ADHD and working with your strengths.

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When you have ADHD it is very easy to focus on your weaknesses.  Weaknesses are usually things that don’t come easily to you, that feel hard or seem to take you longer to do than anyone else. Even though you are already keenly aware what your weaknesses are, people around you are probably pointing them out to you too. Your boss, your spouse, your friends – it may feel like you can never do anything right.

 

When you live your life focusing on what you aren’t good at, it takes a toll on your confidence and belief in yourself.  You may also feel fear and shame every day. 

However, when you start focusing on your strengths instead of your weaknesses, your life changes!  It is empowering because you experience more successes, big and small. This in turn makes you feel good about yourself and your confidence increases. You are able to start working towards your life goals, and stop feeling stuck. Your relationships improve; you have more energy.

Here are four steps to start living your life based on your strengths.

1) Identify your strengths.

Start a list and write down what your strengths are. Here are some questions to help you.

What activities energize you?

What keeps you so focused that you lose track of time?

When don’t you feel bored?

What do people compliment you on?

What activities can you do faster than others?

What did you enjoy doing when you were little?

What have you won awards for?

Keeping adding to your list over the next few weeks.  As you are going about your daily life, ideas will come to you.

Don’t censor yourself. Some things on your list could seem important or noble, while others might seem silly.

For example, your list might include public speaking, organizing charity events, tidying up quickly after dinner, throwing a baseball. Everything is important.

2) Make lifestyle changes.

Now that you have your list, brainstorm ways to include more of your strength activities in your life. It can be helpful to divide your life into categories – hobbies, home and work. Then address one category at a time.

At home

If you are good at cleaning the kitchen, perhaps you could arrange that your spouse cooks dinner and you do clean up.

Hobbies

If you are a good runner, but have no sense of rhythm and get your left side and right side confused, don’t sign up for a dance class. Join a running club instead.

Work

Some people make big career changes to work with their strengths. Other people make shifts within the job they have now. The changes you make might depend on how flexible your boss and work environment are. 

3) Be brave

Turning your life around like this can feel strange because you are used to struggling.

Making your changes in baby steps helps. You might also need to develop new skills; for example, assertiveness at work to ask for changes, or getting comfortable saying no to requests that don’t use your strengths. Whenever you feel uncomfortable, keep your eye on the prize, which is leading a happy, struggle-free life.

4) Put non-strength tasks in perspective

There will always be some tasks in life that you need to do, but aren’t your strengths –perhaps taking the trash out or filing taxes. However, when most of your life is centered around your strengths, those necessary tasks won’t feel so painful.

What are your strengths? And how can you include more of them in your home, hobbies, and work?

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