Mindset and Shifting Context with ADHD

Episode 102

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Shelly and Cam continue the theme of exploring context by introducing a process for shifting to a better mindset. Context informs our current narrative and our narrative informs our mindset or the way we perceive our world.

They share a simple three-step process of Pause, Disrupt, Pivot to shift from a negative context to a positive one. Shelly shares an excellent story of how she uses the process to interrupt a potential spiraling event and move to a better frame of mind. As they often do, Cam and Shelly share typical ADHD challenges around shifting context and leave listeners with a simple practice.

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Episode Transcript:

Shelly: Hi, I’m Shelly. 

Cam: And I’m Cam 

Shelly: And this is translating ADHD this week. We are going to continue pulling on the thread of context, but before we do just a quick reminder that we are now accepting applications for our next group coaching course, which begins Wednesday, January 19th at 8:30 PM. Eastern time. If you’re interested in applying for the group, or you just want to learn more about our group coaching and what that looks like, visit the website, translating adhd.com, click on the group coaching link. And there is all of the information about each of our courses, including the upcoming agency course, and a link for you to apply to be a part of this group.

So cam. are we taking context this week? And it’s so funny, the more we talk about context, the more context there is to bring in about context.

Cam: Well, And it seems like that every time we crack into a new topic, it’s the same. That when we look at a topic, whether it’s context, whether it’s time we reveal more, there’s more to be revealed. And I think that with ADHD, we have that binary approach of, you know, it’s interesting. It’s not interesting it’s now or not now.

And that when you start to look at something with curiosity, there’s more to be revealed. More awareness to develop, that first barrier of ADHD. And then getting into our process of understand, own translate. So let’s do a high level review of where we are, and then we’re going to dive into one of these elements of context.

And as Shelly and I work, by the way, I just gotta, I’m just feeling the love, Shelly. I’m just feeling alive. We’re just like, You might think that we come on here like, okay. You Co-anchors like, all right, are you ready? You know, Let’s go. But we’re just over here having so much fun. We’re having so much fun and talking about all this ideas and appreciating each other’s brain and appreciating each other.

I just wanted to share that with the world, Shelly.

Shelly: Absolutely. This has been as much a learning experience for cam and I, as it is for all of you, because while we share very similar philosophies and views on ADHD and coaching and what works. We don’t think entirely in the same way we make meaning a little differently. And so the sum is greater than its parts by sitting down.

Okay. Talking together and comparing notes and getting curious about the place where there are discrepancies or where we see things a little differently. We always come out on the other side with a deeper understanding. It’s so cool. This is so fun. And yes, we did spend a good portion of our pre-show today.

Just sort of sharing the love for each other, which is a nice thing to do and really amazing that a hundred plus episodes in that we are still legitimately having fun doing this. I never dread sitting down to do this with you Cam even in my most hectic weeks, I know that this hour of my week will be fun.

It will be easy. And even if I’m struggling or having a tough time, we’re going to get through it and it’s going to be great.

Cam: Yeah, there’s a tension here. There’s a positive tension that opens a space for curiosity and creativity, exploration, and innovation. And we were talking about this earlier. This we have these commonalities, these shared values. Our philosophy on coaching our take on ADHD, but then there’s this, these differences that came out in our conversation last week, around the tone of our why, right?

How my experience around that Y was so different from yours. And it’s an interesting thing that happens there if we have these common areas, but also appreciating these differences and between those two is this tension that I think is like, it’s a wellspring, it’s a wellspring people. Like we’re not going anywhere.

I’m just going to make that declaration. We’re not going anywhere. Shelly. We’re not going. This is too much fun. I got my coffee it’s Monday morning and we’re just cooking here. We are cooking already. All right. I digress back to context. So last week we talked about the tone of your why, right? And shifting from the scarcity perspective into more of the abundance.

