Allison Burns

Allison Burns, owner of Powerful Change Group, and Keith Burns, Founder of Phoenix Exec, shared the importance of developing resilience and personal grit as part of the “Growth Mindset” vital to the emotional/functional development of teens and adults with ADHD.

Essentially, the Growth Mindset stresses that people can change their beliefs and the way they believe through reframing life experiences. Many people with ADHD tend to focus on, or to emphasize their talents in determining their value and worth as a productive individual. The Burns’ view is that while talent is important, it does not mitigate dealing with setbacks or barriers that have nothing to do with talent.

The better option that doesn’t limit or kill future successes, is to look at individual efforts in pursing goals, as a better yardstick of performance. effort isn’t about just trying, it is about reducing and managing obstacles along the way to achieving a desired outcome.

Their work in this area, has shown them that having a growth versus fixed mindset helps individuals with ADHD keep trying, rather than giving up. Coaching then revolves around looking at the difference between considering setbacks and incremental progress towards a goal as an opportunity to improve, rather than a failure.

The presenters shared some of the work being done by Angela Duckworth in building Grit, or the ability to better process feeling of frustration, disappointment and boredom. Duckworth found that where others look at these feelings as a sign to cut and run, high performing professionals seemed to be conditioned to believe that struggle was not a reason for alarm.

This suggests that if one could change peoples beliefs about how success happens, then one may be able to change self-defeating behaviors such as the person delaying quitting on a difficult project.

As a way of gauging the audiences view of their own Grit, a handout developed by Duckworth was filled out by session participants. For a number of the audience, it was an eye opening experience to see where they fell on a national average of Grit. The Grit Scale is included for review at this link.

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