Tag Archives: coaching

Women Get Stuck! Is This You?

Stuck means not moving. All women experience times in their lives when they just can’t seem to

Self-doubt, limiting beliefs, and fear can keep an artist stuck. Taking action is an act of courage.

muster the motivation to take action to do the things they need to do to maintain a manageable life and/or the things they want to do to support mental, physical, emotional and spiritual growth and create a fulfilling life.

Some women get stuck more easily. I work with three categories of women who get stuck.

  1. Women in transition. When you experience a death or loss, like the death of a spouse, parent or child, or a divorce, it is quite common to get stuck in grief, stuck in an old role and paralyzed when you have to rebuild your life following a significant loss. Other transitions include retiring from a job, becoming an empty nester, changing careers.
  2. Women Artists. Writers experience writer’s block when ideas and words will not flow. Artists want to paint, draw, sculpt, etc., but can’t make themselves show up on a regular basis to do their work. Musicians have the best intentions to practice their instruments, but keep choosing other things to do.
  3. Women with ADHD. Women with ADHD can have great difficulty initiating action, particularly action that is perceived to be boring, not fun and not stimulating. They are also prone to rumination, getting stuck spinning in negative thoughts that keep them stuck. Transitions, getting into action and out of action, are difficult.

What these categories of women have in common is that each is probably stuck because they hold negative perspectives about themselves, their abilities and what’s possible for them. Limiting beliefs, fear, and self-criticism block forward motion. Fear keeps them disconnected from awareness of their strengths and gifts that could be used to get unstuck. Most aren’t even aware of how their negative thoughts and fears block action.

Coaching is a process that will get you unstuck. You will partner with a coach for support to generate awareness of what is keeping you stuck, what your strengths, values and needs are, and to strategize ways ways to take action to achieve your goals. The real gift of coaching is the opportunity to plan and take action with accountability. Knowing that your coach believes in you and is supporting forward movement can motivate you to reach for goals that previously seemed out of reach.

If you are stuck, take the first step. Schedule a 30 minute FREE Back on Track coaching session with me. In that session you will test drive coaching to see if it could be a good fit for you to get unstuck and moving in the direction of your goals and dreams.

ADHD: Benefits of Planning with a Coach

I coach women with ADHD. Part of the coaching process is to identify an action at the end of

Planning with a coach increases the chances that you will take action.

each session to do between sessions. In the next session I check back with the client about what happened. Did they take action? If so, what happened? What did they learn? What worked? What didn’t? If they didn’t take action I inquire about what happened that prevented taking action. Did they forget to take action? Did they choose not to take action? If so, how did they reach that decision? If they didn’t take action, what else were they doing?

It is not uncommon for ADHD clients to return to sessions and report that they didn’t do what they said they would do. Why not? Often they committed to an action but didn’t do anything to hold that commitment in memory. It was as if the action was a floating leaf that touched down because it sounded like a good idea, and then blew away out of awareness just as quickly.

I initially worked with clients on how to more effectively anchor commitments in order to increase the possibility of follow through. However, just remembering what they’d committed to do wasn’t enough to motivate them to take action.

So, I went a step further and asked questions like, “When will you do this?” “What’s the benefit of completing this task?” “What steps will you need to take to make this happen?” “What barriers could prevent you from doing this?” “What resources are available to help you do this?” When I’ve helped clients plan in this way, they were more likely to report the following week that they had taken action. It seems that the planning we did together helped to anchor their commitment in memory and made doing the action easier to face and follow through on.

Planning is a process that can be difficult for people with ADHD due to executive function deficits. Saying you will do a task is easy. Breaking a task down into step-by-step actions, considering the when, where, what, how and what ifs necessary to take action are not. Planning done in partnership with a supportive other can be just the mental fuel necessary to take action.

If you have ADHD and have difficulty starting and completing important tasks, perhaps difficulties with planning are blocking action. Coaching is an option that could help you practice planning and take action with support. To learn more about how you can be more productive with coaching, schedule a FREE 30-60 minute Back on Track phone coaching session with me.

Plan With Your Big Rocks In Mind

Planning is something we all do every day. We plan what to wear based on what we will be

What are your big rocks?

doing during the day. We plan where we’ll go when we get in the car. We plan to meet friends for dinner. We plan what activities we’ll do in a day. We plan how we’ll spend our time. Short-term planning is second nature for most of us. It helps us go from point A to B with as little hassle and as much ease as possible. No big deal, right?

It depends. Are you making those plans with full awareness of what you are scheduled to do? With an eye on the big picture of your priorities? If you aren’t, you run the risk of using your time for unimportant tasks that may be pleasurable, but not important in the grand scheme of things.

Even short-term planning requires that you be conscious of what you really want, what is most important to get done, and how long it takes to do it. I call it focusing on your big rocks. Your big rocks are the things that matter most in your life — family, finances, career, service, relationships, etc. They are the center of your compass, the point from which ideally all action originates.

What are your big rocks? Many people fly through the busyness of life without pausing to identify what is most important to them.  If you are unclear about what your big rocks are, schedule a 30-60 minute free Back on Track phone coaching session with me to discover what they are and how you can make them part of your daily planning.

