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10 Things that Make People with ADHD Highly Successful

10 Things that Make People with ADHD Highly Successful

What have Richard Branson, Ty Pennington, Katherine Ellison, Paris Hilton, and Solange Knowles all got in common? They all have ADHD and they have been very successful. It has not always been easy for them as they have had to cope with hyperactivity, short attention span and the side effects of medication. But ADHD does have quite a few benefits which are rarely talked about. With the right guidance, these weaknesses can be transformed into strengths. People with ADHD have a lot going for them. Let us look at 10 things which actually help them to be successful.

1. They have enormous energy.

One of the typical symptoms of a person with ADHD is that they are always on-the-go, have boundless energy and are hyperactive. Michael Phelps, the great Olympic swimmer who holds 13 world records, has ADHD and is an inspiring example. Once he discovered swimming as an outlet for his astonishing energy, he was able to use that to to develop his athletic talents and become a world champion. Adam Kreek who won a gold medal at the Beijing Games talks of a similar experience. He says that once a child with ADHD is encouraged to follow a sport of his choice, then anybody with ADHD can use their incredible energy to help them overcome some of the difficulties associated with this disorder.

2. They can hyperfocus with great results.

One of the characteristics of ADHD is that you can remain hyperfocused on a task which you find stimulating and rewarding. Lots of kids with ADHD are brilliant at computer games, for example. Michael Phelps was able to use that with great effect when training. Other people too have had great success when taking advantage of this great benefit because they were able to exploit it. The secret is to harness this ability and channel it in the right direction.

3. They know how to exploit their creativity.

Many people with ADHD display remarkable creativity which shows itself in amazing talent in drawing, music, dance, and many more creative activities. Problems arise when this creativity is not recognized because there is far too much emphasis on being organized. What a pity!  When this talent is developed, many ADHDers go on to pursue careers in writing, marketing, performing arts and architecture. Examples such as Frank Lloyd Wright spring to mind. Another inspiring example is Albert Einstein who also had ADHD and used his creative mind to revolutionize Physics.

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“When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than my talent for absorbing positive knowledge.” – Albert Eisntein

4. They want to solve problems.

A person with ADHD often thrives on problem solving and can find a solution intuitively which will leave the rest of us scratching our heads. This makes them ideal leaders in politics and in business. The founder of JetBlue, David Neeleman, is an excellent example. He claims that it is his ADHD which has helped him a lot. He summed it up perfectly:

“I can distill complicated facts and come up with simple solutions. I can look out on an industry with all kinds of problems and say, ‘How can I do this better?’ My ADD brain naturally searches for better ways of doing things.” – David Neeleman

5. They are prepared to take risks.

One of the symptoms of ADHD is impulsivity and taking risks without thinking of the consequences. If this takes over, it can create problems in relationships and when driving. But it can, when used well, lead to innovation in business, the arts and science. We only need to think of Ingvar Kamprad, the founder of IKEA who was prepared to risk creating flat-pack products which would be assembled by the customers themselves. It was risky but it worked. This is often typical of the person with ADHD who will take action on an opportunity while the rest if us stand around analysing to death the risks.

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6. They love to multi-task.

ADHD people love to multi-task because they actually enjoy flitting from one task to another. Their attention span is so short that this is perfectly natural for them. Doing a secondary activity such as doodling, fidgeting or doing some mindless task actually forces the brain to stay on track for the main task.

“To do ANYTHING, I have to multitask. In fact, as I’m typing this, I’m drinking coffee and talking on the phone! It’s like if my brain doesn’t have enough stimulation, then I’m comatose.” – Quote from an adult with ADHD

Many entrepreneurs who suffer from ADHD have been successful in start-ups where juggling so many things is actually the best way of doing such a complex job. There is no one else to do the work at the beginning so it is perfect for ADHD multi-taskers.

7. They will not give up very easily.

Society demands that deadlines are met and people are focused. People with ADHD have difficulty meeting these demands but they have one quality which can often put the orderly ones in the shade. They really excel at sticking it out although some people might say they are stubborn. But persistence is a quality that ADHDers have in abundance and it can really help them to succeed. A great example is Dustin Hoffman who had ADHD:

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“In my room as a kid…. I’d play a fighter and get knocked top the floor and come back to win.”- Dustin Hoffman

8. They thrive on support and encouragement.

With the right support, people with ADHD can thrive. A good example is Paul Orfalea, founder of Kinko’s. He remarked that ADHD lets him think of great projects and he gets people to handle the day to day practical details.

