Wednesday, September 25, 2013

So What If It Is ADD?

                                                   So What If It Is ADD?

Well, I say great! Now you know what to blame for all of those times: you were late, lost an assignment, spent days pondering and pondering the simplest task, stopped a project in midstream, lost track of something you were working on, blurted out an embarrassing comment, got distracted or just plain forgot, created a problem by jumping into something without thinking. You get the idea.

Fortunately there are gifts to balance the yin with the yan. You know; the creative energy, the often highly intuitive nature, the sensitive perception to those around you, the quest for something new and exciting, the humor and intelligence, unique perceptions and the gift of gab. There are numerous examples of very successful people who report having ADD and nevertheless thrive in the entertainment/arts, business, science and political arenas. There are a plethora of famous names that are attributed with ADD. Some of the people who are reported to have or have had ADD are: Bill Gates, Winston Churchill, Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, Benjamin Franklin, Pablo Picasso, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Werner Von Braun, Ernest Hemingway, Henry Ford, John F. Kennedy, Robin Williams, John D. Rockefeller, Justin Timberlake, Whoopi Goldberg, Walt Disney, Will Smith, Steven Spielberg, Bill Cosby, Frank Lloyd Wright, Joan Rivers, Virginia Wolf, Jim Carrey, General George Patton.

Whew, quite an impressive list. While the traits of ADD undoubtedly presented difficulties for these folks and probably impeded their progress at various times, the presence of these traits certainly did not limit their ability to achieve success and to live rewarding lives. Having ADD is not an automatic prescription for failure, but it does require a mindful focus on the choices that are made and a concerted effort to develop more productive behavior patterns.

There are always choices to be made.  For example, you can choose to focus on the deficits that impede your progress and may even create chaos in your life. You can also choose to maintain behaviors that continue to sabotage your momentum, thus allowing these dark forces to control your thoughts and actions.  Or, you can choose to embrace the gifts you possess and create the changes that lead to opportunities to succeed and thrive.

I do not suggest that simply being mindful will correct all disruptive patterns of thought and behavior. It is however, a critical piece of the change puzzle. Making choices can be difficult and complicated, but when you are mindful, you increase your awareness of the factors that impact your life and your outcomes.
                                   Choose Wisely and Embrace Your Gifts

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

One Small Step For You - One Giant Leap Towards Your Goal


What if, you decided to take one small step towards a desired goal rather than just thinking about it or waiting for divine intervention today? Would you be thinking differently about yourself?  Would you like to think differently about yourself?
I think they call that grabbing the bull by the horns, although that seems quite dangerous with high potential for a painful experience.

I would suggest a path that is painless and with a much higher reward ceiling.
You know what they say; inertia begets inertia. Actually I have never heard anyone use that phrase but the words ring true. If you sit still long enough there will only be more sitting to follow.

One small step, what might that be you ask?  It could be something as simple as:
·      Putting down your I Pad, Smart Phone etc. and telling someone what your goal is and why it is important to you.
·       Sitting down and charting the steps you would need to take.
·      Making that first phone call to get the ball rolling.
·       Identifying the thoughts that have held you back and asking someone to give you a hand getting started.
·      Researching the information you need to put your plan into action.
·      Asking your professor for help when you’re feeling stuck or overwhelmed by your assignment.
·      Identifying the resources that can bring your goal to fruition.
·       Getting off the couch, turning the television off and asking for help is always a great beginning.

I am always suspicious when someone tells me they intend to quit smoking next Monday and it is Tuesday. While I believe they are well intended, I know they are negotiating internally and chances are very high that come Monday they will still be puffing away.

It is always easier to put off challenges for another day, but we all know that this is seldom helpful or rewarding, and all too often tomorrow never arrives on time.  

Activity breeds more activity and in turn confidence. You can’t complete something until you begin something. 

Don’t set a start date; start today!   

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

What Happens when a Student with ADD Goes to College?

Yikes College!  Here I am on my own (finally) in a world filled with new friends, parties, social events, sporting events, non-stop activities and oh yeah major responsibilities like those challenging college classes and those never-ending assignments.

So many distractions and so little time to focus on that “learning stuff.” It’s great being on my own but who is going to make sure I get to class every day and complete my assignments on time? And forget study time. College doesn’t have the same daily structured routine like I had in high school that I hated, but so needed.

I don’t have my parents pushing me to study and focus on my priorities every day. Can I trust myself to make good decisions? Who can I rely on when I start to doubt myself and lose sight of what works for me. Can I survive all of these distractions and manage on my own?

Oh well no time to worry there’s a party down the hall.

ADD and the Challenge of College

I am sure you are aware of the multitude of challenges that college students with ADHD face on a daily basis.

These students often exhibit above average intelligence and great creativity. Unfortunately these attributes are frequently insufficient to assist the student in managing inhibiting traits of ADD such as:
   poor follow-though,
   low frustration tolerance,
   difficulty prioritizing,
   difficulty staying focused,
   low self-esteem,
   anxiety and

Is it any wonder that students with ADD frequently under perform and, even worse, give in to their struggles and give up? 

