The ADHD Collective offers coaching in life, home, and career, by implementing creative systems specifically designed for adults, adolescents, and children with ADHD. We created ADHD blog to highlight the ADHD experience and offer strategies to help overcome some of the frustrating obstacles for those with ADHD.
We ask a ton of questions and then follow-up questions, and then we listen. We want to know what your world looks like in detail.
2. Helping you identify and set your goals
When you’re not intentional about where you’re going, you end up in places you never intended to be.
Identifying what you want to achieve is important for giving you direction. Setting a goal is like putting your destination in a GPS.
Sometimes, you know exactly what you want to achieve, and that’s great. However, sometimes you don’t know what you want.
Part of the job of an ADHD coach is to ask targeted questions, to draw out and uncover your goals and desires. In this way, ADHD coaching involves self-discovery. Much of the ADHD coaching process is about taking what’s inside, and externalizing it.
Whether it’s on paper, a whiteboard, or Evernote, this process of externalization can be a powerful tool for seeing things differently and for discovering patterns not recognized before.
3. Creating an action plan
It’s not enough to know what you want, you have to make a plan for getting there.
It’s important to make your goals and action plan clear and measurable, so it can be realistically tracked over time.
Achieving a goal is often the result of completing a variety of smaller tasks. An ADHD coach helps you break down your goal up into smaller manageable tasks, to make sure that you always know the next step to take.
Together we plan out your week, and incorporate the action steps for storming your goal(s) and creating momentum.
4. Creating a strategy that anticipates obstacles
Anytime you attempt to make a change in life you will inevitably encounter resistance. This is normal and to be expected.
Planning for obstacles and having a strategy for when they occur is helpful. Otherwise they can catch you off-guard and shut you down.
Incorporating obstacles and challenges into the ADHD coaching process helps diffuse their sting and power. It’s when they aren’t planned for, that they can hit hard, deflating self-esteem and momentum.
5. Checking in with you throughout the week
Accountability and support play a big role in why coaching can work so well for those with ADHD.
Having another person who is genuinely rooting for you, who is invested in your growth, and who is waiting to hear about how you are doing, is really important.
Sometimes the thing you wanted to get done, doesn’t get done. Or sometimes an off day gets you down.
These things happen. It’s important to schedule check-in times throughout the week. To see how you’re feeling and talk about it.
Sometimes your plan needs a simple change, so you keep your momentum going. Maybe it’s a quick phone call, or a text message. Checking-in with you throughout the week is an important tool for ADHD coaching.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Us
Whether you’re looking for ADHD coaching online or in-person, the first step is having a 15-minute conversation with us.
A good fit is important to us, and we want you to feel confident that ADHD Collective is right for you. We’re friendly. And it’s free.
Call 323-325-1525, or fill out the form below.
Contact Us Below For ADHD Coaching Online or In-Person:[contact-form-7]
If you want to achieve your dreams, one thing you can expect along the way is: your hidden fears will spring up like weeds.
There are two things to keep in mind when this happens. The first comes from Judy Blume and it’s this:
“How we handle our fears will determine where we go with the rest of our lives.”
The second comes from Jack Canfield, who once said:
“Everything you want is on the other side of fear.”
These are true for you, and for me, and for everyone. If you’re stuck on this side of your dreams or life goals, the answer is simple, but hard.
You have to pull out your fears, take a good look at them, and then you have to go through them.
What Is It We’re Afraid Of?
In moments when fear gets the best of you, what is it exactly that you’re avoiding?
What you’re avoiding is feeling unpleasant.
You’re not alone. You do this, I do this, everyone does this to varying degrees.
In a recent Medium post, author and coach, Benjamin Hardy, makes a list of the most common unpleasant feelings we relentlessly avoid, and in doing so, keep us from living the kind of life we dream about. Here are a few:
Hardy goes on to point out the ironic catch-22:
“These are the feelings that accompany a life of success. And yet, these are the very feelings you relentlessly avoid!”
To bypass this circle of disappointment, here’s what you do:
Feel the fear and do it anyway.
When you’re stuck inside your fear, your disappointment, your anxiety, there is no getting around them.
You have to go through them.
The Choice We Have About Pain
Self-made man, and entrepreneur Jim Rohn, once put it this way:
“We must all suffer one of two things: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret or disappointment.”
This is a hard truth.
But it’s too important to ignore.
A good illustration of why comes from Bronnie Ware. She was a palliative nurse living in Australia and her job was to care for patients in the last 12 weeks of their lives.
She began asking them questions about their lives and writing about it. One of things she asked was if they had any regrets about their life or if they would do anything differently.
A common theme began to surface repeatedly concerning regret, and here’s what it was:
“I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”
“This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.”
It’s painful when we go after our dream, or worthy achievement, only to smack into obstacles and experience resistance from all sides.
We flounder and we fall and we fail, and it hurts bad.
But consider you’re at the end of your life and you hadn’t done the thing you felt you were here to do.
Imagine you’d given up because there was some pushback, or it got too difficult, or maybe you thought it was impossible.
At the end of your life, how would you feel?
The pain of regret.
Regret with enough force to crush a small elephant, or your human heart.
Looking stupid? That’s not so bad.
Being wrong? That’s not so bad.
Awkardness? That’s not so bad.
Ignorance? Not so bad.
Realizing you hadn’t done the thing you felt you were here on earth to do, just before death comes?
That’s the real pain to avoid. That’s the real thing to be afraid of.
You only get this one life.
Getting Out Of Your Comfort Zone
Accepting that you will encounter obstacles and resistance along the path to realizing your life goals allows you to reset your expectations, and even better, allows you to plan for them.
