Have you identified an issue in your community or in the world about which you are passionate? Have you found a cause that you can’t ignore?
Is there something that lights your fire and energizes you to take action? Where do you see a need that shouts to your heart so loudly that you must act to make things better?
For some of us it may be hard to answer those questions. Perhaps we haven’t yet connected with our feelings sufficiently to know where our passions lie. We might feel occasional impulses to help others, but many things get in the way of our actually getting started or being as effective as we would like to be.
For others among us, there may be too many issues that touch us and make us want to act. Our hearts break every time we hear about a crisis at home or abroad. There are so many needs that it can seem impossible to choose among them. We can’t get started because we are overwhelmed.
Each of us has a need to contribute to something outside ourselves. We are social beings. We require connection to feel complete. When we connect with others, we often feel what they are feeling. We want to help. There is meaning and joy in giving, contributing, sharing, and making a positive difference.
There are many ways in which ADHD can affect our ability to make a meaningful contribution to our world. The energy and passion we with ADHD can bring to projects are remarkable. When we focus on something that intensely interests and concerns us, there is no stopping us. Our creativity and out-of-the-box thinking can lead to innovations and solutions that literally change the world!
Those of us with ADHD can also be a challenge, both to ourselves and to others. Sometimes we are undependable or temperamental and hard to work with. We might suggest lots of wonderful ideas but find ourselves unable to follow through with implementing them. We might not show up on time or at all for a commitment.
Neil and I have seen these patterns in our own lives. We have placed a high value on contributing to our community and world, both during our years together and before we met. We haven’t always been able to match our actions to our values.
In the years before we knew that we both had ADHD, we worked like workaholics because we had to. It seemed that was necessary in order for us to earn sufficient income to support our family. Some things just took us longer. Other things had to be done in ways that were unique to us, because the “normal” ways didn’t work.
After we learned about ADHD and began to understand how it had been affecting us, we saw that classic traits such as time blindness, perfectionism, disorganization, impulsivity, emotional dysregulation, distractibility, etc., had led to many of the coping strategies we created and to our long working hours.
We didn’t have a lot of “free” time in which to contribute to our community and the world. Our business was a service business, so some of our need to contribute to the betterment of our community came through our work. We also placed a high priority on our children, so we managed to volunteer in their schools and with their sports teams over the years. We also served in our neighborhood association and occasionally campaigned for candidates whose values matched ours.
We find that many of our coaching clients are trying to achieve some balance in their lives. They don’t want to just work – or just go to school – or just be a parent. Achieving balance is a challenge for them, just as it was for us, because ADHD can make some things harder and more time consuming. Yet they still have that basic human need to contribute to their communities. And their communities need their contributions.
I’ll be writing more next week about a new focus we are taking in our coaching practice. We believe the world needs every one of us and that folks with ADHD may have even more to contribute to improving the world than do neurotypical individuals. We with ADHD are creative and innovative thinkers. Has there ever been a time when our gifts were needed more than they are now?
We’ll tell you more next week about our intention to focus our coaching on freeing folks with ADHD to have a greater and greater impact on the world. As the name of our coaching practice indicates, our goal is to support our clients as they become ever more FREE TO BE their highest selves. This will not only benefit them but also the world!