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Harnessing The Buzz: ADHD Coaching Insights – Exclusive Interview With Bari Fischer

Bari Fischer is the CEO and founder of Impulsively Aware, a leading company for ADHD and Executive Function Coaching. Renowned for transforming ADHD challenges into strengths, Bari employs personalized strategies and robust support to empower her clients. Her innovative approach combines practical techniques with empathetic engagement, making her a pivotal figure in the ADHD community. As an advocate for ADHD awareness, Bari extends her impact through her online course work, webinars, and public speaking, where she shares insights on thriving with ADHD. Her work not only guides individuals in harnessing their unique traits for personal and professional success but also influences broader perceptions and treatments of ADHD. Through Impulsively Aware, Bari continues to inspire change and promote a deeper understanding of neurodiversity.

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Bari Fischer, ADHD & Executive Function Coach

Living in New York City seems like a constant buzz. How does this environment mesh with your ADHD, and how has it influenced your approach to coaching?

Oh, New York is a playground for someone with ADHD! It's fast-paced and always buzzing, much like my mind most days. I've learned to embrace the chaos, not fight it. It's about using that constant energy in a positive way. When I coach, I bring this into play. We don't just manage ADHD; we use it as an advantage. And raising kids here? It's been a wild ride, but it taught me so much about flexibility and finding humor in chaos, which definitely feeds into how I coach.

You were diagnosed with ADHD at 52. How did that revelation affect your professional life?

That moment was transformative, a real game-changer. It was like suddenly all the pieces of a complicated puzzle snapped into place, and everything just made sense. Before my diagnosis, there were so many moments in my life and career that were loaded with self-doubt and confusion. Understanding that I had ADHD was like being given a map to navigate a landscape that I had been stumbling through in the dark.

It also really transformed how I connect with my clients. I started sharing my own experiences, which brought this whole new level of realness to our sessions. It’s one thing to know the theory, but living it? That’s where you really get to understand someone. This deeper empathy has completely reshaped my coaching. I tailor everything now, making sure it's personalized because if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that one size does not fit all with ADHD.

And personally? It kicked me into high gear. I dove even deeper into ADHD research and therapies, always on the lookout for the best strategies. It’s not just about managing symptoms; it’s about really thriving with ADHD, and that’s what I aim to help my clients do.

Knowing I have ADHD has enriched my practice immensely. My relationships with my clients are stronger, our connections deeper, and our successes more profound because now, I truly understand.

With your extensive background in education, how do you weave those principles into your coaching?

My teaching days gave me an understanding how uniquely each mind works. Every student was different, and adapting lessons really sharpened my approach. That's exactly what I bring into each coaching session. It’s not just rolling out a standard plan; it’s more like crafting a custom suit — it’s got to fit just right. Whether we’re breaking tasks into manageable chunks or finding specific ways to celebrate even the tiniest wins, it's all about what clicks for that person.

Plus, learning should be fun, right? I try to bring a bit of joy and play into the process, even when we’re tackling tough stuff. This helps keep everyone motivated. Remember, if we’re not at least enjoying part of the journey, we’re doing something wrong! So, together, we find what clicks, use that in our sessions, and suddenly, building those crucial skills doesn’t feel like such a chore.

Raising two children who also have ADHD in such a vibrant city must be quite an experience. How has this shaped your coaching?

Raising two kids with ADHD in New York City, where every day is a new adventure, has really influenced my approach as a coach. Both of my kids are wonderfully unique, and their journeys with ADHD have been as different as night and day. It’s really driven home the point that ADHD doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all look.

This realization has transformed my coaching methods. I’ve learned to toss the standard rule book out the window and really focus on what works for each individual. Some days that means being as flexible as a street performer in Central Park, and other days it's about having the structure of the Empire State Building.

In your ADHD and Executive Function Coaching business, I see you specialize in overwhelm. Can you share some strategies that work for you and your clients?

Absolutely, managing overwhelm is like the bread and butter of what I do! You know, the first thing I tell my clients is to keep a sense of humor about everything. Life throws some pretty ridiculous stuff at us sometimes, and being able to laugh about it really helps turn those mountains back into molehills.

On the practical side, pausing, breathing, and even naming the emotion you are feeling can help with the overwhelm. Listening to music or meditation can help calm your brain. I’m a huge advocate for time blocking and the Pomodoro Technique. It’s like setting up mini dates with your tasks—you focus for a set amount of time, then take a short break. This not only keeps things manageable but also tricks your brain into staying on task without feeling overwhelmed. You’re basically telling your brain, "Hey, we only have to do this for 25 minutes."

Physical activity is another cornerstone strategy. It’s amazing what a quick walk, driving range, treadmill or a bit of yoga can do. It’s like hitting the reset button on your brain not only clearing out the mental clutter but also boosting focus and energy levels. I always encourage my clients to have an exercise buddy and to find an activity they love because if it feels like a chore, we’re not going to stick with it, right?

And you can’t underestimate the power of a solid support network. It’s crucial to have people who get it, whether that’s family, friends, or even an online community. Having that support can make all the difference because you’re reminded, you’re not in this alone. 

For adults just starting to suspect they might have ADHD, what advice would you give?

Oh, where to start! First off, I’d say don’t panic. Discovering you might have ADHD as an adult can feel like you’re rewriting your whole life story, but it’s actually more about editing it. You’re not changing the narrative, just understanding it better. So, take a deep breath and give yourself some credit for recognizing that there might be a reason, things have felt a bit off.

Next up, get curious. Research, research, research. There's a wealth of information out there and getting informed is key. But here’s the trick: look for credible sources. Stick to well-known ADHD organizations or articles by reputable health professionals. And if reading’s a slog, there are tons of podcasts and videos out there too. Knowledge is power, right? It’ll help you understand your behaviors, and it’s also great ammunition for when you’re ready to talk to a professional.

