Home > Uncategorized > Shiny Objects And Other Things That Distract Me – Forbes

Shiny Objects And Other Things That Distract Me – Forbes

October 7, 2013

Shiny Objects And Other Things That Distract Me – Forbes.

Shiny Objects And Other Things That Distract Me

It’s exactly six minutes before she needs to be on the eighth floor for her next meeting. You know, the one with the big presentation. Her presentation. She’s standing, hovering over her desk and frantically gathering her things. “Where’s my notepad?” Five minutes. “Wait a second, what room is the meeting in?” She begins to click furiously, closing files in order to get to her calendar. Must. Find. Room. Number.

She slides into the conference room just in time and grabs her rightful spot at the table. As she stands to begin, she internally compliments herself on the color choices, which she completely changed just this morning. “Yep, definitely a good decision to go with blue.”

As she walks them through the revenue model, she hears an ear-piercing noise. Her eyes land on the new intern who’s violently tapping his pen on the table. No one else seems to notice. She fumbles with that slide, but pushes on.

The presentation moves rather quickly and she ends with a great closing. She feels good about the result. There’s that one guy at the end of the table who’s been leaning forward the entire time, he’s definitely in. And her boss, who nodded in agreement at least seven times. And that stupid intern who’s now tapping his pen on his knee…oh, he doesn’t matter. It’s definite; she’s hit it out of the park.

They approve of the project. It’s hers.

Welcome to the corporate life of a successful someone with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).

Initially introduced as a childhood disease, ADD is now more common than ever, especially in adults. Let’s be more specific here. Experts are learning that 60% of the children diagnosed with ADD take this into adulthood. Which means that at this point, it’s safe to say that ADD has found its way into the boardroom.

And this…is a good thing.

But first let’s start with the bad things. There’s the difficulty in following directions, remembering information, organizing tasks or completing work within time limits. But don’t forget the fact that an adult with ADD can commonly arrive late, they’re impulsive yet easily bored and they don’t organize well. Well sure, when you put it that way, the use of the word disorder makes a little sense.

But now let me put it another way.

We’re More Creative.

While it’s a misconception that individuals with ADD can’t hold down certain jobs, says Dr. Edward Hallowell in ADDitude Magazine, it’s more critical that someone with ADD needs to find a job that aligns to their passions in order to excel. And in many cases, this means taking the creative route. Boredom can sidetrack someone with ADD, so jobs that enable them to keep moving and thinking on their feet (like writers, entrepreneurship, public relations, you get the idea) are ideal.

And thinking outside the box? No problem for someone with ADD. CEO of In Every Language, Terena Bell, was recently contacted by a competitor who referred a customer to her company because he felt she had “the most creative company in the industry.” It’s a reputation she knows she’s earned because her ADD has allowed her to think outside the box.

We’re Experts At Multi-Tasking

What do you do when you need someone who can answer the phone at a moment’s notice to respond to media inquiries while also strategically posting daily musings on the corporate Facebook page, arranging real-life puppies for photo shoots, all while finding time to conduct tours of a 23-acre piece of property at the drop of a hat? You hire someone like Jennifer Bement, Public Relations Specialist for Southeastern Guide Dogs. Jennifer doesn’t have one job, she has 12.  And why does Jennifer succeed in her role there? She’s got ADD (she’s awesome in lots of other ways, but bear with me).

What was once a social taboo is barely even on her radar. Jennifer’s proud to admit she has ADD. In fact, she considers it a skill. Because when you’ve got ADD, she says, you have the freedom (and ability) to respond quickly to immediate needs without losing track of longer term projects. The bonus? As a public relations professional and constantly looking for ways to promote her organization, the fact she’s got ADD “helps me eavesdrop on conversations for key points that may be something I can spin into a story.” (It’s true, eavesdropping is far easier for someone with ADD, be careful).

Consider Meghan Blair-Valero, CEO of Fogged In Bookkeeping, who handles no less than 225 emails a day. What comes in handy for her? “My impulsivity,” she says. “The impulsive bit (about ADD) can help you get past that voice we all have in the back of our mind that tells us ‘do you think that is safe?’ Which prevents us from taking a leap of faith.” Blair-Valero and her business have benefitted greatly from her ADD and her ability to make these kinds of decisions quickly. “Having ADD is like being on rapid fire at all times,” says Meghan. “I can make fast connections between bits of information, move through data quickly and then move along.” Making decisions this fast has impacted her business in a positive way and has many more advantages than disadvantages, she says.

We Pay Attention

This one might be shocking to you, but it’s true. Because ADD causes the afflicted to struggle with focusing attention, they actually pay attention to everything. Sounds, smells, facial expressions, they’re things that anyone would notice, just magnified 200 percent.

Take for instance Bright Outside The Box’s  Kricket Harrison (who also serves on the ADHD Coaches Organization Board). When a brainstorm is happening, she’s the first one to call. Her ADD enables her to pick up details very easily and allows her to notice things others don’t. Which means in a brainstorm, she’s the one who can’t stop spouting off ideas. She’s actually been told to slow down before (apparently people without ADD can’t write very fast).

We’re Better Bosses

Have you noticed most of the individuals I’ve been quoting in this story are CEO’s? That’s actually not on purpose.

Creative people tend to take the lead (and accept the risk) more than most. Why? I’m not so sure. That’s another story for another day. Sometimes the inability to drill into too many details works in favor of a business, when the CEO doesn’t focus on what could go wrong. Instead, they focus on what could go right and they take the plunge.

Remember Terena Bell? She just woke up one morning and decided to start her company. With no business plan, no loan and no investors, she thought of an idea and put it into action. She attributes this bravery to her ADD. Why? Because “people with ADD have spontaneity…and can take their spontaneity to the next level.”

How To Harness Your Power

Have ADD but haven’t learned to harness it as well as the women I’ve mentioned?

Then take the advice of success coach Jim Sobosan, who suggests that professional women with ADD work to develop intentional behavior. In some cases, that may require working with a coach to create an action plan that focuses on acquiring new skills and avoiding the things ADD is notorious for, like blurting out thoughts without considering consequences and chasing after only stimulating activity. (Oh so that’s why I don’t always suppress my thoughts!)

More specifically, he says, “Don’t try to solve everything at one time,” which is a common problem for those who suffer from the disorder. Instead, “take a personal inventory of strengths and deficits and determine which ones are more important.” Doing that will help you figure out what’s most important to you (and your job).

Other things that work? I get all my energy out at the beginning of the day. Every day. Physical activity is notorious for preparing you to face daily stresses head on. For some, it’s listening to loud or “drowning out” music throughout the day (I suggest you have an office door for this one), or finding brief moments where you can escape the office to clear your head. Find something that works and do it.

If you don’t have ADD, you may have mistakenly labeled someone with ADD as lazy, unprofessional, undependable or just plain lacking in work ethics. I hope this changes your mind and helps you understand that even though someone thinks differently than you, or has different behaviors than you, it doesn’t make them wrong. It’s makes them just that, different.

And maybe now you’ll be more likely to hire someone who exhibits some of these qualities. If you do, they’ll approach your business problems with a different mindset, and if given the right opportunity to do so, they’ll solve them.

Molly Cain, is the CEO of GlassHeel.com, an award-winning communicator and humor columnist with a passion for bringing a bit of creativity into the workplace. When she’s not at the office or on Glass Heel, Molly’s running half-marathons, traveling or hanging out with her retired greyhounds. Follow Molly on Twitter @MollyCain.

Categories: Uncategorized
%d bloggers like this: