Overcoming the bad to get to the GOOD



The Power of Positive Thinking
Moving past WHAT & WHY to get to HOW

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
In the Executive Functioning Series

Memory and Energy Management

Visiting a few blogs as I begin to populate a brand new Pinterest Board [Our TBR Lists], I clicked over to add one of  D.G. Kaye’s books, “Words We Carry.”  (Some of you may already know that D.G. Kaye is the name under which blogger Debby Gies pens her many books)

I jumped over to read and “like” a few reviews on the Amazon site for this book, and my eyes took note of something that read like what is often referred to as the publisher’s blurb.

Sharing her journey toward overcoming the demons of low self-esteem with the determination to learn to love herself, Kaye’s book allows us to see clearly how hurtful events in our lives can linger, and set the tone for our lives.

I was instantly reminded of an article I posted over three years ago now, on a topic I believe it’s time to revisit: our tendency to collect and carry every stick and stone that has ever broken our bones.  [Are we hard-wired to focus on the bad news?].

I began that article with a question that I think is an important one:
“How come the bad stuff sticks and the good stuff fades??” 

On the way to answering that question I asked another, in response to a comment from one of my virtual friends, essentially this:

I have lived 365 days times my years on this earth.
They can’t all be keepers — and this one wasn’t.

While that’s a wonderful lens through which to look at our occasional experiences of one of those days,  my brain immediately popped in another question:

Why CAN’T all the days be keepers?

I mean, why don’t we just filter out the crummy parts and file away what was good about the day so that ALL of our memories are pleasant and uplifting?

I’m aware, I went on to say, that Pollyanna isn’t exactly everybody’s idea of their favorite role model, but WHY NOT?

I believe I did a good job explaining why our brains tend to hang on to the “warnings” – a memory technique that was extremely pro-survival.

It’s helpful to understand why whenever we are agonizing over yet another of those negative thoughts inspired by some of our earliest experiences.

However, I don’t believe that it is exactly pro-LIFE to allow our brain to continue to have its way with us – especially when we can retrain it.

Life-lessons from my clients

As I continue to say, my clients bring more than a few “juggling struggles” to their coaching calls. They frequently call for their appointments with resolve and hope tarnished by the latest disaster . . . which reminds them of an earlier one, and off we go.

We spend the session in another way entirely, as I practically drag them over to reliving their successes. They hang up with a much better view of themselves — one that empowers them to “get back on the horse” to gallop full speed ahead once more — until the next time something stops them cold and we revisit the process.

We all do it until we train ourselves not to.
And those “positivity” reminders don’t help until we do.
Wrong technique.

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Reaching the Boiling Point


We still have some time
but we have to act – NOW

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Reflections from the Executive Functioning Series

The content I am revisiting is an edited & condensed version of
probably the most important information I have ever shared
(in over 500 information-dense articles).
It applies to every single person living.
I hope those of you who missed it on Monday will
take the time to read it all this weekend – and tell your friends.

ABOUT Boiling Frog Syndrome

In a recently posted article from the Executive Functioning Series [How well do you REALLY function?], I explored the tendency to accommodate an accumulation of difficulties until we are struggling to cope and practically desperate — whenever things decline gradually.

UNFORTUNATELY …

The water temperature is perilously close to reaching the boiling point where global health is concerned.

We are ALL likely to be cooked to death if we don’t act together to turn down the heat – no matter how young or old we are currently.

According to U.S. statistics, in 1960 5% of the GDP** was spent on health care.

By 2010, that figure had increased to 18%
  over three and a half times higher —
and continues to increase.

It is projected that by the year 2040 — unless things change significantly — over 40% of the gross GDP** of the US alone will go into health care.

~~~~~~~~~~
**GDP [Gross Domestic Product] is the total value of everything produced by all the
individuals, companies and corporations in a country, citizen and foreign-owned alike.
It is considered to be the best way to measure the state of a country’s economy.

This is obviously a problem we cannot possibly afford

An unusually large portion of our health expenditures come as a result of the chronic, progressive “diseases of old age” — that become exponentially more prevalent the longer we live, and that become increasingly more expensive to manage (vs. cure, since we currently don’t have ways to cure them).

Yet we currently dedicate only a fraction of 1% of our biomedical research budget to the basic biology of aging — and millions of dollars of budget cuts are currently in the planning stages in the US alone.

DAUNTING Statistics Already

100,000 people die of old age-related illnesses every single day.  That’s over THIRTY World Trade Towers, by the way, just to put it in context.

Every single day.

Frailty alone kills 6-7% of the population and leads to many of the other debilitating diseases which increase dramatically in the over-45 population (yes, forty-five!)

The bad news is that if we live long enough — without a drastic change in how we approach health-science research — most of us WILL be challenged by one or more of the debilitating and costly degenerative illnesses.

Getting rapidly worse

According to the UN, the population of elderly human beings is the fastest growing around the world, and the number of elderly people by 2050 will be close to 2 BILLION.

MOST of us reading will be among them – any of us who have not already succumbed to one of the diseases of aging, that is.

We need to turn things around – NOW!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
By the year 2020 – in the entire world – there will be more people over 65 than under 5 years of age. As the 5 year olds enter the workforce, those who are now 65 become 75 and 85 and begin to become terminally ill.

We won’t have enough people on the planet
to afford this ailing and aging population.

By overcoming the diseases of aging, we can literally save trillions of dollars
— along with millions of lives that are now doomed to suffer as they die.

~ ‪Liz Parrish, CEO of BioViva Sciences USA – Human of the Future‬ (video)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Most of us are suffering from Boiling Frog Syndrome over the issue of healthy aging, refusing to give it the consideration it merits.

That manifests in our lack of willingness to advocate aggressively for resources to address the many challenges of aging that the clear majority of us WILL face before we die.

Our most important health-related goal needs to be applying our resources to solve the global challenge of remaining as healthy as possible for as long as possible – for as many people as possible.

“One of the biggest frustrations for me in my work is that old people don’t complain enough about how GRIM it is to be old — and if they did, maybe something more would be done about it.” ~ biomedical gerontologist ‪Dr. Aubrey de Grey‬.

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Executive Functioning & Diseases of Aging


A Humanitarian Problem
short-sighted at best – unconscionable at worst

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

This might be the most important post I have ever written
(out of 500+ information-dense articles).
It applies to every single one of us,
so I hope you will take the time to read it all.

A tragic implication of Boiling Frog Syndrome

As I began in an article as part of the Executive Functioning Series, two Mondays ago [How well do you REALLY function?], when things decline gradually we tend to accommodate the accumulation of difficulties until we are struggling to cope and practically desperate for help.

Before I continue with a Series of articles designed to describe and discuss EF struggles, what’s involved, and explain what you can do to mitigate the effects (before, during and after they develop), I want to take just a bit of a side trip to talk about something that WILL affect ALL of us, one way or another — unless, of course, something worse gets us first.

EF challenges as the result of AGING

According to a biomedical gerontologist ‪Dr. Aubrey de Grey‬, what we consider and accept as “normal” aging is far more complex than the accumulation of an increasing number of birthdays — that is, chronological aging.

Biological aging is a different matter entirely, and that is what his organization studies and believes they will be able to impact positively.

Biological aging is what causes the greatest number of functional problems in brain and body, responsible for cognitive struggles as well as the pain and suffering of the degenerative diseases of aging.

So remember that when researchers like de Grey talk about “reversing” aging with restoration therapies, healthy aging is the focus of their desire. Looking and feeling younger for an extended life-span is a beneficial side-effect.

Dr. Aubrey de Grey redefines Aging

“Aging is the life-long accumulation of ‘damage’ to the body that occurs as intrinsic side-effects of the body’s normal operation.  The body can tolerate some damage, but too much of it causes disease and disability.”

DAMAGE: changes in structure and composition that the body cannot – or can no longer – automatically reverse.

Dr. de Grey is the Cambridge educated co-founder and Chief Science Officer of SENS Research Foundation, dedicated to exploring and combating the aging process, a 501(c)(3) public charity that is transforming the way the world researches and treats age-related disease.

Dr. de Grey is also the Editor in Chief of Rejuvenation Research, a bimonthly peer-reviewed scientific journal published by Mary Ann Liebert that covers research on rejuvenation and biogerontology.

Speaking all over the world for many years, to lay as well as professional audiences, he spreads the message that the deleterious effects of aging are not something we need to accept as a given — in other words, they are NOT conditions that are impossible to prevent or reverse.

He presents his cogent explanations and arguments for the need for a drastic change in paradigm in many lectures, debates and discussions available on YouTube.

We do NOT have to accept the idea that the decline and eventual disappearance of the body’s resilience is inevitable.  ~ mgh

Turning things around

“One of the biggest frustrations for me in my work is that old people don’t complain enough about how GRIM it is to be old — and if they did, maybe something more would be done about it.” ~ Aubrey de Grey

  • The desire for healthy aging is an issue that concerns 100% of the people currently living today.
  • Yet most of us are suffering from Boiling Frog Syndrome, refusing to give this issue the consideration it merits — which includes our lack of willingness to advocate aggressively for resources to address the many challenges of aging that the clear majority of us WILL face before we die.
  • It surprises most people to learn that, for example, only a fraction of 1% of the research budget of the U.S. Federal Government goes toward the basic biology of aging.   Other countries don’t allocate appreciably greater funding, and some do much less.  ‘Sup with that?
  • Once enough people begin thinking about the physical and cognitive devastation of aging as medical problems that we can actually prevent and reverse – insisting that our political leaders consider it seriously and fund it appropriately – it will change the way we approach the public health “game” completely, with predictably positive results for every single person reading these words.

Our most important health-related goal needs to be applying our resources to solve the global challenge of remaining as healthy as possible for as long as possible – for as many people as possible.
~ mgh

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My Computer has ADD


Stranger than fiction
But maybe more amusing?

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

Madelyn’s Believe it or Not

What is it about Executive Functioning struggles that has things go wrong JUST at the moment you need everything to go right to stand a prayer of showing up like you have a brain at all?

Or is it just me?

I know that sometimes my Calamity Jane moments are my own darn fault because I procrastinated, or failed to write something down, or use my systems or whatever.  I’m not talking about those times.

I’m not talking about those times when I ADD-out and forget to give somebody an important message — like maybe, they changed the time for his only daughter’s wedding. (not my oops, actually – one from a client)

I’m not even thinking about those times when I say yes to one more request when I am already juggling more than any six humans could accomplish in a single lifetime if they worked together and never slept.

It’s those OTHER times . . .

You know, like when you practically break your arm putting a gun in your own back to keep yourself on task so that you won’t seem flaky, and THEN the universe laughs in your face and you end up looking flaky anyway — for a bizarre reason that nobody would believe really happened, even if you had it on film.

Come to think of it, it seems that even when I am channeling somebody else’s reliable functioning, it doesn’t always work quite the same way for me.  I’m starting to believe that somebody up there doesn’t really WANT me to plan ahead.

Like that time the water gets turned off – through NO fault of my own, btw – before I have a chance to rinse off the dark brown hair dye I was wise enough to apply to my snowy roots two entire days before an important media event, for example.

I end up having to explain why I’m knocking on a strange neighbor’s door in snow boots, head wrapped in plastic and bod in terrycloth.

I need to use his phone, of course.

It’s urgent that I find out when my friend Janet will be coming home.  I need her to unlock the door to my apartment, simply because I spaced one tiny little detail in my haste to run next door to use her bathroom before my hair turned green: KEYS!

OK, I could have called to see if she was home before my mad dash, but I didn’t want to chance getting dark hair dye on my white phone — and Janet has no social life anyway – she’s ALWAYS home! (If anybody figures out who I’m really talking about, PLEASE don’t tell her I said that!)

Oh, and would this kind stranger and new best friend mind if I used his shower to wash out the hair dye so I won’t get it all over his nice living room furniture while I wait with him for Janet to arrive?

Surely he wouldn’t leave me out in the cold with wet hair, even if his wife IS away on a business trip?

And, by the way, I’m going to need towels.

Stuff like that.  Like I said, flaky!  

So I’m sure that you are not going to believe that what’s going on with my computer is really not my fault! But at least it’s not as outrageous as the experience of my friend Steven’s then fiance’s brother-in-law Jeff. THAT story is the stuff of legend!

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My Top 10 Closet Hacks


10 Products that Squeeze
MORE into Closets:
Inexpensive Products that help me manage limited closet space

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


As I continue to say in my infrequent Top-10 Product posts:

Anybody who’s spent much time with very many ADDers knows how attached some of us can get to our stuff.

Regardless of how you might feel about that particular quirk of personality, ya’ gotta’ admit, those of us who are stuff-obsessed know our products!

The Time is Right

Following the recent Fashion Week collaboration with Jodie of Touch of Style, it seemed only fitting to share a few tips on storing all those items that help us make friends with change to keep our brain healthy and vital as we age.

Now that the seasons are changing, many of us with limited closet space are facing the task of changing out our closets.  Out with the heavy winter garb and in with the light-weight clothing — or vice versa, depending on where in the world you happen to live.

So I thought this would be a good time to share what helps ME with the task, along with a few products that more than double the space I have to work with.

Because NOBODY has enough closet space, and my life needs help!
(Nobody is paying me for these suggestions either, by the way
– I obtain the products like anybody else)

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Do you have a minute? Sorry for the Inconvenience.


Tough Love Lessons
from an Empathy Deficit Society

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from the Walking a Mile Series – Part I

“There, but for the grace of God, go I”

Not my problem, not my business?

Our society seems to be rapidly moving to a state where it is empathy-averse. The next few posts are my attempt at trying to change that sad reality in some small fashion by telling my personal story. It is time

Many who are still able to care what happens to others take the “wait and see” approach, hoping perhaps that some of the problems will resolve without their involvement.

I have noticed it most overtly in response to current political actions of late, but I have always seen it most pervasively in the continuing lack of Mental Health Awareness.

That attitude troubles me greatly.  We need each other, and the quote at the top of this page has never been more apt.

I always planned to speak out about it, once I put my life back together after a horrendous event that all but took it away from me entirely. But there was so much to do in the aftermath that time got away from me.

The attitude I observe, that seems to be increasing since the start of the most recent election cycle, has emboldened me.  I think it’s time to put some polish on a few drafts and publish them.

The Value of Personal Stories

Sometimes hearing the stories of people you know, even a little, makes a greater impact than any urging to step up, speak out and make a difference ever could.

So I will be sharing two personal experiences, one a great many years ago and the other only a few. I plan to divide the article into three parts, mindful of the time many of us lack for reading extremely long posts, even though these will be longer than many.  They will post on consecutive Wednesdays.

I am posting them NOW to underscore the reason we all need to increase our willingness to get involved before the next DSM is forced to add a new category: EDD – Empathy Deficiency Disorder.

Sympathy vs. Empathy

Sympathy is “feeling sorry for” a person in a particular situation. It is a feeling that allows us to be grateful that we are not the ones going through the experience personally. But it also fosters a pull to allow ourselves to sit back and do nothing to ease the burden for another.

Empathy is “putting ourselves in the shoes of another,” allowing us to imagine what we would find helpful and encouraging, and perhaps to step up to extend support – if only a little bit, and maybe more than that.

Talk and Timing

As I said in one of my updates to an article years ago now, NO contact possible: mugged at gunpoint, modern medicine is very different than the first time I had a broken bone but, unfortunately, bones don’t heal correspondingly rapidly.

My first experience was the result of multiple, serious, spiral fractures to my right leg, many years ago.  The damage was the result of a skiing accident that left me unable to get out of bed for a month, in a hip cast for about 8 months, and a leg that was smaller than the diameter of my arm once the cast was finally removed.

The negative impact to my acting career was substantial, but my attitude remained essentially positive – despite a great many challenges – thanks to more than a little help from a small handful of my friends.

This is my story

New York City, where I was living when I broke my leg, was in the middle of a transit strike, and New York cabbies were reluctant to take the time to deal with someone on crutches or in a wheelchair.

  • At that time I lived with a godsend of a roommate who stood at the curb to hail a cab while I was hidden from view, so that I could get where I needed to go.
  • She also emptied my bedpans for that first bed-ridden month. She kept me company, the bills paid and our services on, and food in my belly.
  • At no time – for an entire year – did she display impatience or treat me differently. Nor did she suggest that I pretend that lack of autonomy was less of a struggle for me than it was. She helped me keep my spirits up with conversation and laughter.
  • At NO time did she expect that I pretend my situation could be handled by “thinking positively” about it.  She understood without having to be reminded, that “motivational” talk of that type would have felt belittling.
  • She sat with me patiently during the times I wept over the seeming relentlessness of the situation.

Thank you Janine.  I was extremely grateful at the time but, until the contrast of my more recent experience, I had NO idea how very much your help and your attitude made it possible for me to make it through that time emotionally – and whole.

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Take Me Out to the BALLGAME!


Life gets GOOD

Once you understand
how to drive the very brain you were born with
— even if it’s taken a few hits in the meantime™

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Part of the Diagnosis & Treatment series

A lot of people have ADHD,
but they don’t want to talk about it.
But I am who I am,
and I don’t feel bad about it.
~ Major league baseball player Andrés Torres

Late to the Party

I have to admit that, because I’ve never been the world’s biggest sports fan, I’m more than a bit late to this particular party.

Maybe some of you missed it too?

I just read a heartwarming human interest sports story about Andrés Torres, a ball-playing superstar who couldn’t get to first base until he accepted that he needed to get real about a treatment protocol for his AD”H”D.

As the New York Times article began:

“Discerning a fastball from a changeup is difficult enough; imagine doing it with untethered focus, attention meandering.

This was precisely the obstacle impeding Andrés Torres, who stumbled for a decade through baseball’s minor leagues, working for a break, always falling short.

Only when Torres accepted the extent to which he was debilitated by attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, finally embracing the medication and therapy prescribed five years earlier, did he begin to blossom as a ballplayer.”

And blossom he most certainly did!

In case you don’t follow baseball very closely either, after many disheartening years of limping along, barely functioning in an arena that was incredibly important to him — no matter how hard he worked — his story took a dramatic turn for the better.

In 2010 Torres helped the San Francisco Giants win the World Series —
before moving on to play center field and bat leadoff for the Mets.

If you aren’t already aware of his story, and especially if you are still struggling yourself or are the parent of a child who is struggling, click to read a few of the links in the Related Content section, always at the end of my articles.

Ring me in

As the founder of the ADD/EFD Coach Training field, co-founder of the ADD Coaching field, an ADD/EFD advocate, coach, trainer & speaker for over 25 years now [and the ADD Poster Girl herself], I can assure you that this article was RIGHT ON in terms of their point of view.

Unfortunately, the scientific point of view is under-reported, most likely because the complex nature of Executive Functioning disorders makes them difficult to recognize and harder still for anyone who isn’t highly ADD/EFD-literate to diagnose.

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Learning to Work Around “Spacing Out”


Honey, you’re not listening
ADDvanced Listening & Languaging

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

Spacing out – when attention wanders

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

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

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

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

Awareness is a factor of ATTENTION

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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TinkerToy’s FIRST Meet and Greet for 4-legses


Inspired by the ones hosted by 2-legses
(but we 4-legged bloggers have a lot to say too!)

Guest blogger: TinkerToy

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

It’s never too late to party with us! 
Comments never close here – so leave your calling card.

CALLING ALL DOGS
cats, squirrels, pigs, hamsters, rabbits, rats, turtles, even parrots and budgies

We can do it too

If you’ve been over to PuppyDoc’s blog, you already know she’s not a real dog.

Her actual name is Phoebe and she’s a 2-legs who is also a super doctor with a HUGE heart — but who can blame her for adopting a great nickname like that, huh? (She explains why on her own blog, so jump over there if you want to know the back-story.)

Anyway, she hosted this big Meet-and-Greet Party where some of my pals and I left links to our blogs. I guess it was a great party for Mom, but not so much for me.

No offense, PuppyDoc, but I had to scroll through screen-loads of links to 2-legs’es blogs to find the ones written by possible blogging buds for ME.

So I thought I’d throw a party of my own to see if I could host a spot where us 4-legses stand out because we’re the only ones there (no offense to you blogging birds, btw – you are more than welcome too).

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A different kind of Christmas Special from PorterGirl


Christmas Special:
The Tale Of The Cursed Hat

A wonderfully presented, original Christmas tale
from the creator of The Secret Diary Of PorterGirl.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a GOOD night!

NOT your average Hallmark™ Fare

If you find yourself a bit over-“joy”ed by the time Christmas Eve rolls along, this is a different kind of Christmas story with just a bit of a gothic twist to the ending.

It is beautifully read by actor Paul Butterworth, whom some of you may know from appearances in more than a few of the PorterGirl videos, even if you are unaware of his other theatrical credits.

Paul plays the Head Porter in the PorterGirl adventures – and author Lucy Brazier has posted a great deal of them online for both your viewing and reading pleasure.

Keep an eye peeled for the credits too – his director son does a lovely job of telling him what to do onscreen.

You’ll have to hop over to HER site to access the video (what you see below is just a still), but below that is what she has to say about Paul and the story.

‘Tis the season for festive storytelling, so please welcome Old College’s very own Head Porter – British actor Paul Butterworth – reading to us a Christmas tale I have written especially for the occasion.

Paul has appeared in films such as The Full Monty and Frank, and is a stalwart of British TV – performing in soap operas, The Bill, All Creatures Great & Small, The Inspector Lynley Mysteries, Holby City, Mysteries Of The Real Sherlock Holmes and many, many more.

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How to navigate those “Home Alone” Holidays


The Single Person’s Holiday Playbook

(Putting an end to those awkward holidays!)

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
An edited reblog of a previously published article

ENOUGH with the questions from well-meaning others!

Whether we are alone by choice or circumstance, holidays can be, at best, awkward.

Found on: Lolsnaps

“Have any plans for the upcoming holiday?” can be asked at any moment – even by total strangers trying to be friendly in grocery lines.

ANY version of, “Not really,” is something they do NOT, actually, want to hear.

Nor is it something that most of us who are already feeling marooned are eager to utter aloud.

No Mom, s/he won’t be coming

As any single person who’s ever gone “HOME for the holidays” can probably tell you, being “unpartnered” during special family events can present a unique set of challenges, especially the first time.

It runs the gamut:

  • from feeling awkward, maybe a bit defensive about your [lack of] relationship status this particular holiday,
  • all the way to feeling that you must either “ruin everyone’s holiday with a display of pique” -or-
  • grit your teeth, grin and bear it as you attempt to find a way to politely field unintentionally rude inquiries about why you happen to be alone.

The Formerly Familied

Far too many individuals who are divorced, widowed, separated (or outliving their families and many of their friends) can find solo-holidays sad and depressing.

A friend of mine, an emotionally healthy, extremely self-reliant, empty-nest single parent says her married kids “make other plans” for major holidays — at the very least every other year.

She really doesn’t resent the reality that the kids have their own lives, hope to start their own family traditions, and deserve to feel unconflicted about making holiday plans that won’t always include her,  BUT . . .

She says that she can’t face cooking a holiday meal for one OR going to a restaurant alone when everyone but her seems to have somebody celebrating WITH them.

She also finds it unbearably depressing to fuff around in her pajamas and slippers ALL day, even though she feels like she is “all dressed up with no place to go” if she doesn’t.

Reaching out to help others?

Even singles who volunteer at soup kitchens and so on have to make it through at least a portion of the day totally alone, at a time that was once known for family get-togethers.

People who never drink anything stronger than root beer have confessed that the idea of becoming a regular at their town’s version of the Cheers bar crosses their minds more than a few times, just to have somewhere to go and a few people to talk to on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Eve.

Different ways to make it work . . .

Since I have spent most of the major holidays alone for many years now, I’m hoping that I will be able to help you look at things in ways you haven’t already thought of, tried and rejected.

In any case, I’m not planning to rehash the holiday survival tips already found all over the internet (but in case you have missed a few bloggy ideas, check out the articles under the Related Articles ’round the net heading in the links below the original post.)

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

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The REAL Christmas Elves


Santa couldn’t do it without us!
Proof that we can do more than cuddle or blog

Guest blogger: TinkerToy

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

My FIRST Christmas post (and my first sort-of reblog)

Mom found this video and said I could use it in my first Christmas post.  It was originally posted by Xena on her Black Butterfly blog with the following introduction:

I never get enough of this video. It’s produced by Fresh Pets.

The music is festive, but really loud,
so you might want to lower the volume on your speakers
before you click on the little triangle thing in the middle.

Source: Santa’s Canines (and Felines) Make Toys | We Hold These Truths To Be Self-Evident

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Christmas Gifts – the thought that counts


Makin’ Your Lists:
Checkin’ ’em TWICE?

When are we going to learn
to start even EARLIER?!

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

Christmas Memories

Do you recall the gifts you received through the years?  I don’t.  Not really.

Oh, I can think of a few really special presents, but mostly they all dissolve into a blur of crumpled wrapping paper, bows and snips of ribbon — all over the floor.

