For The Mind, Body & Soul: Get Outside!

For The Mind, Body & Soul: Get Outside!

Your ADHD  Mind, Body & Soul Needs You To Get Outside!

Spring is around the corner and is the perfect time for exploring the great outdoors; camping, swimming, running or any sport that gets you outside.   Make this season the most by using this opportune time to delve into activities that utilize excess energy so common with ADHD. It may just benefit your ability to focus as well. This is great advice for all and especially for people the ADHD mind.

Exercise has a positive effect on harnessing the ability to focus on things that may appear mundane to people with ADHD. Through diet and exercise, certain feel good hormones, endorphins, are released that may help someone with ADHD focus on the tasks they do not enjoy.  So, start enjoying this spring lots of outdoor or physical activities.

According to author, John Ratey in Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain,
Exercise turns on the attention system, the so-called executive functions — sequencing, working memory, prioritizing, inhibiting, and sustaining attention,”….. “On a practical level, it causes one to be less impulsive, which makes them more primed to learn.

Finding the right routine may be the key to developing a long-term exercise commitment. List activities you feel may be something you could enjoy.  It is always helpful to see what activities would be a natural fit  by taking into account body size and type.  There are fun online quizzes to test your interests and body type in choosing a new activity such as doctoroz.com/quiz

Why is it so important to indulge in physical activity and not, say, play a video game? Physical movement is not an exact cure but, it has proved to be an appropriate intervention for ADHD symptoms. It can have a positive effect with ADHD medications.

The pharmaceutical industry recognizes the need for balance and has implemented a multi modal approach with programs that offer exercise routines and academic coaching along with their medication.  Prescription drug usage, to curb the symptoms of ADHD, has increased exponentially. The prescriptions have seen a rise from 34.8 to over 48.4 million. The multi modal approach looks holistically at the balance one’s their life with  strategies, medication, diet and exercise.

According to a research published in the “Journal of Attention Disorders”, just 26 minutes of regular daily physical exercise over a period of eight weeks, significantly alleviated ADHD symptoms in grade school kids.  I would say this is true for adults as well! Staying indoors and allowing technology and social networks to consume us are detrimental even without ADHD. The lack of exercise and physical excursion causes obesity, depression, laziness and a drop in focus for the general population and affects people will ADHD potentially more.

Even light physical activity recovers moods and improves cognitive functionality by actively releasing hormones like dopamine and serotonin; this is very similar to how stimulant medications. So in essence a few hours of “fun” can help with the symptoms of ADHD.

So, get out there and find something you like to do!

Make a list of activities in your area.  If running, walking, or doing pushups don’t interest you, it is okay. It’s about finding the right fit. Find that ONE physical activity that you enjoy, it does not matter if it is martial arts, a dance style or gymnastics. As long as you are getting the use of your muscles and releasing those endorphins, you will improve you sense of well-being. If you participate in activities that require teamwork and social interaction then you might just make these outings an easy way to make friends as well.

Raz Coaching specializes in helping people with executive function challenges and find careers they will love and land them. Read more at www.razcoaching.com/about Or sign up for the weekly blog or purchase my new book Happiness+Passion+Purpose.  It is packed full of exercises and strategies you can put to use immediately.

 

Personal Purpose In Your Life: Steps

Personal Purpose In Your Life: Steps

Personal Purpose

Andrew Carnegie talked about his purpose and goals he set in his life. “I am going to spend the first 40 years of my life creating a fortune and the second 40 years giving it all away.”  He developed the mindset to reach his goals with this statement.

Act without purpose, the lifestyle you are likely to create will be a wandering generality without achieving your true personal purpose in life.

When you live on purpose, you become passionate about being alive.

It starts with repeated thoughts of your dreams of who are and want to be that generate action. When these thoughts permeate your mind enough, they become programmed into your behavior.

To live with a personal purpose in life, begin by programming your unconscious mind.   A truly useful lifestyle focuses on the largest purpose you can realistically attain.

