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Sarah Shore

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The world needs people doing what they love. But the world also needs people doing the healing work that will restore and revitalize all of our earth's living ecosystems, including the human ones.  Whether your thing is acupuncture, yoga, teaching, coaching, reiki, tarot, art, writing, therapy, or other holistic, spiritual, educational, creative, environmental or healing path--the world needs YOU doing what you're doing, and reaching the people who could really use what you're offering. This essay describes how I help you do that.

 

 

Social anxiety is overcome when we shift our focus and learn new ways of interacting with others. We must focus on making and maintaing connections with others. And we must learn to manage our autonomic nervous system with effective techniques. Give this essay a read to determine if my point of view resonates with you.  And if so, you may be interested in the Easy Confidence program for social anxiety.

 

 

 

Thoughts on focus and productivity for women who want to get more done. In order to move forward you're going to want to consider taking several steps back. In order to live and function optimally, we must build a foundation brick by brick.  This essay describes the areas I think you should address first.  And if you want support in addressing them, I can help.

 

You know those days when it feels like you're just...spinning your wheels?

Have you had enough of those days? Do you just want to use your time efficiently so you can close up the laptop and move on… to family, friends, a workout, dinner, a walk in the park, Netflix, whatever?

 

This is a quick tips list. A lot of these strategies are easier said than done. That’s true of most things when you’re living with ADHD. In some cases, it’s hard to remember to do them. In other cases, itsemotionally uncomfortable.

 

But keep these ideas in your awareness so that when it’s possible for you to use one of these strategies, you’ll be more likely to do so.

 

Becoming a warrior-woman of zen-like focus and uber-productivity does not happen overnight, and it especially doesn’t happen in the chaotic world

 of bells, whistles, dings, pings, and electronic chimes that we live in today.

But we can feel more focused. We can get more done.We strive for progress, not perfection. 

 

When you’re ready, you might consider how community, structure, and accountability will help you reach your goals for getting more done. Join our Facebook group or check out Focus Forward.

 

Remember! We seek to get more done so that we can experience greater ease and joy in our lives without worry or guilt.  

 

Here are your tips…

 

Put boundaries around your time (beforehand).Announce time limits that you’ve set. Announce them to yourself and to others. I need to leave at 6pm. I have 10 minutes. We have to wrap up in a half hour. Set a timer and abide by your predetermined time frame. This may not translate to getting more done but it should greatly help your focus. You’ve put a start and stop time around your task or endeavor. Psychologically this makes a difference. Even if you don’t stick to it 100%.

 

Get up. (Or sit down). If you’re sitting at your computer or desk and you’re lost in paperwork and decisions about what to do next. If you keep checking your email (see #4) and or re-writing your to-do list, get up. Take a quick jog around the office or the kitchen. Ask yourself a prompting question: what should I be doing right now? What needs to get done first? Giving yourself the space to move around and actually stand up can jolt you out of your haze and jump start the part of your brain that helps you focus and prioritize.

 

Likewise, if you are pacing around and going from room to room or meeting to meeting, whatever it may be, and you find yourself unable to get started or make progress, take a step back and sit down. Sit down somewhere, perhaps even outside if possible. Ask yourself: What am I doing? What do I need to be doing right now? As is often the case, we usually know the answer. Go with your first guess!

 

Get off the email train. Don’t we just love to check our email between tasks, or before starting something, or as a reward after finishing something or at a point in a task when it starts to feel hard?  Sure! Everyone does. But you’re gonna get off that train.  Turn off notifications and only check morning, lunch, and late afternoon. Everyone will survive.

I Will Form Good Habits

Persistent consistent effort toward a goal or desired state of being creates a habit.  Good habits create success.  Are you ready to start developing more good habits?  I hope so. 

Maybe your goal is the habit itself (like walking more), or maybe the habit is the action you need to take to get you to the larger goal (like walking more to lose a few pounds). 

If your goal is a 3.0 GPA, your habit needs to be one hour of reading per night per class.  If your goal is greater flexibility, your habit is a daily yoga practice.  Get the picture?

I was introduced to the book, “The Greatest Salesman in the World,” several years ago by a good friend who has amazing discipline and focus.  This short book about perseverance, discipline, and success shares timeless principles, even if the language is a bit outdated.

“In truth, the only difference between those who have failed and those who have succeeded lies in the differences of their habits. Good habits are the key to all success. Bad habits are the unlocked door to failure. Thus, the first law I will obey, which precedeth all others is – I will form good habits and become their slave.  

My actions are ruled by appetite, passion, prejudice, greed, love, fear, environment, habit, and the worst of these tyrants is habit. Therefore, if I must be a slave to habit let me be a slave to good habits. My bad habits must be destroyed and new furrows prepared for good seed.  I will form good habits and become their slave.”

Form good habits!  Good habits pave the path to success.

  • Walking
  • Eating nutritious food
  • Stretching
  • Drinking enough water
  • Practicing gratitude
  • Learning new things
  • Reading for personal development
  • Keeping a to-do list
  • Daily decluttering
  • Keep in regular contact with special friends and family
  • Journaling
  • Meditating

I personally want to be doing all of the things on this list as part of my daily routine.  In my mind, these are the elements that create a harmonious and productive lifestyle.  I challenge you to start a new healthy, productive habit now!  And if you want some structure, accountability, and coaching support along the way, give me a call or check out Focus Forward.

Walking

I don’t think there is a better, more productive, more healthful habit to develop than a daily walk.  Times in my life when I’ve been in the habit of a daily walk have been some of the happiest, most productive, most centered times of my life. 

There is something to be said for rituals.  There is something to be said for routine…daily routine—the kind that happens no matter what. 

Walking is the third tool from The Artist’s Way, a book which has inspired me recently to make some lifestyle changes.  The first daily habit (Morning Pages) is the act of filling three pages of paper with your longhand writing…about absolutely anything that crosses your mind that morning. 

The second habit (Artist’s Dates) is about setting aside a block of time each week to do something that inspires you—that replenishes your energy.  And walking is the third habit.  The first habit provides direction.  The second habit provides inspiration.  The third habit, walking, provides integration. 

Integration comes from the Latin integratus meaning “to make whole.”  A daily walking habit allows you to integrate all the parts of your psyche that are fractionated and cut off in the day-to-day hustle and bustle of life.  Plain and simple, walking each day gives you the opportunity to tune in to things that are important to you…things that may have taken a back seat to the seemingly urgent tasks of our life.

We can get so lost in checking email, running errands, making dinner, giving the kids a bath, or paying bills.  A daily walking habit requires you to take time away and let your mind wander as your feet walk whatever path you choose.  If I could suggest one powerful change to make this month, it would be to start a walking habit. 

Walk each day for at least a half hour (you want to give your mind time to do its work).  Early morning or evening…whatever works for your schedule.  Making a decision to add this daily habit to your life will work its magic in no time. 

And if you need help getting the support, structure, and accountability you need to make this new habit stick, may I suggest our next session of Focus Forward.  You can check it out here.  In the meantime, write, play, walk…  

Artist Dates

My daughter is 4 and playdates are the thing!  Even though they can be hard to schedule, there is nothing more important to my daughter’s development than love…and play.  Play often falls to the bottom of the list as far as adults are concerned and here’s where Artist Dates come in.  

Artist Dates are the second part of the three-step process that Julia Cameron writes about in “The Artist’s Way.”  Morning Pages are the first and provide direction on your journey.

Keep in mind you don’t have to be an artist or creative for these strategies to be effective.  Writing each morning clears your mind and gets your energy focused.  Worth building into your daily life as a good habit that will help you create greater success. 

The idea with the Artist Dates is that you take time for inspiration.   Once a week, you will go on your own to do something fun, playful, enjoyable, inspiring.  It could be anything that woos you…that’s the idea.  It should feel inspiring.  You should feel drawn to it.  If you do, you are on the right date! 

Going to the park to read, visiting an art supply store for new materials, taking a new dance class…whatever your heart desires.  You are to spend time by your lonesome doing something that feels playful. “Artist’s dates are assigned play.” –Julia Cameron, Author of “The Artist’s Way.”

Ask yourself “what sounds fun?”  Then, go do it.  These solo expeditions are meant to replenish and inspire your imagination.  With that replenishment and inspiration, you can approach the rest of your week with renewed enthusiasm and purpose.  As a weekly habit, it helps you to build fun and whimsy into your life. 

The magic happens when you don’t just do this once or twice but you build it into your life as a habit—something that you do on a regular basis, no matter what.  This is a weekly date with yourself…with that part of you that needs time to explore and play. 

In our work-obsessed culture, this probably sounds self-indulgent.  And it is.  And it should be.  Why shouldn’t we indulge ourselves once in a while in a pursuit that brings us joy and ease?

Do this!  Sign a 12-week contract with yourself that says you’ll embark on one Artist’s date per week!  I’m excited for you…and I hope you’ll give it a try.  It is simple.  And it is effective if you want to be more productive in any endeavor…because you are filling up your reserve of energy and focus during these inspirational play dates.

Our group coaching program, Focus Forward, can help you stick with your goal of incorporating Artist Dates as a lifelong habit.  Don’t wait.  Our next group starts September 7th!

Here’s to all the inspiration and play coming your way as you commit to one Artist’s date a week.  I’m excited for you to get started…

The Artist's Way

A few weeks ago I was introduced to “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron.  While I haven’t read through the book, the message is clear. 

Your inner critic is getting in your way and preventing you from moving forward on your goals. 

While the book was written to help artists and creatives get past the internal blocks to greater productivity and creation of their art…the concepts are applicable in any line of work.  The advice is so simple and so effective that I’m going to implement it in my own life and I hope you’ll do the same. 

There are three basic tools for encouraging your creative (or productive) genius to come out.  According to Cameron, they are “simultaneously universal and individual.”  Who doesn’t love that?   

  1. Morning Pages…which provide direction on your journey
  2. Artist’s Dates…which provide inspiration
  3. Walking…which provides integration (how true!)

Let’s take “Morning Pages” to start.  Here’s the idea.  Straight from the book, “Morning pages are three pages of longhand writing, strictly stream-of-consciousness…as in “Oh god, another morning.  I have nothing to say.  I need to wash the curtains.  Did I get my laundry yesterday?  Blah, blah, blah.”  They might also, more ingloriously, be called brain drain, since that is one of their main functions.”

Here’s the idea.  Get yourself a notebook from Target or the drug store or Amazon's version.  Or, if you are feeling so inspired, get yourself a beautiful leather-bound notebook from a fancy stationary store.  Whatever you choose, you should have a decent amount of page space to write.  Sit down in the morning, preferably in a space where you can really listen to the thoughts that come up in your mind. 

You could do it while you have your morning coffee or a glass of water…or even before you get out of bed.  Start writing.  Write anything that comes to mind until you fill up three pages with your thoughts.  As Cameron says, there is no wrong way to do Morning Pages.  They are not meant to be “art” or even “writing.” 

They are just a collection of words that you are getting out of your head and onto the page.  Often, the words might sound angry or self-pitying, repetitive, or bland.  And that’s good.  That’s what you are going for.  All of this clutter in your mind is what’s preventing you from getting your creativity and your productivity into the world. 

Write until you fill three pages.  Write whatever thoughts are in your mind.  Do this every morning.  Do it for at least 8 weeks.  Or make it a life-time habit, which is what “The Artist’s Way” asks you to do.  Here’s an important point:  you are strongly discouraged from reading anything you’ve written until you have been doing Morning Pages daily for 8 weeks (I didn’t see that coming, did you?).

We are all our harshest critics.  In order to fight that critic, to hold that critic back from having a negative influence over our creativity or productivity, we need to bring all these critical statements that we make about ourselves (daily) into the light of day.  “The Artist’s Way” suggests (and I think I do agree) that the practice and discipline of Morning Pages really helps to do that in an effective and powerful way.

This is a simple tool, it’s a free tool, and it’s a powerful tool.  There are communities of believers who sing the praises of this process.  If you are looking for a daily habit to help you be more successful and more productive, I encourage you to read “The Artist’s Way” and start your Morning Pages habit now. 

A great way to keep yourself accountable and get support for implementing this new success habit in your daily life is to sign up for our next Focus Forward session.  Imagine that in just 4 weeks you could be off to a great start with this new habit that will help you to unleash your creativity (even if you are not an artist) and optimize your productivity for your maximum success.  What are you doing tomorrow morning?

How Much by When?

A very useful book, “The Success Principles” by Jack Canfield (better known as the author of the "Chicken Soup for the Soul" book series) outlines 64 guiding principles that help get you to where you want to be in life.

One of his principles is the idea of goal-setting—how to set goals and what to do once you’ve set them.   If you are making changes in your life for the better, goal-setting is an important part of the process and really effective in improving your chances of success. 

  1. Decide “How much by when?”  I will weight 135 by Nov. 1 or I will save $3500 by January 5.  These goals are specific, powerful, and measurable.   Think of all your goals in this context. 
  1. Write your goals out in detail.  Paint a vivid picture and let your subconscious mind go to work helping you get closer to that vision.
  1. Read your goals three times a day…aloud and with enthusiasm if possible!  This helps to stimulate your motivation and increase your awareness of resources that can help you achieve this goal.
  1. Create a goals book.  Get a notebook or a binder and make a page for each goal.  Write the goal at the top of the page, illustrate it with pictures and depict the goal as already achieved.  Review your goal book as often as possible.
  1. Carry your most important goal in your wallet.  Every time you open your wallet, you are reminded of your most important goal.  This exposure helps keep your awareness of your goal sharp in your mind.

Goal setting is the first step in our Focus Forward Group Coaching Program.  Once you set your goals for the program (examples include:  get up at the same time every day, get into a good workout routine, spend 20 minutes a day on cleaning your room, etc.), you get daily online peer support, accountability, and the guidance of your coach. 

Move forward swiftly toward your new achievements!  Goal-setting is a mindset that you can shift to right now.  I’m excited to see what you accomplish.  Let’s unleash the power of goal setting in your life and see what happens!

Summer Camp.

ADHD coaching

My daughter started a new adventure this week.  Summer camp.  Her first day was a whirlwind of new experiences as she tried to learn the ropes and fit in with kids who had started at camp weeks earlier. 

As I dropped her off on that Monday morning I knew we were starting a new chapter and that she would reach new milestones. 

She was quiet when I picked her up after her first half day for the preschool crowd.  She seemed to be processing all the events of her busy morning.  As the day went on, I could tell new knowledge was coming together in her mind. 

As I put her to bed that night, she had a hard time falling to sleep.  Finally, after many bedtime stories she said to me, “Mommy, I couldn’t put my goggles on by myself today so I didn’t want to swim.  Can you tell my teacher I need help putting my goggles on?”

I thought about the question and how best to respond.  As a coach, my job is to help you discover the best solutions to the problems and challenges you face.  Not only is solving problems for you impractical, it’s very unlikely to be helpful.    

Wanting my daughter to rest easy, I assured her I would let her teacher know in the morning. 

Many more times she reminded me before falling asleep that night.  She wanted my promise that I would resolve this for her.  “Can you ask your teacher?”  I asked.  She simply said, “I want you to do it, Mommy.”  “Ok,” I said.

In the morning, she asked another dozen times.  Each time, I reassured her.  “I will ask your teacher.”  We headed off to camp.  As we walked to her “home base,” she reminded me one more time.  “Mommy, can you ask my teacher to please help me put on my goggles when it’s time for swimming?”  “Yes,” I said.

As we approached the teacher, I took a calculated risk and pushed my daughter just a bit past her comfort zone.  I was so hopeful she would rise to the challenge but prepared to catch her just in case she needed me.  I said, “Do you have something you want to tell your teacher?” 

As the teacher listened intently, my daughter clearly projected her voice and said, “I need help putting my goggles on today before swim.”

I was filled with pride and a great sense of relief.  I could see the pride she felt for herself after pushing past her fear.  What may seem small was a big leap for her.  And a success as her teacher warmly and supportively agreed, “Yes, we will put them on together.”

I pushed her past her comfort zone but I was there to hold her hand while she did it.  That’s exactly the kind of support a lot of us need.  We are all capable of making those leaps and pushing past our comfort zones…sometimes we just need to feel supported on the journey.

If you are ready to get out of your comfort zone and make some big leaps toward your goals, the support of a coach and an awesome online peer group might be just the thing to get you there.  Check out Focus Forward and start thinking about your next big leap.

 

You...are NOT alone.

ADHD CoachingI mention this because recently I had a surprising experience. 

I’ve always been a fan of sharing my life with others.  On the scale of openness--guardedness, I’m pretty much an open book.  So I was caught off guard when a great candidate for my group coaching program wanted to drop out. 

I knew she would get a ton out of the program and really benefit from it, both personally and professionally.  But she was afraid she would not be anonymous. 

She feared she would be identifiable by the other participants and that fear made her drop out before she even got started.  

There are lots of people struggling with the exact issues you are struggling with.  Thousands, hundreds of thousands, maybe more. 

I’m not just talking about sticking to a monthly budget or juggling the responsibilities of home and work.  I’m talking about things most non-ADHDers take for granted, like:

  • maintaining a clear path from your bedroom door to your bed
  • being able to schedule more than one thing in any given day
  • trusting yourself to wake up when you have an important meeting in the morning
  • not just flaking out and missing work for one day, two days, two weeks
  • creating and following any semblance of a routine
  • following a to do list (not making one,  we all know how easy that is, but following one)

The list could go on.  But let’s just say you pretty much consider yourself the bottom of the barrel when it comes to organization, time management, focus, productivity, and tidiness.  Well, you are not alone.  That’s why a group program can be so effective.  You can achieve your goals more easily and more quickly when you work in a group. 

Let’s go over some boring facts about working with a group of peers (peers = people who are daily dealing with the same stuff you are dealing with when it comes to managing your time, tasks, self, and stuff).    

Things happen when people work together.  You’ve seen this before, right?  Skyscrapers, heart surgery, tug of war…a group of people working together can do amazing things.  When you sign up for group coaching, there are a dozen factors at play that help drive your results.  Here’s a partial list:
 

  1. You recognize you are not alone.  You see that others share similar thoughts, feelings, and problems.  How reassuring!
  2. You get to help others.  By offering your feedback and encouragement, you gain a boost to your own self-esteem.  It feels good to help others!
  3. You start to feel hopeful.  Seeing other people with similar problems experience success gives you feelings of optimism.  It is all possible for you too!
  4. Wealth…of information.  A wealth of information is available to you in a group program: the advice and feedback of your peers and your coach can be priceless.
  5. You gain insight.  Start figuring out your own motivation, behavior, and emotions.  Insight helps you figure out what changes to make to be more effective and get more of what you want.  Sounds good to me.

If you’re hesitant to enter a group coaching program, I wish I could wave a magic wand and ease your concerns.  I wish you could know how supportive and helpful your peers will be once you meet them.  I wish I could take away the feelings of vulnerability and self-doubt you might feel.  But there’s only one way to get there from here…

Jump right in and do it anyway.  You’ll be glad you did.  

If you love someone with ADHD, don't do these 20 things...

ADHD CoachingCourtesy of www.lifehack.org  (Written by:  June Silny)

You wonder if everybody’s life is as chaotic as yours. Something’s not right.  Your child doesn’t act like the other children in the class. Homework assignments guarantee a night of fights, slammed doors, and tears shed. The teachers call you in for conferences weekly.

Your husband gets fired again claiming all his bosses are jerks. You work overtime so your car isn’t repossessed. Your sister cancels every time you plan to meet for dinner. Your teenager is hanging out in the local piercing parlor. And your daughter can’t find her car keys whenever she’s walking out the door. Your relationships are constant conflicts.

You’ve considered splitting up, but you can’t afford to live on your own. You’ve thought of quitting your job, packing your bags, and running away. You’re tired all the time. You’re trapped, choking, and you cannot breathe.

Loving someone who has ADHD can make your life crazy if you don’t get a grip on it. The doctors prescribe medication. The therapists tell you what to do, but your home is as wild as a college frat house.

A person with ADHD can be hard to live with. The thought patterns and behaviors of a person with ADHD never go away. They are manageable, but that too, is a full-time challenge.

Without proper care, ADHD can lead to substance abuse, overeating, unemployment, toxic relationships, divorce, constant conflict, academic failure, insomnia, stress, anxiety and panic attacks. A person with ADHD has an active thought process of options, possibilities, and scenarios the average person cannot even imagine.

