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Airing my dirty laundry

I have had the same tiny pile of mismatched socks in the corner of my bedroom for years.


No joke. I wish I was lying but the truth is this little pack of unwelcome friends has traveled with me into more than one bedroom like an unwelcome companion.


Taunting me

“get organized Tara - how hard is it to just match us up?”

“Just fold us together and neatly put us away - how hard can it be”

"Others put us away no problem, how come you can't?"


Here it is. When you are neurodivergent it can be difficult to tackle tedious tasks your brain takes no interest in.


Some of you reading this might think "isn't that everyone Tara?" but I want to truly emphasize there IS a difference here.


Let's dive into my brain and the

research I have done to understand it:



The frontal cortex, basal ganglia, and parts of the cerebellum are typically smaller in the brains of people diagnosed with ADHD. Those three regions all play important roles in focus and attention.


Verywellmind describes it best: If you have ADHD, you have a situation where low dopamine levels mean motivation is already in short supply and the regions of the brain responsible for pushing you through uninteresting or difficult tasks.


This means that tasks that are boring but manageable for others can be all but impossible for someon


e with ADHD.


That doesn't translate to incapable.


It means some of us experience different challenges accomplishing tasks that can be of low interest.


Why is my sock story relevant in the workplace?


It is highly likely that every individual you work with is able to do so many tasks but they need the right conditions and support to succeed.


In this example if the business objective was the great "sock pick up" I would have ten colleagues that co


uld have picked up those socks ten times faster and then question why I was behind.


It is not our place at work to diagnose, stereotype each other or presume labels like "lazy" "doesn't care"


It is our place to be curious about how we can empower and support each other recognizing there is variation in all of our cognitive abilities.


Of equal importance is for each individual to reflect, convey and self advocate for what supports they need to be successful.


For example, how did I get the socks off the floor?



  • I worked with a coach that considered my nuances that sent me nudges outside of our sessions on why the great "sock pick up" was important to me.

  • I tricked my brain and gave myself a deadline.

  • I used visualization techniques to imagine how good it would feel to see my floor again.



In summary:


Instead of writing people off as "lazy", "uninterested", recognize there are real cognitive variations within all of us.


Whether you are a team member, leader, CEO…we all play a role in contributing to the culture we want to work in where vulnerability can be attempted, demonstrated, accepted and supported.


I hope this story helps others get their "socks off the ground"


Tara



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