Overcome Obstacles Instead of Being Overcome by Them

Overcome Obstacles Instead of Being Overcome by Them

Overcome Obstacles Instead of Being Overcome by Them

            A  4-part story of adversity, courage, hope and success for one TBI survivor

This is one of a four-part series of how one traumatic brain injury (TBI) survivor overcame obstacles to improve her quality of life when appropriate resources seemed out of reach.  These obstacles and challenges associated with TBI survivors include many skills associated with execution functions of the brain.  These skilled functions can be thought of as the command center of the brain that controls the cognitive processes such as decision-making, impulse control, attention, emotional regulation, and working memory.

Here is the first part of her story.

Healing is a continual process, but for this TBI Survivor, I made a choice to overcome obstacles instead of being overcome by them. Do not get me wrong, there have been, and still are some tough days, but with determination and a willingness to change, anything is possible.

What Happened…

Over eleven years ago, my life drastically changed on a fall day as I was driving to Steamboat Springs, Colorado in a snowstorm for a class.  We all know how Colorado weather can be; sunny one minute, a few miles down the road and a few minutes later, a complete whiteout has greeted you with full force. As I was making the final turn toward the West Summit of Rabbit Ears Pass, I noticed a vehicle fish-tailing on their side of the road and decided to pull as far right on the shoulder as I could hoping the car would pass, I could make a sarcastic comment about their driving, then be back on the way to class.

I did not make it to class but, I did survive a head-on collision with the side of the other driver’s vehicle.  Not only was life as I knew it changed but my ambitions for my career were crushed as well.

What changed?

Well, I went from being a semi-respected member of the community to the town joke.

Memory, balance, speech, processing, and cognitive issues made me different; insignificant in the minds of many who, instead of trying to understand the abrupt challenges in my life, people chose to judge and diagnose me to be someone I was not.  I lost friends, family members had no idea how to deal with me or communicate with me so, it was just easier for them to write me off as a “freak”.  People I called friends called me, “different, odd, awkward, and consistently inconsistent”.  Great on the self-esteem, I tell you (sarcastically speaking).

There were limited resources within the community I lived and the husband at the time, scared the crap out of me when he drove me to and from doctor appointments and surgeries. It took me over a year to get behind the wheel again.The marriage did not survive, but my mild traumatic brain injury was not the only reason.

Do you know what it is like to walk into the store or post office and see people whisper into one another’s ear while looking at you from the corner of their eye? Nah, they were definitely not talking about me, and they were so secretive, I had not noticed. Right…

I apparently hired a lawyer to represent my best interests but I don’t recall signing the paperwork, but when it was all said and done, I was hurt in the accident so they could benefit from my pain and suffering.  On one of the few encounters I remember with the lawyer’s Junior Associate (my mood swings and emotional dysregulation were too much for the real lawyer), it was mentioned that I should lose my home, be broke, and accept that I would never have worth-while employment for the rest of my life.

I guess if I had bought into what they were selling, they would have gotten more of my settlement, and they got most of it. That was just enough motivation for me to realize I did not want to be the person they decided I was going to be.  Boy, did I make a few sharks angry.  Who cares about what their words did to my self-esteem?

Oh yeah, being different means being insignificant, right?  Wrong!

One afternoon a year-and-a-half after my accident, I sat at my kitchen table in despair, crying, and thought I could not live the way I had being living anymore. I was afraid to drive, the help I was getting was minimal, and the then husband was about as available as a live operator in a computer-operated call center. I was ready to give up and had grown resigned to the idea of my disappointing new life, trying to find acceptance of my circumstances even though I struggled to accept the new me.

It was tough because I could still remember how I use to be, I just did not know how to reach that person.  We had been permanently disconnected. I sat at that kitchen table and surrendered and prayed.  Something had to give. Does anyone reading this understand where I am coming from or what I am talking about?

Within my next post, I will share about healing; Lisa style.

Until next time……

Lisa Marie Ansell, Guest Blogger

If you have anything to share please feel free to reach out to me at www.razcoaching.com  or www. coachingacademics.com. [email protected] Or follow my www.Instagram.com/razcoaching. I do daily mini blogs with tips of inspiration. I post almost every day.  There’s something in there for you that can help you with your focus for the day.

5 Online School Survival Tips

5 Online School Survival Tips

5 Online School Survival Tip

We are in some really challenging times. The way we go about our life is changing minute by minute.

Are you finding yourself in new roles?

You might have just become a teacher or an academic coach and a home health care provider. Things that you didn’t typically think that would be in your repertoire but now are forced upon you by these new changes. Rightfully so, we need to be responsible citizens.