Eventually, reality bites. The rent is due, the electric bill is unpaid, and your checking account is overdrawn again. You’re exhausted from staying awake worrying all night. You want to run away, but your problems are like misspelled tattoos that stay with you wherever you go. There is hope. It doesn’t have to be that way. As a person with ADHD has to work through his challenges, you as his lover, parent, sibling or friend also have to learn coping skills to improve the situation. Don’t do these 20 things if you want to have a happier life together.

1. Don’t live in denial - Admit the truth.  Call the problem by its name: Attention-Deficit/Hyperactive Disorder. Your life will become easier when you identify it, own it, talk about it, and stop running from it. Admitting that it exists is the first step to freedom. There is no reason to feel ashamed. Many of history’s greatest contributions have come from people with ADHD. Scientists, authors, artists, musicians, and entrepreneurs have become successful because they have a creative vision that average people do not possess.

2. Don’t criticize - Judge favorably.  Realize that your loved one with ADHD is trying his hardest, even though it’s not good enough for your standards. Lighten up, go easy, and give them time. They will accomplish what they have to do, but not on the schedule you have in mind. Allow them time and space to accomplish their tasks. Influence them with love, not with criticism.

3. Don’t accept excuses - Encourage and inspire them to achieve their goals.  ADHD isn’t an excuse for an irresponsible lifestyle. It just means that what comes easy to you, may be difficult for them. It doesn’t mean that they can’t do something, it means that it’s harder for them. Simple tasks that you take for granted; such as opening mail, trashing junk mail, and placing your bills in a “to be paid” folder, feel like a climb up Mt. Everest to a person with ADHD. It doesn’t make sense to someone who doesn’t have it. Try to be encouraging, in spite of your doubts and disappointments. Point out the times when they suceeded.

4. Don’t be a coach - Be a cheerleader.  Stand on the sidelines; grab your pom-poms and start cheering. Words of encouragement have more power than insults and put-downs. Coaches arein-your-face critics. Their job is to point out the negative. Cheerleaders stand on the side, rooting for success, believing in their teams ability to achieve. Let your loved one with ADHD know that you are on the same team.

5. Don’t make unrealistic demands - Stay with the possible.  When a person with ADHD gets stressed out, an obsessive thought pattern of “what-ifs” begins. Screaming and shouting, “Just do it already. Stop making such a fuss,” will not break through compulsive thinking. Accept the fact that they may not be able to do what you want, when you want it, or how you want them to do it. If it’s something important, be specific.

6. Don’t give instructional lectures - Be respectful.  Lectures are not helpful if a person feels like they are being spoken to like a child whose baseball broke the neighbor’s window. If you have something to say, be sure to choose the right words at the right time. The timing of your conversations determines if you will be heard or ignored. Schedule a time to talk. Rehearse your speech so that it comes out as love, not control.

7. Don’t be impulsive - Practice patience.  Someone with ADHD is impulsive. If you are the rational thinker in the relationship, your ADHD loved one is depending on you  to be wise and patient. Two impulsive people reacting emotionally and regurgitating information at each other, does not make for a happy ending.  

8. Don’t be a martyr - Call for backup.  Have a support team to help you through the struggles. You don’t have to manage everything alone. Call a friend, a therapist, or a loving relative. Find someone who just listens. If you don’t want advice or suggestions, a comforting shoulder to cry on can strengthen you and change your outlook.

9. Don’t forget your goal - Prepare for a positive outcome.  Sometimes words come out that you later regret saying. They can’t be taken back. Hurtful words leave deep wounds. Keep your goals in mind. What would you like to accomplish? Ask yourself, if I say this will it lead to a negative or a positive outcome? It’s up to you. You determine the outcome. Go slow. Think before you speak.

10. Don’t feel guilty - Know that you are doing your best.  Feeling that your loved one is hard to love, or that you don’t like their behavior is a sad feeling to experience. If you’re a parent and are upset about your child’s behavior, guilt runs through your veins. It’s not your fault. You’re doing the best you can. You’re in a tough situation and you aren’t always sure which is the best way to handle it. Be gentle with yourself.

11. Don’t try to control them - Control yourself. Intimidating or threatening does not inspire change. Trying to control people is never effective. When you don’t know how to motivate your loved one, think about how you can change your approach. You can’t control other people; you can only control your words, thoughts, and reactions towards them.

12. Don’t lean in - Step back. Intense emotions are negative emotions. Leaning in and pushing a person to perform isn’t the most effective way to reach the result you desire. When stress is high and you feel like screaming, back off. Stepping back gives you time to breathe, relax, and readjust your thoughts.

13. Don’t label them - Be compassionate.  Judgment is easy; compassion is hard work. Don’t box them in as a “forgetful, lazy, disorganized mess,” or “someone who will never succeed.” Labels create pre-determined expectations that last for years. People become what you see them as.  

14. Don’t say “never” - Nothing stays the same.  When times are tough, it’s hard to remember that tough times don’t last forever. Things will get better. Believe it. “Never” is a word of hopelessness. Start saying, “not yet.” The only thing constant is change.  

15. Don’t say “Just do it” - Understand that they can’t.  An ordinary thinker cannot understand how a person with ADD/ADHD can’t accomplish the simplest tasks such as paying bills, organizing papers, and putting their clothes away. These tasks may be easy for you, but remember, the person with ADHD also has a hard time understanding why they can’t pay a bill or manage their mail.  

16. Don’t be afraid to help out - Offer a helping hand.It’s important to teach your loved ones how to be responsibly and independently. But also remember, that there are times when it’s okay to offer assistance. Even Einstein had a helper. His wife cooked for him, cleaned up after him and did his laundry because his high-powered mind was too busy discovering the quantum workings of the universe to take time to put his dirty socks in the laundry bin.

17. Don’t have unrealistic expectations - List what you love about them.  Accept your loved ones as they are. Just like with any other relationship, you have to look for the good, and stay focused on it. Never lose sight of the awesome qualities of your ADD/ADHD loved one. If it’s your partner, remember that their fun-loving, impulsive personality is probably why you fell in love with them. Go back to the beginning. Love them again, as if you first met them. If it’s your child, remember the feeling of holding your newborn baby in your arms for the first time.  

18. Don’t neglect other family members - Spend time alone with them.  ADD/ADHD can take over your home environment, subliminally controlling everything and everyone in it. Spend time with other family members. They need you, too. Go to the movies or go get some ice cream with them. Remind them that they still exist for you. Hug them and hold onto them.  

19. Don’t get mad - Pause for peace.  Make peace in your home and your life your priority. The other lessons will soon fall into place if your home is a loving environment. Anger is easy. Staying quiet takes strength. Put your relationships before your feelings. You don’t have to veerbalize every comment that comes to mind. Place your ego on the side until your anger subsides.  Don’t ever accept abusive behavior of any type. There are certain relationships that are unhealthy, toxic, and need to end. Seek professional help.  

20. Don’t forget to love yourself - Do something that makes you happy.  ADHD relationships can suck the joy out of life. You realize that you haven’t laughed in a month. You forgot how to smile, and you can’t remember the last time you had fun. Make time for yourself. Do something that makes you happy. Have fun again, and do it often.

Wrapping up 2014

Get yourself a Life Check-up...just in time for the holidays!

If you're wondering what to give your significant other, good friend, or favorite family memeber this holiday season, why not consider a life coaching package that's designed to get him or her energized, motivated, and inspired for the year ahead?

Personally, I can't think of a gift that I would appreciate more than the opportunity to brainstorm with a coach, get clear on my goals, develop concrete action steps to implement, and be held accountable for moving forward.  

Ok, so how to you present a gift like this?  Well, its great for anyone who's mentioned getting a life coach, or who has an interest in self-improvement or who's kicked around certain goals for a while but hasn't moved forward.  We all know getting started is the hardest part, so make it easier by doing the leg work for your loved one.

The program works like this.  Three 45 minute sessions:  Discovery, Action, & Moving Forward.  Give a gift with lasting value to help your loved one accomplish something special...whatever that may be.  Now through December 30th, the "Life Check-Up Coaching Package" is priced at $300.  Email sarah@sarahshore.com to reserve the gift of a coaching package for your loved one today!  

 

How are Executive Function and ADHD related?

Excerpted from National Center for Learning Disabilities (www.ncld.org) "What is Executive Function?"

Executive function is a set of mental processes that helps connect past experience with present action and present action (write down that appointment) with future experience (get to the appointment on time). We use executuve function to plan, organize, strategize, pay attention, remember things, and manage our time and space.  

If you have trouble with executive function, these things are more difficult to do. 

As with other learning disabilities, problems with executive function can run in families.  It can be seen at any age, but it tends to become more apparent as children move through the early elementary grades. This is when the demands of completing schoolwork independently can trigger signs of a problem with executive function.

How Does Executive Function Affect Learning?

In school, at home or in the workplace, we’re called on all day, every day, to regulate our own behavior. Executive function allows us to:

  • Make plans
  • Keep track of time and finish work on time
  • Keep track of more than one thing at once
  • Meaningfully include past knowledge in discussions
  • Evaluate ideas and reflect on our work
  • Change our minds and make mid-course corrections while thinking, reading and writing
  • Ask for help or seek more information when we need it
  • Engage in group dynamics
  • Wait to speak until we’re called on

What Are the Warning Signs of Executive Function Problems?

Do you have trouble:

  • Planning projects
  • Comprehending how much time a project will take to complete
  • Telling stories (verbally or in writing), struggling to communicate details in an organized, sequential manner
  • Memorizing and retrieving information from memory
  • Initiating activities or tasks, or generating ideas independently

How Are Problems With Executive Function Identified?

There is no single test that identifies all of the different features of executive function.  Careful observation is necessary to better understand strengths and weaknesses in this area.

What Are Some Strategies to Help?

There are many effective strategies to help with the problem of executive function challenges. Here are some methods to try:

General Strategies

  • Take step-by-step approaches to work; rely on visual organizational aids.
  • Use tools like time organizers, computers or watches with alarms.
  • Prepare visual schedules and review them several times a day.
  • Ask for written directions with oral instructions whenever possible.
  • Plan and structure transition times and shifts in activities.

Managing Time

  • Create checklists and “to do” lists, estimating how long tasks will take.
  • Break long assignments into chunks and assign time frames for completing each chunk.
  • Use visual calendars at to keep track of long term assignments, due dates, chores and activities.
  • Use management software such as the Franklin Day Planner, Palm Pilot or Lotus Organizer.
  • Be sure to write the due date on top of each assignment.

Managing Space and Materials

  • Organize work space.
  • Minimize clutter.
  • Consider having separate work areas with complete sets of supplies for different activities.
  • Schedule a weekly time to clean and organize the work space.

Managing Work

  • Make a checklist for getting through assignments. For example, a student’s checklist could include such items as: get out pencil and paper; put name on paper; put due date on paper; read directions; etc.
  • Meet with a teacher or supervisor on a regular basis to review work; troubleshoot problems.

Daily Habits for Managing ADHD

Excerpted from Psych Central http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2014/03/15/10-daily-habits-that-help-you-manage-adhd/

The first key in managing attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is making sure you’re getting effective treatment.  The second key in managing ADHD is building healthy habits that help you sharpen your focus, navigate symptoms and accomplish what you need to accomplish. Below is a list of 10 habits that may help you better manage ADHD.

 1. Get enough sleep.  Get at least 7 hours of sleep each night.  Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day.  Create a bedtime routine.  Create a morning routine as well so your less likely to hit snooze and go back to sleep.

2. Get enough nutrients.  What you eat will directly impact your ability to focus and your executive functioning — your ability to plan, organize and follow through with things.  Eating unprocessed whole foods and avoiding junk goes a long way toward helping you function at your best.  

3.  Participate in physical activities.  Getting exercise is good for everyone.  For folks with ADHD, it helps keep you focused and expends any hyperactive energy.

4.  Use a system to manage tasks.  Many people with ADHD get overwhelmed with everything they need to do, because everything seems important. That’s where having a simple system comes in.  Some people recommend the “Getting Things Done” system, which you can modify according to your life and preferences. Create one list that captures everything you’d like to remember, such as appointments and assignments. Then create a to-do list that includes the specific actions you will take.  Anything that includes multiple steps goes on a “project list.” Whatever the project, write down all the specific steps that need to be done. 

5. Reflect on your victories.  Celebrate your successes and be sure to note any and all accomplishments for the day, even if they seem small.  This positive self-talk adds to feelings of self-efficacy or your belief that you are capable of succeeding.  

7. Practice positive self-talk.  Pay attention to the things you’re saying to yourself. Challenge negative statements, and replace them with positive phrases.

8. Get yourself a system for handling your finances.  Using money management software can help with organizing your expenses and documents. Programs like Mint.com are free and providue you with analysis of your spending.  

9. Have an accountability partner.  Another issue adults with ADHD can run into is lack of structure and accountability. For instance, college students go from having highly structured days in high school to virtually no structure.  For accountability and structure, you can hire an ADHD coach, partner with others to create an accountability group or ask a friend to help.  

10. Remember every day is a new day.  Starting a new habit for anyone is challenging, and includes ups and downs. Forming new habits is hard work but one of the most successful ways we know of to create positive behavioral change.  Living with ADHD becomes easier when you incorporate good healthy habits into daily life.

Accommodations...not just extra time on tests!

Time Management:  Individuals with AD/HD may experience difficulty managing time, which can affect their ability to mark time as it passes incrementally by minutes and hours. It can also affect their ability to gauge the proper amount of time to set aside for certain tasks. It may be difficult to prepare for, or to remember, work activities that occur later in the week, month, or year.

  • Divide large assignments into several small tasks
  • Set a timer to make an alarm after assigning ample time to complete a task
  • Provide a checklist of assignments
  • Supply an electronic or handheld organizer, and train on how to use effectively
  • Use wall calendar to emphasize due dates
    • Develop a color-coded system (each color represents a task, or event, or level of importance)
    • Allow co-worker or supervisor to add entries on the calendar, or to double-check entries added by the employee with AD/HD

Memory: Individuals with AD/HD may experience memory deficits, which can affect their ability to complete tasks, remember job duties, or recall daily actions or activities.

  • Provide written instructions
  • Allow additional training time for new tasks
  • Offer training refreshers
  • Use flow-chart to indicate steps in a task
  • Provide verbal or pictorial cues
  • Use post-it notes as reminders of important dates or tasks

Concentration:  Individuals with AD/HD may experience decreased concentration, which can be attributed to auditory distractions (that can be heard) and/or visual distractions (that can be seen). People with AD/HD report distractions such as office traffic and employee chatter, opening and closing of elevator doors, and common office noises such as fax tones and photocopying.

  • To reduce auditory distractions:
    • Purchase a noise canceling headset
    • Hang sound absorption panels
    • Provide a white noise machine
    • Relocate employee’s office space away from audible distractions
    • Redesign employee’s office space to minimize audible distractions
  • To reduce visual distractions:
    • Install space enclosures (cubicle walls)
    • Reduce clutter in the employee's work environment
    • Redesign employee’s office space to minimize visual distractions
    • Relocate employee’s office space away from visual distractions

Excerpted from www.askjan.org "Accommodation and Compliance Series:  Employees with Attention Deficit Hyper Activity Disorder."

10 Myths and Facts about ADHD

...from Attention Deficit Disorder: The Unfocused Mind in Children and Adults, by Thomas E. Brown, Ph.D. Associate Director of the Yale Clinic for Attention and Related Disorders (Yale University Press, 2005)

1.  MYTH: ADHD is just a lack of willpower. Persons with ADHD focus well on things that interest them; they could focus on any other tasks if they really wanted to.   FACT: ADHD looks very much like a willpower problem, but it isn’t. It’s essentially a chemical problem in the management systems of the brain.

2.  MYTH: ADHD is a simple problem of being hyperactive or not listening when someone is talking to you.  FACT: ADHD is a complex disorder that involves impairments in focus, organization, motivation, emotional modulation, memory, and other functions of the brain’s management system.

3.  MYTH: Brains of persons with ADHD are overactive and need medication to calm down.  FACT: Underactivity of the brain’s management networks is typical of persons with ADHD. Effective medications increase alertness and improve communication in the brain’s management system.

4.  MYTH: ADHD is simply a label for behavior problems; children with ADHD just refuse to sit still and are unwilling to listen to teachers or parents.  FACT: Many with ADHD have few behavior problems, chronic inattention symptoms cause more severe and longer-lasting problems for learning and relationships for those with ADHD.

5.  MYTH: Those who have ADHD as children usually outgrow it as they enter their teens.  FACT: Often ADHD impairments are not very noticeable until the teen years, when more self-management is required in school and elsewhere.  And ADHD may be subtle, but more disabling during adolescence than in childhood.

6.  MYTH: Unless you have been diagnosed with ADHD as a child, you can’t have it as an adult.  FACT: Many adults have struggled all their lives with unrecognized ADHD impairments. They haven’t received help because they assumed that their chronic difficulties, like depression or anxiety, were caused by other
impairments that did not respond to the usual treatments.

7.  MYTH: Everybody has the symptoms of ADHD, and anyone with adequate intelligence can overcome these difficulties.  FACT: ADHD affects persons of all levels of intelligence. And although everyone sometimes has symptoms of ADHD, only those with chronic impairments from these symptoms warrant an ADD diagnosis.

8.  MYTH: Someone can’t have ADHD and also have depression, anxiety, or other psychiatric problems.
FACT: A person with ADHD is six times more likely to have another psychiatric or learning disorder than most other people. ADD usually overlaps with other disorders.

9.  MYTH: Medications for ADHD are likely to cause longer-term problems with substance abuse or other health concerns, especially when used by children.  FACT: The risks of using appropriate medications to treat ADHD are minimal.  The medications used for ADHD are among the best researched for any disorder.

10.  MYTH: ADHD doesn’t really cause much damage to a person’s life.  FACT: Untreated or inadequately treated ADHD syndrome often severely impairs leaning, family life, education, work life, social interactions, and driving safely. Most of those with ADHD who receive adequate treatment, however, function quite well.

For more information about this book, visit www.DrThomasEBrown.com

11 Ways to Succeed on the Job with Adult ADHD

These tips are adapted from the slideshow at www.additudemag.com

Many of my clients feel that they are not reaching their full level of productivity and efficiency during the work day.  While all strategies need to be adapted to fit each individual person and his or her personality, the following tips offer a great place to start. 

1.  Focus on one thing only:  Try to keep your desk clear of all but what you need for the task at  hand.

2.  Silence your inner critic:  Many times, good enough is just that...good enough.  

3.  Download tasks to paper:  Make sure to keep short, simple working lists of the tasks to complete.

4.  Stay focused in meetings:  A popular strategy to be successful here is to take notes throughout.

5.  Activate your attention:  Do some jumping jacks or climb a few flights of stairs to get the blood pumping.

6.  Put time on your side:  Set a timer for completing tasks so you can mark time passing.

7.  Keep your work space tidy:  Spend a few minutes each day clearing clutter and organizing papers.

8.  Don't let email control you:  Check email three times a day--morning, lunch, and before the end of the day.

9.  Manage distractions:  Work on difficult projects after hours or during non-peak times to minimize distractions.

10.  Pump up attention:  Fidget, walk around, chew gum or hard candy.  All will help focus your attention.

11.  Ask for help:  An ADHD coach is a great resource to help you experience greater success at work!

ADHD & Relationships

When you think of ADHD, what comes to mind?  Many with ADHD describe themselves as scattered or lacking focus.  When you think about ADHD, these are the symptoms that often come to mind:  distractibility, lack of focus, procrastination, avoidance of unpleasant tasks, poor time management, disorganization.  But what many people fail to realize is that ADHD has profound impacts on interpersonal relationships!  Here are some of the ways ADHD can impact close relationships:

  • Communication gaps and misunderstandings
  • Lack of follow through on responsibilities
  • Impulsivity
  • Emotional over-reaction
  • Avoidance of problems

Here are a few helpful articles on ADHD and relationships:

http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/838.html

http://www.webmd.com/add-adhd/guide/adhd-in-marriage-and-romantic-relationships

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/entrepreneurs-adhd/201001/adhd-relationship-tips

Achieving Balance

Many of us often suffer from a misalignment of yin and yang, the ancient Chinese concept of opposing energy forces. When yin and yang are in balance, we experience harmony and an overall sense of well-being. When yin and yang are out of balance, we tend to feel like something's just not quite right. Tending to our balance of yin and yang energy is an important part of feeling at peace and comfortable in our own skin. Here are a few suggestions for balancing the yin-yang energy in your own life.
If you're feeling anxious, nervous, or always on the go, increase yin activities. Take a bath instead of a shower. Why? Feelings of anxiety, nervousness, and stress or pressure correspond with yang energy which is more active and forceful. Bathing corresponds more with the yin energy of receptivity and restoration.
If you're feeling down, sluggish, or lacking motivation, you need more yang activities in your day. Try a power yoga class or go out for a run. When we are feeling down, yin energy is predominating and we need to add more yang to feel balanced and relieve symptoms. Any active and vigorous activity should do the trick. The Chinese believe in the concept of "qi" or "chi" which is the life energy that surrounds us both inside and out. When it is in balance, we experience harmony and wellbeing. Do what you can this month to balance your qi, balance the yin and yang in your life.
Cultivate balance in your life by attending to your senses and making efforts to increase feelings of wellbeing. You'll notice small changes can make a big difference!