When you plan your days with your big rocks in focus, you are more likely to live a life of meaning and purpose. Plan your days with your big rocks in mind!

Procrastination: Normal vs. Problematic

Not all procrastination is created equal. We all procrastinate, probably every day. It is very normal to put off doing tasks for a variety of reasons: you don’t feel like doing the task; you’d rather do something else; the task will take longer than the time available; you don’t have enough mental energy for the task; the task is too hard to do on your own; the task is not the most important thing to do at the moment, etc. The list goes on and on.

It is normal to procrastinate. You can’t do everything at once. You must make choices about how to use your time and energy. I might put off taking the garbage out tonight or put off taking suitcases to the attic. If I wait to do those tasks for a day or two, there will only be a minor inconvenience. That is what I call “normal” procrastination.

If those tasks are not accomplished for a week, and other tasks are put off as well, what began as minor visual and perhaps olfactory disturbances could grow into a more serious problem, one that will take much more time and energy to address. What started as normal procrastination then becomes “problematic” procrastination.

Normal procrastination is usually short-term, involves small, less important tasks, and results in few serious consequences. It becomes problematic procrastination when small tasks are postponed more frequently and for longer periods of time or when important tasks (e.g. those that affect finances, job, relationships, health) are put off to the point of crisis. The price for problematic procrastination can be very high — loss of reputation, job difficulties or loss, relationships challenges or divorce, deterioration or loss of residence, financial difficulties (problems with the IRS, bankruptcy, ruined credit), and health deterioration to name a few.

We all procrastinate. Do you procrastinate in a way that has no serious consequences or does it lead to challenges in many areas of your life? If you would describe your procrastination as problematic, your procrastination could be caused by ADHD. ADHD is a mechanical problem in the brain whose symptoms include difficulty with starting tasks (procrastinating), particularly those that are boring and uninteresting.

If you have ADHD or think you have it, treatment for the disorder can help you procrastinate less and get more done. Schedule a FREE 30-60 minute Back on Track phone coaching session today to discuss your procrastination challenges and options for help to procrastinate less and be more productive.

Eliminate Perspectives that Keep You Stuck!

Clutter keeps you stuck. Normally, clearing clutter helps you get clear aboutimagesCAGBLYOU what matters which then leads to positive action. But, if you’ve cleared your clutter and notice that you still feel stuck, it could be that limiting perspectives are the culprit.

What’s a limiting perspective? It’s a way looking at things in your life. For example, you could look at life as a daring adventure and greet each day with enthusiasm and the expectation that no matter what happens it will be a great adventure. Or, you could look at life as a daily grind, where nothing will ever change. With that perspective you are likely to wake with a feeling dread and resignation that each day will be the same old unfulfilling thing.

Which perspective resonates with you? Most of us are unaware of the perspectives we carry in our heads. You move through life with limiting perspectives and don’t even realize that it’s not that you have bad luck or grew up on the wrong side of that tracks or that you didn’t get enough education or land the right job. What’s often keeps you stuck are your thoughts, those limiting beliefs and perspectives that have become habitual. 

Following are some common limiting perspectives:

  • life is hard
  • we all have to struggle to get by
  • I’ll never get my head above water
  • when I get the right job, mate, break, everything will be OK.

With those kinds of beliefs running around in your head, is it any wonder that you are stuck, unable to create a meaningful life in which you experience joy, are connected to your passions, and feel happy and fulfilled?

The challenge of limiting perspectives is that they are so habitual that you aren’t even aware that they are holding you hostage. Without awareness of their existence and power over you, you are unable to let them go and choose perspectives that will move you in a positive direction.

One of the best ways to identify limiting perspectives, strategize how to release them and identify more helpful perspectives is to work with a coach. A coach is trained to listen for limiting perspectives and bring them to light in coaching sessions to be addressed and released. Coaching is a partnership in which you have the opportunity to learn which behaviors, thoughts, beliefs and perspectives do not serve you and keep you stuck, plus strategize ways to take action to let go of those habitual ways of behaving and choose new ways to think and behave.

What limiting perspectives are keeping you stuck? If you are unable to identify what is keeping you stuck, sign up now for a free 30 minute Back on Track phone coaching session with me. Remember, getting unstuck begins with a single step. 

Past Trauma Can Block Current Productivity

You need to do a task. If you do the task, you will reduce your anxiety. You will be able flower-1030408_640to get back on track. Not doing the task is keeping you stuck. You don’t understand why you can’t take action. What is blocking your initiative?

Does this sound familiar? People with ADHD get stuck in this mental spin all the time because they have executive function deficits that manifest as problems with initiating action. But, you can have this type of problem even if you don’t have ADHD.

Past traumas held in our unconscious mind can block productivity. If you had a difficult experience in your past, one that produced a strong emotional reaction like terror, fear, shame, or overwhelm, the unconscious memory of it can still be affecting you today.

My client, “Ellen,” was freaked out about how much money she had spent on renovations on her new home. A call to her banker would have provided her information she needed to accurately assess where she stood financially and be equipped to make good decisions going forward. She knew she needed to call her banker, but just could not make herself pick up the phone.

