I get asked this question often, so I thought I’d share my response to an email I received. Hope it helps you get unstuck and decide where to start agilizing, too. Continue reading
In this video I share some of my best strategies for Designing for Your Brain. Designing for Your Brain is about applying what we know about how brains work to design our everyday experiences, goals, and intentions in a way that optimizes our overall ability to shape our attention, memory, and focus. Instead of trying to control our attention we learn to Continue reading
ADHD Awareness Expo 2014
I’m excited about this year’s ADHD Awareness Expo 2014 starting October 26. I’ll be appearing along with 30 other top ADHD expert speakers. I’ll be sharing some of my best strategies for “Agilizing your Goals” and magnetizing yourself to get into action. Hope you can join me!
This is the model I reference during my interview.
The SMART Goal Setting acronym has been around a long time. It states goals should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely or Timeline Driven. The Agile Approach to S.M.A.R.T. Goal Setting is an updated way of setting goals that are designed to magnetize you into action. No *forcing* yourself required.
Agile goals are especially useful when it comes to dealing with goals that involve changing old habits. Agile SMART goals work for everyone, but are especially well-suited to creative types, rebels, people who are addicted to insight, gifted people, ADHD and other neurodiverse characters. The Agile approach to goals is what I teach clients and coaching group participants.
I don’t usually write about what I disagree with, but I think it’s time for me to express my opposition to cultural metaphors and myths that feed the growing epidemic of stress, anxiety, powerlessness, and feelings of inadequacy that so many people are experiencing today.
What better place to start resisting than with a best-selling book that has 309 5-star reviews and declares something as untrue as “Resistance is Evil?”
If resistance is characterized as evil…no wonder our culture destroys the confidence and self-respect of anyone who dares to be different, express dissenting ideas, or disagree with dominant values.
Today, I’ve decided to resist openly and honestly. I’m not going to be “nice” or “quiet” just to not make waves. Our cultural obsession with the idea that self-control and battling one’s inner resistance is the only way to “break through” procrastination or creative blocks must be challenged. Continue reading
How do we learn to procrastinate?
We are waging a cultural war against procrastination and inner resistance as if they were evil itself. I believe it is time to STOP the War and START negotiating a peace treaty with yourself. Persistent patterns of procrastination are the outer manifestations or signposts of inner conflict and resistance.
Procrastination is the result you get when one part of you is trying to get the rest of you to do something using tactics like: ordering, coercing, pressuring, tricking, or even bullying yourself to do it.
Resistance can only exist when there is some kind of pushing, pressure, or force trying to get you to do something you don’t want to do, or aren’t ready or willing to do at this time for some reason. Continue reading
EVERYTHING we do is with the intention to make our short-term, present emotional lives either, less painful / stressful, more tolerable, or more meaningful / pleasurable in some way.
We are always coping with the imperative of making the NOW bearable as we pursue our longer-term ideals.
How to integrate our short-term intrinsic rewards with our long term goals/desires?
One thing I know for sure – it is NOT by seeing yourself as an enemy.
I learned a lot about how to AVOID inner war by reading the “Art of War” by SunTzu. I read the book because I wanted to better understand why “war” is so commonly used as in our culture as a metaphor for personal growth. In my opinion, gardening and cultivation is a far more accurate metaphor for how personal growth really works.
To my surprise I found that Sun Tzu actually teaches that war should be used only as a last resort. How interesting that so many people have misinterpreted or distorted his work or perhaps haven’t actually read the book in it’s entirety.
How unfortunate for us that war metaphors as so commonly used to teach self-development. Teaching people to use war as a primary way of interacting with themselves, like “Conquering Your Inner Critic” or “Battling your Inner Demons” is a recipe for fostering chronic frustration, insecurity, depression and anxiety.
Another popular example of using war as a metaphor for engaging with the parts of ourselves we don’t understand is the book, “The War of Art“ by Steven Pressfield. He refers constantly to our inner resistance as “our inner enemy.” This is not just a word problem. It’s NOT TRUE.
