Michele Attias Life Coach

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ADHD: The Entrepreneur Superpower

What do Richard Branson (Virgin Airlines), David Neeleman (Jetblue) and Alan Meckler (Jupiter Media) have in common?

Other than being extremely successful and accomplished, they all have ADHD (Attention deficit hyperactive disorder).

When reflecting on their success and determination, it takes me back to the young clients I used to work with in my Therapy practice many years ago. I predominantly used to see young children with ADHD and Aspergers. In those early days of working with young clients, it was astonishing to notice the marked change in behaviour the very moment the Clinical Psychologist made the diagnosis.

The difference included being the odd child in the class who was erratic and a class misfit who wanted to do anything and everything except be at school. Along with this came exclusion from the class, or being referred to the Special Needs Unit for extra classes. Thus contributing to their isolation.

Shutting a child into a school system full of rules, structure and basic creativity could send any child into the depths of oblivion.

How much more so, when someone has an ASD (Autistic Spectrum Disorder).

Fast forward 10 years and as I transition from Therapy into a Coaching business, I notice a theme in the type of adult Entrepreneur I seem to be Coaching or attracting. The type of Entrepreneur that I can mostly relate to and admire the most, has a set of unique qualities.

These qualities match the children I so loved working with all those years ago. I feel as if the kids I worked with have returned as adults to assert their uniqueness and their desire to do things differently.

It is fascinating how they no longer feel different or weird, because they are essentially playing to their strengths. The ones who ‘failed’ the system and were unable to keep still at school are now using that same energy to change the world.

Their desire to do it differently and go against the grain contributes to this.

Yet I resent the way ADHD has always been labelled as a deficit and a disorder, which signals that something is wrong and dysfunctional.  I propose it be labelled a 'different drive' (I’m not particularly fond of labels) pointing to an internal motivator that keeps you on the go.

Initially, I found myself asking what I could possibly Coach certain Entrepreneurs who show signs of ADHD, since I haven't reached the level of business acumen they have. Most of them are highly successful and are making more than 7 figures due to online businesses, as well other creative ventures.

Except in one core element; slowing down to the speed of life.

As an example, I Coach a successful Entrepreneur in the entertainment industry who is constantly distracted, and fast paced.  As a result of this, he suffers extreme forms of stress and struggles with concentrating on one task for any space of time which affects his presence and focus. 

I decided to implement some of the skills I used when I was working with youngsters. During our session, each time my young client lost concentration (glazed look in his eyes), I clapped my hands to bring him back. It was pretty simple, but hugely effective. As time has passed, we’ve noticed how he's spending less time drifting off. He is more present in the moment, can recall the entire session and has developed a fixed level of focus.  Even a tiny amount more laser focus can take his business to a totally different level.

The entrepreneurs ADHD can manifest in the following ways:

  • Entertains many business ideas at the same time.
  • Challenge is starting and turning the ideas into action.
  • Difficulty in focusing on one business for long enough.
  • Always on the move looking for new opportunities.
  • Thrives on taking risks, the bigger the better.

It's evident that creating on this premise can have it's challenges. It needs correct management and funnelling ideas with clarity, focus in order that this can be turned into an incredible business which can transform the world.

There are 8 basic ways to turn the focus up a notch:

  1. Eliminate choices - Remove choice whenever possible by keeping it simple.
  2. Night before plan - Work backwards to organise your morning from the night before.
  3. Excersize daily - Keep up your energy levels.
  4. Work in a clean environment that is uncluttered - Structure avoids distractions.
  5. Define and have a deadline for every single thing you do - Make it measurable and set a date.
  6. Eliminate pop up messages on your computer - Keep your screen free of other open applications.
  7. Take designated breaks for e-mail and texts -  Structure a set time during the day to check and return messages.
  8. Invest in a mentor - Someone to help with focus and accountability.

The key is to keep it simple by eliminating distractions and choices where possible. Although not all Entrepreneurs have ADHD, the Entrepreneurial spirit fits to perfection with the need for constant stimulation, taking a leap when no one else dares to and rejecting solutions that seem ‘normal’.  

Businesses are created at the drop of a hat, they hustle, they move, they take action. 

They are as fast as lightning by entering domains no one else dares to go. Risk taking, innovating constantly, they have originality, grit, insight and innate energy seldom possessed by others.

Robin Williams once said "We are all given a little spark of madness, you musn't lose it".

I agree wholeheartedly. Adult Entrepreneurs are currently fortunate to have moved beyond the system that in many cases didn't serve them. In schools, learning differently should mean teaching differently by allowing for more intellectual autonomy.   Teachers and professors should act more like mentors, rather than disciplinarians.

Society has to embrace cognitive diversity, normalising rather than making it divisive and forcing those whose cognitive processes are somewhat different to conform to societies needs.

Categories
Self Development
Tags
Life Coaching
Entrepreneur
Lifestyle Coaching; business coaching; personal development; personal growth;