Breakthrough Solutions

for Attention Deficit Disorder Adults

Bonnie Mincu

Senior Certified ADHD Coach

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Why leaping into action can actually hurt your progress

ADHD Impulsivity means less follow-through

How many times have you gotten excited about a project, jumped into starting it, but never followed through in finishing?

Countless, right?

Most people with ADD / ADHD are pretty good at coming up with ideas. And those of us who are action-oriented are likely to go very quickly from having an idea to jumping immediately into ACTION.

This may sound like good follow-through, but it can often lead to abandoning the goal altogether.

That’s because leaping directly into action skips a couple of critical steps.

Reality Check

First, you should find out how FEASIBLE your idea would be to pursue. Often people with ADD prefer to avoid this stage, because it’s no fun to have the cold water of reality thrown on your idea, is it?

This is exactly what happened with an ADHD Coaching client some years ago:

Amy had the idea of creating an online business to connect artists with galleries and prospective clients. It would be a virtual marketplace that would be beneficial to all parties. Amy spent weeks thinking and talking about what this business would look like, and the kind of customer experience it would provide.

Amy’s business premise rested on her assumption that there was nothing out there providing the service she envisioned. But she avoided actually doing the research to find out.

As it turned out, there was already another website providing something similar. Amy’s disappointment was so disheartening that – rather than thinking how she could differentiate her service — she completely abandoned the entire enterprise.

Ready – Fire – Aim… Oops!

The second problem has to do with PLANNING – or rather, the lack of it.

Impulsive action-oriented ADD / ADHD people may hate to plan, and find the idea of thinking through steps, strategies, budgets and timetables to be overwhelming or boring.

But by diving straight into action, you’re likely to hit something unexpected. A false move requires dropping two steps back and trying again, adding to cost, rework, possible embarrassment…

And before you know it, motivation is gone.

Follow-Through Steps for Action-Oriented People

So what does an Action-Leaper like you do to make sure you follow through on your project?

  1. Involve someone who has skills and interest in the areas where you are weak. That might mean using a friend, colleague, mentor or Coach as a sounding board.
  2. Determine the feasibility of your idea. You can do basic research in Google, check your calendar to make sure the timing will work, and find out about due dates or requirements.
    –  If you can’t stand doing this, get someone to do it for you!
  3. Talk your idea through with someone who is comfortable with planning. They don’t need to be experts in the actual subject matter, as long as they can ask you the right questions.
    –  HINT: This is where a Coach can be extremely helpful!
  4. Have a “Plan B” for each step, should you reach a setback. Hardly anything goes absolutely smoothly, but you can welcome each challenge as an opportunity to learn what you would do differently next time.

Are you better at PLANNING or DOING?


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Author: Bonnie Mincu
Senior Certified ADHD Coach, Founder of "Thrive with ADD," Bonnie has been coaching adults with ADD / ADHD traits since 2001. She has developed numerous training programs to help with the challenges of Adult Attention Deficit Disorder.


    bonnie – excellent post. good description of our typical behavior. will post link

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Bonnie, there are no words to express how deeply I’ve been affected by your blog! I’ve only read a few things, but they have created such a complete mind shift that the tears shed have washed away my struggles forever!

For the first time in my life I feel understood and hopeful that I can put some tools and systems in place to help me overcome!”

—Michelle near Seattle

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