Resilience and ADHD

This week on the show we’re talking all about resilience, that state of being that allows us to rebound from short-term setbacks, and adapt to long-term change, without letting our ADHD get in the way.

Episode Hosts: ,

Subscribe to Taking Control: The ADHD Podcast in Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or anywhere else you find your favorite podcasts!

Support The ADHD Podcast and get great perks by becoming a Patron • Learn More and Join Now!

By the age of 12, children with ADHD hear 20,000 more negative messages than their peers. Those messages are teaching lessons about self-esteem, courage, confidence, initiative, and decision-making that become deeply rooted in their identity. That’s kids, but what happens to those kids as they grow up? 20,000 negative messages grows exponentially as we move into college, or our first jobs, our careers. And what about those of us diagnosed later in life? Those of us who heard all those same negative messages, but had nothing to attribute them to?

This week on the show we’re talking all about resilience, that state of being that allows us to rebound from short-term setbacks, and adapt to long-term change, without letting our ADHD get in the way.

Thank you for supporting The ADHD Podcast on Patreon!

Episode Transcript

Brought to you by The ADHD Podcast Community on Patreon

Pete: Hello, everybody and welcome to “Taking Control: The ADHD Podcast” on RashPixel.FM. I’m Pete Wright and right over there is Nikki Kinzer.

Nikki: Hello, everyone. Hello, Pete.

Pete: Hello, Nikki. Hi, how you feeling this morning?

Nikki: With spinach in his teeth.

Pete: Well, I fixed that.

Nikki: You did fix it. Thank you for that.

Pete: But I have a feeling this…the member live stream is gonna be the gift that keeps on giving. People remind me month after month, that episode where Pete showed up with spinach in his teeth.

Nikki: Yep. Gotta love that.

Pete: Well, that’s fixed. Lesson learned. You only need to learn it once. Check the teeth before you jump on camera. Except for I’ve had to learn that multiple times. We are talking about…it’s a Pete episode today. You know what that means.

Nikki: Pete gets to talk.

Pete: And Pete always springs it on Nikki at the very last minute.

Nikki: Although I did have a chance to read the notes. So I do…I at least have an idea of what we’re talking about. Last time, I had no idea.

Pete: Oh, no, that was a complete spring. Yeah, no, this is much better, I feel like we’re in good stead here on our topic of the day and it’s something that’s been really pestering at me, and so I’m glad to be able to talk about it today. Before we jump into the conversation though, head over to takecontroladhd.com, get to know us a little bit better. You can listen to the show right there on the website or subscribe to the mailing list and we’ll send you an email each time a new episode is released. And of course, you can connect with us on Twitter or Facebook, at Take Control ADHD. Okay. Do we have a question of the day?

Nikki: No.

Pete: You know what we do have…

Nikki: We do have a recommendation.

Pete: We do, and you know what, it’s a good one and I feel like I just want to acknowledge that it came in because first of all, it was delightful and kind, and it was a request. This is from Kathleen who writes us saying very nice things about our podcast. She says she truly loves what we do. She’s so nice. “Oh, my God. Yes, that’s exactly me.” She says, “I’m so not alone”. No, you’re not alone, Kathleen, thank you for writing. But what she is asking is that we do a book review episode that she really liked the book review episodes some time ago. And we haven’t done one in a long time. She noted that we had talked about “Essentialism” by Greg McKeown, which was a great book. And she requested that we do a review of a specific book, which I’m not gonna mention here, because it’ll be a surprise. But that’s coming, and whether we do this book or another book, Nikki, I have also received a book review request about a book that I had never read, but it comes from our therapist, colleague, and friend, Dodge Rea, who has talked to us about the show before and he says this book you have to read because it is the most sort of resonant and innovative thinking on ADHD that he has ever read. And he’s a trauma therapist, who lives with ADHD.

Nikki: Now, is this an old book or a new book that just came out?