All too often, ADHDers are put in the back seat and rarely learn as they are being disciplined all the time. What a pity teachers cannot channel the talents of ADHD kids because they can often bring joy and enthusiasm to learning. Too often, kids with ADHD are made to feel as if they are different. Ty Pennington has said that when he went out on his own he started to build up his confidence. Finally, the ADHD label was forgotten and he was able to display his talents.

9. They are sensitive and caring.

It may come as a surprise but 75% of people’s success will depend on their emotional intelligence and how empathic they are. The other 25% is made up of actual skills and qualifications. ADHD people tend to be hypersensitive in both the emotional and physical sense. This can mean over reaction at times. The good news is that such sensitivity makes you a better person to work and live with so, if you have ADHD, you should always keep that in mind. The secret is to stay connected. A wonderful example is Dr. E. Hallowell who has ADHD and is now regarded as a worldwide expert on this disorder:

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“Never before has it been so easy to stay in touch with so many people electronically, but rarely has it seemed so difficult to maintain genuine human closeness.”.- Dr. Edward Hallowell

10. They are enjoyable and funny.

Laughter helps to reduce tension and stress in the home or office. This is where many kids and adults with ADHD come into their own. They have a playful sense of humor and this is an asset they should be proud of. They are the ones that can lighten the general mood and remind everyone around them that life is a lot more than doom and gloom. The famous actor Will Smith has ADHD and once described himself as “the fun one who had trouble paying attention.”

So, lots of upbeat news and views about the benefits of having ADHD, in spite of the negative press.

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on December 4, 2020

How to Give Constructive Feedback in the Workplace

How to Give Constructive Feedback in the Workplace

We all crave constructive feedback. We want to know not just what we’re doing well but also what we could be doing better.

However, giving and getting constructive feedback isn’t just some feel-good exercise. In the workplace, it’s part and parcel of how companies grow.

Let’s take a closer look.

Why Constructive Feedback Is Critical

A culture of feedback benefits individuals on a team and the team itself. Constructive feedback has the following effects:

Builds Workers’ Skills

Think about the last time you made a mistake. Did you come away from it feeling attacked—a key marker of destructive feedback—or did you feel like you learned something new?

Every time a team member learns something, they become more valuable to the business. The range of tasks they can tackle increases. Over time, they make fewer mistakes, require less supervision, and become more willing to ask for help.

Boosts Employee Loyalty

Constructive feedback is a two-way street. Employees want to receive it, but they also want the feedback they give to be taken seriously.

If employees see their constructive feedback ignored, they may take it to mean they aren’t a valued part of the team. Nine in ten employees say they’d be more likely to stick with a company that takes and acts on their feedback.[1]

Strengthens Team Bonds

Without trust, teams cannot function. Constructive feedback builds trust because it shows that the giver of the feedback cares about the success of the recipient.

However, for constructive feedback to work its magic, both sides have to assume good intentions. Those giving the feedback must genuinely want to help, and those getting it has to assume that the goal is to build them up rather than to tear them down.

Promotes Mentorship

There’s nothing wrong with a single round of constructive feedback. But when it really makes a difference is when it’s repeated—continuous, constructive feedback is the bread and butter of mentorship.

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Be the change you want to see on your team. Give constructive feedback often and authentically, and others will naturally start to see you as a mentor.

Clearly, constructive feedback is something most teams could use more of. But how do you actually give it?

How to Give Constructive Feedback

Giving constructive feedback is tricky. Get it wrong, and your message might fall on deaf ears. Get it really wrong, and you could sow distrust or create tension across the entire team.

Here are ways to give constructive feedback properly:

1. Listen First

Often, what you perceive as a mistake is a decision someone made for a good reason. Listening is the key to effective communication.

Seek to understand: how did the other person arrive at her choice or action?

You could say:

  • “Help me understand your thought process.”
  • “What led you to take that step?”
  • “What’s your perspective?”

2. Lead With a Compliment

In school, you might have heard it called the “sandwich method”: Before (and ideally, after) giving difficult feedback, share a compliment. That signals to the recipient that you value their work.

You could say:

  • “Great design. Can we see it with a different font?”
  • “Good thinking. What if we tried this?”

3. Address the Wider Team

Sometimes, constructive feedback is best given indirectly. If your comment could benefit others on the team, or if the person whom you’re really speaking to might take it the wrong way, try communicating your feedback in a group setting.

You could say:

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  • “Let’s think through this together.”
  • “I want everyone to see . . .”

