Don’t Beat Yourself Up!

I have been coaching adults with ADD for over twelve years.  One thing that surprises me again and again is how many of them are perfectionists and how hard they are on themselves when they experience a “perceived” failure.

Let’s say that a person with ADD puts ten things on an “action” list for the day.  At the end of the day, they have completed seven of the items on the list.  Most people, including me, would simply conclude that 7/10ths of the items have been completed and add the uncompleted items to tomorrow’s list.  However, many ADDers would proclaim that they “failed”  to accomplish the goal they set at the beginning of the day because three of the ten items were not completed.

These folks have fallen into what I call “all or nothing” thinking.  Either they achieve goals at 100%  and regard themselves as successful, or they don’t and regard themselves as having failed.  For them, there is no such thing as partial success.

If “beating themselves up” resulted in success, a reasonable person might conclude that “beating oneself up” is a useful strategy for getting things done.  However, when I ask clients if “beating themselves up” helps them to get more things done, nearly 100% say it does not help; in fact it tends to result in them getting fewer things done.  I say, “Would working for a tyrant make you more productive?”    Most of them say it wouldn’t.  Then I point out to them that they have become the tyrant they are working for.

They turn things around when they are able to recognize and celebrate each and every thing they accomplish, however small it might be.  When they begin to do this, they feel better and begin to pile small accomplishments upon small accomplishments to achieve some pretty amazing results.

If you’d like to comment on this blog or share it, click on the title to go to the page where this is possible.  Fill your next week, and the weeks after it, with small accomplishments.  If you’re going in the right direction, the results will surprise you.