8. Sustaining change

Book review

Sticking to the program

Interview with David Giwerc, President ADD Coaching Academy

Andrew: Something becomes habitual after 40 days, is that right? It becomes easy because it becomes an automatic process?

David: But habitual can also be negative. ADDers have a very difficult time embracing success because they’re not used to it. I work with a lot of entrepreneurs; many are very successful over a period of years of coaching. They were not always that way, and when they become successful it becomes a hyperfocus of success that can become as addicting as a drug. They become very addicted to success and they don’t want to leave it, so something suffers because of this, their work-life balance, their friends, family commitments and sometimes health.

They’ve never felt this before and it’s so wonderful it becomes an addiction.

We have to watch for that too, but I would much rather have somebody at least go to that success cycle rather than a cycle of pessimism and beating themselves up vs. working out how to transition out of their hyper focus and lack of life balance… Change is difficult for all human beings but it’s exceptionally difficult for people with ADHD because it requires a lot of mental and physical brain activity.

Andrew: ADHD people respond strongly to what’s stimulating and what’s rewarding. Change is easier with greater reward and stimulation thrown in? Does is make sense to make what they’re trying to do be more attractive or interesting?

David: Yeah, I think that’s a very astute observation and very important, Andrew. I think that what is important to us and what stimulates our brains is all different, but I think that the responsibility of a person with ADHD is to find value in whatever it is they’re going to do and start their day off with value and momentum. They need to do that.

Start you day with interest

A non-ADDer may start their day off in areas of disinterest and shift over. For people with ADHD, for most of my clients and for me, we need to start our days off with interest, positive stimulation and momentum. This gets my brain going and my energy going.

I don’t start off in areas that other people determine are valuable unless I also determine they are valuable and interesting.

Starting my day off with a boring task will never work.

Now can we create value? Yes, I’ve known clients that created value out of a challenge, when everybody said they couldn’t do it. The value was in proving those people wrong who said they couldn’t do it. It was enough to get them to do something they couldn’t do before because they wanted the reward of: “I will show them.” It was powerful enough to get them to do it.

Igniting our brains

So “what ignites our brain?” is the first question, and then how we position what we pay attention to, so that it is valuable and ignites our brain. These are choices that are up to us. We have that power. I’ve seen kids, who didn’t want to be labelled as failures, persevere four or five times longer than any other kid because they didn’t want to be labelled inferior or sub-par. They didn’t want to be ostracized, isolated and rejected.

I know that’s how it was for me and many of my clients, and our attitude was

“I don’t care if it takes me four or five times longer. I just don’t want to feel that failure anymore.”

And then as we get well versed about their ADHD they realise that they didn’t have to struggle anymore. We just didn’t understand what it took to get them going. Value is created by each individual.


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ADHD Coach, Andrew Lewis

Andrew Lewis

Andrew Lewis is an ADHD Coach, writer and founder of SimplyWellbeing. He has over ten thousand hours and fifteen years of experience in coaching ADHD executives, business professionals and creatives. His expertise with ADHD is personal, with decades of his own experience, bringing up an ADHD child, running a large support group and in coaching clients often for years He has published his writing via this website and has ADHD online courses in development. His business expertise comes from a twenty years career in software, from programming, through marketing, sales and running a few start-ups.

Further reading

ADHD at work
How to develop inner resources for a sense of happiness and fulfilment that is not dependent on outer circumstances
ADHD at work
A guide to helping ADHD kids, though a little too focussed on "bad" behaviour
ADHD at work
A career coach takes you through a series of exercises to help you find what you want (and don't) from work
ADHD at work
Great book by a fellow ADHD coach with some very practical strategies
ADHD at work
A great background on the brain’s physiology, function, pathology, and problems that may occur
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