I more clearly remember tearing into oversized felt stockings on Christmas morning, hand-crafted by my mother for each member of our family of seven, our names embroidered in sparkles on the cuffs.

Each of us were delighted with mere trinkets, chocolate treats, and the tangerine always stuffed into the toe.

She attached a string of jingle bells to each hanging loop to let everyone know that someone was getting into a stocking!

You see, what I remember most vividly are the memories of those Christmas times – and they are really all that remain from the Christmases of most of my life:

  • finally digging out the ornaments, untangling the lights and trimming the tree
  • snow-crusted mittens and red noses from sledding on glorious snow days (when the schools were closed!)
  • wrapping presents purchased “with my own money”
  • eggnog and my mother reading Christmas stories
  • buttered popcorn and hot chocolate as we watched classic Christmas films in front of an old-style television set
  • Helping to prepare Christmas dinners – even some of the conversations around those Christmas tables through the year.

What do YOU recall loving most?

A different kind of Christmas

When I was a kid, a family down the street gave NO presents that could be unwrapped.  I was never sure whether to feel sorry for my friend or be jealous of her wonderful Christmases, year after year — but now that I am much older, there is no doubt in my mind which of us got the better deal.

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Almost here: Group Coaching


A Process Designed to Support Clients
with all kinds of minds!

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

Does anything below sound like YOU?

  • Have you ever felt that you are essentially alone in your struggles with time and time-management, focus and follow-through as the result of PTSD, TBI/ABI, ADD/EFD — or brain-based struggles as the result of chemo-therapy or medication side-effects or chronic pain — or even something considered “normal,” such as age-related cognitive decline?
  • Do the people you love fail to really understand your challenges, so their suggestions & nudges don’t really help (and sometimes make things more difficult)?
  • Is there a pet project languishing on a back burner for FAR too long, but you can’t seem to “make” yourself get to it – or can’t find the time to do it amid the distractions of life’s many competing to-dos?
  • Have you accepted the dumb idea that your real problem is chronic procrastination because you have heard it so often it simply must be true – as you continue to struggle on in some attempt to just-DO-it?
  • Do you LIVE with someone who constantly lets you down, despite their assertions that they never intend to do so? Would you LOVE to understand how to “motivate” them and keep them on task to completion – BEFORE you give in to your impulse to strangle them?
  • Is your home or office so cluttered you rarely have the motivation to clean and organize, as day slips into clutter-mounting day?

Do you need help
you don’t think you can afford?

Would you love to hire a Sherpa: a highly-experienced, systems-development professional at the TOP of the field, but can’t fit the fees for one-on-one private coaching into your budget?

IN OTHER WORDS:

Do you need a little brain-based coaching to get to the point where you can afford brain-based coaching?

Have I got a Group for YOU!

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Predicting Time to Manage Tasks


Beating Back Task Anxiety

by understanding your relationship to TIME

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Reflections post from the Time & Task Management Series
Part ONE

What’s YOUR Tendency?

As regular readers already know, I tend to put my faith in what science crowd refers to as “anecdotal evidence”  — learning from what I have observed in my clients, myself, and what I have heard from thousands of ADDers who have attended conferences and participated in my support groups and workshops in the twenty five years I have been in the field.

As I expanded my evidence collection to include the experiences of the other citizens of Alphabet City (TBI, PTSD, OCD, EFD, AS, etc.), I began to mentally record their experiences as well, and factor them in to my techniques and theories.

When the science supports what I see in the population, I quote it.  When it doesn’t, I ignore it or argue with it. It makes no difference if 98 out of 100 people studied tend to do xyz if my client and I happen to be among the 2% who do abc.

It doesn’t matter.  Your job is the same either way: check your gut to see what makes the most sense to you and try it on.  Tweak from there. Check out another tool when something doesn’t work for you.

But hang on to the first!!  Just because you need a hammer NOW doesn’t mean you won’t need a lug-wrench later!

My take on Anecdotal

  • For years I struggled valiantly attempting to adopt “majority rules” norms — with little to no success and a lot of wasted life.
  • It took a long time for me to develop even a rudimentary feeling of entitlement to my own process, learning to close my ears to the words of the “experts” and neurotypical Doubting Thomases who kept telling me that I was only kidding myself or making excuses.

I coach, train and share here on ADDandSoMuchMore.com hoping to help others avoid some of the wilderness-wandering that has characterized much of my own life. And to remind myself of what I’ve learned.

Trying something different

I want to encourage you to find what works, not what is supposed to work

So, in the first part of this multi-part article, let’s take a look together at how people relate to time and tasks, and how that affects our ability to plan our schedules and run our lives.

Let’s examine the real stoppers to OUR forward progress to see if we can figure out how to work around them, independent of the “standard” assumptions and techniques – a process I refer to as Sherlocking.


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September Song


Time to Get New Notebooks
(And ready the Fall Clothing!)

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

Swan Song for Summer!!

It’s still summer-hot here, but in a week or two we’ll have a few cool days in a row when I will have a brain again – harbingers of sweater weather.

For me, the year really begins in September, despite the fact that, except for the TeleClasses I offer, my official school days are a fond but distant memory.  As the leaves expire in a final burst of glory, I become eager to plan what I will do with nine months when I have drive and follow-through.

I realize that not everyone shares my loves of brisker weather, however.

If you’re a warm weather fan you’ll find your tribe on LuckyOttersHaven‘s patch of blog-heaven in 12 Reasons Why I Don’t Like Autumn.

She posts again (if a tad grudgingly), in 8 Good Things about Fall — some of which I celebrate as well, like the end of flea and fly season, so I won’t relist them in my own List of Ten.

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for a reminder of how links work on this site,
they’re subtle (scroll DOWN for it) ==>

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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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Coaching for those Senior Moments


ADD/EFD or
Age-related Mind Blips?

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Reflections on memory before moving on with help

When your mind is like a steel sieve

It’s bad enough when we can’t recall a name in the middle of an introduction. It’s worse when we can’t remember where we put our keys when we’re running late — and so embarrassing when our minds drive right by birthdays and anniversaries.

We feel scatterbrained when we have to go back into the house several times to check that we turned off the lights, locked the back door, or unplugged the iron.

We feel stupid when we forget a basic fact we haven’t pulled out of our mental databases for a while – like how to divide fractions or figure percentages, or the spelling of a common word, for example.

We worry that we might be getting SENILE when we can’t recall entire events – like going to see a specific film with a certain person who is absolutely positive we were there with them, perplexed when we still don’t remember once they supply details to support their case.

If we don’t remember seeing the film at all, we begin to worry about incipient Alzheimer’s!

Memory lapses are not limited to those middle-aged mind-blips science sometimes calls “age-related cognitive decline.” It’s also awful when a student’s mind goes blank when s/he’s taking an exam after studying diligently for several nights in a row.

Question Mark in red circle; magnifying glass attempting to make it clearer.While the kids might substitute a different word for the last letter in the acronym, we all find it unbelievably frustrating when we have a CRS episode – those times when we simply . . .

        Can’t Remember Stuff !

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My way IS the Highway?


ALL Kinds of Solutions
for ALL Kinds of Minds

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Reflections from posts from January 2012 and March 2015

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

WHY won’t everybody else do what they should?