You might be feeling overwhelmed, confused and frustrated.

I want to ease some of that frustration and fear of what you are now being strapped with. If you are having to help a college student or a public school student at home, I will be able to offer you some advice.

This is what I do for a living every day.  For over 10 years, I have helped hundreds of students to be successful in their academic life and career planning. Specifically, I work with clients in organizing, time management, task initiation, planning, prioritizing and keeping them accountable. These are what we call the areas of executive functions.

How is this online format going to work?

Maybe they’ve had a class online before and it wasn’t successful for them. These can be triggers and barriers to their academic success in the coming weeks. So, I want to give you five online school survival tips to help get you started.

You got this!

I often tell my clients or parents of students that I work with what I do is very systematic and it can be done by anybody. The difference is that I’m a third party. So sometimes, when there are internal conflicts or triggers within families, it’s nice to have that third party. I know from firsthand because I certainly paid it forward within my own family and I would still do that today if needed.

So let’s get down to these strategies.

Advocate

I want to make this quick for you. When you start online schooling, it’s essential to be your own best advocate.  It’s important that you self-advocate if you’re not understanding something and need clarity. You need to reach out to your instructors.   You’re in charge of letting people know what you need best.

Now for a younger student, this is where the parent has to be intuitive. But it’s important to advocate and it’s going to take a while to get used to.

Start off with writing out what you need or what your student needs to be a successful online student. Share it with somebody that is helping you transition into this new learning environment.

Resources

Second of all, there are many resources in this day and age.  We are so lucky that we have resources such as online tutoring programs. A lot of the schools probably are going to be offering those. There’s online counseling you can seek as well. Just like myself, It’s really something that can be done through Skype Zoom or Facetime. It’s very common these days.

Make sure that you know what your resources are.

If you’re going to be struggling in one particular subject area and you know that you are going to need help, ask questions about available resources. And that goes back to being your own best advocate.

Goals

Goals are super important to set when you have a lot of unstructured time. When I’m working with clients that have online classes, the biggest pitfall for them is not setting weekly and daily goals. That’s a crucial part of what I do. They need to see what’s in front of them and what they want to get done each day and week.

When the instructors give you what they want you to do, take the initiative to set goals and structure your day accordingly. An example of setting goals might be: if your instructors are giving you weekly to-dos on a Sunday evening or Monday, start the week off with a goal-setting session. What is it that you need to accomplish by that Friday and budget your time accordingly for each class. Structure it so that you have built-in time for breaks lunches and tutoring time if you need that.

If you take the time to set the goals that will give you purpose each day and a focus which is an added bonus. Right now, I’m seeing a lot of students pretty bored even though they’re kind of excited to not be in classes. They may have a list of some things they can do around the house, but they’re not supposed to be outside interacting with other people in very large groups. There is only so much downtime they can have. And we really need a purpose and something to do for our mental health. Lay this out with them on a planner with each class and budget that time accordingly.   Map it out so that they have a purpose each day.  Match it with the weekly plan from the instructor.   Your student is going to have a daily purpose now.

Read The Instructions

It’s essential to look at the instructions and read the syllabus.  Now as easy and common sense as that sounds, I can’t tell you how many students that I work with that don’t read the instructions. They don’t look at the rubrics. They’re not following the syllabus.

The instructors are going to be communicating a lot via email and possibly sending documents for you to read and follow. If you have a student challenged with some of the executive functions, take the time during goal-setting to go over the syllabus for the week. Check the rubric if they’re doing a project so that they understand what is expected of them. This is an independence skill that even college students struggle with at times. They don’t take that time to just follow through to make sure that what they think the professor or teacher wants is actually what they think they need to do. There are often times when they’re mismatched. I cannot stress enough to take the time to read the materials.

Time To Organize with a planner

I do know there are a lot of instructors out there that are using individual Web sites that can be pretty confusing. So if you feel frustrated with too many instructional sites to coordinate, come up with a plan to take charge of your time and get organized with a planner.

I have a systematic way that I do it. Have all of your subjects across the top of your planner with the due dates set and then backfill it with how you are going to get it done.   Start with the end in mind. For example, if there is a project or a test, put that on planner and color code it red, so it stands out. I do it by the month and by the week with students so they can be very clear on what it is that’s important and then backfill it. The next step is to plan how you are going to meet that goal of the test,  paper, or project and backfill each step to make the work manageable.

Accountability

It is super important to hold them accountable each day. Not only are we taking charge of the time by getting organized, but they will also know what’s expected of them. The accountability I recommend is for whoever’s in charge of overseeing student work, whether it be an elementary, high school or college student, look at the progress at the end of the day. I have my clients color code a completed task as blue to show it completed.

