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How you can be successful in your career even if you have ADHD/ADD

Based on WebMD, here are the top 10 adult ADHD symptoms:

Top 10 Signs of Adults Having ADHD:

No. 1: Trouble Getting Organized
No. 2: Reckless Driving and Traffic Accidents
No. 3: Marital Trouble
No. 4: Extremely Distractible
No. 5: Poor Listening Skills
No. 6: Restlessness, Trouble Relaxing
No. 7: Trouble Starting a Task
No. 8: Lateness
No. 9: Angry Outbursts
No. 10: Prioritizing Issues

source: WebMD

On the surface, it may look that the future is bleak for someone who is diagnosed with ADHD. How could then a person with ADHD succeed in their careers given the unfavourable symptoms above?

It is simple with 3 steps:

  1. Identify your passion and work in a job that related to your passion
  2. Ride on your hyperfocus capability
  3. Learn meditation, tai chi, qi gong or yoga to rein in that restless energy.

 

Identify your passion

Because with ADHD/ADD, you tend to get restless and bored easily, you must be doing something that you are truly passionate or have interest in. Identifying one’s true vocation and passion is already hard for an ordinary person, it gets even more challenging if you have ADHD/ADD.

However, you must understand that it takes time to figure out one’s passion. Often it is through trial and error. You start with  A but eventually you may evolve doing something else. However a good guide is to start with what you love. Eventually you would arrive at your true calling.

I used to think that I had wanted to be a chemist because I had enjoyed my temporary job as a lab assistant (while waiting for my pre university exam results) where I had so much fun testing breads, chocolates and other foodstuff alongside with young chemists who were few years older than me. Subsequently, my boss then wrote me a recommendation letter which helped me to upgrade from pure to applied Chemistry in university.

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When I went to university, I worked part time during most of my semester breaks (from data entry, twice as a personal assistant, telemarketeer) and discovered that I wanted interact with humans and not with chemicals. I identified and targeted customer service because it was an area where I can help people but that I need not do sales.

During my free time, I started building my own websites….the interest which started from my hobby as a crafter (I wanted to share my creation with the world). Eventually, my interest changed to writing and building websites. The skill then helped me to be the back end support of my company’s official website. I had to type about a hundred email replies per day. This improved my writing skills which helped in writing better content for my sites and eventually landed me a job in managing information portals for the last 10 years. I also write and issue communication, processes and attend meetings. More of this can be found in another blog post from another blog of mine (see, I cannot maintain one blog that only talks about one subject because I have so many areas of interest).

My bosses have told me that it is very difficult to find someone with my skills. In my permanent jobs, I held on to them for 9.5 years and 6.5 years because I loved what I was doing even though the jobs came with enormous pressure.

You can see that your career path would evolve and change with time. But the guiding point is that you must try to identify an area which you have interest and then work on it. Because if you are stuck with a job that you have no interest, it would suck the daylights out of you.

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You will succeed using the special superpower that comes with having ADHD/ADD….which is….

 

Hyperfocus ability

Being able to hyperfocus is a unique ability that ADHD or ADD persons have. It is like a superpower. When you are engrossed doing something that you like, everything else fades into nothingness. You do not like to be disturbed as you work on your project or solution to a problem.

The hyperfocus ability that helps many ADHD/ADD persons succeed in their career or become exceptional in what they are doing. Think of famous people with ADHD/ADD such as Will Smith, Michael Phelps, Justin Timberlake and Sir Richard Branson.

They are able to think or do things totally out of the box because they are different from most people out there.

When you have that capability to produce something awesome or to solve complex problems, people around you would be able to put up with some quirks or weird mood swings that you may have.

However you may wish to go easy on the mood swings because a rude remark can hurt people’s feelings, ruin your relationships and earn you a bad reputation. It will also make you hate yourself for being so mean and nasty.

To rein all the abilities in, you must learn to stay focused….

Meditation, yoga, tai chi or qi gong

The above exercises/practices have the ability to bring in all the restless energies to be able help you to stay focused. If you do not learn to control your restlessness and learn to relax, it will be very difficult for your hyperfocus superpowers to work to your advantage.

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For any of the relaxing and mind centering exercises, it will take time for you to see results. You must learn to be patient and practice it again and again. One day, it is going to bear you great fruits.

I picked up meditation for close to 20 years. Initially it was to help me solve some problems but later I saw the value in spending 10 minutes during beginning of the day or at times that I am really stressed.

If you cannot settle your mind down with meditation, try exercises like yoga, tai chi or qi gong where these exercises align the energies in our body.

In conclusion

Life has a way of balancing whatever apparently bad stuff that is thrown to you. There is always the good behind every bad thing even though it may not seems immediately obvious at first.

I do not think of ADHD as a disorder even though it is labeled as such. ADHD/ADD folks are just different and more unique than other people. With the correct mindset and utilizing the unique attributes that come only with ADHD (after learning to manage all that restlessness), you would be well on your way to achieve success in whatever you set out to do.

All the best! You can do it 🙂

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