Ever heard the adage, “Follow your heart”? What that means is figuring out what you’re really passionate about and going after it. When you really love to do something, your motivation increases significantly, and so does your success. This is true for anyone, but particularly for people with ADHD. Not everyone is crystal clear about how to leverage their passions, though.
Here is a simple strategy you can use to figure out what you’re truly passionate about and how you can make those passions work for you. Start by reflecting on your interests. Make a list of three things you love to do — things that you enjoy, things that you’re enthusiastic about, things that you do without hesitation. What makes you feel alive and amazing? What things can you spend hours and hours doing without feeling bored?
Now think about three things that you are really good at doing. Reflect on your own history of success. What are things that come easily or naturally to you? What are things that in your past experience you’ve had success with? What can you trust yourself to do well? What do you have proven results with? These two lists are your personal strengths and interests.
The next step is to think about how you can combine them. Do you find any commonalities between them? For instance, say you love to draw or paint, and you’re really good at talking in front of large groups. You could combine your strength and interest by teaching an art class or hosting group workshops. Here’s another example – let’s say you really love to cook and you’re really good at writing. You could combine your passions with your skills by writing a cookbook or writing for a food-related publication.
In my own personal experience, I found success using this strategy. When I was young, I loved to participate in sports, particularly gymnastics. It was a great outlet for my energy. I was also really good at teaching, so when it came time for college, I decided to combine the sports with the teaching and majored in physical education. My parents weren’t thrilled. They told me I should pursue more traditional areas of education, but I stayed true to my own passions and strengths and succeeded because of it.
I can definitely say for people with ADHD it’s only when you combine your passion with your talents that you will really thrive in life – and sustain your success for the long-term. Don’t worry about what you don’t have or what others think you should do. When you combine your passions with your talents and strengths, you’ll be more motivated – it won’t feel like work or a chore. You’ll be excited, engaged, inspired, and, most importantly, successful. This is why having clarity about your passions and finding a purpose for them is essential to finding success. I truly believe passion is the path to unleashing your true potential and leveraging ADHD to your ADDvantage.
Dr. Billi Bittan, MA, PhD, is an ADHD Specialist, Neuro-Cognitive Behavioral/Expressive Arts Therapist and Coach, as well as a best-selling author and notable speaker in the ADHD community. Her private practice, AttentionB, specializes in innovative therapy/coaching for ADHD with the goal of helping people of all ages leverage ADHD to their ADDvantage.