When you encounter obstacles and resistance you have to do things you haven’t done before, and you begin to stretch and grow in ways you wouldn’t have otherwise.
You become stronger and more capable as a result. Soon, the things that used to hang you up, no longer do. This is the point–and very essence of empowerment.
One ways to get stronger, faster, is to do something uncomfortable everyday. You can start with small things like a difficult conversation, uncomfortable business phonecalls, or take a cold shower
Not only will it wake you up for the day, but research has shown that cold water immersion actually boosts your happiness levels because it triggers tons of mood-boosting neurotransmitters.
The point here is, practicing discomfort daily builds up your tolerance muscle, so when those obstacles come, they don’t take you out. By taking ownership, encountering unpleasant things is less scary, and also takes some of the sting out of it.
If you’re stuck inside your fear, Robert Frost’s timeless advice points the way:
“The only way out is through.”
Go through your fear.
Start doing the thing you’re here to do.
Stop avoiding unpleasant things.
Embrace difficulty and grow.
You have something to do and it’s important that you start doing it.
There are people you will meet, once you do, and you will help them.
They’re waiting for you.
Research has shown that as we learn new things, our brains create new connections. It’s called neuroplasticity, and it means we have the ability to change our brains.
In addition, through a process called neurogenesis, we can create new brain cells all the way up to the time we die.
Your brain’s ability is not a fixed thing. It can flex, stretch, adapt, and grow.
Want to improve your brain?
The dude to know is Jim Kwik.
Jim Kwik is a mental coach. He helps people hack the learning process. When you want your brain to perform at higher levels, you call would call him.
Jim travels and speaks about brain performance all around the country. He does crazy stuff at his seminars.
He’ll memorize the names of 100 different people in the audience. Or sometimes he’ll memorize 100 different digits, have someone stand behind him onstage and write the digits on a blackboard as people from the audience shout them out.
Then he will recite them. Backwards and frontwards.
Well, if you knew Jim’s backstory, it’s unlikely you’d guess he’d be the guy doing these extraordinary brainy things, let alone an expert on brain matters.
YOU can improve your brain
When Jim was five years old he took a really bad fall, head-first into a radiator.
He was knocked unconscious and bleeding everywhere. He had to be taken to the hospital. He had to get stitched up.
After his accident, he started having challenges. He couldn’t understand what people were saying to him all the time. Things just wouldn’t register. He couldn’t focus very well. It even took him an extra two years to learn how to read.
As a result, Jim felt like he was broken, but was afraid to tell others about it. Instead, he kept to himself, and quietly suffered alone.
Today, that same boy who struggled with learning challenges so long ago, now shares the stage with educational superheroes like Sir Ken Robinson, Peter Diamandis, and Stephen Kotler.
Here are 5 ways you can start to improve your brain performance right now:1. Kill The ANTS, aka (A)utomatic (N)egative (T)houghts
Thoughts are powerful tools for expanding your abilities. Your thoughts affect your state of mind, and when your thoughts feast on negativity, it ruins your ability to relax, enjoy and learn.
Your brain is like a supercomputer and your thoughts are like the programs that run it. If you tell yourself you don’t remember names, it will run the program, and you won’t.
If you’re unsure about what you think about the philosophy of how your thoughts change your life, maybe a distinction can help.
Changing your thoughts is not about tricking yourself, or lying to yourself about your situation in order to escape, or live some fantasy.
This is about harnessing your thoughts because they have the power to change your capability.
We live in a culture that inundates us. We have 60,000 thoughts a day. But most of us use them on the same thoughts as yesterday.
Do not fall into the trap of “learned helplessness.” Instead, focus on leveraging your thoughts to empower your life and expand your abilities.
2. Take A Walk
In one of the most-read Fast Company articles of 2014, Buffer co-founder, Leo Widrich breaks down what is actually happening in our brain when we exercise:
“If you start exercising, your brain recognizes this as a moment of stress. As your heart pressure increases, the brain thinks you are either fighting the enemy or fleeing from it. To protect yourself and your brain from stress, you release a protein called BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor). This BDNF has a protective and also reparative element to your memory neurons and acts as a reset switch. That’s why we often feel so at ease and things are clear after exercising…”
Below is an image from that same article showing how active your brain is after you exercise as compared to before:
Anything that makes your heart healthy, makes your brain healthy. Here are some prominent people who have found beneficial links between exercising and brain activity:
Steve Jobs was known for taking walks because he found it helped him think better.
Hal Elrod’s life-changing Miracle Morning philosophy came from an epiphany he had while he was going for a run. It not only changed his life, but the many people who have adopted to Miracle Morning philosophy since.
Henry David Thoreau once wrote, “An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.”
Here’s what Friedrich Nietzsche thought about walking, “All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.”
Brenda Ueland, author of the magical book, If You Want To Write: A Book About Art, Independence, and Spirit, found that going on long walks ushered her into the present and gave her keys to her creative power.
Here’s the takeaway:
Your brain is filled with ideas that can help people and influence the world, but they’ve got to be teased out. Exercising is a good way to do this.
AND You don’t have to be a body-builder, an olympian, or a marathoner, to start exercising. Just get out there on the dance-floor.
3. Clean Your Environment
For those with ADHD, a key factor in improving cognitive performance and ability is making sure your environment is organized and clean. It helps your brain get the breathing room it needs so you can think better.
It is helpful to understand how clutter happens. We collect things for a variety of reasons:
1. We think we’ll need it later on,
2. It has sentimental value, or
3. We spent a lot of money on it and end up keeping it longer than we should, etc.
The reality is, we likely made a miscalculation in buying those things. But here’s the kicker: it literally causes pain in your brain to come to terms with that fact.