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Putting First Things First...

Distractions are everywhere and our attention is being pulled in a thousand different directions everyday. Its a challenge to stay focused when there are so many demands for our time. Sometimes it helps, when distractions are overwhelming, to "put first things first." This simply means that we organize our time around our priorities. Easier said than done, I know! When you get very clear about what your priorities are, it does become easier.

Many times, our choices are between what is good for us and what is pleasurable. Carrots or chocolate cake? Working out or vegging out? Saving or spending? How can we delay gratification so that we make progress toward long-term goals, and maintain our commitment to our priorities?

1. Stop making excuses. We all need to give ourselves a break sometimes, but start to recognize the times that you are making excuses for not doing something to which you have made a commitment. When you start to count up how many times you didn't exercise because you"felt tired," you might start to hold yourself more accountable to your goals. And, that will get you one step closer to where you want to be.

2. Expect a little more from yourself. You can do this. Often times, we set our goals too high and we feel tired at the thought of trying to accomplish them. Take it down a few notches but expect more from yourself at the same time. You may be able to make the excuse that you can't go to the gym for two hours today, but can you use the same excuse about jumping rope in your back yard for 10 minutes? Give yourself a break, but expect a little more as well.

3. Enlist help. Whether its a spouse, a child, or a friend--let that person know you are aiming to put first things first--those priorities that are vitally important to you but maybe not always urgent. Its really ok to tell others what is really important to you, and to say no to requests when they simply do not align with your priorities. Ask for help, and let friends and family keep you on track when they see you straying in a million directions.

Remember: Ask for what you want. Set your priorities. Align your time management and decision making with those priorities. You will reduce distractions in your life and spend more time devoted to those areas which are truly important to you.

With Encouragement, Sarah Shore, M.S.

A job you hate? Well, its only temporary!

Do you hate your job right about now? Concerned about the tough job market? Thinking you’ll never escape? Well, think again! There is light at the end of the tunnel, but for now, let’s consider ways to make it more bearable. Sleeping 12 hours a day? Crying about how much you hate your job? Bemoaning your fate to friends and family? Well, take a look at these strategies and add some proactive and self-protective tactics to your survival strategy!

1. Your mantra must become: “Its only temporary.” Reminding yourself of this fact can help you to remember that change does happen and you are not doomed forever. If you need to, repeat this mantra to yourself 50 times a day.

2. Do something everyday to move you closer toward your goal—whether that’s a new job, a career transition, or starting your own business. Little things mean a lot:
· Spend just 5 minutes a day looking at job postings on line.
· Spend 5 minutes a week editing and improving the key words in your resume.
· Find a networking group and attend one meeting a month. Just one can make a big difference.

3. Talk to your co-workers. Even if you cannot tolerate even one in the bunch, socializing (that’s right, for only 5 minutes) lifts your mood and makes the day go faster.

4. Manage Up—learn to coach your boss. When your boss behaves in ways that are helpful, or maybe even just tolerable, positively reinforce him or her by giving praise. People learn quickly to repeat behaviors that others find desirable. This is a great strategy for systematically eliminating bad boss behaviors and increasing good ones.

5. You know it—Exercise. Take the pup out for 15 minutes before work. Not possible? Here’s a secret strategy: Go into the bathroom, or the stair well and do a few sets of jumping jacks, lunges, and squats. You’ll get your blood pumping and look toned to boot.

6. Increase the Life in Work Life Balance! Being in a job you hate causes depression, frustration, lethargy, and overall bad moods. Plan your life like you plan your work week. Schedule two to three nights a week for socializing with friends.
--A bottle of wine and a bag of pretzels and you’ve got “Happy Hour at Home.”
--Expand your horizons with a free or low-cost class at the local high school. Belly dancing anyone?
--Massage night with your mate—60 minutes each—no cost, high return on investment (decreased stress, affection, and who knows what else?).

Balance between your life and your work will make your hell-job more bearable. Remember, its 8 hours a day.

If all else fails, here’s a sure-fire way to make the day move faster. Everyday, write out the total hours you must spend at work just like this: 8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 on a sheet of paper. Fold it up to make it really small. Keep it in your pocket. After each hour passes, take a big marker and draw an X though that hour. So, let’s say its 10:00 and you’ve survived your first hour at work. Celebrate by drawing a big X through the 8. Now, only 7 more to go. You’ll start to see progress in no time!

With Encouragement: Sarah Shore, M.S.

There's Art...and then there's Science

I've always preferred art to science but have never considered myself and artist.  Thinking about it now, we are all artists and what we create--if nothing else, is our own life.  Imagine that--creating your own life.  What would you do if you could dream it up from scratch?

Making Changes...One Stage at a Time

Have you ever heard yourself saying, "I'm making changes in my life." or "I'm turning over a new leaf." or "I need to do something different"? Deep down, most of us want to do better or be better at something. But how do we get there? What are the stages involved in creating change?

When working with my clients, its very helpful for me to think about change in stages. As a way of thinking about it, I often find myself assessing a client's readiness for change by using the model developed by Prochaska and DiClemente (1992) which breaks down "changing" into 5 stages. Let's use an example--finding a new job.
  • Precontemplation: You are unhappy at your current job but don't do anything to change it because you do not realize the extent of the negative effect your current position has on your life, your emotions, and even your relationship with friends and family. Clients often find themselves bouncing between precontemplation and the next stage.
  • Contemplation: You realize your job is making you miserable and you start to think about making a change. But, its hard work to change...and you think to yourself, "Well, is it really that bad?" Many times, people tend to decide its not that bad and return to the precontemplation stage.
  • Preparation: You've had enough! You have committed to making a change and your are getting ready. You are sending out resumes, networking, and passing the word along to associates and contacts. You have committed to making a change.
  • Action: You are taking actions like those listed above to make a career change and systematically implementing actions to achieve your goal. You may not reach it overnight so its important in this stage to give yourself credit for the actions you've taken. You carefully consider your options and your next steps.
  • Maintenance: You've accomplished your goal. You are in a new work position. You evaluated your options carefully. You celebrate your success and evaluate after 6 months to insure you made the right choice and that you are indeed, happier.

Many of my life coaching and business consulting clients come to me in the contemplation stage--pretty sure they want to make a change but not sure if the outcome will be worth the investment (emotional, mental, financial, etc.). As a coach and consultant, its my job to let you know up front if I think you can be successful. If you want to make a change in your life, career, or business, see if you can identify where you are in the stages of change model. Remember, once you decide to make a change, or move closer to a goal--continue moving forward. Continue taking action everyday. You will reach your goal or accomplish your objective. But it takes hard work, courage, and committment. Remember also, it happens "one stage at a time."

With Encouragement, Sarah Shore, M.S.

10 Tips for Innovating Yourself...

#10--Get Support!  
Loosing a job or being laid off is a significant life event.  Find friends, family, and colleagues to offer advice and support.  These people can supply useful information directing you to new opportunities.

#9--Take an honest inventory of your strengths.  
Whether you've been laid off or suffered a business failure, its time to look at what was working and what wasn't.   Were you able to maximize your strengths?  Do the work you enjoy?  Or, were you bogged down in tasks that were not fulfilling, or even profitable?  Do you need to develop new skills?  Identify what you are happiest doing, what your strongest skills are, and where you'd like to be 5 or 10 years from now.  Use this time to map out a plan that is based on your strengths and goals.

#8—Focus on the future.
Professionals and entrepreneurs who are successful in economic downturns have several things working for them. The most vital is a forward-thinking focus. Establish a support network, take an inventory of your strengths and goals, then focus toward the future. Ask yourself, “What is the best action I can take, right now, to reach my goal?” Ask this several times a day. Decide to spend a certain number of hours each day working toward your goal.

#7—Seek out every resource available to you.
Reinventing yourself in a transition requires looking inward to determine your goals and desires. It also requires looking outward to utilize every resource at your disposal. Engage in out-reach to individuals, organizations, and programs that can provide information and resources. The Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) is a national organization with local offices which assists entrepreneurs and small businesses free of charge (www.score.org). Maximize your opportunities during this critical time. Make new connections and learn new skills that are necessary to stay ahead of the pack. Are you using every resource available to you to make this time beneficial? Are you planning for a successful future?

#6—Patience is a virtue.
The job market is not moving as fast as we might like. What can you do? Set a realistic goal for your new position or venture. Then, break that goal down into small, concrete steps that you can act upon. Share these goals with someone you trust. Ask him or her to check-in on your progress. Identify target dates for accomplishing these tasks. Re-evaluate at regular intervals—every week or every month. Remember, transitions happen over time. You must give yourself a break.

#5—Be creative.
Take note of the generational differences in attitudes about the economy and the job market. Are you feeling like you’ll never find something right for you again? Or do you see numerous opportunities and just need to get your foot in the door? Have you heard of things like Facebook, Twitter, blogging? Social media has grown rapidly. People seek community, connection, and collaboration in our fast-paced society. How can you use these developments in communication and technology to find your dream job or start a new business venture? Take note of those individuals and organizations that are profitable now. What can you learn from them?

#4—You did it once. You can do it again!
You have lived through many successes and failures. You have survived them all. Use this time to come out ahead. Focus on what is within your control. Can you send out resumes or meet with the bank for a loan? Yes. Can you make them give you the job or the loan? No. Focus on what you have personal control over—like sending an excellent cover letter or making new professional connections. Spend as little time as possible worrying and complaining. It will only slow you down. Accept the aspects of your situation that are not within your control. Focus on what is within your control. Focus on what you want—not what you had.

#3—Confidence is key.
What things are you really good at? What do you love to do? When abilities come naturally to you, do you recognize them? We are most confident when doing something we love and care about. Build up your confidence by experiencing small successes. When time seems open-ended, it’s a habit to say “I’ll get to that tomorrow.” Start saying “today” instead. Experiencing a string of successes is vital to strengthening your confidence.

#2—Keep an eye toward future trends.
When you are reinventing yourself, the world is your oyster. Think expansively. Do not limit yourself with outdated attitudes or “impossibilities.” No one would have imagined the “internet” would be ubiquitous 20 or 30 years ago. What trends can you spot? What segments of society and industry are changing or evolving? Can you use your skills or strengths in those areas? How can you be of the most value to others? In what ways can you give your time and energy to promote something that is important to you?

#1—Optimize this time!
Its hard to see the bright side in a bad situation. The good news is, you might never find yourself in this situation again. That’s precisely why you can optimize this time and consider it an opportunity to reinvent yourself in the way that will make you happiest and most successful.



Life Coaching for the Skeptical...

Lose Weight! Make More Money! Find Your Dream Job! Attract Your Ideal Mate! We've all heard these promises from infomercials, websites, e-books, psychics, and others. But what about life coaching? Is it for real? Or just another set of empty promises?

At Sarah Shore Consulting, LLC, I offer life coaching and business consulting services for the skeptical. Anything worthwhile takes effort. It takes hard work. The difference between do-it-yourself improvement and improvement through an investment in life coaching is this--an improvement expert whose profession is to ensure that you reach your goals.

Not all life coaches are improvement experts. Anyone can call him or herself a life coach. This is not a bad thing. But the savvy consumer knows this and seeks out a coach that is the best match for his or her personality, style, and objectives. I encourage anyone interested in life coaching to view my informational videos at www.youtube.com/sarahozolshore

As we move into 2009, I'm delighted to be offering a unique and transformational workshop event "Creating Innovation in Your Own Life." The workshop is designed to teach you how to harness the power of innovative thinking to create the solution to your goal or challenge. Sometimes, we just need to start thinking outside the box! Still skeptical? Stay tuned.

With Encouragement, Sarah Shore, M.S.
http://www.sarahshoreconsulting.com

Who would have thought 10 years ago...

Personal checks, answering machines, classified ads, and movie rental stores--all things that are becoming obsolete. Could any of us have imagined just 10 years ago that we would no longer have a need for a land line phone, the Yellow Pages, VCRs, dial-up internet? What about a nice, handwritten letter?

Staying ahead of trends is part of what makes us successful in business and even our personal lives. Innovation is what creates the technology which allows for moving forward into a future we could never have imagined was possible. That's one reason I'm so excited about my upcoming "Creating Innovation in Your Own Life" workshop. As I learn more and more about innovation, the power of "group think," and even peer co-creation, I'm so fascinated by the possibilities. How can you use the power of innovative thinking in your day-to-day life to create success, wealth, happiness? The possibilities are endless.

Part of the process of innovation includes "rule-breaking"--the idea that often we need to turn conventional wisdom on its head in order to develop something new and valuable to ourselves, the larger community, and even the world. Thinking globally has taken on a completely new meaning as we think about the far reaching effects of our actions...and even our words.

Join me on February 7, 2009 if you are in the Philadelphia area. Purchase tickets at
http://www.sarahshoreconsulting.com/creating.html.
You can pay securely via PayPal.

Some others on the list of things becoming obsolete? Well, stand-alone bowling alleys, analog TV, news magazines, cameras that use film, and even the TV news. I grew up with all of these things. Things on the list that I won't miss: ham radio, and drive-in movie theaters--all a little before my time. Hmm....

With Encouragement, Sarah Shore, M.S.
http://www.sarahshoreconsulting.com/

Creating Innovation in Your Own Life

I'm just thrilled to be offering the workshop "Creating Innovation in Your Own Life." The concept of innovation is so fascinating to me. The potential for innovative thinking to change our lives is largely untapped in the personal development realm. We've all heard of how innovation results in products and services that make our lives easier or more convenient...like cell phones and the internet. But, harnessing the power of innovative thinking to improve our lives--to create the lives we want--it's so exciting to think about. Thinking about the positive results of using innovation in our personal and professional lives just creates so many possibilities.

In speaking with several of my clients, a workshop was suggested. So, we are making it happen! If you'd like to read more, visit the newsletter section of my website. If you're in the Philadelphia area and would like to join us, please do! We are limiting the group to 100 participants. We need the power of group collaboration but want to limit it to a reasonable number. Email me with questions. Tickets can be purchased through the newsletter section of the website. I can't wait! I hope to see you all there.

With Encouragement, Sarah Shore, M.S.

You know those days when it feels like you're just...spinning your wheels?

Have you had enough of those days? Do you just want to use your time efficiently so you can close up the laptop and move on… to family, friends, a workout, dinner, a walk in the park, Netflix, whatever?

 

This is a quick tips list. A lot of these strategies are easier said than done. That’s true of most things when you’re living with ADHD. In some cases, it’s hard to remember to do them. In other cases, itsemotionally uncomfortable.

 

But keep these ideas in your awareness so that when it’s possible for you to use one of these strategies, you’ll be more likely to do so.

 

Becoming a warrior-woman of zen-like focus and uber-productivity does not happen overnight, and it especially doesn’t happen in the chaotic world

 of bells, whistles, dings, pings, and electronic chimes that we live in today.

But we can feel more focused. We can get more done.We strive for progress, not perfection. 

 

When you’re ready, you might consider how community, structure, and accountability will help you reach your goals for getting more done. Join our Facebook group or check out Focus Forward.

 

Remember! We seek to get more done so that we can experience greater ease and joy in our lives without worry or guilt.  

 

Here are your tips…

 

Put boundaries around your time (beforehand).Announce time limits that you’ve set. Announce them to yourself and to others. I need to leave at 6pm. I have 10 minutes. We have to wrap up in a half hour. Set a timer and abide by your predetermined time frame. This may not translate to getting more done but it should greatly help your focus. You’ve put a start and stop time around your task or endeavor. Psychologically this makes a difference. Even if you don’t stick to it 100%.

 

Get up. (Or sit down). If you’re sitting at your computer or desk and you’re lost in paperwork and decisions about what to do next. If you keep checking your email (see #4) and or re-writing your to-do list, get up. Take a quick jog around the office or the kitchen. Ask yourself a prompting question: what should I be doing right now? What needs to get done first? Giving yourself the space to move around and actually stand up can jolt you out of your haze and jump start the part of your brain that helps you focus and prioritize.

 

Likewise, if you are pacing around and going from room to room or meeting to meeting, whatever it may be, and you find yourself unable to get started or make progress, take a step back and sit down. Sit down somewhere, perhaps even outside if possible. Ask yourself: What am I doing? What do I need to be doing right now? As is often the case, we usually know the answer. Go with your first guess!

 

Get off the email train. Don’t we just love to check our email between tasks, or before starting something, or as a reward after finishing something or at a point in a task when it starts to feel hard?  Sure! Everyone does. But you’re gonna get off that train.  Turn off notifications and only check morning, lunch, and late afternoon. Everyone will survive.

I Will Form Good Habits

Persistent consistent effort toward a goal or desired state of being creates a habit.  Good habits create success.  Are you ready to start developing more good habits?  I hope so. 

Maybe your goal is the habit itself (like walking more), or maybe the habit is the action you need to take to get you to the larger goal (like walking more to lose a few pounds). 

If your goal is a 3.0 GPA, your habit needs to be one hour of reading per night per class.  If your goal is greater flexibility, your habit is a daily yoga practice.  Get the picture?

I was introduced to the book, “The Greatest Salesman in the World,” several years ago by a good friend who has amazing discipline and focus.  This short book about perseverance, discipline, and success shares timeless principles, even if the language is a bit outdated.

“In truth, the only difference between those who have failed and those who have succeeded lies in the differences of their habits. Good habits are the key to all success. Bad habits are the unlocked door to failure. Thus, the first law I will obey, which precedeth all others is – I will form good habits and become their slave.  

My actions are ruled by appetite, passion, prejudice, greed, love, fear, environment, habit, and the worst of these tyrants is habit. Therefore, if I must be a slave to habit let me be a slave to good habits. My bad habits must be destroyed and new furrows prepared for good seed.  I will form good habits and become their slave.”

Form good habits!  Good habits pave the path to success.

  • Walking
  • Eating nutritious food
  • Stretching
  • Drinking enough water
  • Practicing gratitude
  • Learning new things
  • Reading for personal development
  • Keeping a to-do list
  • Daily decluttering
  • Keep in regular contact with special friends and family
  • Journaling
  • Meditating

I personally want to be doing all of the things on this list as part of my daily routine.  In my mind, these are the elements that create a harmonious and productive lifestyle.  I challenge you to start a new healthy, productive habit now!  And if you want some structure, accountability, and coaching support along the way, give me a call or check out Focus Forward.

Walking

I don’t think there is a better, more productive, more healthful habit to develop than a daily walk.  Times in my life when I’ve been in the habit of a daily walk have been some of the happiest, most productive, most centered times of my life. 

There is something to be said for rituals.  There is something to be said for routine…daily routine—the kind that happens no matter what. 

Walking is the third tool from The Artist’s Way, a book which has inspired me recently to make some lifestyle changes.  The first daily habit (Morning Pages) is the act of filling three pages of paper with your longhand writing…about absolutely anything that crosses your mind that morning. 

The second habit (Artist’s Dates) is about setting aside a block of time each week to do something that inspires you—that replenishes your energy.  And walking is the third habit.  The first habit provides direction.  The second habit provides inspiration.  The third habit, walking, provides integration. 

Integration comes from the Latin integratus meaning “to make whole.”  A daily walking habit allows you to integrate all the parts of your psyche that are fractionated and cut off in the day-to-day hustle and bustle of life.  Plain and simple, walking each day gives you the opportunity to tune in to things that are important to you…things that may have taken a back seat to the seemingly urgent tasks of our life.

We can get so lost in checking email, running errands, making dinner, giving the kids a bath, or paying bills.  A daily walking habit requires you to take time away and let your mind wander as your feet walk whatever path you choose.  If I could suggest one powerful change to make this month, it would be to start a walking habit. 

Walk each day for at least a half hour (you want to give your mind time to do its work).  Early morning or evening…whatever works for your schedule.  Making a decision to add this daily habit to your life will work its magic in no time. 

