Success and ADHD: A Different Definition


change routine

What is considered a success for people with ADHD is something that is routine for those who are not ADHD. Sometimes the simplest tasks and accomplishments are life changing for us. I’ve had to learn the hard way to redefine what successfully living with ADHD looks like. One of my biggest successes would be getting up early every morning (even on weekends), heading out the door on time, and arriving at my intended destination early. I can’t begin to tell you what an accomplishment this is every single time it happens. I will never stop celebrating this because I know that tardiness was one of my biggest flaws that needing changing. I now enjoy waking up before 5:30 a.m. every morning.

I read this article from Zoe Kessler, and I think it is a great challenge for those of us with ADHD to ask ourselves.

“After my diagnosis, I understood that I was working with a different brain and a highly sensitive nervous system. I also realized that the popularized notions of success were set by the dominant culture, in other words, by non-ADHD brains. I needed to find my own definition of success and ways to achieve it; otherwise, I’d be doomed to perpetually slam into mountains.

Climb your own mountain.
Climb your own mountain.

This is her quote that has strongly resonated with me, “Success in this case lies not in the eye of the beholder, but in the person who’s overcome invisible obstacles to achieve what might seem quite ordinary.” In that one sentence I found out what I had been doing wrong for so long. I had been trying to achieve society’s definition of success when instead, it would have been healthier for me to understand what success looks like in my ADHD life. I can now celebrate my successes and in doing so it enables me to reach the goals I have for my career choices, family life, personal life, and spiritual life.

All of God’s children, His creation, have a purpose on this earth. It is easy to look at your countless failures and non-achieved goals and incorrectly begin to believe that you cannot fulfill your purpose. Please know this, ADHD has not left you without spiritual gifts, talents, passions and your individual callings in life. God has not cheated us out of anything good.

As John Maxwell has explained in, Your Roadmap to Success, “Success is: knowing your purpose in life, growing to your maximum potential, sowing seeds that benefit others.” With ADHD, it’s those everyday small achievements that add up over time that allow you to have overall success in your life.


I highly recommend taking a few moments to read Zoe Kessler’s article and ponder the questions she has posed to readers.

-How do you define success?

-Is it a different definition (from our main stream culture’s)?

-What makes you feel successful?


Some words from Paul in 1 Corinthians 9:24-26

24Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize?Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air.