Since childhood, I’ve known my mind worked differently. I was more impulsive and venturesome than my peers. I was the head of the academic team, yet also the class clown. I was class president, then a high school dropout. I could not do anything at half-effort—for good or ill.
I’ve been labeled obsessive, reckless, and delusional because I have grandiose ideas and act on them quickly.
About five years ago, a psychiatrist suggested that I might have ADHD. I rolled my eyes, holding the misconception that those with ADHD were lazy, unmotivated, and underachievers. By contrast, I consider myself hardworking, laser-focused, and successful. As I researched ADHD, I was surprised to learn that a disproportionate number of successful entrepreneurs have ADHD.
I came to realize that not only do I have ADHD but that my ADHD pushed me to be an entrepreneur.
The three main traits of ADHD are:
These traits are all connected to a genetic mutation of the DRD4 gene. This mutation inhibits the production of dopamine, the feel-good chemical. Consequently, for us with ADHD to feel good, we need stimulation. If we can’t find it, we create it for ourselves, sometimes with negative consequences. But I’ve learned that I don’t always have to resist the inclinations caused by ADHD. Instead, I can lean into and harness them toward an entrepreneurial endeavor.
The three biggest hindrances to becoming a successful entrepreneur are:
Hesitation to act.
Contentment with the status quo.
Fortunately, my ADHD brain produces the opposite behaviors. I am literally genetically hardwired for entrepreneurship. Learning more about my ADHD diagnosis made me a more self-aware, confident, and resilient entrepreneur.
However, you don’t have to have ADHD to use the things I’ve learned to build resilience.
Here are some action items any entrepreneur can take to build resiliency.
Comedy is one of my top superpowers. Whether I’ve just got a flat tire on the way to an important meeting, bombed a sales pitch, or lost a deal, I imagine myself as a character on a sitcom, and instead of getting upset, I just laugh. Not taking yourself too seriously builds resilience.
It’s easy to get knocked off course by a setback or criticism when you aren’t focused on your ultimate goal. You’ll build resilience by keeping your eye on the prize and not stopping to kick every barking dog along the way.
Whenever I’m upset or hurt, I often think about myself too much. The quickest way to get out of a bad mood is to get out of your own head. Helping others is the fastest way to help yourself.
Throughout my ADHD journey and fight to success, I've come to recognize the traits I once viewed as weaknesses, are not only strengths for an entrepreneur but also requisites and perhaps even superpowers!
This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of Fairygodboss.
Morgan Hancock is a commercial real estate agent, non-profit founder, entrepreneur, US ARMY veteran, mother-of-two, bourbonista, and passionate advocate of the arts. Learn more about Morgan's nonprofit via the link here.
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