Then your greatest asset is your rapid fire thinking!

With this asset, you are able to come to the best conclusions quickly, effectively, and way ahead of the people who don’t have ADHD. Let other people around you do the organizing, paperwork, and the detail managing. Your job is to create optimum solutions to important problems and trust that you can do that. Creativity! Inventiveness! Quick problem solving!

I spent 18 years in education. My greatest asset and contribution was my ability to quickly understand what children needed to be successful in school and then create the means to ensure they got what they needed. I was able to work with administrators, ancillary school personnel, and parents successfully, so much so that I eventually became an assistant principal. I loved finding solutions that would make things work for parents, teachers, and kids. What I didn’t like, and what made me feel incompetent and stressed out, was the endless paperwork, boring, overly-long meetings, and too many rules about the “right” and the “wrong” way to do things. So you can imagine how I was much appreciated in some sectors and disapproved of in others.

Eventually I decided after all the years spent working with children, particularly teenagers with violent and disruptive behaviors, it was time for me to move on. What did I stumble upon that felt like the right fit? The perfect option for rapid fire thinkers or “rAfters”: entrepreneurship! All that creating from nothing along with challenging problems to solve fed my ADHD soul. What I quickly learned was I also needed to be able to set up structures to keep me on track in my new role of business builder/owner. No problem. With some trepidation, I figured I could learn how to do that.

My point here is that when we do what we do best, and use our rapid fire thinking or rAfter assets, we succeed at making our contributions and are generally happy in life. When we don’t use our greatest strengths, we experience confidence crushing issues that leave us in despair or at best unhappy and anxious because we do not excel at what we do. So our job is not to struggle with what we’re told to do but are poor at accomplishing - but rather to promote our assets and self-advocate. We need to get really good at locating and uncovering resources around us so we can create opportunities for others to support us with our work. Remember that those who do end up supporting us are making it possible for us to succeed. Everybody wins!

This doesn’t mean we don’t have to learn new behaviors. In addition to healing the past, learning to identify and use strengths in successful ways, and believing in our futures, we need to learn to get help putting structures into place that ensure we don’t go off on tangents with our projects. We will need to learn to stay focused on what is necessary to deliver our results on time. But the truth is that when we are passionately engaged in work where we get to take advantage of our gifts, we discover ways to make the rest of it work. How else did Jonas Salk deliver the cure to polio?

The first thing I did when I quit my job in education was to work at Filenes, a department store in the Boston area. I so much wanted to do something completely different with my time and thought that retail work would be pretty far from what I was used to. I also liked the fact that I could buy clothes at a good discount. During my time at Filenes, I found out I was doing what I most needed to do. Through trusting my intuition, I had begun a process of allowing myself time to reflect about where I was in life and what my next incarnation would be. Giving myself that time presented me with the opportunity to follow my bliss and begin to incubate a structure for how I would reinvent myself and create my own thing.

Here’s where the need to put strong structures and systems in place that I mention really came up; I soon found myself gaining confidence in my ability to create a website and a coaching/consulting business. As those of us with ADHD know, the process of creating is very stimulating and a great attractor to help us focus. That’s where we shine. But it soon turned into a rather messy process. I found myself getting lost in internet land for hours on end and making too may trips to the refrigerato! There were any number of “shiny pennies” to go after (anything in our environment that distracts us because it offers stimulation and immediate gratification). Anyone with ADHD understands the difficulty of ignoring these opportunities to get up and get lost in other activities. In addition I would get discouraged about what I was trying to do. I discovered that because no one was around while I was supposed to be working, there was no reliable structure to keep me on track and encourage me in my down moments. I could spend large chunks of time getting lost in stuff and going nowhere.

From this struggle, I learned that the most important thing was to involve other people in the process as I created and crafted my business. I found that the more people I involved, the better the business progressed. Now that a few years have passed I can look back and see how I learned my lesson. I now have people who: manage my website, keep me writing, create and follow systems and business organization, keep me accountable to follow through and get things done on time, help me maintain my faith, take care of my mental, emotional and physical needs, and keep a schedule/plan for both short and long term goals. A great discovery was that not all of these people had to be paid. Two-thirds of those who are helping keep me on track, I don’t pay at all because I either have their support or we trade services and barter. But I am more than happy to admit here and now that the success I experience in my life will always be as much a product of my partnerships as my own ability to learn to stay more focused and consistent.

So summing up the points of this article:

1. If you are an ADHD rAfter, you can up level your ability to succeed by understanding how to better use your rapid fire thinking trait.
2. Developing confidence in yourself and going after evidence for the truth of your rAfter abilities will transform bad results into good results.
3. Getting help and support from designated others is key to good ADHD rAfter outcomes.
4. Advocating for what you need from others to successfully complete tasks will empower you.

Doing the above will dissolve a lot of your stress and anxiety, bringing you more opportunities for relaxation and enjoyment of your life.

Author's Bio: 

As the founder and CEO of ADD Insights, LLC, Carol Gignoux’s passion is to provide services that transform the lives of people with ADHD.

Carol began her work with ADHD immediately upon her graduation from college in 1972, and has continued that work for the past 35 years. Carol specializes in working with both teens and adults, with or without an ADHD diagnosis, who want to see better results in their academic, professional and personal lives.

Carol speaks to groups, consults with organizations, trains new ADHD coaches, conducts teleclasses and seminars, and offers coaching for individuals, families, and children with ADHD. She has recently expanded her services to include coaching for couples struggling with the issues of a one or both partners having ADHD, and coaching those grappling financial issues.

Carol feels that it has been her privilege to work with so many wonderful people of all ages, backgrounds, and creative powers who fit an ADHD profile. Her mission is to change the way people view the ADHD trait so that adults with ADHD at home and in the workplace are able to create environments for success, and children with ADHD can learn time and task management skills while they are still young.

She has found from her training and years of experience working with thousands of people with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, that ADHD is neither a “disability” nor a “disorder”. She believes that the way ADHD is now perceived will one day be considered completely misinformed because ADHD will finally be treated as the gift that it is. After all, people with this trait now and throughout history have often been the ones to come up with solutions to many of life’s serious problems.

Carol is currently writing a book entitled: “THE ASSET– A.D.D. my Ass!” in which she goes into detail about her own upbringing as a child with ADHD and the challenges it posed. The theme of The Asset is that ADHD is a gift, not a curse, and it includes many heart rendering stories, well-honed advice, oft-tested strategies, and a good argument for the upside of having ADHD. You can download chapters of her book at her website: