There’s a new acronym afoot in the ADHD lexicon: ICNU

It stands for Interest, Challenge, Novelty, Urgency, and it pretty neatly describes the operating system of the ADHD brain.

Neurotypcal brains operate via ISIR: Importance, Secondary importance (what someone else says is important, like a boss or teacher) and reward.

People with ADHD get demoralized because they’ve spent a lifetime trying to function via ISIR when they don’t give a crap about it.  That’s because their brain is ICNU…which is not wrong, just different. But because most of society runs on ISIR, you get pathologized.

Yes, there are elements of the ADHD brain that benefit from medication. Not because you’re ‘sick’, but because you may be in an anxious state due to too many thoughts about too many things happening all at once. Meds (usually stimulants ironically, often combined with an anti-anxiety medication) can allow you to calm the fuck down and put one foot in front of the other. So can meditation, for that matter. Personally, I use both.

But that’s just palliative intervention and it’s not enough. Meds don’t show you how function, they just allow you to access the state of mind that allows you to figure out how.  Since you never bought into the ISIR system and no one showed you another way, that’s where coaches can help.

My job as a coach is to help you identify what revs your engine. One way to do that is to assess what gets you into a state of flow. Perhaps you’ve noticed that certain times of day are better suited to different kinds of tasks, for example. Dr William Dodson recommends carrying a note pad and tracking the instances that kick start your productivity. These circumstances can then become your ‘owners manual’.  

For years, I’ve been  asking clients to establish a ‘personal policy manual’. This requires non-judgemental discernment on your part, enabled by adopting an attitude of sincere curiosity. (This will also fulfill the first ‘I’…and make the process interesting.)

You deserve more happiness and productivity. So as we start the new year off, put on your detective’s hat for a couple of weeks and keep that notepad handy.  It could pay off big-time by allowing you to identify the rules that work for you instead of trying follow everybody else’s.