This week, Canada recognizes Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or “Squirrel Syndrome”. Not many people know that I was diagnosed with everything except the “H”, so ADD. Family members can find us irritating and keep trying to fit us in a tidy little box. Well, good luck with that!
There is something you should know. When a non ADD/ADHD person is faced with a crisis, they can become quite overwhelmed. However, when someone has this “disorder” (although I think it is a gift) they naturally operate at a higher frequency of energy. When all hell breaks loose, they say “oh, this feels normal”.
That’s why you will see a lot of people with these types of disorders working in crisis intervention, the way I did. We sort of thrive in chaos. It wasn’t so much that I am an adrenaline junkie as much as my brain operates better when things are fast. Otherwise, ZZZzzz…
When I worked in Youth Protection, I had quite a few young clients diagnosed with ADHD. They were hyperactive and restless and I totally understood them. I told them they would make great firemen, emergency response techs or crisis intervention workers where tenacity and stubbornness are desirable. These kids (mostly boys) were so happy not to be delegated to the label “trouble maker”. They knew that I “got them” and together we searched for different approaches and solutions. They loved me and I loved them.
I feel quite lucky that I have enough insight to recognize when my “Squirrel Syndrome” has taken over in an unhelpful way and can redirect or contain myself. That being said, I personally have 4 traits that most ADD folks share which are very helpful in both life and in business.
1- See the connections
When a person with ADD goes off on mental tangents, they are also noticing links and consequences that others often miss. I sometimes get asked if I am a psychic and a witch (the nicer versions of those) because I intuitively picked up on things my colleagues did not. To me they seemed obvious. To others, these connections did not follow the normal flow so they went unnoticed.
2- Out of the box thinking
Have you ever known someone who seems lost in their imagination and they just matter-of-factly give you a brilliant solution as they walk by to their next task? If they are unaware that this is a brilliant solution, you might be hanging out with someone with ADD. In fact, brainstorming and bouncing creative ideas comes very easily to people with ADD/ADHD. It can seem insignificant to them so they may have trouble noticing they even do this. Do them a favour; tell them you appreciate it when they help!
3- Instinctive adaptation
Calendars are just a suggestion, not a rule to people like me. Ok, you may call it disorganized, I call it spontaneous. You will rarely hear me get grumpy about a change of plans. In fact, if it is something that I find interesting or that fall within my sense of responsibility, I get energy from the unexpected. When faced with the unpredictable, you want someone like me by your side to adapt to the situation so easily you will wonder if they’ve done this a million times before.
The opposite to this quality would be apathetic or dispassionate. When a person with ADD/ADHD is contained and judged harshly, their fire is extinguished and they can develop anxiety or other concurrent mental health issues. I suffered from anxiety for years, looking over my shoulder at the critical and judgemental person who called me restless instead of recognizing my eagerness. Everyone lost out. Instead, if you want something done, find someone with ADD/ADHD who has a passion for your subject matter, give them the support and resources they need, then get out of their way! You will both be winners!
Many creative and successful people have this diagnosis. These people enrich the world because they embraced their intuition, creativity, adaptability and eagerness. The world is richer because of ADD/ADHD!
Do you love someone with ADD/ADHD? What is their most charming trait? I mean, what is their most charming trait when they aren’t driving you crazy?
If you sometimes think of getting a coach for yourself or an employee who is gifted and experiences challenges with ADD/ADHD, my coaching may be a good fit for you. Don’t wait until you forget, click below. 🙂