At first I thought perhaps she was avoiding the call because of fear of finding out that she was in big trouble financially. However, when we explored the issue in coaching, our conversation led us back to her childhood where she had experienced extreme feelings of hopelessness, embarrassment, fear and shame in school whenever she had to deal with numbers.

Her past experience with struggle and failure with math had caused her to avoid proactively dealing with her finances as an adult. Because she felt flawed and inadequate when dealing with numbers as a child, she avoided circumstances and tasks that could cause similar feelings. Her avoidance of the phone call was resistance to exposing herself to an experience that could cause all those uncomfortable feelings to resurface.

Once we uncovered the roots of her resistance, Ellen got off the phone and called the bank. Seeing the block, acknowledging it and its origins removed its emotional hold on her.

If you are stuck and can’t take action, check your past. Is the task you are trying to do similar to something you were unsuccessful at doing earlier in your life? Does it take you back to a difficult time in your life or a time when you felt inadequate, experienced failure, were shamed by others or felt alone and helpless? Identify the time. Acknowledge the source of your block. Replay the experience and remind yourself that you are older now with many more resources and sources of support available to you. Then, take action.

Are You Stuck? How Coaching Can Help

Are you stuck, unable to take a step forward because of fear, frustration, not knowing

Are you stuck and frustrated?

Are you stuck and frustrated?

what to do, not knowing how to do something, because your thoughts are spinning in your head? Coaching can help.

I recently worked with a woman who has ADD. She came to our coaching session feeling frustrated because she had tried very hard to get a number of tasks done that day and kept running into roadblocks. With each road block she became more and more frustrated. The frustration sent her thoughts spinning. She was having great difficulty figuring out her next step.

In our coaching we talked about what happened that day, the challenges, her actions, her attempts to make progress despite roadblocks. As we talked she gradually calmed down. That was no small feat. It can be difficult for the ADD brain to settle down once aroused by uncomfortable feelings. The act of putting her struggle into words that I could understand helped her look at her situation more objectively.

My role was to listen to her story, ask questions to clarify details, and help her identify her priorities. She went from feeling like everything was a priority, another common way that ADD shows up, to identifying two actions to focus on. Together we identified when she would do those tasks and followup actions to take if she ran into more roadblocks.

Two days later I got an email from this woman. She told me that once she took the first step, getting her cell phone working at the Verizon store, she felt better and was off and running. The first task we’d identified as most important was the block to further action. Once she got her phone fixed she wrote, “I did a number of other things on my To Do list and had a great time that night with friends. I went from feeling mentally exhausted to refreshed.” Plus, the next day she was so charged up from her successes the night before that she was motivated to knock off many more difficult steps.

Coaching provides a safe place to process current challenges and design actions with the support of another caring and interested person. When this woman took time out of her day to call me, having a supportive person on the other end of the phone created just the pause she needed to regroup, figure out what was most important and consider options for moving forward. Without our conversation she might have stayed stuck and spent her evening feeling frustrated and mad that she had accomplished  so little despite her efforts. Our coaching conversation made it possible for her to design a new game plan and take action.

Are you stuck? I invite you to schedule a free 30 minute Back on Track sample phone coaching session to explore the possibility of coaching as a resource and support to help you get moving to accomplish YOUR goals.

Pause to Manage Your ADHD

Even hummingbirds pause. So often we see those tiny birds in constant motion. It’s easy

Even hummingbirds pause.

Even hummingbirds pause.

to think that their wings never stop beating. But, they do. I saw it for myself today. I have a branch right outside my kitchen window where hummingbirds come to pause for a few seconds before heading back to work. It always seems like a miracle when I witness that miraculous event!

Pausing is not only essential for rest, but we humans need to pause so we reflect on our actions, desires, and our reality to create new awareness, anchor learning, and regroup. What does this have to do with ADHD? People with ADHD (even the inattentive type) find it difficult to pause. They are either physically moving or their brains are constantly active.

The ADHD brain has two speeds: either full on or stopped. Consequently, people with ADHD can miss the learning and opportunities that are possible with a pause. Failing to recognize the value of pausing, of taking a breath to engage reflective processes can result in acting impulsively without sufficient thought to benefits and/or consequences of actions. The fallout can manifest as mistakes, hurt feelings, wasted time, and worse.

Pausing is hard to do in our fast-paced world, and especially difficult for those who have ADHD. Coaching provides the opportunity to pause. Clients who participate in coaching make a conscious decision to stop and step outside their busy lives. The coaching process is all about clients pausing to create new awareness and learning that can be used to design action that will help them achieve their goals.

Are you running as fast as you can but still not getting where you really want to go? Perhaps it’s time find a coach to make pausing possible. Why not pause right now and schedule a FREE 30 Back on Track phone coaching session to find out more about coaching and consider whether it’s a process that could work to help you achieve your goals.

Clear Clutter to Get Clear About What You Want

“Clear to get clear.” That’s a slogan I’ve used for years. When you clear physical

Can't figure out what to do? Clear clutter!

