The Genesis of ADHD as a SKILL SET
“It’s Very Hard Being Me.”
These were the words I wrote at the top of the page that officially started day three of my silent retreat.
Kimberly, my wife, was in Denver visiting family. She is my inspiration and the one who lovingly helps me see myself. In my mid-40’s Kimberly encouraged me to get tested for ADHD and the mystery of me was solved: I am WIRED to be WIRED!
Ever since, my life’s mission had been to identify and learn to manage my deficits and surpluses:
- For the sake of my [second] marriage.
- For the sake of relationships with my adult children and dear friends (who somehow, shockingly weathered me and loved me for me.)
- For the sake of my career (a little late for that but who’s counting.)
- For the sake of my health and happiness.
- For the sake of growing upwards versus spiraling downwards (a dark place which I had already visited and vowed never, ever to go back to.)
Now it was late August 2019. I had sequestered myself and I was driving a brand new 100-page composition notebook into the ground. As usual, the pen couldn’t keep up and I was frustrated. What else is new? It’s very hard being me.
My head was clogged. I call it brain fog. Have you ever been foiled by the ‘spinning wheel of death’ on your laptop? This functionality-failure happens to me; my brain cannot handle all the tasks given to it in the moment and so it freezes. I have too many of these moments.
Being silent and inside my own head for 4 days was risky, but righteous. I would write, release and rejuvenate, or heat up and shut down. So, I sat and let it all out. No stop signs, annoying speed bumps or GPS devices shouting, “RECALCULATE!” I hit the writing road and was prayer-filled for an epiphany to pop.
Rabbit Hole Plunge
After penning pages of ALL CAPS self-brutality (which I’d later discover to be Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria, or RSD,) it hit! You know how we joke that ADDers are easily distracted by shiny objects (aka “SQUIRREL?”) For me it is the rabbit hole plunge. Suddenly, I was on the edge of a big one, a righteous one! The page before me was blanketed in hieroglyphics, but these four words were highly legible, ADHD AS A SKILL SET.
“BANG, ZOOM,” as Ralph Cramden would say. I didn’t fall into this rabbit hole. I dove. I decided that TEDx Memphis was THE venue to share my epiphany. Mind you, I had fallen into this rabbit hole just an hour ago but I was ready to talk about it.
This is one of my superpowers, by the way:
Going from Zero-to-Sixty – yesterday.
What if we can redefine Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder as an embraceable, marketable, leverageable, invaluable SKILL SET?
That’s what I told my friend and fellow ADDer, Mark Miller, when I asked him to meet me for lunch. He is a certified coach and founder of Virtual ADHD Life Coaching, and he was electrified by the concept.
As an extrovert adult with ADHD, I had met Mark when I was out networking (aka putting myself in opportunity’s way.) Like so many amazing things that have happened in my life since the brain-wiring discovery, I believe this meeting was more than serendipity. It was God-dipity!
What do you get when two ADHD adults meet at a restaurant for lunch?
A frustrated waiter. We talked and talked (and talked) and Mark offered to help me research and develop the topic.
Turns out TEDx Memphis rejected my application. That was a good thing, I realized when my RSD subsided. Mark and I talked regularly and eventually decided, what if we join as co-authors and roll out the fruits of our discovery and research in a book called ADHD AS A SKILL SET?
What if we interview and gain insights and anecdotes from ADHD adults; those in the business community, HR professionals, executives, CEOs, trainers and authors; as well as ADHD practitioners, researchers, authors, and those in the ADHD awareness community?
Fast forward to today and we are well along our dream journey to prove why and how ADHD can be recategorized as a SKILL SET for ADDers and their employers, for business owners and entrepreneurs, for coaches, counselors, and other professionals.
What if Mark and I start a movement to reframe ADHD AS A SKILL SET? What if ADDers embrace, leverage, and promote their special skills, learn to avoid failures, and inspire successes? What if corporations grasp the benefits of neurodiversity as a competitive advantage, and seek and support such employees. What if lives are transformed?
It’s very hard being me, but it’s getting easier.