Can My Job Live Up to MY POTENTIAL?
Updated: May 15, 2018
I was talking to a friend, and fellow ADHDer, recently and she asked me how my business was going. I started to get into tell her about some of my clients, how we measure success etc. and she stopped me. She said, "no, what I really want to know is how the business is for you, does it really work for you."
It got me thinking and thought I might share why I, and others, feel that having your own business could be a great fit for ADHDers. But before we dive into that we have to take a step back to set the scene.
Here's a common scenario that repeats itself in a never ending cycle, you're at work, you've been there a while (a year, maybe two) and you are completely checked out. You wonder, once again, how did this job get so boring? When you first started, it was great, you dove in head first and learned about the company and your part in it, maybe you valued their mission and it gave you a sense of purpose, of doing important work. And you were ON FIRE. You got things done at an amazing pace, you found creative and innovative solutions to problems, you quickly rose to ROCK STAR status.
Then… you start dropping the ball on some of the more mundane tasks, or they went undone all together. You even begin to dread the work that excited you about the job in the beginning. You realize that the stuff you're good at, the stuff you really love to do, you don't really get to do very often, and you begin to hate your job.
So you do what many other ADHDers do, you start looking for a new job.
See our brains are wired differently, for others chemicals are produced in the brain that motivates them to get even the most mundane and undesirable tasks done (like housekeeping) and feel a bit of satisfaction from it. That's not the case for us, we need a sense of high sense of urgency or excitement about something for our brains to even begin to produce those chemicals, so motivation is typically absent for us. So the excitement about starting a new job allowed you to do amazing work, and when the excitement wanes so does your productivity.
So now to the point (finally)… You're whole life, people have told you to strengthen your weaknesses, get better at what you suck at, but what you should be doing is strengthening your strengths, doing more of what you love and what you're good at! Entrepreneurship can do that.
There a few ADHD traits that help make us AMAZING entrepreneurs:
Creativity: When starting a business you will always run into challenges and obstacles. The companies that succeed have the ability to think and respond creatively, finding rapid solutions for those problems. For entrepreneurs with ADHD, the strength of creativity cannot be understated.
Creativity might also be the biggest reason people with ADHD start a business. We have ideas and want to express them in more innovative ways, so we start something new.
Impulsivity: Impulsivity is for us is really just sensation seeking, we need the thrill, the excitement for our brains to produce dopamine and feel pleasure. We with ADHD typically don’t get as scared as others might be of a situation that is high risk. We’ve lived in the "present" our whole lives and have gotten good at what the right next move feels like without analyzing it, so we act, when others wouldn't. We push the boundaries and try new things.
Hyperfocus: there are times when all we have is a lack of focus, but when we sink our teeth into something that we love, there's no stopping us. When starting a new business, Hyperfocus can drive us to spend all our effort and energy into making the business work. While this approach might not be sustainable long-term, it might just be what a new business needs to get off on the right foot… and get to the point where we can hire out for the tasks that we just can't seem to get done (like bookkeeping)!
And finally, the great thing about running your own business is that you can adapt it to your own needs. If you have certain times of the day where you're more productive, if you are better with a 30 hour week instead of a 40 hour week, then you have the flexibility to do it.