Have you defined your own personal purpose? If so, great!  Please share your story with me of how you did it through my many posts on Instagram @razcoaching.   If not, read on for some helpful steps.
Here are a few questions to get started towards defining your personal purpose in life. Take the time to write these down in a journal.
WHAT…..
  • motivates me in life?
  • wanted but never got in life?
  • energizes me?
  • Brings me the most joy?
  • Are my biggest interests?
  • Do you REALLY REALLY want in life?
Example answers could look like this:
My purpose is in life is to….
  •  serve the public
  • teach others
  • make enough money to retire at 40
  • help people find their passionate career
Having difficulty deciding what your life purpose is?  Think about answering these questions:
  1. If you have 6 months to live, what would you want to do?
  2. What would you do f you were not responsible for anyone but yourself?
  3. If you were to die today, what would you want your obituary to say?

 

I have been asked if I had found MY true personal purpose.   That is a fair question. I pondered this question as I created the curriculum for my mini career exploration course.   In this 4 course series, I exuberantly inspire other people to find their passion in life and work.

To answer the question, I had to pause and check-in with my inner voice.  The reaction is an affirmative and enthusiastic YES!

My journey in life has weaved a perfect pattern that I can confidently go in the direction of coaching others to chase their passion, interests and aspirations.  My own “can-do attitude” throughout my life has been an inspiration for many people.  This influences my coaching style.

I found myself in a position many times giving people advice and encouragement.  People did not see their own gifts, yet it appeared so evident to me.  Many struggled to understand the stepping-stones to their dreams when I saw several different ways they could achieve it.  It could be frustrating when others could not see the path to achieving their goals.

There was a time that I thought it best to keep my own thoughts and opinions to myself as I was fearful that I was coming across as a know it all or bossy friend.  As I look back, I am glad I did not give up on my personal purpose.

Through this journey, I found that my tendency to see the big picture and help people push through their obstacles just what coaching was about. When I realized that I did not OWN their failure or success but was a mere vehicle for their own self-discovery, my pathway to becoming a coach was set.

By learning how to ask the right questions, it inspired people to self-realize their strengths and potential.   It fueled them to seek their own path,  creating a passionate and authentic life.  This was when my belief patterns shifted from one of responsibility to one of enlightenment.

I often tell clients that I learn just as much from them as them from me.

Their stories and insights leave me in reflection after each session.  I have a custom of debriefing myself after each session to see what I take away from the session to add to my self-awareness and growth.  It is a profession that is constantly changing with new insights and techniques. I fully embrace my career path and walk away energized at the end of most sessions.  This is how I know that I have found my true authentic, passionate career and life purpose.

What can you envision for yourself?  What would leave you energized and fulfilled at the end of each day?

Be sure to complete the questions and answers to begin to see your own weave in life that points to your personal purpose.

Raz Coaching specializes in helping people with executive function challenges and find careers they will love and land them. Read more at www.razcoaching.com/about Or sign up for the weekly blog or purchase my new book Happiness+Passion+Purpose.  It is packed full of exercises and strategies you can put to use immediately.

 

 

Disability Accommodations At  Work

Disability Accommodations At Work

 

Disability Accommodations Employers Can Implement and retain their employees
Promote Self Advocacy on the job

Executive Function Challenges are associated with many disabilities.

ADHD is a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act. It is not asking too much for adjustments to support a worker’s needs reasonably.

Employers can encourage new mentored employees to identify would be a reasonable accommodation for them.

Many people are afraid to ask for a quiet workspace or help to break down large jobs into smaller chunks.  Most employers would be happy for such a simple accommodation!

Challenges Employers Face and  Disability Accommodations Employers Can Easily Act on

Create an open line of communication that is safe and free of judgment to promote mentored to feel comfortable asking for help and advice.  Discuss some common ways to manage problems employees may have, such as the ones below:

  • Asking for help

    We all need help from time to time, and it’s important not to be afraid to ask for it. Encourage the mentored if they have disruptive thoughts or behaviors to ask a counselor if they have any ideas they can try that could help them control them.

