The realization was shocking in its intensity.
I literally bolted out of bed this morning to write it down: I avoid team projects and collaborations like the plague because of my ADD.
I’m spending the week in hot-hot-hot Scottsdale, AZ at the Breakthrough to Success seminar with author Jack Canfield. We’ve been working with a partner or in groups of three or four since we arrived three days ago. No problem at all for me. Our work was completed in the room the very same day.
But now, there is talk of collaborations with other participants that will mean long term commitments and continued contact. I can tell that I am already beginning to shut down. I return to my room during breaks instead of “networking” with other participants. I find myself growing shy instead of being outgoing and gregarious as I was at the beginning of the week.
I hate it. I want to participate. But I have had my fill of being the person with great ideas, lots of energy, optimism…and then as my time fills up or my interest wanes, becoming the person who is undependable, “flaky” or missing in action.
I know deep in my heart (or brain) that I will get 1) bored or 2)busy and then begin to miss deadlines or appointments. Then comes that sinking feeling of drowning in Too Much To Do. Followed closely by pin pricks of resentment that I “have to” go to that meeting or “promised I would” come up with a proposal by 5 pm on the 22nd.
I feel pushed around by my own choices. And that’s the weird part: I MADE the choice to join the team. Or I used to make that choice.
What I know about myself is that I am (truth time here) not a good team player. Men tend to be better than women on teams in part because of their participation on team sports. But my reluctance to commit to working with someone else is deeper than gender differences.
It’s the secret heart of an ADDiva.
I don’t want to disappoint my team members. I don’t start out a collaboration with the intention of slowing down the project or being late to meetings. But it sure turns out that way. Ooops…in the past, it has turned out that way. I can change my future, right?
OK, so how do I make this work? How do I create this differently?
I can choose carefully the people who are my partners and teammates. I can make sure they are people who can accommodate my wonderful and important style of participation.
I can be honest about my abilities: I can tell people that I am a great idea person but sometimes stumble on execution. If they don’t like that, it’s probably not a good fit.
I can be realistic about my time commitments.
I can take on small bites of the project instead of gorging on gigantic pieces (my usual M.O.)
I can check in regularly with myself and with other team members to see whether we’re still a good fit.
Moreover, I can look at my staggering list of commitments and decide NOT to be part of a new MasterMind team.
Whoa. I can take care of me. And be successful because of my ADD rather than in spite of it.
Guess what? You can too. Go for it!