Pete: I think it’s pretty new. But I’m very excited about it. So I have it in my Audible, and I’m gonna read it. I can’t wait to see if we should recommend it. And so you and I can talk offline because it’s huge. So we have a couple of books in the queue, and I think the answer is yes, we’d love to do more book review episodes. Is that right?

Nikki: Yeah. Oh, absolutely.

Pete: Absolutely. And now we have this fantastic Discord group and I am sure that the book club will probably want to read along which I think would be really fun. So let’s hope. This podcast is brought to you by you, members of the Take Control ADHD community. If you have ever listened to this show over the last, how many years? So many years, Nikki Kinzer.

Nikki: A lot.

Pete: If you have listened to the last…

Nikki: Over 10.

Pete: Over 10 years.

Nikki: No, no, no. That’s not…

Pete: Yeah, under 10…Our 10-year anniversary is next year.

Nikki: That’s right.

Pete: We just had our 9th anniversary, over nine years, and hundreds, and hundreds of episodes if anything has ever touched you, then we invite you to consider please, becoming a member of the Patreon community. The community is incredible, and robust, and supportive. And once you join us over at Patreon you get access to our Discord community, which is through the Discord community app that you download to your phone, and your computer, and you log in there and you join the conversation. Nikki, what is your very favorite part about our Discord or about our ADHD community?

Nikki: My favorite thing about Discord is definitely the connection between the members, right? They are so open with each other, they’re so supportive of each other, and they give each other great ideas, and they become friends, and they welcome new people. And they’re funny, and they are a wealth of information. And I mean, there’s just so many great things and they’re the ones that are really creating the channel to be what it is. They’re the ones that created the book club. They’re the ones that, you know, did the accountability channel, all of these things is this community’s ideas to help themselves and help other people around them. It’s awesome. I love it.

Pete: It is absolutely incredible, you know, and to your point. I mean, I’ve been seeing these comments pop up in the chat room about the fact that this is a group of people who have become such friends that they don’t longer have to distinguish between online and offline friendships and support, and that is just about the most meaningful thing. I know to us, certainly but, that could have come out of this. So please, give it a shot. You don’t have to, we’re not keeping anything from you in terms of the podcast, you can still listen for free. Absolutely. But if you’ve ever thought about supporting the show patreon.com/theadhdpodcast. Is that what it is? Is that what I’ve been saying? patreon.com/theadhdpodcast is where you go to make that a reality for us, and join the community and meet some just incredible people.

Nikki: And can I just say one more thing real quick?

Pete: Sure.

Nikki: I’m not on Discord as much as I would like to be, and so there’s a lot of times where I’ll go on there to kind of check out and see what people are talking about. And it will say, you know, 50 unread messages or whatever, and that can be overwhelming. But I don’t go back and read, you know, the last 50 messages. So I want people to know that they can jump right in, they don’t have to go back to the feed and look at the conversation, they can come in, introduce themselves, you know, ask a different question, whatever. I mean, people are so welcoming, and I just don’t want that piece to intimidate you.

Pete: Right. Right. And I think that’s true. And I think, you know, in terms of an ADHD community, it really is…it models ADHD.

Nikki: Right, it totally does.

Pete: If somebody asks you a question and you miss it, they’ll ask it again, if it’s really important. And that’s, you know, we’re good that way. So definitely check in, check it out. We invite you there, patreon.com/theadhdpodcast. Thanks everybody.

Nikki, I want to talk about resilience today.

Nikki: I love it.

Pete: It’s been really gnawing at me. I have this, you know, I’ve been thinking, we’ve talked a lot about, you know, margin and we’ve talked about, you know, the way ADHD sort of manifests in our lives and the challenges that we have around it. We talk a lot about routines. And it’s just this idea of how we bounce back and are we equipped to bounce back from ADHD storms and how well do we equip ourselves to bounce back from ADHD storms has really been gnawing at me. By the age of 12, children with ADHD hear 20,000 more negative messages than their peers. This is according to Anna Vagin, a therapist who writes about the impact of these negative messages on self-esteem, the impact of these messages on confidence, on initiative, on kids’ ability to take risks, on decision-making. Another fantastic hot topic for us.

