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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!

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