The ADHD Entrepreneurial Brain-style
Starting your own business is like riding a roller coaster. There are highs and lows and every turn you take is another twist. The lows are really low, but the highs can be really high. You have to be strong, keep your stomach tight, and ride along with the roller coaster that you started.” ~ Lindsay Manseau
Did you know that adults with ADHD are 300% more likely to be entrepreneurs? With the current economy, more and more people are deciding to create their own success by venturing into entrepreneurial business. Although its popularity has recently increased, the term ‘entrepreneur’ was initially defined in the late 1600s by an Irish-French economist, Richard Cantillon. According to Cantillon, an entrepreneur refers to an owner or manager of a business enterprise who makes money through risk and initiative. Risk and initiative….hmmm….sounds ADHD-like to me! I think it is fair to say that ADHD and entrepreneurs have many brain-style qualities in common. Some of the more famous entrepreneuers that have been diagnosed with ADHD include:
- Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Airlines.
- Ingvar Kamprad, Swedish founder and chairman of IKEA stores, states he adapted the inner workings of his business to compensate for his ADHD and dyslexia.
- David Neeleman founder and CEO of Jet Blue Airways.
- Charles Schwab the founder, chairperson, and CEO of the Charles Schwab Corporation, the largest brokerage firm in the U.S.
Although ADHD can create some undeniable obstacles, there are many positive qualities of ADHD that contribute to the success of countless entrepreneurial businesses.
1. Risk Taker
Overall, people with ADHD often do not think about the overall consequences of their actions. Instead, they focus more on what’s happening right here in the moment. This is a benefit for the entrepreneur since it means they will act on an opportunity rather than miss it due to over analyzing their actions.
Successful entrepreneurs and people with ADHD invented the saying “thinking outside of the box”. With an abundance of thoughts and ideas that come with their over active mind, people with ADHD seem to be constantly creating new concepts for products or service and using this creativity to come up with solutions and strategies otherwise not considered. This creativity is also key to entrepreneurial success and allows these unique brain-styles to notice more possibilities, information and resources that others miss.
3. Ability to Hyperfocus
Success as an entrepreneur means that you will spend hours, months or even years focusing on your business. This unique quality is similar to the “hyperfocus” people with ADHD experience. When people with ADHD are innately interested in something, they can literally concentrate on this one task while the rest of the world fades away. Gone is time…the outside world and they seem to enter an incredibly focused state of mind I call “the zone”. Some people with ADHD fondly refer to this as their “ADD coma”.
Entrepreneurs are often jack-of-all-trades and are required to wear several hats consecutively. The ADHD brain is at its best when doing several tasks at the same time, especially when these tasks include areas of inherent interests, strengths and passions. An ADHD entrepreneur may struggle with the overwhelm of singularly paying the bills, but combine this otherwise mundane task with entrepreneurial activities such as web browsing, listening to music, talking on the phone and answering emails, and this task is more likely to be completed.
5. High Energy Level
Being the owner of your own business requires a tremendous amount of brain and physical energy. People with ADHD can often tap into their own personal adrenaline source to put in those extra hours, pull those all-nighters, or meet those last minute deadlines.
6. Eats chaos for breakfast!
Running your own business and being an entrepreneur requires the ability to manage chaos, unpredictability and inconsistency. People with ADHD, with their high interest and tolerance for the new and stimulating, are often at their best in what would be a crisis situation for someone else. In fact, these are the exact situations where they tend to be most focused and clear headed.
As an ADHD entrepreneur myself I am often grateful for some of these unique qualities that have helped me to take risks, pursue possibilities others might not have noticed and fuel the determination that has helped my business grow. I would love to read your comments about your unique ADHD qualities and how they have added to the success of your entrepreneurial business!