"When you listen to a good story, the brain triggers the release of the hormone oxytocin. In lay terms, this is known as the relationship hormone. . . It's a hormone that orients us with compassion toward another. So it orients us toward collaboration.
Think of that. Listening to a good story actually produces an orientation toward compassion and focus on the other."
Dr. Ronald Fry, Case Western Reserve University - Leading Positive Change Through Appreciative Inquiry
This idea of the stories we tell is important - stories fill our soul’s “cup” (as well as our brain with good chemicals), and we need to consciously look for stories that fill that cup more. But we can also fill that cup with better stories about ourselves.
We can keep an eye out for where we’re making progress on correcting mistakes - they didn’t happen in one fell swoop, and correcting them doesn’t happen overnight. But appreciating how far we’ve come really helps us write a stronger narrative that we can make change. And minor set-backs are not terrible losses; they are stumbles on the journey to get better as a person.
Another side of this: Hal Hershfield’s team found that participants’ brain activity while considering their Future Selves more closely resembled brain activity while thinking about a current other rather than the current self. (Hershfield is a psychologist at the UCLA Anderson School of Management)
Ed Yong, professor at Boston College, wrote that “Empathy depends on your ability to overcome your own perspective, appreciate someone else’s, and step into their shoes. Self-control is essentially the same skill, except that those other shoes belong to your future self—a removed and hypothetical entity who might as well be a different person. So think of self-control as a kind of temporal selflessness. It’s Present You taking a hit to help out Future You.”
We can extend more compassion to another person than we can to ourselves, but when we understand better how our brain is wired differently, we need to see our Future Self as a person who deserves compassion as well.
Understanding that our brain is wired differently can also allow us to know how we are likely going to have problems. If we see our Future Self (who may not remember what Previous Self was thinking when PS did something, because the other 1052 tabs open in our brain were sapping our "bandwidth"), as a separate person who we need to communicate with, just like other people, we can start to make habits that help us better communicate with our Future Self.
This is a new story, one where we’re writing Present Self as empathetic and caring, who sets Future Self up for success. This is also an opportunity to learn how best to communicate with Future Self - to build new skills for success.
Literature often holds a mirror to the real world - and movies and television shows are an extension of those. As such, they can hold a grimy, dark mirror; a gilded, hazy mirror, or even a fun-house mirror of the world up for us to look at.
Science fiction, especially, can hold a double image up as a mirror - an aspirational future, a dark future, a conflicted future; and the truth now, if you have the perspective to see it.
I love Star Trek: Picard for too many reasons to list here, but I’m thinking today about The Way of Absolute Candor of the Qowat Milat.
“The Way of Absolute Candor was the primary teaching of the Qowat Milat , an order of Romulan warrior nuns. It emphasized the total communication of emotion without filter between thought and word, resulting in the Qowat Milat being blunt and direct in conversation. The concept ran counter to everything that Romulans normally held dear.”
I’m also thinking, today, about an important discussion posted to FB by Reina Lin begun by Marco Rogers, @polotek onTwitter, had regarding how “white people don’t have the concept of “real conversations” - we “can’t stop saying the diplomatic thing and tell people what’s really going on”, and it’s what causes Black people to feel that they can’t “form real trust relationships with white people”, because we can’t handle the truth.
I don’t want to talk over his excellent points, but I want to say that some neurodiverse people also have difficulty with the “rituals” in which white (NT) people “decide” what’s going on. This lack of candor can harm neurodiverse people’s ability to navigate these spaces, as well.
Again, I want to draw a parallel line with his argument, because this lack of candor harms a lot of people, and learning candor will need to happen for true Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging.
Another Twitter user, Laura Bridgewater, @knit1write2, aptly points out that “WASPs never discuss anything directly, but they’ll come at you sideways with a glass knife.”
As an undiagnosed ADHD adult trying to navigate the working world, I probably swung between candor and saying completely the wrong thing plenty, and I learned to overcompensate as an Avoider and a Pleaser now. I have, unfortunately, leaned into the passive-aggressive side. I MUST unlearn this.
@SerenissimaL’Azzura brings up that “white women are tasked with sensing that “real talk” might be on the horizon, and “smoothing things over” to keep that from happening. Many of us have internalized the notion that we are responsible for other arguing to the point that we cry when we are unable to keep the peace. It’s out of a genuine and completely misplaced sense of failure, but it also serves the purpose of redirecting peoples’ from whatever they were “fighting” about. This is also know as “White women’s tears”. We need to stop it.”
Lisa Delpit’s work “Other People’s Children” on how “WASP teachers routinely demonize Black children by misinterpreting direct language as verbal assault and how black kids routinely can not get the clarity of communication they need from white staff. This is an issue of institutionalized racism that is central to the school to prison pipeline.” ([Treebyleaf McCurdy] brought this up).
