Managing Your Mind
3975 Waldenwood • Ann Arbor, MI 48105 • tel/fax (734)761-6498 •
Geraldine A. Markel, Ph.D. •
Geri Markel
Managing Your Mind Newsletter
August 2009

Welcome to the Managing Your Mind Newsletter, where you can find information and strategies to help you manage your mind and enhance your work, life, and/or school performance.

Feel free to contact me with your questions, concerns, and suggestions. Previous issues are archived in our Newsletter Archive. Sample checklists and diagrams are archived there under The Geri Checklists.

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You'll find the following sections in this issue:



Upcoming Events

  • "Academic Survival Skills for Dental Students" is the topic of Geri's orientation seminar at the University of Michigan Dental School on Wed., August 12, 2009. Students take a learning and study skills survey (LASSI) to identify strengths and possible vulnerabilities, including time management and stress. Advanced reading and learning strategies are provided to meet the challenges of their fast-paced and complex science curriculum.
  • Mark those calendars: the University of Michigan's 2009 Event in recognition of National AD/HD Awareness Week is coming! Carol Persad, Ph.D. and Roger E. Lauer, Ph.D. will each address issues of AD/HD and executive functioning (the cognitive control system in the brain that is responsible for processes such as planning, rule acquisition, initiating appropriate actions, and inhibiting inappropriate actions).
    • Dr. Persad is Assistant Professor and Clinical Director of the Neuropsychology Section in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Michigan Health System. She received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Michigan State University. She then completed an internship at Henry Ford Hospital and a postdoctoral fellowship at University of Michigan Neuropsychology Section, before becoming a faculty member of that program. Much of her research has focused on executive skills and their impact on daily functioning across the age range.
    • Dr. Lauer is the director of the Center for Neuropsychology, Learning and Development in Ann Arbor, MI. He is formally trained as a clinical neuropsychologist. In addition to being in private practice for over 20 years, he maintains an adjunct faculty appointment within the Department of Psychology at the University of Michigan. Dr. Lauer's private practice is focused extensively on neuropsychological assessment and intervention of learning, attention and developmental disorders. He approaches his work from a strength-based model focusing on ‘islands of competence' in all individuals to improve self-esteem around learning.
    The event will take place on Wednesday, September 16, 2009 from Noon to 1:30 pm in the Rackham Graduate School Amphitheatre. It is free and open to the public. For more information contact Geri.
  • Save the date for the 10th Annual Michael Golds Memorial AD/HD Conference: Friday, October 2, 2009 on the Orchard Ridge Campus of Oakland Community College in Farmington Hills, Michigan. This gathering of experts from around the world will include a keynote address by Michael Ginsberg, MD, on his AD/HD success story. The conference will also feature Sari Solden on women's issues, Roger Lauer, Ph.D. and Isabelle Beaulieau, Ph.D. on "Lifestyles of the Hectic and Frenzied," and Denslow Brown on LGBT issues.


Goofs and Glitches

While technology has made many advances, 2009 word processing software still can't read our minds. Spell- and grammar-check programs may find a particular word plausible, but that doesn't mean it is appropriate! To illustrate the point, we recently heard about the public speaker who wrote up a proposal to a major corporation in hopes winning a lucrative speaking engagement. Unfortunately, her fingers skipped a letter and the word "public" ended up appearing as "pubic" throughout the written presentation… Then there was the case of the rising high school senior who highlighted his many hours of volunteer service in a compelling application essay to a prestigious university. When the admissions officer received his packet, she called his high school counselor in alarm, and asked if the student should be reported to the local police. Why? Because he had written several paragraphs about how much he enjoyed torturing young children instead of tutoring them.

Pay careful attention to the options offered before you hit "skip" or "replace all." Reread your document after the program has finished (aloud or following along with your finger, if necessary), give a copy to a trusted friend to check over, and/or send it to a professional proofreader to ensure accuracy (see Resources, below).

