What I am really capable of…

…I’m capable of quite a bit actually, it’s just that some tasks are a better fit than others. As I progress in my journey of discovering the boundaries and frontiers of ADHD in my own life, I choose, more and more often, the better fit.

That means that I have to understand my options. It means I have to be willing to analyze them in relation to my own abilities. It means I have to accept not limitations exactly…but the consequences that may come from honoring, or not honoring my own strengths. It means I need to be honest with myself about those strengths (and some weaknesses) before the decision is ever made.

Many times in my ADHD life I have made decisions based on “well I CAN do that”. And it’s great to have a can-do attitude…but sometimes my can-do attitude pushes me to decisions that might not put me in a position of highlighting my strengths. I’ve had many jobs that I took because I could…many projects I’ve taken on because I could…now, I’m focusing on taking jobs, and projects that are really right for me…not ones I have to work to mold myself to.

A perfect example exists in the realm of librarianship (the degree I just finished in school is a library degree). I have a very analytical mind and am capable of being good at cataloging. If you are not a librarian and do not know what that means, all you need to know for the purposes of this post is that cataloging is an extremely detail-oriented and meticulous task. It also generally involves hours and hours and hours and hours and hours of sitting, without interacting with another human soul. I CAN do this. But let’s discuss my other options shall we, before making a decision…

…my analytical mind is also very good at problem-solving on the fly, interacting with people, teaching people how to find information, and being persistent in finding needles in haystacks. This is the art we call Reference Librarianship. Reference Librarians so not generally spend hours and hours and hours away from people. Their whole purpose is in fact TO INTERACT with people. I am an adult with ADHD for whom the hyperactive element is indeed, a hyperactive element.

It’s clear which choice I should make, in terms of placing myself in the realm of library tasks. Just because I am able to catalogue well does not mean I HAVE to do it, or even SHOULD do it. In fact, I probably shouldn’t do it at all, unless I really must.

This is the kind of decisions I think about a lot these days.

I’m thinking about it right now because unfortunately, my bookkeeper just took a full-time job and isn’t available to me for the sporadic tasks I generally ask her to do. And I’m under a bit of a deadline…I have a certain amount of bookkeeping I absolutely have to do sometime within the next 48 hours. I CAN do it. I’m capable of doing it. But it’s causing me a lot of anxiety and is difficult to focus on, and is rather playing to my weaknesses, shall we say. Yes, I said it…weaknesses. Can’t we call them something else? or shall I just accept that I have them…and find someone who can save me from this task next time it arises…sigh…yeah okay, let’s go with that plan…

I can’t be everything to everyone and I need to stop showing off for myself just to try to prove something…I’ve bought myself several years of miserable with that approach…


One thought on “What I am really capable of…

  1. I do this too. I tend to take on a lot more than I can handle claiming that I can do it all. I find it hard to tell the difference between wanting to do something because I can do it ( to prove that I can) or because I would like to do it, because I'm what I'm good at and it makes me happy. I don't know…

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