I’m Not Just the Owner, I’m a Client Too

by Melissa Smith - Mon, 19 Sep 2022

One of the strengths I bring to my coaching work is lived experience with my own neurodiversity. And that lived experience is something I'm still accumulating. While I’ve read many solutions and strategies and created plenty of other solutions of my own, I still struggle sometimes with many of the same issues facing my clients. Right now, there's a project that I’ve been desperately wanting to get off the ground all year, but which I have procrastinated and avoided because a) it’s new and different and fairly overwhelming, b) additional pressure and feeling behind spells productivity doom for me, and c) it feels a bit like leveling up, which is pretty daunting. It feels like there’s a boss battle ahead.

cue Bowser music

I’m going to launch a YouTube channel.

So far, I have successfully launched a YouTube struggle. But I am determined to post a video in the foreseeable future, so I have got to start getting out of my own way. I absolutely love working with my coaching clients, but I want to help more people develop habits and systems that work with their neurodiversity. So video is my next frontier. A very intimidating (to me) frontier. So I’ve decided to coach myself across the finish line by blogging about my struggles and progress and essentially treating myself as one of my clients in my posts.

I’m not quite unhinged enough by this project to present an actual back and forth with myself publicly on my blog. But give it time, give it time.

So, I’ve worked out that there are four strategies that will be instrumental in breaking me out of my project paralysis over the next few weeks:

  1. Validating my feelings about this project. If there’s anything that my ADHD research and coaching work has taught me, it’s that no one’s going anywhere until they have processed the feelings that caused the avoidance and procrastination. So, I’m not denying that the big leap onto YouTube isn’t scary. There’s all sorts of reasons why it is. There’s plenty of cool reasons why it’ll be great, but those have not, to date, been motivating enough to overpower the fear-inspired avoidance. So, I’m acknowledging that it’s pretty frightening. I’m sitting with that part of me that, in the moment, wants to work on anything else but this YouTube project. And once that part of me feels a little better, I’ll remind myself that I’ve done all manner of scary, impossible projects in the past, and that if I pay attention to myself and lean into the strategies I give my clients, then I’ll get there.
  2. Pomodoros. Pomodoros are 25-minute chunks of focused work followed by a short break and a reward. They are useful for everyone (and I’ll do a deep dive post about them some day), but they are particularly great for people with ADHD and for people with ginormous terrifying tasks. They require a relatively limited amount of focus with fixed parameters AND a reward at the end. I’m also scheduling Pomodoros with friends so that I also can use the strategy of body doubling. It really helps our amygdalas calm down and focus if we know we’re not alone.
  3. Getting help. One of the mantras that’s been drilled into me is that “I can do anything I put my mind to”. While this is generally true, it omits an important piece of the equation: just because I can do something doesn’t mean that that is the best use of my time or energy, especially if I might get bogged down in the details or lose days because I start avoiding a subtask that feels daunting. So I’m setting a goal to ask someone for help each day to remind myself how crucial this strategy will be to success.
  4. Carving off tiny, doable pieces and NOT planning or timelining. One of my personal paradoxes is that I love planning for other people and their projects, but often when I plan for my own projects I get overwhelmed and defeated before I start. Seeing the entirety of the plan reminds me of how far I am from achieving my goal, kicks off some guilt for not having started the project already, and just generally stalls out my efforts. So until I hit a point where a plan will do more good than harm, I’m NOT giving myself a project plan. Instead, each day I’ll figure out a small slice that seems manageable and tackle it. Today, I set up lights and recorded a test video. That kicked off a bit of research on makeup for videos and YouTube SEO. And tomorrow? We’ll see what tomorrow brings.

So that’s it. That’s my plan for breaking the gridlock on this project. If it works, you’ll see an announcement that my first video has launched. And if it doesn’t you’ll see a post where I talk about the hurdles I ran into and how I jumped over them. (Spoiler: These will be hurdles of my own making – I am self-hurdling)

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