Funny or inconvenient, let's share our experiences. If you have one to share, send it to


"It Doesn't Work for Me"

While we usually feature MYM success stories, this month we're highlighting a glaring failure: the failure of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to release data on the dangers of cell phone use behind the wheel. Not only did NHTSA scrap plans to launch a study on the cell phone use of 10,000 drivers, they also suppressed the alarming collection of research that suggested the need for such a study. According to the New York Times, the agency came under pressure from former administration officials who worried that the results of such a study would impede efforts in several states to pass their own legislation on automobile cell phone use. The preliminary data used by NHTSA is now several years old, however, it suggests a significant danger posed by the type of distracted driving caused by cell phone use—even hands-free calls. We've said it before and we'll say it again: unless it's an emergency, save the calls and texts for rest-stop breaks.


Work/Life Corner

MYM Newsletter readers have been following "a year in the work/life" of Laura O'Connor, whose employment experiences have reflected the changing state of the American economy. In another installment, Laura applies her trademark determination, optimism, and wicked sense of humor to a pair of those classic corporate staples: The Reorg and The Business Trip.

"Many of you are familiar with my struggles in the job market. For those of you who are not, a recap: I was laid off a year ago this August, and on unemployment for several months. In January 2009, I joined a national company, actually landing a job that I had sought two years before. In April (after my 90 day probation period was up and I was eligible for all benefits), I was told that my department was going to be 're-organized.' I knew what that meant. Call it, spin it, and manipulate it anyway you want: this is 'soft layoff' in my book. Could this be happening? Are you kidding me?" To read more of Laura's story, click here.


Coaches Corner

Many life coaches encounter situations where the family, friends, or co-workers of a potential client recognize a problem, but the client him- or herself is in denial about the impact of conditions such as AD/HD or learning disabilities on their school or work performance. Parents and significant others who urge a college student or a young person in the workforce to seek help often encounter resistance to their suggestions; the emotionally charged nature of their roles can contaminate communication. Families will often hear protests like, "I'm not sick, why should I go to a therapist?" The person with issues may also fear a perceived stigma if they ask for resources. "It makes me feel dumb to sit there while somebody reviews my stuff," says a thirty-year-old who is foundering at work and receiving poor performance appraisals. "If I keep asking a bunch of questions, I'm gonna look like the office moron."

An outside consultant such as a physician, social worker, educational consultant or coach can provide objectivity and a new perspective to these difficulties. A trained, neutral party can take a fresh look at strengths, symptoms, past patterns of behavior, and current challenges. But how can a reluctant potential client be encouraged to see these professionals and follow their advice? One approach is to get the person to identify with people who are considered "winners" but who also have consistent coaching or consulting to help them perform at their highest level. For example, in the sports world, the more elite the athlete, the more he or she relies on a coach to recommend and employ strategies that will emphasize strengths and address weaknesses. In the intellectual realm, there is an inaccurate assumption that "smart" people shouldn't need help, but the brightest and best actually surround themselves with support in order to hone their expertise or talent. Actors and vocalists use coaches, financial wizards have corporate boards, and the President of the United States always appoints a cabinet of experts. As Geri tells her clients, coaching does the same type of thing for the bright person who needs to better manage the subtle, chronic, and sabotaging effects of AD/HD. Seeking help under these circumstances is a sign of strength, not weakness.

A coach can inspire reluctant clients in many ways: by dispelling myths, providing information about the nature of a condition like AD/HD, offering strategies that facilitate better performance, and emphasizing the success stories of others in similar circumstances. For instance, it may reassure a client to hear that they share their condition with a certain percentage of the population, or that their difficulties at school/work are actually common symptoms of that condition. Once the stigma is removed from their situation, clients may be better able to: list the strengths and interests that underlie their past successes; identify one or two problems such as procrastination, disorganization, or inappropriate hyper focus; and acknowledge the ways in which these difficulties hamper their efforts to progress at school or work.

For family and friends, it can be a slow and frustrating process to watch a young adult emerge from the more carefree, "invincible" days of adolescence and come to terms with his or her vulnerabilities—especially if that person is in denial about the negative consequences of certain behaviors. While it's tempting to nag and harangue, it might be more effective to reframe the situation as an opportunity to seek out the coach or expert who will take that young person to the top of their game, be it in the classroom or the boardroom.


