Samantha left the security of home to find her way in the world. Her parents understood and believed in her. Like so many people with ADHD, she was smart and artistically gifted, but she needed assistance in pulling it all together. Even though they were thousands of miles away, they recommended and sponsored coaching.
Samantha’s daily life had fallen apart in the year-and-a-half prior to our meeting. She had moved 2,000 miles from where she had grown up, leaving her parents and immediate support network. Samantha was trying to establish her independent, adult life for the first time.
We began meeting when she was thirty-four years old. Samantha is intellectually gifted, has a Bachelor’s Degree and, as she described it, a “nearly completed” Master’s Degree. It’s not unusual for people dealing with AD/HD and other executive functioning challenges to have “nearly completed” many of the things they set out to do and truly want to accomplish.
When we met, Samantha was living in a tiny, roach-infested apartment in a less-than-desirable part of Los Angeles. It was all she was able to afford. In truth, she could not even afford that. Her parents were paying her bills so that she would not end up on the streets. Samantha and her parents had the foresight to understand that she needed to develop skills if she was to become independent. They sought coaching as a way to address Samantha’s needs.
Samantha is a gifted designer. Her goal was, and remains, to have her own, very successful business. Early in our relationship, Samantha realized she needed to pay her day-to-day bills before she could set up her own company. She understood that “food on the table and a roof over her head” were essential foundations upon which to build her business and her life.
Samantha had one big obstacle to getting, in her words, “a full time job.” “I can not get a full time job because as much as I try, I can not work forty hours a week or be somewhere at 9:00 every morning.” I told Sam about shift work, “Many businesses have flexible and/or changing schedules, many people work 2-10, 3-11, and other shifts that begin later in the day, many people do not work forty hours a week.” She lit up; Samantha had never known about anything other than the standard 9-5 workdays and forty-hour workweek.
Once aware of the possibility of finding a job in which she could work hours in harmony with her physical and mental alertness, we set about defining Samantha’s strengths, those things she gravitated to, enjoyed, was good at, and wanted to utilize and offer in her work.
In addition to her keen intelligence and flair for design, Samantha had strong skills in everything related to building and repairing houses. Yes, her skills ran the gamut! Initially, she considered having her own business as a handywoman, but realized early on that this presented her with the same challenges of beginning her design business. It lacked structure, a sense of community and steady income.
Though the idea initially took getting used to, Samantha decided to look for a job, something she had not previously considered with any seriousness. At first, locating jobs that utilized the skill set she wanted to offer and a schedule she was able to meet presented challenges. Though it took time, tenacity and courage, she set up and attended a series of job interviews. Some went better than others. She learned things about herself and the world of work with each experience. A few months down the road, Samantha found an excellent retail position using her skills.
Samantha has been at her job for over a year. She lives in a beautiful house with two roommates, works 36 hours a week and does work exchange for studio space where she works on her design business three nights every week.
With the support of her parents and her amazing tenacity, Samantha has firmly established her independent, adult life.