Better ADHD Awareness: Look past the ‘Don’t’ to the ‘Do’
A common early challenge for the ADHD professional new to their diagnosis is sorting out what is ADHD and what is not. I call this Articulating ADHD - a necessary step in overcoming the challenges put forth by ADHD.
Want to get to clear on how your ADHD impacts your work day?
First go to where your attention is focused. Often the challenged Global Creative’s focus is firmly set on the Don’t and the Not.
‘I don’t follow-up with my boss’
‘I am not a morning person’
‘I don’t like doing invoices’
Not much we can do with these statements in a limiting mindset.
Look for the good past the ADHD challenge.
A good practice to develop ADHD awareness is to uncover the ‘Do’ behind the ‘Don’t’.
‘I don’t follow-up with my boss… because I do avoid him because every time I walk away from him I have 5 new items on my endless task list!’
‘I am not a morning person…. because I am an evening person and have a hard time winding down at night’
'I don’t like doing invoices…. because I do the easy stuff first and then get distracted. Yet I do like getting paid”
In ADHD coaching we call this reframing a perspective. Innovative professionals with ADHD can struggle with a negative perception of their work performance often comparing it to others. This is exacerbated in part by an elevated sense of expectation- "I can do it all!" or "I need to do it all!"
Focusing on the real behavior (The Do) provides an opening for change. The key is to not beat yourself up with this new set of awarenesses. This just perpetuates more negative perspectives. Research is showing that the route to sustainable change is through our positive emotions and the para-sympathetic nervous system. Anxiety, urgency and fear derail our efforts to operate from this place. Focusing on the Don't exacerbates the negative emotional response. Global Creatives are drawn to the negative side because it creates an effective urgent-based structure (deadline, hard stop) to operate against releasing adrenalin but also causing stress and anxiety.
Be the Buddha
I’m not a practicing Buddhist but I am a firm believer in practicing Mindfulness. Mindfulness is a proven strategy for those with ADD. Jon Kabat-Zinn is a great resource for this. It’s just noticing without attaching judgment. GC’s associative brain can move so quickly that judgments slip through. An objective approach and expanding the mind past the limited perspective to uncovering the truth will have a rich payoff down the road. Working with a professional who subscribes to a strength-based approach to coaching is another good move. Coaches can help you solve the challenges in the context of positive resources (values, principles, people, environments, modalities, roles) and positive outcomes (vision, goals, daily intentions).