It’s Not Me. It’s You!

There are a lot of awesome life coaches out there. They can help you achieve awesome results. This industry has produced life coaches who have very high success rates with their clients, and there are plenty of them. There are also some life coaches who’s practice depends on long term coaching engagements. They constantly give their clients advice, instead of helping their clients get clarity on and take responsibility for their goals. Some of them are blinded into thinking of their clients as monthly income, therefore hurting their clients by trying to make themselves too valuable to leave.

When you enter into a life coaching relationship, be on the lookout for a life coach who constantly gives you specific advice. They may tell you exactly how to approach things. A good life coach will often share their experiences with you, but are very intentional about ensuring that you can build future successes well after the coaching relationship has ended. I know it sounds cliche, but everyone has the potential to do so much more than they believe they can. The majority of my job as a life coach is listening, providing accountability, and much of the rest of it is asking appropriate context specific questions. Asking these questions allows you to think through and clarify a solution that will best fit your situation. A first hand view of the situation and a well thought out solution is the best way forward. The job of a life coach is to help you get clarity on and think through the possibilities of your situation.

At the end of a life coaching engagement, you should feel much more prepared to tackle future goals independent from your coach. A good life coach will provide you re-usable tools in the form of worksheets and exercises to help you move forward on your own. You may choose to enlist the help of your life coach for a future larger goal, but if you ever feel dependent on your life coach on a long term basis, that is a sign something needs to change.

You should expect your life coach’s help to make you feel more confident in your ability to take on your goals. In the end It’s you who has to take responsibility for their achievement, and it is you who get’s the credit for their accomplishment.

It’s not me. It’s you.


Common Challenges

I recently posted the first couple of videos in a series called Common Challenges on my YouTube channel. Each of these ideas are foundational for creating positive change in your life. These videos begin my rookie season as a video content creator. If you are interested in a free thirty minute life coaching consult drop me a note here.

This Realization Change My Life

This post is dedicated to everyone who lives with ADD/ADHD or loves someone with ADD/ADHD.

In our minds we have three states of time. Past, present, and future. We can only do anything in one of them. It is only the present moment in which we can physically act. Before you read on take a moment and let that sink in. The only time you can act is in this present moment. You can’t take action in the past, and you can’t take literal action in the future. It is only right now that you can do anything. If you didn’t stop and think that through please do so now. It is the foundation for what follows.

Our thoughts are constantly either recreating events of the past, or trying to paint the future. Unless you are under immediate physical attack the only emotional pain you suffer are those memories of the past or thoughts of the future. Your thoughts about the future and the past dictate what you do in the present moment. That statement was not meant to de-legitimize anyone’s pain or emotional state. Therapists and Life Coaches spend much of their time with clients, listening closely to their thoughts about what is going on in their lives or how they might achieve their goals. Their potential to help their client begins when they detect unhealthy thought patterns, or those thoughts that don’t align with the client’s goals.

For the sake of improving your life, what if you were to begin to live your life more fully in the present moment? Do what I am about the suggest the next available time after reading this post, or right now if you are in a quiet place and won’t get interrupted. Wherever you are sit quietly, close your eyes if you want, and pay attention to the subtle noises in the background. You can also focus on your breathing instead, or notice the subtle feelings in your body. Notice the feeling of your body against the furniture. When a thought comes to mind, don’t judge it or react to it just notice it. Then take your focus back to the sounds in your environment, your breath, or the subtle feelings in your body. Do this for at least five minutes and no more the twenty minutes.

When I was first starting with Mindfulness I did this for twenty minutes a couple of times per day. Over a period of a month or so I started to notice that I was calmer overall. I also started to notice that I could better control my impulsivity. I remember the first time I noticed this. Someone had said something that would have normally triggered me to respond and start an argument. I was able to let the comment pass, without incident. If you have ADD, you know how that incident would have likely ended, if I hadn’t created that space that allowed me not to react to the comment. I also noticed something else. I didn’t feel any ill will towards the person who made the comment. It was as they say like water of a ducks back.

If you honestly participated in that exercise, and had a positive experience I want to issue a “temporary” warning. I once heard a popular success guru tell an audience about his meditation practice, and then right after he warned them that if all you ever do is bliss out on meditation, they will eventually come and take your furniture. I call this a temporary warning because Mindfulness is not just about meditating. Once you are able to stop the racing thoughts in your mind you will realize that being mindful can be done throughout the normal course of life.

Here are a few ways you can practice Mindfulness throughout your day. Let’s say you want to get into the habit of making your bed every morning. Tomorrow morning you can get up, and Mindfully make your bed. Take a deep breath and deliberately make your bed, noticing the feel of the fabric in the pillows, or how the wrinkles flatten out when stretching the sheet. Overall just pay attention to the process. Another way I practice Mindfulness is when I am writing an email or message to someone. I will notice myself deliberately touching each key. Whatever you do throughout your day for work or home just pick a few things to do deliberately noticing the details.

The real goal of Mindfulness is to quiet all those thoughts that normally keep you out of a state of being attentive. Have you ever wondered why no matter how hard you try, you just haven’t been able to change certain behaviors. It is likely because you never noticed the thoughts that were causing them. When you learn to observe your thoughts without passing judgement, you will become conscious of them. When you are conscious of your thoughts, it shines a light on them that makes their impact diminish. The bible tells us to “guard the door of our minds.” The only way you can guard against the thoughts is to become aware of them, let them be and they will dissipate. If you have questions or comments drop me a note here or comment below.