Can’t figure out what to do? Clear clutter!

clutter you clear environmental distractions to clear thinking. It’s fun to watch this happen when I work with clients. At some point in our session we cross a line. After we have removed items from the space to donate, send to trash, recycle, or relocate new ideas and thoughts start popping. Decisions we couldn’t make at the beginning of the session are suddenly easy to make. With the clutter gone, so too are our minds clear, and creative ideas and clear thinking emerge.

Recently I received a message from a coaching client who had enlisted my help to clear clutter once she realized she had ADHD. We coached together for about four months. During that time I also did several hands-on organizing sessions with her. Her note expressed gratitude because as a result of our coaching and clutter clearing she was able to figure out what she wanted for the next chapter of her life. She wanted to move. With quantities of clutter gone from her space she was able to think more clearly and figure out the fact that her house was too big for her and her husband now that her children are leaving the nest. With that clarity she was motivated to continue to clear clutter to prepare the house for sale.

Not sure what you want? Clear clutter for greater clarity. Make space for your truth, new ideas, and clear thinking.

9 Steps to Success: Keep the Big Goal In Mind

business challenge concept

Are your decisions and actions on target with your big goal?

What is most important to you? What do you really want? What’s the big picture you are trying to achieve with your efforts? It’s so easy to lose sight of the big picture by getting caught up in the minutia of day to day tasks, demands and responsibilities. You can very easily slip into passively reacting to whatever is in front of you instead of deliberately making choices in the direction you really want to go. Many people never pause long enough to figure out what is most important to them.

Over the years I’ve put time and attention into creating awareness of my big goal. So far I’ve come up with this: to live a simple, peaceful, life that feeds my heart with deep connection with others, time in nature, opportunities to express my creativity, opportunities to travel to places I really want to go like Alaska and the British Isles, opportunities to have new, fun adventures, and opportunities to make a difference in the lives of others.

When I get lost in the busyness of day to day living I remind myself of my big goal, what’s most important. When I have choices to make about  work I will do or activities I will participate in, I refer back to my big goal. Will  the work or activity that I’m contemplating feed my heart? Will it add unnecessary stress or will it be an exciting learning adventure? Will I be honoring my big goal by any choice I make? Like self-knowledge, my big goal is my compass, a reference point for decision-making and taking action.

For example, last year Bob and I committed to going to the Albequerque Balloon Fiesta in New Mexico with a good friend. That decision was in alignment with my big goals of pursuing opportunities to travel and having new adventures. The challenge was figuring out how to fund the trip. After considering various options, I decided to offer pet sitting in our home to earn the extra cash. I chose petsitting because I LOVE dogs and the adventure of working with dogs. Being with dogs could feed my heart as well as my pocketbook! It was a good fit with my big goal.

What will you do to determine your big goal? Coaching is a great way to pause, create space and get support to develop awareness about your big goal, that which is most important to you. Remember, it probably won’t magically appear without some deliberate focus and effort. But the quality of your life could depend on it!

9 Elements of Success

Green treeSuccess isn’t a yes/no, right/wrong achievement. It can’t be attained by hard work alone. Many people operating from the “just work harder” school of thought have tried and failed. So, what really is necessary to achieve success in any endeavor you undertake?

My own life journey and my coach training have helped me get conscious about nine distinct elements of success. I share them as the beginning of an on-going conversation I plan to have with you in future blog posts.

  1. Self-knowledge: know your passions, your strengths, your needs and values, the areas where you struggle, what you avoid.
  2. Keep the big goal top of mind: identify what matters most and keep it conscious as you navigate through your days.
  3. Positive focus: look for the good in every experience, even challenging ones. What you focus on you attract more of.
  4. Self-care: good sleep, regular exercise, good hydration, good nutrition create the conditions for the best brain power, the best attitudes.
  5. Good boundaries: learn to say no, avoid taking on too much, giving too much to others to your own detriment.
  6. Continuous learning: look for the lessons. Learn from every situation, especially challenging ones.
  7. Support: get help in areas where you struggle, areas you hate, areas you avoid.
  8. Letting go: do your part and let go. You are responsible for the effort, not the outcome.
  9. Balance: avoid extremes — all work, no play; all play, no work. Avoid black and white thinking and engaging. Go for gray. Find a balance. 

Working with these elements is part of the program I offer coaching clients. They can become the building blocks for consciously living an empowered life of your choosing. Instead of just floating down the river of life at the whim and mercy of events and those around you, consider these elements to be strong trees on the bank of the river. They can help shape your perspectives and guide your thoughts and feelings to personal and professional success.

In upcoming blog posts I will be writing about each of these elements in more detail. Stay tuned!

Coaching Accountability Leads to New Learning: A Chilling Story

One of the great benefits of coaching is the opportunity of accountability. In each session the iStock_000010338713Smallclient and coach strategize actions that the client commits to taking between sessions to help her make progress on achieving her goals. When the client returns for the next session the coach checks in with her about her action item. Whether or not she completed the task, there is always an opportunity for learning. It’s fascinating to see how the learning emerges for clients. Following is a particularly rich example of the type of learning that can happen when clients take action.

Sally (name changed to maintain confidentiality) had committed to “chilling” for 15 minutes every day. She knows how to work hard, but self-care and relaxing are difficult for her. She had been unable to make time for chilling at home, but was determined to do it on a trip to St. Thomas with her daughter and husband.

