How painting helps curb my ADHD compulsiveness

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As an ADHDer, I tend to also be a bit OCD and compulsive. I overwork things, and have a tough time moving on to the next task. Am I finished? Is it good enough? Should I work on it some more? Maybe I should go back and fuss over it. At times I have worked on a project until it’s way past the point of being good or good enough or even excellent, and totally messed it up. It’s then that I realized I should have stopped a long time ago.

Is overworking things a challenge for you, too?

This can be a real problem in my work, as I need to be productive and make the best use of my time. Of course, being a coach for business owners with ADHD, I have strategies that I can use to work around this challenge. And, I also I think my new passion for painting is helping me with this compulsive tendency.

This is where painting comes in

I just took a class last weekend where we had to keep painting fast — we completed four paintings in three hours. Of course this drove me absolutely crazy as my brain kept telling me, wait! I’m not finished! I need to fuss over this! But that didn’t help, because the instructor was barking at us to get up and change our seats and our viewpoints as her assistant was removing my unfinished painting from my hands to pin on the wall. And everyone else was cheerfully moving around and beginning again.

Moving quickly (and stopping) short-circuited my brain

By the end of the second painting, I was beginning to relax a bit. I got up and walked around. I watched the other students. I checked out the paintings on the wall. And I was amazed with what I found out about my painting . . . and how it relates to the rest of my life:

1. I didn’t have time to be compulsive about my work. I didn’t have time to overwork my painting. That fact alone felt very liberating!

2. Some of my quick decisions were Read More

My Top 10 Business Tools for ADHD Business Owners

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I am often asked what tools I like best for ADHD business owners, and which business tools I use myself. The ones I like best for keeping you motivated and on track with your business are pretty simple—you don’t have to invest in a lot of extra stuff to make things work. Some of my favorite tools are mindset oriented, and some of them are practical nuts and bolts tools, most of them very low-tech. No programs to learn or software to invest in.

1. Patience

If you’ve made a commitment to yourself to work on your business, please be patient with yourself. Many ADHD business owners like to work when the spirit moves them. If you’re not used to being consistent, doing things in order, and following steps, you may slip up, go off on a tangent, and get impatient with yourself. When this happens, take a deep breath, remember your commitment to yourself, and go back to where you left off. No need to beat yourself up. Every start is a new start. Just take a deep breath and begin again, putting one foot in front of the other. Everyone slips up—it’s okay!

2. An Open Mind

There are many ways to do things, and many people you can get advice from and learn from. You may hear things explained in many different ways from others—perhaps by ADHD coaches who don’t understand business, or by business coaches who don’t understand ADHD. If you follow the advice in my articles, webinars, books, or courses, remember they are designed specifically for business owners with ADHD, so the advice is going to be a bit different than what you may have heard before. I explain things a bit differently, and I’m going to ask you to do some things others have not asked you to do. On the other hand, I’m going to skip over things you may have heard are essential. I urge you to keep an open mind as you choose which methods work best for you.

3. Perseverance

Working on your business can get tough at times, I’m not going to kid you. You may even want to hang it up and go back to doing things willy nilly! But working on your business is worth it—and you know this already if you are spinning your wheels, and not getting anywhere. Putting structure and strategies in place will help you in the long run and bring you tons of relief, even if it does take perseverance to carry you through. I hear this all the time from my clients who have persevered!

4. Sticky Notes!

Sticky notes are my favorite business tool, and I’m betting they will soon become yours as well, if they aren’t already. Stock up on various sizes—I like the 3 x 3” and 4 x 4” squares. Sticky notes are great for ADHDers because you don’t need toRead More

How to Make Accountability Work for You

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Strategy 2:  (from my Step-by-Step Business Blueprint) Get an accountability partner

Everyone, ADHD or not, works better when they are accountable, but ADHDers really need accountability. We just do. There’s something about beginning tasks, following through, transitioning from one task to another, prioritizing, and all of the other things that make you productive that get bogged down if you don’t have encouragement and someone to report to. You know you do better work when you’re accountable to someone, but when you own a business and you’re out there on your own, how do you you get that accountability?

