Do you struggle with executive functioning challenges? Today, we’re talking with Seth Perler, an Executive Function, ADHD & 2e Coach in Colorado. Seth will be telling his story about rising up, coming back, and finding his life’s purpose. After nearly losing everything, he’s dedicated his life to helping complicated, struggling students learn to navigate school and life so they can have a fantastic future full of choices and possibilities, where they can achieve their goals, do what matters to them and have a great quality of life. Executive Function is the key. Listen in to learn more about Seth and his purpose-driven journey.
What to Listen For:
- What does Seth Perler do?
“I am what’s called an Executive Function Coach, and I’m an ADHD Coach and a 2e Coach.
But what that really means is that I am passionate about education and I am angry and frustrated that students who don’t fit in the box, – these outside-of-the-box thinkers and feelers and doers and talkers – these kids that do not fit in boxes. Well, they cannot fit in the school box, and they end up quote, ‘failing.’
So, that pisses me off. We have a system that has, as one of its metrics, you have A,B,C,D,F and F is called fail. And that drives me nuts. And I was a teacher for 12 years. I have a master’s in gifted and talented education. I struggled mightily as a kid and a teenager, like you wouldn’t believe.”
- Why did he feel called to this work?
“I am an ADD personality. I do not fit in the box myself as an adult. I didn’t as a teacher, I didn’t as a kid but I am not in the hopeless place that I was when I was a young person. I have a fantastic life today that I do love, and I hope I live a very long life and, uh, I’ve gotten to do really neat, interesting things and live the way that I want to live. It’s not perfect, but I have made choices that have enabled me to choose my lifestyle.
I feel like I have a fulfilling purpose. I have fulfilling work and all, all this to say that I was someone who was very hopeless and didn’t think I could do anything like this. And I do have a fantastic life today. So anyhow, my life is dedicated to that.”
- Who was Seth Perler before he did this work?
- Being adopted as a baby and what his family life was like growing up
- Begin free-spirited and curious and not fitting into the traditional box of school A deep feeler since childhood
“Once I became 11, 12, 13 I think it became more apparent that I wasn’t conforming the way I was supposed to. I really started to internalize messages.
Now my external messages, meaning I could communicate them to you, were: I’m lazy. I’m a failure. I can’t do anything right. Why try? When am I ever gonna use this? This is stupid. I hate this. And then as I got more into teenage hood: the world sucks. People suck. The older I get, the more people suck. This is just hopeless.
What I internalized, meaning I couldn’t articulate was: I’m a piece of shit. I have no value. I’m not enough. I’m not okay. I’m broken. Those sorts of messages were what I internalized again, I didn’t have a consciousness around that.
I just could not stand to be in my own skin.”
- Being labeled a daydreamer on a report card – something he now considers a superpower
- Getting tested for learning disabilities and discovering he’s gifted
- The story about not applying himself, not living up to his potential Feeling like nothing mattered
- Getting fired from jobs that are difficult to get fired from
- Diving into any escape to check out from the feelings that he just messed everything up
- Hating who he was, not believing in himself, not believing he could change Shifting from victim mentality to 100% responsibility
- Hitting rock bottom in his early 20s
“What rock bottom was for me was that I knew that my choices and my behaviors and my actions, could get me killed, could get me hurt, could lose my family.
They were done with me by this point. That was actually my bottom, bottom. I knew my actions could put me in an insane asylum or institution or whatever my mind thought of, could put me in jail. So I knew that I had very, very, very serious negative consequences right around the corner.
But it was really when my family, my brother and my parents, (I’m close with my brother) when they were like, ‘we’re done with you.’”
- Making the decision to turn his life around
“I made a decision and it was a Sunday.
And that moment I said, I will do anything I can do to turn my life around. I will do anything. And in my mind, I said, I’m going to do anything anybody tells me to do that’s positive for three months. I’m just going to do everything somebody tells me to do. And I’m going to stop listening to my own mind because I cannot trust myself.
I cannot rely on my own brain. I cannot rely on my thinking. It lies to me.”
- Reading books early in his life that aided in this comeback
- The important role of the people that cared about him, helped him, mentored him
- We ALL have people in our corner – even if we think we don’t
- The path to changing his beliefs starting with that day and that decision
- Surrendering to letting people help Admitting that his effort sucked at first, but he was doing his best
“What’s cool to me is that when we put our energy in a direction and we surrender and we let go, and then we try things, that’s when the magic happens.
That’s when we really start to see things. And I started to see things where I started going. ‘Wow, that’s a weird coincidence.’ Then I’d have another one. And then I had so many coincidences that, for me, they became beyond coincidence. And that was sort of a big part of my awakening was that I was saying, wow, when I try, however awfully, I do begin to align with some greater purpose or whatever you want to call it.”
- What connection he had to a greater power before that awakening – and how it changed after
“The more I hated myself, the less I wanted there to be any sort of a higher power, because I believed that if there was, then I’m going to hell.”
- What the surrender looked like for Seth
- What surrender is not
“I hurt and I didn’t want to hurt anymore. And I also didn’t want to die. Because I could have ended the hurt by dying, but I didn’t want to do that at this point on that day.
So for me, it was asking for help, whether it was from a God, or the universe, or the great spirit or the popcorn ceiling, or whether it’s from my parents, or whether it’s from mentors, or whether it’s from a person at the grocery store or on a park bench. Asking for help is surrender saying, ‘I don’t have the answers, will you please help me?’ But the thing is, is again, it’s not an event. It’s a practice you ask again, and again, and again.”
- Seth’s mentors and the role they played in his comeback
- The hardest part of rising up and coming back
“Learning to enjoy it and appreciate it when it’s good. That’s what my practice is now. And I wouldn’t say it’s hard, but I would say it’s harder than getting through the hard shit. Is learning to enjoy and appreciate really what’s good.”
- Working hard on attitude, anxiety, fear, depression
- The two things that are key to Seth’s success
- How the worst time of his life shaped who he is today
“One thing that I learned at that time was doing things for others, and not just for me. I have been obsessed with me. I was worried about me, fearful about me, thought about me all the time. I was a very selfish self-absorbed person and I didn’t even know it. I had no awareness of how selfish I was. So journaling, counseling, real friendships, people call me on my shit – that’s stuff helped me to see how obsessed that was with me. So on the one hand I hated me, but then on the other hand, all I do is think about me.”
- No longer tolerating his own bullshit
- A little luck and a moment where he realized he was happy because he was serving his purpose
About Seth Perler:
Seth Perler is an Executive Function, ADHD & 2e Coach in Colorado. His life is dedicated to helping complicated, struggling students learn to navigate school and life so they can have a fantastic future full of choices and possibilities, where they can achieve their goals, do what matters to them, and have a great quality of life. Executive Function is the key.
Access our free 8-part Journey Mapping™ sampler program and begin uncovering the purpose of your path at www.TalesFromTheJourney.tv/Free/.
Read my memoir, Unravel: Rising Up and Coming Back from a Season of Living that Damn Near Killed Me at www.TheUnravelBook.com.