In looking for more information on how to do this, I found Radical Candor: “Radical Candor is Caring Personally and Challenging Directly, Not Brutal Honesty”
I need to learn radical candor now, to ensure that I don’t hold the truth back, and that I allow fruitful conversations to occur so everyone can be successful. I don’t expect this to be easy, but I would love others to join me.
Well, it happened . . . I've been vaccinated, boosted, and did my best to stay away from others, but I got COVID at a family gathering. So today I'm posting something I started to put together a while ago but hadn't shared here. I hope this will be useful for parents like me who may have a house full of people, but still feel a need for connection.
Some people are built to be alone. Others struggle tremendously with solitude. Most people are somewhere in the middle. If you’re used to more human contact than you’ve been receiving lately, you know that it can be uncomfortable. Humans are social creatures.
Historically, we’re not well-equipped to conquer the world alone. The ability to survive alone is a recent phenomenon. There’s a part of you that needs to be around others.
Manage your isolation in a healthy manner with these strategies:
There are also many ways to interact with others, even if you can’t share a confined space with them. Six feet isn’t that much to overcome if you’re flexible and creative. Remember that others share your frustration. Things will eventually get back to normal.
However, if you're yearning for connection to other adults who are seeking support and community, I have partnered with Stephanie Zoernack of Soulful Growth Heath Coach to bring Women's Wellness Warriors to offer new ideas, support, and space for others yearning to connect again.
Click here to learn more.
Decision trees are tools used by people to help them make confident decisions. It helps them layout several alternatives in a tree-like format. They can see most, if not all, the decisions available and can even set a rating on each choice.
The concept of a decision tree is an extension of a mind map. A mind map lets you create ideas and connections to those ideas. The decision tree is much like this concept except for a decision tree there is a score added to the branches of the tree. These scores often represent probabilities. If you have three choices, you may assign two branches with 40% probabilities, and the third branch would receive a 20% probability. The total of the branches should add up to 100%. However, it is your decision tree, so you are free to use whatever allocations you like if any. If your system makes sense to you, then it is correct.
Some project managers use decision trees to determine the costs of projects. When they assign probabilities to branches, they’ll multiply the total budget by that probability. For instance, if a branch has a probability of 35% and the total budget is $100,000, the branch will be estimated to cost $35,000 (35% x 100,000).
Decision trees don’t have to be this intricate to be useful. You can use them to list out the alternatives for a decision and end your efforts there. You can also choose to update the percentage of completion for the path that you select. Again, there are no right answers when using a decision tree for your purposes.
When others rely on your decision tree, and you are formally calling it a decision tree, you may need to follow the protocol of assigning probabilities and figuring out the percentage cost. However, if the group agrees to other conventions, then again, that is the right answer for the group. A decision tree is simply a way to convey information to yourself or a team, etc.
Decision trees will have a certain amount of subjectivity associated with them. In most cases, coming up with probabilities is quite subjective. It’s only through experience that you’ll be able to refine the probabilities. If the project you are working on is a one-time deal, you won’t get the benefit of refining those probabilities and will have to start over with a new set of subjective probabilities on the next project. However, some branches may carry over to the new project, and you’ll have a better feel for what to assign to those.
When faced with decisions, those of us with ADHD may fall into two categories - you want to have the best information possible before moving forward, or you jump without looking.
Some people spend too much time trying to find as much information as they can, and they miss opportunities because of it. Information is a key component in decision making. However, sometimes, you simply have to decide and live with the decision without any information.
You don’t want others to view you as someone who makes rash decisions. You’ll lose credibility when you do this and people won’t take you seriously. However, you must prepare yourself for certain times where being decisive is necessary. For instance, you may be registering for classes at your college and discover that a few of the courses you were hoping to take are full. You are given other choices but are unsure of how that will fit into your overall plan. Do you enroll in those alternative classes?
You may decide to go for the classes. If they are part of your curriculum, you can always rework your plan so that they fit in. Talk to your academic advisor and ask how to proceed after taking this new path. Of course, you could always drop the classes if they don’t fit well.
The point is if a decision doesn't work out the wrong results can usually be fixed. Don’t be afraid to take the plunge. The shoe company Nike has a slogan that has worked for them for several decades now. That slogan is 'Just Do It!'
A structured living doesn't fit well with some people. They need the excitement that comes with making spontaneous decisions. Who is to say that their way is wrong? It may not work for others, but for them, it works quite well. You may know people who are like this and are envious of them.
That isn’t the same scenario as people who don’t do much with their lives. Spontaneous decision makers are often doing many activities. You can decide to do nothing, but you won’t get very far. Unless you are lucky enough to come from money and your parents are willing to give you that money, you will need to find something to do.