In a 2012 study, Researchers at Yale found that for many people, letting go is painful. They identified that the two areas in your brain associated with pain, the anterior cingulate cortex and insula, light up when letting go of items you own and feel a connection towards.
This explains that moment when you’re about to throw away something you know you should, but then you hesitate. It’s because it’s painful.
The more invested you are in an item–whether emotionally or financially–the more attached you feel, and the harder it is to let go.
Arianna Huffington, in a TED talk from 2010, thinks that sleep could be the key to unlocking a billion ideas laying dormant inside the brains of people all around the globe.
In another TED talk called, “Why Do We Sleep?“, circadian neuroscientist Russell Foster calls sleep the single most important behavioral experience humans have in their lifetime.
And though it seems our bodies completely shut down when we sleep, there are parts of the brain that are actually more active during sleep than when we are awake. Foster further breaks down his favorite theory for explaining what exactly is happening when we sleep by linking it to our brain’s function.
Foster explains that, “What’s turned out to be really exciting is that our ability to come up with novel solutions to complex problems is hugely enhanced by getting a night’s sleep, and in fact, it’s been estimated to give us a three-fold advantage.
What’s going on is that in the brain, those neural connections that are important, are linked and strengthened, while those that are less important tend to fade away.
5. Learn Something New
Our brains thrive on novelty, and it’s wired for connecting. The more neural connections you have, the smarter you can be. The smarter you are, the better equipped you are for influencing the world in positive ways.
You know what they found with Einstein’s brain?
A team of scientists found that Einstein’s brain had more glial cells relative to neurons, and especially in the the left inferior parietal area.
So, let’s break this down further:
Firstly, glial translates as “glue” in Greek, and a glial cell’s job is to protect and maintain connections of neurons and cellular networks.
Secondly, the left inferior parietal area of the brain is an area of the brain responsible for synthesizing information and also for synthesizing information from different areas of the brain.
What does this all mean?
It means your cognitive ability isn’t just a function of the number of glial cells. It’s also about the number of connections between them.
That’s what they found in Einstein’s brain, increased connections.
So what do we do about it? Make new connections by learn something new.
Put yourself in situations where you are learning on a daily basis, whether that’s through books or relationships, or better yet, both.
Podcasts are an incredible resource for learning new things. Some of my favorite are, Snap Judgement, The Moth, and the wonderful Death Sex and Money with Anna Sale.
Each of these podcast offer stories of people that are sometimes similar, and sometimes vastly different than my own.
Since our brains thrive on novelty another way to make new connections is breaking your routine. Ask yourself, “what can I do this week that’s totally out of the ordinary?”
Doing this daily, is the way to use the plasticity in our brains and start growing new neural connections.
More ways to improve your brain’s performance
These are are just 5 of the 10 tips that Jim Kwik recommends to focus on in order to improve your brain performance and enhance cognitive ability, and start unleashing your brain’s superhuman power.
To hear all 10 listen to Jim Kwik’s amazing interview with James Altucher below.
Trying to get ahead in your career can feel like trying to cut in line at Disneyland.
That’s what it felt like to me several years ago when I started a new career at a large technology company.
The job was only part-time, but my financial situation required a full-time role. I needed a promotion, and fast.
How could I get ahead without looking like a jerk or sucking-up?
I wrote this ADHD career guide to help those in a similar place. But don’t worry, I also include strategies and tips for getting ahead even if:
your current career has you feeling disillusioned
you’re contemplating a new career path
you’re in a pinch for extra cash and want to create extra side income
Here are some of the questions we will cover:
How do you get your employer’s attention, so you can get ahead?
How do you thrive in a job where you are floundering?
What if you want to change what you’re doing, or even start a new career?
How do you test something else out?
I will show you ways to leverage your ADHD superpowers so you can gain traction and advance in your career.
Are you ready? Let’s dive in.
ADHD Career Tips & Strategies For AdvancementBecome an Idea Generator
The first ADHD career tip is this: write down 10 ideas everyday. This daily practice has helped my career immensely.
These can be big colossal ideas or simple ideas that help with productivity, marketing or even morale.
I stole this idea from James Altucher (and he goes in depth into this concept in this article).
With this activity, let your ADHD go free. You’ve heard it a million times, and it’s especially true here: there are no stupid ideas.
You aren’t sharing this with the world and in fact, you aren’t sharing this with anyone. You are just exercising your mind. Think of it like pushups for your brain.
Keep these ideas in a journal. When you have a couple of minutes, throw some ideas in there. It can look as simple as:
1. Get a Red Bull machine in here for the engineers who pull all nighters. 2. Discounts on gym membership for the gym down the street. 3. Simplify our reimbursement sheet for travel. 4. Celebrate people’s anniversaries for there 2, 5 and 10 and 20 year. 5. More post-it notes with different colors. 6. Ban Comics Sans on everything that ever is created in this company. 7. Steal one idea from Zappos. 8. Secret Santa in July. 9. Once a month have an outside speaker talk about tech skills. 10. Can we change the hold music into something that isn’t tear inducing?
It might seem arduous, to come up with ten ideas every single day on how to change the company, but once you start the practice, you are going to be able to generate more and more ideas.
Then when it comes to a meeting where people are “brainstorming” you are able to run laps around the people who haven’t done this exercise.
Also when you have discussions with your boss, you’re able to answer her when she asks, “What have you thought about X, Y and Z?”
When a colleague or higher up wants input on a project, this is your opportunity to shine.
Everybody wants the person who has fresh ideas.
Be that person.
Find What Gives Your Manager Pain and Solve It
When we hear someone complain, our instinct reaction is to ignore it. However, when it comes to your managers, this is where you want to dial in on the subject.
Listen for their pain points. Then, solve them.