I cannot stress accountability as a critical factor in your student’s success enough. In our distracted lives, we tend to forget to follow through on things. We set these goals. We are organized but we don’t follow through to make sure that it got done. In our current situation, most parents are juggling working out of their home, taking care of their family, trying to get groceries and maybe taking care of an elderly person. There’s a lot of stress and there’s a lot going on.

What I recommend and I do myself is to put reminders in my phone. I ask my clients to set reminders in their phones as well. The accountability check-ins at the end of the day improve academic success. Have some kind of reward in place when it does get done.   Make it something they can do like gaming or binge-watching a movie series are ideas.

The accountability is what’s going to make them feel accomplished every day. If the student does not get done or meets a daily goal, you’ve got the flexibility to be at home and plenty of time to complete it.

I hope that these tips helped you.

  1. Advocate for yourself
  2. Resources: make sure you’ve got them in place
  3. Goals: Set them each week
  4. Read the syllabus: make sure you understand what the instructors want (rubric)
  5. Take charge of your time and get organized with accountability.

 

If you do these five things, you will set yourself up during these challenging times for success.   You might just help your student become an independent learner by doing the work on his or her own.

Once you follow this for a few weeks, they will get into a routine and it will begin to flow.

It’s going to be a different home environment but you can get into this flow and be successful. This is a time when we really need to embrace our duties. Things are changing day by day but you can put into place a routine at home that your students can adjust to quickly.

 

Best of luck out there.

If you have anything to share please feel free to reach out to me at www.razcoaching.com  or www. coachingacademics.com. [email protected] Or follow my www.Instagram.com/razcoaching. I do daily mini blogs with tips of inspiration. I post almost every day.  There’s something in there for you that can help you with your focus for the day.

Coronavirus Pandemic: ADHD Perspective

Coronavirus Pandemic: ADHD Perspective

Coronavirus Pandemic: ADHD Perspective

Can Your ADHD hyper-focus help in the midst of the Coronavirus Pandemic?

We really need all the creatives and out of the box thinkers right now.

As I went to the grocery store yesterday, I noticed that the shelves were getting empty very quickly. Panic began to set in that I needed to join the masses and make sure I had enough canned soups and toilet paper. My thoughts were,  how are we going to regulate the use of this toilet paper within the household and make sure that we can make it last?!

I started getting into panic thinking and reading a lot of the social media out there and the news. It made it hard focusing on my work. When we have a crisis in our life, it can consume us. I felt that it was bringing me down and feeling a little lethargic as I moved through the day.

My own life was becoming to fall down around me as I was looking forward to my son’s baseball game this weekend. It would have been nice to get out of the house to be in an environment I thought would have been relatively safe from the COVID-19 Coronavirus. Our local schools canceled all the baseball games following suit with the national sports. At that point, I really felt the gravity of our situation.

It started to give me anxiety.

I was feeling a little down and not motivated to do what I usually do: creating a lot of blogs, instagram posts and podcasts.  Should we halt everything and put everything on hold?  I certainly felt frozen and confused.

I woke up this morning and thought, “No!” What we need is the very people that I speak to, the very people that I work with. We need all our creativity and need everybody to help. Because we are really a one-world economy now.

We need to think outside of the box outside of our homes, outside of our towns and the country. There is a responsibility to the world to get through this.

I came across this quote from a professor from a university, Leonard Sweep, and it really struck me.

“The future is not something we enter. It is something we create.”

What can we do to create a future when we’re just reacting, and we’re closing things down?

I feel like we are kind of like a mouse in one of those cages where you’re you’re going down a ramp, and somebody puts a block down that stops you. You turn around and you find another block placed.

As Americans, we cherish our freedom. We cherish our ability to move around freely to do what we want to do. This is what we pride ourselves in. We are being shut down and being confined to our homes.

Driving around my community, I feel anxious. Even going to the grocery store to buy essentials is stressful. Disinfecting my hands and cart and feeling awkward with my fears, I enter the battleground at the grocery store. I leave feeling embarrassed that I’m walking out with a 24 pack of toilet paper, but grateful I snagged one. But obviously, that’s the smart thing to do. I just want to be home, but yet I’m restless. These are strange conflicted times.

I’ve got that restless entrepreneurial spirit and this makes it hard. I like to get out and exercise and am still going to the gym, but I’m reading in the news that people are getting sick in the gyms, so they’re starting to shut them down.