In fact it’s worse than not true, believing you have an enemy inside you feeds and worsens the problem you are trying to solve. The truth is that you have inner opposition and you NEED that part of you so that you can learn and grow.
Enemies tend to hate you and not have your best interest at heart. Opponents may challenge you but may also be your friend who cares about you deeply and wants you to succeed. It is FAR more helpful to your personal relationship with yourself (and to your personal growth) to view your inner resistance as a challenging friend who is trying to give you difficult feedback but doesn’t have the right words.
Listening to that friend instead of fighting or trying to silence it is far more valuable to your personal growth, don’t you think? Even if you disagree with it, there is value in being challenged to fine-tune your thinking, and to become more creative and agile in your problem-solving, isn’t there?
Sun Tzu teaches that the most effective way of winning is never going to war. It is a far superior strategy to avoid war and to turn your opponents into allies.
Another common myth is that The Art of War is about how to deal with enemies. Interestingly, I found that he used the term “oppositional forces” and “opponents” rather than enemies. According to Sun Tzu, hate or disrespect for your opposition actually makes YOU weak…not them.
Thinking of your inner resistance as your natural opposition to “over-controlling” or “over-pressuring” makes a lot more sense. When someone doesn’t listen to you and just tries to order you around, you resist, right?
If you are not listening to the part of yourself that isn’t “READY” to do what you are telling it to do, naturally you will resist yourself. Wouldn’t it be more effective to engage in a conversation with your resistance than to start a fight?
When you are resisting doing something you think you “should” be doing, try asking yourself one of more of these questions that help you “agilize” potential solutions instead of fighting a war you can’t win.
– What would help me feel more “ready” to do this?
– What time of day might I more naturally be inclined to do this?
– What’ would make this feel easier?
– What is the really value of doing this?
– What will the impact be? in the short term?
– How little of this could I do and call it good enough?
– What assumptions am I making about when, where, how, how much, how long, with who, how perfect, how many?
– What could I redesign to make this more attractive?
Focusing on readiness to do things rather than “pushing” or coercing yourself is much more effective and satisfying in the long run. Try it a couple times.
See how your resistance changes when your creative brain kicks in. : )
- Where do I start? 12 Ways to Get Unstuck, Decide Where to Start and Agilize What’s Bothering You
- Resisting the War on Resistance. BOOK REVIEW of “The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles”
- The Power of Tiny Actions to Change your Emotional Life: Could you use a little “salt in your soup” today?
- The Agile Way of Thinking about the Parts of the Self
- A New Way of Thinking about the Emotional “Self”
- 5 Steps to Cultivating the Power of Habit – How to Transform Self-Limiting Thought Habits with Agile Thinking and Emotional Habits
Did you know that the word “Prioritize” was first used in 1972 as part of presidential election? Seriously, before the 70’s people primarily talked about clarifying what there “priorities” were. It wasn’t until a wave of trendy time management books were published in the 70’s that the word became popular.
Prioritizing means to sequence things in order of importance. The trouble with over-using the word prioritizing is that people have forgotten that prioritizing is only ONE way to sequence things on your TO DO list. And often, prioritizing is NOT the best way to organize your To Do List!
All priorities are important otherwise they wouldn’t be priorities.
Trying to prioritize tasks requires deciding which priority is more important than another.
MANY MANY people get stuck in procrastination because they have so much trouble deciding whether one thing is more important than another and RIGHTLY SO!
Many priorities are of equal importance, but the fact is you STILL have to sequence and decide what to do in any given moment. : )
Other strategies to order your To Do list include Continue reading
I find that when self-control is either not an option, or simply not working, thinking of myself as having an inner team requiring agile self-leadership is extremely helpful in getting things done. My team members are:
1. Inner Visionary – The Imaginative Self and Inner Delegator
The part of me that thinks about what needs doing or what is possible, what could be, thinks ahead and sees so much potential.
2. Inner Designer and Agilizer
The part of me that listens to the vision, and to all the other parts of me and designs strategies to manifest the vision.