Nikki: Absolutely.

Pete: So that’s kids, right? What happens to those kids when they grow up? Twenty thousand negative messages, they grow exponentially as we go to college, and we hit our first jobs, and our careers, and over a lifetime, those messages can have an impact. And what about those of us who are diagnosed later in life? Those of us who heard all those same negative messages about our behavior, but we had nothing to attribute them to, we had no hooks on which to hang them metaphorically, right? No boxes to put them in, no way to understand why we were being, you know, singled out.

So I have this client in the higher ed space, he helps university leaders through change in their schools, and he’s been really hammering home, this message of resilience in leadership.

Now, for him, it’s about, you know, are you as a higher ed leader, are you doing the best that you can to build a culture that can withstand short term blows, right? Losing staff or changes in the market or changes in enrollment that are short-term. Or do you have a culture that can withstand long-term change, right? Can you bounce back from or adapt to these major shifts in the economy? So those are his his sort of overarching questions for his higher ed clients. And I got to thinking, isn’t that the same way that we kind of can break down this concept of resilience in our own lives with ADHD? How well are we able to withstand short-term blows in our lives? You know, this is the thing we’ve talked about with the dog…You know, the dog runs away, you know, and we spill our coffee.

Nikki: Yeah, how you bounce back.

Pete: How do you bounce back? And then how do you withstand long-term changes in your life? How do you adapt to these long-term changes and they might be you get married, right? Suddenly you have to live with someone else, you have kids, suddenly your your life changes around that. You change careers, you have to adapt. How well do you adapt? These are all the things that are sort of floating around in my head around resilience. I think of resilience…this might be kind of gross to some people so trigger warning, my apologies. I think of resilience like a callus, right? Like it’s tough skin. It’s that hardened skin that covers the most used and abused parts of your life, right? A callus covers these parts of your body, your knees, your joints, right? But, you know, what a callus is, a resilience in terms of our ADHD lives. These are parts of ourselves that get the most abuse and how well do we protect those? It becomes that protection the next time you fall down.

So I read this passage from a medical team talking about ADHD and resilience specifically, and they had this to say and I wanna get your reflection on it. “The ability to cope with stress and recover from setbacks is one of the greatest predictors of a person’s future success. People with ADHD, build this trade as they overcome daily challenges and create strategies to accomplish their goals. Adults with ADHD are often more resilient than their neurotypical peers.” I’m gonna say that again. “Adults with ADHD are often more resilient than their neurotypical peers.” What do you think about that, Nikki? What’s your experience with adults with ADHD and this concept of resilience. Is this accurate?

Nikki: Yes.

Pete: It is? Really?

Nikki: Oh, yes, I totally think it is. So I think it’s accurate that adults with ADHD are more often resilient than their neurotypical peers because they have had these negative messages for so long and they’ve struggled with different things. And it goes back to those limiting beliefs, right? Of what you think you can and can’t do. And what I…one of the things that I adore about my clientele is the perseverance, right? It is the resilience because they don’t give up. They keep looking, they keep looking for things that are going to help them. That’s why our listeners are listening to our podcast right now. So I definitely agree that I think adults with ADHD are often more resilient because they have to be, because their brain is wired differently. And because our society is not ADHD friendly, and so they’re already kind of going up against that wall. I also think the ability to cope with stress and recover from setbacks is one of the greatest predictors of future success. I 100% believe that too in anybody, right?

Pete: In anybody?

Nikki: In anybody, we have to recover. It reminds me of a Jason Mraz song. You have to see the darkness before you can appreciate the light.

