I’m going to play a harmless little trick on you…
I’ll start by giving you a list. This list is not created to be about entrepreneurs. However, I will treat it like it is.
Play along with me.
I’ll share each item on the list, and a brief reflection. You decide for yourself how much it sounds like a common trait of successful entrepreneurs, especially the kind of entrepreneurs that are regularly starting businesses and building them quickly in the early days.
Then, when we’re done with the list, all share where I got it from. So you can have some context.
Let’s dive in…
- A sense of under-achievement, of not meeting one’s goals (regardless of how much one has accomplished).
There’s a repeated line in the musical Hamilton, “You will never be satisfied…” That pretty much sums it up. Always reaching for higher heights, and going for more.
- Difficulty getting organized.
There’s too much to do to stop and get organized. It’s time to lunge forward with reckless abandon!
- Chronic procrastination or trouble getting started.
It’s really hard to get started on all those things that are so boring. My newest passion project though? Oh yeah, that’s what I’ve been spending all my time on!
- Many projects going simultaneously; trouble with follow-through.
Juggling three balls? That’s clowning. I’m juggling three balls, a bowling pin, a chef’s knife, and a live chicken. And I’m just getting started…
- Tendency to say what comes to mind without necessarily considering the timing or appropriateness of the remark.
I say what I think. Sometimes, you won’t like it. That’s your problem. I’m just being honest, and some people can’t handle the truth.
- An ongoing search for high stimulation.
Pick your poison. Extreme sports. Fast cars. Loud music. Drugs, drinking, sex. Whatever it is, turn it up to 11.
- A tendency to be easily bored.
Oh that was what I was into last week…
- Easy distractibility, trouble focusing attention, tendency to tune out or drift away in the middle of a page or a conversation, often coupled with an ability to focus at times.
When I’m on, I’m on — more intensely than anybody you know. When I’m not into what you’re doing, I really don’t care to give you the time of day.
- Often creative, intuitive, highly intelligent.
I see problems others don’t see. I invent solutions others don’t invent. I have a gut feeling, and I go with it — and I’m often proven right.
- Trouble going through established channels, following proper procedure.
The corporate ladder? Ha! That’s for suckers. I just made my own freaking company.
- Impatient; low tolerance for frustration.
Don’t get in my way. Especially if it feels like I could do it better than you.
- Impulsive, either verbally or in action, as in impulsive spending of money, changing plans, enacting new schemes or career plans, and the like.
Oh last week I told you we needed to do X, Y, and Z? Well this week we’re going for priority Q — and it’s your new #1. Put everything else on the back burner!
- Tendency to worry needlessly, endlessly; tendency to scan the horizon looking for something to worry about, alternating with inattention to or disregard for actual dangers.
Yes I’m wound up about trivial details! Because it’s the details that matter! But I need to be focused somewhere else? I really don’t want to worry about that right now.
- Sense of impending doom, insecurity, alternating with high risk-taking.
There’s a dragon breathing down my back, and the whole world could go up in smoke at any time… Then again, bring on the dragons — I AM THE DRAGON SLAYER!
- Depression, especially when disengaged from a project.
Downtime? Vacation? Or even just a slump in momentum? Suddenly the world is meaningless and my life is falling apart before my eyes.
I create new businesses and hand them off to managers because I couldn’t stand to stay in the same place, doing the same thing, for more than a couple years…
- Tendency toward addictive behavior.
Drinking, drugs, gambling — or anything else. If there’s an anon group for it, I’ve probably tried it. And I may have even been in the group.
- Chronic problems with self-esteem.
When I’m in my element, I’m on the top of the world. But just as often, I feel a little off, and I feel like total sh*t. A loser. A fraud. An impostor.
- Inaccurate self-observation.
See #18. Even when things are going pretty well, I either think they’re going much better, or much worse.
- Family history of ADD, manic-depressive illness, depression, substance abuse, or other disorders of impulse control or mood.
Really interesting, creative people are not 100% right in the head — and a quick glance back through our family trees tells you we come from a long line of people like us.
Where is this list from?
Well, first — doesn’t this sound like a successful entrepreneur and business-builder? I thought so!
But the list started with one of the world’s leading ADHD doctors, authors, and experts.
It’s from 20 Common ADHD Characteristics. By Dr. Edward Hallowell with Dr. John Ratey, authors of Driven to Distraction. It was labeled as “Suggested Diagnostic Criteria for Attention Deficit Disorder.”
Their description is in bold above. My “entrepreneurial” perspective is below.
Here’s what’s interesting. Many entrepreneurs report having trouble in school. Getting into the situations that today get a kid diagnosed with ADHD. But it’s those very same traits, when applied in a certain context, that lead to entrepreneurial success.
Sometimes our greatest weakness is our greatest superpower.
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,