Confessions of an ADHD entrepreneur

Do any of these characteristics look like you?

  • You can get distracted or daydream, but sometimes you concentrate on a job for hours on end,
  • You manage do several tasks at the same time, but sometimes you neglect an important task,
  • You get on well with people and they like you, but you prefer to do things your own way,
  • You take (calculated) risks and often succeed where some other people wouldn’t even try,
  • You see solutions where others see problems, in fact your creativity thrives on new challenges.

Sound familiar?  If so, and if you are lucky, you may have escaped being labelled as ADHD at school and medicated for it.  If not, you can still embrace and even exploit it and turn it to your advantage.

It all depends on how you see things.  One person’s symptom is another’s positive trait.

Treatable ADHD symptoms:
Scatter-brained & distracted
Impulsive risk taker
Restless and hyperactive
Talkative and speaks without thinking
Goes off at a tangent
Disorganised and forgetful
Gets bored and irritable, seeks excitement
Exploitable ADHD benefits:
Big picture, intuitive thinker
Positive and enthusiastic
Driven, hard-working, multi-tasking
Empathetic with a sense of humour
Creative solution-finder
Flexible and resilient
Curious, keen to learn new things
Characteristics of an entrepreneur:
Takes initiative, not risk-averse
Can-do attitude, tenaciously goal-oriented
Intuitive people-person
Innovative problem solver
Adapts to change, and challenges
Identifies & takes advantage of opportunities

ADHD’s ‘symptoms’

Many of ADHD’s ‘symptoms’ are also trademarks of successful entrepreneurs.  In fact, Virgin Airlines founder Richard Branson speaks openly about his ADHD and how he “wouldn’t be anywhere without the creativity, vision and ability to take risks that seem to stem from it.”

Strengths and weaknesses

Psychiatrist Dr Dale Archer acknowledged in a recent Forbes article that ADHD has its negative symptoms “which include procrastination, inability to concentrate, forgetfulness, disorganization and [being] easily distracted” but that some of the “most common characteristics – creativity, multi-tasking, risk-taking, high energy and even resilience – are, in fact, strengths.”

Doing what you love

He says that “ADHDers are often at their best in crisis mode, multi-tasking and free associating to intuitively reach a solution. And if they find something they truly love to do, they are able to focus for hours on end.”  Isn’t that what entrepreneurs do?  Isn’t that what you do?

This article first appeared in SME South Africa

ADHD entrepreneurs are creatnive
ADHD entrepreneurs

Well, Archer notes that “people with ADHD are three times more likely to own their own business.  ADHD entrepreneurs are also creative, with high-energy and an ability to hyper-focus on something they find innately interesting.”

Feeling better about yourself now?  Can you see your ‘disorder’ as a special strength for you to exploit?  You can harness those characteristics of ADHD to your advantage: Channel your can-do energy by doing things you love.

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Managing ADHD

But we must acknowledge that adults with ADHD don’t always fit into ‘normal’ society.  If you have ADHD, how can you better manage its more negative aspects?

To minimise the negative characteristics of ADHD that threaten to derail your life, the ADHD Support Group suggest following better eating habits.  You may also need to speak to a professional to help you manage some of the more ‘negative’ traits:

  • improving time management
  • controlling impulsive behaviour
  • personal relationships
  • managing frustration and anger

So, is having ADHD an advantage or disadvantage to you as an entrepreneur?

Rick Ed

CC BY-SA 2014/10/16

Are you maybe ADHD?  Can you turn that to your advantage?

Click here if you would like to discuss how you can take advantage of your personal traits.

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