Too often these students lack awareness of how their traits negatively affect them and how to work effectively to overcome their ADD. They operate on habit and impulse rather than self-awareness, focus and intention. And now they carry the responsibility of structuring their time and days, organizing their work load, managing their impulses and making decisions that will impact their outcomes favorably or unfavorably and many times they are unprepared for this responsibility.

Overcoming ADD and Achieving Success in College and Life: Don’s Story

I had the enjoyable opportunity to coach a student at Columbia College. Don (I call him Don but his mother has never used that name to call him to dinner) is a highly creative, intelligent and artistically gifted student who was underachieving and who feared he was on the verge of failing out of school.

Don struggled with time management, prioritizing, sustaining focus, follow through, self-doubt and anxiety. We met weekly through the semester and focused on techniques to help Don manage his anxiety to afford him sufficient energy to develop a structured routine that he could be intentional and consistent with.

As many students and adult professionals do, Don initially struggled with the idea of a structured routine and frequently fell back into old habits that did not serve him well. Eventually, through repetition and with support and encouragement, Don began to see the benefit of having a routine that he could embrace as his own and one that began to evidence new successes. Don’s ability to manage his time effectively grew through this process and became less of a deficit.

Don‘s routine was developed to allow him to identify priorities and to set daily and weekly goals with deadlines for each priority. He factored in potential roadblocks and distractions and built in proactive plans for managing these roadblocks and distractions.
Don focused on setting realistic expectations that he could meet which afforded him an opportunity to build on his small successes rather than experiencing failure which he often anticipated. We maintained daily accountability check-ins via email to assure that the focus was not lost to distractions and impulse.

Don was an expert on all of his deficits, shortcomings and failures. He could rattle them off in little time. He was quite accomplished in the art of overwhelming himself with a steady stream of negative thinking.  He seldom thought of himself as a competent student, capable of achieving his goals or even performing adequately. Could self-doubt be far behind? I encouraged Don to develop an inventory of past and present accomplishments and suggested that he gather objective information from family and friends that he could use to practice challenging his negative thoughts. 

Don avoided communicating directly with his teachers when he was struggling with a project or assignment. He feared that he would not ask the right questions, hear the answer he was avoiding or show himself to be inadequate. I encouraged Don to gather information that would allow him to know what was expected and how he was performing.

After a number of role playing conversations and some hesitation Don was ready to sally forth. Eventually he learned that he could express his concerns effectively, gather objective information, reduce his anxiety and formulate decisions based on facts rather than fear.

Through his persistence, consistent effort, willingness to develop new habits and greater self-awareness Don’s performance improved, his confidence grew and his self-doubt began to dwindle. I am happy to report that Don recently graduated with honors and is currently focused on developing his own business. 

Don’s experience demonstrates how coaching works and what the positive outcomes can be. ADD is not a pre-determinate of negative outcomes and failure. Coaching often is a significant factor in the development of critical behaviors and activities that leads to success in college and in life.

Jim Sobosan is a success coach who focuses on moving people towards intentional behavior that empowers them to meet the challenges of ADD and excel professionally and personally. For more information or to schedule a complimentary introductory coaching session with Jim, visit

What If.....

                                                                 What If……..

Ahhh, the awesome power of those two little words.  They can quickly raise a heart beat, freeze us in our tracks, squash our hopes and dreams and torment our sleep.

These two little words can project us deep into the unknown and wreck havoc upon our present day lives. “What if”, I take this job and I fail? “What if”, it’s not perfect? What if”, I go to the party and say the wrong thing? “What if”, I ask him/her out and they reject me? “What if”, I don’t know the right answer? What if “, I try and fail? And the ever popular What if “, they don’t like me? Once we hop on the What If train our journey is destined to be bumpy and fraught with perils and disappointment.

I say What If, is useful only when it moves us towards planning, preparation and forward action, which unfortunately it frequently does not.

I offer What Is as the preferential choice. What Is, eliminates the fear and dread of What If.  It gives you real time information that affords you an opportunity to objectively review your goal and the path leading to it.   Paying attention to what you know will engender confidence and inspire action much more frequently than sitting in your worry and apprehension about something that has yet to happen and may in fact never happen.   

The next time you think about an action you want to move towards and you find yourself anticipating the What If disasters destined to befall you, stop, take a time out and think about the information you have, “just the facts mam”. Take an inventory of similar situations you have managed successfully. Replicate steps and behaviors that have led to positive outcomes.  
Create an action plan ahead of time to help you manage the what ifs, should one or more materialize.
Knowing what you will do in any worrisome situation, will free you from the free fall of dread and fear.

Take control of the moment, silence the “What If” beast before it awakens and take a walk on the wild side.     

Be sure to check in each Wednesday as I explore opportunities to turn “What If” into a source of energizing momentum.