How to Get Unstuck: Executive Functioning 2.0!
As I shared in one of my videos last week, I had a day where I felt overwhelmed and deflated. Not in every area of my life, just a few of them. For me, that looked like watching Netflix when I could have been tending to the daily operations of Wright Academics. When I feel discouraged, I would often rather hide or lie about how I am really feeling. Something tells me I am not alone when it comes to these feelings, and I would like to explore the why behind them. Why did I cope the way I did? Why did I have those feelings in the first place? Let’s explore.
Just like the kids who come through our doors at Wright Academics, I too struggle with executive functioning. When you struggle with executive functioning and come across an area where you struggle, often it leaves you feeling zapped of energy and defeated. You often label yourself as lazy or a failure. I should be able to do this, we think to ourselves. “I just need to work harder!” we exclaim.
It’s Not Laziness.
Maybe your student has exhibited signs of struggling with executive functioning that look similar to my journey. They might play tons of video games, watch too much Netflix, or spend a lot of time on YouTube. At the outset, this looks like laziness at its core. But friend, motivation takes energy. In order to sustain momentum, there must be a force behind it.
For students who struggle with executive functioning like me, they do not have energy because they are constantly reminded of the fact that they struggle. Maybe they really struggle in school. Of course they feel discouraged because they have to go to school five days a week for almost six hours a day! Spending that much time feeling discouraged will certainly result in lack of motivation and momentum.
Where to Go From Here
So…where do we go from here? How did I get out of my own way? Well, a few things helped me get unstuck, but the biggest one was focusing on small wins. When you’re stuck, you need something that will change the trajectory of your thoughts. A small win could look like going for a short walk, writing down a to-do list, or doing a few math problems. Tasks often feel overwhelming when we’re stuck, so breaking a task down into small, manageable chunks is a good way to build confidence and slowly get something done. And once you accomplish the small wins? CELEBRATE them! No win is ever too small to celebrate; wins contribute to motivation and momentum. The more wins, the more momentum!
Another great way to get out of your own way is reaching out to compassionate supports. My husband is a compassionate support for me. On the day I was really struggling, he met me at our office and expressed that he knew I was working hard, and it would be okay. He didn’t try to fix me or my struggle. He was simply there, and his compassion gave me the confidence to reach out to my business coach. I made a plan with my business coach to fine tune my business’ systems and combat the feelings of discouragement I was experiencing.
2 Key Phases
For me, getting unstuck incorporated multiple steps, but two key phases. The first phase was being met with nonjudgmental compassion. Because of the first phase, I was able to move to the next phase which was making a plan. You see, there has to be some change in our brains in order to get out of a rut. There needs to be something that takes us from being closed off with our negative feelings to becoming open to action.
YOU Are Why We Exist.
Maybe you struggle with executive functioning or you have a student who might be struggling. If this is you, I want you to know YOU are the reason Wright Academics exists. Our academic coaches exist to assist students with their studies but also to facilitate the two phases I outlined above. Our academic coaches do what Chris and my business coach did for me: they provide compassion and THEN help students make a plan. Wright Academics is about coming alongside students and meeting them right where they are. We do not try to “fix” anything initially because we know our students do not need that. Our students, like myself, need someone to be with them in their confusion and struggle and then show them how to get out of it.
This week, I am back on track and ready to meet whatever challenge come my way, but I want you to know I’ve been where you or your student are. I have experienced the struggle, and Wright Academics is here to walk through it alongside you.
If you are interested in learning more about our academic coaching or the resources we recommend, click HERE.
About Evelyn Wright
Evelyn Wright is the Director of Wright Academics, a tutoring business created to target kids’ specific needs. Her passion is helping students and families succeed so that they achieve their maximum potential in and out of the classroom.
With over 25 years of experience working with children and their families in public and private schools, as well as in private practice, Evelyn’s focus is understanding the individual’s learning profile, guiding families of children with learning differences and matching students to the tutor or coach that best fits the student. She believes in not only matching educational needs to the right tutor’s skills, but matching a student to the tutor with the right personality.