Pete: Yeah, this was hard for me to read honestly. And it feels very strange, because I read it and my gut reaction was, lies, lies, damned lies, right? My initial response was it just sort of welled up from that emotional place that was at the dark of not being resilient. That was like when systems have failed. You know what I mean? And so, I immediately came to it from this perspective of, you know, well, clearly this was written by somebody who doesn’t have ADHD. And then I got to thinking some more. Wait a minute, I don’t actually know if it’s accurate or not, because I’ve never lived without ADHD, right? I have no basis on which to compare, but what I do know is this. I know what it feels like to have systems that buckle, right? And fall apart under stress. I know exactly what that feels like. And I know what it feels like to be burdened with the depression that follows an ADHD system failure. And that self-judgment that hits, that pushes me toward making bad decisions, the easy dopamine hits, going to just play video games, going to eat crappy food.

Nikki: I think that’s a big key, the self-imposed judgment. That is I think one of the differences for me being non-ADHD. Now, I’ve never been ADHD. So you and I are kind of in the same boat, just different, right? But I think from the experience that I’ve had with my clients, it’s the self-imposed judgment. It’s how hard they are on themselves, and so unforgiving. And when you put it down to, it’s okay…and I wanna simplify this so forgive me. And you said this once and I’ve never forgotten it, Pete. The to do list is not life threatening, but we treat it like it is. So if we don’t get to it then who do we blame? Well, ADDers are gonna blame themselves and think it’s something that they did that was wrong. They’re gonna put that judgment on them.

Pete: Well, that’s right and it’s that judgment that pushes you toward that storm, right? The James Ochoa ADHD emotional storm, for me, it makes me make decisions about my time that are, you know, poor for my own, you know, best interest. But number three to those points, after 18 years now, of working on this stuff, post diagnosis, I also know what it feels like to have systems that respond to stress, and systems that grow, and change, and learn like organisms. In the face of ADHD or depression induced inability to maintain executive function that might otherwise allow me to get stuff done, right?

Nikki: Well, and that is why you’re on this show.

Pete: Yeah, well, I hope so.

Nikki: Because you are such a…

Pete: It’s my rugged good looks.

Nikki: Well, that’s true. With spinach in your teeth, it’s still good looking, Pete. It’s okay.

Pete: Good looking, eats his veg.

Nikki: That’s right. But I think that what you’re saying is so…Well, now, I lost my track because I was thinking about the spinach in your teeth and how good looking you are. What were we talking about?

Pete: Well, we were talking about resilient systems and how I had just said, you know, I notice, and executive functioning and those things that kind of get in my way.

Nikki: Thank you. So you’re such a good example of that, though, I think, and that’s why you are such an asset, you know, to our show is because you do have systems that have worked and you’re okay with changing them too, and you’re okay with kind of exploring what else is out there. I mean, I just think it’s a nice balance between you can find something that works, but it’s also okay to still like embrace your ADHD if you want something new too.

Pete: Well, I appreciate that. And that’s why I wanna bring it back to you. I have four potential scenarios and I’m hoping that you can help me reflect on those scenarios and help people kind of discover why they might be experiencing this sort of, or they might be able to cultivate. How they might be able to cultivate resilience in their lives. And it starts with a couple of assessments around friction. My assessment is the more friction that you have in your systems, the less resilient your systems will be, right? And so I’m gonna go for an example that is our old standby right? Your keys, okay? So let’s just say you like to keep everything on your bedside table that might include your wallet, and your watch, and your phone, and your keys, and your headphones, or whatever, that’s me. All of my crap is on my bedside table.

And so the bedside table is in my bedroom, and my bedroom is upstairs in the house. And so I get dressed in the morning in the bedroom, and then I had downstairs for my coffee and my breakfast, and I finish my breakfast and it’s time to leave. Okay, so I walk out the door, and I leave without the keys because they’re still on the bedside table, right? But I have a system, the keys are where they will always be, right? They’re on my bedside table. So I go march myself back upstairs, and I grab those keys, and then I leave the house again. And now I don’t have my phone, or my wallet, or my watch the rest of it, right? Because I have that single-minded focus. And for me, this seems like such an easy thing, but where’s the friction in this scenario? The friction, I have to keep going upstairs again.

