ADHD / ADHD and the Workplace / Adult ADHD

Adult ADHD: The Limitations of Impulse

I am in the middle of major transformation right now.

Nearly a year ago I said goodbye to my “desk job”. That is, I left the world of working for someone else, 40 hours (or more)/week, at their place of business, and granted myself permission to  be my own boss.

No reason. Just an awesome pumpkin from our yard.

No reason. Just an awesome pumpkin from our yard.

The hallmark of the near-year since then, is that nothing turned out the way I expected it to.

On the day I left that desk-job, I had lined up multiple freelance projects, enough to, within a short period of time, entirely replace the assured income I was leaving behind. Within two months of that day, all but one of those freelance projects had completely fallen through. I am still working at one of them…but even there, the scenario there has been one of constant transition and I’m not sure where it’s headed.

Then of course, there are my two businesses. The whole point of the freelance gigs is to tide me over while these are grown. One of them is a creative business that I started in 2004 and ran strong, part-time, until I got to my last year of grad school – when I simply couldn’t juggle the growing small business and the degree-in-progress simultaneously anymore. So that one’s been on the back burner for about three years. The second business is actually an extension of the creative business, where I have been producing a weekly event 20-25 weeks/year and doing related marketing consultation (the freelance piece actually falls under that umbrella). I just went back and re-read this paragraph and yes, I realize this sounds like the kind of crazy to-do pile an ADHDer would try to pull off, and you’re right. I’ve had a lot of time in the past year to think this over and came to the conclusion, after much reflection, that I am simply not happy with one project. I know this, and I’ve decided that it’s okay. I am, however, now able to keep myself from having…8 projects. There’s the progress.

Anyway – in the course of working to grow each of these two businesses, I have encountered the same issue this year, that I did with the stop-gap freelance gigs: Nothing lining up. Pursuing leads and having them go belly up. Every last detail being difficult to execute.

This isn’t what I am used to. I’m not opposed to working hard, I’m just not used to nothing working! It’s been exhausting. It feels precarious. I have struggled to determine what next steps to take, because none of them seem to work.

I wonder what I’m doing wrong. I remind myself that the economy is a challenging one. But then I remind myself too, that a down economy can actually be a great time to try something new, if you are willing to stick with it.

I have come back, many times, to the question “what the fuck am I doing?”.

I swear I made the right choice. I swear this is the direction I’m supposed to be going.

I tell myself, over and over, that things happen when and where they do for a reason, and that it’s arrogant to assume that I’m not right where I ought to be, at the right moment.

I remind myself that everything is right in the Universe. That the only thing I can do is move forward in any small way that I can, and to enjoy the moment while I do it.

And so I do.

But I remain baffled. And occasionally frustrated.

I cannot go back, so I must move forward.

I used to move forward on impulse and I was satisfied with being a useful cog in someone else’s wheel. Heeding the call of impulse often brought me to jobs that I was intellectually overqualified for, and where, ironically, I was often organizing other people and managing details for them. But as any ADHDer knows, when you don’t care, it’s all over. And I don’t care to manage other people’s details and businesses for them anymore.

I cannot go back, but progress is slow. I guess it’s still progress though, right? I’m holding onto that nugget and surprisingly, it makes me feel more positive. More motivated. More quietly determined to stick with my plan and see it through.




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