Feb 2021 Update: So Much Yes!

Vertical stripes of rainbow colors with noticeable paint streaks on canvas

Wow.

When I look back at the last month—at everything that has happened since my last update—that’s what I keep saying: Wow.

I started my ADHD coaching program, I started accepting clients, and I launched a website under a new a business name: Queer ADHD. Each one of those is a massive step forward. The combination of them happening all at once is downright humbling. I didn’t expect these pieces to come together so quickly, to feel so perfectly aligned right at the beginning, to connect and resonate and land so smoothly. I’m honestly stunned. Every step has felt so right. The Full Body Yes continues.

Here’s what I’m celebrating: 

I started my ADHD coaching program.

I knew I was in the right place when the first topic was which fidget toys to consider using while in these classes. Then we discussed how to process the texts, with extra book recommendations for those who hyperfocus on reading, and shorter summaries and tables for those who struggle to sustain reading attention. They added that if we needed to move around in order to pay attention to the lectures, we were welcome to turn off our webcams at any time. Nearly everyone’s faces showed relief. 

The educational content about ADHD is extremely helpful, well researched, tested, and practical. I immediately found “Aha!” insights about the ADHD brain—which is to say, my ADHD brain—and learned explanations and strategies that seem immediately helpful. I’m very quickly expanding my frameworks for supporting my own mind and the minds I want to help. I’m impressed with the quality of the program and the clarity of the instructor. And I’m devouring the content because it explains so much. 

I started working with clients.

This was honestly a surprise, but a welcome one. I work with an experienced coach for guidance, and he’s been encouraging me to start accepting clients for a while now. I felt conflicted about this because it’s so important to me that I have sufficient training for this responsibility. He got me up to speed on frameworks, boundaries, and strategies, and worked with me on a plan for effective coaching that uses the skills and experience I already have. Under his guidance, I became comfortable with a plan for working with early clients, understanding that my toolkit would expand throughout my certification program. We agreed that I was ready, but since I didn’t have any marketing plans yet, I really didn’t expect to see anyone for a while.

As it turns out, the universe—or perhaps the Internet—had other plans. Another coach who was aware of my process wanted to refer some clients to me, and I knew it was time to say Yes. I finalized my coaching agreement, set up an intake form, and got a scheduling and billing system in place. And we’re now underway!

Working with clients is a dream come true. I suspected it would feel right, but really, it feels like sliding into a glove that was custom designed for my hand. I love being able to help normalize how the ADHD brain works and celebrate its strengths. Everything about the process—from empathizing with challenges; to designing, testing, and refining strategies; to celebrating wins—is an incredibly affirming experience for me. I feel at home and validated that I’ve chosen the right work. 

I launched Queer ADHD.

This, too, was a total surprise. I thought I would be choosing a business name based on an abstract metaphor. In fact, I even fell in love with one: Shiny Puzzle. I love the optimism, the curiosity, the energy, and the playfulness that I felt from that name. But when I checked in with others about how well it would resonate, I learned a very important fact. In the autism community, puzzles have a complicated meaning. The puzzle piece has been a metaphorical reference to autism treatment since the early 60s and is now a loaded symbol in the fight for autism acceptance. I was advised that the metaphor may be fine for ADHD, but for those in the autism community, it could have painful associations. Because of the significant overlap between the two communities, I didn’t want to go near that button. We ruled the name out. 

Choosing a business name is important to me because I don’t want this practice to be The Sarah Dopp Show. I want to focus on the community and lift up other professionals along the way. I don’t want to purely offer one-on-one coaching—I also want to create a gathering space for this topic. I know that will take time to build, but fortunately, this kind of work is a personal passion of mine. 

While researching alternative name ideas, I checked to see what was happening with “Queer ADHD.” The domain name was totally available. I was stunned. There was no question in my gut or mind that this name was the right choice. 

By choosing this name, I am committing to serve the queer ADHD community. There’s room within this name to serve in many ways, but our area of focus is clear: we’re here to talk about ADHD as it exists or those who’ve also had to embrace the divergence of their genders and sexualities. 

I also recognize that the term “queer” can be polarizing even within our community, thanks to generational and geographic experiences of the word, along with some of our subcultures. But having worked on Genderfork.com for 10 years, I believe in this word as a rallying point for our uniqueness. I believe it represents our beautiful individuality, and our willingness to design and re-examine our lives outside of the norms we were taught growing up. I see a lot of parallels between the ADHD experience and the queer experience, and I know that the interaction of those two is also an area rich with opportunity, challenge, and story. I’m excited to bring together our community on this topic. I want, as I did with Genderfork, to create a tapestry of our experiences.

Soo… yup. This all happened in a single month. I don’t even want to think about what’s going into my March update, because this train is moving so quickly. But the pieces have aligned smoothly, and with so much support and care that I have deep trust in this process. I couldn’t be more excited to be here. 

Photo by Steve Johnson

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