Leveraging the Asset of ADHD—From Michael Phelps to a Regular Little Boy

Some of you may know that not only do I treat ADHD, do workshops for ADHD related issues (Alternative Solutions to Managing ADHD,  "Study SMARTER, Not Harder: Strategies for Effective Learning," and "WORKING the System: Motivating and Strategizing with 'Resistant' Teens to Achieve the Better Outcomes THEY Want" and am writing a book 125 Alternate Solutions to Managing ADHD, but that I also have it myself (and have fun with it!). I wouldn't trade my ADHD brain for anything. Love it. I also love to see high acheivers like Michael Phelps who has ADHD highlighted as it helps remove the unfortunate stigma around a brain difference that I don't see as either a deficit nor a disorder. Sadly most people don't see it as the tremendous asset it can be and only see the deficit/disorder side to it.

Read this article from The Guardian highlighting Michael Phelps, hailed as the greatest Olympian ever, and other athletes who've found the upside to ADHD: What can athletes with ADHD teach us about the condition?

I shared this initially on Facebook and someone commented, "Sooooo many high achievers have this. It is all in the way it is handled and learning to use it as an asset."

So true. The downsides can be managed. The upsides can be so leveraged! I seriously credit much of my success, drive and creativity to having a ADHD mind.

I remember one 10-year-old boy coming to me who was crying because he was just diagnosed at the doctor's with ADHD and he didn't want to have this "problem." I told him, "You're only sad because you don't understand the great asset you have--you're sad because you think you have a problem." Fortunately, he really liked me, so when I told him that I have ADHD he was surprised and said, "Really?! But you're so normal!" I replied, "Normal?! Don't you ever call me that again! Normal is boring. My 'abnormal' ADHD mind is the machinery behind my creativity, sense of humor, silliness and ability to notice things others miss. It's also a big factor in being a entrepreneur."

He asked, "What's an entrepreneur?" I explained it and a lightbulb went on as he turned to his mother and said, "Oh, like dad?" It turned out his father was a successful small business owner (entrepreneur) who sounded like he has had ADHD his whole life but never had it diagnosed as such. This little boy loved and admired his dad and the combination of my response and this new connection with his dad removed ALL stigma from his mind. He left the office that day feeling like he hit the jackpot in cognitive diversity! Then with some skills training and practice he learned how to manage the downsides and leverage the strengths of the ADHD mind. Yay! Love my job! :-)