Nikki: Right, you have to keep going back and forth. Yeah, it’s not easy.

Pete: It’s not easy. It’s in the way, the stairs are in the way of the easy system. So my solution, and I’m saying this not like, hypothetically, my solution was, quite literally to move my keys, and my watch, and my phone, to my office desk. So it’s now right by the main door of the house. I just reach in, and I grab the things, and I leave the house. That was a way for me to reduce friction. When I come in, I take everything out of my pocket, and I put it there. Even if it’s the middle of the day people, that was part of the system. It’s the habit I had to build, reduce friction. So that’s the easy one, all right?

Nikki: Yes, but a very good example because you can really transfer it to anything. If something is not working, that means that something’s broken. And it’s probably because there’s too many steps.

Pete: Yes, too many steps. Okay.

Nikki: Too complicated. Yep.

Pete: So let’s talk about time. Assessment will be thus. Your sense of time is out of alignment with your environment, thus your schedule is not resilient. So I have this example, meetings, let’s say. You’re frequently late for your team meetings, your timer has gone off alerting you that the meeting is starting, but you don’t have your materials ready, you can’t find your glasses, your computer doesn’t have a charge to it, and you haven’t poured your coffee. Your manager is frustrated but equal parts exhausted that they have to continue to have this conversation with you. And you rightly assume that they are now judging your character accordingly, because they’re human beings, and they’re going to do that naturally, right? When a last minute change in the scheduled meeting occurs, you miss it entirely. Your schedule is not resilient. Nikki, how do you reduce friction in a scenario like that?

Nikki: Well, this is a really good example I think of understanding your ADHD, understanding that ADHD time is messy, right? So you’re not going to completely understand it. So what I’m saying or trying to say is that this is a good example of understanding your ADHD as an explanation of what’s going on, but you can’t use it as an excuse. Because you still have to get to that meeting on time and you’ve gotta change your routine, you have to change something that you’re doing so that you can get to that meeting on time. And those are the systems and structures that we have to develop, that you need to manage and navigate your ADHD.

So at this point, if it was a client of mine, I think we would have to go backwards. Okay, what time does the meeting start? How far is the meeting from your desk? What are all the things that you need to do? How long does it take you to, you know, walk from your desk to the meeting? How long does it take you to get you know, find your glasses? I mean, we have to do the work. We have to find out how much time it really takes, which the only way you can do that is to track it. And you know, because right now you’re probably thinking, oh, it takes five minutes. But until you really track it, you have no idea how long it really takes. And working backwards, you’ve got to kind of set a boundary then and say okay, for me to make that 10:00 meeting, I need the alarm to go off at 9:30, and 9:45 and these are kind of like the guideposts. By 9:45, I need to make sure that I have my glasses, and my computer, and my coffee, right? So you’re kind of working a system so that you can be at that meeting on time.

Pete: It’s one of the things I find in my experience talking with people with ADHD the people who manage their systems the best are…they’re experts in certain skills and one of those skills is documentation, right? They know how to document their lives and their own systems around what works, right? It is almost…say you set your, you know, set the clock a half hour in advance, set the alarm a half hour in advance. Maybe you set another one 20 minutes in advance, and another one 5 minutes in advance. Just the alarm alone isn’t going to be enough, when you have to remember the list of things that you also have to do. So having that documented, when the alarm goes off, it pops up this task has associated with, make sure your computer has a little bit charged to it, make sure you pour your coffee, make sure you take your, you know, take your reports, whatever, those are the activities that go into it. Those need to be documented somehow. So that again, that’s why I’m such a fan of to do or work applications that offer you the ability to sort of create a little project or a checklist and duplicate that checklist for every time you have to reproduce it so you don’t have to think about it.