And if you need help getting the support, structure, and accountability you need to make this new habit stick, may I suggest our next session of Focus Forward.  You can check it out here.  In the meantime, write, play, walk…  

Artist Dates

My daughter is 4 and playdates are the thing!  Even though they can be hard to schedule, there is nothing more important to my daughter’s development than love…and play.  Play often falls to the bottom of the list as far as adults are concerned and here’s where Artist Dates come in.  

Artist Dates are the second part of the three-step process that Julia Cameron writes about in “The Artist’s Way.”  Morning Pages are the first and provide direction on your journey.

Keep in mind you don’t have to be an artist or creative for these strategies to be effective.  Writing each morning clears your mind and gets your energy focused.  Worth building into your daily life as a good habit that will help you create greater success. 

The idea with the Artist Dates is that you take time for inspiration.   Once a week, you will go on your own to do something fun, playful, enjoyable, inspiring.  It could be anything that woos you…that’s the idea.  It should feel inspiring.  You should feel drawn to it.  If you do, you are on the right date! 

Going to the park to read, visiting an art supply store for new materials, taking a new dance class…whatever your heart desires.  You are to spend time by your lonesome doing something that feels playful. “Artist’s dates are assigned play.” –Julia Cameron, Author of “The Artist’s Way.”

Ask yourself “what sounds fun?”  Then, go do it.  These solo expeditions are meant to replenish and inspire your imagination.  With that replenishment and inspiration, you can approach the rest of your week with renewed enthusiasm and purpose.  As a weekly habit, it helps you to build fun and whimsy into your life. 

The magic happens when you don’t just do this once or twice but you build it into your life as a habit—something that you do on a regular basis, no matter what.  This is a weekly date with yourself…with that part of you that needs time to explore and play. 

In our work-obsessed culture, this probably sounds self-indulgent.  And it is.  And it should be.  Why shouldn’t we indulge ourselves once in a while in a pursuit that brings us joy and ease?

Do this!  Sign a 12-week contract with yourself that says you’ll embark on one Artist’s date per week!  I’m excited for you…and I hope you’ll give it a try.  It is simple.  And it is effective if you want to be more productive in any endeavor…because you are filling up your reserve of energy and focus during these inspirational play dates.

Our group coaching program, Focus Forward, can help you stick with your goal of incorporating Artist Dates as a lifelong habit.  Don’t wait.  Our next group starts September 7th!

Here’s to all the inspiration and play coming your way as you commit to one Artist’s date a week.  I’m excited for you to get started…

The Artist's Way

A few weeks ago I was introduced to “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron.  While I haven’t read through the book, the message is clear. 

Your inner critic is getting in your way and preventing you from moving forward on your goals. 

While the book was written to help artists and creatives get past the internal blocks to greater productivity and creation of their art…the concepts are applicable in any line of work.  The advice is so simple and so effective that I’m going to implement it in my own life and I hope you’ll do the same. 

There are three basic tools for encouraging your creative (or productive) genius to come out.  According to Cameron, they are “simultaneously universal and individual.”  Who doesn’t love that?   

  1. Morning Pages…which provide direction on your journey
  2. Artist’s Dates…which provide inspiration
  3. Walking…which provides integration (how true!)

Let’s take “Morning Pages” to start.  Here’s the idea.  Straight from the book, “Morning pages are three pages of longhand writing, strictly stream-of-consciousness…as in “Oh god, another morning.  I have nothing to say.  I need to wash the curtains.  Did I get my laundry yesterday?  Blah, blah, blah.”  They might also, more ingloriously, be called brain drain, since that is one of their main functions.”

Here’s the idea.  Get yourself a notebook from Target or the drug store or Amazon's version.  Or, if you are feeling so inspired, get yourself a beautiful leather-bound notebook from a fancy stationary store.  Whatever you choose, you should have a decent amount of page space to write.  Sit down in the morning, preferably in a space where you can really listen to the thoughts that come up in your mind. 

You could do it while you have your morning coffee or a glass of water…or even before you get out of bed.  Start writing.  Write anything that comes to mind until you fill up three pages with your thoughts.  As Cameron says, there is no wrong way to do Morning Pages.  They are not meant to be “art” or even “writing.” 

They are just a collection of words that you are getting out of your head and onto the page.  Often, the words might sound angry or self-pitying, repetitive, or bland.  And that’s good.  That’s what you are going for.  All of this clutter in your mind is what’s preventing you from getting your creativity and your productivity into the world. 

Write until you fill three pages.  Write whatever thoughts are in your mind.  Do this every morning.  Do it for at least 8 weeks.  Or make it a life-time habit, which is what “The Artist’s Way” asks you to do.  Here’s an important point:  you are strongly discouraged from reading anything you’ve written until you have been doing Morning Pages daily for 8 weeks (I didn’t see that coming, did you?).

We are all our harshest critics.  In order to fight that critic, to hold that critic back from having a negative influence over our creativity or productivity, we need to bring all these critical statements that we make about ourselves (daily) into the light of day.  “The Artist’s Way” suggests (and I think I do agree) that the practice and discipline of Morning Pages really helps to do that in an effective and powerful way.

This is a simple tool, it’s a free tool, and it’s a powerful tool.  There are communities of believers who sing the praises of this process.  If you are looking for a daily habit to help you be more successful and more productive, I encourage you to read “The Artist’s Way” and start your Morning Pages habit now. 

A great way to keep yourself accountable and get support for implementing this new success habit in your daily life is to sign up for our next Focus Forward session.  Imagine that in just 4 weeks you could be off to a great start with this new habit that will help you to unleash your creativity (even if you are not an artist) and optimize your productivity for your maximum success.  What are you doing tomorrow morning?

How Much by When?

A very useful book, “The Success Principles” by Jack Canfield (better known as the author of the "Chicken Soup for the Soul" book series) outlines 64 guiding principles that help get you to where you want to be in life.

One of his principles is the idea of goal-setting—how to set goals and what to do once you’ve set them.   If you are making changes in your life for the better, goal-setting is an important part of the process and really effective in improving your chances of success. 

  1. Decide “How much by when?”  I will weight 135 by Nov. 1 or I will save $3500 by January 5.  These goals are specific, powerful, and measurable.   Think of all your goals in this context. 
  1. Write your goals out in detail.  Paint a vivid picture and let your subconscious mind go to work helping you get closer to that vision.
  1. Read your goals three times a day…aloud and with enthusiasm if possible!  This helps to stimulate your motivation and increase your awareness of resources that can help you achieve this goal.
  1. Create a goals book.  Get a notebook or a binder and make a page for each goal.  Write the goal at the top of the page, illustrate it with pictures and depict the goal as already achieved.  Review your goal book as often as possible.
  1. Carry your most important goal in your wallet.  Every time you open your wallet, you are reminded of your most important goal.  This exposure helps keep your awareness of your goal sharp in your mind.

Goal setting is the first step in our Focus Forward Group Coaching Program.  Once you set your goals for the program (examples include:  get up at the same time every day, get into a good workout routine, spend 20 minutes a day on cleaning your room, etc.), you get daily online peer support, accountability, and the guidance of your coach. 

Move forward swiftly toward your new achievements!  Goal-setting is a mindset that you can shift to right now.  I’m excited to see what you accomplish.  Let’s unleash the power of goal setting in your life and see what happens!

Summer Camp.

ADHD coaching

My daughter started a new adventure this week.  Summer camp.  Her first day was a whirlwind of new experiences as she tried to learn the ropes and fit in with kids who had started at camp weeks earlier. 

As I dropped her off on that Monday morning I knew we were starting a new chapter and that she would reach new milestones. 

She was quiet when I picked her up after her first half day for the preschool crowd.  She seemed to be processing all the events of her busy morning.  As the day went on, I could tell new knowledge was coming together in her mind. 

As I put her to bed that night, she had a hard time falling to sleep.  Finally, after many bedtime stories she said to me, “Mommy, I couldn’t put my goggles on by myself today so I didn’t want to swim.  Can you tell my teacher I need help putting my goggles on?”

I thought about the question and how best to respond.  As a coach, my job is to help you discover the best solutions to the problems and challenges you face.  Not only is solving problems for you impractical, it’s very unlikely to be helpful.    

Wanting my daughter to rest easy, I assured her I would let her teacher know in the morning. 

Many more times she reminded me before falling asleep that night.  She wanted my promise that I would resolve this for her.  “Can you ask your teacher?”  I asked.  She simply said, “I want you to do it, Mommy.”  “Ok,” I said.

In the morning, she asked another dozen times.  Each time, I reassured her.  “I will ask your teacher.”  We headed off to camp.  As we walked to her “home base,” she reminded me one more time.  “Mommy, can you ask my teacher to please help me put on my goggles when it’s time for swimming?”  “Yes,” I said.

As we approached the teacher, I took a calculated risk and pushed my daughter just a bit past her comfort zone.  I was so hopeful she would rise to the challenge but prepared to catch her just in case she needed me.  I said, “Do you have something you want to tell your teacher?” 

As the teacher listened intently, my daughter clearly projected her voice and said, “I need help putting my goggles on today before swim.”

I was filled with pride and a great sense of relief.  I could see the pride she felt for herself after pushing past her fear.  What may seem small was a big leap for her.  And a success as her teacher warmly and supportively agreed, “Yes, we will put them on together.”

I pushed her past her comfort zone but I was there to hold her hand while she did it.  That’s exactly the kind of support a lot of us need.  We are all capable of making those leaps and pushing past our comfort zones…sometimes we just need to feel supported on the journey.

If you are ready to get out of your comfort zone and make some big leaps toward your goals, the support of a coach and an awesome online peer group might be just the thing to get you there.  Check out Focus Forward and start thinking about your next big leap.

 

You...are NOT alone.

ADHD CoachingI mention this because recently I had a surprising experience. 

I’ve always been a fan of sharing my life with others.  On the scale of openness--guardedness, I’m pretty much an open book.  So I was caught off guard when a great candidate for my group coaching program wanted to drop out. 

I knew she would get a ton out of the program and really benefit from it, both personally and professionally.  But she was afraid she would not be anonymous. 

She feared she would be identifiable by the other participants and that fear made her drop out before she even got started.  

There are lots of people struggling with the exact issues you are struggling with.  Thousands, hundreds of thousands, maybe more. 

I’m not just talking about sticking to a monthly budget or juggling the responsibilities of home and work.  I’m talking about things most non-ADHDers take for granted, like:

  • maintaining a clear path from your bedroom door to your bed
  • being able to schedule more than one thing in any given day
  • trusting yourself to wake up when you have an important meeting in the morning
  • not just flaking out and missing work for one day, two days, two weeks
  • creating and following any semblance of a routine
  • following a to do list (not making one,  we all know how easy that is, but following one)

The list could go on.  But let’s just say you pretty much consider yourself the bottom of the barrel when it comes to organization, time management, focus, productivity, and tidiness.  Well, you are not alone.  That’s why a group program can be so effective.  You can achieve your goals more easily and more quickly when you work in a group. 

Let’s go over some boring facts about working with a group of peers (peers = people who are daily dealing with the same stuff you are dealing with when it comes to managing your time, tasks, self, and stuff).    

Things happen when people work together.  You’ve seen this before, right?  Skyscrapers, heart surgery, tug of war…a group of people working together can do amazing things.  When you sign up for group coaching, there are a dozen factors at play that help drive your results.  Here’s a partial list:
 

  1. You recognize you are not alone.  You see that others share similar thoughts, feelings, and problems.  How reassuring!
  2. You get to help others.  By offering your feedback and encouragement, you gain a boost to your own self-esteem.  It feels good to help others!
  3. You start to feel hopeful.  Seeing other people with similar problems experience success gives you feelings of optimism.  It is all possible for you too!
  4. Wealth…of information.  A wealth of information is available to you in a group program: the advice and feedback of your peers and your coach can be priceless.
  5. You gain insight.  Start figuring out your own motivation, behavior, and emotions.  Insight helps you figure out what changes to make to be more effective and get more of what you want.  Sounds good to me.

If you’re hesitant to enter a group coaching program, I wish I could wave a magic wand and ease your concerns.  I wish you could know how supportive and helpful your peers will be once you meet them.  I wish I could take away the feelings of vulnerability and self-doubt you might feel.  But there’s only one way to get there from here…

Jump right in and do it anyway.  You’ll be glad you did.  

If you love someone with ADHD, don't do these 20 things...

ADHD CoachingCourtesy of www.lifehack.org  (Written by:  June Silny)

You wonder if everybody’s life is as chaotic as yours. Something’s not right.  Your child doesn’t act like the other children in the class. Homework assignments guarantee a night of fights, slammed doors, and tears shed. The teachers call you in for conferences weekly.

Your husband gets fired again claiming all his bosses are jerks. You work overtime so your car isn’t repossessed. Your sister cancels every time you plan to meet for dinner. Your teenager is hanging out in the local piercing parlor. And your daughter can’t find her car keys whenever she’s walking out the door. Your relationships are constant conflicts.

You’ve considered splitting up, but you can’t afford to live on your own. You’ve thought of quitting your job, packing your bags, and running away. You’re tired all the time. You’re trapped, choking, and you cannot breathe.

Loving someone who has ADHD can make your life crazy if you don’t get a grip on it. The doctors prescribe medication. The therapists tell you what to do, but your home is as wild as a college frat house.

A person with ADHD can be hard to live with. The thought patterns and behaviors of a person with ADHD never go away. They are manageable, but that too, is a full-time challenge.

Without proper care, ADHD can lead to substance abuse, overeating, unemployment, toxic relationships, divorce, constant conflict, academic failure, insomnia, stress, anxiety and panic attacks. A person with ADHD has an active thought process of options, possibilities, and scenarios the average person cannot even imagine.

Eventually, reality bites. The rent is due, the electric bill is unpaid, and your checking account is overdrawn again. You’re exhausted from staying awake worrying all night. You want to run away, but your problems are like misspelled tattoos that stay with you wherever you go. There is hope. It doesn’t have to be that way. As a person with ADHD has to work through his challenges, you as his lover, parent, sibling or friend also have to learn coping skills to improve the situation. Don’t do these 20 things if you want to have a happier life together.

1. Don’t live in denial - Admit the truth.  Call the problem by its name: Attention-Deficit/Hyperactive Disorder. Your life will become easier when you identify it, own it, talk about it, and stop running from it. Admitting that it exists is the first step to freedom. There is no reason to feel ashamed. Many of history’s greatest contributions have come from people with ADHD. Scientists, authors, artists, musicians, and entrepreneurs have become successful because they have a creative vision that average people do not possess.

2. Don’t criticize - Judge favorably.  Realize that your loved one with ADHD is trying his hardest, even though it’s not good enough for your standards. Lighten up, go easy, and give them time. They will accomplish what they have to do, but not on the schedule you have in mind. Allow them time and space to accomplish their tasks. Influence them with love, not with criticism.

3. Don’t accept excuses - Encourage and inspire them to achieve their goals.  ADHD isn’t an excuse for an irresponsible lifestyle. It just means that what comes easy to you, may be difficult for them. It doesn’t mean that they can’t do something, it means that it’s harder for them. Simple tasks that you take for granted; such as opening mail, trashing junk mail, and placing your bills in a “to be paid” folder, feel like a climb up Mt. Everest to a person with ADHD. It doesn’t make sense to someone who doesn’t have it. Try to be encouraging, in spite of your doubts and disappointments. Point out the times when they suceeded.

4. Don’t be a coach - Be a cheerleader.  Stand on the sidelines; grab your pom-poms and start cheering. Words of encouragement have more power than insults and put-downs. Coaches arein-your-face critics. Their job is to point out the negative. Cheerleaders stand on the side, rooting for success, believing in their teams ability to achieve. Let your loved one with ADHD know that you are on the same team.

5. Don’t make unrealistic demands - Stay with the possible.  When a person with ADHD gets stressed out, an obsessive thought pattern of “what-ifs” begins. Screaming and shouting, “Just do it already. Stop making such a fuss,” will not break through compulsive thinking. Accept the fact that they may not be able to do what you want, when you want it, or how you want them to do it. If it’s something important, be specific.

6. Don’t give instructional lectures - Be respectful.  Lectures are not helpful if a person feels like they are being spoken to like a child whose baseball broke the neighbor’s window. If you have something to say, be sure to choose the right words at the right time. The timing of your conversations determines if you will be heard or ignored. Schedule a time to talk. Rehearse your speech so that it comes out as love, not control.

7. Don’t be impulsive - Practice patience.  Someone with ADHD is impulsive. If you are the rational thinker in the relationship, your ADHD loved one is depending on you  to be wise and patient. Two impulsive people reacting emotionally and regurgitating information at each other, does not make for a happy ending.  

8. Don’t be a martyr - Call for backup.  Have a support team to help you through the struggles. You don’t have to manage everything alone. Call a friend, a therapist, or a loving relative. Find someone who just listens. If you don’t want advice or suggestions, a comforting shoulder to cry on can strengthen you and change your outlook.

9. Don’t forget your goal - Prepare for a positive outcome.  Sometimes words come out that you later regret saying. They can’t be taken back. Hurtful words leave deep wounds. Keep your goals in mind. What would you like to accomplish? Ask yourself, if I say this will it lead to a negative or a positive outcome? It’s up to you. You determine the outcome. Go slow. Think before you speak.

10. Don’t feel guilty - Know that you are doing your best.  Feeling that your loved one is hard to love, or that you don’t like their behavior is a sad feeling to experience. If you’re a parent and are upset about your child’s behavior, guilt runs through your veins. It’s not your fault. You’re doing the best you can. You’re in a tough situation and you aren’t always sure which is the best way to handle it. Be gentle with yourself.

11. Don’t try to control them - Control yourself. Intimidating or threatening does not inspire change. Trying to control people is never effective. When you don’t know how to motivate your loved one, think about how you can change your approach. You can’t control other people; you can only control your words, thoughts, and reactions towards them.

12. Don’t lean in - Step back. Intense emotions are negative emotions. Leaning in and pushing a person to perform isn’t the most effective way to reach the result you desire. When stress is high and you feel like screaming, back off. Stepping back gives you time to breathe, relax, and readjust your thoughts.

13. Don’t label them - Be compassionate.  Judgment is easy; compassion is hard work. Don’t box them in as a “forgetful, lazy, disorganized mess,” or “someone who will never succeed.” Labels create pre-determined expectations that last for years. People become what you see them as.  

14. Don’t say “never” - Nothing stays the same.  When times are tough, it’s hard to remember that tough times don’t last forever. Things will get better. Believe it. “Never” is a word of hopelessness. Start saying, “not yet.” The only thing constant is change.  

15. Don’t say “Just do it” - Understand that they can’t.  An ordinary thinker cannot understand how a person with ADD/ADHD can’t accomplish the simplest tasks such as paying bills, organizing papers, and putting their clothes away. These tasks may be easy for you, but remember, the person with ADHD also has a hard time understanding why they can’t pay a bill or manage their mail.  

16. Don’t be afraid to help out - Offer a helping hand.It’s important to teach your loved ones how to be responsibly and independently. But also remember, that there are times when it’s okay to offer assistance. Even Einstein had a helper. His wife cooked for him, cleaned up after him and did his laundry because his high-powered mind was too busy discovering the quantum workings of the universe to take time to put his dirty socks in the laundry bin.

17. Don’t have unrealistic expectations - List what you love about them.  Accept your loved ones as they are. Just like with any other relationship, you have to look for the good, and stay focused on it. Never lose sight of the awesome qualities of your ADD/ADHD loved one. If it’s your partner, remember that their fun-loving, impulsive personality is probably why you fell in love with them. Go back to the beginning. Love them again, as if you first met them. If it’s your child, remember the feeling of holding your newborn baby in your arms for the first time.  

18. Don’t neglect other family members - Spend time alone with them.  ADD/ADHD can take over your home environment, subliminally controlling everything and everyone in it. Spend time with other family members. They need you, too. Go to the movies or go get some ice cream with them. Remind them that they still exist for you. Hug them and hold onto them.  

19. Don’t get mad - Pause for peace.  Make peace in your home and your life your priority. The other lessons will soon fall into place if your home is a loving environment. Anger is easy. Staying quiet takes strength. Put your relationships before your feelings. You don’t have to veerbalize every comment that comes to mind. Place your ego on the side until your anger subsides.  Don’t ever accept abusive behavior of any type. There are certain relationships that are unhealthy, toxic, and need to end. Seek professional help.  

20. Don’t forget to love yourself - Do something that makes you happy.  ADHD relationships can suck the joy out of life. You realize that you haven’t laughed in a month. You forgot how to smile, and you can’t remember the last time you had fun. Make time for yourself. Do something that makes you happy. Have fun again, and do it often.