Sure you could hire a coach, and if you do have a coach on an ongoing basis, congratulations, that’s wonderful accountability!

A coach can really light a fire under you and keep you on track. Just make sure your coach is holding you accountable for your business actions, ones that you agree to. This is what I do for my coaching clients.

Or, if you don’t have an ongoing coach who keeps you accountable, or if you need more ongoing support, get an accountability partner. Or several. There are a few ways to do this and make it work over the long run.

Two ways to get accountability partners

Here are my two favorite ways to get accountability partners (other than a paid coach):

1.) get a “true” accountability partner, where you find another business person who also needs support and accountability, and you fill this role for each other, or Read More

7 Steps to Real Business Growth

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Do you know the steps for growing your business? What it really takes? Sometimes it’s so much simpler than it sounds or looks, and sometimes half of it is just showing up. Putting one foot in front of the other and doing the work. Getting back up when you get knocked down—that kind of stuff.

But what work are we supposed to be doing when we show up, and get back up after being knocked down? What’s important to do and what isn’t? What makes and breaks it for a small business owner in the real world?

If you’re tired of all the flash-in-the-pan “try me” strategies that never seem to work for you, and advice from people who have not been out there fighting the dragons every day, then listen to this—there are just a few things you need to do. But you really do need to do them. Lip service won’t cut it.

Here are the 7 steps to real business growth, as I learned them from over 30 years of real in-the-trenches business (these steps are an overview, a summary of the in-depth steps and strategies I’ve broken down for you in my Business Blueprint Chunks, which are now on special for my Holiday Coaching, until November 30):

Step 1. Find out where you are

Yep, that’s it—where the heck are you?

What’s working for you? What’s not working? What are your major challenges—have you really stopped to think about that? Are you feeling stuck at a certain level? Has the market changed, and the old ways of getting business aren’t working anymore? Are you feeling invisible in your field? Need more customers? Need a higher quality customer? Or are you growing too fast, out of control? Or are you so busy always putting out fires that you can’t get to what you really want or need to do?

You could be anywhere, with any number of challenges—the point is to take stock and know exactly where you stand in your business. Because, in business today, where you stand can change pretty quickly—and where your customer stands can also change quickly. If you don’t know where you are, you won’t know where to start, and you won’t be able to react.

Step 2. Figure out where you want to go

Do you have a real vision for you business? Do you know where you want it to take you?

I’m always flabbergasted by the number of business owners who say, “That’s a good question,” when I ask them this. It’s beyond my comprehension. When I first started my design firm, all I ever did was think about and plan the way I wanted it to be—from who I would work with and what I would offer, to my messaging, positioning, and marketing—so I can’t imagine that anyone would not do that. Here’s what I say back to those who don’t have a vision for their business:Read More

How to set pricing

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Frau im Bro - Arbeit in der Finanzbuchhaltung

 

I know. You don’t like to talk about your money. And you don’t like to look at it, either. It’s so much easier to just keep doing whatever it is you do to make money than it is to peek at your actual business finances, to get a picture of whether or not you’re really profitable. It’s icky, and you don’t want to look because you might not like what you see. Besides, you don’t really know what you should be looking for, and who has the time to dig into stuff like that?

So you don’t look. You don’t tally things up. You don’t analyze your pricing to figure out if it’s high enough, or if you’re giving away the store. You turn your head away and look for the next project you can bid on, the next referral you can follow up on, the next cool mailing you can do, or the next networking event you can attend. Maybe one of those will pan out and you can get some new business, and keep the money coming in.

And then you won’t have to look at the money you’re making, and whether or not you’re actually profitable.

MARKETING IS GOOD BUT LOOKING AT YOUR MONEY IS BETTER

Following up on leads and marketing your business and all of those things are important and good and yes, you should do them. But not at the expense of looking at your money and analyzing your pricing. You need to look at your money–if for no other reason than to assure yourself that you and your company are sturdy enough to be around tomorrow.

I know because I didn’t like to look at or talk about the money in my business, and I ignored my money, too—because it made me feel icky to think that I might not be doing it right. I didn’t like the money conversation with clients and I wasn’t at all sure that what I was doing was worth what I needed to charge for it.

