Embracing the Gift of ADD and ADHD

Image courtesy of Stock Images/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stock Images/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I used to be ashamed/embarrassed of my ADHD because I felt there was something wrong with me. Why couldn’t I be like other people? How come things seemed to come easier to others? I finally came to the realization that instead of fighting my ADHD it was time to embrace it. It was one of the best days of my life.

Many of my clients seem to have this same problem. He or she will always get the same answer…there’s no reason why you have to be like other people. And remember, it is not who starts the race but who wins it. So what does this exactly mean? Life isn’t a sprint. We don’t have to always be leading. That being said, we have to find our own ways to get ahead of others.

I read two great pieces over the summer. In the Economist, author Joseph Schumpeter in his piece In Praise of Misfits suggesting that individuals on the spectrum (ADD/ADHD, Aspergers Syndrome, Autism) as well as dyslexics may not be successful students (square pegs to be exact), but are wired to be driving forces in business. Thom Hartmann’s thought-provoking book The Edison Gene suggests that many great geniuses throughout history are blessed with ADHD.

I work with clients of all ages and backgrounds. I find it interesting that almost all of my adult clients have a difficult time embracing success. It is my belief that this stems from feeling inferior during his or her education and carrying it over to today. Even personally, I have a difficult time feeling good about some of my accomplishments.

For anyone with ADHD in his or her life (personally, family member, friend, co-worker, etc.), it is SO important to always focus on the positive. I had one client who graduated from one of the nation’s top universities and kept belittling the accomplishment. He kept saying things like it took me more than five years or my grades weren’t always the best. I asked him if anyone ever asked him how long it took him to graduate or if people asked to see his transcripts. Of course the answer was no…he needs to embrace the fact that he holds a degree from one of the nation’s most prestigious universities.

Here is an easy exercise…take a piece of paper and make two columns. One is for accomplishments and the other for struggles. After filling in the information (and be honest), take a look at the struggles and see how many of these are there open to interpretation. I’d love to see your feedback on this one…

For more information on my ADD, ADHD and Executive Functioning coaching, please visit www.adhdcoachchicago.com. To learn more information about some of the other services I provide, please visit www.carrolleducationalgroup.com and www.iepexperts.com. I can be found on Twitter at ADHDEFCoach. You can also find me on FacebookDigg and Tumblr. My good friend and fellow ADD/ADHD Coach Tara McGillicuddy invited me as a guest on ADD/ADHD Support Talk Radio. Tara does many wonderful things and you should check out her website here. Feel free to email me at jonathan@adhdefcoach.com if you have any additional questions.

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