January 2021 Update: Coming Into Focus

A grassy labyrinth shown in a partially-loaded photo that is clear on the top and blurry at the bottom

This post was originally published at SarahDopp.com in the months leading up to the launch of Queer ADHD. We’ve migrated these posts to the Queer ADHD blog for continuity.

It’s been about a month since it became clear to me that I want to pursue a career in ADHD coaching for the queer community, and I can already tell things are going to keep shifting. The North Star is still the same—I still have a Full Body Yes to this path—but oh my goodness, the number of details I need to sort through has my mind racing with excitement. It feels like watching a JPEG image load over the Internet in 1999: it starts off blurry, and then begins to fade into focus. 

I know that no matter what direction I start moving in, my brain will continually find ways to make it new, challenging, and exciting, because that’s what it thrives on. To help keep track of this rollercoaster (or perhaps David Bowie-esque labyrinth maze?), I’d like to post regular updates on where I am in this career transition journey. I’m always rearranging my own story to fit the lens of my current situation, so I’m hoping this update series will give me a record of what really happened, while it was happening.

The blog is still very new, but it’s starting to feel like mine. As soon as I realized how much discomfort and resistance I had around returning to blogging, I hired a trusted friend to be my writing coach, editor, and accountability partner. That decision is paying off in a huge way—in a very short time, I found my voice and confidence, and started to understand what I’m here to talk about. It feels like being able to breathe again. 

The ADHD coach training program (which starts in late January) is also still feeling exactly right for me. I’m excited about what I’ll be learning—both about how ADHD brains work and about how to most effectively help people help themselves. I’ve talked to a series of people who know me well, and every one of them has said this plan feels like a perfect fit for me. 

At the same time, though, my mind has already jumped ahead into how I can combine coaching skills with technology and community to help more people. The possibilities are expanding. What about group coaching sessions? Peer-support communities? Organization tools? Self-directed curriculums? Worksheets? Apps? What I want most is to serve my gender-diverse queer community, and I know professional coach prices can be a struggle here. I also know that as marginalized folks, we need access to each other to feel seen and safe. There’s a way these puzzle pieces fit together, and I’m starting to see possibilities. The JPEG is starting to load.

I’m also watching my relationship to entrepreneurship evolve—and way more quickly than I expected. Prior to my corporate jobs, I was an ultra-independent freelancer, making only enough for myself and feeling competitive with anyone around me. Now, I’m looking at how this plan will function in a broader ecosystem. How much support does it need to thrive? How can it sustainably afford that support? How can it partner with others in the field to create mutual support? How can we work together to strengthen the entire ecosystem? What would it take to serve a lot of people? I’m seeing some of the things I learned in my corporate work detour show up and be of service here: how to think bigger than myself, how to be show up with my strengths while being honest and humble about my opportunities for growth, how to learn quickly, and how to honor interdependence.  

I am far more excited than I am terrified, and that pretty much sums up the emotional intensity of this moment. And yet, even though I am running on pure enthusiasm, I am also tired. Like, to my bones. 

Brené Brown, in the wonderful podcasts she launched in 2020, has placed a deeply affirming focus on the experience of newness and change, which she calls FFTs—first f***ing times. It turns out, when we’re in an FFT, we need more sleep. Our brains are processing, reorganizing, and trying to keep up. And of course, for the last year, our collective FFT list has been nauseatingly long. Nothing is familiar anymore. Her main point now: we need to get used to living like this. The FFTs are not going to slow down.

And speaking of the past year, I would like to give a big shout-out to the year 2021 for finally showing up. You took your damned time (2020 was at least five years long), but we’re glad you’re here. Please prioritize COVID vaccine distribution and just… don’t break anything important, okay? That’s all we ask. We are resilient and we’re learning quickly, so I’m pretty sure we can take care of the rest.

Photo by Fabrício Severo, modified

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