Attention deficit disorder is characterized primarily by symptoms of inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsive behaviour or by the significant expression of all three. Although never formally diagnosed, I would venture to say that I am indeed the perfect definition of someone with this disorder. Good luck getting me to focus on what you are talking about for very long, whether I'm reading or listening, attention span is short lived.
Hyperactivity, well that was definitely me before children, a full time job and a travel schedule that sometimes rivals an Air Canada pilot. Impulsive behaviour -- that is me at the core. I go with my gut, inevitably, I make rash decisions in the interest of just getting it done and I can't say I thoroughly think through every decision. I think about it but I don't necessarily always think it through. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, but that's the way I do it.
I am a case where ADD just works. It took years of practice, patience from those around me including teachers, parents and my awesome husband but I have found a way to make it work for me. Don't get me wrong, I am not here to argue that this is not a serious condition at times, with varying degrees of severity and depending on the stage of life can have a significant impact, I am simply here to tell you how I think ADD has possibly helped countless entrepreneurs get to where they are today, including myself.
I am in great company, from John F. Kennedy to Albert Einstein to John Lennon, each of these people suffered from varying degrees of ADD. I would say they did pretty damn well for themselves. Here is where I think some people get stuck in their ADD diagnosis. They see it as a negative and use it as a crutch. I've seen firsthand where someone was diagnosed formally with ADD and literally used that ADD diagnosis as their excuse for everything. Personally, I feel it is my drive. It is the thing that has let me become a driven entrepreneur with very few regrets.
Some attributes of ADD and their positive spin on your business:
Inability to focus very long: True, I will start talking to my husband about something and while he is trying to respond I have already remembered something I should have done five minutes prior and thinking about where to write it down so I won't forget. The plus side? If you're my husband, there isn't one but as a business person, when listening to people, I tend to listen but while they are talking, unbeknownst to them, they are triggering idea after idea. Picture rapid fire missiles, that is figuratively what is going on in my brain while someone is pitching me on why I should use them as my web developer.
Very little patience: git'er done. I don't want to wait for you to think it through, analyze it, develop spreadsheets and do a cost benefit analysis. Launch it, sell it and let's see how it goes. It sucks? OK, ditch it, you didn't spend that much time preparing for it so don't waste too much time regretting it. Worked like a charm? Fabulous, now spend the time fleshing it out and getting it to its next stage of success. This is not a certain formula for success and nor am I recommending that this is the way you should run your business, but what I am saying is that this tends to be an ADD trait and I'm trying to leverage it to the best of my ability.
Sleeps very little: Why? Because as soon as there is even a remote level of consciousness, most entrepreneurs are jarred awake by a new idea and need to tell Siri about it so they don't forget. People with ADD or self diagnosed ADD have very little brain rest. They are constantly exercising their brain by jumping from thought to thought, idea to idea which leads them very often to be able to look at a situation using "outside the box" thinking.
Easily bored: Yada Yada Yada, yes, that is very often what I'm thinking when someone is rambling on about something that doesn't interest me or doesn't have immediate benefit for me. But talk to me about something interesting, and boy oh boy, I'm focused like nobody's business. In fact, it is usually a topic that I know nothing about that gets me hyper focused. People with ADD need constant brain stimulation. They are NEVER satisfied with the status quo and need to be growing and evolving constantly. I am on a plane right now weighted down by my Popular Mechanics and Scientific American magazines and can hardly wait to get my hands on them.
ADD while having its shortfalls, certainly has its benefits. It's like a nuclear core reactor; nuclear is not something you typically consider as something great but yet it serves a purpose and provides energy that allows us to heat our homes, microwave our food, and charge our devices. Looked at from the negative angle, its a nuclear reactor for goodness sake, who the heck wants one of those? Guess you could say I'm a glass half full kind of person.