10 ADD Trailblazers Share Their Biggest Assets

It’s no secret that I am a big fan of ADDers. Truth be told, I am a big fan of people in general, but those who dare to be a little different are certainly my favourite kind. The Art of ADD has one modus operandi – to help people find strengths in their differences. So for this post, I have rounded-up some expert insights from trailblazers of the ADD world, asking them this question:

“What is one ADHD trait you have learned to use to your advantage or that you believe serves you well in life?”


Terry Matlen

I’d have to say that being bored easily and being easily distracted has helped me. It has offered me the path to creative thinking and to pursue creative activities. In my ADHD related work, I do many different things to help people: writing (book, blogs, articles, etc.), consulting, coming up with various projects, ie group coaching, newsletters…the list goes on.

For my non-ADHD related work/activities, I’ve found that those two ADHD traits (distracted and easily bored) have given me the ability to be creative in other areas. I’m an accomplished artist and an amateur musician.

So…I am *never* bored because I cannot tolerate BEING bored. My energy then becomes a creative force that allows me to do all these different things.

Terry Matlen is the Author of Survival Tips for Women with ADHD and Director of, and Reach her at

Sari Solden

My ability to create even in chaos and work through confusion till I get to the place where I am calm, focused and strong.

Sari Solden is the author of Women With Attention Deficit Disorder and Journeys Through ADDulthood. A psychotherapist with ADD herself, Sari has worked with individuals and families affected by ADD for over 25 years. Find her at


Rick Green

Hyper-focus. At one point in my career I was co-writing, co-starring and directing The Red Green show (all 24 episodes of the season) and that same year I was writing and hosting 30 episodes of my science-fiction/comics/horror series Prisoners of Gravity. In my spare time, I ate food and tried to squeeze in a bath.

Rick Green is a Canadian comedian, writer, and producer of ADD & Loving It?! and ADD & Mastering It! He is also the co-author of ADD Stole My Car Keys and founder of

Zoe Kessler


By definition, ADHD brains think differently. An ADHD mind is the perfect incubator for creativity: for seeing connections where others wouldn’t; for interpreting things in fresh ways; and for creating humour in any situation. The latter ability has served me, and helped me to serve others, more times than I can count. Most importantly, it’s a healing balm that can be applied in life’s toughest moments. And for that, I am deeply grateful.

Zoe is the author of the blog ADHD from A to Zoë. You can also find her at,, and

Laurie Dupar

One ADHD trait that I have used to my advantage in my professional success is creativity. Not necessarily creativity in the artistic sense, although I am quite a crafty person and enjoy this part of my ADHD in my hobbies and personal interests, but in the sense of always being able to create new innovative solutions and possibilities for my clients to better manage their ADHD. Creativity in thinking of new ideas or ways to serve and meet the needs of the community of ADHD. Creativity and out of the box thinking in discovering better ways to manage some of my own challenges. With ADHD, I firmly believe creativity reigns supreme!

Laurie Dupar, PMHNP, RN, PCC has been a Certified ADHD Coach for over nine years. She has been the host of the Succeed With ADHD Telesummit in 2011 and 2012, and is author of 365 Ways to Succeed With ADHD. Find her at and


Alan Brown (ADD Crusher)

As an advertising executive and entrepreneur, I use my ADHD mind to brainstorm new ideas and creatively problem-solve. Linear-thinking, NON-ADDers can’t do what we right-brained, LATERAL-thinking ADDers can do – which is the synaptic thinking leveraged by inventors, artists and business pioneers. Yay us!!

Alan Brown, a struggling exec until diagnosed, crafted the success strategies in ADD Crusher™ videos — interactive tools helping ADDers live to their potential. Check out!

Marilyn Strong

The one ADHD trait that I have learned to use to my advantage is procrastination combined with a ‘gut feeling’.

Over the years I have procrastinated about nearly everything. Eventually I may get ‘to it’ by hyperfocusing, fueling up on adrenalin and caffeine and then crashing when the task or project is done. I’m much better now, working in smaller ‘bites’, taking deep breaths and planning all sorts of fantastic rewards when I accomplish a task or project. There are still times though when, technically, I’m procrastinating but in reality I’m not.

You see, I’ve discovered that if I’m procrastinating and I recognize that I’m procrastinating and there doesn’t seem to be a logical reason for procrastinating, and when I attempt the project or task it just doesn’t go together well, there still is a reason – albeit not a ‘logical reason’. Instead, it’s a gut feeling I get that tells me to wait. In this case, waiting is not procrastinating. Waiting is waiting for the right moment or the right timing or the right resources to come along. More times than not that waiting has saved me energy, time and money!

