Mind, Body, Heart and Spirit

“Extreme” Self-Care Coaching Lab:

Tending the Mind, Body, Heart and Spirit

by Peggy Ramundo, BS, A.C.T., SCAC
Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Speaker’s Content ACO 2013: Part 1

Extreme Self-Care is simple, but not easy
What Is It?
Putting your Self at the TOP of your To-Do List!

What follows is a synthesis of Conference Binder materials and Speaker’s Notes from the Coaching Lab presented during the  ACO Conference in Atlanta: April 2013

Extreme Self-Care

Extreme self-care is the foundation of a fulfilling life. To experience a high quality life, you need a “high quality you.” The only way to BE at your very best is to DO the very best for you — by making the quality of your life your #1 priority.

Extreme self-care means making intentional decisions about what you want — what brings you peace, joy, and happiness — getting into the zone, where you are in energetic alignment with your Highest Good.

  • It is about turning a deaf ear to the Shoulds espoused by others and by your own Inner Critic.
  • It is about giving yourself permission to “just say no” to those people and things that drain your resources of time and energy and ramp up your feelings of overwhelm.

Why It’s Essential

Remember the instructions flight attendants give passengers traveling with children regarding what to do in the event of a decrease in cabin air pressure?
Put the mask over your nose and mouth first and then over your children’s.

The reason, of course, is that you can’t help anyone else
if you are gasping for air yourself.

“Life is similar: while suffering, suffocating, starved, sapped, or scared,
we are in no condition to assist
[a client or] a friend in need,
much less be able to take pleasure in the moment.

Simply put, healthy “selfishness” is necessary for bringing joy
to others
as well as to ourselves.”  ~ Marcia Reynolds

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Extreme Self-Care and Your ADD Clients

The underlying goal of ADD Coaching is to enhance intentionality: supporting clients over time to shift from random reactivity to conscious decision-making — that is, saying what they’ll do and doing what they say (or alternatively, saying what they WON’T do and not doing it!)

Intentionality begins with increased self-awareness. That is what Extreme Self-Care is all about.

ADD coaches who practice extreme self-care can more effectively model for their clients the concept of living a conscious, fulfilled life than those who don’t “practice what they preach.” Coaches who endeavor to remain balanced in their own lives also understand at a gut level how much easier it is to SAY than to DO.

  • They are more likely to hear lack of balance in what their client says, and
  • More likely to understand what to say – in a charge neutral manner – to help a client restore balance.

The requisite personal self-awareness also deepens their understanding of their clients and supports them in shifting from a “Coaching to Solve Client Problems” approach to a more effective Holistic come-from that supports Living a Life On Purpose.

“Self-ish” ADD coaches (as described above) directly benefit from embracing the concept of Extreme Self-Care in yet another, perhaps most significant way: Extreme Self-Care prevents or dramatically reduces Overwhelm, Self-Doubt, and Burn-Out.

Balance: What Is It?

clip art woman doing yogaAccording to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary:

One of the definitions of the noun “balance” is:
a state of equilibrium,
and that of the verb “to balance” is:
to bring into harmony or proportion.

Balance and Extreme Self-Care are interconnected. The relationship is essentially this:
Extreme Self-Care is the “Cause” and Balance is the “Effect”

Unfortunately, at this point in human history, the pursuit of real happiness has gone largely the way of the dinosaurs, the wholeness and uniqueness of the individual lost amidst generalized busyness, interpersonal disconnection, and the pursuit of success in the guise of financial gain and work performance.

For many, the balance in their lives exists only in the scale used to track their weight and the bottom line in their check registers. A widespread feeling of meaninglessness seems pervasive in our culture.

Neuro-typicals — at least a lot of them — somehow manage to stay on treadmills that are turning ever faster and faster. The intrinsic Challenges of ADD, however, make it nearly impossible for ADDults to maintain any sense of equilibrium; many lose their footing and fall.

There is an alternative — the examined life.

As an ADD Coach, you are in the perfect position to explore this alternative with your clients, offering them a different perceptual lens to use in their work, so that they may become better regulated and less impacted by or at the effect of, the circumstances in their lives.

Your clients are seeking change or they wouldn’t have asked for your help.
They are motivated by a desire to gain more control over their experience of living.

