I know WHAT needs to change, even am quite good at coaching others to build their confidence against ALL critics, but putting it into action was really a struggle for me. I spent a good chunk of this summer fighting against myself to make these changes. What was the priority to get out of my hole.
Everything seemed equally important to me. Making the priority list was a dizzying array of about 100 action items and they all seemed the same to me.
I recalled one of my very greatest mentors recalling the old parable about putting rocks, pebbles, sand and water into a jar—how to make it all fit. She would say, “Sam…just put the big rocks in first.”
Ok Lori, I got you. I can do hard things.
With all the focus I could muster, I stared at the list and legitimately could not determine which was a priority and which could wait. I mean sure, if I had “go to manicure” next to “build a million dollar business,” I can tell that, but may of the action items to achieve my goals stopped my in my tracks. THEY WERE ALL BIG ROCKS.
I have long been a DEAR person when it comes to time and priority management. Don’t know it? Drop Everything And React. Someone’s car broke down? Run to them. Kids need a doctor appointment? Done (even over age 18). Conceptually, I understand the big rocks, but can’t seem to force rank them myself. And not being able to calendar manage, even as an empty nester, is really depressing and anxiety inducing. Lots of dropped balls in my world.
In lieu of morning coffee, I’ve made a change to smoothies. It’s a super starter for my day as well as my current “thing.” I ALWAYS have a “thing” I’m super into at any given moment. When I began my smoothie obsession, I grabbed the magic bullet one day and poured the almond milk straight in. It was in front of the fridge, right there, mocking me to be used. Next was the whey protein powder. It was CLOSEST to me, so I grabbed it. Then the rolled oats, and so on. When I got to the end, I dropped a couple ice cubes (not much because they obviously didn’t fit). The whole mixture spilled over the edges and I had total chaos. And (in my best Carrie Bradshaw) all of a sudden, I understood the parable. Like really. Like not just in theory that OF COURSE you put the big rocks in first, you dummy, but a light bulb went off.
What does one do when one has such an epiphany? Why she makes a Tik Tok, of course.
So NOW what?
Coincidentally, I had a doctor appointment around this time. As she asked my how I was feeling physically and emotionally, I cracked a (prophetic) joke about how menopause was killing my brain. That COVID brain fog compounded with menopause brain had me sooooo scattered. She popped up from the computer and said, “is this new, or something you’ve always had?” Hm. Well. Um, I’ve always been scattered on some things. But super-focused on others. Why? I mean, my son’s first grade teacher once told me he thought I had ADHD but that was just a joke, right?
She rolled over to me and began a conversation that I NEVER thought I would have, much less at 51. “I want you to be evaluated for ADHD.” We found a doctor, I answered hundreds of questions about my current brain, as well as academic struggles I had growing up. LOTS of daydreaming. Hard fights in subjects that didn’t interest me or seemed beyond comprehension. And, you guessed it, I was diagnosed.
Aside from a few loved ones who responded to my news with “DUH,” several have asked why bother at my age? Does it make a difference…
The clarity, once armed with this knowledge, has been dramatic. I was already working through a system I developed (and frankly, had naturally used in my occasional successes for YEARS) with HUGE advances. I had confidence that I could identify my own BIG ROCKS to find a much healthier balance in there day-to-day, as well as loftier, long-term goals.
The best reason to find out has been this, however: That horrible bully? She got quieter. Years of believing I’d fallen short of the successes I craved because I was stupid or lazy turned to an acceptance of my hard-wiring. Now that I know what the challenge is—now that is has a name—I can deal with it. I can create plans to achieve.
And that, my squad, is real confidence. Knowing that I CAN