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Adult ADD: Are You A "Fire" Fighter?

 In business, we refer to the word "fires," a lot of times. These are “fires that happen,” not literal fires, but things that need to be taken care of. A fire could anything that someone else thinks is really important and they come to you, and try to throw it on you as your problem because when you have ADD, you're probably good at putting fires out.

You may say, “Oh, let me go take care of that” because when you have ADD, you have a tendency to want to control things. But you can find people that will work for you to put out fires, to take care of interruptions. Stop your ADD brain from the fear of losing control. There are wonderful people out there that specialize in taking care of certain types of problems. Though your ADD may tell you that you need to be on top of everything, you don't.

Here's an example: If you regularly run into unexpected technological problems in your business, perhaps you have found a few people that are very good at responding, at lightning speed, and fixing any problems that you might run into with any of your websites. But maybe they’re not particularly good at keeping ahead of those problems on their own, given their own devices. If you just say, “Here, monitor this and make sure it stays okay,” they may not be good at that. If a problem goes unnoticed, it just causes a bigger problem. You still have to manage your delegates, so you can put your ADD mind at ease. Even when you delegate tasks, you are still in control.

Putting out fires is a symptom of systems--or a lack of them--and it's that ADD fear of losing control. Even if you have people working for you, that doesn’t mean you don’t have to manage whatever the task is, stuff still happens. Some of the people that are best at putting out fires actually are ADD types. People with ADD are good at switching gears. People with ADD are good at changing directions. And though some would call it "being distracted," people with ADD are good at allowing their minds to switch from one thing to another and taking care of something when it needs to be taken care of.

Most ADD people try to go one way or the other. Some have extremely strict policies about when they’re going to make appointments, how they’re going to do it, and are very strict, which allows for zero flexibility. Their ADD has them terrified of losing control. Yet, if something comes up, they’re in trouble. Rigidity can cause a lot of anxiety.

Or, it flips to the other side of, “Oh I guess I’ll just look at this open calendar for the week, and whatever comes up, comes up.” While that’s not what people say consciously, that’s generally what they tend to do. It's one end of the pendulum to the other.

But you don't have to be that rigid to control your ADD. You can have a flexible calendar. You can get all these things in. You can have the fires as they come up, if you need to, and you can deal with some of these things and manage your ADD.

It’s all about expectation--what other people are expecting of you. If you are always available to put out fires and your ADD has you always wanting to be in control, then people will expect you to always be available to put out fires. “Oh my gosh, We’ve got to pay this bill right away! Oh my gosh, we’re running out of money! Oh my gosh, a customer’s calling and they’re upset. Oh my gosh, we have to do this refund.”

You may have to put up a sign that says, “Use your own brain, mine’s busy.” If you don’t have people that are coming in, you still have phone interruptions, and fires, and so on. It’s about NOT setting the expectation. If you don't set people up to expect things from you, they won't.

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