ADHD strengths and postives: As I listened to Dr. Ed Hallowell of The Hallowell Centers at the international, virtual ADHD Expo, I was struck by his use of the word “condition” instead of “disorder.” Dr. Hallowell [psychiatrist] is the person people know for one of three reasons I’ve often heard:
- About the ADHD brain, he is known for saying: It’s a Ferrari race car, but with bicycle brakes;
- He was the original who brought ADHD awareness to the U.S., as a visible champion to promote a positive understanding;
- He is the one who says ADHD is like unwrapping a “gift,” a controversial statement for some people.
ADHD: Common Feelings You’ll Hear
This is ADHD Awareness Month, So, I’d like you to think about a person you know with ADHD: an adult, child, young adult,client, colleague – or yourself, someone who has ADHD.
You’ll normally hear – or think about- words like: distractible, unfocused, can’t follow through, can’t start, no motivation/inertia, think differently, “weird” ways of organizing life [according to others], I know I can do more, frustrated or frustrating to others around me. Right? While a diagnosis or realization is a relief, it’s normally followed by a life review of “What could have been, had I known.” Low self esteem sometimes. Too often when the ADHD is not discovered until adulthood.
ADHD Strengths or Positives
Dr. Hallowell said he does not mean to sound blindly optimistic. He wants people to understand the gifts, the positive, the strengths. So, today, here is my take on what a gift it can be. These are strengths I’ve noticed in clients, close colleagues or myself.
How can it be possible to generalize about a whole group of people with ADHD ? Because it is a difference in the way the brain functions. So while not all of these are true, some are hallmark traits of the condition.
They are at least worth sending out to the world so that we hear the positives. It’s all too rare. I’ve listed 12.
- Tremendous resilience: Many people have struggled, wondering why they failed at college, abused alcohol or drugs (often to mask ADHD symptoms). We keep on trying!
- Idea connectors: Did you ever hear a person with ADHD make a connection and you thought: “HOW did he/she ever make that connection?” This connecting of things other people don’t see is a superpower.
- Move on quickly: I’ve heard from those with inattentive, hyperactive and combined diagnoses that they tend to move on quickly to the next thing, not dwelling as much as non ADHDers can.
- Belief in themselves [once acceptance and symptoms are managed well]: After the relief of “Oh, that’s what’s been hampering me all these years,” there’s the belief that more is possible. I often hear in a first call: I know I have more potential. I know my life can be richer. I need strategies to so I can grab the potential I see in myself.
- Creative thinkers, out of the box problem solvers. As some clients say, “My solutions may sound weird, funny or silly to others without ADHD, but they work for me! ”
- Curiosity galore. And curiosity keeps all of us more open to other’s perspectives, to learning and to not judging.
- In the moment. Yes, the now/not now phrase we’ve all heard. Also true that “in the moment” means we get more from the moment. We may not be calmly mindful, but we are in the moment.
- Many remember impressions or rich stories, or how they felt about a person, event or situation. Details, not so much, but there are others around us who are great at this instead. We tend to be more conceptual and sometime bigger picture thinkers. How many CEO’s have you read about who say they have ADHD?
- Stick-to-itiveness. Being able to hyperfocus on something is rewarding; you learn more; you solve a problem; you’re not distracted. Moderation, as with everything, can be a strategy. Trying hard is the norm. Sometimes extra hard.
- Sensitivity: Whether due to a life time of struggling to keep up, or because senses tend to be more alert, you’ll find we are more attuned when we are engaged.
- Risk taker – some.
- Intelligent. I put this here because ADHD struggles make it hard to see someone’s intelligence. Once they manage the symptoms, it all becomes quite clear.
Does everyone who has ADHD have these? No. The point is to try to change your mindset so you see the ADHD strengths, the positives. We certainly hear enough about the flip side or feel it.
And that’s whether you’re the one with ADHD or you live/work with someone who has it or seems to have it.
To your strengths, to finding the positives in all we each have to share.
PS October 2018, you can register here for the free ADHD Awareness Expo. 15 minute videos from respected colleagues and experts. [One from me is in there, too.] Learn more so you can understand, manage, lower stress and frustration for yourself, your family, your relationships. Upgrade to the VIP package if you don’t have time and want to have the learning whenever you want it and not just this month. Get on the mailing list for some great support of different types.
Private coaching: Solutions focused, strategies, very practical. A great complement to your work with a therapist or other support people in your life.
Contact me for a no charge, introductory call at 603 554 1948. Or email me: Sue@CoachSueWest.com or text/call 603.765 9267.
all pix courtesy of Pixabay.com