Support & Stories

You’re Not Crazy — or Incompetent. But You Might Be Lost.

A career and productivity coach offers this piece of advice to her clients newly diagnosed with ADHD: You will never succeed professionally if you don’t enjoy what you do.

For many years I was in denial about my attention deficit disorder (ADHD or ADD). It wasn’t until 10 years ago, after I lost a company that I spent 15 years developing, that I crawled over to a bookshelf and found a book by Ned Hallowell. I read through the questions in the book and checked off the characteristics that fit me. I broke down in tears, and my life changed at that point.

The diagnosis was a confirmation. I was not crazy. I was not incompetent. I did not do well in much of anything unless I was interested in what I was doing. When I finally understood that the ADD brain is interest-driven, and that was OK, I got more excited about working in my field of career counseling to help clients with the condition.

[Take This Test: Could You Have ADHD or ADD?]

My advice for men and women is not to go it alone. Find groups, read books, get therapy from an ADHD specialist, and look for help in areas of your life that ADD gets in the way of. My type of career coaching works for adults with ADD because it’s not a quick fix. It is a deep dive that gets to the heart of who we are and what we are meant to do. Unless we enjoy what we do, we find a way to make it not work.

A lot of clients ask, “Should I tell my boss about my ADHD?” Unless you can clearly define how ADHD affects you in the workplace, and can replace the negatives with positives that benefit everyone, I wouldn’t say anything until you’ve worked through it with a therapist or a coach.

[Read This Next: Your After-Diagnosis Survival Guide]