I’m thinking holy cow, you know what does this mean for me?  So, this inspired me to write that it’s time for us; the out of the box thinkers; the creative people to start tapping into that inner superpower and hyper-focus during this challenging time.

Now, my own hyper-focus has been on the news and the devastation. I want to understand the impact of what is going on right now.

We’re in a time that calls for us to tap into our inner creative energy to help us navigate through our current world crisis. We don’t want to shut down our thinking of solutions.

Remember,

The future is not something we enter, but  is something we create.

How do we handle the situation?

And respond to the duty to protect our vulnerable?

Go about our daily business while minimizing this hysteria?

This is a very tragic situation. And I have full trust that it’s going to get solved, but we’re in it for a while. Meanwhile, it is wreaking havoc on our world and how we live and work.

We are facing a lot of changes in our routines and how we work.

Could it be a possibility for a positive change?

Can this movement of social distancing and relying on our technology to stay informed and even fed in some areas be something positive and productive?

What do you do when you have all this extra time on your hands?

I’m talking about the extra time you have from canceled sporting events, travel plans, work commute. It really is going to free up some of your time. We can just sit around and read the news, watch the TV and just consume media and feel frozen in life. This is what I am guilty of this last week!

Or, we can shift it.

I often talk about taking a walk in the woods on a lunch break or before you go to work or when you get home to decompress. Since this is a time when you need to distance yourself, Social distancing, you could use it for your personal benefit.

Can you go for a walk around your neighborhood?

Go to a park and go for that walk slowly through the woods?

Use this quieter time to practice being mindful?

Put that energy into something that is going to help you through this or something in the near future?

Or, is there something you’ve been wanting to reflect on and realign your life?

Maybe it’s a career or academic goal. Or, it’s perhaps an interpersonal goal. But this could be an opportunity to really reflect within. Start to tap into some of that creative energy.

You could have a solution for something in your community that is a real problem. It could be a health care issue that you have this great idea for that you can use this time to contemplate. Many inventions come out of problem-solving a current issue. Well, we currently have a lot of problems to solve in a global world. What does our world need right now?

And this change in your day-to-day life can just be what sparks something positive or we can choose to wallow in our grief, anxiety and fears.

If you are healthy and taking the mandatory precautions, heed this advice!

Be proactive in your extra time while social distancing and tap into your creative spirit. You might just change your life for the better or someone else’s!

Let your creative ADHD brain process our current world dilemma and get proactive.

If you have something to share, please comment.

How can we CREATIVELY steer our lives NOW in the most sensible direction for when COVID-19 does pass?

Raz Coaching specializes in helping people with executive function challenges find careers they 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. Exercises and strategies you can put to use immediately. AND follow at instagram.com/razcoaching for daily motivations

Coronavirus Pandemic & Your ADHD Creativity

The Coronavirus Pandemic Needs Your ADHD Creativity

Calling all creatives and out of the box thinkers!
If you are following me and reading this then that is YOU.
We are in a time that calls for us to tap into our inner creative energy to navigate through our current world crisis.
How do we respond to our duty to protect our vulnerable and go about our daily business while minimizing the hysteria?
What can we do to slow our movement and isolate ourselves yet remain productive in our career paths while managing our anxiety?
How do stay engaged with our family, friends and co-workers and protect ourselves while managing our fears?
The way we handle the stress that the pandemic is causing our world will determine how we recover from the overall effect it is currently having on ALL OF OUR LIVES.
This demonstrates more than ever our ONE WORLD ECONOMY and need for global solutions.
When times have been tough in my life whether it be in work, child rearing or personal matters, I got through many days with this mantra.

“This Too Shall Pass.”

It gave me a sense of calm and foresight that there was a light at the end of the tunnel of this Coronavirus Pandemic. (COVID-19)
How can we CREATIVELY steer our lives NOW in the most sensible direction for when it does pass?
Raz Coaching specializes in helping people with executive function challenges find careers they 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. Exercises and strategies you can put to use immediately. AND follow at instagram.com/razcoaching for daily motivations
My Story My Purpose My Drive

My Story My Purpose My Drive

I want to share with you my personal story of how I became an ADHD coach

My daughter is the story behind my story, my purpose and my drive to be an  ADHD coach.  She  was in fifth grade and we had been traveling in South America for four months during the school year. I worked with her during our home-school sessions and got to see how she was learning in a one on one environment. It was clear that she understood the concepts being taught. She was getting good grades in this environment.

Back from our travels, she settled back into the classroom but soon began to fall behind academically. It didn’t match up to me, and I couldn’t understand what was going on. I really did not know much about ADHD. (more…)