Archives for May 2015

ADHD and Discipline

ADHD and DisciplineDiscipline is the ability to control behavior. Parents might discipline their children to behave a certain way. Self-discipline is the ability to control your own behavior. The reason why self-discipline is considered so important is because it’s linked to success.

Teachers know students with discipline usually get good grades, bosses know their disciplined employee will do good work. When someone demonstrates behaviors we associate with discipline, they are viewed in a positive light. They are prized in our society.

Unfortunately, it’s common for adults with ADHD to hear that they ‘lack discipline’. When you repeatedly hear comments about your lack of discipline, as a child from your teachers and parents, those external messages become part of how you think about yourself. Later in life, you might hear those same comments from your partner and bosses.

When you have ADHD, it is vital to remember any problems you have with discipline, have absolutely nothing to do with you being ‘lazy’, ‘unmotivated’ or ‘not caring’. It is all related to biology and your brain. This is how you were born! ADHD is a neurological condition. It has nothing to do with your character. Whatsoever!

If you picture a disciplined person, either someone you know, or an ideal in your mind’s eye, these are the typical qualities and behavior of a disciplined person:

  1. Gets up early
  2. Has a clear plan for their day, written the night before
  3. Follows those plans, and doesn’t let external events distract them
  4. Is an excellent time manager
  5. Works productively; the word, “procrastination” is not in their vocabulary
  6. Does tasks even though they don’t feel like it
  7. Know what their long term goals are
  8. Daily actions working towards achieving those goals
  9. Doesn’t waste time; such as playing Tetris online
  10. Follows through with tasks and projects until they are completely finished
  11. Are on time for meetings and appointments
  12. Always do what they say they were going to
  13. Looks interested in what the person they are talking to is saying
  14. Is organized and tidy

Now, if we consider the challenges that an adult ADHD has, they struggle with EVERY ONE of those items. It’s not because they are lazy, but because their brain is different at a biological, chemical and functional level. Those differences mean that you behave differently to someone without ADHD.

That doesn’t mean you can’t change your behaviour. You can develop those behaviours that Mr. and Ms. Discipline have. It just means they don’t come naturally to you.

Here is how to develop the behaviours of a disciplined person.

Start treating your ADHD right now! There are 4 prongs of treatment. Head here to learn what they are and how. Giving the brain the foundational pieces it needs to do its best work makes the rest of these suggestions easier implement.

1. Remove any lingering guilt or shame you have from what you have been told about in your past. This is very helpful to help you start feeling good about yourself and believing you can change.

2. Identify an area you would like to become more disciplined in. For example: ‘Arrive to all appointments on time or 5 minutes early’. Work on that first. Once that has become second nature, pick your next target area. Making these changes takes time. Be patient with yourself.

3. Work out what motivates you. When you are motivated, everything is so much easier.

4. Develop habits. Habits take away any need of willpower or motivation. They become your default mode of operation.

5. Use Checklists. They are incredible to help you feel organized and productive. Checklists also help with starting a task and follow through.

6. Learn about sleep and how to wake up when you have ADHD.

7. Learn how to set goals and plan your day the ADHD-friendly way.

8. Try these suggestions to help with passage of time problems.

9. Set your work environment up for maximum productivity

10. Become a master at being on time for every appointment.

11. Celebrate every win!

7 Secrets from a Very Successful ADHDer

7 Secrets from a Very Successful ADHDerI am always interested to learn what habits successful people have and how they think. If they have ADHD, then that interest goes into overdrive. When one of my favorite podcasts, ‘Spartan Up’ interviewed ADHDer, Sir Richard Branson, I was very excited!!

Billionaire, Richard Branson has experienced huge business success as the founder of the Virgin group. He is also successful in other areas of life, including a happy marriage of over 30 years, close relationships with his adult children, his humanitarian work, and excellent physical health.

Whatever your definition of success is, the things Richard Branson does and how he thinks, will help you with your ADHD and your life goals.

Here are his 7 secrets that came from the interview.

  1. A Morning Routine

A morning routine with healthy habits is the best way to set yourself up for success and make sure that you do the things that are important to you before the day gets busy.

Richard’s consists of:

1. Getting up very early (though he doesn’t mention how early!)
2. Doing exercise he loves
3. Eating a healthy breakfast

  1. Exercising Daily

We know exercise is very good for the ADHD brain, and Richard places a high emphasis on exercising. He believes, ‘You have to be fit. If you are fit, you can achieve anything.’

Many ADHDers find it hard to stick to a regular exercise plan. Richard has 2 strategies to help with this.

1. Make it fun

He does exercise that is fun for him.

For example: He plays tennis every morning with someone that is younger and fitter than him and then goes kite surfing.

