Upcoming Events


1. Organised For Success (OFS)

Designed to help you stay on task despite today’s increasing distractions, to strengthen discipline and resilience to stay clear, calm and confident under pressure.  6 workshop series, fall 2016  (Details below)  http://events.constantcontact.com/register/event?llr=p7aq6geab&oeidk=a07ecjdx29if0e275dc

2.  Wisdom Collective CEDAR Leadership Development

Designed for senior leaders and managers who supervise staff and are ready to enhance their leadership presence to engage more effectively and improve working climate and culture (details below).  http://events.constantcontact.com/register/event?llr=p7aq6geab&oeidk=a07ed4h29s1d4a72fe2


Organised For Success

OFS: http://events.constantcontact.com/register/event?llr=p7aq6geab&oeidk=a07ecjdx29if0e275dc

Coaching workshop series: 

Are you smart, successful, but a bit distracted sometimes?  Creative, but a bit scattered?

  1. Stay FOCUSED on task despite today’s increasing distractions.
  2. Strengthen DISCIPLINE and HABITS for better consistency and impulse control.
  3. Develop your RESILIENCE under pressure and GRIT to complete those great initiatives.


– Six in-person, small group confidential coaching sessions to strengthen self-discipline, confidence and capacity to achieve your highest objectives.

– Learn why you do what you do and master proven tools for durable habit change.

– Follow through with your personalized action plan and enjoy lively support with an accountability to your own potential that is unseen in 1:1 work.

In-person meetings in North Vancouver, Canada.

More info on dates/times/location

 Led by award-winning facilitator Sue Drinnan MSc (neuroscience), certified executive coach, author and leadership effectiveness consultant.  Series designed to provide the very best of neuroscience, education, practice and support.     


2.  Wisdom Collective CEDAR Leadership Development

Designed for senior leaders who supervise staff and are ready to enhance their leadership presence to engage more effectively and improve working climate and culture.


  • Designed for senior managers and leaders who supervise staff  and who are ready to:
  • strengthen your leadership style to achieve greater focus and action
  • apply the neuroscience of resilience, mindfulness and conflict resolution (internal and external) 
  • more effectively engage and motivate others
  • make smarter decisions with wisdom and experience of the room supporting you
  • apply their 360 feedback report to ignite their leadership presence
  • enjoy mentoring and connections from smart, successful peers

In person breakfast meetings in downtown Vancouver, Canada.

Read more about workshop series  dates/times/location

Led by award-winning facilitator Sue Drinnan MSc (neuroscience), certified executive coach, author and leadership effectiveness consultant.  Series designed to provide the very best of neuroscience, education, practice and support.     





Scattered and Distracted?  Your Executive Functions might be impaired.


Would people that you live or work with, say you struggle with:

a) Organizing tasks, estimating time, prioritizing, and procrastination?

b) Boredom, sustaining focus, and shifting focus to tasks?

c) Regulating alertness and effort, processing speed?

d) Reading social cues, managing frustration, perspective and modulating emotions?

e) Predicting consequences, utilizing working memory and accessing recall?

f) Impulse control and self-regulation?

What can you do about it??

Could it be ADHD?  Here are some tips to try.

TIP 1: Believe you can stop the impulse.

If you do not think you can stop the action, you are right.  It will feel bigger than you.  You have to not only believe in your heart that you can learn to manage it, but you also have to want to make the effort.  It is slow work.  These are established patterns and likely unconscious patterns and they won’t change quickly.  However, like turning an ocean liner around, it can be done and it will be worth it.  Unhelpful patterns may have felt bigger than you in the past (you “couldn’t help it”), but there is nothing more powerful than the made up mind.  Might not be sufficient on its own, but it is a mandatory component for impulse control.

TIP 2: Role play to practice buying yourself time to think

If you feel a reflex surge (to blurt for example), there is a free, no- charge split second put in there JUST FOR YOU, to buy yourself some time.  There is moment in time where you are actually making a choice (to act or not).  Think of it as a deciding muscle, which you can choose to use, or not.

Next time you are bored (waiting for a bus), recall what it looked like and felt like just before you did a blooper, regretfully acting on an impulse.  Now hit replay and re live that moment again and again in your head being very clear about choosing your response, with a better outcome.  This rewiring an algorythm is no different than an olympic diver or gymnast practicing a pattern in their head.  I’d say it is more in their heart, because it happens to fast that it is a felt motion rather than a thought motion.  Ideas* for buying time (Barkley):

> Before you answer someone, inhale slowly, exhale slowly, put on a thoughtful expression, and say to yourself, “Well, let me think about that.”

> Put a finger over your mouth for a few seconds, as if you’re considering what you’re going to say.

> Paraphrase or clarify and assumption you might need to make about what your boss or family member said to you: “Oh, so you want to know about…” or “You’re asking me to….”

> Imagine locking your mouth with a key to prevent yourself from speaking.

> Slow it down. Practice speaking slowly in front of a mirror. This will give your frontal lobes a chance to get some traction, to get engaged and see the big picture, instead of being swept along in the vortex of your impulses.

Tip 3  Leverage your learning

Do you beat yourself up for making the same mistakes again and again?

Adults with ADHD have weak nonverbal working memory, which means they either don’t recognize or don’t draw well from past mistakes to choose their response. Many of them hit every problem with a hammer, because they haven’t slowed down long enough to look at whether it really is a nail or not.  You must slow down, and ask, “When have I seen this before?  What happened last time?”

It might be extra hard to defer gratification, because they can’t call up the mental image of the prize that lies ahead. Recognise it takes time to access what you learned in the past when you need it in the future.  Like a diabetic, yes, it’s more work to have a healthy, low stress life, but oh so worth it.  There are so many ways you can capture your lessons.  Yes it’s a pain.

Tip 4: Do you prefer carrots or sticks?

Many ADDers are “time blind”; they forget the purpose of their tasks, so of course they are uninspired to finish them. Out of sight, out of mind.

Ask yourself, “What will I feel like when I get this project done?” It could be pride, self-satisfaction, the happiness you anticipate from completing the project. Whatever the emotion is, work hard to feel it, then and there, as you contemplate your goal.

When you sit down to continue working on the project, try to feel the future outcome and use what I call carrot or stick devices such as posting pictures of the rewards (or consequences).

If no one is dangling a carrot in front of you, you may need some convincing to keep up the effort.  When you recall the purpose of the exercise, invoke the felt sense of having it done.  If you are a Carrot person, you will do it because you are motivated by the positive opportunities that will happen and how great it will feel.

If you are a Stick person you will be more motivated by preventing a screw up or other emotionally costly situation (public shame, fines).  It is important to know what kind of projection you need to be focussing on to get motivated.  Each person is galvanized by slightly different aspects.  Know your values = what you really really care about.


Tip 5 Break it down to bite size

ADHD makes the future feel even further away.  Goals which require significant investment of time,  repetition, waiting periods, or in a sequence of steps can prove so elusive that you feel overwhelmed with discomfort.  This is a trigger which causes some ADDers to look for an escape and relief. They might call in sick at work or distract themselves when what they need is discomfort tolerance training.  Figure out which situations are likely to trigger you.  Do you panic with:

– multi-month long projects

– complex projects with too many moving parts?

– working without supervision?


Break down long-term tasks or goals into smaller units. If an end-of-the-day deadline seems remote to you, try half-hour chunks of work. Write down what you need to get done in each period, and run a highlighter over each step as you work on it, to keep your attention focused.

Make yourself accountable to another person. Most of us care what others think of us, and social judgment adds fuel to the fire to get things done.  Make yourself accountable to a supportive coworker, supervisor, or mentor.

Acknowledge and lock it in  with “I am a person who completes things” with this solid evidence. Congratulate yourself; take a short break; call or e-mail a friend or a relative to recognize what you’ve gotten done; give yourself a reward you enjoy a lot—just make it small and brief.

Tip 6  Watch your language

If you made a mistake, do not let nasty experiences from your past take up space in your head and take over your inside voice (precious RAM that you need today).  Don’t give free rent and language to self contempt, shame and other brutality to identity and worth.  Get the help you need to strengthen your healthy relationship to your choices; what you think , feel and do.  This takes effort.  But you can imagine how nice i would be, to be at peace with it so you have less noise in your head. If you happen to make a mistake, do the same with yourself as you would with a co-worker or dear friend:

  • You own the mistake.
  • You identify why the mistake happened.
  • You apologize and make no excuse by blaming others.
  • You promise to do better next time (putting in place the reminders or other tools to make sure of it)

Do these six tips and you will keep your calm confidence, self-esteem, your job as well as your friends.

