I believe you can be more than what you are right now. You may be content living as you are. You may yearn to step up into being more and to step out of the recesses of “acceptable” or “adequate”. And if you could do that you would.
It’s my experience that fear holds most of us back from being all that we can be. I believe that most people live in fear: fear of criticism, not being accepted, illness, death, poverty, and even of old age. For ADDers the criticism and fear of not being accepted probably reign the highest. I believe that I have found a way out of the fear. In a three-part series, I’ll share the framework that can help you lift yourself up.
This framework is a three-step process: Strengths. Superpower. Stepping Up.
This article will cover Strengths.
Our society tends to focus on weaknesses, which fans the flames of fear. ADDers especially have had their “weaknesses” scrutinized and judged harshly. It’s time for us ADDers to focus on our strengths and break out of the chains of fear. With this focus, we can step into our personal power.
ADDers learn, think, and see the world differently than non-ADDers. How lucky for the non-ADDers! It is our strengths and superpowers that have moved society, culture, and technology forward. It is our creativity and spunk that changed the world. Knowing your strengths empowers you tremendously.
As an ADDer, you have wonderful gifts to give the world. That makes you different. And that opens you up for judgment and criticism. By recognizing your strengths you can shrug that off and shine! Embrace and harness your strengths and ADD traits and start living by your standards. That’s when you can start making a positive difference in the world.
The secret is to see — to know — your strengths and harness them to your advantage. Those same strengths, when unharnessed, have a downside, so learning to harness them is vital for a successful and joyful life. For too long our weaknesses were the focus of others’ disdain — and became our focus, too. That’s the shell of our fear that needs to be broken and shed. Fear of criticism, disdain, and your weaknesses are not the way to feel good about yourself and step into your best self, or to be accepted and appreciated!
There are numerous books about ADD that talk about the strengths ADDers posses. Here’s my compiled list various sources, enough to give you pointers to what your strengths are. You’ll be listing yours in a moment.
Sample ADD Strengths
|Generous||Good in crisis||Courageous||Spontaneous|
|Multitasker||Inspirational||Versatile||Makes friends easily|
|Risk-taker||Sense of humor||Fast mind||Socially adept|
|Good conversationalist||Connects the dots||Funny||Entrepreneurial|
|Out-of-the-box thinker||Caring||Fearless||Big dreamer/thinker|
|Sees the big picture||Visual thinker||Calm||Generous|
|Capable of taking on big situations||See many sides of a situation|
Your homework, should you decide to accept the challenge, is to list your strengths. Feel free to use this partial list to help spark ideas to include in this list. Keep adding strengths to your list as they occur to you.. Ask friends if they have suggestions for you to include. Brainstorming with others makes this exercise even better. Two minds are better than one. This creates a mastermind which creates magic.
Now, keep this list in the forefront of your mind. Review the list every morning as you rise. Review the list as you go to bed. If you can review it and think about it periodically during the day you will benefit even more. You are breaking the habit of thinking negatively about yourself, and that habit takes repetition.
Undoubtedly, you’ll continue to expand that list as we work through this workshop and as you continue doing the work afterward. What’s your reaction to your list? Does it seem long, short, or do you not quite know what to make of it? If you’re like other ADDers I know, you’ll find you will eventually have a long list. Those strengths are your gift to yourself and the world. You have lots of them.
Also be aware that as you learn this new way of thinking of yourself and seeing yourself in the world, you may slip back into the negative ways of thinking and feeling about yourself. When you do, stop, recalibrate your thinking, and move forward. Each time you catch yourself feeling shame or fear, stop and think of this great list of strengths you have, and then go forward with the new positive frame of mind. It’ll get better every day, especially if you review your strengths list frequently.
Photo by Barrie Johnson on Unsplash