When advertising Organise Pro services or Focus with Faigy, ADHD/time management coaching services we encounter a frustrating phenomena. It takes clients years to pick up the phone and call for assistance. One client this week told us that from the moment she had seen our first ad, a number of years ago she had wanted to call. It took her quite a few years to pick up the phone. So what is the block?
Some callers, men and women, give their name and details in the initial call. Many men and women do not.
There is a strong sense of shame associated with accessing our services. This feeling is so strong that most clients refuse to put their full names on our website testimonials.
If a client refers a friend to our services, and they then sign up, the client gets the next session half price! So if a client refers 10 friends, and 10 friends sign up, the next 10 sessions are all half price! Even with this incentive many clients do not tell others they have had organising sessions or are in coaching. This strange, very frustrating phenomena is much more apparent in the UK. I have seen from my American clients in the USA that this is virtually non-existant.
What are some of the beliefs surrounding the shame around accessing our services?
- The society we live in has too high expectations of women. There is the silent expectation in some communities that we need to look perfect, and swing all our responsibilities perfectly. When the ADHD woman compares herelf to non ADHD women she suffers unecessariy. This builds shame and prevents one seeking help.
- Women mistakenly assume that we work with “dysfunctional” or unfortunate members of society. This could not be further from the truth. Most of our clients are smart, put together women who are leading successful lives, and just want more success in their lives. Our adverts and websites are highly professional. We focus on the successful women in our community.
- I won’t call now, I will just try harder. Clients are determined to work harder. They are trying to solve their problems in the same old way. When this obviously does not work, they become ashamed and try to cover up their failures from their family members. This means extra hours working behind the scenes with a tremendous toll on one’s time and energy.
- Women with these kinds of difficulties incredulously ask “How do other women do it?” “Why can’t I balance all my responsibilities just like everyone else?” They are comparing themselves to the wrong type of women. They are comparing themselves to the women who don’t have their challenges. This form of comparison is poison. A lifetime of failures and negative comparisons, even mild, impacts their self-esteem and clients start to internalise their incompetency. Shame follows naturally. Internalising the shame stops one getting help.
- In our community there is still an unspoken shame associated with getting help. There is a silent assumption that we are meant to just know all the answers to our problems.
- Many women feel that no matter how competent others think they are, and no matter how much they achieve, they are really just fooling everyone. This stems partly from the disparity of their inner and outer worlds. Other people see the real competence of these women, but don’t see the conflict inside. These women believe they are fooling others, and they worry that their inner incompetency will be exposed.
- “Success is almost within my reach. I won’t call for help. I will just work harder at being on time/getting through those piles/ clean that room.” This magical thinking stops clients calling. When their magical solutions do not appear, shame follows. The longer women push off seeking help, the more the shame unconsciously builds up.
- Many women are great at covering up/compensating for their internal challenges. They are trying to solve a mystery without knowing what they are trying to solve. They are so good at this cover up that their family members do not understand why they want help, and actively prevent them seeking help for their problems.
- Lack of understanding and frustration from parents/spouses about the nature of our client’s challenges causes great shame and stops women accessing our services.
The saying “Problems don’t go away, they just get bigger” is very true. With our clients we have seen that the unsolved problems actually cause depression and anxiety disorders, and even break up of marriages.
Organisational and time management challenges are biologically based. Our clients simply lack the internal skills to organise their lives. These are the crucial life skills that naturally lead others to have structured well balanced lives. We have seen with our many clients that these skills are just that, skills! If one’s brain has not internally developed organisational/time management/decision making skills, then we need to externalise them from an outside source. As simple as that.
When clients realise that their organisational/time management challenges are part of the bigger picture of ADHD, the confusion and shame lessens.
I always tell my clients, it takes courage to change, and it’s the clever, sensible women who seek help. The problems that bring women to our services are biologically based, and if untreated get worse with time.
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