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What Should I Do With My Life? Capture Your ADD Passions in a Smile File!

Creating a file of your best moments and greatest accomplishments will act as an antidote to negative thoughts, and put you on a career path that dovetails with your passions.

What Should I Do With My Life? Find Your Purpose by Building a Smile File

What Should I Do With My Life?

Do you ever wonder if your interests have meaning or purpose? Do you lack confidence in certain areas of your life? Does a career move elude you? Do you enjoy researching things that spark your interest and imagination? Does the world sometimes feel like a giant puzzle waiting to be solved?

If any of these thoughts or behaviors describes you, creating a Smile File will help you build confidence in your talents and give you the motivation to pursue a new job or a new direction in life.

What Is a Smile File?

A Smile File is a collection of photos, letters, articles, quotations, drawings, and other items that show what you have done in your life — accomplishments that you feel good about. Things that make you smile. Most of us with attention deficit disorder (ADHD or ADD) have beaten ourselves up over missteps, mistakes, and ADHD behaviors since we were kids. We forget how cool we are and how much we have given to our families, our work, our friends, and the world. A Smile File is an antidote to negative thoughts and experiences. It is visual and written proof that we have made, and continue to make, significant contributions to the world. We should feel good about those contributions.

Your Smile File will remind you of your passions and why it is important to find a job that keeps you happy, intrigued, and curious over a lifetime. Our brain wiring allows us to take a broader view of the world in many situations. This is why many individuals with ADHD are successful CEOs and entrepreneurs. They can see what customers need and give it to them.

When you look at the items in your Smile File, you see patterns and make connections that lead to great ideas or a career direction that uses your strengths. Your Smile File honestly portrays who you are and what is important to you in the world. It conveys your preferences in life. Perhaps it confirms why you might not have been happy in your past work.

[Free Resource: What to Ask Yourself to Find the Perfect Job]

After a few weeks of filling your Smile File with representations of your passions and mindset, look for clues to what your next life moves might be. Relish your accomplishments and build self-confidence. We are meant to do what we are truly drawn to. When we honor that, we can make decisions based on this truth, which is right there in your Smile File.

How to Create a Smile File

A Smile File is not an arts-and-crafts project. It is an ongoing representation of what matters to you. Find a “receptacle” that represents you. For some that might be a simple file folder. For others, it might mean a more elaborate portfolio or a fancy binder with plastic inserts or a scrapbook. If you enjoy crafting, go to town dressing up your Smile File. Otherwise, keep it simple! When your first receptacle is full, get started on the next. The trick is to remember to do it.

Schedule times on your calendar for adding to your Smile File at least once a month, more often if you prefer. The goal is that when you recall, see, or do something that engages your passion or makes you happy, you automatically think Smile File.

There are many uses for a Smile File. It can be a portfolio to show off your work to a potential client or employer. Make it a clear reminder why you are such a standout in the world. Maybe today, that is the only reason you need to create the Smile File.

[Squirrel Bingo: The Feel-Good Game Our Readers Love]

Make It a Family Affair

When you are in the flow of creating your Smile File, consider making it a family activity. You can imagine how a child’s Smile File will positively affect her life as she grows. It is not a scrapbook. It is a project that provides information and clues about where a child might be heading in the future. A Smile File teaches a child with ADHD to celebrate his or her awesomeness. That is a gift that lasts a lifetime.


What to Include in a Smile File

  • a letter of recommendation
  • a picture of you with someone special
  • an inspiring book, article, or poem you have read or written
  • a picture of a website you created
  • a poem or a story you love
  • anything you have created—photos of art, furniture, jewelry, home improvements that you designed
  • notes from people complimenting you or saying how cool you are
  • creative writing of any kind
  • notes from a speech or a workshop that you enjoyed
  • pictures of storefronts or nature that catch your eye.

[Closing the ADHD Confidence Gap]

Updated on July 29, 2019

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