Does your manager hate reminding the team about deadlines?
–Figure out a solution for that.
Does she hate planning the next volunteer project you are all tackling?
–Offer to take it on.
And remember, your ADHD will latch on to this as long as you put it all in your calendar with some clear tasks on how to get it done.
I used this ADHD career technique when I wanted a training position in the company I am working for now. Our company trains its employees around new technology and programs.
One day my boss said, “I want ideas for the next training—I want to know what employees want to know.”
So, that night I fired up an email that outlined not only the next training topics, but I wrote out the learning objectives, activities, and worksheets. (I googled about how to do all of this. A simple search saved me hours.)
My boss was over the moon about the work I’d done and he implemented that exact curriculum and gave me full credit. I kept doing it and eventually when the next training position opened, I aced the interview by highlighting the work I’d already done.
Here’s the takeaway: keep a list of what upsets your manager. Pay attention to what she or he is asking for. Then, solve that pain point.
Raise Your Hand First
Does your company volunteer? Do they have that as part of initiative? Dollars to donuts, they do.
This is where you dial in and dial in hard.
Find out the area of your company where they volunteer and rev that engine. Approach the person who is in charge of that and get on the board or committee or whatever. Use your strengths to help the committee have more of a volunteer impact.
Your ADHD allows you to generate some great ideas and think “outside the box” about how to get positive attention around your volunteering efforts.
For example, my company has a quarterly blood drive. Very few people like giving blood and I’m talking very few. So what we did was partner with a food truck that was pretty popular in the area. If you donated blood, you got a $3 coupon for the food truck. The food truck ate the costs of that coupon, but they also got featured in our local paper and scored some great publicity. I brought that idea to our committee and they were bowled over and it’s because I invested in generating ideas, as above.
Make Everyone Else Look Good
There seems to be this unspoken rule of corporate culture that you have to be cutthroat about things, you have to hog all the credit. As your ADHD career guide, I’m telling you to ignore this.
I find that the more you share the credit with people and let others shine, the more opportunities you’ll get.
I’m not talking about general kind courtesy like when you finish a project, you slip in last mminute, “Oh, and Mandy helped me edit the final report. She’s just a gem.”
I’m talking about going above the norm. Become proactive about giving credit to others.
One way to share credit is to send a handwritten note, thanking the person you want to highlight for what they’ve contributed. Another cool thing you can do is send that person a thank-you email and BCC-ing the boss on it (BCC so it doesn’t look like you’re sucking up.) A quick and easy idea is giving someone a Starbucks gift card, or something thoughtful for their office.
Personally, I will call my supervisor and let them know when someone does me a solid.
When we show appreciation it develops a team dynamic. It’s a way to show your employer that you care and you’re a team player.
Anything you can do to promote a “we’re all in this together” attitude is a win. Your employer wants people who understand a team dynamic, and who don’t wait to be promoted before they’ll start acting like a leader.
One of the cool things that happens when you start supporting your co-workers, is that they start supporting back. You’re able to call on them when you need help as well.
Speak at Conferences
A great ADHD career leverage technique is to start speaking at conferences. If your organization has an annual conference, you need to start presenting at that conference.
People who present get more exposure and are able to show off their expertise.
Now you might but thinking, “I’m not an expert; I just started this gig.”
But you are an expert at something. You have a skill-set that people need and want to hear about (and if you are still unconvinced, you might have something called Imposter Syndrome, and it’s ok, we all have it).
When I presented at my first conference my topic was, “How I Survived and Thrived my First Year as a Resident Director.” I offered all the programs, strategies and technology tidbits that everyone wanted.
Supervisors wanted to attend so they could help their new employees and new resident directors wanted to pick up all the tips they could get.
I presented to a packed room. I made sure to have a sign up sheet for collecting names and emails. When I cam back to my campus, I reached out and thanked everyone for attending.
Through those thank-you’s I gained forty-five other people to connect with. I used that as the foundation of my network for the next nine years, building on that list.
When you are going to present, you have a much more likely chance of actually attending because you are going in there with a plan and you are representing the company. The organization will have a “presenting outline” you’ll need to submit and it’s that simple.
Make sure you get your boss’s okay, and go in there with a plan.
Don’t go in there with an attitude like, “Hey, I want to present. Cool? Cool.”
Tell your boss, “I’m passionate about this topic and I think my presentation would be a great addition to this conference. Here’s the outline I’ve written, the slides I’d use and I’d love your input.”
You’ve done 97% of the work for your boss and you have a plan. It needs a tiny bit of input and a stamp of approval. Done. Enjoy your flight.
How To Go Into Your Evaluation And Come Out With A Raise
Most people go into their evaluation without a plan. They don’t show up with any proof of the work they accomplished that year. This is a rookie move. It’s bush league and it’s not you.
We are initiating Project Blue Arrow.
This is where you might need to reign in your ADHD a tad. It’s about organization, but if you can treat it like a game, your ADHD will follow suit.
Bust out a file folder. An empty one.
Label it: Project Blue Arrow.
Sounds official, doesn’t it?
Here’s what’s going into that folder:
Every time someone sends you a thank-you note, an acknowledgement or any kind of kudos, you are going to put it in that folder.
Now, in your email server, create a folder called “Project Blue Arrow”.
Any email you get that gives you any kind of credit, you’re going to put in that folder (I usually print them out or save them somewhere else to assure they do not disappear).
You are collecting the credit other people have given you. You are validating that you are a great and productive member of the team.
Another part of Project Blue Arrow is to review your calendar for the year and look out for the above and beyond projects you accomplished this year.
Make a list of what you did and how it impacted the team. Ask yourself if you can mathematically prove you’re both.