Nikki: Absolutely. Because then again, it goes back to your ADHD and the executive functions of working memory. Your intention, will be that you’re gonna remember it especially if it’s something that you do every day, but it doesn’t matter if you do it every day. Have that documented, have it at, like you said a checklist that you can just reoccur because then you don’t have to think about it and that’s less stress.

Pete: Right, right reduces stress and reduces that…the weight of the event on your shoulders, right? And, hopefully, reduces the amount of sort of judgment that’s coming in from external decision makers. Okay, how about this one? This one again, it may…it’s totally fiction. I’m totally making this up. I never would have happened to me in my own life ever, ever, ever. My assessment is you’re gaslighting yourself about your technology. Example, your tool chain. List of tools that work together on your computer and your associated devices. You have found a new app. It’s called, “To do-alicious” it’s not a real app, but we should totally start…we should totally write an app called “To do-alicious,” trademark pending.

Nikki: Trademark it.

Pete: Sadly, this app is not allowed on your work network. No problem. You have the perfect solution. All you have to do is create a checklist in OneNote because that is allowed. And then you export that into a TaskPaper format and you save it to a text file in Dropbox because that’s allowed, then that Dropbox is going to sync to your computer at home. And so at home, you have this script that’s monitoring this one folder. And whenever it detects a change, it opens that new text file, copies the file from TaskPaper and gets it all ready for you. And then when you get home from work, and you drop your keys in the bowl by the door, natch, you just have to sit down and paste the TaskPaper list into your fancy “To do-alicious” app and bam, you are totally ready to do a little cleanup at the end of the day at home in your favorite app. Now, of course, you have to remember, you have to do the same set of steps in reverse. Before you leave the house in the morning to make sure all of your data is in sync. There’s no friction in there. It’s perfect, right?

Nikki: This will never happen. And if it happens, it may happen one time and that’s it. Because whoever does this is going to say screw this. This isn’t going to work, right? Way too many steps, way too complicated. It’s just making your life really bad.

Pete: It’s terrible. It’s really hard.

Nikki: How do you reduce friction? You figure out a different app to use that is allowed on your work network.

Pete: And sometimes you just have to suck it up, right? Sometimes you just have to suck it up in order to allow yourself to get the work done. And if you can’t get the work done, maybe there’s a different problem that you need to face. But I used to run into this all the time before it was working for myself. And I know that makes it easy for me to make assumptions about technology now, because I work for myself and I have 100% control over my own stuff. But, you know, I work with teams and I work with people who don’t have access to my stuff, so that can be a little tricky. In my experience, the fewer apps you have involved in your tool chain to get your work done, the more resilient your systems will be, right? The fewer stops you have to make along the way to update such and such a this to this database, to this syncing thing, the fewer of those elements, the more resilient things will be when your systems fall apart for external conditional reasons that you don’t…

Nikki: Can I add something? Because this is something that’s been brought up in my coaching groups. The other thing that I would want to add to what you’re saying is that in order to truly trust your system, you have to put a little bit of time up front to get the information in it, and to get all of the information in it. Because if you don’t have the information in it, you’re never gonna trust it, therefore, you’re never gonna go back and use it. And it’s gonna become something that you will say, “Well, I started to use it, but I never finished.” Or, you know, “I was never consistent with it.” It’s not so much that you weren’t consistent with it, it was just that it wasn’t set up properly, so you never really trusted it. Because I think you’re with me, especially with to dos, I know this is kind of off subject a little bit, but, you know, we’re here. With your to do app or your task manager system, whatever it is that you choose to use, you have to become so dependent on it that you open it every single day, you’re constantly looking at it, it’s not a problem with it going out, you know, and I mean, you have to update it. So you might still have to catch up a little bit. But the information is there. So you trust it.

