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Mind-mapping my way to Goals

The ADHD brain is random. We do not think in bulleted, ordered lists. We will be sitting in class or in a meeting and whoever is speaking will, for example, be talking about money. As soon as we hear the word "money" our thought processes may proceed something like this:

"Damn, I haven't paid the phone bill and now it is going to be cut off, I promised to phone Sue to organise that dinner party. What was it that her husband doesn't eat? I am supposed to be baking a cake for my son's cricket match. Did he remember to pack all his kit? What time did he say I must be there?"

"Sorry Jo, what was that you were saying about money?"

The sooner we accept that we are distracted and that our brains are random, the quicker we are able to learn ways to manage our lives better without getting into quite so much trouble.

Not all our thinking is logical and/or intuitive, and one of the main reasons for this is because we are visual thinkers. We can (and do) quite easily see ourselves as the next Oprah, World Number 1 tennis player or the owner of the next great Social Media Platform. In the blink of an eye we have set our goal, created an unstoppable business plan in our head, and told the world about it. If we have funds at our disposal we will register the website, have a logo designed and business cards printed. Yes .. that was me .... over and over again and I never seemed to learn.

Naturally my business plans never got to include the financials. The business couldn't fail so why must I spend hours sucking budgets out of my thumb? In fact most of my business plans never got beyond the Executive Summary. It is easy to blame boredom for my giving up but the truth was I had never learned how to think with a purpose.

Mind mapping has been the most important tool that I have learned to help me manage my ADHD. No, not the fancy mind mapping techniques with arrows and complex shapes and colours. Not using a computer programme either. I would become far too distracted trying to decide which arrow/line/colour to choose that I would quickly give up. Blobs! Just Blobs with keywords and phrases.

I needed to learn to set goals based on my 2 core principles of being Authentic and Ethical. I needed to find a way to earn a living that would enable me to lead a contented and productive life. In order to do this I needed to get my thoughts out of my head and onto paper so I could anaylyse each option in a logical way.

My head was buzzing with ideas about what I should do / could do / must do and of course all the things I shouldn't be doing.

mindmapHow did I do this?

Using A5 scrap paper I wrote down each word or phrase, no matter how inconsequential or random over a period of a couple of weeks. At the same time Dave was taking me through the "Thinking" process using 3 different types of thinking - Visionary, Boundary and Realistic. He was also teaching me what Goals were, why need them, and what happens when we don't have goals.

These are some of the topics that I needed to think about.

  • Pros and cons of working full-time
  • Working with Dave in Living ADDventure®
  • Pros and cons of keeping my tourist guiding business
  • What made me laugh and feel happy?
  • What was I afraid of?
  • My financial position
  • Hobbies and interests - how could I incorporate my interests into my working life?
  • Personal relationships - who were my friends and why?

My dining room table became my workspace and was littered with hundred of scraps of paper that I gradually whittled down into various categories and then the pros and cons for each option.

When you take the time to write things down you start to get some clarity and sense of reality. I became far more open to different ideas that I had previously not thought of or dismissed out of hand as they had not been part of the belief system I had grown up with.

Once I had a reasonable sense of where I was at, I called Dave and we spent a couple of hours going through my options and he asked me all the hard questions playing Devils Advocate.

Back to the drawing board and more thinking, more mind mapping. It was an incredibly exciting process.

Eventually I came up with 3 goals which included the direction I was going with my career, re-building broken family relationships, and learning to say No more often.


Living ADDventure® offers ADHD Coaching via Skype or Face to Face if you are near our office in Kwa Zulu Natal. Complete this form to book to find out more. (It will open in a new window)


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