It’s not uncommon for some adults with ADD to lead fairly normal lives, everything going well and suddenly find themselves struggling with unfamiliar behaviors such as clutter and disorganization (mental and physical), uncommon tardiness (appointments and personal engagements, paying bills), and struggling to get things done.
I find this often to be the case of the adult with ADHD when they experience a significant change in life circumstances. Common life changes may include divorce, retirement from a successful career or a career change from a group business to self employment.
So, what is it that these changes have in common for adults with ADD? Let me first explain that many but not adults with ADD tend to lack the internal ability of self structure, routine and accountability. In fact, many of these adults commonly find structure, routine and accountability from external sources such as marriage/relationship or a structured work environment.
Most relationships have some degree of shared dreams and plans for their relationship. There is often a checks & balances system (formal or informal). Sometimes relationship roles are defined, sometimes not BUT the adult with ADD often (even without knowing it) frequently adapts to the routine and structure provided by the simple day to day aspects of relationship and family.
The work environment is another example because it often provides the structure of a specific time to show up for work and a time to end the work day. Most businesses have prescribed “Policies and Procedures” or protocol to follow. Most often there is a supervisor/manager or hierarchical structure of persons to ‘answer to’. However, it’s not uncommon for adults with ADD to dislike these environments because it tends to be linear – a prescribed way of doing things, do this, then this, then this and so on. When I coach adults with ADD they often respond with a facial grimace when I discuss the need for routine and structure in their life and work. It’s like my telling them they have to swallow a terribly distasting medicine.
Some work environments involve working with others but may still lack the routine and structure to help keep the ADHD person on task. Real Estate is an example of an environment in which the person is employed within a group but often times the realtor is essentially on their own. That’s not to say that there isn’t any routine or structure but a great deal is left to the individual realtor. Other examples would include independent contractors in construction, technology, computers, sales, and even network marketers.
Another challenge is the independent contractor or small business owner who is responsible for creating the business routines and structure for themselves AND their employees. The adult with ADD often thrives on spontaneity and change but what happens when they have to establish guidelines and procedures for their employees or worse yet, when employees find that the ADD employer/manager is constantly changing the guidelines and procedures?
As wonderful as we adults with ADD can be and regardless of our great intentions, and creative ideas, as a rule we are likely to demonstrate poor self management of both time and money (income & expenses). But wait, there is help!
Coaching Tips –
· Be truthful with yourself regarding your personal and business strengths & weaknesses
· Share responsibilities with others that possess strengths to support your weaknesses
· Create accountability to others –
o hire an accountant or bookkeeper;
o hire an assistant;
o consider using a personal or business coach;
o create an accountability buddy relationship with a friend, work colleague or other person.
o Create an effective personal and work related system of routine and structure.
· Ask for help. It could save your business and dramatically improve your life.
**Feel free to share your comments, your personal experiences and solutions