If you’ve ever taken our personal pace indicator, what’s your score? Mine’s 99. It came as no shock to me.
But for anyone who’s walked into my living room catching me watch shows at 3x the speed – thank you Video Speed Controller – they get a most almighty shock.
The thing about being hyperactive/attention-deficit/fast-paced is that like rapids, it can drown us.
Research consistently shows that neurodivergents may have their own line of gifts and talents, but because they don’t seem to have been ‘programmed’ with the right code of how to play well with others (and themselves), their gifts cannot shine.
In fact, you may know of those who sadly label themselves as ‘disabled’.
I struggled in plenty of ways as a child and adult; but when I look back on my journey as a woman in her mid-30s, I am both thankful and in awe that I made it this far.
Of course, there’s a lot of personal development going on, a lot of going to places in my head that are uncomfortable.
So this is for anybody who’s fast-paced and has a bit of a chip on their shoulders regarding that, despite their success; or this is for anybody who’s fast-paced and has always seen that as a curse.
“One can have no smaller or greater mastery than mastery of oneself”. These words by my favourite neurodivergent and polymath Leonardo da Vinci, are etched deep into my soul.
Control means we learn to get the basics right – eating, sleeping and moving.
Saying things like “That’s the way it is, I’m busy as an adult” is a cop-out. Because if you have time to scroll through your phone and Netflix Marathon, you have time to master yourself.
And take heart because it isn’t just us neurodivergents who have trouble with our routines. Many amazing people with established careers come to me, telling me they are ashamed they haven’t sorted out any routines. But the truth is, apart from most of the routines as a result of obligations and responsibilities— waking up because we are leading organisations and fetching kids to school— many of us don’t have all of the other ones.
Unless these are intentionally designed.
And confession time: I only sorted out my sleep at the ripe ol’ age of 35.
Because as someone with ADHD, when I am awake, the world is so glorious. And when I’m asleep, the bed is so glorious. So I can easily push through to 6am for no reason other than to finish watching tv or reading a book. No matter how I knew it was bad for me, I thought “the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak”.
Total cop-out, quoting the Bible for that.
And letting all that sleep debt accumulate, that no amount of weekly 18-hour sleep fests would remedy.
But because I’d slowly layered on a running and exercise habit, and started eating more thoughtfully, I decided it was time to tackle the last demon.
So here are the questions:
- What would you like to start with first?
- What are your REAL motivators? (Nobody cares if it’s shallow, as long as it gets you doing it)
- What kind of person do you really want to become.
For the last, use a word to guide you. Mine is Disciplined. Because you can’t really enjoy your fun and spontaneity if you don’t have disciplined foundations.
Let’s talk first about connecting with ourselves.
The problem with neurodivergent is that the things that come so easily to others feel like an impossibility to us. Things like communicating clearly. Being understood. Focusing on day-to-day stuff. Taking care ourselves.
And the amazing things we’re great at— hyperfocusing on fascinating topics, joining the dots into next-level innovation, being fabulous at deadlines and in high-stress situations— become write-offs.
We absolutely disregard what we rock at. And shoot ourselves for lacking the basic ‘survival ABCs’.
It’s a horrible place to be in.
So here’s a mindset that works for myself and my neurodivergent clients.
“I will use my gifts to catch up on all the parts I am slower at, so I can truly rock how I am wired”.
Because truth be told, you’re like the person who has an intuitive grasp of the nuances and rules of the English language, but cannot for the life of yourself tell what a verb or adverb is. (#truestory).
That way, when you master the basics, your higher-order gifts shine even brighter. And you’ll be mighty proud of yourself for your hard-won efforts.
Plus there are plenty who know what the verbs and adverbs are, but have zero intuitive grasp of the language and cannot make magic with it, the way you do.
Next up is connecting with others.
Now, it is incredibly tempting to trump authenticity— speaking your mind, being who you are, and not evolving
But if no one understands you or you make yourself unlikable because you are adamant about not developing yourself, then there is zero chance you can shine.
This is something we’ll cover in the Part Two, under ‘Communicating’.
If you would like more neuroscience around working with your own personal pace instead of working against it, join us at our next open workshop series.