Could Your Entrepreneurial Spirit Be ADHD? 25 Example Situations - Phil Drinkwater Coach

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Could Your Entrepreneurial Spirit Be ADHD? 25 Example Situations

There's been plenty of focus on ADHD in recent years, with many like me being late diagnosed. With around 50% of entrepreneurs being ADHD, let me help you discover the truth for you.
What we'll cover

How ADHD has shaped my life

I truly believe ADHD is an entrepreneurial superpower. If you are ADHD, this is good news!

My own online business made $20million, mostly because I focused naturally on my strengths and had deep awareness of my needs.

How I’ve been helping other entrepreneurs

Since learning I was ADHD I’ve been coaching others to improve their work lives, becoming more clear, making decision and thriving.

I’ve learned many traits and situations that we tend to experience in our entrepreneurial lives and it occurs that these are a more useful way than an official test in order to work out if you’re ADHD too.

The three types of ADHD individuals, and why it matters

It important to understand that ADHD comes in three main flavours:

  • Inattentive, who are forgetful, easily distracted and tend to miss detail.
  • Hyperactive-impulsive, who fidget, are restless, talk excessively and tend to make hasty decisions.
  • Combined, who are a mix of the two, and make up the bulk of ADHD individuals.

Why is this useful? Well, not all situations below will be relevant to all ADHD people. If you’re inattentive type, you might find sitting in a meeting is perfectly comfortable and you don’t get restless.

So, use these situations below as broad points; all ADHD people are unique, just as neurotypical individuals are.

How ADHD individuals approach situations in work, compared with neurotypical individuals

Here are some situations that you might find familiar, and which you can use to begin to evaluate if you’re ADHD. Whether you choose to get a diagnosis or not is totally up to you.

If you demonstrate some of these traits, my ADHD group programme is for you.

25 common ADHD challenges in business

Task Management and Execution Challenges

  1. Generates many ideas but struggles with implementation.
  2. Underestimates the time needed for tasks.
  3. Finds repetitive tasks especially challenging.
  4. Struggles with deciding task priorities.
  5. Challenges in following long meetings.
  6. Starts tasks easily but has difficulty completing them.
  7. Tends to overcommit due to overestimating capabilities.

Focus and Attention Difficulties

  1. Often interrupts in meetings due to impulsive thoughts.
  2. Extremely focused on interesting tasks.
  3. Avoids tasks perceived as complex.
  4. Struggles with maintaining a consistent routine.
  5. Struggles with long-term projects.
  6. Highly distractible, with difficulty maintaining focus on tasks.
  7. Work quality can vary greatly.

Organisational and Time Management Issues

  1. Finds mundane tasks like expense claims overwhelming.
  2. Forgets to respond to emails after reading them.
  3. Prone to forgetting meetings and commitments.
  4. Lags behind in organisational skills.
  5. Finds meeting deadlines particularly challenging.
  6. Experiences periods of high energy followed by exhaustion.

Interpersonal and Emotional Management

  1. Navigates social nuances in the workplace with difficulty.
  2. More sensitive to feedback or criticism.
  3. Makes quick, less thought-out decisions.
  4. Often thinks in a non-linear manner.
  5. Uses unique, creative problem-solving approaches.

More detailed information about these situations

Idea Overload

ADHD: You find yourself constantly brainstorming new business ideas. Your notebook is filled with plans for innovative products or services, yet most remain unexplored. For example, you’ve thought of a groundbreaking app, a unique coffee shop concept, and a revolutionary marketing strategy all in one week but haven’t started any.

Neurotypical: Tends to focus on one or two main ideas at a time and follows through with them more consistently.


Expense Claim Struggles

ADHD: Completing expense claim forms feels overwhelming. You often put it off until the last minute, or the forms are partially filled and forgotten. For instance, you’ve got receipts piling up for weeks but struggle to sit down and organise them into a claim.

Neurotypical: Generally finds it easier to keep track of expenses and submit claims in a timely manner.


Interrupting During Conversations

ADHD: You often interrupt colleagues during meetings because you’re worried you’ll forget what you want to say. For instance, during a team discussion about marketing strategies, you might blurt out your ideas without waiting for your turn.

Neurotypical: Usually waits for their turn to speak and listens to others before contributing.


Erratic Email Management

ADHD: Your email inbox is either overflowing or compulsively organised. You might read an email, plan to reply later, but then completely forget about it. For example, you read an important email from a potential investor, think of a reply while in a meeting, and then it slips your mind.

Neurotypical: Tends to have a more consistent approach to email management and follow-up.


Inconsistent Time Management

ADHD: You often underestimate how long tasks will take and find yourself rushing to meet deadlines or missing them altogether. For instance, you might assume it will take an hour to prepare a pitch, but it actually takes three.

Neurotypical: Generally better at estimating time required for tasks and managing their schedule accordingly.

Entrepreneurs with ADHD can harness their ability to hyperfocus on something they are passionate about, turning it into a business advantage.

Hyperfocus on Certain Projects

ADHD: You occasionally become intensely focused on a particular project to the exclusion of others. For example, you might spend an entire week perfecting a website design while neglecting other critical tasks.

Neurotypical: Usually balances attention across various projects more evenly.


Difficulty Delegating Tasks

ADHD: You find it hard to delegate tasks effectively, often because you forget to follow up or provide clear instructions. For instance, you assign a task to a team member but forget to check in or give them all the necessary information.

Neurotypical: Tends to delegate tasks more efficiently and follow up appropriately.


Impulsive Decision-Making

ADHD: You might make business decisions impulsively, like quickly changing a product feature without thorough research. For example, after a brief customer feedback, you decide to alter a key feature of your product without consulting your team.