Most people will find a balance of decisions they make based on information and spontaneous decisions. The process of decision making becomes easier the more you do it. Therefore, when you need to make spontaneous decisions, it will not be as difficult after a while.
Which ever category you fit into, find a way to accept that about yourself and view the outcomes as experiments that you learned from. Shame spirals don't help you progress - they keep you rooted in place.
Next time a decision didn't work out like you wanted, yell "Plot twist!" and try something new, but learn from the outcome of your decision. Let me know if you need to talk through the results to find the bright side.
Do you have big plans for your life? Dreams that you want to turn into a reality? This is often easier than done, especially when you don't know how to start taking action in the first place. Below are some ways to help you more effectively turn your thoughts into actions, no matter how crazy they may be.
Start By Making A Plan
Usually, when someone has a plan in their head, it can be a bit chaotic and maybe hard to see exactly how to get there. This is why you should start by making a physical, written-down plan of what you want to do. This might start as a brain dump, but sort through and start to piece your plan together. This will give you a better view of where to go to start. This will also help you to break your goals down into more manageable steps. Don’t think that just because you write a plan that it has to happen exactly that way either, as once you start to take action, you can come back and adjust your plan as needed.
Stop Overthinking Everything
One of the reasons you may find yourself unable to turn thoughts into actions is probably because you are overthinking everything. The above step of making a plan should help you to clear up your overthinking a little bit as you write things down. But if it doesn't, other mental relaxation techniques like meditation, talking something out with others, and taking a deep breath can help you stop overthinking. Remember, you aren't perfect, and that isn't what you are trying to achieve, so there is no reason to fret over your mental plan being perfect.
Figure Out What Is Stopping You From Taking Action
If you've done the two above steps but still can't seem to turn your thoughts into action, it's time to figure out why. Are you scared of failure? Too distracted? Waiting for the perfect time? Any of these can hold you back as you work to make your thoughts become a reality. If you leave them unchecked, you will never be able to take meaningful action. So once you discover why you can't seem to take action in your life, work through why and eliminate it from your life so that it is no longer a reason.
Turning your thoughts into action is often easier said than done, especially if you aren’t sure where to start and are overthinking everything. The trick is, you need to figure out what is stopping you from turning your thoughts into action, cut out the overthinking, and start following a plan that you have written down—and before you know it, your thoughts will become actions!
You may notice that Authenticity is a little important to me - so important that I put it in the name of my company. It's one of my Core Values. And yet I still struggle with it.
People often pretend to be something or someone they aren’t. Often in social situations, people act differently than they do with their close friends and family. However, it’s important to stay true to who you are, i.e., to be your authentic self.
It’s natural that people want to be accepted but the key to staying true to yourself is not worrying too much about what others think or believe. People should accept you for who you are. Don’t waste your time on people who don’t.
You can’t live up to the person you are pretending to be.
If you aren’t being your authentic self, you will falter at some point. It’s not a matter of if, but when. Did you ever notice that people who lie, often tell a different story later? This is because they won’t remember what the story was in the past and have no choice but to make up new details. If you are pretending to be someone you are not, this is essentially the same as lying.
Know who you are.
It’s important to know yourself. This may seem like an obvious statement, but many people don’t know who they are. Dig deep to discover the subtle aspects of your life that you tend to ignore or keep hidden. There is no need to hide your true personality because that is who you are. You can’t change that.
Stop trying to be someone else.
Everyone has people they look up to. However, looking up to someone and trying to be them is not the same. It’s worthwhile to emulate some of their desirable traits, but make sure you aren’t stepping outside of who you are deep down.
Don’t compromise on your values.
If you believe in something, stand firm. Sometimes, you’ll have no choice to make some compromises, but don’t cave in if they go against your beliefs. You must live with these choices. You want to be able to sleep at night.
Negativity should not be a character trait you accept.
You won’t get far with negativity. If you are a negative person, this is not who you truly are. Remember, you don’t come out of the womb being negative. It’s something you learn. It’s time to unlearn it.
Keep a Journal.
Keeping a journal is one of the best ways to figure out “who you are”. People often find that it is easier to be honest when writing down their thoughts. A journal will allow you to reflect on who you are, and then you can act accordingly.
Join me as I continue to work on my own Authenticity, and present myself, warts and all, because I know I am enough, and I know I have a ton to offer. And so do you.
Data bombards you. We have more data than we ever did due to the internet and storage technologies such as the cloud. It’s great to slice the data every which way you can think of and create nice-looking reports that impress your managers. However, when it comes to decision making, you have to get to the point of making the decision. You’ll need to stop your data gathering and analysis and use what you have to decide.
Computers give you the ability to divide your data in a way that makes sense for you or your company. But, some people will spend hours deriving report after report, and none of them will get them any further in coming to a decision. They believe they need to see ten years of data instead of five. They need to see the impact of sales on each region, even though they are responsible only for one or two.
