Monday, December 27, 2010

World Domination, ADHD-style

People with ADHD are numerous on my list of most productive, remarkable, and driven people.
I bet you think I'm going to say that ADHD is a gift :)
But NOOOOOOO...nothing of the sort. (Orange you glad I didn't say banana?) I am simply pointing out that ADHD in itself does not doom you to a life of failure.
I'm gelling on this topic because one of my ADHD-friends announced, a few days ago, on Facebook, that she was taking nominees for her personal Overachiever Of The Year award. And the nominees, shall we say, were very interesting. My husband and I were among them, but so were my other favorite ADHD people. Our friend Susan ended up being chosen as the Winner. Susan is the kind of person that can start a non-profit, organize a benefit concert, try her hand at needlepoint, stop in to perform music at the local Farmers Market, bake Dulce de Leche cupcakes, and research medieval history simultaneously. Perhaps my favorite thing she ever uttered is "there are 24 usable hours in every day". And yes...she has ADHD. And it's nothing she hides.
My friend that created the award: has lived at least 9 lives in this one. She's a gifted fiber artist, gardener, raiser of sheep, game-designer by profession and as we like to refer to her, fairy godmother. If you just happen to need a pair of vintage 1970s sunglasses, she's your hookup.
Another ADHD friend? Has started a school, and a music education center, both of which are going swimmingly. City council meeting? She's there. Dots need connecting? She's on it. And when she's not connecting external dots, she's connecting internal ones and deeply researching her next well as raising 3 children.
My sweet husband? Coordinates a music program at a private school, plays in two bands in addition to the occasional solo gig, and composes jazz. Also a dedicated and very hands-on father of 3. (And the best husband, ever. Not that I'm an expert because he's only husband #1...ha...)
Among my other ADHD acquaintances: a newspaper editor, a highly successful businessman at the head of a classic business "empire", an effective lobbyist/attorney, another highly entreprenurial attorney who has carved out a career, a niche and a national reputation on his pet issues...there are more but I have a point to address here.
These people are not successful because they have ADHD (at least, not in my opinion). They are successful because they have found KICK ASS ways to manage their unique and raging minds. They have either intentionally or accidentally surrounded themselves with critical support systems. They have chosen mates that fit their "style". (And of course, some have left mates that did not...or have been left by those mates.) These are people who struggle with managing their pursuits but are driven to find ways to make them work. Driven to find the right collaborators to get the job done...driven to find the right hands to lay their projects in when they are ready to move on...driven to find ways to keep themselves organized, and who, after becoming frustrated, continue moving forward. People who find unique ways to organize themselves (and who fail at times, through trial and error, but who keep trying because they have no choice). People who frustrate themselves and may, at times, be driven temporarily insane by things like deadlines, or by the volume of the rushing thoughts in their own minds (or disconcerted by the sluggish quiet they may find there at times). People who figure out how to survive higher education that they need to achieve their goals, or who have found clever ways around that need...
But they are also all people who happen to be intelligent, persistent and resourceful. These are traits of personality...traits that the circumstances ADHD may have forced to become more prominent, though ADHD is not the ingredient that makes success certain.
I love this magic, holy ground where ADHD and personality meet.
To me, in many ways, it simply does not matter that I have ADHD, because I simply do. I can sit and think about it, and "what it means" as much as I want to, but the fact does not change (I do enjoy exploring the topic, I'm not gonna lie.). What can change, is how I choose to approach my life. And I choose to approach it in a way that allows me healthy exploration of my drives, and inspiration from the brilliant people I surround myself with, who, as it turns out, are probably making some similar choices, in varying degrees of struggle.
Whatever our brain chemicals are doing, we are living unique and yes, successful lives.

Yes. Successful lives.


  1. I love this post. You are so right on the nose. It is a tonic for me to read this as a reminder that I can be that way as well( again) even though I feel a bit tethered at the moment.

    My H and I are learning about being ADD/ADHD ... that is learning to use the strengths better and avoid the pitfalls more frequently.

    Thanks for writing this.

  2. I LOVE how you put this "leaning to use the strengths better and avoid the pitfalls more frequently". Totally captures realistic optimism, and I LOVE realistic optimism, it's how I live my life, 90% of the time, lol :) !