The first day Sally went to the pool with her family and lay on a lounge chair. She soon realized she had forgotten to bring a book or magazine. She had nothing to do. Sounds heavenly, doesn’t it? Not so for Sally! She felt extremely uncomfortable, like she was going to jump out of her skin. She looked around and noticed others doing nothing. They seemed just fine with relaxing. The contrast between the comfort of others around her and her discomfort made her aware that she really didn’t know how to relax and do nothing. She could see and feel how inexperienced and uncomfortable she is with doing nothing, with just relaxing.

Shortly thereafter she asked a staff member what people do on St. Thomas. The young woman responded, “Relax! Relax! Relax! Relax! Relax!” Given Sally’s memory of her difficulty relaxing at the pool, she took the young woman’s response as an indicator that she what had made her so uncomfortable at the pool, relaxing, was exactly what she was meant to do on this trip.

A day or two later Sally and her husband had some time to kill before a scheduled event. It was an excellent opportunity to practice chilling. They went to the lobby and hung out for four hours! When I asked Sally how she had managed that she told me that she had taken that staff member’s message to heart. Somehow it opened her up to have a different experience when there was nothing to do. Instead of twitching, she enjoyed watching people, nestling down in a comfy sofa, allowing her mind to wander and chatting with her husband. Her drive for doing was replaced by allowing rest, relaxation and just being with her loved ones in a lovely place. 

Sally’s commitment to chill led her to new awareness of how difficult it is for her to unplug and relax and to having a new, positive experience that motivated her to seek more such experiences. In our next coaching session Sally was more determined than ever to bring chilling into her time at home.

What new behavior would give you the opportunity to learn about yourself and open up the possibility for real change? Would having accountability offered in coaching make it more likely that you would take action and have a new experience? If you’re curious about this possibility, email me for a free 30 minute conversation about the opportunities of coaching for you.

Reduce Access to Technology for Better Sleep

sleeping womanPeople with ADHD have great difficulty shutting down their brains at night. Going to sleep can be a real challenge for their busy brains. Given that reality, I was taken aback when a coaching client who has ADHD told me she’d gone to bed at 9:30 a.m. the night before. And, consequently she woke the next day much more rested and ready to face the new day. Her habit had been to stay on the computer until late in the night so she could enjoy time to herself, thereby reducing her sleep time. As we do in coaching I asked what made that possible.

She told me she was listening to what her body needed. She also told me that she’d chosen not to go on the computer as was her habit, and that she’d turned the TV off because she didn’t want to stimulate her brain. It was as if she was speaking a foreign language. Just two weeks before she wasn’t talking with such self-awareness when we discussed her sleep habits. What had made the difference?

With more exploration I learned that she’d read this post online: “The Case Against Busy and the Art of Sitting Still” (http://www.fastcompany.com/3029388/work-smart/the-case-against-busy-and-the-art-of-sitting-still?partner=rss) by Jane Porter. The message in this article resonated with her so much that she consciously changed her nighttime routine.

The message of this article is so compelling that I wanted to share it with you. The author makes a case for the benefits of stillness and unplugging from technology. She advocates stepping out of  the “busy” norm to be able to access parts of yourself that go neglected when locked into the tyranny of busyness, much of which is generated by too much incoming through technology.

With awareness of what connectivity is costing you and understanding that participating in it is a choice, perhaps you too can unplug, reduce mental stimulation and get more and better sleep!

ADHD Speech, A Calling Revealed

This past Saturday I stood before a group of about 17 people to give the seminar “ADHD: imagesCA7LLPVQChallenges & Solutions.” Most Saturdays I’d rather be home having time to myself to recover from the week, but this time I was vibrating with excitement. I was finally going to speak in front of people about a subject that is near and dear to my heart!

What’s the big deal? I’ve given many speeches, and I make a point to only speak about things about which I feel some passion. This speech was special. I’d been preparing to do it for over 15 years.

There was a time early in my career as a professional organizer where I would have told you that I’d never give a speech about ADHD. Yes, I worked mostly with people who were challenged by that brain-based condition, so I had experience with the nature of the beast. But to make sense of what I’d been dealing with in my work clutter clearing, organizing and helping clients with time and stuff management issues to be able to put it into words? No way! I, like the very clients I’d been serving, was overwhelmed at the prospect of explaining what I was observing and experiencing in homes full of clutter and lives full of turmoil and stress.

Fast forward ten years, add many more hours of experience working with ADHD clients in their homes and work spaces, add time spent one on one with a husband who has ADHD — finding ways to make our marriage work given his ADHD symptoms and my high need for order and task completion, add coach training by two trainers who both have ADHD in a coaching program with a strong emphasis on coaching people with ADHD, and experience coaching many people with ADHD, and there I was standing in front of that group ready, no, thrilled to share what I’d learned!

What was the thrill? I finally felt equipped to share information that I knew could make a real difference for a population of people I have come to know, love and appreciate, a misunderstood population of outstanding individuals who have amazing gifts to share if they could manage their ADHD symptoms.