 

  • Stress Management on the job to reduce anxiety

    When they feel overwhelmed or frustrated, encourage them to seek advice right away.   Or try sharing ways to self-calm like breathing techniques.  The box breathing method of breathing in slowly for three counts, holding your breath for three counts and then releasing your breath for three counts for up to 10 minutes is a good one. This is a common technique to calm people down and gain focus.
  • Distraction tips

    Does your company have an area that people who need a quiet space can go to?   Encourage your mentored to use that space if he/she needs help focusing without distractions.  Headphones can be a significant noise canceler and provide a physical reminder of your concentration goal.  You could encourage them to bring in a fidget toy such as a fidget spinner or rubric’s cube.  It is proven that physical movement can help while trying to concentrate.  Doodle!  Writing notes and doodling while in a meeting can help you pay attention.

  • Mentoring for motivation tip

    Create a short goal and set a timer on your phone for 10 minutes. Commit to focus on 1 task and accept whatever you got accomplished. When the time is up, regroup and set another goal and reset the timer. Keep this up for as long as it takes to feel accomplished. I have seen clients who use this and after the first 10 minutes, they have enough motivation to keep going and often end up in a hyper-focus mode and really accomplish a lot!

Personal Matters
  • Cell Phone Etiquette

    This is a good time to discuss cell phone use and expectations to put it away while at work. People with ADHD have a hard time with transitions between tasks and the constant beep and pings of a phone will be highly distracting for them.

  • Exercise

    There is research that physical activity can help improve cognitive function.  Does your company allow for short breaks for someone to walk around?  This is a good strategy for the restless. Also, increases of testosterone that is linked to exercise have been shown to improvements in confidence, attention and memory.  Also, it enhances confidence in problem-solving. Companies that promote a before, lunchtime or after work exercise group that I have excellent feedback from employees.

  • The Break Room

    Brain food is known to help with symptoms of ADHD, such as brain fog.  As a mentor, you can promote healthy and high protein snacks at work.  It can ward off employee mood swings and sustain consistent energy levels throughout the workday.

 

The end goal is to promote a culture that is positive, cohesive and genuine.  Current labor pools are independent thinkers, pessimistic and savvy to the intentions of leadership roles.  It would pay off to invest in their well being to create a family atmosphere where they feel valued and the end result for you will be a better output.

“A truly great mentor is hard to find, difficult to part with and impossible to forget

A well thought out mentoring program that implements these strategies may lay the groundwork for employees who cannot bear to leave your company, giving you an edge on the labor market.  Not only will the company benefit from a well-trained potential employee but also the structure, tools and resources will help the mentored in other areas of their life as well by creating an unforgettable experience.

You might just help more than the intern employee too.

Since all employees can exhibit similar challenges experienced by someone with executive function challenges such as  ADHD at different times of their lives, these strategies can have a positive effect on all trained employees within the company.  By providing the structure and framework to handle executive function challenges for all, you will have a smoother running company with employees who have the knowledge and strategies to work through workplace challenges as they arise and feel connected to their workplace.

Work to train and retain your recruits!

Raz Coaching specializes in helping people with executive function challenges and find careers they will love and land them. Read more at www.razcoaching.com/about Or sign up for the weekly blog or purchase my new book Happiness+Passion+Purpose.  It is packed full of exercises and strategies you can put to use immediately.

 

 

 

 

 

The Neuro Diverse Employee

The Neuro Diverse Employee

Neuro Diverse Employee Training   Part II

It is a common trait for neuro-diverse people to be employed in part-time work.  They may have low pay jobs that lead to low disposable income and poor job stability. It is affecting our workplace in a big way. Research shows that graduates from university are reporting a disabiity at a rate of nearly 20 percent.

As you can imagine, with all of these negatives, it is highly probable that someone with neurodiversity struggles with comorbid conditions.  This includes anxiety and depression.  It leaves the person with frustration, low motivation and overwhelming thoughts with how to “get it together” in a career and life.

