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Can You Ever Have Too Much of a Good Thing?

September 13th, 2010 · No Comments

It is old hat to talk about information overload. We all acknowledge that most of us are in this state of overload just about most of the time. And we probably agree that for many of us overload gets translated quickly

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into overwhelm. So there is some irony in the fact that those of us in the ADHD community (clients and their families and ADD coaches} are guilty of adding to the overload with helpful tips on how to manage our ADHD.

As an ADHD coach who has ADHD herself, I

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can’t help but observe that our community is obsessed with fixing ourselves. At times it is exhausting just reading through the hundreds of lists of tips. One might have cause to wonder whether this propensity

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You might say,

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Mary, we need these tips and suggested practices. And I would whole heartedly agree. I guess I wish we could get a balance wherein we included topics which addressed the many other dimensions of our community other than how we need to fix this or that in order to function in our society.What about a more in-depth coverage of success stories? How did David Neeleman, CEO of Jet Blue Airlines get his act together and become one of our ADHD heroes. How about some specific examples of which strategies worked for him and why? What challenges does he continue to face? We all want to know the answers to these important questions, but in focusing on his ADHD to the exclusion of everything else that makes this man successful and interesting, are we diminishing him by boxing him into this one identity. Why not interview him and ask what plans does he have for his airline? How often do his kids get to fly free? Where does his family vacation? Does Jet Blue fly there? The questions are endless.Here is an example of how we color our news and our celebrities. Michael Phelps, the swimmer who has ADHD and who won 5 gold medals. The key word in that description is ADHD, at least it is for me. Perhaps, it is for you too.

Just a few days ago I was being interviewed by a reporter from a local paper. She asked me for some names of celebrities who have ADHD and I mentioned Phelps. I can’t tell you how surprised she was when I told her that he has ADHD. I wonder how many people in our ADHD community would be as surprised. To her he was a great Olympic champion. For us he was all of that, but he sticks in our minds because he has ADHD. Is it unfair to him for us to put him in a box. Perhaps Phelps would rather be known as the winner of 5 gold medals and not the guy with ADHD who won 5 gold medals. Maybe someone should ask him and not take for granted that he sees himself as the poster child for the ADHD community.

As we observe national ADHD awareness week, let’s remember that one of the reasons why many of us hesitate to disclose that we have ADHD is because we don’t want people to make assumptions about what we can and cannot do once they attach the ADHD label. Let’s observe ADHD Awareness Week by celebrating our uniqueness. Aren’t you continually aware when in a group of people with ADHD how different we all from one another. Yes, ADHD is manifested differently in each one of us but don’t our strengths and talents and our idiosyncracies make us truly unique. My goal this year is to provide places for people to showcase their talents and express themselves from that perspective. I would love to hear what you have done and plan to do that focuses on the positive attributes of the people in your life.

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