I was also finally crystal clear about my true calling (a calling I’d tried hard to avoid): to partner with people who have ADHD so they can emerge from personal and professional lives of challenge, strife, disorganization, crisis and chaos into lives where they thrive, working with their strengths and gifts to manage their ADHD symptoms, and live lives that bring them, those that love them, and those around them real joy.

There is no greater joy than being being clear about your true calling and in the place to meet it! What is your calling? What must you do that makes your heart sing, lifts your spirits, and gives you a reason to open your eyes in the morning?

If, like many people, you aren’t clear about your life path, email me to set up a 30 minute call to explore the option of coaching to clear the clutter of your mind and develop awareness of your right path.

Take the first step to discovering your calling today!

A New Definition of Competent

imagesCAZS6KYU

What’s possible when you change your definition of competent?

I made a New Year’s commitment to have a different kind of year this year. I wanted more rest, play, and lighthearted times. I have a long history of over-functioning and pushing myself beyond my physical limits. Not only was I running on empty. I was running on fumes trying to run my business, finish Organizer Coach certification, coordinate care for my mother who has Alzheimer’s and is in assisted living, oversee my disabled brother’s care in Connecticut, maintain a good marriage, and manage our household. I knew if I didn’t make some real changes I would eventually pay a hefty price with my health. 

When I began making changes, like avoiding my computer until after I had walked my dogs and had quiet time with a cup of coffee and reading from books that feed my heart, soul and brain, I felt wonderful. And, I also felt uncomfortable. Fortunately I’m working with Diane Thomson, a great coach, so I had the support I needed to work through my discomfort. Following is what I wrote her as I was trying to make sense of my experience of slowing down.

“After our session I did some thinking about my blahs today. It occurred to me that perhaps part of the blah feeling is because I’m not running on adrenalin constantly. I’m not getting high from urgency every day. What I’m feeling might really feel OK to a ‘normal’ person who is not a compulsive doer. This feeling of going slower and more deliberately, instead of at warp speed to get as much done as possible, trying to jam way too much into the time available, feels unfamiliar. I think I may be equating unfamiliar with wrong, problematic, and bad.

I also thought that it would be a good idea to re-write MY definition of competent. My old unconscious definition was something like ‘be reliable and do high quality work for as much time as possible during a day or until you drop dead or get sick.’ Yes, I had been living by that unconscious recipe for disaster for many decades. 

The notion of self-care was completely missing from my original definition of competent. But, with current awareness, facilitated by coaching, I realize I’m not being competent when I get tons done at the expense of my health, rest, relaxation, and quality relationships. Competent can be doing high quality work in amounts of time that still allow me to stop, breathe, rest, enjoy life, have fun and build/maintain quality relationships.”

With my new definition of competent I’m moving into each day deliberately making space for me and my needs. I am getting more rest, having more fun, stopping before I’m exhausted, enjoying a deeper connection with my husband, and still being productive. In fact, these days when I work I am able to focus more quickly and easily, and I get a lot done in less time. Who knew that taking care of myself could improve my efficiency!

Yes, I still feel twinges of discomfort because I’m not driving myself as I once would have. I notice those feelings and remind myself that change is hard, but that my choice is right. I believe getting off the fast track and onto the right track, a track that is respectful of me and my needs, is the only way to be able to make the biggest difference in this lifetime and drink in all the blessings and gifts this life has to offer.  

What is your definition of competent?

Inattentive ADD & Workaholism: Two Ends of the Productivity Spectrum

Some people struggle to get started, particularly on tasks that are challenging, unpleasant or boring. Others can start with relative ease, but have difficulty finding their off switch. The first type of person struggles to get things done, to be reliable, to be consistently productive and follow through consistently. The second type gets lots of things done, but struggles with exhaustion and burnout as well as the personal fall out from being so absorbed in work that other areas of their life, particularly relationships, are neglected.

Are you ready to step out of the stress?

Are you ready to step out of the stress?

The first description is of a person who has inattentive ADD (attention deficit disorder), a neurobiological disorder. The second describes a compulsive doer, a workaholic. The person with ADD is likely to have more conflict outside of herself in relationships for not following through, finishing tasks and being reliable as well as an internal struggle with shame and low self-esteem. The compulsive doer seems to have her act together because she is productive, but she is not free from struggle. Though her relationships can be stressed by her unavailability, her biggest struggle is internal. Workaholics are often driven by fear that they might not measure up and an unconscious need to do enough to be OK. They manage their fear of inadequacy by continuing to push themselves mercilessly. No matter how much they accomplish, they have never done enough to feel safe from the critical voice in their own head.

These two types of people are at opposite ends of the continuum of productivity. One struggles to be productive. The other is incredibly productive, but is unable to acknowledge and enjoy their accomplishments. Unfortunately it’s common for both types of people to continue struggling because they are not aware that there are other options to dodging bullets, racing for deadlines and working to the point of exhaustion. 

Coaching is a process that focuses on developing self-knowledge and self-awareness to make it possible to accomplish goals. In coaching the person with ADD has the opportunity to develop awareness of how her ADD sabotages her efforts to be productive and design and practice strategies for managing her ADD. The workaholic in coaching has the opportunity to pause, connect with herself and discover what keeps her on the treadmill to exhaustion. With greater clarity about what drives her to the point of exhaustion and even illness, strategies for shifting to a lower gear, and the support of her coach, the workaholic has the opportunity to shift her perception of herself and make space for more than work in her life.