Can you show much you increased sales? Can you show some empirical data that you’ve moved some metric in a more positive direction? Gather your proof. Put it into the file.
The last part of Project Blue Arrow is this:
Write down three other projects you’d like to initiate and head up in the upcoming year.
Outline its impact on the company and how your specific strengths make you the perfect candidate to head them up.
Share this during your evaluation:
–Show them your value to the team (what people have said about you).
–Show your accomplishments in the past (by reviewing your calendar).
–Show them you are geared up to tackle the future goals and objectives your company (your project list).
Collect all of this in a (blue) binder and give that to your supervisor before your evaluation is determined, and say, “This is for your consideration for my evaluation.”
This way you aren’t dropping it on them at the last second, and it also helps you negotiate a raise and perhaps a promotion.
But start gathering this stuff today and make it part of your calendar.
If you don’t you’ll be waiting until the last minute and miss the boat on getting a higher raise or promotion.
Have something in your calendar that reminds you to “Initiate Project Blue Arrow” and you’re more likely to follow through.
How To Create A Side-Hustle
You might be looking at this list and saying:
“I just don’t like my job. It isn’t what I thought it to be.”
I find this can happen a lot to educators. They think their time is going to be spent simply teaching. After getting into it, they realize that a lot of their work is going to be administrative (i.e. meeting with parents and keeping up on all the policies).
Disillusionment starts to set in. They look at their college debt and become disheartened.
Maybe that’s you. Or maybe you’re a graphic designer, or a recruiter, or an engineer, or a mall Santa. Whatever job it is—maybe you are feeling stuck and you are starting to look for something else.
It’s time to focus in on that “something else”. Most people call that the “side hustle.” And it can rejuvenate you and help point you in the right direction.
The Ten-Hour Rule
The side hustle is simple. Let’s take a look at what I mean.
Say you’re a graphic designer and you are disappointed in how non-creative your job is. You want to see if you can freelance.
This is your opportunity to shine. If you want to write recipes or help people lose weight, this is where you test it out.
But here’s what you got to do first: set aside the time.
When people want to start a side hustle, I tell them to set aside 10 hours a week for the hustle.
“Ten hours?! You have to be kidding me. Who has ten hours to set aside?!”
Here’s what I did when I was (and still am) attacking my side hustle.
How To Find Time1. Your Lunch Hour
I gave up my lunch hour. I simply packed my lunch, scarfed it down, and opened my laptop. That’s 5 extra hours a week. I didn’t chitchat. I didn’t join in on the gossip or the latest episode of Downton Abbey. Head down, earbuds in. I got to work.
I looked for customers, wrote my copy and figured out the next step. Yep, people labeled me as anti-social, the guy in the corner typing away. Eventually they stopped caring and I kept hustling.
2. I Killed My Television
A bit of a misnomer because I don’t actually own a television. My apartment looks a little strange because it’s crystal clear on where the television should go—but I don’t have one.
Yes, I watch some shows on Hulu and Netflix. But I found that the television has the greatest capacity to numb me out. If I’m a bit lonely, tired, or just need some stimulation due to my profound ADHD, I’d turn that baby on and just glare. But now I’m forced to not only choose shows that I want to watch (and I limit myself to an hour a day at most), but I can choose a book, writing, or even heading to bed early instead of turning on the television and it saves me hours.
Gain your life back and get some hours back into your side hustle. You can skip the news for awhile.
3. Pick Morning Or Evening
Get up earlier to work on your side hustle or stay up late after everyone has gone to bed. Either way, take your pick.
It doesn’t have to be every day, but if you can get 3-4 hours in by changing your routine slightly, you’ll thank yourself.
Other Ways to Advance the Side Hustle.
I’m a member of Fizzle (affiliate link), a great community of side hustlers and people who want to have their own businesses—they have a great podcast and a community to get the answers you need.
Also, a great podcast for the side hustle, different ways for people to make money is Side Hustle Nation with Nick Loper. He knows his stuff and interviews great people who find a specific niche and dive in.
In addition to TV, I also killed the radio. I ONLY listen to podcasts around the side hustle I want to have (and the shows Radiolab and Serial. Let’s be real.)
The One-Hundred Dollar Rule
When you are attacking your side hustle, you have one goal:
Maybe you sell a one sheet of your best tactics for meeting people at a conference and you sell it for $10. Find 10 people who need that information and you hit your goal.
Whatever it is, make that you goal to validate that your idea is worth persuing. If you want to start a business around creating yarn dolls for cats, you might be in some trouble (but seriously, who knows?) but you need to validate your idea quickly and get started now on it.
For selling, I use gumroad. I’m able to sell about any digital product on that site from videos, MP3 and PDFs. I can’t recommend it highly enough. (And the Fizzle has a great course on how to get started on that.)
Conclusion: It’s All About the Hustle
When I started a new career two years ago I was surrounded by people who were 15 years younger and were more advanced than I was. I was the “old man” to them and I started at the very bottom rung of the ladder. But I made a decision early.
In the words of Steve Martin:
“I was going to be so good they couldn’t ignore me.”
I said yes to everything. I volunteered; I shot out emails on how we could improve systems. I participated and I wrote out a lot of thank you notes. I listened to my managers and implemented their advice immediately.
In six months I had a full time position with a promotion. I received a training position soon after that, and next May they’re sending me to China for three months to train for an elite position.
The working world is lacking hustle. It’s lacking people with initiative; it’s filled with people who want to be noticed and can’t figure out how to be noticed. This isn’t you.
You hustle. You get it done whether it’s at your desk or on the side.
You are a fierce learner. Your curiosity is your guide. You hunger for experiences. You are the Meaning Hunter.