BUT it does not need to be this way.

Just as the weaknesses can derail ambitions of long-term employment, the strengths one may develop through their disability can have a positive affect.   It can soar the employee far above others in the work environment.

Executive Functions

I work with a large population that has challenges with executive functions.  These challenges include  time management, emotional regulations, procrastination, organization and motivation.

 One thing that I notice is that when a person with these challenges likes something, they have a laser-like focus, attention span and drive like no other.

The focus often propels them so far into the knowledge base of a topic that they become self-taught experts. With the right strategies, tools and mentoring, they can be the shining star of a company. Often, they are just the very person capably of turning a failing business around with fresh ideas, well thought out visions and the drive to make it happen!

Your company can take advantage of this during the hiring process and current training programs for neuro diverse people
Train To Retain

A sound employee apprenticeship or intern mentoring program can foster the positive attributes of all future employees by establishing a well-thought-out best practice training plan.  I suggest creating a strong program with boundaries, routines and clear expectations with high accountability.

Not only will you help potential recruits develop their strengths as an intern employee, but it will also foster a kind of work environment that promotes community and self-empowerment.  The result is a win-win for company productivity, lowering overall training costs and developing strong skillsets for future employees.

A well-defined training program for all employees will empower recruits to perform with the company’s best interests in mind.

Current treatment trends of stimulant and non-stimulant medications are proven to help people with executive function challenges in the workplace.  But,  it is when behavioral changes happen that empowerment for the employee begins to shift.

Your program can help promote this shift.

Employee engagement aligns with company goals, creating a synergy with the employer that propels growth and productivity down the line to success for all.  This will not only benefit your neuro-diverse employees but all employees.

Here are several ways to help as a mentor and employer to make the internship a powerful experience for the mentored and company.
Goal Setting: 

Start with the desired outcome for this employee/intern. What does the company want to gain from this relationship? What does the mentored wish to achieve? Revisit the goal near the end of the internship to determine if company goals are being met.  Or determine if there is further training needed.

Mentor By Example:
  • Organize and create a company notebook with a daily note area for questions

    valuable information and to-do list of daily tasks. Using call to actions divided into four categories such as:  calls, emails, tasks, and errands. 

  • I suggest a sign off to ensure follow-through

    To set a routine, it is important to have consistency for at least three weeks and up to 3 months.   If there is something very important on the planner, have the intern create a reminder on their phone.  This hands-on approach will have a huge payoff later when the employee commits the tasks to a daily habit.  Set a time to go over the goals and planner each day.

  • Prioritize and break up the big critical tasks into smaller tasks with check-ins from the mentor each day

    Do not allow a new task to start until the first one is completed. I like to use a color-coding system to show essential items and ones completed. This gives motivation to keep going and clarity on what still needs to be done.

  • Task Routine:

    If there is filing that needs to happen, help them create a daily routine to get that done and show them how it should be done. I suggest a daily 10-minute organizing time. Another tip I give to people is to have a catchall box of things each day that need to be put away or filed.

  • Develop a Mail Routine:

    Sorting mail every day can be overwhelming and I recommend having a system in place to handle and prioritize them.  Go over with the mentored how you would like them handled and what the expectations are in the company for them.

  • Expense Account:

    Have an app or system in place right from the start with clear accountability. Managing money and keeping track of the details can be very difficult with someone with executive function challenges.   

If you build up your people within your business rather than build the business and get the people to fit it, they will build the business for you.

A well thought out mentoring program that implements these strategies may lay the groundwork for employees.  You may just have employees who cannot bear to leave your company.  This will give you an edge on this finicky labor market.

Raz Coaching specializes in helping people with executive function challenges and find careers they will love and land them. Read more at www.razcoaching.com/about Or sign up for the weekly blog or purchase my new book Happiness+Passion+Purpose.  You can access exercises and strategies you can put to use immediately.

 

 

ADHD: The Invisible Economic Strain In Our Workforce that you can change!

