If you’re an adult with ADHD, then chances are that at some point in your life, you’ve felt that you’re not “living up to your potential.” What a lousy way to feel about yourself! This judgment often manifests itself when you take stock of all the great ideas you’ve had that have never gone anywhere, and all the unfinished projects that you’ve started but never completed.
The overwhelming number of things that you haven’t followed through on can lead you to believe that there is something wrong with you, that you’re not as good as the people around you, or that you’re not living up to your potential.
But I’d like you to consider an alternative viewpoint…
By nature, adults with ADHD are visionaries and idea generators. If only someone would pay us to think up great ideas all day long—we’d all be rich! But we get so many great ideas, and they come so frequently, that it would be absolutely impossible to follow through on every one of them.
Think about it: If you tried to implement every good idea you ever had, if you set into motion every project you ever thought about taking on… would you have time to eat, sleep, or even breathe right now? Probably not! But this doesn’t mean that you’re lazy, broken, or not living up to your potential.
Successful adults with ADHD know that they are always going to have great ideas that never come to fruition. And that’s okay. It’s just our nature to be constantly thinking, creating, and innovating. Many of us can’t shut off this part of ourselves even when we try. But we simply don’t have the physical or mental capability to follow through on every great idea we get, or every fantastic project we think of.
The key to feeling better about this is to realize that some things are actually worth following through on, and some are not. Let go of the guilt. Refuse to listen to that little voice in your head that tells you you’re lazy, just because you have too many good ideas to keep up with!
Don’t put pressure on yourself to do it all because that will only lead to overwhelm and burnout. Instead, ask yourself what’s practical to follow through on in the present. Not every great idea is appropriate to take action on right away. Some projects are better left on the shelf until the time is right, and some projects aren’t worth taking on at all. Keep a notebook in which you write down these great ideas and projects so that you can come back to them when—and if—you want to.
It’s also a good idea to journal about a few of your past great ideas or projects that you actually did follow through on. Let these be your motivation for moving forward. After all, it’s not that you’re incapable of following through on things, it’s just that you can’t possibly follow through on everything!
And don’t forget to acknowledge this special quality that you have. The ability to generate so many great ideas makes you a visionary!
Does this article ring true for you? Does it help you to let go of some guilt about unfinished projects or un-acted upon ideas? Tell us what you think in the comments!