As an ADD Coach, I usually begin my conversations with new and potential clients by saying, “Tell me about yourself and why you’re looking for coaching.” Most people answer with a long list of their ADD challenges. Very few people answer that they are looking to discover, enhance, or utilize their strengths. This is a big part of coaching, and a part that many people need a lot of help with.
Unfortunately, many ADDers spend too much of their time focusing on what they think they do wrong. This is understandable; as most of us have spent a lifetime learning how to deal with attention inconsistency, impulsivity, hyperactivity, emotional reactivity, and other challenges that our ADD has presented. However, few of us actually take time to appreciate our ability to manage these challenges and bounce back from the difficult times. And when we don’t balance the good stuff with the not-so-good stuff, we can become frustrated, unmotivated, and unhappy.
Every single person in this world has strengths and interests – things we do well and things we like to do. Learning to focus some time on those strengths and interests can help lift the spirits – and self-esteem – of ADDers. Here are some ways in which you can increase the time you spend thinking about your strengths and interests:
- Make a list of all your accomplishments in life – both large and small – and post this list where you’ll see it often
- Make a list of all the things you do well, and all the things you like to do – and post this list, too
- Keep a journal or notebook in which you detail all your daily successes
- Accept every compliment you receive with a smile and a “thank you”
After you have spent some time thinking about your strengths and accomplishments, you can take this knowledge and self-awareness a step further by setting some small goals for yourself that involve your strengths and interests. If you’re good with people, maybe you’d like to try volunteering at a homeless shelter or senior center. If you like dancing, perhaps you can take a class every week.
We all deserve to spend time doing what we like to do, and not just what we have to do. So allow yourself to appreciate your strengths and interests, and treat yourself to the luxury of enjoying them! Chances are, it will make you a much happier person.