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By Linda Roggli
The day Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps broke the world record for gold medals in 2008, the world cheered; everyone loves a winner. The fact that he has ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is even more inspiring for midlife ADHD women; perhaps it's time to take a few swimming lessons from Michael!
Eight gold medal tips to find success as a midlife ADHD woman:
1. Find your passion
No one makes it to the Olympics without deep passion for their sport. Michael found his as a child; revisit your childhood dreams to see if they still resonate for you. Granted, many ADHD women are so fascinated by life, they find it difficult to narrow their choices. Be without judgment as you 'try on' your passions. Eventually one or two will bubble to the surface again and again. Those are your sustainable dreams.
2. Set a goal that fits YOU
Ignore the goals other people set for themselves or for you. Michael used his ADD brain to dream BIG, then went into action. Gauge your time, energy and resources to decide what is reasonable for you. If you're 55, walking on the moon is probably unrealistic, but going to NASA's Space Camp is absolutely achievable.
3. Start somewhere, anywhere
Midlife ADHD women are sometimes paralyzed by the enormity of the task ahead as they move toward their dreams. But a former newspaper editor gave me some sage advice: start anywhere! The pieces will fall into place no matter where you begin. Michael's Olympic journey would never have happened if he had been stopped by worry about whether he would win that elusive 8th gold medal. He jumped into the pool and started paddling. You can do the same, no matter what pool you jump into.
4. Hyperfocus is a good thing
You could argue that any Olympic athlete uses hyperfocus to achieve his or her goals. So follow their lead and use your ADHD hyperfocus to best advantage. Create a space and time to immerse yourself in your dream, so you can "get into the zone." Make your ADHD work for you.
5. Trust yourself
Many midlife ADHD women have tried and failed so many times they are hesitant about attempting anything difficult again. The truth is you can achieve your goals. Trust yourself again, even if you've failed in the past. Michael didn't win every swim meet in which he competed. But he trusted himself to do better. You can too. Trust yourself a little more each day.
6. Enlist support for your dreams
Michael's biggest supporter and most staunch ally was his mother. She encouraged him when he was tired, held his vision when it flagged and envisioned him as a winner, every day. ADHD women need someone in their lives who will hold a similar vision for and of them. It might be a family member, a coach, a pastor, therapist or friend. Whoever you choose, make sure they will support you even when you stumble. Acknowledgement from others helps you remember to acknowledge yourself.
7. Paste on a positive attitude
Negativity and ADHD are often intertwined, but you can untangle them. Even if you don't feel upbeat, pretend you are anyway. If you "act as if" you are happy and upbeat eventually you find that you actually ARE happy and upbeat. Positive psychology research shows that developing a positive approach to life can help ensure success, regardless of the goal. Michael believed he would win. His attitude was as important as his ability.
8. Keep swimming. Keep swimming. Keep swimming
Michael's eighth gold medal was the result of an extra half stroke he took in the final second of the race. His win was measured in microseconds. Even if it looks like you'll come in second -- or last -- keep moving toward your goal. ADHD women are notorious for giving up just before they succeed. Don't be one of them. Even if you stumble, you don't have to fall. Just keep swimming. Like Michael.
Whether you're an Olympic athlete or a writer, an administrative assistant or a business owner, you have everything you need to succeed as a midlife ADHD woman. Follow these eight gold medal tips and get the support you need to create a life you love.
Womens' ADHD Coach Linda Roggli, PCC, is the Founder and Director of Possibilities for the ADDiva Network which supports and celebrates ADD-ish women worldwide. She hosts retreats for midlife ADD women and couples at her private retreat, GardenSpirit Guesthouse in NC (http://www.gardenspirit.com). To learn more about her work and to take the ADDiva Assessment, visit the ADDiva Network at http://www.addiva.net
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