  • You already have ADD-specific Listening and Languaging Coaching Skills in your toolbox.
  • We want to offer you a few Self-Awareness and Extreme Self-Care tools to support both you and your clients on your individual journeys, with a focus on a life that is in BALANCE.

The Experience of Living a Life that is in Balance is:

  • Holistic and Multi-Dimensional
  • It incorporates and apportions aspects of each “Life Category”.

The Examined Life: Balance Through the Lenses of Mind-Body-Heart-Spirit

“Are you so busy making a living that you don’t know what you’re living for?”
~ Twyman L. Towery

The Wheel of Life  & The Balance Table

The Wheel of Life exercise familiar to most coaches is an example of using categories to conceptualize Life Balance, arranged in pie shaped “slices” of a wheel. The individual categories are somewhat arbitrary and are often changed to better fit a particular client.

For our purposes, we are using a slightly different approach, using only FOUR general categories as our conceptual framework: Mind, Body, Heart and Spirit.

Regardless of how you conceptualize the process of Life Balance, there are two caveats that apply to all categorizing approaches:

  • There is interaction BETWEEN Life Balance categories.
  • There is interaction WITHIN each individual category.

Extreme Self-Care for the ADD Coach:
Inventory Feedback

STEP ONE is taking the time to bring to consciousness the various elements that make up your life.

Where are you, RIGHT NOW, in terms of life balance?  Most of us find that “balance” shifts, and that any particular snapshot is likely to look pretty UN-balanced.  That’s okay – take the snapshot anyway.  Awareness is the first step on the road to choice and change.

Use the following Table as a starting point. 

  • YOU may discover that you conceptualize each of the categories in a slightly different manner, so you may want to move some of the items in the Table below into a different category.  That’s fine.
  • You may want to use different words to describe what YOU want to be part of Balance in your Life. That’s fine, too.
  • There may be additional elements you want to add to a one or more categories, or items you want to remove altogether.  It’s all fine

“Anything worth doing is worth doing effortlessly.”  ~ Les Fehmi

The ONLY way to do it wrong is to continue to let your life balance remain
below the surface of your conscious awareness.

ACO Self-CareBalance Table

© Creative Commons: attribution & link back

Once you have identified the items that make up YOUR life on your Life Balance Chart:

STEP TWO is taking the time to bring to consciousness the amount of time you are spending on the various elements that make up your life.

  • Is anything under-represented – or UN-represented?
  • Are you spending time in an area that, for YOU, is a should?
  • Has somebody else’s To-Do List crept over onto yours?
  • How well does the time you are spending dovetail with the
    importance of the area in your Ideal Life?

““Upon completing the universe, God pronounced it ‘very good’, not ‘perfect’”
~ Sarah Ban Breathnach

STEP THREE is taking the time to bring to consciousness the percentage of time you are spending on the various areas that make up your life, and compare those discoveries to your day-to-day satisfaction level.

  • Is each of the four areas represented fairly equally,
    or does one make up a larger quadrant than the others?
  • Within each quadrant, is the time you spend on each of the items
    relatively balanced, or do a few get more than their share
    of the minutes of your life?
  • Does the amount of time you spend on the items reflect
    how you want to spend the minutes of your life?
  • Are you having FUN? **
  • Can you see any correlation between your day-to-day satisfaction
    and happiness level and your degree of Mind, Body, Heart and Spirit balance?
  • What changes can you see making that would bring you greater balance and more joy?

“Until our experience of the present is intrinsically rewarding,
we are hostages held by a hypothetical future or a dead past.”
~ Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi

** “If you’re not having a good time, you’re not doing it right!” ~ Bright Star

illustration of a justice scaleFinal Thoughts About Balance

The four life categories can be further divided into just TWO aspects:
BEING (Heart & Spirit) and DOING (Mind & Body)

Both are equally important for a balanced life; they function interactively.

We believe, however, that the “Being” part of the journey gets dropped out too often in ADD Coaching, as coaches focus on problem-solving a client’s challenges in order to come up with tips, tricks and strategies for the client to DO.

Further, we believe that many of us take the same approach in our own lives.

We spend a great deal of time juggling the various aspects of our daily lives without examining and re-examining what we are juggling, or asking ourselves why we are juggling them.