Wrapping up 2014

Get yourself a Life Check-up...just in time for the holidays!

If you're wondering what to give your significant other, good friend, or favorite family memeber this holiday season, why not consider a life coaching package that's designed to get him or her energized, motivated, and inspired for the year ahead?

Personally, I can't think of a gift that I would appreciate more than the opportunity to brainstorm with a coach, get clear on my goals, develop concrete action steps to implement, and be held accountable for moving forward.  

Ok, so how to you present a gift like this?  Well, its great for anyone who's mentioned getting a life coach, or who has an interest in self-improvement or who's kicked around certain goals for a while but hasn't moved forward.  We all know getting started is the hardest part, so make it easier by doing the leg work for your loved one.

The program works like this.  Three 45 minute sessions:  Discovery, Action, & Moving Forward.  Give a gift with lasting value to help your loved one accomplish something special...whatever that may be.  Now through December 30th, the "Life Check-Up Coaching Package" is priced at $300.  Email sarah@sarahshore.com to reserve the gift of a coaching package for your loved one today!  

 

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You know those days when it feels like you're just...spinning your wheels?

Have you had enough of those days? Do you just want to use your time efficiently so you can close up the laptop and move on… to family, friends, a workout, dinner, a walk in the park, Netflix, whatever?

 

This is a quick tips list. A lot of these strategies are easier said than done. That’s true of most things when you’re living with ADHD. In some cases, it’s hard to remember to do them. In other cases, itsemotionally uncomfortable.

 

But keep these ideas in your awareness so that when it’s possible for you to use one of these strategies, you’ll be more likely to do so.

 

Becoming a warrior-woman of zen-like focus and uber-productivity does not happen overnight, and it especially doesn’t happen in the chaotic world

 of bells, whistles, dings, pings, and electronic chimes that we live in today.

But we can feel more focused. We can get more done.We strive for progress, not perfection. 

 

When you’re ready, you might consider how community, structure, and accountability will help you reach your goals for getting more done. Join our Facebook group or check out Focus Forward.

 

Remember! We seek to get more done so that we can experience greater ease and joy in our lives without worry or guilt.  

 

Here are your tips…

 

Put boundaries around your time (beforehand).Announce time limits that you’ve set. Announce them to yourself and to others. I need to leave at 6pm. I have 10 minutes. We have to wrap up in a half hour. Set a timer and abide by your predetermined time frame. This may not translate to getting more done but it should greatly help your focus. You’ve put a start and stop time around your task or endeavor. Psychologically this makes a difference. Even if you don’t stick to it 100%.

 

Get up. (Or sit down). If you’re sitting at your computer or desk and you’re lost in paperwork and decisions about what to do next. If you keep checking your email (see #4) and or re-writing your to-do list, get up. Take a quick jog around the office or the kitchen. Ask yourself a prompting question: what should I be doing right now? What needs to get done first? Giving yourself the space to move around and actually stand up can jolt you out of your haze and jump start the part of your brain that helps you focus and prioritize.

 

Likewise, if you are pacing around and going from room to room or meeting to meeting, whatever it may be, and you find yourself unable to get started or make progress, take a step back and sit down. Sit down somewhere, perhaps even outside if possible. Ask yourself: What am I doing? What do I need to be doing right now? As is often the case, we usually know the answer. Go with your first guess!

 

Get off the email train. Don’t we just love to check our email between tasks, or before starting something, or as a reward after finishing something or at a point in a task when it starts to feel hard?  Sure! Everyone does. But you’re gonna get off that train.  Turn off notifications and only check morning, lunch, and late afternoon. Everyone will survive.

I Will Form Good Habits

Persistent consistent effort toward a goal or desired state of being creates a habit.  Good habits create success.  Are you ready to start developing more good habits?  I hope so. 

Maybe your goal is the habit itself (like walking more), or maybe the habit is the action you need to take to get you to the larger goal (like walking more to lose a few pounds). 

If your goal is a 3.0 GPA, your habit needs to be one hour of reading per night per class.  If your goal is greater flexibility, your habit is a daily yoga practice.  Get the picture?

I was introduced to the book, “The Greatest Salesman in the World,” several years ago by a good friend who has amazing discipline and focus.  This short book about perseverance, discipline, and success shares timeless principles, even if the language is a bit outdated.

“In truth, the only difference between those who have failed and those who have succeeded lies in the differences of their habits. Good habits are the key to all success. Bad habits are the unlocked door to failure. Thus, the first law I will obey, which precedeth all others is – I will form good habits and become their slave.  

My actions are ruled by appetite, passion, prejudice, greed, love, fear, environment, habit, and the worst of these tyrants is habit. Therefore, if I must be a slave to habit let me be a slave to good habits. My bad habits must be destroyed and new furrows prepared for good seed.  I will form good habits and become their slave.”

Form good habits!  Good habits pave the path to success.

  • Walking
  • Eating nutritious food
  • Stretching
  • Drinking enough water
  • Practicing gratitude
  • Learning new things
  • Reading for personal development
  • Keeping a to-do list
  • Daily decluttering
  • Keep in regular contact with special friends and family
  • Journaling
  • Meditating

I personally want to be doing all of the things on this list as part of my daily routine.  In my mind, these are the elements that create a harmonious and productive lifestyle.  I challenge you to start a new healthy, productive habit now!  And if you want some structure, accountability, and coaching support along the way, give me a call or check out Focus Forward.

Walking

I don’t think there is a better, more productive, more healthful habit to develop than a daily walk.  Times in my life when I’ve been in the habit of a daily walk have been some of the happiest, most productive, most centered times of my life. 

There is something to be said for rituals.  There is something to be said for routine…daily routine—the kind that happens no matter what. 

Walking is the third tool from The Artist’s Way, a book which has inspired me recently to make some lifestyle changes.  The first daily habit (Morning Pages) is the act of filling three pages of paper with your longhand writing…about absolutely anything that crosses your mind that morning. 

The second habit (Artist’s Dates) is about setting aside a block of time each week to do something that inspires you—that replenishes your energy.  And walking is the third habit.  The first habit provides direction.  The second habit provides inspiration.  The third habit, walking, provides integration. 

Integration comes from the Latin integratus meaning “to make whole.”  A daily walking habit allows you to integrate all the parts of your psyche that are fractionated and cut off in the day-to-day hustle and bustle of life.  Plain and simple, walking each day gives you the opportunity to tune in to things that are important to you…things that may have taken a back seat to the seemingly urgent tasks of our life.

We can get so lost in checking email, running errands, making dinner, giving the kids a bath, or paying bills.  A daily walking habit requires you to take time away and let your mind wander as your feet walk whatever path you choose.  If I could suggest one powerful change to make this month, it would be to start a walking habit. 

Walk each day for at least a half hour (you want to give your mind time to do its work).  Early morning or evening…whatever works for your schedule.  Making a decision to add this daily habit to your life will work its magic in no time. 

And if you need help getting the support, structure, and accountability you need to make this new habit stick, may I suggest our next session of Focus Forward.  You can check it out here.  In the meantime, write, play, walk…  

Artist Dates

My daughter is 4 and playdates are the thing!  Even though they can be hard to schedule, there is nothing more important to my daughter’s development than love…and play.  Play often falls to the bottom of the list as far as adults are concerned and here’s where Artist Dates come in.  

Artist Dates are the second part of the three-step process that Julia Cameron writes about in “The Artist’s Way.”  Morning Pages are the first and provide direction on your journey.

Keep in mind you don’t have to be an artist or creative for these strategies to be effective.  Writing each morning clears your mind and gets your energy focused.  Worth building into your daily life as a good habit that will help you create greater success. 

The idea with the Artist Dates is that you take time for inspiration.   Once a week, you will go on your own to do something fun, playful, enjoyable, inspiring.  It could be anything that woos you…that’s the idea.  It should feel inspiring.  You should feel drawn to it.  If you do, you are on the right date! 

Going to the park to read, visiting an art supply store for new materials, taking a new dance class…whatever your heart desires.  You are to spend time by your lonesome doing something that feels playful. “Artist’s dates are assigned play.” –Julia Cameron, Author of “The Artist’s Way.”

Ask yourself “what sounds fun?”  Then, go do it.  These solo expeditions are meant to replenish and inspire your imagination.  With that replenishment and inspiration, you can approach the rest of your week with renewed enthusiasm and purpose.  As a weekly habit, it helps you to build fun and whimsy into your life. 

The magic happens when you don’t just do this once or twice but you build it into your life as a habit—something that you do on a regular basis, no matter what.  This is a weekly date with yourself…with that part of you that needs time to explore and play. 

In our work-obsessed culture, this probably sounds self-indulgent.  And it is.  And it should be.  Why shouldn’t we indulge ourselves once in a while in a pursuit that brings us joy and ease?

Do this!  Sign a 12-week contract with yourself that says you’ll embark on one Artist’s date per week!  I’m excited for you…and I hope you’ll give it a try.  It is simple.  And it is effective if you want to be more productive in any endeavor…because you are filling up your reserve of energy and focus during these inspirational play dates.

Our group coaching program, Focus Forward, can help you stick with your goal of incorporating Artist Dates as a lifelong habit.  Don’t wait.  Our next group starts September 7th!

Here’s to all the inspiration and play coming your way as you commit to one Artist’s date a week.  I’m excited for you to get started…

The Artist's Way

A few weeks ago I was introduced to “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron.  While I haven’t read through the book, the message is clear. 

Your inner critic is getting in your way and preventing you from moving forward on your goals. 

While the book was written to help artists and creatives get past the internal blocks to greater productivity and creation of their art…the concepts are applicable in any line of work.  The advice is so simple and so effective that I’m going to implement it in my own life and I hope you’ll do the same. 

There are three basic tools for encouraging your creative (or productive) genius to come out.  According to Cameron, they are “simultaneously universal and individual.”  Who doesn’t love that?   

  1. Morning Pages…which provide direction on your journey
  2. Artist’s Dates…which provide inspiration
  3. Walking…which provides integration (how true!)

Let’s take “Morning Pages” to start.  Here’s the idea.  Straight from the book, “Morning pages are three pages of longhand writing, strictly stream-of-consciousness…as in “Oh god, another morning.  I have nothing to say.  I need to wash the curtains.  Did I get my laundry yesterday?  Blah, blah, blah.”  They might also, more ingloriously, be called brain drain, since that is one of their main functions.”

Here’s the idea.  Get yourself a notebook from Target or the drug store or Amazon's version.  Or, if you are feeling so inspired, get yourself a beautiful leather-bound notebook from a fancy stationary store.  Whatever you choose, you should have a decent amount of page space to write.  Sit down in the morning, preferably in a space where you can really listen to the thoughts that come up in your mind. 

You could do it while you have your morning coffee or a glass of water…or even before you get out of bed.  Start writing.  Write anything that comes to mind until you fill up three pages with your thoughts.  As Cameron says, there is no wrong way to do Morning Pages.  They are not meant to be “art” or even “writing.” 

They are just a collection of words that you are getting out of your head and onto the page.  Often, the words might sound angry or self-pitying, repetitive, or bland.  And that’s good.  That’s what you are going for.  All of this clutter in your mind is what’s preventing you from getting your creativity and your productivity into the world. 

Write until you fill three pages.  Write whatever thoughts are in your mind.  Do this every morning.  Do it for at least 8 weeks.  Or make it a life-time habit, which is what “The Artist’s Way” asks you to do.  Here’s an important point:  you are strongly discouraged from reading anything you’ve written until you have been doing Morning Pages daily for 8 weeks (I didn’t see that coming, did you?).

We are all our harshest critics.  In order to fight that critic, to hold that critic back from having a negative influence over our creativity or productivity, we need to bring all these critical statements that we make about ourselves (daily) into the light of day.  “The Artist’s Way” suggests (and I think I do agree) that the practice and discipline of Morning Pages really helps to do that in an effective and powerful way.

This is a simple tool, it’s a free tool, and it’s a powerful tool.  There are communities of believers who sing the praises of this process.  If you are looking for a daily habit to help you be more successful and more productive, I encourage you to read “The Artist’s Way” and start your Morning Pages habit now. 

A great way to keep yourself accountable and get support for implementing this new success habit in your daily life is to sign up for our next Focus Forward session.  Imagine that in just 4 weeks you could be off to a great start with this new habit that will help you to unleash your creativity (even if you are not an artist) and optimize your productivity for your maximum success.  What are you doing tomorrow morning?

How Much by When?

A very useful book, “The Success Principles” by Jack Canfield (better known as the author of the "Chicken Soup for the Soul" book series) outlines 64 guiding principles that help get you to where you want to be in life.

One of his principles is the idea of goal-setting—how to set goals and what to do once you’ve set them.   If you are making changes in your life for the better, goal-setting is an important part of the process and really effective in improving your chances of success. 

  1. Decide “How much by when?”  I will weight 135 by Nov. 1 or I will save $3500 by January 5.  These goals are specific, powerful, and measurable.   Think of all your goals in this context. 
  1. Write your goals out in detail.  Paint a vivid picture and let your subconscious mind go to work helping you get closer to that vision.
  1. Read your goals three times a day…aloud and with enthusiasm if possible!  This helps to stimulate your motivation and increase your awareness of resources that can help you achieve this goal.
  1. Create a goals book.  Get a notebook or a binder and make a page for each goal.  Write the goal at the top of the page, illustrate it with pictures and depict the goal as already achieved.  Review your goal book as often as possible.
  1. Carry your most important goal in your wallet.  Every time you open your wallet, you are reminded of your most important goal.  This exposure helps keep your awareness of your goal sharp in your mind.

Goal setting is the first step in our Focus Forward Group Coaching Program.  Once you set your goals for the program (examples include:  get up at the same time every day, get into a good workout routine, spend 20 minutes a day on cleaning your room, etc.), you get daily online peer support, accountability, and the guidance of your coach. 

Move forward swiftly toward your new achievements!  Goal-setting is a mindset that you can shift to right now.  I’m excited to see what you accomplish.  Let’s unleash the power of goal setting in your life and see what happens!

Summer Camp.

ADHD coaching

My daughter started a new adventure this week.  Summer camp.  Her first day was a whirlwind of new experiences as she tried to learn the ropes and fit in with kids who had started at camp weeks earlier. 

As I dropped her off on that Monday morning I knew we were starting a new chapter and that she would reach new milestones. 

She was quiet when I picked her up after her first half day for the preschool crowd.  She seemed to be processing all the events of her busy morning.  As the day went on, I could tell new knowledge was coming together in her mind. 

As I put her to bed that night, she had a hard time falling to sleep.  Finally, after many bedtime stories she said to me, “Mommy, I couldn’t put my goggles on by myself today so I didn’t want to swim.  Can you tell my teacher I need help putting my goggles on?”

I thought about the question and how best to respond.  As a coach, my job is to help you discover the best solutions to the problems and challenges you face.  Not only is solving problems for you impractical, it’s very unlikely to be helpful.    

Wanting my daughter to rest easy, I assured her I would let her teacher know in the morning. 

Many more times she reminded me before falling asleep that night.  She wanted my promise that I would resolve this for her.  “Can you ask your teacher?”  I asked.  She simply said, “I want you to do it, Mommy.”  “Ok,” I said.

In the morning, she asked another dozen times.  Each time, I reassured her.  “I will ask your teacher.”  We headed off to camp.  As we walked to her “home base,” she reminded me one more time.  “Mommy, can you ask my teacher to please help me put on my goggles when it’s time for swimming?”  “Yes,” I said.

As we approached the teacher, I took a calculated risk and pushed my daughter just a bit past her comfort zone.  I was so hopeful she would rise to the challenge but prepared to catch her just in case she needed me.  I said, “Do you have something you want to tell your teacher?” 

As the teacher listened intently, my daughter clearly projected her voice and said, “I need help putting my goggles on today before swim.”

I was filled with pride and a great sense of relief.  I could see the pride she felt for herself after pushing past her fear.  What may seem small was a big leap for her.  And a success as her teacher warmly and supportively agreed, “Yes, we will put them on together.”

I pushed her past her comfort zone but I was there to hold her hand while she did it.  That’s exactly the kind of support a lot of us need.  We are all capable of making those leaps and pushing past our comfort zones…sometimes we just need to feel supported on the journey.

If you are ready to get out of your comfort zone and make some big leaps toward your goals, the support of a coach and an awesome online peer group might be just the thing to get you there.  Check out Focus Forward and start thinking about your next big leap.

 

You...are NOT alone.

ADHD CoachingI mention this because recently I had a surprising experience. 

I’ve always been a fan of sharing my life with others.  On the scale of openness--guardedness, I’m pretty much an open book.  So I was caught off guard when a great candidate for my group coaching program wanted to drop out. 

I knew she would get a ton out of the program and really benefit from it, both personally and professionally.  But she was afraid she would not be anonymous. 

She feared she would be identifiable by the other participants and that fear made her drop out before she even got started.  

There are lots of people struggling with the exact issues you are struggling with.  Thousands, hundreds of thousands, maybe more. 

I’m not just talking about sticking to a monthly budget or juggling the responsibilities of home and work.  I’m talking about things most non-ADHDers take for granted, like:

  • maintaining a clear path from your bedroom door to your bed
  • being able to schedule more than one thing in any given day
  • trusting yourself to wake up when you have an important meeting in the morning
  • not just flaking out and missing work for one day, two days, two weeks
  • creating and following any semblance of a routine
  • following a to do list (not making one,  we all know how easy that is, but following one)

The list could go on.  But let’s just say you pretty much consider yourself the bottom of the barrel when it comes to organization, time management, focus, productivity, and tidiness.  Well, you are not alone.  That’s why a group program can be so effective.  You can achieve your goals more easily and more quickly when you work in a group. 

Let’s go over some boring facts about working with a group of peers (peers = people who are daily dealing with the same stuff you are dealing with when it comes to managing your time, tasks, self, and stuff).    

Things happen when people work together.  You’ve seen this before, right?  Skyscrapers, heart surgery, tug of war…a group of people working together can do amazing things.  When you sign up for group coaching, there are a dozen factors at play that help drive your results.  Here’s a partial list:
 

  1. You recognize you are not alone.  You see that others share similar thoughts, feelings, and problems.  How reassuring!
  2. You get to help others.  By offering your feedback and encouragement, you gain a boost to your own self-esteem.  It feels good to help others!
  3. You start to feel hopeful.  Seeing other people with similar problems experience success gives you feelings of optimism.  It is all possible for you too!
  4. Wealth…of information.  A wealth of information is available to you in a group program: the advice and feedback of your peers and your coach can be priceless.
  5. You gain insight.  Start figuring out your own motivation, behavior, and emotions.  Insight helps you figure out what changes to make to be more effective and get more of what you want.  Sounds good to me.

If you’re hesitant to enter a group coaching program, I wish I could wave a magic wand and ease your concerns.  I wish you could know how supportive and helpful your peers will be once you meet them.  I wish I could take away the feelings of vulnerability and self-doubt you might feel.  But there’s only one way to get there from here…

Jump right in and do it anyway.  You’ll be glad you did.  

If you love someone with ADHD, don't do these 20 things...

ADHD CoachingCourtesy of www.lifehack.org  (Written by:  June Silny)

You wonder if everybody’s life is as chaotic as yours. Something’s not right.  Your child doesn’t act like the other children in the class. Homework assignments guarantee a night of fights, slammed doors, and tears shed. The teachers call you in for conferences weekly.

Your husband gets fired again claiming all his bosses are jerks. You work overtime so your car isn’t repossessed. Your sister cancels every time you plan to meet for dinner. Your teenager is hanging out in the local piercing parlor. And your daughter can’t find her car keys whenever she’s walking out the door. Your relationships are constant conflicts.

You’ve considered splitting up, but you can’t afford to live on your own. You’ve thought of quitting your job, packing your bags, and running away. You’re tired all the time. You’re trapped, choking, and you cannot breathe.

Loving someone who has ADHD can make your life crazy if you don’t get a grip on it. The doctors prescribe medication. The therapists tell you what to do, but your home is as wild as a college frat house.

A person with ADHD can be hard to live with. The thought patterns and behaviors of a person with ADHD never go away. They are manageable, but that too, is a full-time challenge.

Without proper care, ADHD can lead to substance abuse, overeating, unemployment, toxic relationships, divorce, constant conflict, academic failure, insomnia, stress, anxiety and panic attacks. A person with ADHD has an active thought process of options, possibilities, and scenarios the average person cannot even imagine.