Data is an important component in the decision-making process. It can let you know who are your customers, how much they have bought, and it can even tell you who your customers aren’t. Information is also important to make confident decisions. Without the information, you could be shooting in the dark, and that is as bad as having too much information. Probably worse.
To help you overcome the situation of analysis paralysis or paralysis by analysis as many will refer to it, speak to your boss or the people who are going to be impacted by the data and your decisions. Ask them what they need from the data, and structure the reports around that information. Don’t include any other data in the report. If you can’t defend the position based on the data they asked for, it doesn’t belong in the report.
Don’t be a hero when it comes to analysis. You may be tempted to show a different level of data to that required as it may show better insight. But, if it isn’t within the scope of your decision, save it for future analysis. It is okay to let managers know that further analysis is possible. They may even extend the deadline and the scope of the project due to this extra information. What’s more likely to happen, however, is they will increase the scope while keeping the deadline the same. In essence, you have just given yourself more work to do by letting them know about this extra data.
Does anyone else feel like they were run over by a train in 2020? I stepped away from coaching to work full-time in my degreed industry, and I was miserable, but "essential" and making money.
We all want to throw our hands in the air and scream, “I quit,’ more than once in our lives. Yes, there are times when you should quit, such as working on something so hard, it seriously impacts your mental health. It is okay to quit, reset and rethink what you are doing, then go forward with a new plan. When you want to quit and there isn’t a life altering reason why you should, then look to the main reasons to buckle down and get at it.
Your starting point to understand why you need to push through the wall is pretty simple. It is called the, “Big Why?” Unless your big why is not fully understood, chances are you will quit. Taking the time to sit down and write out all the reasons why you shouldn’t quit, often will be enough to propel you forward. Ask yourself if you are doing this for you and why you deserve it. You might have a family and you look back on your childhood with some dismay. You want something much better for your family and it means so much to you, that putting in 16 hours days is more than worth it.
To pump up that persistence muscle, you will occasionally have to reflect on the fact that there will be some serious roadblocks. Try sitting in a comfortable chair and look at the roadblocks, while asking yourself if they are super solid or are you blowing them up to the size of a mountain? Frequently we tend to take a situation and add in conversations and things that didn’t actually happen. Think about how many times, someone got you upset and you replayed the conversation over and over, with you giving different answers. The truth is, we can create worlds in our head, yet sometimes that world is full of anguish when it doesn’t have to be.
One way to stop projecting roadblocks in your mind, is to replay breakthrough events in your mind. These positive memories will make it hard for false roadblocks to grow. Everyone has breakthrough moments in their head. It may be simple ones, like struggling for two years in high school math but suddenly in the third year, a bright lightbulb comes on and you got it. It could also be more significant like trying for years to be the number one salesperson in your company, only to place 2nd. Then you turned that frustration into action and put in the hours and calls that made you number one. The feeling of hitting that huge goal and the pleasure of getting a massive bonus was truly exciting.
For those who say they never had a breakthrough moment or have any memories of being a winner, then create one. Your brain cannot tell the difference between a real event and one you create if you put enough power into it. Simply write a scene where you had a serious roadblock and you “Hulked Up,” smashing the obstacle in your way. Put serious emotion into it, picture yourself, jumping up and down, screaming in a loud voice, “I did it!” When you replay this scene in your mind, it will be a real movie. Sports people do this all the time. The best free throwers in basketball, have a mental picture in their mind that supports them. They see and feel themselves stepping up to the line, bouncing the ball a few times before throwing it and boom! Nothing but net, no rim bouncers here in this mental replay.
When overwhelm hits you and you’re trying to push through, stop and take a break. Detoxing your brain is super healthy, the same as detoxing your body. In this case, shut off your phone and all electronics. Get outdoors and play. It does not matter where you live or what you do, so long as you are moving and smiling. Give yourself one to three days and don’t think about why you wanted to quit. Simply detox.
After that detox, sit down and take time to think through the overwhelming task ahead and look at ways to cut it into smaller parts - smaller parts are easier to handle. Instead of one huge task - like cleaning out the garage - think of how many smaller tasks are really involved. Can you mentally partition the space into several areas, and focus on tasks that you will repeat in each area? That way, you can start a list of supplies to pick up, and do that errand on a week day.
Next, gather the containers that you will need to hold items while you sort and purge. You can probably get that done on another weekday. While you're dropping off the containers, bring a few trash bags with you, and see if you can get some trash out of there before the big work day.
Lower the size of the speedbumps that get in the way of getting moving, imagine yourself tackling the problem areas with gusto, turn up the fun with a partner and some music, and when you are ready, re-focus on what you want and why…then take small steps that lead to massive action.
I am overwhelmed, I am tired, but I am determined. My children deserve to enjoy the benefits of our ADHD gifts, and so do I.