Those of us with Career ADD have special challenges that are necessary to address if we are to live well and find Career Happiness. I consider these things “must dos.” I have heard many folks talk about these things in career counseling and I want to summarize what I’ve found to be true over the past 22 years of working in the field, and now particularly with those who are challenged with ADD/ADHD or who have an ADD lifestyle. The following are a few rule-of-thumb guidelines to make changes in the coming year.
- Decide what Working Conditions are necessary for you to do your best work. The conditions in which we work can make all the difference in how much satisfaction we get and how productive we are on the job for those of us with Career ADD. Do you need to switch tasks often, work in a more private space where there are less interruptions, frequently switch activities, listen to music on MP3, work in a small office, a larger office, have your own office, have windows, have access to a variety of “tools” of your trade within arm’s reach, switch tasks that you don’t enjoy for something you do with a co-worker, etc? Whatever it is that creates a working environment that is conducive to optimizing your brilliance within a work space, write it down and commit to making it happen, even if it’s one small change for now.
- Decide that this is the year that you are going to do what you do well, enjoy doing for a living and maximize using the skills you love to use. Haven’t you suffered long enough? For those of us with Career ADD, we may have been doing the opposite. So, what is the impact or result? We may find ourselves job hopping, getting fired or being laid off, being demoted, voted out, replaced or just being miserable for years, which can take a toll on every aspect of our lives. Make the decision today to take the FIRST step to at least identify how it would feel if you woke up each day looking forward to the challenge of your job or career. Then, get the help you need to make the changes STEP BY STEP.
- Do more of the things that you consider creative or bring out your creativity. So many of us “distracted” folks are extremely creative. In fact, creativity is one of the leading characteristics of people who have ADD/ADHD. So, can you imagine doing work every day that does not encourage or allow creativity or the natural flow of ideas? If we are currently not in a job or career that allows for this, it is crucial to find an outlet to channel our creativity. I love to write and brainstorm business ideas. I’m also artistic, which was my inspiration for founding the international children’s art franchise, KidzArt. What’s your outlet?
- Do a little organizing of one thing….just today. Clear your desk off so you can write or work in a non-cluttered area. The key here is it does not have to be perfectly organized. Just enough so that you FEEL good when you sit down. You have to admit that it just feels better when things are easy to find, clean and put together. Just for today, do one thing and let the creative juices flow.
- Get support from people you trust and who know you enough to tell you the truth. Many of us Career ADD folks can get defensive when we are pushed in a corner. It’s time to let go of all that and let the people you love and respect tell you what you need to hear and then really LISTEN to what they tell you. Hear the truth and take action to change the way you come across or the way you manage things that may impact others (i.e. being late for appointments, interrupting conversations, etc.) Then let them know what you are going for in a new career or career transition and ask for their support.
- Stay away from the dream stealers and cup half empty folks. I lived with a person who told me that no one would ever buy my franchise. Well, not only did they buy it, but my now ex-husband ended up working with me for seven years. I chose not to listen, but having this negative energy in my business and everyday life took a toll in many ways. Now, I choose to only be around people who are uplifting and to actively seek positive situations as much as possible. I also listen to positive messages via subliminal audios on a daily basis. There are many ways to choose to counteract negativity. Do something every day to keep your cup half full and stay away from those people. Let your dreams and creative ideas about what is possible for you expand by taking small actions (i.e. researching an idea, talking to someone doing what you would love to do) and only hang around people who support you to move forward. Think Happy!
- Stay connected with a few friends and family. You don’t have to tell them everything that’s going on with you. Just be around them so that you have connections and are not isolating yourself (the kiss of career death). People with Career ADD can isolate, especially when it comes to not feeling great about your work life. Just knowing there are people out there who love and care about you can make all the difference.
- Do WHATEVER IT TAKES to stay positive (again!)…This is, CRITICAL! How often have you heard that? Well, it’s true – especially for those of us with Career ADD. We often tend to drift to the dark side in our thoughts because it’s just easy and because our minds can look and feel like Grand Central Station at times. There are tons of ways to stay positive like taking a breath, listening to subliminal messages via CD or mp3, call an uplifting friend who doesn’t tolerate “whining”, taking five minutes to visualize what it will look and feel like when you have exactly what you want… whatever it takes. Start to notice when it happens and when it does hold your arm out and tell yourself “No Vacancy.”
If all of these things appear overwhelming, just take number one for today and do it over and over until you are ready to go on to number two. Little steps in the right direction will create MASSIVE change a year from now.