Eventually, reality bites. The rent is due, the electric bill is unpaid, and your checking account is overdrawn again. You’re exhausted from staying awake worrying all night. You want to run away, but your problems are like misspelled tattoos that stay with you wherever you go. There is hope. It doesn’t have to be that way. As a person with ADHD has to work through his challenges, you as his lover, parent, sibling or friend also have to learn coping skills to improve the situation. Don’t do these 20 things if you want to have a happier life together.

1. Don’t live in denial - Admit the truth.  Call the problem by its name: Attention-Deficit/Hyperactive Disorder. Your life will become easier when you identify it, own it, talk about it, and stop running from it. Admitting that it exists is the first step to freedom. There is no reason to feel ashamed. Many of history’s greatest contributions have come from people with ADHD. Scientists, authors, artists, musicians, and entrepreneurs have become successful because they have a creative vision that average people do not possess.

2. Don’t criticize - Judge favorably.  Realize that your loved one with ADHD is trying his hardest, even though it’s not good enough for your standards. Lighten up, go easy, and give them time. They will accomplish what they have to do, but not on the schedule you have in mind. Allow them time and space to accomplish their tasks. Influence them with love, not with criticism.

3. Don’t accept excuses - Encourage and inspire them to achieve their goals.  ADHD isn’t an excuse for an irresponsible lifestyle. It just means that what comes easy to you, may be difficult for them. It doesn’t mean that they can’t do something, it means that it’s harder for them. Simple tasks that you take for granted; such as opening mail, trashing junk mail, and placing your bills in a “to be paid” folder, feel like a climb up Mt. Everest to a person with ADHD. It doesn’t make sense to someone who doesn’t have it. Try to be encouraging, in spite of your doubts and disappointments. Point out the times when they suceeded.

4. Don’t be a coach - Be a cheerleader.  Stand on the sidelines; grab your pom-poms and start cheering. Words of encouragement have more power than insults and put-downs. Coaches arein-your-face critics. Their job is to point out the negative. Cheerleaders stand on the side, rooting for success, believing in their teams ability to achieve. Let your loved one with ADHD know that you are on the same team.

5. Don’t make unrealistic demands - Stay with the possible.  When a person with ADHD gets stressed out, an obsessive thought pattern of “what-ifs” begins. Screaming and shouting, “Just do it already. Stop making such a fuss,” will not break through compulsive thinking. Accept the fact that they may not be able to do what you want, when you want it, or how you want them to do it. If it’s something important, be specific.

6. Don’t give instructional lectures - Be respectful.  Lectures are not helpful if a person feels like they are being spoken to like a child whose baseball broke the neighbor’s window. If you have something to say, be sure to choose the right words at the right time. The timing of your conversations determines if you will be heard or ignored. Schedule a time to talk. Rehearse your speech so that it comes out as love, not control.

7. Don’t be impulsive - Practice patience.  Someone with ADHD is impulsive. If you are the rational thinker in the relationship, your ADHD loved one is depending on you  to be wise and patient. Two impulsive people reacting emotionally and regurgitating information at each other, does not make for a happy ending.  

8. Don’t be a martyr - Call for backup.  Have a support team to help you through the struggles. You don’t have to manage everything alone. Call a friend, a therapist, or a loving relative. Find someone who just listens. If you don’t want advice or suggestions, a comforting shoulder to cry on can strengthen you and change your outlook.

9. Don’t forget your goal - Prepare for a positive outcome.  Sometimes words come out that you later regret saying. They can’t be taken back. Hurtful words leave deep wounds. Keep your goals in mind. What would you like to accomplish? Ask yourself, if I say this will it lead to a negative or a positive outcome? It’s up to you. You determine the outcome. Go slow. Think before you speak.

10. Don’t feel guilty - Know that you are doing your best.  Feeling that your loved one is hard to love, or that you don’t like their behavior is a sad feeling to experience. If you’re a parent and are upset about your child’s behavior, guilt runs through your veins. It’s not your fault. You’re doing the best you can. You’re in a tough situation and you aren’t always sure which is the best way to handle it. Be gentle with yourself.

11. Don’t try to control them - Control yourself. Intimidating or threatening does not inspire change. Trying to control people is never effective. When you don’t know how to motivate your loved one, think about how you can change your approach. You can’t control other people; you can only control your words, thoughts, and reactions towards them.

12. Don’t lean in - Step back. Intense emotions are negative emotions. Leaning in and pushing a person to perform isn’t the most effective way to reach the result you desire. When stress is high and you feel like screaming, back off. Stepping back gives you time to breathe, relax, and readjust your thoughts.

13. Don’t label them - Be compassionate.  Judgment is easy; compassion is hard work. Don’t box them in as a “forgetful, lazy, disorganized mess,” or “someone who will never succeed.” Labels create pre-determined expectations that last for years. People become what you see them as.  

14. Don’t say “never” - Nothing stays the same.  When times are tough, it’s hard to remember that tough times don’t last forever. Things will get better. Believe it. “Never” is a word of hopelessness. Start saying, “not yet.” The only thing constant is change.  

15. Don’t say “Just do it” - Understand that they can’t.  An ordinary thinker cannot understand how a person with ADD/ADHD can’t accomplish the simplest tasks such as paying bills, organizing papers, and putting their clothes away. These tasks may be easy for you, but remember, the person with ADHD also has a hard time understanding why they can’t pay a bill or manage their mail.  

16. Don’t be afraid to help out - Offer a helping hand.It’s important to teach your loved ones how to be responsibly and independently. But also remember, that there are times when it’s okay to offer assistance. Even Einstein had a helper. His wife cooked for him, cleaned up after him and did his laundry because his high-powered mind was too busy discovering the quantum workings of the universe to take time to put his dirty socks in the laundry bin.

17. Don’t have unrealistic expectations - List what you love about them.  Accept your loved ones as they are. Just like with any other relationship, you have to look for the good, and stay focused on it. Never lose sight of the awesome qualities of your ADD/ADHD loved one. If it’s your partner, remember that their fun-loving, impulsive personality is probably why you fell in love with them. Go back to the beginning. Love them again, as if you first met them. If it’s your child, remember the feeling of holding your newborn baby in your arms for the first time.  

18. Don’t neglect other family members - Spend time alone with them.  ADD/ADHD can take over your home environment, subliminally controlling everything and everyone in it. Spend time with other family members. They need you, too. Go to the movies or go get some ice cream with them. Remind them that they still exist for you. Hug them and hold onto them.  

19. Don’t get mad - Pause for peace.  Make peace in your home and your life your priority. The other lessons will soon fall into place if your home is a loving environment. Anger is easy. Staying quiet takes strength. Put your relationships before your feelings. You don’t have to veerbalize every comment that comes to mind. Place your ego on the side until your anger subsides.  Don’t ever accept abusive behavior of any type. There are certain relationships that are unhealthy, toxic, and need to end. Seek professional help.  

20. Don’t forget to love yourself - Do something that makes you happy.  ADHD relationships can suck the joy out of life. You realize that you haven’t laughed in a month. You forgot how to smile, and you can’t remember the last time you had fun. Make time for yourself. Do something that makes you happy. Have fun again, and do it often.

Wrapping up 2014

Get yourself a Life Check-up...just in time for the holidays!

If you're wondering what to give your significant other, good friend, or favorite family memeber this holiday season, why not consider a life coaching package that's designed to get him or her energized, motivated, and inspired for the year ahead?

Personally, I can't think of a gift that I would appreciate more than the opportunity to brainstorm with a coach, get clear on my goals, develop concrete action steps to implement, and be held accountable for moving forward.  

Ok, so how to you present a gift like this?  Well, its great for anyone who's mentioned getting a life coach, or who has an interest in self-improvement or who's kicked around certain goals for a while but hasn't moved forward.  We all know getting started is the hardest part, so make it easier by doing the leg work for your loved one.

The program works like this.  Three 45 minute sessions:  Discovery, Action, & Moving Forward.  Give a gift with lasting value to help your loved one accomplish something special...whatever that may be.  Now through December 30th, the "Life Check-Up Coaching Package" is priced at $300.  Email sarah@sarahshore.com to reserve the gift of a coaching package for your loved one today!  

 

How are Executive Function and ADHD related?

Excerpted from National Center for Learning Disabilities (www.ncld.org) "What is Executive Function?"

Executive function is a set of mental processes that helps connect past experience with present action and present action (write down that appointment) with future experience (get to the appointment on time). We use executuve function to plan, organize, strategize, pay attention, remember things, and manage our time and space.  

If you have trouble with executive function, these things are more difficult to do. 

As with other learning disabilities, problems with executive function can run in families.  It can be seen at any age, but it tends to become more apparent as children move through the early elementary grades. This is when the demands of completing schoolwork independently can trigger signs of a problem with executive function.

How Does Executive Function Affect Learning?

In school, at home or in the workplace, we’re called on all day, every day, to regulate our own behavior. Executive function allows us to:

  • Make plans
  • Keep track of time and finish work on time
  • Keep track of more than one thing at once
  • Meaningfully include past knowledge in discussions
  • Evaluate ideas and reflect on our work
  • Change our minds and make mid-course corrections while thinking, reading and writing
  • Ask for help or seek more information when we need it
  • Engage in group dynamics
  • Wait to speak until we’re called on

What Are the Warning Signs of Executive Function Problems?

Do you have trouble:

  • Planning projects
  • Comprehending how much time a project will take to complete
  • Telling stories (verbally or in writing), struggling to communicate details in an organized, sequential manner
  • Memorizing and retrieving information from memory
  • Initiating activities or tasks, or generating ideas independently

How Are Problems With Executive Function Identified?

There is no single test that identifies all of the different features of executive function.  Careful observation is necessary to better understand strengths and weaknesses in this area.

What Are Some Strategies to Help?

There are many effective strategies to help with the problem of executive function challenges. Here are some methods to try:

General Strategies

  • Take step-by-step approaches to work; rely on visual organizational aids.
  • Use tools like time organizers, computers or watches with alarms.
  • Prepare visual schedules and review them several times a day.
  • Ask for written directions with oral instructions whenever possible.
  • Plan and structure transition times and shifts in activities.

Managing Time

  • Create checklists and “to do” lists, estimating how long tasks will take.
  • Break long assignments into chunks and assign time frames for completing each chunk.
  • Use visual calendars at to keep track of long term assignments, due dates, chores and activities.
  • Use management software such as the Franklin Day Planner, Palm Pilot or Lotus Organizer.
  • Be sure to write the due date on top of each assignment.

Managing Space and Materials

  • Organize work space.
  • Minimize clutter.
  • Consider having separate work areas with complete sets of supplies for different activities.
  • Schedule a weekly time to clean and organize the work space.

Managing Work

  • Make a checklist for getting through assignments. For example, a student’s checklist could include such items as: get out pencil and paper; put name on paper; put due date on paper; read directions; etc.
  • Meet with a teacher or supervisor on a regular basis to review work; troubleshoot problems.

Daily Habits for Managing ADHD

Excerpted from Psych Central http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2014/03/15/10-daily-habits-that-help-you-manage-adhd/

The first key in managing attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is making sure you’re getting effective treatment.  The second key in managing ADHD is building healthy habits that help you sharpen your focus, navigate symptoms and accomplish what you need to accomplish. Below is a list of 10 habits that may help you better manage ADHD.

 1. Get enough sleep.  Get at least 7 hours of sleep each night.  Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day.  Create a bedtime routine.  Create a morning routine as well so your less likely to hit snooze and go back to sleep.

2. Get enough nutrients.  What you eat will directly impact your ability to focus and your executive functioning — your ability to plan, organize and follow through with things.  Eating unprocessed whole foods and avoiding junk goes a long way toward helping you function at your best.  

3.  Participate in physical activities.  Getting exercise is good for everyone.  For folks with ADHD, it helps keep you focused and expends any hyperactive energy.

4.  Use a system to manage tasks.  Many people with ADHD get overwhelmed with everything they need to do, because everything seems important. That’s where having a simple system comes in.  Some people recommend the “Getting Things Done” system, which you can modify according to your life and preferences. Create one list that captures everything you’d like to remember, such as appointments and assignments. Then create a to-do list that includes the specific actions you will take.  Anything that includes multiple steps goes on a “project list.” Whatever the project, write down all the specific steps that need to be done. 

5. Reflect on your victories.  Celebrate your successes and be sure to note any and all accomplishments for the day, even if they seem small.  This positive self-talk adds to feelings of self-efficacy or your belief that you are capable of succeeding.  

7. Practice positive self-talk.  Pay attention to the things you’re saying to yourself. Challenge negative statements, and replace them with positive phrases.

8. Get yourself a system for handling your finances.  Using money management software can help with organizing your expenses and documents. Programs like Mint.com are free and providue you with analysis of your spending.  

9. Have an accountability partner.  Another issue adults with ADHD can run into is lack of structure and accountability. For instance, college students go from having highly structured days in high school to virtually no structure.  For accountability and structure, you can hire an ADHD coach, partner with others to create an accountability group or ask a friend to help.  

10. Remember every day is a new day.  Starting a new habit for anyone is challenging, and includes ups and downs. Forming new habits is hard work but one of the most successful ways we know of to create positive behavioral change.  Living with ADHD becomes easier when you incorporate good healthy habits into daily life.

Accommodations...not just extra time on tests!

Time Management:  Individuals with AD/HD may experience difficulty managing time, which can affect their ability to mark time as it passes incrementally by minutes and hours. It can also affect their ability to gauge the proper amount of time to set aside for certain tasks. It may be difficult to prepare for, or to remember, work activities that occur later in the week, month, or year.

  • Divide large assignments into several small tasks
  • Set a timer to make an alarm after assigning ample time to complete a task
  • Provide a checklist of assignments
  • Supply an electronic or handheld organizer, and train on how to use effectively
  • Use wall calendar to emphasize due dates
    • Develop a color-coded system (each color represents a task, or event, or level of importance)
    • Allow co-worker or supervisor to add entries on the calendar, or to double-check entries added by the employee with AD/HD

Memory: Individuals with AD/HD may experience memory deficits, which can affect their ability to complete tasks, remember job duties, or recall daily actions or activities.

  • Provide written instructions
  • Allow additional training time for new tasks
  • Offer training refreshers
  • Use flow-chart to indicate steps in a task
  • Provide verbal or pictorial cues
  • Use post-it notes as reminders of important dates or tasks

Concentration:  Individuals with AD/HD may experience decreased concentration, which can be attributed to auditory distractions (that can be heard) and/or visual distractions (that can be seen). People with AD/HD report distractions such as office traffic and employee chatter, opening and closing of elevator doors, and common office noises such as fax tones and photocopying.

  • To reduce auditory distractions:
    • Purchase a noise canceling headset
    • Hang sound absorption panels
    • Provide a white noise machine
    • Relocate employee’s office space away from audible distractions
    • Redesign employee’s office space to minimize audible distractions
  • To reduce visual distractions:
    • Install space enclosures (cubicle walls)
    • Reduce clutter in the employee's work environment
    • Redesign employee’s office space to minimize visual distractions
    • Relocate employee’s office space away from visual distractions

Excerpted from www.askjan.org "Accommodation and Compliance Series:  Employees with Attention Deficit Hyper Activity Disorder."

10 Myths and Facts about ADHD

...from Attention Deficit Disorder: The Unfocused Mind in Children and Adults, by Thomas E. Brown, Ph.D. Associate Director of the Yale Clinic for Attention and Related Disorders (Yale University Press, 2005)

1.  MYTH: ADHD is just a lack of willpower. Persons with ADHD focus well on things that interest them; they could focus on any other tasks if they really wanted to.   FACT: ADHD looks very much like a willpower problem, but it isn’t. It’s essentially a chemical problem in the management systems of the brain.

2.  MYTH: ADHD is a simple problem of being hyperactive or not listening when someone is talking to you.  FACT: ADHD is a complex disorder that involves impairments in focus, organization, motivation, emotional modulation, memory, and other functions of the brain’s management system.

3.  MYTH: Brains of persons with ADHD are overactive and need medication to calm down.  FACT: Underactivity of the brain’s management networks is typical of persons with ADHD. Effective medications increase alertness and improve communication in the brain’s management system.

4.  MYTH: ADHD is simply a label for behavior problems; children with ADHD just refuse to sit still and are unwilling to listen to teachers or parents.  FACT: Many with ADHD have few behavior problems, chronic inattention symptoms cause more severe and longer-lasting problems for learning and relationships for those with ADHD.

5.  MYTH: Those who have ADHD as children usually outgrow it as they enter their teens.  FACT: Often ADHD impairments are not very noticeable until the teen years, when more self-management is required in school and elsewhere.  And ADHD may be subtle, but more disabling during adolescence than in childhood.

6.  MYTH: Unless you have been diagnosed with ADHD as a child, you can’t have it as an adult.  FACT: Many adults have struggled all their lives with unrecognized ADHD impairments. They haven’t received help because they assumed that their chronic difficulties, like depression or anxiety, were caused by other
impairments that did not respond to the usual treatments.

7.  MYTH: Everybody has the symptoms of ADHD, and anyone with adequate intelligence can overcome these difficulties.  FACT: ADHD affects persons of all levels of intelligence. And although everyone sometimes has symptoms of ADHD, only those with chronic impairments from these symptoms warrant an ADD diagnosis.

8.  MYTH: Someone can’t have ADHD and also have depression, anxiety, or other psychiatric problems.
FACT: A person with ADHD is six times more likely to have another psychiatric or learning disorder than most other people. ADD usually overlaps with other disorders.

9.  MYTH: Medications for ADHD are likely to cause longer-term problems with substance abuse or other health concerns, especially when used by children.  FACT: The risks of using appropriate medications to treat ADHD are minimal.  The medications used for ADHD are among the best researched for any disorder.

10.  MYTH: ADHD doesn’t really cause much damage to a person’s life.  FACT: Untreated or inadequately treated ADHD syndrome often severely impairs leaning, family life, education, work life, social interactions, and driving safely. Most of those with ADHD who receive adequate treatment, however, function quite well.

For more information about this book, visit www.DrThomasEBrown.com

11 Ways to Succeed on the Job with Adult ADHD

These tips are adapted from the slideshow at www.additudemag.com

Many of my clients feel that they are not reaching their full level of productivity and efficiency during the work day.  While all strategies need to be adapted to fit each individual person and his or her personality, the following tips offer a great place to start. 

1.  Focus on one thing only:  Try to keep your desk clear of all but what you need for the task at  hand.

2.  Silence your inner critic:  Many times, good enough is just that...good enough.  

3.  Download tasks to paper:  Make sure to keep short, simple working lists of the tasks to complete.

4.  Stay focused in meetings:  A popular strategy to be successful here is to take notes throughout.

5.  Activate your attention:  Do some jumping jacks or climb a few flights of stairs to get the blood pumping.

6.  Put time on your side:  Set a timer for completing tasks so you can mark time passing.

7.  Keep your work space tidy:  Spend a few minutes each day clearing clutter and organizing papers.

8.  Don't let email control you:  Check email three times a day--morning, lunch, and before the end of the day.

9.  Manage distractions:  Work on difficult projects after hours or during non-peak times to minimize distractions.

10.  Pump up attention:  Fidget, walk around, chew gum or hard candy.  All will help focus your attention.

11.  Ask for help:  An ADHD coach is a great resource to help you experience greater success at work!

ADHD & Relationships

When you think of ADHD, what comes to mind?  Many with ADHD describe themselves as scattered or lacking focus.  When you think about ADHD, these are the symptoms that often come to mind:  distractibility, lack of focus, procrastination, avoidance of unpleasant tasks, poor time management, disorganization.  But what many people fail to realize is that ADHD has profound impacts on interpersonal relationships!  Here are some of the ways ADHD can impact close relationships:

  • Communication gaps and misunderstandings
  • Lack of follow through on responsibilities
  • Impulsivity
  • Emotional over-reaction
  • Avoidance of problems

Here are a few helpful articles on ADHD and relationships:

http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/838.html

http://www.webmd.com/add-adhd/guide/adhd-in-marriage-and-romantic-relationships

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/entrepreneurs-adhd/201001/adhd-relationship-tips

Achieving Balance

Many of us often suffer from a misalignment of yin and yang, the ancient Chinese concept of opposing energy forces. When yin and yang are in balance, we experience harmony and an overall sense of well-being. When yin and yang are out of balance, we tend to feel like something's just not quite right. Tending to our balance of yin and yang energy is an important part of feeling at peace and comfortable in our own skin. Here are a few suggestions for balancing the yin-yang energy in your own life.
If you're feeling anxious, nervous, or always on the go, increase yin activities. Take a bath instead of a shower. Why? Feelings of anxiety, nervousness, and stress or pressure correspond with yang energy which is more active and forceful. Bathing corresponds more with the yin energy of receptivity and restoration.
If you're feeling down, sluggish, or lacking motivation, you need more yang activities in your day. Try a power yoga class or go out for a run. When we are feeling down, yin energy is predominating and we need to add more yang to feel balanced and relieve symptoms. Any active and vigorous activity should do the trick. The Chinese believe in the concept of "qi" or "chi" which is the life energy that surrounds us both inside and out. When it is in balance, we experience harmony and wellbeing. Do what you can this month to balance your qi, balance the yin and yang in your life.
Cultivate balance in your life by attending to your senses and making efforts to increase feelings of wellbeing. You'll notice small changes can make a big difference!