4. Ask How You Can Help

When you’re on a team, you’re all in it together. When a mistake happens, you have to realize that everyone—not just the person who made it—has a role in fixing it. Give constructive feedback in a way that recognizes this dynamic.

You could say:

  • “What can I do to support you?”
  • “How can I make your life easier?
  • “Is there something I could do better?”

5. Give Examples

To be useful, constructive feedback needs to be concrete. Illustrate your advice by pointing to an ideal.

What should the end result look like? Who has the process down pat?

You could say:

  • “I wanted to show you . . .”
  • “This is what I’d like yours to look like.”
  • “This is a perfect example.”
  • “My ideal is . . .”

6. Be Empathetic

Even when there’s trust in a team, mistakes can be embarrassing. Lessons can be hard to swallow. Constructive feedback is more likely to be taken to heart when it’s accompanied by empathy.

You could say:

  • “I know it’s hard to hear.”
  • “I understand.”
  • “I’m sorry.”

7. Smile

Management consultancies like Credera teach that communication is a combination of the content, delivery, and presentation.[2] When giving constructive feedback, make sure your body language is as positive as your message. Your smile is one of your best tools for getting constructive feedback to connect.

8. Be Grateful

When you’re frustrated about a mistake, it can be tough to see the silver lining. But you don’t have to look that hard. Every constructive feedback session is a chance for the team to get better and grow closer.

You could say:

  • “I’m glad you brought this up.”
  • “We all learned an important lesson.”
  • “I love improving as a team.”

9. Avoid Accusations

Giving tough feedback without losing your cool is one of the toughest parts of working with others. Great leaders and project managers get upset at the mistake, not the person who made it.[3]

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You could say:

  • “We all make mistakes.”
  • “I know you did your best.”
  • “I don’t hold it against you.”

10. Take Responsibility

More often than not, mistakes are made because of miscommunications Recognize your own role in them.

Could you have been clearer in your directions? Did you set the other person up for success?

You could say:

  • “I should have . . .”
  • “Next time, I’ll . . .”

11. Time it Right

Constructive feedback shouldn’t catch people off guard. Don’t give it while everyone is packing up to leave work. Don’t interrupt a good lunch conversation.

If in doubt, ask the person to whom you’re giving feedback to schedule the session themselves. Encourage them to choose a time when they’ll be able to focus on the conversation rather than their next task.

12. Use Their Name

When you hear your name, your ears naturally perk up. Use that when giving constructive feedback. Just remember that constructive feedback should be personalized, not personal.

You could say:

  • “Bob, I wanted to chat through . . .”
  • “Does that make sense, Jesse?”

13. Suggest, Don’t Order

When you give constructive feedback, it’s important not to be adversarial. The very act of giving feedback recognizes that the person who made the mistake had a choice—and when the situation comes up again, they’ll be able to choose differently.

You could say:

  • “Next time, I suggest . . .”
  • “Try it this way.”
  • “Are you on board with that?”

14. Be Brief

Even when given empathetically, constructive feedback can be uncomfortable to receive. Get your message across, make sure there are no hard feelings, and move on.

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One exception? If the feedback isn’t understood, make clear that you have plenty of time for questions. Rushing through what’s clearly an open conversation is disrespectful and discouraging.

15. Follow Up

Not all lessons are learned immediately. After giving a member of your team constructive feedback, follow it up with an email. Make sure you’re just as respectful and helpful in your written feedback as you are on your verbal communication.

You could say:

  • “I wanted to recap . . .”
  • “Thanks for chatting with me about . . .”
  • “Did that make sense?”

16. Expect Improvement

Although you should always deliver constructive feedback in a supportive manner, you should also expect to see it implemented. If it’s a long-term issue, set milestones.

By what date would you like to see what sort of improvement? How will you measure that improvement?

You could say:

  • “I’d like to see you . . .”
  • “Let’s check back in after . . .”
  • “I’m expecting you to . . .”
  • “Let’s make a dent in that by . . .”

17. Give Second Chances

Giving feedback, no matter how constructive, is a waste of time if you don’t provide an opportunity to implement it. Don’t set up a “gotcha” moment, but do tap the recipient of your feedback next time a similar task comes up.

You could say:

  • “I know you’ll rock it next time.”
  • “I’d love to see you try again.”
  • “Let’s give it another go.”

Final Thoughts

Constructive feedback is not an easy nut to crack. If you don’t give it well, then maybe it’s time to get some. Never be afraid to ask.

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Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

Reference

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