Hello, Gorgeous Soul.

This week I’m going to be sharing my biggest AHA moments, lessons and GIFTS I’ve learned from my journey with having ADHD. And again, whether you have a brain wired like mine or NOT, the lessons and tools that came from this part of my story WILL be applicable for YOU.

Most of my life I believed I was ditzy, excitable, unorganized, and a quitter.

I knew I was smart. I knew I was ambitious and had big dreams and LOTS Of dreams.

I just ALSO knew that my pattern for my whole life was getting excited about these big dreams, getting overwhelmed and then abandoning them because I didn’t know how.

I knew my pattern was Getting excited about something new and then JUST as quickly as it came getting bored and quitting..

I was the quintessential “hot mess”.

During the first year I was working as a speech pathologist, I was sharing office space with an OT and a psychologist. One day, the psychologist, the MOST organized person I’ve maybe ever known walked into the office to find me on the floor SURROUNDED by papers and files and my laminator and velcro, feeling and apparently LOOKING super overwhelmed.
And sweet Val, the psychologist lovingly said to me, “Have you ever been tested for ADHD?”

Tested? No. Suspected…totally. But didn’t EVERYONE have trouble organizing their thoughts and lives?

Didn’t everyone have 8 million thoughts and ideas running around their brain like puppies until the puppies exhausted themselves and fell asleep?

“No,” she told me, “not everyone.”

Seriously?? Who are these unicorns??

I made an appointment with a psychiatrist that day (because if I didn’t I would’ve forgotten for SURE or gotten overwhelmed at the THOUGHT of finding a psychiatrist and making an appointment.

A few weeks later, in the middle of the exam, the psychiatrist stopped asking questions and said, “I just have to ask….HOW the HELL did you make it through GRAD school??”

NEVER sleeping and LOTS of caffeine.

I started on medication almost immediately.

The first day I took the medication I cried. “Is THIS how other people think? Is THIS what other people’s brains feel like?”

I took medication for years until unfortunately the side effects really started negatively impacting my life. I remember my best friend telling me “You just aren’t Kristen anymore” and Dave, who understood my struggle but also saw that it kind of sucked who I was right out of me. It kind of made me a zombie.

For the record, if it hadn’t, I would STILL be on this medication today. I’m a big fan of going natural routes for anything but also? Western medicine for the WIN when it’s warranted.

SO medication wasn’t a fit for me at that point BUT I was struggling BIG time to manage a marriage, 2 babies, a job, and ALL the visible AND invisible responsibilities being the wife and mom brings.

Y’all know what I’m talking about. The million things your brain needs to keep track of….it’s hard with an organized brain.

I thought my case was hopeless.

I had the thought “It’s impossible. My brain just doesn’t WORK this way….I cannot get my shit together. I NEVER follow through. My life is just going to be a mess.

But that just didn’t sit right.

I was like, “I’m a smart person. I figured out how to get through college and grad school. Maybe not the healthiest ways, but I figured it out. Which means, if I’ve figured it out before, I can figure it out again.”

AND THAT became the catalyst to thinking about my brain differently.

Because what I realized was that every time I tried something and QUIT it always came back to the same old boring story “You never follow through, you’re too scattered, you’re a joke”.

But the times I DID follow through I just didn’t give myself an option. In my BODY I knew that not following through on college or grad school WASN’T an option. My thoughts when things were hard weren’t “Who cares? You never follow through”, my thoughts were “Figure it out.”

And I did.

My thoughts created my ability to follow through, not how my brain was wired. My brain didn’t suddenly become NOT add while I was in grad school….it just mattered to me so much. I BELIEVED that I would figure out a way because I didn’t want any other option.

So when I came to this moment, a young mom with 2 babies and all the things, and a decision was made to NOT take medications, I knew I my THOUGHTS about my ability to get my shit together were the key.

And so I started thinking about this: Why do I LOVE my brain? Instead of looking for all the ways how I’m wired is making my life HARDER…how about the ways it makes it better?

I LOVED my brain when I was inspired and when ideas were flowing. I’d challenge ANYONE to a competition of who can come up with more ideas.

I LOVED that my brain could see the BIG picture…could SEE the possibility where others couldn’t.

I LOVED the feeling I felt when I let myself just BE with all the ideas and thoughts. It felt both exciting and calm when I wasn’t jumping ahead of myself trying to figure out all the details.

When I was working WITH the way my brain was wired, it felt like my ADHD was a superpower.

SO I just decided to make THAT my new thought.

This THING about me that seems like a deficit, something that will KEEP me from the life I want…it’s my superpower.

I want you to think about this for you.

Maybe it’s your introversion. I can’t tell you how many clients I’ve worked with who think in order to be successful in life they need to be more outgoing. HOW is your personality type your SUPERPOWER?

Maybe you’ve been labeled as “too much”. Too emotional, too loud, too talkative, too sensitive. But what if someone told you it was ACTUALLY a superpower? How could that be true??