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Putting First Things First...

Distractions are everywhere and our attention is being pulled in a thousand different directions everyday. Its a challenge to stay focused when there are so many demands for our time. Sometimes it helps, when distractions are overwhelming, to "put first things first." This simply means that we organize our time around our priorities. Easier said than done, I know! When you get very clear about what your priorities are, it does become easier.

Many times, our choices are between what is good for us and what is pleasurable. Carrots or chocolate cake? Working out or vegging out? Saving or spending? How can we delay gratification so that we make progress toward long-term goals, and maintain our commitment to our priorities?

1. Stop making excuses. We all need to give ourselves a break sometimes, but start to recognize the times that you are making excuses for not doing something to which you have made a commitment. When you start to count up how many times you didn't exercise because you"felt tired," you might start to hold yourself more accountable to your goals. And, that will get you one step closer to where you want to be.

2. Expect a little more from yourself. You can do this. Often times, we set our goals too high and we feel tired at the thought of trying to accomplish them. Take it down a few notches but expect more from yourself at the same time. You may be able to make the excuse that you can't go to the gym for two hours today, but can you use the same excuse about jumping rope in your back yard for 10 minutes? Give yourself a break, but expect a little more as well.

3. Enlist help. Whether its a spouse, a child, or a friend--let that person know you are aiming to put first things first--those priorities that are vitally important to you but maybe not always urgent. Its really ok to tell others what is really important to you, and to say no to requests when they simply do not align with your priorities. Ask for help, and let friends and family keep you on track when they see you straying in a million directions.

Remember: Ask for what you want. Set your priorities. Align your time management and decision making with those priorities. You will reduce distractions in your life and spend more time devoted to those areas which are truly important to you.

With Encouragement, Sarah Shore, M.S.

A job you hate? Well, its only temporary!

Do you hate your job right about now? Concerned about the tough job market? Thinking you’ll never escape? Well, think again! There is light at the end of the tunnel, but for now, let’s consider ways to make it more bearable. Sleeping 12 hours a day? Crying about how much you hate your job? Bemoaning your fate to friends and family? Well, take a look at these strategies and add some proactive and self-protective tactics to your survival strategy!

1. Your mantra must become: “Its only temporary.” Reminding yourself of this fact can help you to remember that change does happen and you are not doomed forever. If you need to, repeat this mantra to yourself 50 times a day.

2. Do something everyday to move you closer toward your goal—whether that’s a new job, a career transition, or starting your own business. Little things mean a lot:
· Spend just 5 minutes a day looking at job postings on line.
· Spend 5 minutes a week editing and improving the key words in your resume.
· Find a networking group and attend one meeting a month. Just one can make a big difference.

3. Talk to your co-workers. Even if you cannot tolerate even one in the bunch, socializing (that’s right, for only 5 minutes) lifts your mood and makes the day go faster.

4. Manage Up—learn to coach your boss. When your boss behaves in ways that are helpful, or maybe even just tolerable, positively reinforce him or her by giving praise. People learn quickly to repeat behaviors that others find desirable. This is a great strategy for systematically eliminating bad boss behaviors and increasing good ones.

5. You know it—Exercise. Take the pup out for 15 minutes before work. Not possible? Here’s a secret strategy: Go into the bathroom, or the stair well and do a few sets of jumping jacks, lunges, and squats. You’ll get your blood pumping and look toned to boot.

6. Increase the Life in Work Life Balance! Being in a job you hate causes depression, frustration, lethargy, and overall bad moods. Plan your life like you plan your work week. Schedule two to three nights a week for socializing with friends.
--A bottle of wine and a bag of pretzels and you’ve got “Happy Hour at Home.”
--Expand your horizons with a free or low-cost class at the local high school. Belly dancing anyone?
--Massage night with your mate—60 minutes each—no cost, high return on investment (decreased stress, affection, and who knows what else?).

Balance between your life and your work will make your hell-job more bearable. Remember, its 8 hours a day.

If all else fails, here’s a sure-fire way to make the day move faster. Everyday, write out the total hours you must spend at work just like this: 8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 on a sheet of paper. Fold it up to make it really small. Keep it in your pocket. After each hour passes, take a big marker and draw an X though that hour. So, let’s say its 10:00 and you’ve survived your first hour at work. Celebrate by drawing a big X through the 8. Now, only 7 more to go. You’ll start to see progress in no time!

With Encouragement: Sarah Shore, M.S.

There's Art...and then there's Science

I've always preferred art to science but have never considered myself and artist.  Thinking about it now, we are all artists and what we create--if nothing else, is our own life.  Imagine that--creating your own life.  What would you do if you could dream it up from scratch?

Making Changes...One Stage at a Time

Have you ever heard yourself saying, "I'm making changes in my life." or "I'm turning over a new leaf." or "I need to do something different"? Deep down, most of us want to do better or be better at something. But how do we get there? What are the stages involved in creating change?

When working with my clients, its very helpful for me to think about change in stages. As a way of thinking about it, I often find myself assessing a client's readiness for change by using the model developed by Prochaska and DiClemente (1992) which breaks down "changing" into 5 stages. Let's use an example--finding a new job.
  • Precontemplation: You are unhappy at your current job but don't do anything to change it because you do not realize the extent of the negative effect your current position has on your life, your emotions, and even your relationship with friends and family. Clients often find themselves bouncing between precontemplation and the next stage.
  • Contemplation: You realize your job is making you miserable and you start to think about making a change. But, its hard work to change...and you think to yourself, "Well, is it really that bad?" Many times, people tend to decide its not that bad and return to the precontemplation stage.
  • Preparation: You've had enough! You have committed to making a change and your are getting ready. You are sending out resumes, networking, and passing the word along to associates and contacts. You have committed to making a change.
  • Action: You are taking actions like those listed above to make a career change and systematically implementing actions to achieve your goal. You may not reach it overnight so its important in this stage to give yourself credit for the actions you've taken. You carefully consider your options and your next steps.
  • Maintenance: You've accomplished your goal. You are in a new work position. You evaluated your options carefully. You celebrate your success and evaluate after 6 months to insure you made the right choice and that you are indeed, happier.

Many of my life coaching and business consulting clients come to me in the contemplation stage--pretty sure they want to make a change but not sure if the outcome will be worth the investment (emotional, mental, financial, etc.). As a coach and consultant, its my job to let you know up front if I think you can be successful. If you want to make a change in your life, career, or business, see if you can identify where you are in the stages of change model. Remember, once you decide to make a change, or move closer to a goal--continue moving forward. Continue taking action everyday. You will reach your goal or accomplish your objective. But it takes hard work, courage, and committment. Remember also, it happens "one stage at a time."

With Encouragement, Sarah Shore, M.S.

10 Tips for Innovating Yourself...

#10--Get Support!  
Loosing a job or being laid off is a significant life event.  Find friends, family, and colleagues to offer advice and support.  These people can supply useful information directing you to new opportunities.

#9--Take an honest inventory of your strengths.  
Whether you've been laid off or suffered a business failure, its time to look at what was working and what wasn't.   Were you able to maximize your strengths?  Do the work you enjoy?  Or, were you bogged down in tasks that were not fulfilling, or even profitable?  Do you need to develop new skills?  Identify what you are happiest doing, what your strongest skills are, and where you'd like to be 5 or 10 years from now.  Use this time to map out a plan that is based on your strengths and goals.

#8—Focus on the future.
Professionals and entrepreneurs who are successful in economic downturns have several things working for them. The most vital is a forward-thinking focus. Establish a support network, take an inventory of your strengths and goals, then focus toward the future. Ask yourself, “What is the best action I can take, right now, to reach my goal?” Ask this several times a day. Decide to spend a certain number of hours each day working toward your goal.

#7—Seek out every resource available to you.
Reinventing yourself in a transition requires looking inward to determine your goals and desires. It also requires looking outward to utilize every resource at your disposal. Engage in out-reach to individuals, organizations, and programs that can provide information and resources. The Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) is a national organization with local offices which assists entrepreneurs and small businesses free of charge (www.score.org). Maximize your opportunities during this critical time. Make new connections and learn new skills that are necessary to stay ahead of the pack. Are you using every resource available to you to make this time beneficial? Are you planning for a successful future?

#6—Patience is a virtue.
The job market is not moving as fast as we might like. What can you do? Set a realistic goal for your new position or venture. Then, break that goal down into small, concrete steps that you can act upon. Share these goals with someone you trust. Ask him or her to check-in on your progress. Identify target dates for accomplishing these tasks. Re-evaluate at regular intervals—every week or every month. Remember, transitions happen over time. You must give yourself a break.

#5—Be creative.
Take note of the generational differences in attitudes about the economy and the job market. Are you feeling like you’ll never find something right for you again? Or do you see numerous opportunities and just need to get your foot in the door? Have you heard of things like Facebook, Twitter, blogging? Social media has grown rapidly. People seek community, connection, and collaboration in our fast-paced society. How can you use these developments in communication and technology to find your dream job or start a new business venture? Take note of those individuals and organizations that are profitable now. What can you learn from them?

#4—You did it once. You can do it again!
You have lived through many successes and failures. You have survived them all. Use this time to come out ahead. Focus on what is within your control. Can you send out resumes or meet with the bank for a loan? Yes. Can you make them give you the job or the loan? No. Focus on what you have personal control over—like sending an excellent cover letter or making new professional connections. Spend as little time as possible worrying and complaining. It will only slow you down. Accept the aspects of your situation that are not within your control. Focus on what is within your control. Focus on what you want—not what you had.

#3—Confidence is key.
What things are you really good at? What do you love to do? When abilities come naturally to you, do you recognize them? We are most confident when doing something we love and care about. Build up your confidence by experiencing small successes. When time seems open-ended, it’s a habit to say “I’ll get to that tomorrow.” Start saying “today” instead. Experiencing a string of successes is vital to strengthening your confidence.

#2—Keep an eye toward future trends.
When you are reinventing yourself, the world is your oyster. Think expansively. Do not limit yourself with outdated attitudes or “impossibilities.” No one would have imagined the “internet” would be ubiquitous 20 or 30 years ago. What trends can you spot? What segments of society and industry are changing or evolving? Can you use your skills or strengths in those areas? How can you be of the most value to others? In what ways can you give your time and energy to promote something that is important to you?

#1—Optimize this time!
Its hard to see the bright side in a bad situation. The good news is, you might never find yourself in this situation again. That’s precisely why you can optimize this time and consider it an opportunity to reinvent yourself in the way that will make you happiest and most successful.



Life Coaching for the Skeptical...

Lose Weight! Make More Money! Find Your Dream Job! Attract Your Ideal Mate! We've all heard these promises from infomercials, websites, e-books, psychics, and others. But what about life coaching? Is it for real? Or just another set of empty promises?

At Sarah Shore Consulting, LLC, I offer life coaching and business consulting services for the skeptical. Anything worthwhile takes effort. It takes hard work. The difference between do-it-yourself improvement and improvement through an investment in life coaching is this--an improvement expert whose profession is to ensure that you reach your goals.

Not all life coaches are improvement experts. Anyone can call him or herself a life coach. This is not a bad thing. But the savvy consumer knows this and seeks out a coach that is the best match for his or her personality, style, and objectives. I encourage anyone interested in life coaching to view my informational videos at www.youtube.com/sarahozolshore

As we move into 2009, I'm delighted to be offering a unique and transformational workshop event "Creating Innovation in Your Own Life." The workshop is designed to teach you how to harness the power of innovative thinking to create the solution to your goal or challenge. Sometimes, we just need to start thinking outside the box! Still skeptical? Stay tuned.

With Encouragement, Sarah Shore, M.S.
http://www.sarahshoreconsulting.com

Who would have thought 10 years ago...

Personal checks, answering machines, classified ads, and movie rental stores--all things that are becoming obsolete. Could any of us have imagined just 10 years ago that we would no longer have a need for a land line phone, the Yellow Pages, VCRs, dial-up internet? What about a nice, handwritten letter?

Staying ahead of trends is part of what makes us successful in business and even our personal lives. Innovation is what creates the technology which allows for moving forward into a future we could never have imagined was possible. That's one reason I'm so excited about my upcoming "Creating Innovation in Your Own Life" workshop. As I learn more and more about innovation, the power of "group think," and even peer co-creation, I'm so fascinated by the possibilities. How can you use the power of innovative thinking in your day-to-day life to create success, wealth, happiness? The possibilities are endless.

Part of the process of innovation includes "rule-breaking"--the idea that often we need to turn conventional wisdom on its head in order to develop something new and valuable to ourselves, the larger community, and even the world. Thinking globally has taken on a completely new meaning as we think about the far reaching effects of our actions...and even our words.

Join me on February 7, 2009 if you are in the Philadelphia area. Purchase tickets at
http://www.sarahshoreconsulting.com/creating.html.
You can pay securely via PayPal.

Some others on the list of things becoming obsolete? Well, stand-alone bowling alleys, analog TV, news magazines, cameras that use film, and even the TV news. I grew up with all of these things. Things on the list that I won't miss: ham radio, and drive-in movie theaters--all a little before my time. Hmm....

With Encouragement, Sarah Shore, M.S.
http://www.sarahshoreconsulting.com/

Creating Innovation in Your Own Life

I'm just thrilled to be offering the workshop "Creating Innovation in Your Own Life." The concept of innovation is so fascinating to me. The potential for innovative thinking to change our lives is largely untapped in the personal development realm. We've all heard of how innovation results in products and services that make our lives easier or more convenient...like cell phones and the internet. But, harnessing the power of innovative thinking to improve our lives--to create the lives we want--it's so exciting to think about. Thinking about the positive results of using innovation in our personal and professional lives just creates so many possibilities.

In speaking with several of my clients, a workshop was suggested. So, we are making it happen! If you'd like to read more, visit the newsletter section of my website. If you're in the Philadelphia area and would like to join us, please do! We are limiting the group to 100 participants. We need the power of group collaboration but want to limit it to a reasonable number. Email me with questions. Tickets can be purchased through the newsletter section of the website. I can't wait! I hope to see you all there.

With Encouragement, Sarah Shore, M.S.

You know those days when it feels like you're just...spinning your wheels?

Have you had enough of those days? Do you just want to use your time efficiently so you can close up the laptop and move on… to family, friends, a workout, dinner, a walk in the park, Netflix, whatever?

 

This is a quick tips list. A lot of these strategies are easier said than done. That’s true of most things when you’re living with ADHD. In some cases, it’s hard to remember to do them. In other cases, itsemotionally uncomfortable.

 

But keep these ideas in your awareness so that when it’s possible for you to use one of these strategies, you’ll be more likely to do so.

 

Becoming a warrior-woman of zen-like focus and uber-productivity does not happen overnight, and it especially doesn’t happen in the chaotic world

 of bells, whistles, dings, pings, and electronic chimes that we live in today.

But we can feel more focused. We can get more done.We strive for progress, not perfection. 

 

When you’re ready, you might consider how community, structure, and accountability will help you reach your goals for getting more done. Join our Facebook group or check out Focus Forward.

 

Remember! We seek to get more done so that we can experience greater ease and joy in our lives without worry or guilt.  

 

Here are your tips…

 

Put boundaries around your time (beforehand).Announce time limits that you’ve set. Announce them to yourself and to others. I need to leave at 6pm. I have 10 minutes. We have to wrap up in a half hour. Set a timer and abide by your predetermined time frame. This may not translate to getting more done but it should greatly help your focus. You’ve put a start and stop time around your task or endeavor. Psychologically this makes a difference. Even if you don’t stick to it 100%.

 

Get up. (Or sit down). If you’re sitting at your computer or desk and you’re lost in paperwork and decisions about what to do next. If you keep checking your email (see #4) and or re-writing your to-do list, get up. Take a quick jog around the office or the kitchen. Ask yourself a prompting question: what should I be doing right now? What needs to get done first? Giving yourself the space to move around and actually stand up can jolt you out of your haze and jump start the part of your brain that helps you focus and prioritize.

 

Likewise, if you are pacing around and going from room to room or meeting to meeting, whatever it may be, and you find yourself unable to get started or make progress, take a step back and sit down. Sit down somewhere, perhaps even outside if possible. Ask yourself: What am I doing? What do I need to be doing right now? As is often the case, we usually know the answer. Go with your first guess!

 

Get off the email train. Don’t we just love to check our email between tasks, or before starting something, or as a reward after finishing something or at a point in a task when it starts to feel hard?  Sure! Everyone does. But you’re gonna get off that train.  Turn off notifications and only check morning, lunch, and late afternoon. Everyone will survive.

I Will Form Good Habits

Persistent consistent effort toward a goal or desired state of being creates a habit.  Good habits create success.  Are you ready to start developing more good habits?  I hope so. 

Maybe your goal is the habit itself (like walking more), or maybe the habit is the action you need to take to get you to the larger goal (like walking more to lose a few pounds). 

If your goal is a 3.0 GPA, your habit needs to be one hour of reading per night per class.  If your goal is greater flexibility, your habit is a daily yoga practice.  Get the picture?

I was introduced to the book, “The Greatest Salesman in the World,” several years ago by a good friend who has amazing discipline and focus.  This short book about perseverance, discipline, and success shares timeless principles, even if the language is a bit outdated.

“In truth, the only difference between those who have failed and those who have succeeded lies in the differences of their habits. Good habits are the key to all success. Bad habits are the unlocked door to failure. Thus, the first law I will obey, which precedeth all others is – I will form good habits and become their slave.  

My actions are ruled by appetite, passion, prejudice, greed, love, fear, environment, habit, and the worst of these tyrants is habit. Therefore, if I must be a slave to habit let me be a slave to good habits. My bad habits must be destroyed and new furrows prepared for good seed.  I will form good habits and become their slave.”

Form good habits!  Good habits pave the path to success.

  • Walking
  • Eating nutritious food
  • Stretching
  • Drinking enough water
  • Practicing gratitude
  • Learning new things
  • Reading for personal development
  • Keeping a to-do list
  • Daily decluttering
  • Keep in regular contact with special friends and family
  • Journaling
  • Meditating

I personally want to be doing all of the things on this list as part of my daily routine.  In my mind, these are the elements that create a harmonious and productive lifestyle.  I challenge you to start a new healthy, productive habit now!  And if you want some structure, accountability, and coaching support along the way, give me a call or check out Focus Forward.

Walking

I don’t think there is a better, more productive, more healthful habit to develop than a daily walk.  Times in my life when I’ve been in the habit of a daily walk have been some of the happiest, most productive, most centered times of my life. 

There is something to be said for rituals.  There is something to be said for routine…daily routine—the kind that happens no matter what. 

Walking is the third tool from The Artist’s Way, a book which has inspired me recently to make some lifestyle changes.  The first daily habit (Morning Pages) is the act of filling three pages of paper with your longhand writing…about absolutely anything that crosses your mind that morning. 

The second habit (Artist’s Dates) is about setting aside a block of time each week to do something that inspires you—that replenishes your energy.  And walking is the third habit.  The first habit provides direction.  The second habit provides inspiration.  The third habit, walking, provides integration. 

Integration comes from the Latin integratus meaning “to make whole.”  A daily walking habit allows you to integrate all the parts of your psyche that are fractionated and cut off in the day-to-day hustle and bustle of life.  Plain and simple, walking each day gives you the opportunity to tune in to things that are important to you…things that may have taken a back seat to the seemingly urgent tasks of our life.

We can get so lost in checking email, running errands, making dinner, giving the kids a bath, or paying bills.  A daily walking habit requires you to take time away and let your mind wander as your feet walk whatever path you choose.  If I could suggest one powerful change to make this month, it would be to start a walking habit. 

Walk each day for at least a half hour (you want to give your mind time to do its work).  Early morning or evening…whatever works for your schedule.  Making a decision to add this daily habit to your life will work its magic in no time. 

