In the last post, I said that I humbled myself into asking for help from people who are actually getting it right, and I did, but I also started doing something else. I started consciously observing people who are getting it right, and, yes, I am this much of a dork, taking notes. What were they doing that I wasn't doing? Sometimes more importantly, what were they not doing that I was doing?
In the process, I came up with a list of things that I have noticed to be almost across the board true about the people who are rocked out at rock bottom and those who are somewhere up above it.
In this post I am going to focus on the rocked out at the bottom folks, and in the next post, will move on to the up above it crew.
I may have mentioned a time or two thousand (I'm sorry, I know it gets old, but it plays a huge role in how I have to manage myself) that I have some pretty serious ADD. You may or may not, and you may or may not benefit from checking that out. I will say right off the bat that I think the condition is ridiculously over-diagnosed. I will also say that I think it is mainly ridiculously over-diagnosed in males and children.
I will also say that I certainly don't think that everyone who has the traits I mention below has a diagnosable condition, or even if they do, that it needs to be medicated. However, if you have these traits, whether they equal a diagnosis or not, whether you think that maybe you need meds or not, they need to be recognized, acknowledged, and dealt with in order for you to be at your best. Or functional, for that matter.
I know a decent handful of women in the 25-45 age range who could be poster children for ADD, and most of us have pretty much the same m.o. You could also look at this same list and say we have the same m.o. as a whole lot of now dead and famous (usually famous after death) poets, novelists, painters, and sculptors. We are very intelligent. We are highly creative. You will hear an almost endless parade of amazing and innovative ideas come tumbling out of our mouths. We write beautiful things effortlessly, or we can paint like our work should be in museums, or when we were toddlers we skipped learning to walk and went straight to dancing, and have been moving gracefully through life ever since... It is likely that you have been hearing for most of your life about how brilliant you are in some creative area, and yet, you never really seem to get anywhere.
If you work any sort of traditional job with nine to five hours in an office setting, this scenario may seem familiar to you... You work your ass off all day long. You are the first one into the office, and the last one to leave. You believe, with all of your heart, mind, and soul, that you were working diligently the whole time, so you can't understand why people are frustrated with you, saying you aren't doing enough. Or you fall into a pit of despair because that slacker-ass slacker sitting next to you is there for half the time, working half as hard, and gets all the kudos.
You are great at starting things, but not finishing them. Oftentimes, this is because you get hung up in the minutiae. You will spend so much time on the little details (that ultimately don't matter) that you don't finish the things that really do matter.
Separate, but tied into the above, you don't know how to prioritize. You spend too much time on busy work. One end of the house could be on fire, and you would be on the other side of it trying to decide the best method for cleaning the baseboards.
If you are in love with a project, you can hyper focus and lose track of everything else for hours upon hours. You tune out the rest of the world, which can be both an asset and a deficit.
You zone out and miss important parts of conversations and/or directions. Your attention wanders, even when you are very interested in what the other person is saying to you.
You lose things all the time. Half of the world has had to help you look for your keys, your purse, your wallet, your shoes...
Appointments, meetings, assignments, phone calls you were supposed to make, errands you were supposed to run, if it isn't on paper, it isn't happening. You will absolutely forget about it.
You make mistakes on things like forms and mathematical equations, because you overlook entire questions, or will partially copy down information and leave out a chunk.
You "multitask," which actually means you flit back and forth between multiple things instead of focusing fully on one thing, and you never actually get anything done, but you feel more productive because you were doing more than one thing at once. Phew!
You may have addictive tendencies. A lot of people overlook this if they don't have a drug habit, or they aren't an in the gutter level alcoholic. But that's just because those are the most socially unacceptable addictions. You may smoke, or eat too much, consume way too much caffeine/sugar/carbs (pick your feel good poison). You may be a compulsive shopper, or need sex like some people need water. You may find yourself in relationship addictions, which is a super common and unrecognized issue for women, or you may be an adrenaline junkie. These are all just as strong of a signal to an addictive personality as the dude who hides booze in his glove box, or the woman who bumps coke on her lunch hour to keep herself focused and alert.
If large portions of this sound familiar and you are bottomed out, it is little wonder. There is another way, though, and the good news is that it is all completely manageable, and with less effort than you might imagine. That's up next.