ADHD, if harnessed properly, can bring major benefits for creativity, work ethic and out of the box thinking. Here's how to use ADHD's quirks to your advantage
Having ADHD means you think differently to "most" people, which is an incredibly valuable asset, in both your professional and personal life.
Despite the "disorder" part of ADHD, which can manifest differently amongst individuals, there are endless strengths proven to accompany this neurodivergent condition.
Here’s an overview of key ADHD skills and how to make the most of them.
ADHD has been scientifically linked to the ability to "hyperfocus"—episodes of long-lasting, highly focused attention, making us super-productive.
This suggests that ADHD isn’t so much a "deficit" as a challenge with regulating our attention, with the potential to do a huge amount of work in a very short period of time.
"ADHD isn’t so much a 'deficit' as a challenge with regulating our attention"
The physical and mental hyperactivity of ADHD means we have a huge amount of energy to use up.
This is linked to the interest-based nervous system of ADHD brains, meaning it’s harder to do things we’re not interested in. However, this can be hacked by understanding what motivates us (such as novelty, interest and adrenaline), and adapting our environments accordingly.
People with ADHD tend to have good creative and problem-solving abilities
Thinking differently means we’re original, with unique problem-solving abilities to think outside of the box and come up with innovative solutions to problems. This can be seen in the high number of celebrities diagnosed with ADHD, such as Johnny Vegas.
Our creative potential can be harnessed by understanding the rejection sensitive dysphoria linked to ADHD that can hold us back from using these skills.
Finding opportunities to put this into practice with assistance from an ADHD coach can see incredible results.
The innovative thinking accompanying ADHD can mean we’re endlessly asking "why?", challenging the status quo and discovering new ways of working.
This innate curiosity may be part of the reason that ADHD-ers are 300 per cent more likely to start their own business, with entrepreneurs such as Richard Branson demonstrating the value to society in thinking differently.
"We tend to be better at blue sky thinking than implementing the details"
If people with ADHD have opportunities to question the way things are, they can make the most of their unique curiosity about the world.
As we tend to be better at blue sky thinking than implementing the details, administrative support at work can be game-changing by allowing us to focus on what we’re best at.
People with ADHD thrive best in environments that don't push them to mask their condition
As people with ADHD can act before thinking, this results in us living authentically by nature, often with squiggly, interesting careers. This is strongly related to honesty, and can be a double-edged sword in environments where we feel we have to mask our ADHD.
We can make the most of this authenticity by unmasking the parts of ourselves we feel are "too much", understanding our values, and living aligned to these.
Ultimately, this happens in environments where we can show up as ourselves and feel accepted and ideally, celebrated, for who we are by loved ones, colleagues, and bosses.
It can be extremely challenging to grow up in a world that’s not designed for your brain. Suffering from rejection throughout our lives and never feeling like we fit in to society often means we’re extraordinarily empathetic and compassionate to others.
Many people with ADHD experience rejection sensitive dysphoria, manifesting as strong emotional reactions to real or perceived rejection.
"Many people with ADHD experience rejection sensitive dysphoria"
This has been linked to a strong sense of fairness and social justice, which has seen incredible advocates like Ellie Middleton go viral on platforms like LinkedIn, redefining what it means to be professional for millions of people.
These skills can be harnessed by embracing opportunities to support others, including using our own challenges to be the change we want to see in the world.
Researchers have found that people with ADHD cope well with stress, which makes us resilient, as we’ve been able to survive despite adverse conditions. This can make us great in a crisis, or under pressure—we’re used to it!
Resilience has never been more important, especially in a post-pandemic world. People with ADHD can harness these skills by remembering to pause and reflect on their achievements and building their self-esteem by taking on new challenges, whilst inspiring others to do the same.
These are just a few examples of the skills that accompany ADHD, which in the right conditions can each become a unique "superpower" that differentiates us from others. To get the most out of them, we need environments that suit us—not the other way around.
By understanding how ADHD shows up for us as individuals, we can mitigate its challenges and harness our strengths to reach our full potential and live happy, exciting, and fulfilling lives.
Realising we don’t need to fit in is incredibly liberating, because it frees us to be ourselves.
Read more: How parents can help manage ADHD symptoms
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