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The Devil's In The Details - Adult ADHD

It is amazing how things evolve. Circumstances from decisions play out in our lives. I’m turning sixty years old next month. Eight months ago, I ended my long and successful career by storming out of a meeting in tears. I couldn’t find my breath. The breath that was supposed to aide me in my most dire moment. All the training, reading, and practice to help keep it together when I felt out of control failed me. Every plausible emotion from anger to fear folded in on me. I am an adult with ADHD.

It is no longer the classroom that is dangerous territory. It is the boardroom. The land mines are still there to narrowly avoid…the bullies…the authority figures…the confinement of fitting in. It depends on the day. One day we are a master, the other, a bewildered child who must fake it to make it. We don’t want anyone to know we are not worthy or capable. We try harder to the point of breaking.

I can accomplish anything. I’m charming, clever, thoughtful. Some call it charismatic. I can start at the bottom and execute my way to the top at the speed of sound. I have convinced you I’m amazing. That is until I must deliver something besides overall results. I’m only there for the big picture. The rest is up to you. That is where I unwittingly fail…the details…and it terrifies me. Whoever said the devil’s in the details must have been ADHD.

I had a friend who told me I was the “tip” of an arrow and that I needed to be surrounded by the “feathers” to hit the target. Thom Hartmann in his bestselling book Attention Deficit Disorder: How to Succeed as a Hunter in a Farmer’s World calls people with ADHD ‘hunters.” Over many years, most modern humans adapted to farming cultures, but Hartmann speculates that people with ADHD retained some of the older hunter characteristics. That makes total sense to me. Constantly searching for the target, the game, the reward with such hyper-focus that all my energy is expelled in that act. Dressing and preparing the game is best left for the farmers. They will add a nice side-dish too.

I was surrounded by fellow hunters and the company would not provide the balance with much-needed farmers. The remarkable thing about successful hunters is they can often work efficiently in a team that has the same objective. A prime example is lionesses. They hunt in packs and each big cat identifies their job in the process to achieve their goal of food. They know the survival of their pride depends on everyone carrying out their part. What ethical hunters cannot understand is why the pride would work against itself. What is there to gain? It is distressing, and we don’t appreciate hurtful people. We take it personally. It hurts our brain and our hearts. We can’t remedy it.

I can look back on the circumstances that got me to this place that I am right now. I carefully navigated the war-zone like a ballet dancer. At least that’s what it looked like from the outside. I danced my way to the C-suite and then one day I just stopped. In a whirlwind of dysfunction, I just stopped. To save my soul.

I finally felt I did not need to convince anyone I was amazing. I was tired of hunting and delivering the food to the table by myself. It was exhausting. I have since convinced myself that I AM AMAZING, and my talents were needed elsewhere. If the devil is in the details, then I’m going to find a field full of farmers who desire a skilled hunter to balance out the village. ADHD is my gift.