Wishing you peace in the New Year - the ability to find your own rhythm and the space between activit
By Linda Anderson, MA, MCC, SCAC
Immediate Past President ADDA
In July of 2008, when I completed my term as president of ADDA, I found that some of the consistent, or should I say persistent, rhythm of meetings, calls and lists of responsibilities suddenly disappeared. These responsibilities shifted to a new pair of shoulders, and I was left with an empty space, even though my life was complex enough working fulltime with ADHD clients and having ADHD in my own family. (No respite for the committed). This empty space was more like a dull flat uninspired expanse or a room without a view.
What helped me in this uncomfortable space was that I knew that I was out of rhythm. I knew this feeling would change in time. I just didn't know when it would change. I had lost my mojo, a rhythm and purpose that shifted into high gear, or a different gear, when I served as president, and now I needed to re-shift. I felt kind of ‘plateau-ed ' during this time. My pace was off from having spent the previous few years of layering onto to my personal and work life the needs of an organization and its members. Well, I sure wasn't the whole ball of wax! There was a board to help me. But it was like running a kind of marathon. You're in for the long haul, not a sprint. (No wonder they limit the years you serve in a leadership role on the board in a non-profit.)
Luckily, in this uncomfortable space, I had this helpful inner voice that kept telling me, "You know... you are in a transition." One more thing I knew for sure is that it wouldn't last - these feelings of ‘where am I and what should I be doing?' But while I was in it, it was yucky.
I could even hear myself say, in so many different voices to so many different coaching clients, one of the following statements, "You will need time to transition. It's helpful to recognize and prepare for the changeover. You need to account for the time between clients...between events... between those tasks in a day, etc.. There's just something challenging about moving away from and toward something new."
Transitions take their own time, and yet we somehow think we can slip from one task to the next, one event to the next, one place to the next like we would flip the page of a book or turn a light switch on or off. Well, sometimes it works like that, but a lot of times it just doesn't. Transitions kind of need their own time. They help us handle some of the variation in speed, the assault of changing focus or rhythm. Oh yeh, and sometimes they just aren't comfortable.
Think about it ...going straight from the gym to bed isn't an easy accomplishment without some transition time. Hey, going straight to bed after turning off the computer or the TV, doesn't always work either, not without some kind of spacer, some connecting piece to help reset the rhythm.
I think transitions are a way of allowing the body to synchronize with the brain and vice versa. When you have ADD (ADHD), you can feel change and the lack of transitions with exquisite discomfort. An increase or a decrease in activity can leave you plateau-ed, without inspiration or motivation. And there are, of course, all kinds of transitions, big ones and little ones. The big ones occur with a move from one house to another, a job change, the completion of a major project, the end of a presidency, a marriage, divorce, retirement. We make all kinds of smaller transitions, as well, within the day and the week. We have to get the hang of these transitions, give then a little respect, because they are going to claim their own time anyway.
I have found my new rhythm for the year. I no longer feel plateau-ed. Honest. I found my mojo for the time being. You know, I think I needed that flat time to appreciate the upbeat in the rhythm, the beginning of a new song or a new movement in the old song. I'm grateful for that inner voice that kept said, "Just hang in there, be uncomfortable, you'll find your pace, again."