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The Place of Possibility

July 25, 2013

ADHD Place of PossibilityI recently had the opportunity to meet with a prospective client and his wife who had been married for more than 25 years.  They had been through a lot together over the years and had always managed to make it through, until now.  They were working with a marriage counselor and were also interested in working with an ADHD specific coach because he had recently been diagnosed with ADHD.

Now, I love working with couples and I love seeing the looks on the faces of the people I help when they are suddenly able to see something familiar in a new or different way.  As I sat with this particular couple, I was rewarded with those looks several times but also confronted with an challenge that had never presented itself quite this way before.  The person rewarding me with all the looks was the wife, not the one with ADHD.  That, in and of itself, was unusual.  I am more used to connecting with the ADHDer and seeing them come to life once they realize I actually get them.  But what was even more unusual was that the husband, the one with ADHD, seemed to believe everything I said but was unwilling or unable to see how information, insight, and new ways of doing things would actually produce different results.

He was defeated.  He was there, sitting with me and his wife because it was the only thing he could think to do to try to save his marriage.  He got what I was saying.  He saw how an ADHD life could be different than the one he was living, but he had no hope left that would allow him to consider even the possibility that his ADHD life could be different.

It was heartbreaking.

Every discussion eventually led to him explaining in one way or another that what I was saying “sure sounded nice” but that “things would never be different because they have never been different before, no matter what he tried.”

I did my best to maneuver around each of the obstacles he put up in front of me but nothing seemed to change his belief that no matter what he did, things would never be different.  And then I had one of those amazing and insightful moments that I love seeing in my clients.  Here is what I learned.

When we grow up with undiagnosed ADHD we can develop a kind of armor that helps protect us from the parts of the world and the people around us who do not understand us.  Part of that armor, as least for him, was a strong defense mechanism that rejected anything hopeful.  After all, if you never believe something different can happen, you will never be disappointed if it doesn’t.

For him, these defenses kept saying “we have tried everything and nothing changes, this is no different and you don’t want to try again if you are just going to fail”.

But what I understood in that moment was that he was creating the exact situation that would guarantee the results he was expecting.  He had to room for hope because he had lost his place of possibility.

This is something we all need to have in our minds, our hearts, and our lives.  We need to preserve a place where the possibility of success, no matter how small, can reside.  When we lack this “Place of Possibility”, we have no capacity for growth, no hope for change, and most importantly, no reason to try and we all know that if you never try, you can never succeed.

If you are feeling stuck and unable to see success in anything you do, you need to create enough space to open up a place of possibility in your life, only then will you be able to make changes that will take you in the direction you want to go.

Turning Leaf Life Coaching offers coaching for ADHD and Life Transitions worldwide.  For more information, go to

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