You Can Do Anything You Set Your Mind To

I’ve been planning to write publicly about my ADHD diagnosis for some time now. There are handful of blog posts sitting in my “drafts” here just waiting for me to take the plunge. [Update: I took the plunge. “I Have ADHD” is now up. More to come!]

What was I waiting for?

I don’t know. I think I wanted to plan a strategic roll-out of sorts. After all, making strategic marketing plans is pretty much what I do for a living.

But working on my own strategic plans has never panned out all that well.

Today, I was so frustrated looking at my current situation that I just took the leap. But rather than do it here on my own blog, I decided to post a thread to Twitter (linked above).

Here’s the full content of the thread. Obviously it was written with Twitter in mind. It would’ve turned out much differently if I’d intended it as a blog post:

“You can do anything you set your mind to.”

Inspiring words, until you realize that you haven’t been able to actually set your mind to anything long enough to “make it.”

I struggled with undiagnosed #ADHD until a little over a year ago. Discovering in your mid 40s that the primary reason you’ve had a long string of wins in life that each was followed by a lack of sufficient follow-through, some subtle (or huge) change in direction, or failure to execute on what you knew to do to translate a win into a sustainable success was that deep in your brain there was some problem with a neurotransmitter is simultaneously a relief and incredibly alarming.

How did I not know that my brain was screaming for help?!

No amount of self-discipline, willpower, mental toughness, or “grit” was able to overcome this seemingly simple dopamine issue.

But then you wake up one day and realize that decades of struggling against this unseen enemy has left you utterly worn out. You know you desperately need to take action to keep from losing everything you’ve worked so hard for, but it’s held together with string, chewing gum, and bits of duct tape.

And you know you need to put your mind to it, but trying to do that is exactly what got you here. You’ve painted yourself into yet another corner.

Some days I think I was better off not knowing about ADHD. At least before being diagnosed, I was able to carry on under the perpetually optimistic assumption that I’d always be able to find another rabbit to pull out of somewhere and string together another “win.”

Now I’m not so sure. I’m looking for rabbits and all I’m finding is evidence of the wreckage I’ve left in my wake. Projects started but not finished. Ideas I’ve pursued that didn’t quite pan out. Assumptions about my abilities that have turned out to not quite be true.

I’ve gotta make some things happen. But add in 1 piece of stress from an unexpected direction and I’m on the mat.

The #NeurodiverseSquad helps. Coaching helps. But I’m just not confident I can put my mind to it.

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