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ADHD Adults

How to find what I'm good at (following Dr. Hallowell's advice)

Hello lovely fellow ADD-ers,

People who have read Dr. Hallowell’s wonderful book about ADHD ‘Delivered from Distraction’ or ‘Driven to Distraction’ might know this. One of the advices he gives out is to ‘do what you’re good at. Don’t try to be good at what you’re bad at (you’ve done enough of that in school).’ So I’m trying to follow his advice. This is the perfect time for me to address this question because I took a year off from university. Actually I don’t know if I’m ever going to return to university, though I’m doing averagely fine. I have serious problems that I need to solve including how to deal more effectively with ADHD and other emotional problems due to ADHD. Sorry for getting sidetracked! Back to my question. So what would be the best way for me to find what I’m good at? I tend to like writing and think that’s the closest answer, but I’m afraid to test that. What if I fail again? I always try to do something like doing a good job in my internship. But I unconsciously give up on myself while doing it because I feel helpless, frustrated, you name it. I’m just really lost. I don’t know where to go from here.

So…. any advices on how to find my hidden talent(s)??
I apologize again for the poor writing (maybe writing is not what I’m good at haha). I’m very bad at expressing my thoughts, so this was the best I could do smile


I read the book, Do What You Are. I love it because it not only provides a brief Myers-Briggs test through each chapter and tell you what you would be good at, but it takes it a step further to explain why it fits your personality and describes the obstacles you may face. Often we think aren’t good in certain areas or believe we can’t do well in fields we enjoy because the peripheral work associated with it is cumbersome, frustrating, and overwhelming. Often, the message we receive is inability. For example, it says counseling and sales would be good fields for me but based on my personality, I would need administrative assistance to succeed because ofganization is overwhelming. I’ve done both and they are correct! When you find your passion, be sure to learn about and utilize support systems to make your passions enjoyable.

Don’t be afraid to try different things. If it doesnt work out, learn from it and move on. Experimenting is how uou learn your strengths. I would recommend making a plan before you do, or it may be unsuccessful.
As the person mentioned before career counseling or a life coach should be able to help you start and keep you on track.

Ask people you trust what they see as your strengths and have them provide examples. Write it down because we ADD’rs forget! I wish you well!

Posted by mclshelby2011 on Nov 10, 2012 at 2:14am

Hi Audrey,  Kudos to you for thinking about all this early in your life.  It seems like the things you mentioned having trouble with are regular ADD things that we struggle with each day.  I would encourage you to explore the things you love to do, knowing ADD will make some parts of things difficult like the example above with sales and organization.  I was undiagnosed in college and I chose not to become a teacher because I could not see myself controlling a classroom.  Now I’m in my 50’s and working in the schools.  I realize they teach you how to manage a classroom.  I think I would have always struggled with organization of time, work and people, but I could have done it. All that to say think about what makes you happy when you do it.  What kinds of jobs use the same skill set, or do the same kind of thing?  What classes did you love?

Pick a direction and go for it.  What if you fail?  Then you learn as much as you can and try something else.  Give yourself permission to fail.  Then put that fear behind you and work towards your next goal.  It is good to work on bettering ourselves.  But if you wait until you are completely “better” then you will miss out on a lot of life.  It is a risk. But it is a risk we take every day.  We do fail in small and big ways.  Part of life is getting up and starting again.

Giving up on yourself when you feel helpless and frustrated is not that uncommon.  I would encourage you to take a look at the point you feel most frustrated.  What information are you missing?  Where can you find it.  Why do you feel helpless?  Have you been told the information before and you don’t want to ask for it again.  Do people around you think you should know the information already.  Sometimes they don’t realize everyone doesn’t know what they’re thinking.  Sometimes you just have to swallow your pride and admit you don’t remember what they said, and ask them again.  You can develop structures to help you in your weak areas.  You might want to check in at your university’s office of disabilities and see what help they can offer you.  Do you have other difficulties like learning disabilites that hamper you. 

Lots of things to think about…and lots of possibilities! Don’t let them paralyze you.  Think about your first step, then do it.  =)

Posted by whizinc on Nov 10, 2012 at 10:06am

thank you so so much guys for all your wonderful advices! smile

Posted by Audrey on Nov 12, 2012 at 12:00pm

Reply posted to a duplicate conversation thread:

If you are following Hallowell’s advice you are already halfway there. He is very wise and gifted in this area.

His counterpart in the area of career advice is Dick Bolles who wrote, What Color is Your Parachute? Fabulous book which is revised every year.

This is exactly right for you at this transition point.

-Posted by John Tucker, PhD, ACG. ADHD Coach

Posted by ADDConnect Community Editor on Nov 12, 2012 at 8:15pm

Your writing style reminds me of how I have always struggled at writing. You should look up dysgraphia . I’m not trying to diagnose you. But I wish someone had told me about it 5yrs ago then maybe I wouldn’t have dropped out of college.As for the hidden talent maybe you should look at your life and see what has been a common theme in you life or hobby no matter how weird you might think it is. You can make a busness out of anything these days.Recently I relized that I needed to work with animals. I’ve always had them, they never scare me, I feel more comfortable around them than most people. I worked cleaning horse stalls when I was a teenager and it just occured to me that out of all the jobs I have had in my life that is the only one that I loved. I don’t think its just what you are good at. Its what you love to do that makes it the thing you are good at. Does that make sense. Good Luck!

Posted by Jess14 on Nov 15, 2012 at 12:06pm

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