That informs or as informed by your big agenda. So, Last week I talked about tethering to my, why informs who I am and how I show up in the world as an educator, as a coach, as a change agent and this bigger thing, that’s bigger than me, to celebrate cognitive diversity. I feel like I’m on that track, right?

Yeah. This show the coaching. I do the training I do, of all the coaches that I train. And so that’s context that is in a bigger context that informs who we are and our bigger, why the week before that we talked about context in how it doesn’t help us write contextual pitfalls and a narrative or story.

we can kind of attach to that may not certainly not based in truth, but it’s a story that is convenient. It is compelling and it’s not helping us. So we talked about locking into a very specific story and with ADHD, it supersizes it right into absolute language. I always am late.

I never, Make it happen, whatever I want to make happen, the victim. And so there’s that negative thing. Finally, there’s also the, just wired for context in the sense of strengths and Shelley and I were talking about this earlier about our clients who are positive disruptors, they’re innovators, they’re early adapters.

They make connections that others don’t see. And often that strength is it’s not seen as a big deal, right? When in fact it’s a super strength. So we’re going to do that when next week, this week, we’re really going to come back to those negative ones, the mindset and how to turn it into a positive mindset. Your, let it be easy. Let it be easy. Provides a context for a way of being, so this is context in the sense of mindset shifting from that pitfall one to a positive one.

Shelly: Yeah. And let’s call a cam talking about how, as we talk about these things together, our understanding deepens. we’ve recently come up with a new way of articulating what’s happening there that we’ve been using in our coaching groups. And even in my own life, having this model in my head is so helpful when I’m pulling in a, let it be easy.

Or when I’m having a period of time, like this period of time, where two weeks ago I took attendance. Trip. I was gone. I was fully disconnected from my business, which I rarely do partially because they don’t really like having to do the catch-up work. On the other side, I prefer to stay a little caught up along the way, but this was needed 10 full days disconnected came back and worked one week.

And now I have a friend in town for a week and I started to have a meltdown about that. I have so much to do. There’s no way I’m going to get it all done. Why did I book all this stuff? So close together, maybe I just don’t even want her to come visit. What was I thinking? And then I was able to take a beat and start to distinguish what has to happen before this person arrives. are the things that absolutely must happen? And what are the things that I can let go of? she’s not here to see my perfectly clean house. It’s okay. That I didn’t fold the towels and they’re still downstairs. They’re clean. So she wants to take a shower. I have a clean towel for her and just letting go.

And so here’s the language that cam and I developed around this. Are you ready for this? It’s so good. Pause. Disrupt, pivot. We’ve talked before on this show about how that pause for awareness is the most critical thing that happens, whether it be in a coaching relationship, whether you’re doing your work through this podcast.

Learning how to pause is huge because it’s ADHD people. So often we don’t see the detrimental behavior or pattern until we’re on the other side of it. And it’s the story of, oh, I did it again. How did I get here again? How did I let this deadline creep up on me again? How am I late again? How did I forget about this again?

So being able to pause before or during the behavior and naming what’s going on. So for me last week, pausing and saying, okay, I need to take a beat because I see that I’m spiraling and I know how their story ends. It ends in me running around frantically. Denying myself sleep and ultimately being less prepared to spend time with my friends because I’m drained, I’m tired.

I killed myself doing things that don’t even matter. So that’s the pause and listeners, when you start to learn to do just that piece, that is celebration worthy. Even if you are not yet able to do anything else with it, learning to pause is everything. I cannot overemphasize that enough.

Cam: And that is overcoming the first barrier, right? So the first barrier is awareness to new awareness. So Shelly, in that situation, it’s recognizing what you’re doing in that moment. The spiraling, which is a big signal. And we jump on those big signals. it is habitual that we can have a craving for it.

Even though we’re killing ourselves in our mind, our brain is getting rewarded, with a dopamine response. So right there recognizing the cost of the spiraling number one, and then disrupting that actual spiraling is part two there to disrupt that whatever you’re doing disrupted.

