Embracing ADHD In Your Career

People with ADHD have a natural predisposition to impulsivity and hyperfocus, and society deems this lack of control over regulating attention a severe handicap. Headlines on ADHD highlight the negative aspects announcing how kids with ADHD are more likely to use illegal drugs and drivers with ADHD are more likely to get in a car accident. However, what if a person with ADHD could embrace their natural tendencies and use them to their advantage?  

Different professions require people to be good at different things. Being a surgeon requires a steady hand, whereas being an engineer requires a gift for mathematics. We can all develop skills, but people tend to be happiest and most successful at careers that accentuate qualities that come easily to them. For example, someone who is extremely shy probably wouldn’t enjoy being a stand-up comedian, but an extrovert could find the job incredibly rewarding.

Johan Wiklund, a professor of entrepreneurship, published a study about how ADHD can be advantageous to a career in entrepreneurship. Interviews were conducted on 14 participants who were entrepreneurs and also had an ADHD diagnosis. The study found that these entrepreneurs mostly credit their ADHD tendencies with positive effects on their career.

Walt Disney, Steve Jobs, and Bill Gates are known as some of the greatest entrepreneurs of all time, and interestingly, the qualities of a successful entrepreneur are complementary to the natural tendencies of someone with ADHD. Wiklund shares that his diagnosis of ADHD as an adult lead him to want to shed light on the positive effects of the disorder. In his study he found that impulsivity helped entrepreneurs with ADHD decide to start their business and hyperfocus helped them chase their dream.   

While many entrepreneurs are criticized for waiting for the perfect conditions to start sharing their product or service with the world, jumping in and pivoting on ideas are often skills people with ADHD possess and excel at when paired with the right environment, becoming strengths instead of weaknesses.

Yet entrepreneurship isn’t the only good career fit for those with ADHD. There are many other options for those who seek novelty and fast paced activity at work. Extraordinary individuals range from successful athletes to television stars demonstrate that ADHD doesn’t inhibit success. Everyone, with or without ADHD, have natural gifts and when these traits are highlighted or reinforced with other skills, these qualities that make us different become advantageous.    

If you have ADHD or know someone with ADHD, it’s time to embrace the natural tendencies. Find a treatment or routine that works best for you, but don’t fight what you’re naturally good at. 

What do you think are some skills or careers that people with ADHD are better at than others? Let us know it the comments!

Top 5 Celebrities Who Have ADHD

Perception seems to be changing, but there is a misconception that still holds in parts of society that being diagnosed with ADHD, ADD or an attention disorder somehow makes a person lesser than the norm. It’s as though having attention issues means you can’t be a successful person, and that having attentional difficulties is a big blemish or “problem.” That couldn’t be further from the truth.

Yes, people with ADHD might need to find coping mechanisms or take advantage of some accommodations like extra time. Some choose to take medication or pursue other treatments. In the end, we know that only you can decide how successful you’re going to be by believing in yourself and working towards your goals. Here is a list of some of our favorite celebrities that rose to the height of success either because of or despite an attention disorder.

Every year, I thought, ‘This is the year I’m going to start paying attention and doing my homework.’”

Scott Kelly

Kelly a retired American astronaut and retired U.S. Navy Captain admits that he never thought becoming an astronaut was possible because as a kid in school he had a lot of trouble focusing. However, this didn’t stop him from becoming a veteran of four space flights. Being an astronaut is an undeniable accomplishment and and with all the demands of the role, he didn’t let focus issues get in the way of that achievement.  Photo: Robert Markowitz – NASA/Flickr

“Having ADHD, and taking medicine for it[. It] is nothing to be ashamed of[,] nothing that I’m afraid to let people know [about.]”

Simone Biles

Biles is an Olympic gymnast who competed in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. She won four gold medals and one bronze medal, complete with her own signature move. Biles was diagnosed with ADHD when she was 7 years old. She is very open about her diagnoses and even tweeted that she didn’t think ADHD is anything to be ashamed of. Her dedication and focus to her craft break through the myth of what a person with ADHD can achieve. Photo: Agência Brasil Fotografias/Flickr

“The minute I got diagnosed it was like someone put glasses on.”

Ty Pennington

Pennington is a television host, artist, and model. He is well known for hosting ABC’s reality TV show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. He didn’t receive his ADHD diagnosis until adulthood but says he wishes he would have been tested sooner because it put his whole life into perspective. Growing up, he had always struggled with focusing and he used art as a way to cope. Once he received the diagnosis, he understood why he had been struggling, but that clearly didn’t keep him from creating amazing work. He encourages others to get tested and research treatment options. Photo: Lloyd Gallman/Flickr 

“I feel a little bit of relief because, for so long, I’ve been fighting it and I’ve been so frustrated with this inability to focus.”

Lisa Ling

Ling is an American journalist and is currently the host of This is Life with Lisa Ling on CNN. She was forty when she received a diagnosis of ADD. She says that she has noticed that she has always had trouble focusing, specifically on things she wasn’t interested in and even recalls that in elementary school teachers would often tell her parents she had issues focusing. Even without a diagnosis, Ling persevered and became a successful journalist.  Photo: Greg Hernandez/Flickr

“I’m an Olympic Champion and I have ADHD.”

Michael Phelps

Phelps is an olympic swimmer and the most decorated Olympic athlete. He was diagnosed with ADHD as a child and admits to he used to be embarrassed of having to take Ritalin. He recalls teachers treating him differently because he had ADHD and even had one teacher tell him he would never succeed at anything. Boy, did he prove that teacher wrong, and is now one of the strongest advocates for kids with ADHD. Photo: Fernando Frazão/Agência Brasil

What do you think of these celebrities with ADHD? Do you have any other celebrities with ADHD that you look up to? Let us know in the comment section below!