  • Is what I’m DOing in alignment with my Core Values and spiritual beliefs?
  • Do they support my Vision, and the vision I have of mySelf?
  • Is what I’m doing helping me BE the unique, incredible man or woman I am?
  • Am I so busy DOing that I’m not taking the time to value and appreciate the Self I am now and the one I am in the process of becoming?
  • Am I having a good time?

Whether Coach or Client, the journey of Self-discovery and Self-creation is the most exciting, challenging, exhilarating, confounding journey you will ever take.

  • It can be fraught with wrong turns and dead ends, and has been known to be quite uncomfortable at times.
  • It also has the potential to bring you happiness, peace of mind, joy, fulfillment, freedom, meaning and enlightenment — and the life you’ve always dreamed of

COMING UP,  you find an exercise to help you Sherlock some Shoulds that are probably getting in your way, and some Listening and Languaging Skills “Cheatsheets” that Coaches can use for reference during Coaching Sessions to coach their clients within the Holistic frame of Balance and Extreme Self-Care, and the rest of you can use for more workshopping with yourSelf. So stay tuned.

As always, if you want notification of new information in the ACO Conference Update series – or any new posts on this blog – give your name and email to the nice form on the top of the skinny column to the right. (You only have to do this once, so if you’ve already asked for notification about a prior series, you’re covered for this one too) STRICT No Spam Policy

If you’d like to hire me for some one-on-one (or group) coaching help with anything that came up while you were reading this article (either for your own life, that of a loved one, or as coaching skills development), click the E-me link <—here (or on the menubar at the top of every page) and I’ll get back to you ASAP (accent on the “P”ossible!)

SEE BELOW for link to first article describing the 2013 ADD in the Spirit Coach Training [ASCT].

Graphics gratitude: illustrations not attributed above are
courtesy of

Related Articles on ADDandSoMuchMore.com

About Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, MCC, SCAC
Award-winning ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching field co-founder; [life] Coaching pioneer -- Neurodiversity Advocate, Coach, Mentor & Poster Girl -- Multi-Certified -- 25 years working with EFD [Executive Functioning disorders] and struggles in hundreds of people from all walks of life. I developed and delivered the world's first ADD-specific coach training curriculum: multi-year, brain-based, and ICF Certification tracked. In addition to my expertise in ADD/EF Systems Development Coaching, I am known for training and mentoring globally well-informed ADD Coach LEADERS with the vision to innovate, many of the most visible, knowledgeable and successful ADD Coaches in the field today (several of whom now deliver highly visible ADD coach trainings themselves). For almost a decade, I personally sponsored and facilitated seven monthly, virtual and global, no-charge support and information groups The ADD Hours™ - including The ADD Expert Speakers Series, hosting well-known ADD Professionals who were generous with their information and expertise, joining me in my belief that "It takes a village to educate a world." I am committed to being a thorn in the side of ADD-ignorance in service of changing the way neurodiversity is thought about and treated - seeing "a world that works for everyone" in my lifetime. Get in touch when you're ready to have a life that works BECAUSE of who you are, building on strengths to step off that frustrating treadmill "when 'wanting to' just doesn't get it DONE!"

3 Responses to Mind, Body, Heart and Spirit

  1. Pingback: Emotional Mastery to help us move forward | ADD . . . and-so-much-more

  2. Peggy Ramundo says:

    As I was rereading the materials Madelyn and I put together for attendees of our session at the ACO 2013 Conference, I found myself revisiting a question that I frequently ask myself. “Why do so many of us ADD coaches firmly believe in the importance of extreme self-care and balance in the lives of our clients while simultaneously dropping them out of our own lives? When I ask this of others, the most common reply is along the lines of, “Oh, I DO believe that these are very important for me as well. . .BUT, (always a red flag that an attempt at justification is coming next!) I just don’t seem to be able to find the time.”

    Is that the REAL reason (not that “lack of time” is a particularly well thought-out rationale, anyway!) or a canned, knee-jerk smokescreen to deflect attention away from the authentic, honest self-introspection work we know on some level we need to do? Are we simply covering up the quiet but persistent voice that keeps whispering that we are unworthy, undeserving of such attention to self?

    Each of us is unique so there is no ONE way to answer these two questions. But I just wonder. . .and am encouraging readers to do the same.

    Liked by 1 person

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