Distracted But Focused-How Adults with ADHD Crush It in Business

I was as hyperactive as they come as a child. And after running through my parent’s glass front door when I was six years old, entrepreneurship or being in charge of anything for that matter was not high on the list of careers that my parents thought I’d be good at. Maybe they thought I’d be a good stunt man in Hollywood but running a business was probably the furthest thing from their mind for my future. I was a kid with ADHD, had a terrible experience at all levels of education and could not get out of school fast enough. But somehow, I found a life of being my own boss; somewhat of a surprise to my parents.

For many with ADHD, being in charge and becoming an entrepreneur is actually a natural path. And after interviewing dozens of entrepreneurs with ADHD and other professionals who help coach adults with ADHD, I know why. First, those with ADHD tend to move at a faster pace. At least our brains do. And the pace at which the corporate world works and makes decisions is in some cases painful for those with ADHD. We get an idea and we want to see it implemented now. We also instinctively need to be in charge and for most, it is exactly what we need to build a successful business. And quite frankly, we feel we can do it better than who we are working for. In many cases, we’re right…

So how do successful entrepreneurs with ADHD continue to crush it in business?

Creativity Rules:

Entrepreneurs with ADHD are often times very creative. Maybe our drawing skills equal that of being able to sketch out stick men, but what I mean is creative in the sense of coming up with ideas for our business. Those with ADHD love to daydream. In fact I believe that most of those with ADHD are never bored. We’re always thinking about how we could do something new or better. And I would go as far as to say that there probably isn’t an idea for a piece of technology you are using today that wasn’t first developed from someone daydreaming. In short, creativity gives these entrepreneurs a clear advantage in business and when harnessed, can be a true asset in the business world.

We Have Natural Drive:

Every single businessperson with ADHD I’ve interviewed had a drive and a passion to be successful. Success was in their blood, contrary to what many people think of those with ADHD. We have the reputation of being lazy, procrastinators and disorganized. And yeah, that can be true for some but successful individuals with ADHD are generally exceptionally driven to succeed, have something to prove to the world and are fueled by one success after another. Those who truly understand success realize that failure is a way to learn and are not bothered by it. My first business closed in nine months and I always say that I would have never learned what I did from that experience in a classroom. I was driven to find my next project.

We Focus On What We Are Good At:

Anyone in business, regardless of whether they have ADHD or not becomes successful by focusing on their strengths and pushing off those tasks that they would consider their weaknesses. If there is one thing that can bring someone to a halt, it is doing tasks they hate. In order to maximize your time and make the most out of your strengths, you have to stay focused on what you are good at. For example, in the case of marketing and public relations, you may be great at ideas and seeing the big picture. However, you might not be so great at the execution. That’s why we need to surround ourselves with great people. Put another way, stay in your lane.

Focus on The Time of Day:

A few years ago a couple researchers did a study on the court system in Israel. Specifically, the parole system. They followed judges around for a number of months and found that prisoners that went up for parole in the morning, were far more likely to be granted parole than prisoners that went before the judges later in the day. It was determined that the judges were fatigued by too much information over the course of the day. So, what’s the point? You need to play to the strong parts of your day. For many, that’s first thing in the morning while the brain is fresh. If for example you have a lot of writing to do, you may be far more productive if you tackle that first thing in your day; leaving less desirable tasks for when your brain needs a rest. This like many techniques is a personal decision. You may be a much better writer in the evening. It all depends on when your brains wants to work hard. But knowing this can mean a world of difference in productivity and happiness.

These core strategies along with proper sleep, exercise, diet, practicing mindfulness such as meditation and of course loving what you do, are what make the sometimes distracted, a powerhouse in the business world. If put in the right environment, anyone will find a way to thrive and create success so find a way to implement these strategies in your world.

About the Author:

David Greenwood is the author of the book Overcoming Distractions-Thriving with Adult ADHD.

Twitter @davidagreenwood