Shelly: I want to go back to the pause for one second, because I think it would be helpful for the listeners to talk about what might happen during a pause or what a pause looks like in practice. So my client and low-key that we talked about a few weeks ago, being able to name Loki was a pause point for him that didn’t exist before having a name for that voice. noticing the spiral. I didn’t call it a spiral at the time. It was more recognizing that internal chaotic feeling that’s familiar to me and noticing that was happening. So consider for you, does giving things, names, help tapping into a metaphor I’m in the valley, I’m in Hoff cam and I talk about my health a lot, but the critical thing about cam and I having that shared language of Hoth for my valley, when he was my coaches, it was a shorthand I could say to him, I’m in ha. And he knew what that meant. I knew what that meant. And I was able to name it when it was happening and giving it a name, changed everything. Because now it’s like, I know what this is. I know this place. And I know that I’m capable of getting out of this place.

Cam: we’ve done an episode on acceptance, right? And the challenge around acceptance, this is an acceptance thing. And so yes, a feeling, a word, a sensation in the body, right? Your brains are tethered to this amazing nervous system. That runs all the way through your body and noticing, if we’re feeling stress, it often shows up in our body in certain ways, right? A shortness of breath, attention in your neck a pit in your stomach to notice that like, oh, here I am. What we’ll often do is try to fight through it. Thinking our only option is forward. And this is again recognizing, oh, I’m at a choice point here I can continue on or I can disrupt this.

I can disrupt this process. Here’s the thing I want to go high level just for a second. A powerful affirmation or statement, right? Like Let it be easy. Oh, listeners just let it be easy. We’re telling you it’s a process to get there. It’s not just being able to say, let it be easy. And then it’s going to be easy.

You’re already doing your thing. You’re overwhelmed. You’re stressed. You’ve got so much on your plate. And so what Shelley and I are talking about here is this process of moving to a better context, right? Getting to let it be easy.

Shelly: Cam, I kind of want to share another mantra of mine that works, particularly when I’m spiraling. It’s officially Eric. I bet that doesn’t surprise you,

Cam: No, not surprised.

Shelly: but it’s, it’s one of their prettiest, most heartfelt songs. And one of the lyrics is just relax. You’re doing fine. And so sometimes let it be easy as just the right thing. Sometimes that disrupt into a pivot looks like. Pausing disrupting realigning action, and then going into action. But sometimes it doesn’t sometimes the pause and disrupt into the pivot. It’s just calming down, taking care of oneself and when I’m spiraling like that. And when I say I feel chaotic in my body and need it, it’s internal and external, my brain feels like a Whirlpool and the way I move about my day or move about my house changes completely. I’m suddenly moving so much faster and I’m losing things and I’m getting frustrated for flipping back and forth from room to room and ah, just.

Enter and outward chaos. And for me, being able to pause and say, just relax, you’re doing fine. Like notice there’s no forward intent there. Let it be easy as some forward intent. It’s kind of a question. How can I let this be easy? Just relax. You’re doing fine. Is pause, breathe, be in this moment. And if you can do nothing more than just. Just relax and be fine. That’s okay. That’s okay. pause, disrupt pivot is not necessarily about getting to action more efficiently. Sometimes it’s about getting to self care or getting to a calmer state, getting out of the emotional brain and letting that be enough for that period of time.

Cam: so Shelly, I want to ask you about there’s the just relax. You’re doing fine.

What’s the language of the spiraling What’s the language that informs that context.

Shelly: Ooh, really good question. And interestingly enough, I’m not sure how good of an answer I have because it’s not. Even complete sentences. It’s like this flooding, it’s like, oh, I gotta do this. Gotta do that. Gotta take care of this. Oh crap. I got to do, what about this? What about this? And there’s no attending. There’s no distinguishing. So thinking about preparing for a friend to come stay for a week. Something actually important. Like I have no clean towels and this person probably wants to shower at some point when they’re here. So I should do a load of towels versus my desk is a little dusty and a few things are out of place and I have to make it just so. things start happening in these broken segments for I’ll start to deal with the desk. And then I remember the towels and so I’ll go put the towels in the laundry and then I’ll come back upstairs and I’ll see the dishes and I’ll think, oh, I need to do the dishes, but that’s a big job. So I don’t have time for that right now.