Until I found a different way of looking at the money in my business.

WHAT YOU PUT YOUR POSITIVE ATTENTION ON GROWS

“You become what you think about most of the time.” —Earl Nightengale

You probably know by now that your life follows your attention. If you put positive attention on your kids, your relationship with them grows. If you put positive attention on your spouse, that relationship grows. If you put your positive attention on your dog, your dog’s behavior changes and grows better. Even plants respond to positive attention, growing stronger and healthier under your care and the time you spend with them.

Money is no different. Start Read More

How Not to Crash and Burn

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IMG_4187I’ve been laying low for awhile.

Like you, maybe, I have a tendency to burn out if I don’t pay attention to my energy levels and the subtle signs my body and intuition are showing me. And I’m trying not to let it get to the “crash and burn” stage anymore—sheesh, I’ve been through enough of that. I don’t seem to have a throttle that keeps me on an even keel through life, and instead I barrel along at 100 miles per hour. At least it often seems that way.

So this time, when the little, and then not so little, nudges started intruding on my hectic and stressful life—the silent whispers that said, “Marcia, slow down. You’re wound way too tight,“—I actually listened.

I actually paid attention. I slowed down. And it really, really helped

Here’s what I did:Read More

Follow Through: How I Finished My First Children’s Book

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7MoopyBook007If you have ADHD, you know that following through can be tough. Almost impossible, even. Or at least it seems that way, most of the time.

Just being creative, having wonderful ideas, and having bits and pieces of your project started are not enough.

You. Have. To. Actually. Finish. Things.

You know what I’m talking about. You’re creative. You have wonderful ideas. You have lots of wonderful ideas—too many, probably. And you have bits and pieces of these fabulous ideas started, and abandoned, all over the place.

Moopy Wants a Kitty Book CoverWhen I pushed the final button to publish my first children’s book to Amazon last week, I might as well have been sending a rocket ship to Mars. At least that’s what it felt like, because, you know, I actually got it done.

It was a monumental effort

This book was a monumental effort for me, because I have just as much trouble finishing things as you do. I’ve been wanting to write a kid’s book for years. I’ve had the idea for this particular book for at least two years, and I’ve been actively working on it for over 12 months. Maybe more. I didn’t actually track it.

If you take a look at my book (link below), you’ll see that there’s not that much to it—the entire book has only 217 words and 17 simple illustrations. How could it have taken me so long? And in the next minute, if you have ADHD, you’ll understand that this is only one of my ideas. Only one of the projects I’ve been chasing in my head, on the drawing board, on paper, in the bowels of my computer, in my sleep, and in my conversations. I’ve got lots of other projects started in bits and pieces, too. Sound familiar?

So how did I do it? How did I actually follow through and finish my book?

It wasn’t easy. Many times I wanted to just let it fade away. But it feels so good to accomplish something like this—something I’ve always wanted to do—that I wanted to share Read More

Where to start as an ADHD business owner

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Last week, I had two very fun and lively conversations with Winnie Anderson extraordinaire, for her top-rated podcast, The Let’s Talk Tech Show. (See the links at the end of this article to listen to the original interviews.) One of the questions she asked me, when we were discussing the top five issues entrepreneurs with ADHD struggle with, was where to start.

In my years of coaching ADHD entrepreneurs, I’ve had many conversations and run many surveys. These five challenges keep bubbling to the top as the issues ADHD business owners most often struggle with:

  1. Follow through
  2. Planning ahead and not waiting until the last minute
  3. Getting out of overwhelm
  4. Prioritization
  5. Systems, processes, and structure

Winnie asked me: “How do you help someone focus on their greatest issues? How do you help them know what to do first?”

Start with reducing overwhelm

Everyone is overwhelmed. And when you have ADHD and more ideas than the average person, the overwhelm just gets compounded. The feeling can completely overcome you and weigh you down so that you can’t do anything, for fear that Read More

Brain Music: How Music Calms Your Body while Helping Your Brain Think Your Best Ideas

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In the 1950s, German physicist Winfried Otto Schumann discovered that the Earth’s magnetic field resonates at 7.83 Hz.

