looking. 

It’s enough that you don’t *feel* right.  Part of the process of coaching involves getting in touch with the truth of the fact that you CAN trust your instincts and that you CAN trust another to listen to some of the “dumb” things you do without making you feel, well, DUMB.

Nowhere is trusting your instincts more important than in the process of selecting a coach you will be trusting with your LIFE! 

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Coaches, Dentists, and FIT – Part 3


Coaches, Dentists, and FIT

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
The third article in the 5-part Coaching Fit Series

Every Coach is Unique

No two coaches will work in exactly the same way —

just as each dentist goes about things
a bit differently from the rest of his colleagues,

and just as there are specializations
within the field of dentistry.

For example:

  • Not all dentists are qualified to do root canals.
  • Some don’t specialize in them, so haven’t performed
    very many as a result.
  • For some, root canals are a practice focus.
  • Still others do root canals for other dentists.

I know which ones I’d interview about doing MY root canal!

What does THAT have to do with ADD Coaching?

ADD Coaching is a specialized skill requiring a LOT of knowledge beyond the basic coaching skill set.

If you are dealing with ADD, make *sure* any coach you hire is an ADD COACH, not just “a coach who knows about ADD” —

and certainly not a coach who knows little to NOTHING about ADD! 

  • The difference between an ADD Coach and any other kind is specialized training in Attentional Spectrum issues.
  • There IS no FIT if your coach knows little more about ADD than YOU do!

THEN you want to find the “right” ADD Coach.  You’ll check out their training, knowledge, and experience of course, but the main thing that will make a particular coach right for YOU is what we call “fit” in the coaching world.

The right fit will make all the difference.

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Shopper’s Syndrome and FIT – Part 2 of a Series


Fit-based Coaching 

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
The 2nd article in the 5-part Coaching Fit Series

Finding the RIGHT Coach for you

Dear Madelyn,

There is a lot of talk right now about how
important finding the right coach can be
to an ADDer’s overall success. 

How will I know what to look for?

And how will I be able to tell when
I’ve found the right coach?

Thanks,

 J.R. (Cleveland)

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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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