Pete: Right. The most important, you know, information, the work that you need to get done, your strategies, your…I mean, I put everything in my system and I, you know, overarching goals are in my system, you know, everything is in my system. So then I have a central repository for all that is truth about me. But that’s gonna be different for everybody, right? Determining kind of what system works well for you. So that, again, simplify the systems in order to get to work and reduce friction. That will help. Okay, I’ve got one more. You’re being judged on how you present day-to-day. And I just mean, how people see your behavior, how they see how you interact with the world, your peers and your manager, don’t know that you have ADHD.

So example, you have an off day and your review is coming up. Your manager has nothing to go on but what she observes in you, which isn’t a positive reflection on you, maybe you forgot your meds, maybe you didn’t eat well yesterday and you’re struggling with blood sugar issues today. Maybe you just plain overslept and your schedule’s wonky, right? Because we know sometimes our schedules, our sense of time is not in alignment with our environment. Whatever the reason, you can’t overcome the wall that seems to be growing between you and your manager. How do you reduce friction? How do you reduce friction to become a more resilient contributor on your team?

Nikki: Well, I have a lot of questions about this. And this is the coach in me. I guess my first question is, how do you know that you’re being judged? Like, what’s the truth there? Are you perceiving that you’re being judged or is somebody coming up and telling you, you know, your review’s coming up and your boss is watching you…

Pete: Let’s assume that’s the case.

Nikki: …and you’re making a lot of mistakes.

Pete: Let’s assume that’s the case.

Nikki: Okay. Is it just one off day, or is it several off days?

Pete: Don’t know.

Nikki: Because having one off day is probably not a big deal. You can, you know, tomorrow’s a new day you made some mistakes. It wasn’t a great day, you could probably even kind of apologize for that, right? I mean, you could just say, “Hey, I had a really bad day, I didn’t sleep well last night. I’m sorry this happened,” and I would think that most…

Pete: Was certainly not as productive as I aspired to be.

Nikki: Right, and you could acknowledge it. And then, you know, tomorrow is gonna be a better day.

Pete: I would submit in the scenario like this, that once you’ve had…that if we’re talking about an off day and a review is coming up, there’s going to be some consistent issues, right? We’re saying that here’s one that’s observable, but we’re feeling the threat of momentum in our off days, we’re feeling the threat of the impending review that’s gonna highlight a pattern of challenge. And the real issue here is that you have not been able to come to terms of talking about it, to talk about, you know, potential accommodations, to talk with your manager openly about what you’re feeling. And that I would submit, is probably, you know, a scenario here, or important to the scenario.

Nikki: Which it could be, and depending on the situation, they may not want to, right? They may not wanna talk about their ADHD. So it kind of goes back, I think, to when we talked about in the workplace, do you tell or do you not tell? And it really depends on who your supervisor is and the co-workers, and, you know, how you think it’s gonna be perceived, but let’s just say that they don’t want to tell, right? They haven’t told yet, let’s just assume that they don’t want to say anything. I think the resilience where I see this, so say that the review comes, and it’s not great. It’s not what, you know, it’s kind of what they expected, then resilience means to me that you take that information and you learn from it.

And so, you know, how do you reduce friction? I mean, I think that there’s too much we don’t know, like, we gotta get the review first. I mean, what is the truth? Like how are you really being perceived? Because I can tell you, ADDers are much harder on themselves than anybody else is. And so they may think they’re getting fired, but then go into the review and they actually are getting a raise or a promotion.

Pete: Yeah, I would agree that it can be completely diametrically opposed to what…

Nikki: Completely different, yeah. But I think that, you know, when we talk about resilience, I think it’s the growth mindset versus the fixed mindset. You know, we talked about that just recently, and that is okay, here, I’ve made some mistakes. I had some failures, I didn’t, you know, do the work as much as quality work as I wanted, whatever the situation is. If you’re going into it with a growth mindset, you’re going to naturally be more resilient to come out of that situation. And know that you can learn and, you know, you can keep learning.

