Ever heard the adage, “Follow your heart”? What that means is figuring out what you’re really passionate about and going after it. When you really love to do something, your motivation increases significantly, and so does your success. This is true for anyone, but particularly for people with ADHD. Not everyone is crystal clear about how to leverage their passions, though.
Here is a simple strategy you can use to figure out what you’re truly passionate about and how you can make those passions work for you. Start by reflecting on your interests. Make a list of three things you love to do — things that you enjoy, things that you’re enthusiastic about, things that you do without hesitation. What makes you feel alive and amazing? What things can you spend hours and hours doing without feeling bored?
Now think about three things that you are really good at doing. Reflect on your own history of success. What are things that come easily or naturally to you? What are things that in your past experience you’ve had success with? What can you trust yourself to do well? What do you have proven results with? These two lists are your personal strengths and interests.
The next step is to think about how you can combine them. Do you find any commonalities between them? For instance, say you love to draw or paint, and you’re really good at talking in front of large groups. You could combine your strength and interest by teaching an art class or hosting group workshops. Here’s another example – let’s say you really love to cook and you’re really good at writing. You could combine your passions with your skills by writing a cookbook or writing for a food-related publication.
In my own personal experience, I found success using this strategy. When I was young, I loved to participate in sports, particularly gymnastics. It was a great outlet for my energy. I was also really good at teaching, so when it came time for college, I decided to combine the sports with the teaching and majored in physical education. My parents weren’t thrilled. They told me I should pursue more traditional areas of education, but I stayed true to my own passions and strengths and succeeded because of it.
I can definitely say for people with ADHD it’s only when you combine your passion with your talents that you will really thrive in life – and sustain your success for the long-term. Don’t worry about what you don’t have or what others think you should do. When you combine your passions with your talents and strengths, you’ll be more motivated – it won’t feel like work or a chore. You’ll be excited, engaged, inspired, and, most importantly, successful. This is why having clarity about your passions and finding a purpose for them is essential to finding success. I truly believe passion is the path to unleashing your true potential and leveraging ADHD to your ADDvantage.
Dr. Billi Bittan, MA, PhD, is an ADHD Specialist, Neuro-Cognitive Behavioral/Expressive Arts Therapist and Coach, as well as a best-selling author and notable speaker in the ADHD community. Her private practice, AttentionB, specializes in innovative therapy/coaching for ADHD with the goal of helping people of all ages leverage ADHD to their ADDvantage.
www.AttentionB.com; ; 855-DrBilli (372-4554)
By now you know I am an inspirational quote junkie. I particularly love the above quote by Margaret Mead. In fact I have included it in each of the four editions of The ADHD Awareness Book Project, a resource book series I created that is dedicated to helping people around the world with ADHD succeed. Margaret Mead’s words remind me of the achievable possibilities when even a few dedicated people come together to make something happen. I’m reminded that it only takes a few determined individuals, intent on their goal, to make a difference…which is exactly how October became Global ADHD Awareness Month!
As my mom used to say, ”You’d have to be hiding under a rock not to notice it!” Even though you may have been getting all the articles, classes, posts and emails about ADHD Awareness month, you may not really have noticed that the whole month of October is devoted to ADHD Awareness. Five years ago ADHD Awareness Day didn’t exist…now our community celebrates a whole month to expanding ADHD awareness around the globe….that’s progress! If you want to find out more about ADHD Awareness Month and how a small group of thoughtful committed people made this month happen check it out at www.ADHDAwarenessMonth.org.
Even though we now have a whole month devoted to ADHD awareness and we know that ADHD is a real and lifelong disorder, it has not quite made believers out of everyone. As far as I am concerned there are still too many people struggling alone, many who have never heard the term ‘ADHD’? They have no idea that by learning to do things in ways that better fit their ADHD brain-style, they could succeed . . . at just about anything!
As my tribute to ADHD Awareness Month, I founded The ADHD Awareness Book Project. Nearly five years ago, believing in the power of community and the dedication of my ADHD colleagues, I announced that I would be coordinating a book full of tips and strategies for succeeding with ADHD, featuring as many ADHD experts as possible. I invited all the ADHD professionals I knew, and asked them to invite ADHD professionals they knew, to participate in this project.
In the first ADHD Awareness Book Project, titled 365 Ways to Succeed with ADHD, over 80 co-authors from a variety of professions responded to my request and submitted their answers to the question: “What is the best tip or strategy you have to help someone with ADHD succeed?” I’ll admit at first it was a spontaneous, fly by the seat of my pants project that has grown into an annual book launching event to promote ADHD awareness. I have learned that sometimes that is the way that important changes get started.
In its second edition, titled 365+1 Ways to Succeed with ADHD, the ADHD Awareness Book Project expanded to incorporate contributing experts from all over the globe, including South Africa, Turkey, Sweden, Denmark, Ireland, Canada, and the U.K. Our experts included ‘junior experts’, and ‘senior experts’, like 78-year-olds, sharing their strategies to help people with ADHD succeed. In its third edition, MORE Ways to Succeed with ADHD, we answered the call again for “more”. More unique ways, tips, strategies and ideas to help more people better manage ADHD.
And this year, in the fourth edition, Inspirational Ways to Succeed with ADHD, alongside this year’s brand-new tips and strategies, we have added powerful, uplifting stories about ADHD from people just like you. And, thanks to many of you, earlier this month the fourth edition of The ADHD Awareness Book Project, Inspirational Ways to Succeed with ADHD went to #1 in its category on Amazon.com when it was launched! It was an exciting day for all of the ADHD expert contributors who shared their strategies and inspirational stories of motivation.
Don’t worry, if you haven’t purchased your copy you still can on Amazon. And, during the month of October, when you purchase a copy, YOU will be helping to promote ADHD Awareness because $1 of the sales of each book on Amazon.com will go to one of three international organizations serving ADHD worldwide including CHADD.org, ADD.org or the AHD Coaches Organization (ACO).
During October I want to remember to celebrate how far we have come in our awareness of ADHD. That we now have a whole month dedicated to ADHD Awareness and that the term “Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder” is so much better then a “morbid defect of moral control” which was the term used in 1902! Just imagine.
I’ll admit I am a dreamer so I can’t help but ponder on where we might be in five years from now. What more we might understand about the brain and ADHD…maybe it will be called something else, maybe we will understand it is not something we can just “try harder” to improve, maybe then we will focus on the brilliance of those with this brain-style rather than the challenges.
I’d love to hear from you about how you are celebrating ADHD Awareness month!
By now you’ve probably seen something about ADHD Awareness Month. 2014 marks the 10th year since the first official “ADHD Awareness Day” and to honor and celebrate that, the day has turned into a whole month! Phew, we’ve come a long way, and still have much to do. A large part of that includes increasing awareness of ADHD, along with making sure that people have access to the necessary tools and and know How to Succeed with ADHD.
Part of this months festivities that I’d like to highligh are the TADD Talks that are happening. TADD Talks are a spin off of the ever popular TED Talks. ADDA describes them like this “TADD Talks are where we’ll be Talking about ADD every day the entire month of October! TED talks are 18 minute presentations on a variety of interesting subjects. TADD recordings are only 9 minutes long (we do have a shorter attention span, you know!) We’ll be preparing recordings from the leading experts in the ADHD community and sharing them with you every day. They’re free, and there’s no registration required.” How fantastic is that!
You can access all of the links here.
Time can be a major challenge for those with ADHD. Be sure to join me on August 17th as I talk about The Time Monster – Why ADHD Folks Have Trouble with Time and What They Can Do to Change It.