In 1979, Schumann’s associate Herbert Konig found a correlation between the Schumann Resonance and the alpha rhythm of brain waves. When you are in the alpha state, the Earth and your brain are operating at the same frequency. This frequency and synchronization with the Earth is associated with creativity, overall mental and mind/body coordination, calmness, alertness, and learning. Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?

There are five levels of brain wave activity

Beta: waking hours, consciously alert, reasoning and active processing

Alpha: deep physical and mental relaxation

Theta: sleep and reduced consciousness, light meditative state

Delta: deep sleep, unconsciousness

Gamma: recently discovered, this level is associated with bursts of insight and high-level information processing

We want to get to alpha

Of these five mental states, alpha is the level which helps us learn, be creative, memorize, and read the thoughts and emotions of others. Creative people show the alpha state when listening and arriving at solutions.

In the beta state, which is the normal level of mind activity when you’re awake, the brain’s frequency is higher than it is when it’s in alpha. Since the brain is a lot like an electrical circuit, all of your thoughts and activity tend to clutter it, making it less capable and perceptive than it can be. Sound familiar? If a non-ADHD person’s brain can be cluttered in beta state, just think what your ADHD brain is like in beta! Yowza!

That’s why it’s so important to get to alpha. Alpha untangles our brains and removes the clutter, allowing them to work more efficiently and be more powerful, stronger, and more perceptive. Feels better already, huh?

Receiving information in the alpha state makes you far more likely to remember it, as well. By freeing the brain from a constant stream of activity (such as when you’re in beta), you actually use more of it. Focus and concentration, memory, learning, and powers of insight increase dramatically in alpha.

How does music help you get to alpha?

The good news is, you can slow down your beta brain and change your electromagnetic frequency to alpha (and re-align yourself with the Schumann Resonance, the frequency of the Earth) anytime, by listening to music.

But first, how does music affect your brain?

• Many studies have shown that music enhances memory, spatial reasoning, math skills, and increases IQ.

Music helps communication and synchronicity between the two brain hemispheres. This is important because whole-brain thinking is “genius thinking.”

Music can stimulate the brain to enter the alpha and theta states. Now that’s what we’re talking about!

However, we’re not talking about just any music. Most music fluctuates in frequency, tempo, and volume so it doesn’t create a constant alpha state in the brain. It can relax you, but it won’t put you in a specific, constant brainwave state. We need real brain music to do the job.

Listen to this particular classical music

The following pieces of music, in particular, are brain music. They have been recommended for guiding your brain into the alpha state and keeping it there long enough to do some good. Your body may appear relaxed while listening but your mind Read More

How to Spot a Business Owner with ADHD

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Some of us call it a curse. Some of us call it a super power. Some of us wish it would go away. Other business owners with ADHD wouldn’t go back and take a “normal” brain if it was offered to them. David Neeleman, founder of JetBlue, says that if there was a pill to make his ADHD go away for good, he’d refuse to take it, because he wouldn’t be where he is today without it.

Neeleman told ADDitude Magazine,

“I can distill complicated facts and come up with simple solutions. I can look out on an industry with all kinds of problems and say, ‘How can I do this better?’ My ADD brain naturally searches for better ways of doing things.”

It is true that some of ADHD’s most common characteristics—creativity, multi-tasking, risk-taking, high energy, and resilience—are definitely strengths when leveraged in the right way and in the right career. This is why so many high profile achievers are beginning to publicly embrace their diagnoses of ADHD.

But there are also the other characteristics of ADHD that you may struggle with—procrastination, inability to concentrate, forgetfulness, distractibility, frustration with routine, and time blindness—that can tie knots in your business dealings.

Regardless of how you feel about your ADHD, you know that it affects your business in many ways, ways that others sometimes don’t understand.

Even the experts don’t agree about ADHD and business

I was on an ADHD forum a few weeks ago where a woman was told by her physician that people with ADHD can’t run businesses, so she should just forget about the idea. What followed was a vigorous debate, as forum members gave example after example to prove the good doctor wrong. I personally think she should get a new doctor.

On the other hand, there are physicians like Dale Archer, MD, who wrote in Forbes magazine:Read More