ADHD Tip: Failing Forward at the Dinner Table

“What did you fail at today?” Seems like a stupid question, but really, it has significant value in helping to humanize failure, to understand trials and errors, and to move forward toward success. So, here’s a unique idea! When your family is seated around the dinner table, ask each one that question. With their answers, you’re actually teaching your kids and yourself how to humanize each other, to be real and to let everyone see that no one is perfect. It also teaches a bit of humility to hear that others have failures, as well.

It’s like getting your diploma at the School of Hard Knocks. You have to fail forward by openly admitting failures. It’s almost like giving each other a “high five” because a failure today could mean success tomorrow. The idea is to focus on the learning without judgment, without guilt, and without shame so you can progress to where you want to go.

There are so many myths built up around failure as if somehow failure is a crisis in our lives. The truth is that failing is how we learn, and you can’t walk without first crawling and stumbling, and you can’t talk without first babbling. We learn by failing.

So, by asking that question at the dinner table and having everybody acknowledge it, you are actually creating a forum to say, “Okay, you failed at that, but what did you learn from that experience?”

If this concept sounds interesting to you, please watch my video, “ADHD Tip: Failing Forward at the Dinner Table,” at this link:


Welcome everybody to this edition of Attention Talk Video. I’m your host, ADHD and attention coach Jeff Copper. I recently ran across a term that I thought was quite interesting and I wanted to share with you guys. The concept that those with ADHD are voice activated, it’s kind of funny because many of them are. It kind of goes together because we’ve done some videos before talking about working memory.

Those with ADHD have a self-regulation issue with a working memory challenge, and often many of them not to talk is not to think and so a lot of times they are talking a lot, trying to think out loud, bounce their logic off of you. Sometimes they talk, you’ll ask them a question they’ve got to tell you a story in order to get to the answer. It’s almost like they have to kind of walk their way through that movie or the story to get to the point in time where they can recall the answer to your question. And so again, that notion that they’re voice activated.

I think it’s kind of helpful to kind of take this with us in realize that is that there’s a reason for that. And if you have ADHD and you talk a fair amount, you might go, “Maybe I’m voice activated.” There’s nothing wrong with talking out loud to people, as long as you have their permission. And a simple tip is just to say, “Hey, can I talk out loud? Kind of bounce my logic off you.” Or, “Give me a minute. Let me just kind of figure this out.” Or, “What do you think about this?” Or, “Give me a second, I’m going to have to go through a chronological order to kind of get you your answer.”

Again, all those things that I just said, don’t change the fact that you’re voice-activated. It’s just a little thing up front that you do to kind of change the dynamic of the environment. So you’re saying, “This is what I’m doing,” and the person could give you permission.

It’s a very interesting quote, very small tip, but it works. Hope you’ve enjoyed this edition of Attention Talk Video, please hit our subscribe button. We release a video each week with a tip or an insight or something that’s useful. If you enjoyed this, please leave a comment. Take care.

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