Win With ADHD Using These Advantages
ADHD is a business superpower. I’ve witnessed it firsthand, since I became a full-time entrepreneur. At its best, when you have a grip on it, there’s no limit to your creative problem-solving. Budget constraints are no longer obstacles, but opportunities to work smarter; campaigns have a starting point, and your ideas have the strongest champion; success is right around the corner, as long as you’re consistent.
Throughout my life, ADHD has helped fuel my business endeavors. Even though I was only diagnosed at age thirty-seven, I’ve had the same behavioral tendencies and predispositions since early childhood; my strengths were always there, but my weaknesses were never dealt with, until I made ADHD a priority.
I cannot change my DNA, but I can use medication, or other forms of therapy to channel my strengths properly. Even if I could remove the ADHD from myself, I would choose not to, now, because I cherish the upsides. My ADHD helps me achieve, and its benefits for business are numerous.
ADHD business superpower: unbridled creativity
If your mind is always on, you have a flood of ideas. That’s perhaps the most exciting aspect of the ADHD mind (which some people call neurodivergent). It’s certainly unique to those with the condition, regardless of where they lie on the neurodiversity spectrum. Think of it like a forever-churning carnival of creativity—a chaos that can feel like madness if you’ve never experienced it before (I imagine).
I only realized most people don’t experience thinking this way after I tried medication. Immediately after my first Ritalin tablet, I found the chaos had calmed, and the pace had slowed. I suddenly possessed one clear thought at a time, which I could firmly understand and associate with. But I found it boring, too. I thought, “Is this how the other side lives?” Honestly, I almost wanted to kill myself. It was hard to adapt; but I saw how it would help me complete more tasks.
I still take the medication, because it helps all my other challenges. But there’s no beating the intensity of the never-ending flood when I’m brainstorming new business ideas, coming up with names for things, or figuring out what marketing choices our agency should make.
Over the years, I’ve been lucky to harness that creativity when I needed it (and I mean really needed it, like when I was living in a foreign country unable to pay rent).
If you have ADHD, be thankful for the creative problem-solving potential you possess. In business, it can make the difference between success and failure — as long as you learn to reign yourself in at the right time.
ADHD business superpower: quick association
Being able to bounce between ideas, concepts and projects piggybacks off the previous point — creativity.
An open mind is free to jump around, and enjoys doing so, stimulating creativity further. Simply, the more easily you can associate different concepts, the wider your scope for finding brilliant ideas.
This type of thinking, also called analogous thinking, is intrinsic to ADHD. But it’s very useful in business, particularly as you begin to expand and have multiple projects running simultaneously.
While that means you have capacity to grasp your entire business top-down, it’s better to leave the execution to assistants or people you trust. Too often, as someone with ADHD, I’m unable to complete critical steps because my mind is wandering onto other parts of the business. Or one of my other businesses altogether.
Once again, if you target your associative thinking correctly, it yields tremendous results. That’s how I could build three businesses from the ground up in different sectors with different target audiences.
Moving right along.
ADHD business superpower: charismatic charm
A doctor once told me something which didn’t surprise me: people with ADHD would be murdered at age seventeen if they weren’t so charming.
I’ve often found myself the centre of attention, or able to entertain a group or room, because of my ADHD. My mind is quick to latch onto a new, interesting idea, and my mouth can be even quicker to fire it off.
People with ADHD are naturally likeable, perhaps because of their uniqueness. But they can also be impossible to live with (as my wife can attest to).
Having a quick-firing mouth has often come to my rescue, allowing me to deliver a winning sales pitch or present a strong argument for a new business use case. Although I’ve been told I’m perhaps too direct at times, my honesty usually brings a smile, or comes across confidently, because I’m not shying away from my truth.
When used appropriately, this natural charm wins new clients. But my exuberance is also something to keep in check: I’ve often over-promised, because of a tendency to say yes to everything and begin thinking into the future about all the positive possibilities. But over-promising can be hazardous to your business if you can’t actually follow through (I found this out when I once said yes to an investment that didn’t turn out as well as it could have).
Now, instead of over-promising, I simply listen and take notes, with the confidence nothing should be decided on the spot — ever. That way, I can do business knowing I’m giving my measured best to my next, exciting project.
By knowing my strengths, I can overturn my weaknesses, and succeed in business using my ADHD-enhanced mind.