Speaking of professionals, finding a good Psychiatrist, ADHD coach or Cognitive Behavioral Therapist (CBT) who specializes in adult ADHD is crucial. This step can be a game changer. They can help you sort through your suspicions with a proper evaluation and guide you on the path to managing symptoms. And remember, seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness. It’s about taking control of your life and steering it in the direction you want to go. Plus, connecting with a professional means you’re not going it alone—you’ve got an expert co-pilot.

So, keep a light heart, get armed with information, and reach out for professional guidance. It’s your journey, but there are plenty of tools and support to help you navigate it. You got this!

How do you see the field of ADHD coaching evolving?

Oh, it’s an exciting time for ADHD coaching, let me tell you! We’re on the brink of some fantastic advancements. The awareness around ADHD has skyrocketed in the last few years, and with that, there's a growing demand for specialized coaching that really understands the unique challenges and strengths of those with ADHD.

But it’s all about the approach. There's a big shift towards more holistic methods. It's not just about managing symptoms anymore. It’s about integrating lifestyle changes, mindfulness practices, and building a supportive community that empowers individuals. We're moving towards a model that doesn't just aim to 'fix' ADHD, but one that enhances personal growth and leverages ADHD traits as assets, not obstacles. 

And let’s not forget the importance of advocacy and education. As coaches, we’re not just here to support our clients; we’re here to educate the public and change narratives around ADHD. The more understanding there is, the more we can push for accommodations in the workplace, in schools, and in daily life that genuinely help people thrive.

Every job has its ups and downs. Could you share some of the most challenging and rewarding moments you’ve experienced as an ADHD and Executive Function Coach?

Absolutely, and you're right—like any job, this one has its roller coaster moments. One of the big challenges is seeing clients who come to me feeling really defeated by their ADHD. It’s tough seeing bright, creative individuals believing they can’t achieve their dreams just because their brain works differently. The stigma around ADHD can be a real barrier and breaking that down takes a lot of time and patience, not just from me, but from the clients themselves. Sometimes, the initial resistance to trying new strategies or the fear of yet another disappointment can really test our resolve.

Then, there’s the flip side—the incredible highs that come with this job. The most rewarding moments? Those are when I see my clients have their own lightbulb moments. Like when a client who’s struggled with time management their whole life suddenly finds a system that works for them, and it’s like a weight has been lifted off their shoulders. Or when parents tell me they feel like they finally understand their child, and I see that family dynamic shift right in front of my eyes. Those moments make all the challenges worthwhile.

Honestly, nothing beats the feeling of seeing someone who came to me full of self-doubt start to recognize their own strengths and begin to thrive. It’s those transformations that keep me energized and remind me why I love this work. It’s not just about helping people manage ADHD; it’s about helping them rediscover their joy and chase their passions without fear.

With technology constantly evolving, how has it influenced the way you manage and coach ADHD? Are there specific tools or apps that you find indispensable?

Technology is a game-changer. I’m a big fan of apps that help with organization and time management. There are also apps like Trello or Asana for task management, or even simple timer apps for practicing time blocking. These can help create the structure that many of my clients need to stay on track. Many websites such as ChatGPT and can be a lifesaver for someone with ADHD. They can act as their own personal executive function system when they feel they are struggling with starting tasks, feeling overwhelmed or even to plan out a week of evening meals for the family. We've got apps now that can remind you of tasks, help you prioritize, or even monitor your mood and stress levels. It's like having a little assistant in your pocket. What’s really great is the accessibility these tools offer. No matter where you are or what time it is, help is just a tap away, which makes a huge difference for consistency and building good habits.

Some other tools I really like are mindfulness and meditation apps. These aren't just fluff; they're backed by a ton of research showing their benefits for ADHD. Apps that guide you through meditation exercises or help you practice mindfulness can be powerful for managing stress and improving concentration and because they’re right there on your phone, my clients are more likely to use them throughout the day, which really helps in managing some of the emotional and focus-related challenges of ADHD. So yeah, technology not only supports the logistics of managing ADHD but also the mental health aspect, making it a critical component of my coaching toolbox.

Continuing education must be crucial in your field. How do you keep yourself updated with the latest research and techniques in ADHD coaching?

Oh, absolutely. I regularly attend workshops and seminars, and I’m always buried in the latest research articles. I also network with other professionals in the field to exchange knowledge and experiences. This field is always evolving, and staying updated is key to providing the best support for my clients. The annual ADHD Conference held by CHADD every year is an absolute must if you are in the field of ADHD.

What advice would you give to someone just starting out as an ADHD coach?

Make sure you have the right training from a certified school. Dive into learning—not just the textbook stuff but really understanding the real-world applications. And remember, this job is as much about empathy and connection as it is about strategies and techniques. Be patient, both with yourself and your clients. It’s a journey worth taking.

Looking ahead, what are some goals or aspirations you have for your coaching practice in the next few years?

I’ve got big dreams for the future! One of my main goals is to really expand the reach of my coaching. I want to connect with more people, not just in my local community, but globally. I am in the middle of writing a hybrid ADHD coaching course that people can take online at their own pace and still get the support they need through coaching and a community of peers. There’s something magical that happens when people with similar struggles come together to support each other. It’s empowering and it turns individual challenges into a shared journey. Plus, it’s a great way for clients to see they’re not alone in this.

And education! I want to keep pushing the envelope on educating both the public and workplaces about ADHD. It’s all about fostering understanding and creating environments where people with ADHD can truly thrive. If I can help shift perceptions and open up more opportunities for accommodation and support, then I’m hitting my goals.

So, lots of plans and plenty of passion to make them happen. Here’s to making the next few years transformative, not just for my practice but for every individual I get to work with!

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