As I started changing my story about my add being a problem to it being a superpower I noticed the thoughts that kept trying to argue this were like “Yeah, but you can’t JUST be big ideas or you’ll never get anything done.”

I decided that was true. But what if I just got KIND OF OK at details?

What if instead of trying to change my brain to be a details kind of a gal, I just LET it shine in it’s big picture glory and find some strategies to help with the details.

Listen. Just you don’t have to be AMAZING at everything.

AND THIS belief keeps SO many brilliant people small.

Step into your zone of genius, stay there as MUCH as you can and figure out strategies for the rest.
So back to the moment of truth, NO meds to help me organize this messy life, just ME.

At this time one of the WORST messes was my actual house. It was a literal mess. I mean, from the outside it looked ok. THAT I was good at, making it look like things were pretty neat from the outside, but if you looked behind doors, behind couches, under beds, in any cabinet or drawer, you would see the mess. And if you saw the basement, you would’ve had LOTS of thoughts.

When I say undoing the clutter was a giant project, I am not exaggerating. And my superpower was being able to SEE the finished result and getting into the feeling of peace and calm this clean clutter free house would inspire in me.

But the details? NO ma’am. No sir. No way. No how.

So, ok. How do I get into my zone of genius AND figure out strategies to actually do it?

For me? I had to believe that it was possible, first and foremost.

If I figured out college and grad school, I can figure this out.

I had to break it down into TEEEEENSY tiny chunks and then constantly remind myself that breaking it down into teensy tiny chunks wouldn’t make it take LONGER, it would prevent me from getting overwhelmed and quitting.

So I set my timer for 10 minutes a day. And for 10 minutes I went through clutter. There was no “right” way or specific amount of tasks to accomplish. It was just “pick a spot, grab a garbage bag or a donation box and clear. When the timer goes off, you’re DONE.”

From this I found one of the MOST impactful thoughts that helps me not only stay in my zone of genius MORE but also be productive AF ….even with adHD>

And that thought is this: Structure creates freedom.

So because my brain is wired the way it is, I’m more of a dreamer and, as Dave calls it, hippy dippy….free space in my life is VERY important.

Without time to think and daydream, I feel suffocated and caged.

So when I looked at my friend Mary, who lived next door, and saw her sheets she made on the computer that organized what was for dinner every night and when she would go to the store and what she needed from the store and what the plans were, I was like “I mean, as NICE as it would be to be as organized as Mary, that’s just not my jam. I like to go with the flow.”

But somehow, I never had time to go with the flow.

I was always stressed out trying to figure out what to make for dinner or rushing to the store at 9:00pm to grab something I needed to MAKE that dinner.

Or when I DID have some free time at the end of the day, all I could think of was all the things that DIDN”T get done, all the messes I STILL had to clean up, all the ways I was STILL a hot mess.

It did NOT feel free.

I started noticing that I felt AMAZING during my 10 minutes of cluttering. In fact, at the end of the day I felt accomplished even if that was the ONLY thing I did that day. I always knew WHEN I was going to do it and that it was going to get done.

So I started using this strategy in other areas of my life: specifically I created an evening routine.

My evening routine consisted of me doing as MANY things for my tomorrow morning self as possible, deciding what to wear, deciding what I would eat for breakfast lunch dinner, getting my workout clothes ready, ANYTHING that would make the morning easier, I incorporated into my morning routine.

And my mornings started to feel AMAZING which made me motivated to DO the evening routine.

I could FEEL how this structure created freedom in my mornings.

SO I took it a step further. Started incorporating as many routines as possible into my life. A morning routine. A cleaning routine. A SELF CARE routine.

Then I started deciding exactly WHEN I would complete my routines. 7-8 evening routine. This strategy became what I now call intentional time-blocking. Every day I would block out my days hour by hour so that I knew exactly what my day was going to look like and what was going to get done and WHEN it was going to get done.

It sounds a little bit like a machine, like the OPPOSITE of my go with the flow wiring, BUT structure creates freedom.

ALSO…structure creates TIME…the thing we all think we don’t have enough of.

The more structure I created, the more time I created to do whatever the EFF I wanted.

Instead of looking at my ADHD as a deficit, I take the parts that feel harder and I SOLVE for those so that the SUPERPOWER parts have room to shine.

And this is why I always tell you, HEY! Who you are is not a problem to be fixed. How you are wired, your personality is not a mistake.

Again, LOTS more lessons I have learned from my ADHD journey.

But truly the BIGGEST ones are this:

If you work WITH your brain instead of trying to change it, you will be so much happier AND so much more successful.

Structure creates freedom and time.

AND who you are is not a mistake.

And when you start seeing the thing you think is wrong with you as your SUPERPOWER, your damn life will change.Alright, thanks for listening. Grab a spot on my calendar to talk to me about rewired AF. Have an amazing week. I love you so much. See you next time.

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