Your wonder is a wide heart and clear eyes. You are a question, bent north, toward the beautiful ‘Why?’.
You don’t mind not having answers. You understand that’s how the knowing begins. You ask the questions others are afraid to. You help us all know more.
You crave to be in the arena, where it counts. You know it’s where all the action is. Where the fastest learning takes place. An IV straight to the vein.
You pay no mind to yapping critics in the stands. You know they’re empty tombs. You know their only accomplishments will be choking on their popcorn.
You know life is not merely for informational purposes. You live for the transformation of experience. You know that’s how knowledge gets into the blood stream, into muscle memory, how it glues the neurological network together.
You seek meaning like it’s money, and won’t stop until you’re a billionaire. You know that life is not a zero-sum game. You will not hoard it when you’ve achieved it, you’ll spend the rest of your life giving it away to all those in need.
You know that kindness is a currency, and the way to become rich is by giving. And giving. And giving. You also know the secret of this special currency: it grows in value, the more you spend it.
The time is now.
For being your ADHD-self.
For showing the way.
For being an ADHD hero.
The world is waiting.
For the change you can bring.
I was absolutely thrilled to get the opportunity to ask filmmaker Brian Koppelman about ADHD and creativity during a recent Product Hunt LIVE chat.
He had some insightful advice for creatives, and also talked openly about his own experiences with ADHD. He laid out the strategies he’s used to bust through creative blocks and launch a career in the movies.
Below are some of the highlights concerning ADHD and creativity from the LIVE chat.
Q & A with Brian Koppelman
(for full video of LIVE chat, scroll further below)
Question: How did you find out you had ADHD? What was that experience like, and how does it influence your creative endeavors?
Brian Koppelman: I don’t know how it influences my creative endeavors now. I can tell you that it gave me an incredible sense of failure for many years, scholastically.
If you have had real ADHD, and I’ve read all the stuff and I agree that it’s over-diagnosed, and adderall and ritalyn are probably overprescribed, but if you really have had it, and can understand the feeling of certain textbooks being sort of radioactive so that you can’t open them even if you want to, like the true thing of what it feels like to not be able to do the work…it’s debilitating. Especially if you’re somebody who has a big intellectual tool-kit otherwise.
“If you have had real ADHD… and can understand the feeling of certain textbooks being sort of radioactive so that you can’t open them even if you want to… it’s debilitating. Especially if you’re somebody who has a big intellectual tool-kit otherwise.”Brian Koppelman
I was a kid who used to love to read. Anything I was interested in, I could read quickly and have incredible retention, and I had a big vocabulary.
But I could fail a history test in two minutes if the teacher was boring or the textbook was poorly written. I couldn’t read it, I couldn’t find a way to do it. It creates incredible cognitive dissonance, and it took me years to figure it out.
I found ways to cope and so I went to a good college, and went to law school at night, and I was successful at a young age. But I still felt deep inside like I was lazy and a failure.
To the people who know me now, the thought of me being lazy is absurd. But I felt like I was really lazy, and so it was one of huge things that I had to battle.
“I could read quickly and have incredible retention, and I had a big vocabulary. But I could fail a history test in two minutes if the teacher was boring or the textbook was poorly written. It creates incredible cognitive dissonance, and it took me years to figure it out.”Brian Koppelman
It was one of the things that didn’t hit me until I was in my…until really around the time I decided to do this, to really understand and accept, ‘Oh I really have this.’
And I’ve taken adderall at times, for a year at a time. I’m not taking it now. But as soon as I took it was like a giant shift and I realized, I actually have something technically going on that can be fixed short term by medicine, and if I can somehow take the lessons from that, I can maybe deal with it afterwards without medicine.
So, It had a giant impact on my life when I was young. For years I used to think that if I had been able to have medicine when I was a young person, I would have just gone and been like a conventional person. I probably wouldn’t have had this job being an artist, because I would have just succeeded a different way in school.
Question: What’s something you used to strongly believe, but no longer do?
Brian Koppelman: That’s a great [question] because it’s the whole reason I started doing The Moment.
Until I was 30 I didn’t believe I could get past writer’s block. I was someone who always wanted to be a creative person and live my life based on my imagination and ability to tell stories.
Around my 30th birthday, my first child was born, and I realized if I wanted to be the kind of person who would come home and tell my kids that they can be anything they dreamed of, that I had to be doing that, otherwise I’d be living a lie.
I realized that when you’re blocked, if you allow yourself to give into it, when that wish dies, you kind of become toxic.
And that toxicity, like any toxicity, spreads, and that you’re not the best version of yourself around the people you love.
And that’s when I made the promise/commitment to myself that I would find a way to break through. It was a binary difference, and I figured out how to start writing everyday.
From the moment I really broke through, within a year we’d sold Rounders and a couple months later we were making the (first) movie.
That was absolutely a belief that I was certain I would never be able to do it and suddenly I figured out a way to get to the other side.
Question: You talk about your writing partner and I’m so curious how having [a writing partner] influences writer’s block, or does the morning routine with Morning Pages kind of take care of the writer’s block?
Brian Koppelman: I think in the beginning, as you know in studying ADHD, being on teams helps. So in the beginning that absolutely helped in that way. I had to be able to produce results because we were in it together. More David Levien’s example though, after seeing him get up everyday and doing the work, really helped.
The Morning Pages was really the thing that changed it for me.Brian Koppelman
The Morning Pages was really the thing that changed it for me. You know Solitary Man, I wrote myself. So, that was a really big thing for someone who had my journey because I had to write the whole script, focus on it, and do it all by myself, and prove to myself that I could. And that wouldn’t have happened were it not for the example I had from Dave and watching him do it. But also doing the Morning Pages, knowing that if I could just do a little bit a day I could get the thing done with that consistency of effort, I could get it done.
