What if You Need Self-Compassion not Self-Judgment?

#adhd #adhdbrain #adhdcoach #selfcompassion #selflove #selfworth #well-being Jul 08, 2023

Betty had cancer again.

The metastatic kind.

The kind that means you have cancer the rest of your life.

And then Betty’s husband died.

I promise that if you keep reading, this story has a happy endin.

When Betty came to coaching, she was stuck - her words not mine.

She said she couldn’t leave the sofa, only able to binge watch movies on Netflix.

She was overwhelmed and couldn’t figure out her next step because there were too many next steps to choose from.

She was grieving.

Grief has no timeline.

Grief doesn’t care if you have a deadline at work.

Grief pops in the most unexpected moments and can knock you to your knees.

Grief is the emotion dial turned up to 11.

Sooner or later, we’re all going to experience it.

Because we lose people or pets or opportunities or great jobs.

Betty thought something was wrong with her.

She couldn’t understand where her motivation had gone.

She couldn’t get started.

Her grief and her ADHD had her derailed.

BUT Betty saw that hiring a coach could help her begin to shift.

And this is everything!

Before we could get Betty unstuck, we needed to get her to grace.

I reminded her that she had been through two major life events in a short time period.

Major life events are

  • Death of a loved one
  • Divorce
  • Moving
  • Major illness or injury
  • Job loss

They’re massively stressful.

It wasn’t a shock to me that Betty was ‘stuck’.

Who wouldn’t be?

What she needed was self-compassion which is often not our ADHD superpower.

She needed to stop beating herself up for having a very human reaction to two major life upsets.

We’re so hard on ourselves.

Did you know that the average ADHDer has heard 20,000 more negative messages by the age of 12 than their neurotypical peers?

It’s no wonder we beat ourselves up.

In addition to getting focused on her work again, Betty had two major decluttering projects she wanted to get to.

Both of them were holding her back and sucking her energy.

They were preventing her from getting back to work.

The first was her husband’s woodworking hobby.

The entire basement was his playground with tools and materials neatly piled everywhere.

Luckily, he had buddies who offered to help with organizing, selling things of value, and letting other things go.

Some of our coaching work was around accepting their generous offer to help.

This was definitely physically a much bigger project than Betty could handle alone (no judgment!).

And every tool held a memory of her husband, so it was also emotionally stressful.

The second was her office.

Home and work papers needed attention and separating.

It’s not easy to go through the mail when you’re grieving.

Knowing that Betty had assembled a team for the basement, I offered to meet with her to go through everything.

Yes, I can help clients organize their office spaces into productive environments!

I asked Betty to make space in her kitchen and dining room so we would have staging areas before I arrived.

Then over the course of two days, I did the initial sort of papers.

Betty would then tackle one small pile at a time and make decisions.

Then we started to put things away.

Some decisions were emotionally charged because they were papers about her husband’s hospitalization etc.

Some were opportunities lost.

Some were future opportunities that could move her forward.

Whatever they were, we tackled them together.

Please do not under-estimate how emotionally difficult decluttering can be.

Having a body double or an organizer to help you is worth their weight in gold.

If they’re trauma informed it’s even better.

Because losing someone is often a traumatic experience!

Flash forward two years (and skipping over a lot of her story), Betty is now living her best life.

She opted to move to a small condo (another major life event!) closer to one of her children.

This was a decision she couldn’t even think about when she first hired a coach.

She’s still working and loving it, but she has shifted her client base to allow more time for travel.

Life isn’t always perfect but Betty’s new life definitely fits who she wants to be!

And that’s the goal of coaching.

It would be easy to say oh Betty decluttered her space and of course now she's more productive.

But that would miss the moral of the story.

Because we've gotten productivity all wrong.

Productivity isn’t just about some measurement of quantity - hours worked, projects completed, widgets made.

Productivity is about people.

It’s about quality of life.

It’s about making time to BE and enjoy all the best parts of life.

It’s about creating a life that fits you, your uniquely wired brain, and your own life journey.

Betty recently told me she chose me as her coach, because she knew I had had cancer and would understand what she’s going through.

I'm so glad she did.

It has been my honor to help Betty.

My hope is that you find the person who can help you on your journey.

Maybe it's me.

Let's find out!

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