ADHD: The Invisible Economic Strain In Our Workforce that you can change!

ADHD: The Invisible Economic Strain In Our Workforce that you can change!

In a labor market that is at a historic low, businesses are seeing a high rate of turnover and even ghosting in the workplace.  It is a costly trend. Companies are seeing the value in shifting how they train to retain their employees.  It is far less expensive to invest in quality training while implementing a community mindset work culture that promotes retention than to continually train new employees.  Also, this nurtured environment promotes employee’s self-worth, work engagement and relationships with fellow colleagues.

The result is better morale, work productivity and lower employee turnover rates.

The positive workplace connections and better knowledge base for the demands of their job has the potential for big payoffs for the company in reduced hiring costs as well. Even governmental entities have recently voiced a need for diverse career options and training for this finicky labor pool. Talks of expanding apprenticeship programs are on the rise.

In order for the efforts to be successful, it is important to understand what challenges this group faces and how to best meet their needs.  This will ensure quality training for the companies that want to train and hire them.

According to the NCES there are approximately 20 million college students who entered college in the fall of 2018.  19.4% self-reported having a disability.  This number has nearly doubled from 10 years ago.  The impact on the educational system has been tremendous.   Colleges across the U.S. are developing programs to meet the needs of these diverse students.  The most prevalent disability is ADHD, a neurologically based disorder.

Of the students surveyed, 79% of the students who reported a disability listed ADHD as their challenge.

As these students enter our workforce, it would be beneficial for us to help them transition with a foundational employee skillset.   Often, these neurologically diverse groups need specific guidance and training that may be assumed and overlooked for the average employee. This invisible disability flies under the radar and yet has a very impactful effect on job success. 

As Sir Francis Bacon, stated in his Meditationes Sacrae (1597), “knowledge itself is power.”

It is at this point that we can illuminate the challenges around ADHD and take a look at ways to help them manage it and capitalize on their strengths.

For the ADHD employee, goals often seem to slip out of reach due to under managed and a misunderstood condition.  While no two people with the diagnoses are identical, here are common challenges associated with having an ADHD diagnosis.

Employees may have trouble:
  • Prioritizing & Procrastination
    The workload may become too burdensome if they do not have a clear hierarchal & strategic plan. Procrastination may set in.
  •  Initiating and Completing Tasks
    Tasks can be daunting and many distractions can derail them from starting and finishing them
  •  Organizing
    Without a priority system, often people do not know where to begin to organize their workspace.
  • Concentration
    While an ADHDer can hyper focus on something that is particularly interesting to them, it is difficult for them to concentrate on mundane work. It can feel overly boring to them and cause them to seek more gratifying interests breaking their ability to focus on what they KNOW they should be working on  ie…filing papers, etc.
  • Time Management
    This may make them late for work or important events and fall behind on projects in the workplace. This happens even with the best of intentions to be on time.
  • Impulsive Behavior
    Difficulty controlling anger and blurt thoughts without much filter that can come across as rude and insulting.
  • Following Directions
    Since the ability to remember information may take several steps that require focus, following directions can be difficult.

 

These behaviors often derail careers, ambitions, and relationships.

It is not uncommon to experience a high rate of job turnover due to either the person’s impulsive choice to leave the job or their behavior gets them fired. This can have a lasting effect on the person leaving, especially one that has been diagnosed with ADHD.  They may struggle with feeling shame and low-self esteem and become discouraged in their ability to perform in a job.

Employers who gain an understanding of the condition can create successful training, apprenticeships and mentoring programs that will promote better employee retention.

You do not have to have a disability to take advantage of some actions steps that can help the work flow and dynamics for employees. There are many life factors that can contribute to an employees work attitude and performance.  All can benefit from implementing company strategies that address these issues. In part II of this blog, I will address the issues with some helpful tips for employers to implement for all employees.

Raz Coaching specializes in helping people with executive function challenges and find careers they will love and land them. Read more at www.razcoaching.com/about Or sign up for the weekly blog or purchase my new book Happiness+Passion+Purpose.  It is packed full of exercises and strategies you can put to use immediately.