You can do this.


*Have a look at Ned Hallowell  http://www.drhallowell.com/  and Russell Barkley http://www.additudemag.com/authorID/245.html   have to say.

How hormones make the best leaders

Good leaders make tough decisions. They manage their anxiety, gain the respect of peers, inspire confidence and loyalty with their empathy, and motivate and engage with their resilience.

Are these desirable traits inborn or socialised?  The answer is both.  In my coaching practice, this is especially important for senior leaders under pressure who want to learn to bring out the best in both themselves and those they lead.  But how?


Yes, you can learn to manage your hormones.

By collecting hormone levels from research* participants solving problems as a team, a direct correlation was found between leadership effectiveness and the ratio of testosterone to cortisol (both are steroid hormones in your blood)

Testosterone (normally present in both males and females) is associated with assertiveness, competitive behavior and sensitivity to status, while cortisol, known as “the stress hormone”, kicks in when we feel fearful or threatened (fight or flight). The most aggressive individuals did not make the best leaders. On the contrary, high testosterone was actually a disadvantage when paired with high cortisol.


While individuals with the high testosterone/low cortisol profile tended to approach problems through a “challenge” framework, participants with high levels of both hormones were more likely to view stressors as threats, and react with avoidance and submission, for both men and women.


Feed forward and make a change

Hormones directly influence our behavior, but our behaviour also can affect our hormone levels.  The hormonal changes we can implement won’t be as fast as a fight or flight response, but we can definitely launch and healthier more effective hormone profile which is especially needed when leading others.

it is possible to manipulate hormonal levels by posing the muscles of the body. The muscles trigger the brain to produce the desired hormones. A Power Pose is when you make your body as large as possible.  What athletes do when they win:  both arms high up in the air, chest out, head tilted back, and mouth open.  This position is assumed even by blind athletes when they win even if they have never seen anyone assume this pose.  Baboons assume this position when they triumph or wish to frighten an enemy.


Maintaining this position for two minutes can increase testosterone production and reduce cortisol levels. Feeling more calm and assertive can be invoked  by your body positioning.


The researchers also specifically measured the effect of two minutes keeping arms tight by one’s side and legs clamped together.  It reduced production of testosterone and increased production of cortisol.  In other words, you can trigger agitation and lack of assertiveness through the way you position your body.  Think of cultures who force those being dominated into this position.  It works.  Yikes.  Please share this post to help empower those who need your support.


What you can do about it

Exercise: decrease your cortisol levels and reduce stress.

Sleep: Getting too little sleep can lead to increased cortisol in the afternoon.

Be mindful: How we assign meaning to an event directly influences hormone levels. When you’re anticipating a competition or a status challenge, testosterone levels go up. Reacting to the situation as a threat will cause cortisol levels to rise. Through coaching and mindfulness practices, we can train ourselves to stay calm confident and reframe stressful situations.

Be available to connect:  Leadership is about relationships.  A hormone that increases our attention to social information is oxytocin, which is released through intimacy and bonding. Increased oxytocin levels may help with increasing affiliation and team bonding in the workplace — but only when people see themselves as being on the same team.

Use what you know for the good of all:  We know a good leader when we see one.  We feel it in our gut.  Now that you know this, do you have a choice but to use it to contribute your best in making this world a better place?


In summary…

Decision makers who want to identify natural leaders look for individuals who stay cool under pressure, negotiate well and  view problems as a challenge which can be resolved rather than a threat to avoid.  The leaders who had high testosterone and low cortisol persisted in the face of failure and were best able to adapt in high-pressure situations.


How can you use neuroscience to be the best coach and leader that you can be?

Where in leadership situations do you think this could be best applied?


I look forward to reading your comments.


*Dana Carney, Amy Cuddy, and Andy Yap.  “Power posting brief nonverbal displays affect neuroendocrine levels and risk tolerance.” PSYCHOLOGICAL SCIENCE,21,10, 2010, pp. 1363-1368.


McDermott, Rose, “Testosterone, Cortisol, and Aggression in a Simulated Crisis Game” (2006). Hendricks Symposium–Department of Political Science. Paper 5.  http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/politicalsciencehendricks/5