What if ADHD isn’t a problem? What if the attributes of a person with ADHD - the hyperactivity, the risk-taking, the penchant for multitasking – were actually a superpower?
Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Airlines has ADHD. John Chambers, CEO of Cisco Systems has ADHD. So does Ellen DeGeneres, Charles Schwab, and the founder of IKEA, Ingvar Kamprad.
In fact, there seems to be a very strong tie between creative, versatile, entrepreneurial mindsets and individuals with ADHD.
Maybe We’re Looking at It All Wrong
Here in Seattle, we get a lot of parents coming into us, often first referred by a teacher or guidance counselor, stating they were told their child should get tested for ADHD. This is most often the case because their child is being disruptive in class or having trouble focusing.
Sure, an individual with ADHD is going to have a very hard time in a structured, classroom setting. They also certainly wouldn’t make a good factory working or magazine editor. The ability to focus for long periods of time or the attention to detail just isn’t there.
But, what if, instead of trying to “fix” children with ADHD, maybe what we should be doing instead is helping them use their unique way of thinking and acting as an asset. We should help them find careers or life paths where they will excel and can actually capitalize on their abilities.
There are many people, adults and children alike, who have found ways to live with their symptoms and made their diagnosis work for them and not against them. The key is to find something you love. In fact, many of the traits that come with ADHD line up very well with entrepreneurs and other creative vocations.
How Can I Make ADHD Work for Me?
There are many traits that are associated with ADHD. We named some at the beginning of this blog. But there are a few traits that stand out to be very helpful for self-starters, such as:
High Energy: Being “hyper” is the most well-known symptom when looking for ADHD. There is an overload of energy and that can be used in a positive manner if you can just concentrate it on something you love to do.
However, concentration can be difficult as focusing and short attention span are also well-known traits of ADHD. So, it’s important to have a plan in place. Maybe when you start to lose focus on your work, you go for a walk or exercise to take some of that extra energy out and help to refocus on the job at hand.
Calculated Risk-Taking: A lesser known trait that accompanies ADHD is risky behavior. Many with this diagnosis tend to take risks that others would deem too risky. When starting a business or creating a product though, risks need to be taken. If you don’t do something out of fear of failure, you have already failed yourself.
Entrepreneurs understand this as do those living with ADHD. Possessing this trait can be more of a good thing than a bad thing if the risks being taken are helping with personal growth and are calculated correctly.
Thinking Outside the Box: Much like those with ADHD, self-starters need to be able to think outside the box. Having ideas that no one else has thought of is what can help you succeed in your venture.
Being a creative problem solver is what those with ADHD do best. Having someone that possesses this skill on your team can be very helpful to the success of the product, team, and/or company.
There are several other traits that can go hand-in-hand with being a self-starter and someone with ADHD, but all of that is a moot point if the person with the ADHD doesn’t set up a strategic plan to help them attain their goals.
One of the ways a person with ADHD can be deterred is by distraction and they tend to have organizational issues. By overcoming this, either by working with someone that fills that need or by taking classes on how to be more organized, they can focus on their strengths while minimizing their weaknesses.
If you look at your symptoms of ADHD as super powers, rather than symptoms of a problem, you can learn how to use them to your advantage and, maybe like Ellen Degeneres, Richard Branson, or the multitude of other successful people with ADHD, you can achieve something amazing.
How Therapy Fits Into This
ADHD is still widely considered to be a drawback by teachers and employers. They don’t know how to work with people or support them when they have people whose brain works so differently. This is where therapy can come in.
A therapist that specializes in working with those with ADHD, and here at Mindful Therapy Group, we have several, can help you learn not just how to capitalize on your unique traits, but teach you how to talk to others to get them to understand the advantages as well.
And, as we all know, it can be hard to stay focused or grounded if you have ADHD, so having someone to regularly connect with, bounce ideas off of, and keep you moving in the right direction can be integral to your success.
In the US, we are very individualistic and often focus on the one person who accomplishes something. But that’s never the reality. There are always family, friends, business partners, mentors, and colleagues behind every successful person that helped them get where they are today.
We often fall into the delusion that we can somehow conquer the world single-handedly, but this is never the case, so be sure to reach out and surround yourself with the right people that can help you get where you want to go. Talking to a therapist can help you not just get on the right track, but stay on the right track as well.
Why Run When You Were Born to Fly?
Sometimes having yourself or your child receive this diagnosis can be a hard pill to swallow. There is so much negative attention out there when it comes to ADHD. It’s more or less treated as a sickness that needs to be cured rather than a unique gift that can be cultivated.
If you take anything away from this blog, it should be that you or your child have a unique gift. It’s not always going to be an easy road, but having someone on your side that understands your goals in life, your views on this diagnosis, and who is also a trained expert on the subject, can really help you make the best of your situation and to understand what it means to live with ADHD and be successful.
We here at Mindful Therapy Group understand that no two people are exactly alike. So why should your treatment be the same? We truly believe in creating a unique experience to fit your personal needs.
If you believe that you or your child may have symptoms of ADHD and would like to know for sure, we can do the testing and give you the answers you need. We also offer therapy for those diagnosed with ADHD and the knowledge to lay out all of your options and the different types of therapy available.
Getting a plan together and figuring out the next steps in this process is often much harder than it seems at first. With expert guidance, you or your child will be using their superpowers to change the world before you know it!
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with ADHD, know this, it is not a negative life altering sentence. It is the start of a new chapter and an opportunity to turn what the general public may see as a negative thing into a great, positive impact on society.
Need to learn more? Reach out to us at our Seattle, Mountlake Terrace, or Southcenter locations.