 

5 Steps Into a New You for 2020

5 Steps Into a New You for 2020

5 Steps Into a New You

The ancestor of every action is a thought.   —Ralph Waldo Emerson

When you struggle with executive function challenges such as ADD, thoughts can be frantic, unbridled and elusive.  Do you laugh at people who ask you what your New Year’s Resolution is each year?    Your response might be that you don’t “play that game”, since you know all too well that it could not be a sustained change.  This can lead you to accept your short term goals and live life by the moment with no long term goals.   Yet, many have a deep yearning for more in their life, but they don’t know how to go about seeking lasting change.

I am not saying it is easy or that I have the solution.
What I am saying is that IT IS POSSIBLE with consistently sustained effort and accountability.
Real inner change and paradigm shifts come from a deep burning desire that aligns with your core values.

If you really want a change in your life that is going to help you feel and be successful, read on to steps to launch a new you.   Are you are not sure?  Ask yourself these questions.

Test your readiness for this endeavor:

On a scale of 1-10.   How badly do I want this change? 

Sit with your idea for change and explore how the change could make you feel. If I do X, then I would feel this way.  If the state of feeling is an improvement to your life, it can fuel your desire for change.  When you are connected with your feelings, it will motivate you to take action.

  • Move on if you rate yourself a 6 or more. No need to go further if you don’t have that deep desire for change.

What am I willing to modify or change in my life to make this happen?

Your current habits and routines are keeping you from reaching the desired change in your life.  People spend a lifetime developing their habits that create their realities on a day-to-day basis.  This is not something someone can change just by reading about it.  It will take a strategic plan that will most likely make you feel challenged to sustain the change.

When you have executive function challenges, you have an even harder time to sustain something that is not already a habit. With the right support system in place, I promise you can create new sustained habits and routines, but it will be WORK.

  • If you can honestly identify 2-3 things that you are willing to modify in your life to reach your goal, keep reading on.

What will my life look like in 12 months if I don’t bring this change into my life? What if I do? What would I gain? Or lose?

Timing is everything in life.   Is there a sense of urgency for the change in your life that you desire?   This can spur some good brain chemical energy to help you ignite the inner pathway to a new you.  It can also help in your accountability plan to keep you on course when things get dull and boring.

  • Can you identify real tangible gains in your life?  Get a pen and paper and get started with your individualized plan.
Your Personalized Road Map

5 steps into a new you in 2020!

  1. Visualize

This is an essential part of making your goal work. The process helps fire up your neurons to communicate your goals as if it was a real-life action and tell them to perform the acts.  This sets the stage for a pathway to a new you. Conceptualize what the new you would do on a day to day basis.  How will you interact with others? What does that look like for you?

       2.     Questions to get you there

What are the very first things that need to happen?

Is there something can you do to make that happen?

How fast can you ACT on it? Could you give it a timeline?

Who can hold you accountable for it?

  1. What is the next step?

Often times the excitement of the thought is enough to get you started but can quickly fade when it starts to look like a routine.

  1. Identify the possible points where you could get stuck:

Write down the areas that could derail you

What is the advice you can give yourself when this happens?

Use a journal to plan for each possible sticking point.

 

  1. Give this list to your accountability partner or coach. Check-in with that person each week to go over the goals and potential derailments.

How are you doing?
Celebrate?
Get back on track?

By creating a Road Map of what you want, steps to get you there and an accountability partner to help you stick to it, you can succeed at your goal of a new you!

Michelle R. Raz, M.A. Ed., is a professional executive function coach and educational consultant. Raz Coaching specializes in helping people with executive function challenges associated with ADHD, PTSD, Stress, TBI’s and ASD find careers they will love and land them. Read more at www.razcoaching.com/about Or sign up for the weekly blog or purchase my new book Happiness+Passion+Purpose.  It is packed full of exercises and strategies you can put to use immediately.