ADHD and finding a job you love.

adhd and career


Work on your mindset 

It is estimated that those with ADHD receive 20,000 more negative messages by age 10 than positive messages.

It's hard to envision a career path when you feel bad about yourself, don't know yourself well, and lack confidence in yourself.

  • It's no wonder Most ADHD women struggle with the confidence to begin charting a path to a career. They believe that there is something wrong with them; how can they start this journey?

Beginning a career path requires confidence, goal setting, determination. That's tough when you have a history of not trusting yourself. It's understandable, though. Everyone who has tried to "help you" has been focused on your problems ( if you've got help). Most professionals view ADHD from a deficit-based model, but what if we tried to view ADHD from a positive or strength-based model? ADHD women have tons of them. Edward Hallowell , a doctor who treats ADHD and struggles with it himself, is known for taking this approach. It's important to see your symptoms as more positive than negative to do this work.

  • Mirror Traits.  Hallowell created the concept of Mirror Traits. For instance, "Hyperactive" also can be thought of as "energetic and in the workplace often does translate that way. He also reframes creativity as impulsivity gone

    Dr. Hallowell is a deeply loving and inspirational man who has taught and treated many ADHDers. 
    If you can track down a video of him speaking or see him or person or find a podcast, I highly recommend it. If your mindset requires some help, before you do anything, first start the hard work of reframing their ADHD symptoms.

Know what matters to you 

As an ADHD woman, It's more important for you than other people to be interested in their jobs. Women with ADHD struggle with motivation and attention when they are bored. However, you will thrive when it is work that you are interested in and enjoy. It would help for you to have a career that you can be absorbed in, excel at, and value. The problem is, you may have spent so much time trying to please everyone else and or thinking you aren't good enough that you might not know who you are. All of the negative messages, shaming, and criticism may have brought you far from the essence of what you enjoy, what you are good at, and who you are as a person. You may need help relearning what is important to you, what you are good at, and what you love.

Here are three tools you can use to help yourself on your journey to finding a career you love 


Values are who you are at your core. Your deepest sense of what is important to you. I use values to work with all of my clients, and it is a central tool in acceptance and commitment therapy which I often use in my therapy practice. As we move through life, negative messages, fear, anxiety, and depression move us away from who we are, and we start making decisions based on other things than who we truly want to be as people. Values exercises can help us get back in touch with who we truly are deep down. Here are two tools I use with my clients.

Values Inventory

Values Essays

Character strengths  

Edward Hallowell, M.D., Ed.D., writes, "Ignoring strengths tends to extinguish them, or at best, not develop them." Knowing your strengths can really help you match them to a career you would be using the best.  

This website offers you a free analysis of your top strengths universal across cultures and nations. It has several articles about strengths and has some even more sophisticated analysis for a small fee. This site is used by many career coaches, especially those who work with ADHD.

According to the site knowing your strengths can: 

    • Improve your relationships 
    • Enhance  health and overall wellbeing.
    • Buffer against, manage and overcome problems


 What did you love as a child?

Still, stuck? Tracy Otsuka, a career coach who works with ADD women, suggests if your think back to what you loved doing as a child and a teen, you can begin to remember things that you loved doing that you may have forgotten about. Did you love to garden or paint or play with the dogs? This may be the key to the direction you need to look in for your career. Whatever you choose, remember ADHD women need to be interested, challenged, and happy in their careers. Each has special characteristics that they can capitalize on and will be an asset to the right job. In my work with ADHD women, I also find that having a supportive work environment with a manager that understands your strengths is essential for adhd women. Of course many women with ADHD are entrepreneurs, which is often the best fit.


Womenpalooza 2021 with Tracy Otsuka. Answering that What should I do with my Life? Question for ADHD Women


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Medical information obtained from this website is not intended as a substitute for professional care. If you have or suspect you have a problem, you should consult a healthcare provider.