Neurotypical: Generally makes more considered decisions, weighing options carefully before acting.

Struggling with Routine Administrative Tasks

ADHD: Routine tasks like filing paperwork or updating records feel particularly burdensome. You might start organising your digital files but get distracted and leave the task unfinished.

Neurotypical: Handles routine tasks with more consistency and less difficulty.


Sensitivity to Criticism or Feedback

ADHD: You might take criticism or feedback more personally and react more emotionally. For instance, a minor suggestion for improvement from a client might make you question your entire business model.

Neurotypical: Tends to process feedback in a more balanced manner, separating personal feelings from professional critique.

Studies have shown that individuals with ADHD often exhibit high levels of creative thinking. This creativity can be a boon for entrepreneurs, as it fosters innovative problem-solving and the generation of novel business ideas.

Constant Task Switching

ADHD: You frequently jump between different tasks without completing them. For instance, you start working on a financial report, get distracted by an email, and then move on to brainstorming for a new product, leaving the report unfinished.

Neurotypical: Generally sticks to one task at a time and sees it through to completion before moving to the next.


Overcommitting to Projects

ADHD: You tend to say yes to many projects or client requests without considering the realistic time and resources needed. For example, you agree to deliver a project in a tight timeframe, only to realise later that it’s not feasible.

Neurotypical: More likely to evaluate their capacity before committing to new projects.


Forgetting Appointments or Deadlines

ADHD: You might often forget about meetings or project deadlines unless constantly reminded. For instance, you miss a crucial client meeting because it slipped your mind.

Neurotypical: Usually keeps track of appointments and deadlines more effectively.


Difficulty Prioritising Tasks

ADHD: Struggles to prioritise tasks effectively, often treating urgent and non-urgent tasks with the same level of importance. For example, you might spend hours perfecting a presentation’s design while neglecting an urgent client request.

Neurotypical: Typically able to distinguish between high-priority and low-priority tasks more clearly.

ADHD can be a secret superpower in entrepreneurship, as it often comes with a higher tolerance for risk and a penchant for innovative thinking.

Impatience with Slow Processes

ADHD: You may become easily frustrated with slow or repetitive processes. For instance, lengthy meetings or detailed administrative work can feel intolerably tedious.

Neurotypical: Generally more patient and tolerant of routine or slower-paced tasks.


Unconventional Working Hours

ADHD: You might find yourself working at odd hours, having bursts of energy late at night or very early in the morning, rather than sticking to a conventional work schedule.

Neurotypical: Usually adheres to a more standard and consistent work routine.


Restlessness During Meetings

ADHD: You might feel extremely restless during long meetings, often needing to stand up, fidget, or take frequent breaks to stay focused.

Neurotypical: Tends to be more comfortable sitting through lengthy meetings without significant restlessness.

Difficulty with Long-Term Planning

ADHD: Struggles with setting and sticking to long-term goals or strategies, often shifting focus to more immediate or exciting tasks. For example, you might overlook the importance of a five-year business plan in favour of current, more engaging activities.

Neurotypical: Generally better at planning for the long term and following through on those plans.


Losing Interest in Projects Midway

ADHD: You might start projects with high enthusiasm but lose interest midway, leaving many projects unfinished. For instance, you begin developing a new service but soon get distracted by another idea and abandon the first one.

Neurotypical: More likely to maintain interest and see projects through to completion.

Research indicates that people with ADHD might struggle with traditional multi-tasking but excel in what’s known as ‘rapid task-switching’, where they can quickly shift focus between different tasks. This can be particularly useful in fast-paced business environments.

Challenges with Detailed Work

ADHD: You may find it extremely challenging to focus on tasks that require a lot of detail and precision, often making careless mistakes. For example, you overlook critical data errors in a report because you find it hard to concentrate on the details.

Neurotypical: Typically handles detailed work with more accuracy and focus.


Inconsistent Communication

ADHD: Your communication with team members or clients can be inconsistent. You might respond to some emails or messages immediately and then forget to reply to others for days.

Neurotypical: Usually maintains a more consistent pattern of communication.


Difficulty in Staying Organised

ADHD: Keeping your workspace and digital files organised is a constant struggle. You might have a chaotic desk or a cluttered email inbox, which makes finding important documents challenging.

Neurotypical: Generally keeps physical and digital workspaces more orderly.


Quick to Start, Slow to Finish

ADHD: You’re quick to initiate new projects but slow to bring them to completion. For example, you launch a new product line but struggle with the ongoing management and refinement of the product.

Neurotypical: More balanced in both initiating and completing projects.

The challenges faced by individuals with ADHD foster a unique form of resilience, making them well-suited for the ups and downs of entrepreneurship.

Emotional Responses to Stress

ADHD: Under stress, you might exhibit more intense emotional reactions, such as frustration or disappointment, which can impact decision-making. For instance, a setback in business might lead to a disproportionate emotional response.

Neurotypical: Tends to have a more measured emotional response to stressful situations.


Difficulty in Following Routines

ADHD: Establishing and following a daily routine, such as a consistent start time or structured workday, can be challenging. For example, you intend to start work at 9 AM each day but often find yourself beginning at varying times.

Neurotypical: Usually follows a more regular and structured daily routine.

Is being ADHD getting in the way of your success as an entrepreneur?

If you’re finding it difficult to handle your life as an ADHD entrepreneur, join my ADHD group programme which is designed to help you with many of the challenges your mind will throw at you.

And always remember: ADHD IS a superpower. Just keep focusing on your strengths.

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