I can feel and tell the difference between procrastinating and my gut telling me to wait. And I have enough integrity to determine if that ‘gut feeling’ is real or imagined and to make sure I either plow through the task or project or recognize it’s truly a ‘wait’ time.

In spite of her ADD/ADHD Marilyn Strong, BA, MBA is an award winning newspaper publisher, successful business and marketing strategist and best selling author. In her book, “Getting Paid to Pay Attention”, Marilyn shares the strategies and action plans that will help struggling solo entrepreneurs and small business owners with ADD/ADHD end their procrastination, avoid distraction and conquer hyper-focus tendencies and become successful in their own businesses. Marilyn can be found at


Karen O’Donnell

I find that the hyperfocus aspect of ADD really, really works for me. In my work, I am required to get many things done very quickly and it seems at times, all at the same time. I have learned over the years that instead of panicking I seem to be able to switch into “hyperfocus” mode and the world around me falls into the background until I get what I need to get done!….This has taken a lot of practice however. The down side is turning it off!….which is where the practice really comes in. As we know, our biggest strengths can also be our weakness if we are not fully aware of how to use our abilities to our advantage. I am very thankful for this ADD trait of hyperfocus as it truly assists me in my work each and every day.

Karen O’Donnell is the founder of the production company Wordshop Productions and the producer of the ADHD documentaries Odd Kid Out and A Mind Like Mine. Check her out at


Stephanie Sarkis

I believe that my ability to connect with people, particularly those with ADHD, has allowed me to help people who are facing life’s challenges.

Stephanie Sarkis PhD NCC LMHC is a Psychotherapist, coach, and author of books on adult ADHD, including 10 Simple Solutions to Adult ADD. Her website is


Jonathan Chesner

Having an overactive mind. I’m always thinking up new ideas and different ways of doing stuff!

Jonathan Chesner is the author of ADHD in HD: Brains Gone Wild. Find him at and


I want to thank everyone for sharing their experiences and “insider information”, and for taking a chance to share it with me before The Art of ADD was even live. It is because of ADDers like this – who are so willing to share – that the rest of us can open ourselves up to our strengths too. A special thanks also goes out to Zoe Kessler, who was a great support in helping me connect with some REALLY GREAT ADDERS! Thanks all!

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9 comments on “10 ADD Trailblazers Share Their Biggest Assets

  1. The greatest characteristic I find among my fellow ADD/ADHD peeps is the genuine willingness to help and encourage one another. It helps that we seem to have a tribal language.

    1. I couldn’t agree with you more Becker. I have said it many times, but finding my peeps was the greatest thing I ever did for my ADHD. It was like a long drink of water after a trek through the Sahara – finding people who understood me and who I could relate to quenched my soul in a way that nothing else could. Thank you for your comment and for being part of the tribe!

  2. You’ve got to be kidding. The only truly creative person I see here is Rick Green.

    “Creativity” is not another word for chaos and disorganization.

    People with ADHD are not more creative than other humans.

    This kind of self-congratulatory delusion makes a mockery of ADHD.


    1. You are certainly welcome to your opinion, and I would totally agree with you that Rick Green is wonderfully creative. But as to whether or not the others are is not the point. Creativity is subjective, as is art. No one said that creativity = chaos, and I might add that not every ADDer’s life is chaos. I don’t think any person that contributed to this post has, or ever would, make a mockery out of ADHD. If you doubt that, then you should check out their website and learn more about them. I am sorry that you feel the way you do, but frankly you sound a bit jaded.

  3. Thanks so much Andrea, for the opportunity to share along with some of my ADHD heroes. Definitely some patterns in here, making it all the more accessible, valuable advice to our unique tribe. Will share with the Crusher community…Bless!

    1. Thanks Alan – we are part of a unique and exciting tribe and, I am learning, a very caring and generous one too. Thanks for your input on this project and for sharing with your Crushers!

  4. Hi Andrea.

    I’m so excited to be part of your roundup post! What a stellar and multi-faceted group of ADDers you’ve chosen. I’m proud to be amongst them, and grateful that I’ve personally benefited from the expertise of each one of them; have been blessed through collaborating with some; and am honoured to count several amongst them as friend.

    I hope to do more with this eclectic, talented group in the future, and thank you for your contributions to the field also!

    Thanks for the uplifting post, it was a joy to read!

    Zoë Kessler, B.A., B.Ed.

    1. Thanks Zoe, for your comments and contribution. I am honoured to have had such wonderful ADDers, including yourself, contribute to this post. I`m glad you enjoyed it, it was certainly fun to put together!

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