ADHD Mindset

ADHD and Money: Why Mindset Matters

Day 5: Money Mindset

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In my experience there is a direct correlation between having adhd tendencies and money challenges. It’s not always that there’s not enough money, or that there’s not money available, or that there are problems doing the math of managing money, but rather there are issues around the topics of value, judgements, earning, saving, beliefs and what we make it all mean.

There are challenges with the mindset of money, which then makes money challenging.

To start with, I’m a “helper” by nature. I love to help others. I’m sure some of you can relate.

I was drawn to Major in Child Development in College (which by the way is an extremely fulfilling yet inherently underpaid profession). So out the gate I was a professional underearner, and remained one for about 10 years. I moved up the ranks (eventually to become the Program Director for a large school district) and still made less than $30k per year, often working 60 hours per week.

My next venture was a dance studio. I owned a dance studio.

As the parent of a dancer, I had always wondered about the high cost of costumes and recital tickets. It seemed so disproportionate for the level of dance (my daughter was 5 at the time). My vision was to do it differently, offering families a high-quality experience for a reasonable price. My program grew and grew, eventually hiring 13 instructors that I managed. Well over 2k children went through my studio in the span of 3 years. I poured my heart and soul into it, and while it was extremely rewarding I never actually drew a salary. Again, underearning.

My question was why?

It came down to a belief that I’d had for a very long time. It was buried so deep, I didn’t even realize it was there.

It sounds like this “I have to work twice as hard for half the pay as everyone else.”

I know, nice thought hunh?

How did I ever get that thought?

I believe it was because of where and when I was raised. It was meant to be protective and a gentle reminder to work hard and always do my best.

It was during the 1960’s and 1970’s and we lived in an all Caucasian neighborhood in Northern Ca. My dad was employed by the largest transit system in the Bay Area and there were a lot of things happening with affirmative action. At the time, there was a lot of inequality in the workforce if you were a minority. My dad saw and experienced much of it first hand and he wanted to instill a strong work ethic in us. It was honorable and came from a place of love. He wanted what was best for us and for us to succeed in society.

It was said in the vein of “remember you’re always going to have to put your best foot forward, make a good first impression, you only get one chance to make a first impression, you’ll have to work twice as hard, for half as much, but you can do it".

The problem was I already had a strong work ethic. I had an example of it in both of my parents. I was wired to want to please people. I wanted to do a good job.

This belief that my dad instilled in me took hold and my brain ran with it. And as brains often do, it ran down a path of it’s own, taking it to a whole new level.

My brain grasped hold of it and took it as literal truth. In some ways I was always operating from a fearful place of not being good enough, needing to work twice as hard for half as much.

My brain used it as a way to show me I was not good enough and not deserving of more pay. That to ask for more would be presumptuous, bold, out of line, unreasonable.

What I know now is negative thought = negative feeling = negative result.

My negative result was underearning.

The good news is that once I became aware of that thought, I noticed it. Saw it for what it was. A thought that I didn’t have to think anymore.

Instead I started to think “I work hard because I love to” “I overdeliver because I want to”.

Just this week I’ve landed on a new money thought that I love.

“It’s possible to make more than I’ve ever made this month.”

That thought creates excitement for me. It’s open to possibility. I work hard no matter what. I’m open to all of the value that comes with that.

It’s also a thought that can compound over time. So no matter the amount, it’s always open to grow.

If you’re reading this and you have adhd or adhd tendencies, chances are you have a belief about yourself, your ability or capability to earn more. Your story of how it got there may not be the same as mine. It doesn’t matter. If there’s a hidden belief that’s holding you back, it’s worth uncovering.

There was an episode last week shared on one of my favorite podcasts, The Life Coach School podcast with Brooke Castillo, called Underearning. She describes underearning as someone who is earning less then they’re capabale of, and they want to earn more. As I listened to this episode, it really resonated with me. It is the space that I lived in for most of my life. If this post resonated with you I’d encourage you to listen in. If you want to explore your money mindset, or just find out what that even means, book a 45-minute session via the button below. ~Shaun


The Need To Be Needed

Day 1: People Pleasing

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I just want to help...

It sounds like a pretty thought. Until you find yourself accomodating others at your own expense.

What do I mean by that?

If you love being able to help others, but find yourself panic-stricken, stressed out, overthinking things, worrying about how you may come across, and ignoring your inner voice, you may want to dig a little deeper.

If you worry about how someone else will receive your message, or what they may think about it. You may want to dig a little bit deeper.

If you think “helping” is creating an environment where someone else is able to feel safe, secure, loved, connected, and supported. You may want to dig a little deeper. That’s an impossible goal. How people feel is ultimately up to them. It’s based on all of their past experiences and their thoughts.

You can contribute to how somone feels, but you’re never responsible for it.

Let’s say that louder for the people in the back.

You can CONTRIBUTE to how someone feels, but you’re never RESPONSIBLE for it.

That goes the other way too. Other people can contribute to how you feel, but they are never responsible for it. Only you are.

Doing a good deed and helping out can feel really good. It's when it starts to feel bad that we want to take a closer look.

When we have a strong need to be needed, we can overlook our own needs.

Feelings of resentment, anger, frustration, and anxiety can indicate that deep down you may feel like if those around you are happy, then you can be happy. But you’re pushing aside your own needs to do so.

