Archives for June 2009

Celebrate Your Talents

As an adult with ADHD, it is very easy to focus on your weaknesses and areas “to be worked on.” So much thought can be given to these areas that it’s easy to forget about your talents. Many adults with ADHD are humble to a fault and dismiss their talents because they come so easily. Naturally, they don’t feel they can be proud of these traits, or that they aren’t valuable. Nothing could be further from the truth. When you notice what you are good at, you can spend more time utilizing your strengths and less time worrying about your weaknesses.

Just like adults without ADHD, there are many strengths you might have. Here are just five examples of things that might resonate with you.

  1. High EnergyIf you have the hyperactivity component of ADHD, it might have diminished a little compared to when you were a child, but it’s way more than most people! When channeled on one project, you can work for hours and in a way that leaves people without ADHD both exhausted and in awe of you.
  2. HyperfocusWhen something captures your attention, you can focus on it for hours. The ability to mentally tune out distractions and become so focused means you can get a lot done, as well as have a huge sense of satisfaction afterwards. This is similar to what Czech psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls “Flow.” Time disappears and your actions flow from you.
  3. CreativityYou think outside the box and aren’t constricted by the “norm” and what has traditionally been done. This can be great in any situation, from an office brainstorming session to decorating your house to creating a new invention that can positively change the world.
  4. Sense of HumorAs an adult with ADHD, there is a high chance that you have a good sense of humor. Humor comes in many packages: loud, boisterous Jim Carey types or quieter, witty types. Finding humor in everyday situations makes the world a happier place. People with ADHD often have a ready smile and can be funny as well as appreciative of other people’s humor.
  5. SensitivityAdults with ADHD tend to be a sensitive bunch. Sensitivity is not a trait that is glorified in our culture, but it is a wonderful quality. It means you can easily relate to other people, have a natural empathy to how they are feeling and are able to act accordingly. It also means that you are a good judge of character, which in turn has many benefits too.

This Weeks Actions

  1. What talents come easily to you? Remember, they might be so effortless to you that you don’t value them. If you aren’t sure, ask close friends and family to help you identify them.
  2. For each of the five points above, ask yourself:
    • Is this a trait I have?
    • When have I noticed/experienced it recently?
    • How could I maximize this trait and use it more to my advantage?
  3. Notice how your life becomes more enjoyable and effortless when you work with your strengths.

Extraordinary Day

The other day a friend made an off-hand comment that made me laugh at first and then ponder. We had had a brief chat early in the day and then he said, “OK, you right the world and I will speak to you later.” There was something paradoxical and empowering about that comment. I would do something totally earth shattering during the day and then we would have another routine chat that evening. Rather like the line “Only got 4 minutes to save the world” from Madonna’s song “4 Minutes.” When I listen to that song, I think, “Well, if Madonna can save the world in four minutes, I can definitely accomplish everything on my to do list,” no matter how daunting it looks.

As an adult with ADHD, it’s very easy to get bogged down in things you find challenging, such as organizing, keeping things tidy and clean and arriving on time to appointments. “Ordinary” things that most people seem to do effortlessly are a struggle. However, if you spend too much of your time in “struggle mode” you forget how many wonderful gifts you have and that people without ADHD can only dream about.

As an adult with ADHD, you can accomplish something extra original today – or save the world in four minutes. If the thought of saving the world in four minutes sounds far-fetched, it’s not! David Neeleman is founder of JetBlue Airways and inventor of the e-ticket. Chances are, the idea of the e-ticket came to him in a flash (in less than four minutes) and with this flash of inspiration, he single-handedly changed the world. (Thousands of trees are being saved thanks to him! Mr. Neeleman has ADHD and credits his success “entirely” to ADHD. There are many famous ADHD people out there, who are not known for being organized or for their ability to sit still for three hours and stay out of mischief. But they ARE known for their out of the box thinking and changing the world. Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison and Benjamin Franklin were all thought to have ADHD and all had a positive influence on our world.

This week focus on doing the extra ordinary.

  1. Stretch yourself to do something you thought was beyond your personal best or something that seemed impossible. Don’t see having ADHD as a weakness that gets in your way, but as a strength that gives you an advantage.
  2. If you feel anxious or overwhelmed, listen to Madonna’s “4 Minutes.” You can find it on YouTube. It will lift your spirits and help you feel empowered.
  3. Remind yourself that you have the ability to think big and be creative.
  4. Allow time to think. It might be in the shower, on the drive to work, or during another activity where you get your inspiration. Pay attention to your thoughts and ideas.
  5. Ask yourself, “What would make today an extra original day?”