Being affected by ADHD day in and day out is not easy. We often talk about such things as to how to get things done, how to stop procrastinating and how to get places on time. These are important things to discuss but what is also important is working on our mindset. As a certified coach I have to take continuing education classes to maintain my certification. The last class I took and the class I am currently taking involve mindset. The classes are focused for coaches and in each class I have been the only coach who works with people affected by ADHD. What has amazed me is how helpful what I am learning could be for those affected by ADHD.

The last class I took focused on the work of Carol S. Dweck who wrote the book “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.” Dweck says that at anytime we are either in a “fixed” mindset or “growth” mindset. When faced with a challenge, a “fixed” mindset would only see the options of success or failure while a “growth” mindset would see opportunity in the challenge and experience. Those with a “growth” mindset would get something out of the experience regardless the outcome.

The class I am taking now is taught by Marilee Adams and is based on her book “Change Your Questions Change Your Life.” Adams’ work is focused on the idea that if you ask “learner” instead of “judger” questions of yourself and others you will be happier and more successful. “Judger” questions like “Why am I always a failure?” or “Why is that person always telling me what to do?” can lead up to a dead end. On the other hand “learner” questions such as “What can I learn in this situation?” or “What assumptions am I making about this person and their point of view?” lead to greater possibility.

Understanding the differences between a “fixed” and “growth” mindset and the “judger” and “learner” questions can change both the internal dialogues we have within ourselves and the external dialogues we have with others. Often we have a “fixed” mindset or a “judger” question when interacting with others or ourselves. If we shift ourselves into a “growth” mindset or start asking “learner” questions a switch to possibilities occurs within ourselves and with others.

People affected by ADHD can become extremely judgmental about themselves. I hear it all the time from clients. This harshness towards themselves limits their lives and happiness. I know it is something I struggle with myself. What I have been trying to do is take a pause before I speak or act and ask myself “what is my mindset?” If I am of a “fixed” or “judger” mindset, I then ask myself if I can switch to a “growth” or “learner” mindset and what would that look like. This is a learning process. Some days I do better than other days but I am having a more open and positive outlook. Try it yourself and see.