Falling in love with saying NO

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In the age of ridiculously abundant information, it’s so easy to develop infomania and feel like you can’t stop researching and learning more about a topic. 

Nurturing and protecting your ability to create is more important and more difficult than ever.  

Falling in love with the power of no helped me learn to focus.  Instead of feeling like I’m giving up, I’ve taught myself to connect my power to say no to a feeling of freedom , liberation and power. I think of saying NO as actually enabling me to say YES.  

My power to say no to something “interesting” is what makes it possible for me to say YES and devote time and energy to what I’m truly passionate about.

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“Stop. I’m not going to take any more input until I’ve made something with what I got.”

– Merlin Mann

 

 

Top 3 Reasons Agile Self-Leadership beats Self-Control as a Peak Performance Strategy

If you are like most people today, daily living is full of unpredictable events requiring you to constantly rethink, replan, and reprioritize.

One of the most commonly recommended strategies for getting things done today is to cultivate more “self-control.” The idea is that if you had more self-control you could get more done — and operate at “peak performance” level more often — because after all “normal” successful people have a lot of self-control, right?    That’s the common working assumption in our culture.  Rarely do you hear anyone talking about self-leadership or leading yourself to get things done.

But when you really think about it…what is self-control? Every one has their own definition, and many usually say something like “we don’t really mean “control.”  Are we just too lazy to find a more accurate way to describe how we get ourselves to do things?  I propose that Agile Self-Leadership is a much more precise, meaningful and inspiring way to think about how we cultivate and optimize our own performance.

I love the way NYU Professor and author of the excellent book Ungifted: Intelligence RedefinedScott Barry Kaufman  defines self-control.

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Asking for what you need without over-explaining.

How do you get people to understand ADHD and how it affects your needs?


I get asked this question a lot. Here’s a few ideas to help you agilize advocating for yourself in a gracious, undemanding, yet confident way.


After being diagnosed with ADHD at the age of 48, I went through a phase of trying to get people to understand what ADHD is and sharing with them how it explained so much of my whole life story. People’s responses ranged from

  • “ADHD isn’t real” to i-am-enough
  • “ADHD is just an excuse – it’s BS.” to 
  • “You don’t have ADHD.  How could you?  You’ve accomplished so much.” to
  •  “I could have told you that. My kid has it and I’ve always figured you might have it.” to 
  • “I have it too! No wonder we always got along so well” 

The reactions were quite mixed. But one thing became clear very quickly.  Continue reading

Resisting the War on Resistance. BOOK REVIEW of “The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles”

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.

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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

Dr. Sam Goldstein Video on Diagnosing and Treating ADHD, Autism, Attention Difficulties

I’m so grateful to You Tube for making it possible for us to see this eminent and enlightened neurologist speaking at a Psychotherapy conference in Romania!  And for FREE!  The full lecture is available below.  Watch it while you can.  My experience is that many of the best videos on You Tube get removed after a short time.  

A couple of my favorite quotes:

 “Pills do not substitute for Skills”

In my life and with my clients, ADHD meds make it easier to learn skills and to USE the skills we have learned to develop new habits.

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Chronic Procrastination and Resistance: How we Learn to Procrastinate.

 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

Wholehearted Living is also Agile Living – Dr. Brene Brown

Dr. Brené Brown is a researcher professor at the University of Houston, Graduate College of Social Work, where she has spent the past ten years studying vulnerability, shame, courage, and whole-hearted living.

Clients often ask me if there is a book or resource for learning more about what I teach regarding self-acceptance, self-respect, self-acknowledgment and self-compassion. Dr. Brené Brown’s work is among the best resources available today.

Below are resources from Dr. Brené Brown I wholeheartedly recommend.

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Intensity – What makes intensely creative, emotional and gifted adults like Steve Jobs prone to troubling relationship issues?

I was truly dismayed to see someone as influential and talented as Steven Johnson, author of the brilliant book  Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation say this about Steve Jobs:

“But for all his obnoxiousness with his colleagues…, Jobs had a rich collaborative streak as well. He was enough of an egomaniac to think of himself as another John Lennon, but he was always looking for McCartneys to go along for the ride with him.”

SOURCE: http://www.stevenberlinjohnson.com/2011/10/thoughts-on-steve-jobs-the-book.html

To me, this is an example of the kind of socially accepted intolerance, bias, and disparaging name-calling that creative, emotionally intense and gifted adults (and children) frequently experience their entire lives. Even though Mr. Johnson is intending to show the “other” side of Steve Jobs complex personality, it doesn’t excuse his perpetuating the portrayal of Steve as an “obnoxious egomaniac.”   Those are some powerfully degrading and hurtful words for such a respected author to be using as though they were mere objective facts and not defamatory or derogatory character slurs. Continue reading

You are NOT your own worst enemy…at least…you don’t have to be.

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.

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Agilizing, Resistance and the Art of War



 

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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.

rp_Agilizen-think-you-know-250x228.pngEnemies 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.

starting overThinking 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. : )

http://www.artofwarsuntzu.com/SunTzuEBook.htm

 

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