Opposites aren’t always opposite. The person with ADD and the workaholic both struggle to feel competent and productive enough. Their lives are lived in stress mode. Coaching is an option that can help them identify and manage their internal and external struggles and create new ways of being that can result in long-lasting personal empowerment.

If you recognize yourself in either description, consider investing in coaching to make possible living a life with less stress, more pleasure and more peace.

Crises: Opportunities to Get Clarity About Your Values

DSCN0244“Big rocks” are those areas of your life that are most important. My big rocks include my family (including furry family members), my marriage, my health and personal growth, my friends, and my business. I spend most of my time and energy on my “big rocks.” Sometimes I must choose which rock is most important. When that happens, I view it as a self-knowledge learning opportunity.

This past Monday I was scheduled to work with two coaching clients. However, when I had lunch with my mother at her assisted living facility, it was very apparent that the tumble she’d taken out of her bed the day before had left her in significant hip pain. I had been told that an x-ray of her hip was scheduled for that afternoon. So, I returned her to her room after lunch and set off to call the first client.

Before making that call I checked with the doctor’s office to verify that it would in fact happen that day. I didn’t want Mom hurting for long. And, I was concerned that she might actually have fractured her hip. I was given the phone number of the imaging company that would do the x-ray, and  was told they’d never received the order, from either the assisted living facility or from the doctor’s office. There I was, due to call a client in ten minutes and in the middle of an administrative debacle regarding my mother’s care.

I was at a choice point between two of my “big rocks”: my family and my work (means of fiscal survival). Plus I was mad as hell! What to do? The super-responsible worker part of me was on auto-pilot, proceeding with the work, planning to make that call. That part of me wanted to be the reliable, conscientious coach, a person of high integrity. But, when I factored in my emotional state (mad as hell!), I quickly came to the conclusion that I was not in a good place emotionally, and my ability to be the attentive source of support my client needed and deserved had been compromised both by my feelings of anger and my concern for my mother.

Looking back, I realize that what had emerged in that crisis was awareness of my strong value of working with integrity and my equally strong value of family. Awareness of those values and the weight of those values helped inform my decision to cancel my coaching client and return to help my mother get the care she needed. And, I also learned that family trumps work anytime!

What values are guiding your decisions? Times of crisis, difficult as they are, can in hindsight be great opportunities for awareness of your most important values. Knowing  your values arms you to make good decisions.

**If you are curious about learning more about your values, I would be happy to send you a copy of a “Values & Needs Exercise” I received in coach training with Coach Approach. Email me to request that exercise at debbie@debbiebowie.com.

Whose Values Are Affecting Your Actions?

Homeownership -- A Value or Not!

A client asked me to coach her so she could get more clarity about whether or not to move from her home into a condo or an apartment. Within the first session it was apparent that she had never loved owning a home, that she had many mixed feelings about the responsibilities of home ownership, and that she’d once been very happy when she’d lived in an apartment. As the coaching progressed she gained greater awareness of the reasons for her mixed feelings about home ownership. Still, she sat on the fence.

I expressed curiosity about her fence sitting, despite real evidence that she’d not been a happy homeowner and she had had a positive experience with apartment living. She told me that one reason she was still undecided was that she feared that she was overlooking something important about homeownership. Fear was a factor keeping her in your home.

My client had lived in her house for over 20 years, long enough to discover the real value of home ownership. I asked her where that concern was coming from. She told me that many of her friends were urging her to stay in her home, and were cautioning her against selling her home and moving to an apartment. One friend was particularly adamant about the value of owning a home.

Apparently my client was surrounded by friends who placed a high value on homeownership. Their perspective was that owning a home was preferable to apartment or condo living. Because a number of those friends were saying the same thing, they were people she loved and whose opinions she trusted and respected, and they often shared similar values and viewpoints, she began to question her own perception of homeownership.

After some discussion my client agreed that she’d really had ample time to discover the hidden joys of homeownership. It was clear to her that unlike her friends, homeownership is not high on her list of values. She even admitted that she’s not a “traditional” homeowner. Her perspective on home ownership, unlike the positive perspective of her friends, was that owning a home was a lot of work and cost a lot of money. She had been stuck sitting in indecision because she questioned her own values and perspective about homeownership in the face of strong opposition by her friends.

It’s easy to be swayed by the opinions of others if you aren’t clear about your values. Are you living according to your values? Are you even aware of what they are? Many people are not. And, sadly many people are living out the values of important others, wondering why they aren’t very happy. Coaching is a great option to get clear about your values and needs, to discover what floats YOUR boat, and to put your and what really matters to you into perspective. Get a coach and get on with YOUR life.

Lack of Awareness Affects Productivity, Creates Stuckness

One reason we get stuck and fail to make positive progress toward our goals is because it’s so easy to get off track and be totally unconscious of the fact that we jumped the rails. For example, I recently was working effectively and efficiently in my office when I encountered a computer problem. Because I hate to have anything not working properly, I began trying to solve the problem. You know how that goes. It’s like going down a rabbit hole–many twists and turns, much time wasted, and still no resolution.