And then I’ll look and see my glass coffee table has fingerprints all over it. And it’s just, it’s this, these little segments that like, you know, it’s like, think about a Whirlpool and then think about like, you know, these little fish. Popping their heads up for a second. It’s like, okay, now that has my attention.

Now this, now this, now this, frantically moving about from room. Oh, I got to make the bed. I got to do this. There’s no distinguishing about what’s important and what’s not, and there’s no order or decision-making about how, and when I will do things.

Cam: Yeah, so priority is compromised and completion, right? We’ve done episodes on working on what matters and working to completion points. So I love that language around these fragments and you’re kind of skipping around and really it’s like that walk by organized. Right. It’s like you see something it’s like a tend to it your last week we talked about, the power of context is it helps with attention and priority and activation.

Right? So coming back to what matters in this moment, You’re not hosting the Duchess of York, you’re hosting a friend and you want to be able to provide. You want to provide for them the basic necessities. And this is about the visit, right?

Shelly: Ah, she doesn’t care what my house looks like. And certainly she doesn’t care. If a thing or two is out of place, nor would she even notice. And cam I’ve gotten much better about this in the last several years of my life, since I’ve really begun doing this work. But prior to knowing I had ADHD, this would get full on catastrophic.

My ex-husband and I used to host Thanksgiving. And you would find me a day or two before Thanksgiving doing the most ridiculous stuff, like tearing everything out of the coat closet and reorganizing it because it was a little messy and a little visually cluttered. It has doors. So it’s not like anyone would see that, but just in case somebody wanted to hang their coat up in the coat closet, heaven forbid that they open it up and don’t see a meticulously organized closet or.

The day of Thanksgiving, every time one of us went to the bathroom, rewiring, the Chrome handles, so that it’s perfectly shiny and refolding the hand towels. So that it’s just so as if that’s. Isn’t going to be askew. As soon as I have a house full of people using that bathroom. And it was so unpleasant for me and my ex-husband because I’m barking orders at him and he wants to help.

He doesn’t mind doing the things I’m asking. But he’s also like, do you even like having people over? Should we just not do this? Because you get a little nuts and I don’t care if you want the house to be just so, but I do care about the fact that it really seems to have an effect on you. And so then by the time people arrive again, it feels like a crash landing where I’m exhausted.

I’m coming down from several days of anxiety response in my body and. I’m not even able to fully enjoy what’s happening. It’s so silly in hindsight, but it’s something I did to myself for years.

Cam: So we’ve talked about Schultz, right? Lots of shirts there around the entertaining and how it should be. And again, perfection or the black and white thinking. I think of a term, another one, again, this sort of context that we can contextualize. Ways of being where we can create priority and be successful and get things done.

Right. So there’s good enough, What is good enough? I think that that 85% is really hard for us to see. We see zero and we see 100%. So that gray area in between is tough. I teach a class with Melissa Orloff or teach a class for her. And I was drawn to her work because of a list. She had a simple list that really helped to manage expectation, create priority, and a place to start with couples who are really stressed. And there’s add in the mix and that list is this Be independent, be reliable enough love and be kind and attend. So what that does is it provides context, especially that second one, reliable enough.

What is reliable enough mean? When two people are having a contentious relationship? Right when there’s contention, when there’s frustration, when there’s anger expectations go to the roof. And so expectations go to the roof the goalposts get narrower and get pushed back. and so then what is reliability?

It’s like, you gotta be reliable. Zero. there’s no room for mistake. Take the trash out at this time. So this concept of what is reliable enough, you start to have discussion around that. What are the agreements that you need to have in order to have that conversation? And the distinction there you talked about?