Awake Life Transformation Community

Sometime ago my wife and I went to a comedy show.  I apparently misread the start time on the tickets.  We arrived at the arena around six, but the doors didn’t open until seven. We waited around as others started to arrive. I felt a deep sense of satisfaction. We were just watching the people arrive, and looking out into the city.  I remember thinking how I never felt this way before I discovered the things that inspired me to start this community.  Just a few years before I would have reacted to that situation very differently.  I would have been frustrated with myself for misreading the ticket.  I would have been impatient waiting for the doors to open at seven. I would have probably been bickering with my wife over the whole situation.  I would have been answering work emails and returning phone calls.   I want to share a few of the foundational ideas that helped me to move from depression and frustration to a  mostly positive and peaceful life.   I want to be clear up front that for most people this isn’t something that happens overnight.  It is a process that requires some work. I also want to be clear that nothing here should be construed as a replacement for doctor visits, therapy or medication.  Here are a few of the main ideas that were the start of my ADHD Awake Life Transformation. 

You are not your thoughts or how you feel

We all have an almost constant stream of thoughts that come into our minds all day long.  We assume that we willingly created these thoughts, but if we pay attention we see that they just rise naturally.  Most of these thoughts are on autopilot.  They are generated as a reaction to our environment.  Many of those thoughts come from programs that were formed in our minds before the age of ten.  The research is clear on this. You can learn to step outside those thoughts, and create some space to evaluate and question them.  The purpose of the work associated with this principle is to create space between incident, and response.  This community will help you do this by teaching you ways to create that space.  It will also give you tools to sort through common thoughts and see the truth that those negative thoughts aren’t you. They are just thoughts that you can evaluate and decide to keep or resolve.  Probably the most important aspect of success in this area is the support of other people in the community that share many aspects of  your journey.

Perception is not reality

Once you have the tools to create the space between incident and response, you will begin to see that the way you perceive the world isn’t actually the way the world is.  To some extent we all believe we see the world as it is.  We believe that our view of reality is true and accurate.  Sometimes we even project our thoughts on others by telling them or someone else what that person should do.  The late Dr. Stephen Covey tells the story in “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” of getting on a train.  There was a man with two children.  The children were creating quite a disturbance on the train.  Dr. Covey had become irritated, and decided to confront the man about his children’s behavior.  The man responded that Dr. Covey was right, but that they had just come from the hospital where his wife, and the boy’s mother had just passed away.  In an instant Dr. Covey’s whole outlook on the situation had changed.  The point of this story is that Dr. Covey had perceived something very different from reality.  This is an extreme case, but working to discover reality instead of instantly creating it in your mind can reveal moments that will propel your journey forward exponentially.  

The friction of urgency

I remember an urgent request that came through at work several years ago.  The CEO of our company needed something, and he needed it quickly.  My faster than normal ADHD brain jumped into action and I started assembling the work at a breakneck pace.  I finished the work and pushed it up to my boss who was eagerly anticipating it’s arrival.  I was proud that I had completed the work.  My boss took one look at it and pointed out that I had missed an important part of the work.  I was devastated, and calling myself all sorts of names.  Now the pressure was really on. I went through two more iterations of this, and missed the deadline by an hour.  I was worn our and still calling myself names.  Since this incident I have learned that if I had just acknowledged the sense of urgency, but treated the project as an important project instead of an urgent fire drill, that I would have produced better work in the same amount of time.  I have proved this theory at least a hundred times since this incident.  I want to break this section out into two paragraphs, because this next piece is really important. 

Past, Present, and Future

We can only act in the present.  We can’t physically do anything in the past, and we can’t literally perform work in the future.  I always ask the person I am communicating this with to actually think this through on the as they are confronted with the topic.  This is important to think about.  The only time we can do anything is now.  This is important because our mind is always painting pictures of the past, and future.  When you are in these urgent situations your mind can be put into the future consequences, and take your mind off the task at hand. For those of us with ADHD this is common, therefore that pressure doesn’t work as well as it would for some neuro-typical persons. In this situation you can realize that the urgency in this situation is not yours, and that now and the task at hand is the only thing you have to work with. You can choose whether to bow to the pressure, because the urgency isn’t directly yours. It is also important to note that Depression is a result of dwelling on the past, and anxiety is a result of dwelling on the future. The pressure created by this type of situation is all about future consequences, which are best controlled now. This past, present, and future topic was also broken out, because this one has the potential to be a game changer in your journey.

Don’t do this alone

Did you know that if you have two horses pulling a wagon instead of one, that each horse can pull three times the weight than it could have alone.  It is the same principle at work when you collaborate with others on a journey like this one.  Before I started this transformation I tried to do everything alone.  For the first forty five years of my life I made some progress, but over the last three years I have made more progress than I have in the first forty.    

In Summary

These are just a few of the principles that have helped me and can help you to begin a transformation.  I want to finish up by saying that no one has their life completely together.  Whether you feel like you are starting at ground zero or you have thrived with ADHD, your journey is just beginning.  If you are ready to begin your own journey, and would like to secure your place in the community before launch, feel free to reach out. I look forward to hearing from you.