Pete: I think that’s the…there were really two issues I wanna get out that you pointed out there. And the first one is one that’s just a perennial favorite, which is live in fact and truth, right? Take a step back and think about what it is that is actually presenting? What it is that you know about your potential future and say, you know, all I really know is I had an off day or I had a couple of off days, and nobody has talked to me about it. Maybe I’m misinterpreting the sideways look, you know, as my manager passes my desk. I don’t know what the truth is yet. And once you have fact and truth, once you know exactly where you stand after sort of asking those questions or going through the review, then you can come to terms with a decision about how to move forward and how to give your manager the benefit of the same sort of clarity, and fact and truth about your performance and ask about, you know, opportunities for, you know, for clearing up, you know, accommodations, and schedules, and things that might actually help you be a better performer at work if that’s a struggle.

But I’m with you, I think that experience of being completely surprised in either the positive or the negative, right? To think you’re doing okay, and walk in and say you’ve got 30 days to clean up your act, and then you’re out, right? That’s, that is also very real. I think that is where most of us exist with ADHD, is we’ve trained ourselves to assume the negative and be blown away when it’s positive. And that’s the thing that I think is a key lesson for me, certainly and I hope one in resilience, like that’s the callus you need to build, is to protect yourself from assuming the negative. Live in fact and truth, and protect yourself from those dangerous assumptions because they also influence the severity and frequency of ADHD storms.

Nikki: I just wanna add one more thing that if you are actually under a 30-day review or, you know, you are kind of on probation or something like that, take that opportunity to listen to your co-workers, if they are coming back and saying to you, oh, you better watch this because I know she’s noticing or he’s noticing. That is information that you can actually use and help you. And if you’re having those conversations with your boss before the 30-day probation or whatever, take that information. And again, how do I learn from this and how can I get better so that at the end of the 30 days, I can show that I have been working on this and learning from it? So I just wanna add that that some of those conversations with your co-workers could actually be blessings in disguise, right? Like, just kind of be…and I’ve seen it. I’ve seen it with a client recently that she was able to prepare for a meeting much more accurately, than she would have before if she hadn’t had some of that talk with her co-workers. So, anyway, I know everybody’s situation is different, but I just wanted to throw that in there.

Pete: Well, I hope this has been a relatively useful conversation for those listening, that this is, you know, that I think resilience is an important concept and it’s one that is, you know, in addition to margin, like I have these words floating around in the back of my head, like how are my systems adapting to the work that I have to do and to the relationships that I have to protect, you know, in my life for whatever reason, and to adapt to my own ADHD and the emotional kind of issues that can come from that. So I hope it’s useful, I hope you got something out of it, I hope it gives you something to think about this week, and that’s all I have. What are you think? Any last thoughts?

Nikki: It was great.

Pete: Good.

Nikki: Thank you so much. This is a characteristic, I believe that every ADDer should be proud of.

Pete: Good. I like that.

Nikki: You are resilient and you persevere through hard times, and you get back up and you try again.

Pete: Well, that’s a lesson that I need to hear that more because that was, again, not an assumption that I made and it was way too easy to assume the negative. Of course I’m not resilient…

Nikki: That was a lot of positive around that.

Pete: I have ADHD. Well, that’s not true.

Nikki: Yeah. Right, a lot of positive around resilience.

Pete: Thank you, Nikki Kinzer and thank you, everybody for downloading and listening to the show. We deeply appreciate your time and your attention. Until next week, that’s Nikki Kinzer, and I’m Pete Wright, and we’ll catch you right here on “Taking Control: The ADHD Podcast.”


Through Taking Control: The ADHD Podcast, Nikki Kinzer and Pete Wright strive to help listeners with support, life management strategies, and time and technology tips, dedicated to anyone looking to take control of their lives in the face ADHD.