There’s no distinction in the spiral. In this notion of love and be kind and attend, There’s a distinction there. Loving is just a general thing. It doesn’t mean about attending. Attending is giving one attention, being present with them listening. And that’s a really cool distinction there. This is contextual.

This provides a context of a way of being or operating that is not in the black and white or absolute.

Shelly: So listeners, how do you put pause, disrupt, pivot into play, and particularly start to learn how to pause. This is where a reflective practice is important because in order to be able to pause, we have to be able to know what and where we want to pause. What is that pattern or that behavior, or that thought process that you get into that you want to create change around?

Start by getting curious there. When you’re not in that place, can you give it a name or can you pinpoint how it feels in your body or create some sort of shorthand for yourself? Or many months ago, we talked about my client who wanted to disrupt an internet surfing behavior, where he wanted to engage with his hobbies on the internet and in conversations about those.

But that often turned into. More time than he intended to spend with diminishing returns. He would pick up an object on his desk before he engaged in that behavior, something tactile. What is the thing you want to be able to pause, disrupt pivot on and what kind of shorthand can you give yourself? Be it naming it, be it, noticing it in your body, be it a physical object or reminder that you can pick up or see it starts there because we can’t pause until we can name it enough in words and visuals and feelings. In reminders and objects. To be able to pause in that moment because that negative signal is really strong. And by giving it a shorthand, you are giving yourself something to tether to, even though the negative signal is stronger than the positive signal you’re trying to bring in that shorthand makes that positive signal stronger.

And it also makes the amount of effort. Required to do the pause so much less again, can’t overemphasize cam. When we came up with the Hoth metaphor, how important that was for me, I asked my clients named their valleys a lot because having that shorthand I’m in Hoff made it so much easier than saying. I’m on the couch and I’m in this place and I’m having all these spiraling thoughts. I don’t know what’s going on that I’m already not going to reach out to you by the time I get that far. But just being able to say I’m in Hoff. Do you know what that means? I know what that means. Made a different, 

Cam: And onto that, is identifying something aspirational, right? So Shelly, your statement, just relax.

You’re doing. That’s that aspirational context or phrase, what is good enough? Let it be easy. So to identify where you are to pause and disrupt. And then what are we pivoting to? So bringing that in of that aspiration that we’re heading towards, this is good executive function exercise here.

Shelly: Well said, I’m really excited to see how our listeners take this one in, because we’re excited about this language. It’s deep work that we do with our clients and really makes it accessible and understandable. So listeners, if you like what we’re doing here on the show, a few ways that you can support us.

Number one, leave a rating and review wherever you listen. This is huge. This helps other people find the show. This lets other people know that our show is worth listening to number two, don’t keep us a secret. Share us on social, share us with friends and family that also have ADHD share this resource with other people, for whom it can help.

And number three. As you can become a patron, which helps cam. And I cover all of the costs of running this show. Part of the reason this show is so fun for us these days is we’ve been able to outsource the hard parts, the editing, the posting of the. The transcripts, thanks to all of your support. We get to sit down and do the part that only we can do, and we get to pay others to do what they’re good at in support of this show.

So thank you, by the way, to all of our patrons who have been supporting us, we appreciate you so much, and we appreciate being able to cover all of the costs of running the show because of your generosity and your support of our work. So to become a PT. And visit the website, translating adhd.com, click on the Patreon link, and for $5 a month, not only are you doing everything for Cam and I, that I just mentioned, you also gain access to our discord community, where our listeners are working together.

Own understand owning translate work and we’re cam and I host monthly live coaching demonstrations where you can see coaching in action and perhaps even have the opportunity to be the person that is coached by one of us. So until next week, I’m Shelly. 

Cam: And I’m Cam.

Shelly: And this is translating ADHD. Thanks for listening.

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Episode 102