Question (Alex Carter): I’m curious, you mentioned Morning Pages a lot, do you want to elaborate for folks who maybe aren’t familiar with what exactly that entails and why that’s helpful?
Brian Koppelman: Some days I meditate first, and some days I write. But you cannot sensor yourself. And you don’t read pages back for at least five years.
All you’re doing is running your hand across the page. Line by line for three pages, and you don’t stop.
What happens as you start to do that every day is it starts to unlock that part of yourself that’s the most create.
You start talking to yourself in ways you don’t anticipate, but what ends up happening is you become freed of whatever the bullshit that’s stopping you.
Question: What have you found is the best process for writing a compelling story, and what are your main components?
Brian Koppelman: I have to really want to tell it. If I try to really do it from outside in, it won’t work.
If somebody gave me a log line, I could create a professional script or short story out of it, but the most important thing to me is I want to show up everyday and tell the story because it’s a long slog to write a screenplay.
If I can find something that I connect to in it, then you just gotta do it.
You know at the end of Sadartha there’s the Buddhist kiss on the forehead, which is instead of outside-in wisdom, you have to just take it in. Writing is the kind of thing you can only learn by doing it.
If you know how to tell a story to your friends, I think that’s a great exercise. Say it out loud, record yourself telling it, figure out why it works, and then write it down and see what it looks like.
What’s a story you know you can tell at dinner that works, say it out loud to your phone.
If you can’t do it alone, do it telling somebody you don’t know, so you can tell it for the first time.
Listen back, write it down and look at what the structure was. Make a model on that.
Questions (Alex Carter): I’m curious, would your advice to newer writers be to get lots of feedback from other people they trust? I know that’s something that resonates in the tech startup world.
Brian Koppelman: There’s a time to get feedback, for sure, and it’s really valuable.
You have to know when you’re strong enough to take that feedback. Because the kind of feedback you want is stern and accurate and sometimes withering feedback.
Probably the day you finish something isn’t when you want it because you’ll be crushed by it, and you’ll react angrily.
So you want that feedback when you’re emotionally ready. But yes, you need it.
At 30 years old he made the decision to get out of law and start pursuing his dream of making movies. Since then he’s gone on to do some pretty bitchin’ things.
He wrote Rounders and Ocean’s Thirteen with his writing partner David Levien, and then wrote and directed Solitary Man with Michael Douglas and Susan Surandon.
It took courage and hard work, but making that decision at 30 completely changed the trajectory of his life.
The Moment Podcast
When Koppelman mentioned on James’ show that he also had ADHD, my ears perked up. ADHD and creativity? I’m in. I immediately downloaded several episodes of his show The Moment, and I’ve been glued ever since.
It’s true, I’m unabashedly in love with podcasts, and The Moment is what interview podcast enthusiasts enjoy most: quality engagement. Brian Koppelman’s genuineness and curiosity shines through and enables him to get the real-deal from his guests.
Brian started The Moment in March of 2014 (you can subscribe right here) and interviews authors, fellow filmmakers, entrepreneurs, artists–basically anybody that inspires him. In fact, he’s made it a rule that he will only have people on his show that inspire him, those he genuinely wants to have a conversation with. It keeps the conversations genuine.
Brian Koppelman is a fantastic interviewer. Several times I’ve noticed popular guests veering from their usual interview talk-track (Seth Godin and Tony Robbins are a few that come to mind). Brian uses his curiosity as a guide and also makes space for complexity in the conversation. It makes for incredibly insightful and engaging conversations.
Stream The Moment Podcast below:
Brian is on Vine
Brian is a big presence on Vine with his videos accumulating over 50 million views. Click photo above to see his profile.
Brian Koppelman’s Newest Project
Brian has also created a new show called Billions for Showtime. It’s currently being filmed and scheduled for release this coming January.
Watch the trailer below for a sneak peek.
Trailer For Billions
Billions | 'Follow the Money' Tease | Damian Lewis & Paul Giamatti Showtime Series - YouTube
Full Video of Product Hunt Live Chat Below:
(The wonderful Alex Carter who heads up the new podcasts at Product Hunt is the moderator.)
Perfectionism asks for more. You give, looking forward to payday.
Perfectionism asks for more, even though payday has come and gone, and promises to repay you. You give a little extra to show you’re worth it.
Perfectionism asks for more and promises to repay you for all your time, but it wants just a little more, to prove you’re serious about your job. You give more, because it’s going to be one huge paycheck.
Perfectionism pulls you into the office and starts to make you feel bad for not doing extra last time. It gives you an example of how you could’ve accomplished more, but didn’t seize the opportunity.
It recites the company’s core values. It tells you excellence and perfection is better than small rewards for your time. You think maybe, if you can give the most out of all the employees, it’ll pay off big time.
Perfectionism finds you outside your car in the company lot after an especially long day and asks where you’re going. It sternly reprimands you for not thinking about working through the night. It demands more, and criticizes you for not finding ways to give more overtime.
It asks if you’re serious about your job. It asks if you realize the excellence and perfection of the project you’re working on, and belittles you for asking about your paycheck last week.
It installs a tracking device to monitor what you give. You feel ignorant for not knowing the greatness and perfection of the project. You realize you could’ve given more. You don’t want this privilege to pass you by.
You give three days in a row.
You give up going home. You give up sleep.
You’re paranoid cause’ you have to use the bathroom…
You hear water. You open your eyes. Only one does. You see bathroom tile and blood. The sink is running.
Perfectionism rests a boot on your face. It pushes down slowly and talks. How dare you it says. Not even willing to undergo a little humiliation for christ-sake. Was pissing yourself not an option?