Yep! So many people think that everybody else needs to do everything their way. It’s as if they believe that exactly the same techniques that have been effective in their own lives would transfer equally well to anyone else’s situationif those slackers would only DO IT RIGHT!

Everyone’s problems would magically disappear with “simple” solutions, IF ONLY everybody else would:

 — or really wanted a solution and not simply a chance to complain!

As if everybody needed to do the same thing – right?

I know what works for you – uhuh, uhuh-uhuh

More than a few Success Gurus approach the subject of productivity and goal fulfillment from a paradigm that not only is unlikely to work for everyone on the planet, I believe that much of what they suggest does not work very well at all for citizens of Alphabet CityIn fact, it shuts many of us down.

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

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

Different folks and different strokes

  • Tortoises and Hares
  • Linears and Holographics
  • Detailers and Concepters
  • Prioritize First or Do it NOW propronents
  • DECIDE and Do or Follow the Flow

Does anybody REALLY believe that the same “success techniques” are likely to work effectively for each of the examples above?  Their ways of approaching life is at opposite ends of the spectrum.  Who’s to say that one style is the “right” approach and the other is not?

Taking different routes to work

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

I can recommend the way I travel as the most direct route, or the one with the fewest stop lights, or the most scenic.  But it’s not true that one or the other is “the best,” or that the recipient of my suggestion is intractable or doesn’t really want to get where they are going if they choose another route.

In a manner similar to how a city’s network of roads determines how various people travel to the same destination, the connections that make up the networks in our brains determine how our brains operate. Variations in the way we navigate our world – physically or mentally – are a product of our “equipment” and how life tends to work best for us.

Still, we all like to give advice, and it makes us feel great when people take it.  But it doesn’t mean that we know “better.”

During my 25+ year coaching career, I have worked very hard to jettison “I know better” thinking. I have been relatively successful moving beyond the temptation to spread judgment like a schmear on a bagel, but I still defend my right (and yours) to offer advice, raising our voices of experience to offer information and suggest solutions.

It’s not the advice that is the problem – it’s the misguided expectation that others need to take it!

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Attentional struggles? Not ME!


WANNA BET?
Check out a few of the Symptoms of Attentional Struggles

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Reflections from an article published June, 2011

NOT just for ADD

MANY people – not just those diagnosed with ADD/EFD (or anything else) – report challenges with procrastination, follow-through, time and transition management, recalling directions, names or what they said they would do, keeping the bills paid on time, beating back the clutter, keeping on top of the laundry or the filing or the mail — or effectively handling any number of pile-ups of house, garage and lawn chores.

More than a few struggle to have much of a life beyond the all-too-familiar “mess it up, clean it up” cycle — in any one of a host of arenas.

DID YOU KNOW that fluctuations in your ability to manage the Attending system are at the root of every single one of them?

Not necessarily diagnostic

If YOU have even more than a few of the characteristics listed in this article, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have diagnostic ADD – or any of the bona-fide Executive Functioning disorders.

It DOES indicate that you’re juggling more balls than you can manage at one time, and one or more of the The Dynamics of Attending is suffering for it.

Room at my Table

I’d like to invite the rest of you to allow yourselves to benefit from the coping techniques I developed for the ADD community over the past 25+ years.

Whichever camp you belong to, ADD/EFD, “Senior Moment” tripsters, or CrazyBusy, I’m fairly certain you will find that employing a few ADD Coaching techniques will help you become more intentional with your attending, life will become a whole lot easier to manage, and your friends and loved ones will be much happier with the way you relate to THEM.

Looking through The ADD Lens™

I have found the idea of looking at things through The ADD Lens™ extremely helpful. In other words, looking at your functioning challenges as if they were a result of Attention Deficit Disorder.

If Challenges like any of those below (or their kissing cousins) keep you from getting things done, pretend you do have ADD/EFD and start to utilize a few of the techniques that have been found to work with people who have been diagnosed with ADD:

See if looking at yourself through The ADD Lens™as if you had full-blown, diagnostic ADD/EFD – gives you a way to approach areas of prior difficulty in a way that you can handle them successfully.

In The Journey toward Optimal Functioning™, we must give ourselves permission to utilize any trick, tool or technique that will help us to achieve it.
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A Brand New Year – gulp


Resolutions, Goals, Intentions & Planning
(and why we avoid setting them in place)

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from the Habits, Decisions, Attention Series

Setting Resolutions for the Year?

Yep!  We make ’em, we break ’em – and we feel so crummy about it that some of us even refuse to make ’em anymore.

Eventual disappointment seems lessened if we stop expecting ourselves to do better, doesn’t it?

Scary stuff, intentionality

My friend Wendy, the author of the wonderfully supportive blog, Picnic with Ants, says it quite clearly in the introduction to her December 31st article: The Future is Scary, with a side of Hope.

For context: Wendy has developed multiple physical health challenges with multiple complications she must deal with, along with being a card-carrying member of the Alphabet City club – and has recently returned from Johns Hopkins, which requires some attention to new treatment plans.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“It seems appropriate that I’m writing this on the eve of a new year, what better time to look toward the future?

For me, contemplating the future is more than a little scary…. let’s just say my anxiety about it has been more than I ever thought was possible.

I don’t dwell in the past (all of that is gone)… I don’t worry about the future (that hasn’t been written yet)… I try hard to live in this very moment, because that is all we truly have.

Yes, at times I still have moments when I get upset that I can’t do what I used to, and get upset about what might happen… but I don’t dwell on it.

Then we started making plans… how we are going to try to make things better for me… [It’s now time for] decisions about this unknown future, decisions that I have to make. Suddenly, I HAVE to look at the future. I HAVE to think about it.  And it really scares me.”

We don’t have to be in Wendy’s shoes to relate

Attempting to envision accomplishments and completions a year ahead, especially for those of us whose functional temperature can run the gamut on any given day, is a quite the challenge.

All those pre-frontal cortex-intensive decisions to consider are intense — driving us straight toward the cliffs of task anxiety!

  • We don’t want to slide quickly into overwhelm by biting off more than we can chew! Our self-esteem is at stake here, doncha’ know.
  • Still, we don’t want to woos out on ourselves by setting objectives that are not at least a little bit of a stretch, significant enough that we might expect life to become a bit more rewarding perhaps.
  • But what’s too much and what’s too little?  What’s significant and what’s destined to become just one more nattering item in an already overlong To-Do list that languishes only partially completed on far too many days as it stands NOW?
  • When life has been in a repair deficit condition long enough that we’re not sure if we will ever be able to crawl out onto level ground again — taking a cold honest look at all of the seemingly bazillion contenders for priority focus is enough to shut intentionality down completely, as we make a bee line for wine or chocolate!

As I said in a comment to Wendy’s article above:

Setting intentions for the future IS scary – only those on whom fortune has shined without abating can honestly say otherwise.

Logically and intellectually, of course, we know that we’re doomed if we don’t keep moving forward despite our fears.

HOWEVER, those who fear what might happen can never really understand the feelings of those of us who fear what might happen AGAIN (usually because it HAS happened, again and again and again-again — same tune, different verse)despite our very best efforts, positive thinking and affirmations!

Even though we DO understand that it is nearly impossible to move forward when we’ve lost our faith that things can and will EVER be different, many of us are more than a little reluctant to set ourselves up for failure and disappointment, just in case.

