Cameron Gott, PCC
ADHD Coaching for Leaders & Professionals
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The Global Creative Blog

Action Plans Don't Work in a Black Hole

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Before you try to activate your action plans, take a look at your present state of How.

How is your current mode of doing as in how you get things done. Is everything cool? Copacetic? Or are you tripping along your own Event Horizon about to be sucked into a black hole?

For those of you who need a little brush up on your astronomy, Event Horizon is the outer boundary of a black hole that once crossed nothing can cross back, even light.

If you are a Global Creative with ADHD, chances are you are very familiar with the black hole scenario.

Why?

Because in addition to underestimating time and overestimating what we can accomplish, pushing the limits creates a sense of immediacy that in turn creates favorable focus conditions. Tripping along a knife edge can be exhilarating - it creates the attention you desire in order to focus and be productive. Urgency creates adrenalin, which in turn makes more dopamine available. It also creates a structure to operate in. Nothing gets your attention like impending doom!

But what of the cost?

Pushing up against limits can have adverse effects too. Maneuvering into a tight spot or working to a deadline creates stress. Sustained stress creates an excess of cortisol, a hormone that is related to, among other challenges, heart disease. Work-wise, when we are only focused on our next immediate move we are not focused on the strategic plan - the vision for success. What we really want to spend time on is not the stuff of urgency.

What to do?

Start by identifying the behavior of working close to a black hole, and admit to the caffeine jolt you get from walking this fine line. Get clear on what motivates your brain - it is key to shifting a behavior.

Take a step back from the edge. This may seem impossible but realize that the 'impossible' perspective is fueled by the urgency you are manufacturing. You created this structure. You can uncreate it.

Pay attention to other positive structures that can serve the purpose of the black hole - to move you into action, to motivate you.

A strong picture of success - A black hole is a negative structure to stay away from (consequences based). Instead, we can create a positive structure based on opportunity, incentive and reward. A nebula is a nursery for new star growth. What do you want to grow?

A good plan - A strategic planning session with key players is a great way to create clarity in your own task list. Use this time to clarify expectations, delineate roles and specific measurements of success, and create an agreed upon timeline. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness.

Dedicated time on task - If you want to create less of a reliance on black hole behaviors, you need to set aside time in your day. Even 30 minutes can make a difference.

Embracing 'Good Enough' - Perfection is not possible, ever. So let go of this notion and strive for good enough. You will get lots of chances to get better. Let practice be the great teacher that it is.

Honest and Transparent Accountability - Come clean with yourself. Stop doing the behaviors that hide your black hole behaviors. Admitting challenge is not admitting defeat. Seek support, but also seek clarity in your exact commitment so you are clear on a job done to satisfaction.

Be patient and practice presence. Notice the triggers that create black hole moments for you and step back. Awareness is always the first positive step.