So, you just found out you (or an employee) have ADHD, or are ADHDish (that is, you have a few symptoms of ADHD). What do you do now?
First, don’t panic!
Actually, if you are an entrepreneur you may want to celebrate. Many extraordinary contributions have been made to society by people with ADHD. (See SchwabLearning.org, for a list of “Successful People with ADHD.” This site was set up by Charles Schwab, who has ADHD himself.)
Also, realize creativity and innovation are hallmarks of people with ADHD. For example, if Edison didn’t have ADHD, we might be reading by brighter candlelight. So there definitely is a silver lining here…
To help you or your employee manage ADHD, and maximize your ability, we recommend the following:
1. Get an ADHD Coach. Because true ADHD is usually neurological, and many ADHDer’s will have difficulties in these areas despite a strong desire and attempts to overcome it. Accordingly, traditional methods of coaching often will not work with someone who has ADHD!
ADHD coaches offer techniques geared toward working with the unique brain wiring of individuals with ADHD.
I recommend a coach who uses a strength-based approach that also employs data-driven assessment tools that incorporate objective data about their own ADHD traits and strengths, individual learning style, performance, and interactions with others.
2. Stop denigrating yourself, and start celebrating yourself. First, you don’t have a choice of your genetics. ADHD is an inherited, and “willpower” alone has little chance against genetics. Next, be happy you don’t have a choice of your genetics. Creativity and “out-of-the-box” thinking, intuition, and resilience are also genetic traits frequently linked to ADHD.
Believe it or not, people with ADHD are 300% more likely to start their own business (see The Davinci Method, by Garret Loporto), and many business leaders have ADHD. To name a few accomplished business people with ADHD:
- Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Airlines.
- John T. Chambers, CEO of Cisco Systems.
- 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.
- Paul Orfalea the founder and chairperson of Kinko’s.
- Charles Schwab the founder, chairperson, and CEO of the Charles Schwab Corporation, the largest brokerage firm in the U.S.
3. Learn more about your unique positive traits, and develop the specialized skill of harnessing and leveraging your unique creativity and positive strengths.
4. Educate yourself, or an employee affected by ADHD. There are many good ADHD books, websites, and support groups out there. For example, Driven to Distraction, The Davinci Nation Method, and You Mean I’m Not Lazy, Stupid or Crazy? are a few of my favorite books. Also, CHADD.org has a list of support groups, self-help tips, and resources.
5. Help yourself or your employee with ADHD accept that they have a need for stimulation. This need fuels their creativity and allows them to be highly effective in high-risk/stress situations. Select activities where these ADHD traits can have a positive impact on your company’s bottom line.
6. Consult a nutritionist who specializes in ADHD. Numerous studies indicate that artificial flavors, colors, and other additives can increase aggression and hyperactive behavior. Avoid sweets and yeast products, and eat nutritious meals and snacks throughout the day.
A nutritionist specializing in ADHD can also help you eliminate other foods you may be sensitive to from your diets, and recommend specific nutrient supplements.
7. Have fun! Make sure you work out, travel, spend quality time with friends and family, enjoy nature, entertainment, and more.
Also, consider yoga or transcendental meditation, TM. Both increase blood flow to the brain, and that’s important because studies show people with ADHD frequently have reduced blood flow to the brain.
So, do your best to place an emphasis on having balance in your life: People with ADHD need balance to stay outside-of-the-box!
These seven habits will help you or your employees maximize your creativity and other strengths, and realize your personal potential in a fashion that positively impacts your company’s bottom line.
Written by, Shane K. Perrault, Ph.D., who is the coach and psychologist at Entrepreneurs With ADHD.