It asks what you’re willing to sacrifice. Everyone can give up sleep. It begins reciting the company values. It adjusts its boot and tells you to say it too.
Perfection or death. Louder it says. Perfection or death. Louder. Don’t stop it says. Perfection or death. You’re afraid to stop saying it. Perfection or death. It mocks you while you spit mantra.
It says how stupid your ideas are. It asks if you want the janitor job that just opened up. It says it’s going to need more from you…
This short story first appeared on Medium and was written by Adam Muller. It is reposted here with his permission.
Take a second right now, and think of a time you were truly inspired by somebody. Really, go ahead. I’ll wait for a second… Now, let me ask you. When that person inspired you, were they doing something they were really good at?
My guess is yes.
Any time I’ve ever been inspired by another person they were operating in their strengths. When people start doing more of what they do well, and less of what they don’t, everyone wins.
This is your life. Find out what you’re good at, and pour yourself into it. Don’t let your ADHD, or what other people tell you about your ADHD, stop you from getting in touch with your passion, or doing what you are really good at.
There Is A Better Way
For those with ADHD often the practical details of life can sweep them off their feet. In attempts to recover, they pour all resources into skills they don’t necessarily have natural ability to do well. They set off with good intentions, but it doesn’t yield the payoff they were looking for.
There is a better strategy that not only is more meaningful, but yields better results, and is more fulfilling. A Strengths-Based Approach is the best approach to ADHD. Here are three strategies for adhd that will change your approach to ADHD, so you can start operating more in your strengths, enhance your sense of purpose, and impact the world in a positive way with your talent.
1. Stop Trying To Fix The Things You Aren’t Good At
If you’re experiencing disappointment for not being able to accomplish goals, or for not following through, or not managing your calendar, or not doing the dishes, or any other regulatory task that helps practical life move along, don’t let it crush you.
These little tasks still need to get done, but a different approach is what you need. If your strategy for the small things is to just try harder, stop immediately. That’s just going to contribute more momentum for a downward spiral, the next time you slip up.
Focusing on the things you aren’t good at and trying to fix them, is an ineffective way to accomplish your goals, and leads to being overwhelmed.
The reason it’s important to stop this approach is that you’re going to need the energy, so don’t waste it feeling bad about not being organized enough, etc.
2. Start Focusing On What You’re Good At
Are there times when you’ve noticed another person working harder to achieve something you find easy? What do you do well? What are some things you naturally care about? What are you passionate about?
Our culture can often overlook how valuable self-investment can be. It’s too worried about how much you can do, do, do. Don’t listen. The best investment you can ever make is in yourself and what you’re good at. Utilizing your strengths is your right, not utilizing them is an injustice, to yourself and to others.
Trying to fix the things you’re not good at wastes the energy you could be investing in your strengths.
So dig deeper at what you love, and spend the time finding out why. Don’t listen to our culture, go find out who you are. For those with ADHD, the devil is often in those details, because of how many people with ADHD get stuck in them, and can’t find enough momentum to give life everything they got.
3. Get A System Of Support
Breaking old systems of behavior takes accountability, and you are going to need assistance implementing a new strengths-based approach. Reaching out for support is the best strategy I know for dealing with the, “Just-Try-Harder” syndrome. It’s not enough that you just try harder. You need a different strategy. Reaching out for support is a bit like showing yourself that you’re valuable and that you’re worth it.
Sometimes it’s hard to admit you aren’t good at certain things, but if you can allow yourself to be honest, freedom will spring up. Freedom to get started on your passion and what you find most meaningful.
There are ADHD coaches who can assist you on your journey, as you shift the weight of your goals onto what you’re good at. The important thing is to find those who specialize in a strengths-based model.
If you are in the Los Angeles area, we would love the opportunity to help you start shifting the foundation of your life so that it can rest on your strengths, on your weaknesses.
ADHD COLLECTIVE creates customized strategies and systems to help build your life around what you’re good at, in order to achieve the momentum needed to accomplish your life goals.
Adult ADHD, Children with ADHD, treatment, tests, blogs, directories, nutrition tips and diet, study skills, etc. ADDitude is an explosion of resources. I can’t think of one thing this website is lacking.
Whatever the reason, you’re about to take a deep dive into the ocean of information the online world has about ADHD and want to know a reliable place to begin.
You’re going to be exposed to boatloads of stuff along your journey to a better understanding of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and sometimes it can get downright overwhelming.
Creating a Framework For ADHD
Getting a quick overview of ADHD can give you a leg up in the process, and be the foundational framework you keep coming back to after one too many rabbit-holes.
Not only is Hallowell’s approach an inspiring and powerful one, it’s also the one we turn to most here at ADHD Collective.
We’ll provide a few reasons why he’s our leading ADHD-guide, and if those reasons resonate with you, continue with this blog-post and we’ll offer some links to our favorite material of his you can get started with right away.
Top Reasons For Using Dr Hallowell As Your ADHD Guide1. He Has ADHD And Deeply Understands It
The stigma that often accompanies ADHD can leave those who have it feeling misunderstood. Hallowell himself has ADHD (minus the hyperactivity), and understands the struggle it can produce for others.
But more than just making him more relatable, it makes him a tangible example of how those with ADHD can storm the world with their talent.
2. He’s Cautious About Labeling It A Disorder
Labeling ADHD as a disorder can make things worse for those who have been diagnosed. It almost creates a disorder treating it that way!
Approaching ADHD with this negative view tips those who have ADHD headlong into debilitating shame and fear.
Here’s how Dr. Hallowell sees it:
“The best the way to think about ADD [ADHD] is not as a mental disorder but as a collection of traits and tendencies that define a way of being in the world.”