Folks with ADHD are often unaware of their strengths, in part because many of them have spent their lives being reminded of their weaknesses.
Human beings’ negativity bias (the way our attention is drawn to the negative much more than to the positive, and the way negative emotions can be experienced with three times the impact of positive emotions) can make it even more difficult for ADHDers to become aware of their strengths.
It’s important to be aware that what we focus on expands in our experience. Certainly ADHDers need to understand their challenges in order to develop strategies for dealing with them, but focusing most of their attention on areas of challenge can make the challenges even more challenging and take up all the bandwidth in their brains so no room is left for noticing the things they are good at.
If you become aware of your strengths and use them and focus on improving in your areas of strength, you will usually find success much more quickly than if you try to fix your areas of weakness or apparent limitation.
But first you need to know where your strengths lie. One way to discover your strengths is to create a list of your successes – times when just about everything went well and you felt “in your zone.”
Give yourself some time to recall such experiences, since ADHDers often have a challenge with memories. Remember times when you felt tremendous personal satisfaction, not because you met someone else’s expectations, but because the experiences were rewarding to you.
Then begin to examine those experiences to find the strengths you drew upon, the talents you used, the passion you felt connected to. Consider where you can apply those strengths and talents in your present life, and what can you do to refine or build upon them.
You might also look into a couple of screening devices or surveys that are available online that will help you identify your strengths. One is the VIA Character Strengths survey which identifies 24 character strengths that show up to different degrees in everyone. To learn your own unique character strength profile take the free survey (see the link below this video).
There is also StrengthsFinder 2.0. You’ll need to purchase the book (either at Amazon or at the link below the video) in order to have a code that permits you to go online to take the survey and receive your results — your top five strengths.
I hope you enjoy exploring your strengths and focusing on them. Remember, what you focus on expands in your experience. Why not focus on your strengths?