It’s not exactly that we lose hope, when life has been tough on us repeatedly, we tend to become almost afraid to hope (at least I do, anyway).

Don’t forget that you can always check out the sidebar
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The Single Person’s Holiday Playbook


“Home Alone” Holidays —
without the tears

(Make this your LAST awkward holiday!)

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

Note: If you’re jumping over from the 2016 edited reblog
[How to navigate those “Home Alone” Holidays]

scroll down to “NOW let’s really shake things up”
to read the remainder of the article (with the TIPS)

ENOUGH with the questions!

Whether we are alone by choice or circumstance, holidays can be, at best, awkward.

Found on: Lolsnaps

“Have any plans for the upcoming holiday?” is asked even by total strangers trying to be friendly in grocery lines.

ANY version of, “Not really,” is something they do NOT, actually, want to hear, and not something that most of us who are already feeling marooned are eager to utter aloud.

No Mom, s/he’s not coming

As any single person who’s ever gone “HOME for the holidays” can probably tell you, being “unpartnered” during special family events can present a unique set of challenges, especially the first time.

From feeling awkward, maybe a bit defensive about your lack-of-relationship status this time, all the way to feeling that you must either “ruin everyone’s holiday with a display of pique” -or- grit your teeth and bear it as you attempt to find a way to politely field unintentionally rude inquiries about why you happen to be alone.

The Formerly Familied

Far too many individuals who are divorced, widowed, separated (or outliving their friends and families) find solo-holidays sad and depressing.

A friend of mine, an emotionally healthy, extremely self-reliant, empty-nest single parent says her married kids “make other plans” for major holidays every other year at minimum.

She really doesn’t resent the reality that the kids have their own lives, hope to start their own family traditions, and deserve to feel unconflicted about making holiday plans that won’t always include her,  BUT . . .

She says that she can’t face cooking a holiday meal for one OR going to a restaurant alone when everyone but her seems to have somebody celebrating WITH them.

She also finds it unbearably depressing to fuff around in her pajamas and slippers ALL day, even though she feels like she is “all dressed up with no place to go” if she doesn’t.

Reaching out to help others?

Even singles who volunteer at soup kitchens and so on have to make it through at least a portion of the day totally alone, at a time that was once known for family get-togethers.

Even the ones who are teetotalers tell me that the idea of becoming a regular at their town’s version of the Cheers bar crosses their minds more than a few times, just to have somewhere to go and a few people to talk to on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Eve.

Different ways to make it work . . .

Since I have spent most of the major holidays alone for many years now, I’m hoping that I will be able to help you look at things in ways you haven’t already thought of, tried and rejected.

In any case, I’m not planning to rehash the holiday survival tips already found all over the internet (but in case you have missed a few bloggy ideas, check out the articles under the Related Articles ’round the net heading in the links below.)

So read on . . .

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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

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Life Success on YOUR Terms


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

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

Success Stoppers

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

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

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

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

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

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

What if you don’t WANT to? 

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

Really?

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

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

Oh, please!

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

Different strokes for different folks

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

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

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

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

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

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

Probability of results – the standard bell curve

What does SCIENCE have to say about it?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: NIH BluePrint

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

Which Means . . .

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

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

**********************************************************************************************

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

And STILL we try to categorize

© Courtesy of Phillip Martin – artist/educator

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

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

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

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

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

Categories aren’t Constants

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beyond the Meyers-Briggs, etc.

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

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

Not quite so helpful is what tends to happen next.

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

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

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

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

Styles of Productivity

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

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

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

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

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

Come ON!

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

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

It does to me, in any case.

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

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

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

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

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

© 2015, all rights reserved
Check bottom of Home/New to find out the “sharing rules”

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

Want to work directly with me? If you’d like some coaching help with anything that came up while you were reading this Series (one-on-one couples or group), click HERE for Brain-based Coaching with mgh, with a contact form at its end (or click the E-me link on the menubar at the top of every page). Fill out the form, submit, and an email SOS is on its way to me; we’ll schedule a call to talk about what you need. I’ll get back to you ASAP (accent on the “P”ossible!)
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For a REALLY Happy New Year


2015 is breathing down our necks
(perhaps it might be wise to do more than a bit of thinking about it)

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

As I ready myself for my own Christmas celebration on Twelfth Night, let’s take a moment to focus on the other big end-of-year celebration: New Year’s Eve.

Nutshell New Years

We count backwards from ten as the clock chimes and the ball drops. We toast and kiss, and blow funny-sounding horns wearing funny-looking hats, often dressed in formal finery.  Many of us party on until dawn.

© Phillip Martin – artist/educator

Yep – that’s New Years Eve in a nutshell for many of us around the world – or at least the image in our minds.

And then what?

Regardless of how heartily we’ve partilied the night before, we awaken at some point on New Years Day, hoping for the best in the upcoming year.

Some of us even take the time to write down a few of those ubiquitous New Year’s Resolutions, without really expecting ourselves to follow through this year, anymore than the years before it.

Pinterest and the daily papers provide image upon image making fun of the practice – or at least of the people who don’t practice their practice.

And most of the plans of those who resolve and regret fail to materialize through lack of long-range planning.

To fail to plan is to plan to fail?

As I implied in a much earlier article about planning for the New Year, unless we want the upcoming year to be exactly like the one in our rear view mirror, it’s time to get busy with some change-management.

A therapist I know has this to say about change:

“Everybody wants things to be different, but nobody wants anything to change.”

He doesn’t add, “especially anything about THEM” – but I have always believed that’s what he was really talking about: the devil we know, and all that.