This is an age old message that many of us learned in childhood.

As children, we may have learned that if we behaved in a certain way, we would get the love and affection from our parents that we desired.

When we were "good girls and boys" they seemed happy. When we misbehaved, they'd get angry.

Monitoring our behavior became a way of guaranteeing that we could earn their love and affection. We learned that we were responsible for how our parents felt. That we actually could make them happy.

The thought was simple "do whatever we could to keep them happy. To keep the peace."

For some of us we carry that message into our adult lives.

We believe that the main way to interact with people is to be pleasing to them.

The problem is what pleases one person will not please another person.

We all have different likes and preferences.

We can become so busy pleasing others that we forget to please ourselves.

We may not even know what it is that we like, because we've never paid attention to that. We've made it our habit to only notice what others like and follow suit.

So how might this show up?

Maybe someone's...

  • having a rough day.

  • needing a favor

  • wanting to vent about something

  • just living their life when you suddenly see a way to make things even "better"

  • figuring things out

What do you do?

You may...

  • jump in to help

  • roll up your sleeves and get to work

  • rearrange your schedule

  • ignore your preferences

  • suck it up and keep your honest opinion to yourself

Why? Because you know, they're upset. Why not just keep the peace? It's not that hard to do.

Over time “keeping the peace” can chip away at you until you are a big ole bundle of nerves.

When I dug a bit deeper, the first step for me was noticing when I felt that small familiar flutter in my chest.

It happened in situations that for many people would seem like no big deal.

With friends when they’d say:

“That doesn’t work for me, can you come earlier?” then once I’d agreed to come earlier they’d ask at the last minute “I’m running behind, will a little later work?”

With bosses if they said:

“Why couldn’t I reach you yesterday?” or “What have you been working on?”

With family when they questioned:

“Why wouldn’t you want to (fill in the blank)?” or “What do you mean that’s not how you remember it?”

It was almost never about the words that were said, but rather the way in which they were spoken.

My brain would hear the tone with which they said something first, that implied that someone was upset with me. The tone sent a message to my brain that I was in dangerous territory and had better tread carefully. Or else.

Or else what?

That is the question I began asking my brain. What is the worst that can happen here?

In some cases, there would be tension, a disagreement, conflict. All of that is uncomfortable for me. I like smooth sailing. I mean, can’t we all just get along?

When I really asked myself what am I actually afraid of here? It was a feeling. It was the discomfort of disagreement, disappoinment, anger, judgement, dislike and conflict.

It was the fear of “what if I’m not expressing myself clearly and they misunderstand?”

It felt like at all costs, I needed to keep them happy. Because if they were happy I must be doing something right. It was proof that I was doing a job well done. That I was getting that A on my paper. Hearing clearly what was requested and responding accordingly.

I think when we have adhd tendencies one of the things that can happen is we distrust ourselves. We can be unclear on expectations. It can be hard to pick up on subtle social clues, so we can become oversensitive to ALL clues. We have our antennae up for when we might be headed for trouble and we try to avoid it at all cost.

Over time, when we hold peace as the end all be all, over the truth (our truth), what’s true for us that is, the conflict that we’re trying to avoid shows up as internal conflict.

We think we’re avoiding it, but we still experience it, it’s just within ourselves and feels just as bad if not worse.

Step one is just to notice when you feel uncomfortable. Notice where you feel it first. Like I said, for me it is a little flutter in my chest. My heart skips a beat or two and I feel a little light headed. So subtle.

Once you notice it, just breathe in and exhale slowly. Try not to judge yourself or the other person. Just notice what you’re feeling and name it.

I’m feeling nervous. I’m feeling anxious. I’m feeling scared.


Stop Spinning: How to Take Action That Moves You Forward

Day 17: Spinning

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Have you ever felt like you’re spinning?

Spinning in indecision.

It is a common action that I see happening with my clients.

They will feel an emotion like worry, confusion, doubt or overwhelm, and when we look at the actions that they’re taking from that place, spinning is often one of them.

It’s the feeling like you’re going in circles, ruminating, not really clear on which way to go next.

This word spinning got me to thinking about other actions (actually inactions) that are similar to this.

Actions like worrying, pondering, wondering, waiting, self-sabotaging, avoiding, postponing and hoping.

When I look at all of these actions through the same lens, they have one thing in common.

They are indulgent in that they feel like you’re doing something, yet you’re really not.

They feel very active. When in fact they are all passive. And, they don’t get you any closer to your goal.

When you think of a washing machine on the spin cycle, you can see the drum spinning around and around.

The clothes stay in the same spot, they just keep goin’ ‘round.

Don’t get stuck in a spin cycle.

When you set a goal and have a destination in mind for yourself, notice when you feel like you’re taking action or really busy, but getting nowhere.

It could be that you’re indulging in action that isn’t actually helpful. It could be that you’re taking action that delays having to do something that will be super uncomfortable.

Actions like worrying, pondering, wondering, waiting, self-sabotaging, avoiding, postponing and hoping.

They’re not helpful.

If you’re going to move, you may as well move towards something you want or away from something you don’t want, rather than in circles getting nowhere.

Do you have some big lofty goals for yourself that you’re having trouble reaching? Set up a free 45 minute consultation with me and we can take a look at what may be keeping you stuck. I can teach you how to get unstuck. I’d love to talk with you. ~Shaun