Gifted & Talented Overview –A Checklist for Driven, High Performing, Creative, Often Anxious, Adults


In my experience as a creative professional, entrepreneur, and licensed counselor, many of my colleagues and clients are gifted, but they usually have no idea. Why does this matter? Because it can sometimes explain so very much about how they navigate the world. Gifted adults are often highly sensitive, incredibly fast, driven, high-performing people who always felt a bit different. This can result in remarkable achievement, and it can also result in all sorts of variations of anxiety. Better understanding your neurological makeup can help you find missed diagnoses or correct a misdiagnoses.

Also in my experience, many gifted people become entrepreneurs, and this really, really matters. In their work, "Are Entrepreneurs 'Touched with Fire'?" Dr. Michael Freeman et. al shared the following:

  • 72% of entrepreneurs suffer from one or more mental health issues
  • 58% of entrepreneurs report feelings related to Imposter Syndrome
  • Entrepreneurs are 3X more likely to suffer from depression, anxiety, stress, and fear
  • Entrepreneurs are 6X more likely to suffer from ADHD
  • Entrepreneurs are 3X more likely to suffer from substance abuse
  • Entrepreneurs are 10X more likely to suffer from bipolar disorder

Gifted Checklist

Giftedness can be tricky to discern. Is it anxiety or sensitivity? Or both (twice exceptionality)? Is it boredom? Is it burnout or a poor fit? Here are some tools to discern whether or not giftedness is at play:

You might be gifted if...

  • You had large vocabularies and complex sentence structure for your age.
  • Longer attention span; but possibly inconsistent.
  • Intensity and sensitivity.
  • Wide range of interests.
  • You seem to be able to take in, and remember, more about more.
  • You're highly curiosity and have an interest in experimenting and doing things differently.
  • Divergent thinking and a tendency to put ideas or things together in ways that are unusual, not obvious, and creative.
  • Able to learn basic skills more quickly, with less practice.
  • Largely taught yourself to read and write as preschoolers.
  • Able to retain much information; unusual memory. Had numerous imaginary playmates.
  • Unusual sense of humor.
  • Desire to organize people and things, primarily through devising complex games.

Gifted strengths & corresponding difficulty

  • Inquisitive attitude / asks embarrassing questions.
  • Determined to complete tasks / strong-willed resistance to direction.
  • Seeks systems in strives for order / seen as bossy or domineering.
  • Creative and inventive / may disrupt plans of others.
  • Intense concentration / resist interruption; seen as stubborn.
  • High energy / frustration with inactivity.
    Diverse interests / seen as scattered.
  • Strong sense of humor / humor may have been disruptive.
  • Keen observer / sees inconsistencies and may become disillusioned.