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Everyone Has a Why… Here’s Mine: Why I Work with High Achievers Who Have ADHD

A few weeks ago, I got a series of really touching emails from my client, Maggie. [No, that is not her real name…] Maggie sent two emails on one day and several on the next. Her emails were a mess. Long rambling, free-flowing soliloquies about where she is in her life right now, what her new awarenesses are, and the steps she needs to take to right her listing ship. They were full to the brim with emojis because Maggie has a deep emotional life that she wants to share.

Then, she sent a final email, worrying that maybe she sounded like she was losing her mind because she sent so many emails. She wrote, “Sorry Casey, I panicked. A LOT! And didn’t recognize it & sent all those emails…”

During those same days, I was in a coaches training group and was immersed in my own deep thinking and emotional processing – my head was filled with ripening ideas, and I felt like I needed to harvest them all at once, which is where my mess was. Talk about a parallel process… as my client was leaning into her mess, I, her coach, was leaning into mine.

The coaching group was wrestling with what our coaching missions are. But I have already written one of those, I said to myself. “At DLC, we believe that high achievers with ADHD can transform their ways of thinking and doing to boost their physical, emotional, and occupational well-being — no matter how much their ADHD has gotten in their way.”

I was feeling my resistance grow. I mean, really, not this mission stuff again. What more do you want?

Then our coach pushed harder to help us tap into our mission on a deeper level. She asked us to think about what really makes us angry for our clients. Why do I even care about high achievers with ADHD? What is going on with them that makes me get up every single day of my life and go to battle alongside them? She said, how would you start this statement?

“I’ve had enough of that shit!”

I immediately thought of Maggie. Of how much deep feeling and thinking she has done in her life. Of how much she cares about learning and bettering and authenticity. Of how she has overcome traumatic challenges and lives as fully as she can every day, even if some days that means she withdraws and isolates so she can re-emerge another day. Of how much she contributes her insights within our coaching community. Of how freaking far she has come! Of how, in this series of apologized-for-emails, she is showing with great clarity that she is fully aware and knows what to do and how to do it. That she can take care of herself. That she has the mindset and the tools to get ADHD out of her way. And … this is a big one … I could not be more proud of Maggie for stepping into her discomfort and uncertainty to take actionable steps to support herself.

And, you know what really pisses me off? That she still feels like her messiness is something to apologize for!

The high achievers with ADHD I coach spend so much of their precious and powerful energy feeling ashamed, inadequate, and trying to fix themselves to the point of near-paralysis.

And, I have had enough of that shit!

When I think about Maggie’s emails, I reflect on how much trust she has in our coaching relationship. How safe she feels to show her internal chaos to me. Rather than apologizing for sharing her deepest thinking and vulnerabilities with me, Maggie should have said, “Here it is… all of my vulnerabilities and messiness without polish or perfection. You’re welcome!” What a gift she shared with me. How lucky am I to have even a little bit of exposure to her emotional gifts?

I am grateful to her for reminding me what it is that I have had enough of:

  1. I have had enough of creative, talented, caring people with ADHD apologizing for being messy.

  2. I have had enough of my clients expecting themselves to be polished and perfect because let’s be real… tidy, put together, “regulated,” and tepid is not what high achievers with ADHD need to be!

  3. I have had enough of engaged, determined, magnificent people wasting their time, energy, and cognitive juices trying to be typical, twisting and turning themselves inside out to try to conform to what they’re told they “should” be.

  4. I have really had enough of outlandishly bright adults with ADHD being dismissed, ignored, denied, underserved, and left to feel alone to the point that they immediately travel to “I’m sorry” land for their actions.

Apologizing, trying to be typical, fighting to not be messy, and constantly trying to fix themselves is precisely what is getting the way of them powerfully and joyfully soaring to their highest heights. And I am really sick of that shit.

So, for today, my new mission is written just for Maggie and her series of messy emails.

I am on a mission to support creative, whip-smart, engaged humans with ADHD to shine at what they shine at, to get the other less-worthy crap out of their way, and to help them learn to STOP APOLOGIZING for who they are at the core.

Because I am sick of that shit.

Thank you, Maggie.


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