Featured Resources

Are you readying a manuscript, thesis or article for publication? Are you trying to win more customers for your business with sharper, more professional published materials? Turn to the team at Barbara McNichol Editorial. Author and expert editor of more than 240 books, Barbara McNichol adds power to your pen and credibility to your business. Having a compelling nonfiction book enhances your standing as an expert and your reputation in your industry. With Barbara and her team, you'll receive a sharp professional edit of your nonfiction books and book proposals, speaker, and book promo one-sheets, articles, reports, blogs, ezines, and ebooks. Barbara is also the author of Word Trippers: the Ultimate Source for Choosing the Perfect Word When it Really Matters.



  • Geri presented a seminar entitled "Graduate Student Survival Guide: How Advanced Reading and Study Skills Yield Greater Gain and Less Pain" to over 100 newly awarded Rackham Merit Fellowship recipients on July 1, 2009. The seminar stressed a systematic approach to management of the multiple academic and work/life responsibilities confronted by Ph.D. candidates. Practical strategies were demonstrated to help students complete course work, prepare for presentations, approach writing projects, and manage teaching or work duties.
  • Coaching is now only a computer screen away! Using Mac's iChat or Skype, you can have audio and/or video coaching sessions with simultaneous text-based instant messaging. Skype is a free, downloadable service that provides free calls, video calls, and instant messaging over the internet (; for information about iChat, search for your particular model. Moderately priced computer webcams and microphones are readily available. Both domestic and international clients are taking advantage of this convenient and effective way to improve productivity and reduce stress levels. To inquire, contact Geri, or tel. (734) 761-6498.
  • New book! Three experts provide their best college admissions advice in the latest publication from Managing Your Mind: College Admissions: From Chaos to Control by John Boshoven, M.A., M.S.W., Debbie E. Merion, M.S.W., and Geraldine Markel, Ph.D. Decide on the right schools for you, find your unique voice to write a compelling application essay, and score your best on high-stakes tests such as the ACT and SAT. John, Debbie, and Geri help families fit together the pieces of the college admissions process. Available from the authors, email for more information at,, or $12.95, digital download $10.00.
  • Attention! The second edition of Defeating the 8 Demons of Distraction: Proven Strategies to Increase Productivity and Decrease Stress has now been published by iUniverse. Copies can be ordered from the publisher's website,, from, and from Books can be special-ordered at Borders and Barnes & Noble, and are on the shelf in Ann Arbor at Nicola's Books. Defeating the 8 Demons of Distraction can be purchased in e-book format from iUniverse or as a download through
  • Recognize and reward progress! Are you a speaker, consultant, coach, or business owner? If you need memorable and useful gifts or incentives for your clients, consider the products below. The tips and strategies to help people accomplish more in the New Year are available in several handy formats: paperback, pocket-sized deck of cards, and 16-page concise booklet. Check out all of the "Defeating the Demons of Distraction" products.
Defeating the Demons of Distracton Book Defeating the Demons of Distration Cards Defeating the Demons of Distraction Brochure


Reading: A Positive Distraction

Do you belong to a book club? Are your members having trouble finding the time to finish their monthly selections? What about a meeting to discuss the Demons of Distraction? For book clubs of ten or more members, Geri would be happy to present a session featuring her book, Defeating the 8 Demons of Distraction: Proven Strategies to Increase Productivity and Decrease Stress. Learn how to reduce distraction and increase time for reading and other meaningful life activities. Visit to read summaries and reviews of Defeating the 8 Demons of Distraction: Proven Strategies to Increase Productivity and Decrease Stress: click here.

Getting lost in a good book can be a wonderful distraction. Even fifteen minutes of reading time, curled up in your den or a cozy cafe, can really be rejuvenating. Here are some favorites that Geri and her staff enjoyed recently:

  • Thanks to an MYM Newsletter reader for recommending Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese: the novel is written by a physician and tenured professor of medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine. Born of Indian parents and raised in Ethiopia, Verghese uses his multicultural background to weave a tale of a British surgeon working in Africa, an Indian nun in the Middle East, and the twins that are born to them.
  • Colors of the Mountain by Da Chen: during the Chinese Cultural Revolution, Da Chen's family was vilified for their former status as well-to-do landlords. Da Chen writes lovingly of his parents and siblings, who endured humiliation, cruelty, and near starvation--but who never gave up hope of lifting the family to better circumstances. Their sacrifice and determination instilled in him a burning desire to learn and prevail in a hostile environment.


Enjoy the Waning Days of Summer!

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