And if you need help getting the support, structure, and accountability you need to make this new habit stick, may I suggest our next session of Focus Forward.  You can check it out here.  In the meantime, write, play, walk…  

Artist Dates

My daughter is 4 and playdates are the thing!  Even though they can be hard to schedule, there is nothing more important to my daughter’s development than love…and play.  Play often falls to the bottom of the list as far as adults are concerned and here’s where Artist Dates come in.  

Artist Dates are the second part of the three-step process that Julia Cameron writes about in “The Artist’s Way.”  Morning Pages are the first and provide direction on your journey.

Keep in mind you don’t have to be an artist or creative for these strategies to be effective.  Writing each morning clears your mind and gets your energy focused.  Worth building into your daily life as a good habit that will help you create greater success. 

The idea with the Artist Dates is that you take time for inspiration.   Once a week, you will go on your own to do something fun, playful, enjoyable, inspiring.  It could be anything that woos you…that’s the idea.  It should feel inspiring.  You should feel drawn to it.  If you do, you are on the right date! 

Going to the park to read, visiting an art supply store for new materials, taking a new dance class…whatever your heart desires.  You are to spend time by your lonesome doing something that feels playful. “Artist’s dates are assigned play.” –Julia Cameron, Author of “The Artist’s Way.”

Ask yourself “what sounds fun?”  Then, go do it.  These solo expeditions are meant to replenish and inspire your imagination.  With that replenishment and inspiration, you can approach the rest of your week with renewed enthusiasm and purpose.  As a weekly habit, it helps you to build fun and whimsy into your life. 

The magic happens when you don’t just do this once or twice but you build it into your life as a habit—something that you do on a regular basis, no matter what.  This is a weekly date with yourself…with that part of you that needs time to explore and play. 

In our work-obsessed culture, this probably sounds self-indulgent.  And it is.  And it should be.  Why shouldn’t we indulge ourselves once in a while in a pursuit that brings us joy and ease?

Do this!  Sign a 12-week contract with yourself that says you’ll embark on one Artist’s date per week!  I’m excited for you…and I hope you’ll give it a try.  It is simple.  And it is effective if you want to be more productive in any endeavor…because you are filling up your reserve of energy and focus during these inspirational play dates.

Our group coaching program, Focus Forward, can help you stick with your goal of incorporating Artist Dates as a lifelong habit.  Don’t wait.  Our next group starts September 7th!

Here’s to all the inspiration and play coming your way as you commit to one Artist’s date a week.  I’m excited for you to get started…

The Artist's Way

A few weeks ago I was introduced to “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron.  While I haven’t read through the book, the message is clear. 

Your inner critic is getting in your way and preventing you from moving forward on your goals. 

While the book was written to help artists and creatives get past the internal blocks to greater productivity and creation of their art…the concepts are applicable in any line of work.  The advice is so simple and so effective that I’m going to implement it in my own life and I hope you’ll do the same. 

There are three basic tools for encouraging your creative (or productive) genius to come out.  According to Cameron, they are “simultaneously universal and individual.”  Who doesn’t love that?   

  1. Morning Pages…which provide direction on your journey
  2. Artist’s Dates…which provide inspiration
  3. Walking…which provides integration (how true!)

Let’s take “Morning Pages” to start.  Here’s the idea.  Straight from the book, “Morning pages are three pages of longhand writing, strictly stream-of-consciousness…as in “Oh god, another morning.  I have nothing to say.  I need to wash the curtains.  Did I get my laundry yesterday?  Blah, blah, blah.”  They might also, more ingloriously, be called brain drain, since that is one of their main functions.”

Here’s the idea.  Get yourself a notebook from Target or the drug store or Amazon's version.  Or, if you are feeling so inspired, get yourself a beautiful leather-bound notebook from a fancy stationary store.  Whatever you choose, you should have a decent amount of page space to write.  Sit down in the morning, preferably in a space where you can really listen to the thoughts that come up in your mind. 

You could do it while you have your morning coffee or a glass of water…or even before you get out of bed.  Start writing.  Write anything that comes to mind until you fill up three pages with your thoughts.  As Cameron says, there is no wrong way to do Morning Pages.  They are not meant to be “art” or even “writing.” 

They are just a collection of words that you are getting out of your head and onto the page.  Often, the words might sound angry or self-pitying, repetitive, or bland.  And that’s good.  That’s what you are going for.  All of this clutter in your mind is what’s preventing you from getting your creativity and your productivity into the world. 

Write until you fill three pages.  Write whatever thoughts are in your mind.  Do this every morning.  Do it for at least 8 weeks.  Or make it a life-time habit, which is what “The Artist’s Way” asks you to do.  Here’s an important point:  you are strongly discouraged from reading anything you’ve written until you have been doing Morning Pages daily for 8 weeks (I didn’t see that coming, did you?).

We are all our harshest critics.  In order to fight that critic, to hold that critic back from having a negative influence over our creativity or productivity, we need to bring all these critical statements that we make about ourselves (daily) into the light of day.  “The Artist’s Way” suggests (and I think I do agree) that the practice and discipline of Morning Pages really helps to do that in an effective and powerful way.

This is a simple tool, it’s a free tool, and it’s a powerful tool.  There are communities of believers who sing the praises of this process.  If you are looking for a daily habit to help you be more successful and more productive, I encourage you to read “The Artist’s Way” and start your Morning Pages habit now. 

A great way to keep yourself accountable and get support for implementing this new success habit in your daily life is to sign up for our next Focus Forward session.  Imagine that in just 4 weeks you could be off to a great start with this new habit that will help you to unleash your creativity (even if you are not an artist) and optimize your productivity for your maximum success.  What are you doing tomorrow morning?

How Much by When?

A very useful book, “The Success Principles” by Jack Canfield (better known as the author of the "Chicken Soup for the Soul" book series) outlines 64 guiding principles that help get you to where you want to be in life.

One of his principles is the idea of goal-setting—how to set goals and what to do once you’ve set them.   If you are making changes in your life for the better, goal-setting is an important part of the process and really effective in improving your chances of success. 

  1. Decide “How much by when?”  I will weight 135 by Nov. 1 or I will save $3500 by January 5.  These goals are specific, powerful, and measurable.   Think of all your goals in this context. 
  1. Write your goals out in detail.  Paint a vivid picture and let your subconscious mind go to work helping you get closer to that vision.
  1. Read your goals three times a day…aloud and with enthusiasm if possible!  This helps to stimulate your motivation and increase your awareness of resources that can help you achieve this goal.
  1. Create a goals book.  Get a notebook or a binder and make a page for each goal.  Write the goal at the top of the page, illustrate it with pictures and depict the goal as already achieved.  Review your goal book as often as possible.
  1. Carry your most important goal in your wallet.  Every time you open your wallet, you are reminded of your most important goal.  This exposure helps keep your awareness of your goal sharp in your mind.

Goal setting is the first step in our Focus Forward Group Coaching Program.  Once you set your goals for the program (examples include:  get up at the same time every day, get into a good workout routine, spend 20 minutes a day on cleaning your room, etc.), you get daily online peer support, accountability, and the guidance of your coach. 

Move forward swiftly toward your new achievements!  Goal-setting is a mindset that you can shift to right now.  I’m excited to see what you accomplish.  Let’s unleash the power of goal setting in your life and see what happens!

Summer Camp.

ADHD coaching

My daughter started a new adventure this week.  Summer camp.  Her first day was a whirlwind of new experiences as she tried to learn the ropes and fit in with kids who had started at camp weeks earlier. 

As I dropped her off on that Monday morning I knew we were starting a new chapter and that she would reach new milestones. 

She was quiet when I picked her up after her first half day for the preschool crowd.  She seemed to be processing all the events of her busy morning.  As the day went on, I could tell new knowledge was coming together in her mind. 

As I put her to bed that night, she had a hard time falling to sleep.  Finally, after many bedtime stories she said to me, “Mommy, I couldn’t put my goggles on by myself today so I didn’t want to swim.  Can you tell my teacher I need help putting my goggles on?”

I thought about the question and how best to respond.  As a coach, my job is to help you discover the best solutions to the problems and challenges you face.  Not only is solving problems for you impractical, it’s very unlikely to be helpful.    

Wanting my daughter to rest easy, I assured her I would let her teacher know in the morning. 

Many more times she reminded me before falling asleep that night.  She wanted my promise that I would resolve this for her.  “Can you ask your teacher?”  I asked.  She simply said, “I want you to do it, Mommy.”  “Ok,” I said.

In the morning, she asked another dozen times.  Each time, I reassured her.  “I will ask your teacher.”  We headed off to camp.  As we walked to her “home base,” she reminded me one more time.  “Mommy, can you ask my teacher to please help me put on my goggles when it’s time for swimming?”  “Yes,” I said.

As we approached the teacher, I took a calculated risk and pushed my daughter just a bit past her comfort zone.  I was so hopeful she would rise to the challenge but prepared to catch her just in case she needed me.  I said, “Do you have something you want to tell your teacher?” 

As the teacher listened intently, my daughter clearly projected her voice and said, “I need help putting my goggles on today before swim.”

I was filled with pride and a great sense of relief.  I could see the pride she felt for herself after pushing past her fear.  What may seem small was a big leap for her.  And a success as her teacher warmly and supportively agreed, “Yes, we will put them on together.”

I pushed her past her comfort zone but I was there to hold her hand while she did it.  That’s exactly the kind of support a lot of us need.  We are all capable of making those leaps and pushing past our comfort zones…sometimes we just need to feel supported on the journey.

If you are ready to get out of your comfort zone and make some big leaps toward your goals, the support of a coach and an awesome online peer group might be just the thing to get you there.  Check out Focus Forward and start thinking about your next big leap.

 

You...are NOT alone.

ADHD CoachingI mention this because recently I had a surprising experience. 

I’ve always been a fan of sharing my life with others.  On the scale of openness--guardedness, I’m pretty much an open book.  So I was caught off guard when a great candidate for my group coaching program wanted to drop out. 

I knew she would get a ton out of the program and really benefit from it, both personally and professionally.  But she was afraid she would not be anonymous. 

She feared she would be identifiable by the other participants and that fear made her drop out before she even got started.  

There are lots of people struggling with the exact issues you are struggling with.  Thousands, hundreds of thousands, maybe more. 

I’m not just talking about sticking to a monthly budget or juggling the responsibilities of home and work.  I’m talking about things most non-ADHDers take for granted, like:

  • maintaining a clear path from your bedroom door to your bed
  • being able to schedule more than one thing in any given day
  • trusting yourself to wake up when you have an important meeting in the morning
  • not just flaking out and missing work for one day, two days, two weeks
  • creating and following any semblance of a routine
  • following a to do list (not making one,  we all know how easy that is, but following one)

The list could go on.  But let’s just say you pretty much consider yourself the bottom of the barrel when it comes to organization, time management, focus, productivity, and tidiness.  Well, you are not alone.  That’s why a group program can be so effective.  You can achieve your goals more easily and more quickly when you work in a group. 

Let’s go over some boring facts about working with a group of peers (peers = people who are daily dealing with the same stuff you are dealing with when it comes to managing your time, tasks, self, and stuff).    

Things happen when people work together.  You’ve seen this before, right?  Skyscrapers, heart surgery, tug of war…a group of people working together can do amazing things.  When you sign up for group coaching, there are a dozen factors at play that help drive your results.  Here’s a partial list:
 

  1. You recognize you are not alone.  You see that others share similar thoughts, feelings, and problems.  How reassuring!
  2. You get to help others.  By offering your feedback and encouragement, you gain a boost to your own self-esteem.  It feels good to help others!
  3. You start to feel hopeful.  Seeing other people with similar problems experience success gives you feelings of optimism.  It is all possible for you too!
  4. Wealth…of information.  A wealth of information is available to you in a group program: the advice and feedback of your peers and your coach can be priceless.
  5. You gain insight.  Start figuring out your own motivation, behavior, and emotions.  Insight helps you figure out what changes to make to be more effective and get more of what you want.  Sounds good to me.

If you’re hesitant to enter a group coaching program, I wish I could wave a magic wand and ease your concerns.  I wish you could know how supportive and helpful your peers will be once you meet them.  I wish I could take away the feelings of vulnerability and self-doubt you might feel.  But there’s only one way to get there from here…

Jump right in and do it anyway.  You’ll be glad you did.  

If you love someone with ADHD, don't do these 20 things...

ADHD CoachingCourtesy of www.lifehack.org  (Written by:  June Silny)

You wonder if everybody’s life is as chaotic as yours. Something’s not right.  Your child doesn’t act like the other children in the class. Homework assignments guarantee a night of fights, slammed doors, and tears shed. The teachers call you in for conferences weekly.

Your husband gets fired again claiming all his bosses are jerks. You work overtime so your car isn’t repossessed. Your sister cancels every time you plan to meet for dinner. Your teenager is hanging out in the local piercing parlor. And your daughter can’t find her car keys whenever she’s walking out the door. Your relationships are constant conflicts.

You’ve considered splitting up, but you can’t afford to live on your own. You’ve thought of quitting your job, packing your bags, and running away. You’re tired all the time. You’re trapped, choking, and you cannot breathe.

Loving someone who has ADHD can make your life crazy if you don’t get a grip on it. The doctors prescribe medication. The therapists tell you what to do, but your home is as wild as a college frat house.

A person with ADHD can be hard to live with. The thought patterns and behaviors of a person with ADHD never go away. They are manageable, but that too, is a full-time challenge.

Without proper care, ADHD can lead to substance abuse, overeating, unemployment, toxic relationships, divorce, constant conflict, academic failure, insomnia, stress, anxiety and panic attacks. A person with ADHD has an active thought process of options, possibilities, and scenarios the average person cannot even imagine.

Eventually, reality bites. The rent is due, the electric bill is unpaid, and your checking account is overdrawn again. You’re exhausted from staying awake worrying all night. You want to run away, but your problems are like misspelled tattoos that stay with you wherever you go. There is hope. It doesn’t have to be that way. As a person with ADHD has to work through his challenges, you as his lover, parent, sibling or friend also have to learn coping skills to improve the situation. Don’t do these 20 things if you want to have a happier life together.

1. Don’t live in denial - Admit the truth.  Call the problem by its name: Attention-Deficit/Hyperactive Disorder. Your life will become easier when you identify it, own it, talk about it, and stop running from it. Admitting that it exists is the first step to freedom. There is no reason to feel ashamed. Many of history’s greatest contributions have come from people with ADHD. Scientists, authors, artists, musicians, and entrepreneurs have become successful because they have a creative vision that average people do not possess.

2. Don’t criticize - Judge favorably.  Realize that your loved one with ADHD is trying his hardest, even though it’s not good enough for your standards. Lighten up, go easy, and give them time. They will accomplish what they have to do, but not on the schedule you have in mind. Allow them time and space to accomplish their tasks. Influence them with love, not with criticism.

3. Don’t accept excuses - Encourage and inspire them to achieve their goals.  ADHD isn’t an excuse for an irresponsible lifestyle. It just means that what comes easy to you, may be difficult for them. It doesn’t mean that they can’t do something, it means that it’s harder for them. Simple tasks that you take for granted; such as opening mail, trashing junk mail, and placing your bills in a “to be paid” folder, feel like a climb up Mt. Everest to a person with ADHD. It doesn’t make sense to someone who doesn’t have it. Try to be encouraging, in spite of your doubts and disappointments. Point out the times when they suceeded.

4. Don’t be a coach - Be a cheerleader.  Stand on the sidelines; grab your pom-poms and start cheering. Words of encouragement have more power than insults and put-downs. Coaches arein-your-face critics. Their job is to point out the negative. Cheerleaders stand on the side, rooting for success, believing in their teams ability to achieve. Let your loved one with ADHD know that you are on the same team.

5. Don’t make unrealistic demands - Stay with the possible.  When a person with ADHD gets stressed out, an obsessive thought pattern of “what-ifs” begins. Screaming and shouting, “Just do it already. Stop making such a fuss,” will not break through compulsive thinking. Accept the fact that they may not be able to do what you want, when you want it, or how you want them to do it. If it’s something important, be specific.

6. Don’t give instructional lectures - Be respectful.  Lectures are not helpful if a person feels like they are being spoken to like a child whose baseball broke the neighbor’s window. If you have something to say, be sure to choose the right words at the right time. The timing of your conversations determines if you will be heard or ignored. Schedule a time to talk. Rehearse your speech so that it comes out as love, not control.

7. Don’t be impulsive - Practice patience.  Someone with ADHD is impulsive. If you are the rational thinker in the relationship, your ADHD loved one is depending on you  to be wise and patient. Two impulsive people reacting emotionally and regurgitating information at each other, does not make for a happy ending.  

8. Don’t be a martyr - Call for backup.  Have a support team to help you through the struggles. You don’t have to manage everything alone. Call a friend, a therapist, or a loving relative. Find someone who just listens. If you don’t want advice or suggestions, a comforting shoulder to cry on can strengthen you and change your outlook.

9. Don’t forget your goal - Prepare for a positive outcome.  Sometimes words come out that you later regret saying. They can’t be taken back. Hurtful words leave deep wounds. Keep your goals in mind. What would you like to accomplish? Ask yourself, if I say this will it lead to a negative or a positive outcome? It’s up to you. You determine the outcome. Go slow. Think before you speak.

10. Don’t feel guilty - Know that you are doing your best.  Feeling that your loved one is hard to love, or that you don’t like their behavior is a sad feeling to experience. If you’re a parent and are upset about your child’s behavior, guilt runs through your veins. It’s not your fault. You’re doing the best you can. You’re in a tough situation and you aren’t always sure which is the best way to handle it. Be gentle with yourself.

11. Don’t try to control them - Control yourself. Intimidating or threatening does not inspire change. Trying to control people is never effective. When you don’t know how to motivate your loved one, think about how you can change your approach. You can’t control other people; you can only control your words, thoughts, and reactions towards them.

12. Don’t lean in - Step back. Intense emotions are negative emotions. Leaning in and pushing a person to perform isn’t the most effective way to reach the result you desire. When stress is high and you feel like screaming, back off. Stepping back gives you time to breathe, relax, and readjust your thoughts.

13. Don’t label them - Be compassionate.  Judgment is easy; compassion is hard work. Don’t box them in as a “forgetful, lazy, disorganized mess,” or “someone who will never succeed.” Labels create pre-determined expectations that last for years. People become what you see them as.  

14. Don’t say “never” - Nothing stays the same.  When times are tough, it’s hard to remember that tough times don’t last forever. Things will get better. Believe it. “Never” is a word of hopelessness. Start saying, “not yet.” The only thing constant is change.  

15. Don’t say “Just do it” - Understand that they can’t.  An ordinary thinker cannot understand how a person with ADD/ADHD can’t accomplish the simplest tasks such as paying bills, organizing papers, and putting their clothes away. These tasks may be easy for you, but remember, the person with ADHD also has a hard time understanding why they can’t pay a bill or manage their mail.  

16. Don’t be afraid to help out - Offer a helping hand.It’s important to teach your loved ones how to be responsibly and independently. But also remember, that there are times when it’s okay to offer assistance. Even Einstein had a helper. His wife cooked for him, cleaned up after him and did his laundry because his high-powered mind was too busy discovering the quantum workings of the universe to take time to put his dirty socks in the laundry bin.

17. Don’t have unrealistic expectations - List what you love about them.  Accept your loved ones as they are. Just like with any other relationship, you have to look for the good, and stay focused on it. Never lose sight of the awesome qualities of your ADD/ADHD loved one. If it’s your partner, remember that their fun-loving, impulsive personality is probably why you fell in love with them. Go back to the beginning. Love them again, as if you first met them. If it’s your child, remember the feeling of holding your newborn baby in your arms for the first time.  

18. Don’t neglect other family members - Spend time alone with them.  ADD/ADHD can take over your home environment, subliminally controlling everything and everyone in it. Spend time with other family members. They need you, too. Go to the movies or go get some ice cream with them. Remind them that they still exist for you. Hug them and hold onto them.  

19. Don’t get mad - Pause for peace.  Make peace in your home and your life your priority. The other lessons will soon fall into place if your home is a loving environment. Anger is easy. Staying quiet takes strength. Put your relationships before your feelings. You don’t have to veerbalize every comment that comes to mind. Place your ego on the side until your anger subsides.  Don’t ever accept abusive behavior of any type. There are certain relationships that are unhealthy, toxic, and need to end. Seek professional help.  

20. Don’t forget to love yourself - Do something that makes you happy.  ADHD relationships can suck the joy out of life. You realize that you haven’t laughed in a month. You forgot how to smile, and you can’t remember the last time you had fun. Make time for yourself. Do something that makes you happy. Have fun again, and do it often.

Wrapping up 2014

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