What IS it about change that makes us cringe?

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

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Christmas Happy Christmas


Oh the weather outside’s not frightful
(But inside it’s about to get delightful)

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

WinterSnowMartin

A Quick Reminder

From now until Twelfth Night – January 6th, when any sensible ADDer plans to celebrate the big present fest – I am going to replace the Monday Grumpy Monday series with Christmas Happy Christmas.

My regular Wednesday articles will all probably have a “getting ready for the upcoming holidays” theme as well.

This is Monday replacement #1.

Tannenbauming

Since I leave the trees up for so long (yes, trees – plural), there is no way any live tree would make it through the length of my particular holiday season.

Every single one would be a stick, long before I was ready to take it down — surrounded by a carpet of needles that I would track all over the house.

So I am especially grateful that artificial trees have become so realistic-looking in the last decade or so.  Not that it would really matter — eventually.

By the time I cover them with years and years of ornaments, it’s difficult to tell what’s underneath!

But I try to put my trees up very early and decorate as I find dribs and drabs of time — so I really like them to look as real as possible during the period they are comparatively naked.

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

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Ten Products that help me manage LIFE


10 Products that help me manage my bodacious ADD Challenges

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

A drawing of a woman surrounded by stuff - a rocking horse, a floor lamp, a trunk, a bowl & pitcher, a painting - wearing a hat with a price tag still attached
As I continue to say on these Top-10 Product posts:

Anybody who’s spent much time with very many ADDers knows how attached some of us can get to our stuff.

Regardless of how you might feel about that particular quirk of personality, ya’ gotta’ admit, those of us who are stuff-obsessed know our products!

If you are musing about Christmas Presents Yet To Come, some of the items in this particular listing just might jumpstart your thinking.

Click over to my first list of Top Ten Products for more detail about those, but let me START with a quick review of my second ten here.

Ten MORE Things
I wouldn’t want to have to live without
(click HERE for descriptions & to read why)

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


When your day starts slowly
and other tales of functional differences

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

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

What’s so sacred about MORNING?

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

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

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

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

SORRY – no such “WAY”

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

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

The gurus only seem to have the secret.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Are you ready for the REAL secret way?

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Getting to “Good ENOUGH”


Discovering YOUR Perfect Balance

©Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
From the Activation Series

click image for source

click image for source

Lowering your standards

“Don’t think of ‘good enough’ as settling for something inferior or imperfect, think of it as striking a perfect balance.”  ~ Dylan Reeve

In the previous article, The Virtues of Lowering your Standards, I refuted the idea that any “job worth doing” was worth doing WELL.

As I said, “It’s always seemed to me that if the job’s worth doing at all, any forward progress is good forward progress.

I also made the point that any shade of completion beats chronic indecision andprocrastination– hands down!

While both of the above are certainly true, I also wanted to encourage you to embrace good enough for the tactical advantages that a more BALANCED approach to life offers – along with positive results for your struggles with activation.

In an interview from the blog good experience, the author of “The Paradox of Choice” insists that only on rare occasions is it worth struggling to find the best — that it makes life simpler if you settle with good enough.

“You don’t have to make an exhaustive search – just until you find something that meets your standards, which could be high.

But the only way to find the absolute best is to look at
ALL the possibilities.

And in that case you’ll either give up, or if you choose one, you’ll be nagged by the possibility that you may have found something better.” ~ author Barry Schwartz – Paradox of Choice
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The Virtues of Lowering your Standards


 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 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. It suggests a lack of care or investment. I think good enough [needs to be] be embraced.

Knowing what is good enough for the work you’re doing allows you to invest [your resources] in the places that will benefit the most.”

The last line of his article is perfect:

“Don’t think of ‘good enough’ as settling for something inferior or imperfect, think of it as striking a perfect balance.”  ~ Dylan Reeve

NOW, let me fill in the middle

. . . from a slightly different vantage point, for a different life-application, speaking to a completely different “audience.”

Chinese finger-trapA Chinese Finger Trap

EVEN THOUGH doing the very BEST one can may seem laudable to a great many productivity gurus, that desire often creates time management problems for practically everyone, and frequently leads to rumination and inaction for many of us.

While the neurodiverse among us are noodling the very best way to tackle something, we’re generally doing nothing much at all otherwise — nothing much that will keep our lives from falling apart, that is — nevermind much of anything that will move us forward.

In an unconscious attempt to calm our rising task anxiety we tend to seek out what I call “avoidance activities” – internet browsing, FaceBook updating, LinkedIn discussing, friending, tweeting, texting, twiddling.  Puttering.

The harder we try to free ourselves from lack-of-activation, the tighter we’re stuck in rumination and awfulizing.

Any shade of completion beats chronic indecision and “procrastination” – hands down!

 

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Supercharge To-Do List Functionality


Gettin’ UP and Gettin’ Going – Part IV

The last two of my TEN “Practices” that beat back
ACTIVATION struggles

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

click image for source

click image for source

The Trouble with Lists

How many lists have YOU made in your lifetime?

If you’re like many of us, the answer would probably be in the hundreds: grocery lists, Christmas lists, packing lists, clothing lists, book lists, homework lists – and a bazillion more, I’m sure.

There are as many different kinds of lists as there are reasons for list-making.

Expanding on the concept of Tip #3 – Write it down, write it down, write it down – this last part of Top Ten Tips to Combat “Laziness” is going to concentrate on the dreaded to-do list – and how to make it work better for you.

Let’s begin with four questions.  Take a moment to think about them.  We’ll handle them at the end of this article — after a couple more foundational concepts.

1. Why did you make a to-do list in the first place?
(If you answered with any version of “To get things done,” keep reading.)

By the way, did many of your to-do lists actually do what you wanted them to in that regard?

2. Did you accomplish every single item on most of your to-do lists?
(If you answered with any version of “Are you kidding?!” keep reading – we’ll handle this concept at the end of the article.)

3. Where are those lists now?
(If you answered “Somewhere” or “Who knows?!” keep reading.  You may find some new explanations for keeping your lists in a datebook or paper-based calendar.)

4. Do you begin or end almost every day by making or checking your to-list?
(No matter what you answered to this one, keep reading)

BUT FIRST lets do a quick review of the first eight tips before we go on to number nine.

In the first three sections of this article we covered the following eight of my Top Ten Tips to Combat “Laziness:”

1. Medication can help, but not by itself
2. Avoid shoulds and should-ers – and know why you must
3. Write it down, write it down, write it down
4. Distinguish Task Anxiety and begin there
5. Feed your head
6. Go like Glenda
7. Stay off the Slide
8. Best breathing for best focus

If you haven’t read part one, read it HERE.
Read part two HERE and
part three HERE

NOW we’re going to take a look at #9 and #10:

9.  Cross it off, cross it off, cross it off

10. RATE IT – both before and after

If on-screen reading is frustrating for you, even with the article broken into parts,
try taking it ONE Practice at a time.

Okay – lets get right back to it!

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