2. Set a challenge

Every year, he and his children set a challenge, e.g. run a marathon. That gives his exercise routine a focus as well as being a fun experience to share with his children. “You don’t need to get boringly fit, you need balance in life.”

  1. No Sugar

Sugar isn’t good for the ADHD brain and there is no sugar in this ADHDer’s life! He is passionate about this: ‘Do everything you can to avoid sugar. Sugar is lethal.’

For more information on sugar and ADHD, check this article out.

  1. Steps Outside of Your Comfort Zone

Richard is a big believer in getting out of your comfort zone. He believes when you push beyond your limits, you get more out of life.

For ideas on breaking out of your comfort zone, head here:

  1. Be Accepting of Yourself

It’s much easier to push yourself outside of your comfort zone when you know you aren’t going to be hard on yourself. The overriding message I got from this interview was how kindly Richard speaks to himself. If something doesn’t go as he planned, he doesn’t beat himself up.

When he was traveling around the world in his hot air balloon, he had to be rescued 5 times from the water by a helicopter. While relaying this story, he was laughing. He said he got huge satisfaction from the adventure and wasn’t disappointed that he didn’t get into the Guinness World Records. Instead, he talked about all the beautiful things he got to see on the journey; such as: flying over Mt. Everest and K2. He doesn’t believe we should be embarrassed by our failures, just learn from them and start again.

Many ADHDers are their own worst critics. Negative messages are constantly running through their heads. They get mad with themselves for arriving late, not working as fast as their peers, not reaching the milestones that they hoped to reach by a certain age. They remember criticism from teachers 20 years ago. If you have negative messages continually running through your head, not only is it exhausting and depressing, it makes you want to play safe.

  1. Listen to Your Intuition

Even though it’s important to push yourself out of your comfort zone, it’s also crucial to listen to your intuition. Your intuition is there guide you. Richard tells a story of when he didn’t listen to his intuition. He was going to jump from a 100 story building in Vegas and the press were there waiting for him. He didn’t feel good about performing the jump. However, there was a lot of pressure on him, so he didn’t listen to his intuition. He did the jump and injured himself. ‘Know when to pull the plug’.

  1. See the Good in People

Richard always looks for the good in people. ‘There is always something special in everyone.’ As kind and non-judgmental as he is to himself, he is the same with others too. He doesn’t hold a grudge and says that the world is small and you never know when you might run into someone unexpectedly.

If you want to listen to the interview yourself, head here!


Your challenge this week, is to pick one thing from the list of 7 secrets and start to implement it into your life. What are you going to do?

Best ADHD Blogs of 2015

Healthline Award

Good News!! The Untapped Brilliance blog has been voted One of The 12 Best ADHD Blogs of 2015 by I am hugely honored and very excited!

To learn more, head here covers all health matters from A to Z and is a great site to visit for all of your health questions.

The great thing about the ADHD community is that it is a warm, kind and generous place. The rest of the world might not ‘get’ ADHD; however, there are tons of people who do. When you step into this world, you won’t ever want to leave! Why don’t you check out all 12 blogs on the Healthline list? Each one is positive and full of knowledge.

  1. Keath Low is a psychotherapist who specializes in helping children and their families with ADHD.  She is the expert guide for the ADD/ADHD page at
  1. Brenda Nicholson, was 42 when she found she had ADHD while getting her children evaluated.  Her blog is An ADD Woman.
  1. ADDitude blog is a very comprehensive guide for ADD and ADHD.  A go-to place for all ADHD topics.
  1. The Experts is a collection of blog posts in ADDitude magazine.  Pediatricians, psychologists, and educators answer readers’ questions about all things ADHD.
  1. Totally ADD uses humour and a sense of fun to educate and support adults with ADHD.
  1. My ADD/ADHD Blog is written by Tara McGillicuddy.  As an adult with ADHD, she is very open in sharing what is helpful for her in her ADHD Journey.
  1. Dr. Edward Hallowell doesn’t really need an introduction 🙂  His work has reached millions through his books, speaking and blog.
  1. The analogy of life with ADHD described as a roller coaster is often made.  And so, Gina Pera’s blog has the perfect name: ADHD Roller Coaster. Gina started to blog after her husband was diagnosed with Adult ADHD.
  1. Kelly Schmidt has a son with ADHD. She also has a background in developmental psychology.  Her blog is A Mom’s View of ADHD.
  1. At ADD Consults, my friend Terry Matlen, writes about the unique challenges women with ADHD face.  Both Terry and her daughter have ADHD.
  1. Yours truly! Untapped Brilliance  focuses on ways to reach your potential when you have ADHD by minimizing the negative aspects of ADHD and focusing on what you excel at.
  1. Marla Cummins’ blog covers all of life’s important topics when you have ADHD!