At some point along the way it hit me that I was wasting valuable time and not making progress on tasks I wanted to get done that day. When I weighed my options I realized solving that problem at that moment was a choice, not an imperative. With that hit of awareness I was able to change course and get back to work. Had I remained unconscious about the time I was wasting, as many people do, especially people with ADD/ADHD, I could have lost the opportunity to get an enormous amount of important work done.

If you are prone to such side trips, getting caught up in things that are not top priority, becoming aware of when you are off track and aware of the ways you can be lured off track is imperative if you want to be productive. I got back on track because I have a good time sense and a strong drive to accomplish my goals. My sense that time was slipping away as I worked to fix the computer problem got my attention and made it possible for me to pause long enough to become aware of the choice I had regarding the focus of my efforts.

Another way to create the opportunity for awareness is to set an alarm on your phone to go off every 20 to 30 minutes. When the alarm sounds, consider it a cue to pause and notice whether or not you are doing priority work. If you’re off track you can then shift back to work that will make it possible for you to reach your goals.

A lack of awareness that you are drifting away from priority work leads to being stalled in your efforts to move forward and eventually to being stuck. You choose. Stalled and stuck or aware and moving toward your goals!

A great way to develop awareness of priorities, of what derails your efforts to be productive, and ways to keep yourself on track and moving forward is to work in partnership with a coach. Developing awareness is the first step in the coaching process and is the first step to better time management.

To learn more about coaching, email me to schedule a 30 minute free consultation to explore the possibility of coaching as a way to get unstuck and improve time management and productivity.

Are You Stuck?

Being stuck can show up in many ways. Following are some common stuck scenarios I’ve encountered in my 15+ years working

Being stuck is a lonely place.

as a professional organizer:

  • You’re working a job that pays the bills and pays for health insurance, but that you now find boring and unfulfilling. You want something more, but you’re afraid to leave the security of the paycheck, the familiar for the unknown.
  • You are unemployed and must find a job to survive, but instead of using your time on job search activities, you spend hours distracted by the lure of the interesting information on the internet and working on your computer.
  • You want to downsize and move to a smaller, more economical home, but can’t consider a move because your house is so cluttered and run down. You know what you need to do, but every time you schedule time for clutter clearing you get overwhelmed within minutes and quit.

When you’re stuck, you are wanting or needing something, but you’re unable to take action to get it. Being stuck is often accompanied by feelings of unease, anxiety, overwhelm and often depression. You can’t see any way to move forward. And, it can be an incredibly lonely place to be.

One option for getting unstuck is to partner with a trained coach. Coaching is a learning/action process for helping people take action to meet their goals. When people are stuck they have difficulty identifying their blocks to taking action. Their thinking can keep them paralyzed and unable to plan the steps out of their stuck spot. Addressing what seem to be insurmountable challenges with a caring, knowledgeable partner can transform an overwhelming challenge into a shared adventure of learning, awareness and action.

Are you stuck? Are you curious about whether coaching could help, but don’t really get what it’s all about? Consider doing a complimentary 30 minute Back on Track phone coaching with me. Schedule your sample session now!

Internal Clutter: Awareness Before Clearing

Change Internal Clutter!

Internal clutter. We all have it. It shows up as negative self-talk, limiting beliefs, faulty thinking and limiting perspectives. Most of us are unconscious about the variety of clutter that runs the show in our brains.

You’re probably noticing that I’m including myself when I talk about mental clutter. The first therapist I worked with told me that I had a black cloud over my head. She was referring to the array of negative beliefs about life and what I could expect from it that I had laid out before her.

Upon reflection I was able to identify that I had inherited many of those beliefs from my father who has always been a glass half empty kind of guy. I remember him referring to “the malevolent universe” when talking about the state of our world. Little did I know that being exposed to that type of perspective and other pessimistic beliefs colored my view of our world as a scary, dark, unpredictable place. When my therapist shared her observation with me, she made me aware that toxic internal clutter was blocking me from being able to trust and experience feelings of joy. She opened a door for healing and developing a new perspective.

When I can’t seem to get traction in my life, when I get caught up in self-doubt, self-criticism and feeling uncertain and shaky about aspects of my life, I remind myself that I need to check in with the voices in my head. I examine my thoughts, the beliefs that are surfacing, my current perspectives regarding my purpose, my performance, and my journey. Invariably I discover that I’ve slipped into old ways of thinking. Bringing those monsters into awareness is essential before I can change them and make my way back to being fully connected with my best self.

If you find yourself struggling, check for mental clutter. What messages are playing in your head? How are you viewing your reality? Like attracts like. Negative beliefs, self-talk and perspectives attract more of the same.

Bring that clutter to light. Notice it. Don’t judge it. Internal clutter is a choice. But, you must first notice it and its effect on your feelings, behavior and view of your life and the world. Bring mental clutter to light and you’ll be on your way to a better life. Awareness first. You cannot expel energies you haven’t identified. It may not be pleasant process. But, it’s a step in the direction of positive change.