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The Magical ADD Dragon
The Magical ADD Dragon
What do Richard Branson, Charles Schwab, Albert Einstein and Henry Ford have in common? ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder).
And, although it was not discovered yet, America might have been founded largely thanks to ADD. At least that’s my theory.
Don’t believe me? Read on….
My Mayflower Theory
We all know the story of the Mayflower’s voyage across the Atlantic in 1620. Historians say many of the passengers were seeking freedom of worship in the New World.
But did you ever stop to think who got on that ship?
Consider the travel itinerary: “Hey, let’s go across the ocean to some land on the other side of the world without a map or a safety net. We don’t know what’s out there, we don’t know if we’ll make it, and we don’t know how we’ll make a living when we get there. Chances of success are quite small. The people living there will probably try to kill us. But I think our weapons can kill them faster than they can kill us. Oh… many of us will also die onboard the ship before we even get there. Anyway, it’s gonna be great. Who’s in? Who’s up for the journey?”
Clearly, this sales pitch was not going to draw too many safe, predictable, steady folks. Instead, I hypothesize that it attracted the more impulsive, riskier ADD folks who made their way to Plymouth Rock.
Your Business has Hunters & Farmers
In business, there are two types of people: hunters and farmers. The hunters go out on the prowl and bring home a few buffalo, then “crash” for a couple of days. The farmers are the stable ones who methodically plow, plant, irrigate, weed, and harvest the crops.
Today, the hunters may be entrepreneurs or salespeople. They go after the business and seize new opportunities. The farmers are the ones who stay behind, making sure the company produces.
Hunters are more likely to take chances. In fact, people with ADD are 300% more likely to start a business than their non-ADD counterparts, according to an article by Dr. Shane Perrault, Ph.D. in Psychology Today (9/16/09).
One such entrepreneur, Paul Orfalea, the founder of Kinko's, credits his ADD for helping him launch his business. His ADD lets him think big without getting weighed down by details. "I can't write a letter and I can't fix a machine,” says Orfalea, who hires capable people to handle such details while he focuses on the big picture.
How to Harness the Magical ADD Dragon
It’s hard not to be fascinated by magic dragons. Magical ADD Dragons have impervious skin; arrows and spears won’t hurt them, neither will objections or rejections. Their fire-breathing heads can burn up anything in their paths, including conflicts and challenges in business. Cool!
It's always amazing how they get from here to there. But there’s a dark side to the Magical ADD Dragon. Those fire-breathing heads can easily burn those they love the most. Dragons have great adventures - but they usually leave a heck of a mess behind them. If left unchecked, they can drive you crazy and you may simply want to get rid of them, much as Apple did with Steve Jobs. But, don't act hastily; the Magical ADD Dragon possesses tremendous gifts that can achieve incredible results.
The secret is to harness the incredible attributes of the Magical ADD Dragon rather than clip its wings. Whether you’re an ADD entrepreneur yourself, or whether you work with, work for, or are married to an ADD entrepreneur, you need to learn how to channel this power, not crush it.
Working with many ADD entrepreneurs, I often provide effective methods to harness their abilities. It works by introducing habits that are not typically in the ADD repertoire.
I call this my five and a half counterintuitive habits of successful ADD entrepreneurs.
And guess what? You do not need to have ADD to benefit from the suggestions below.
Five and half Counterintuitive Habits of Successful ADHD Entrepreneurs
1. Use Structure - “STRUCTURE SHALL SET YOU FREE” - Even though you may hate restriction, a flexible structure is a valuable tool. How to use structure:
2. Focus - Keep your focus on one thing until it’s done. The heck with multi-tasking—as I say, “for something to live, something else must die.” You can do it all, just not all at the same time. How to focus:
3. Digital Capture - Use high-tech tools to park your thoughts, plans, and activities for later. How to use digital capture:
4. Build Freedom Teams - Freedom teams are your own highly skilled people who take the burden off of you from doing everything. How to utilize Freedom Teams:
5. Food and exercise - Mind and body work in tandem. Don’t neglect your body. How to eat better and exercise:
5.5 Remember: It’s about progress. Not perfection
Accountability: The Key to Success
A great way to harness the Magical ADD Dragon is through accountability. Having someone who will hold you accountable for completing a task or reaching a goal is an important means to helping the ADD entrepreneur succeed.
We’ve played that role for a number of people. Here are a couple examples of how we handled it:
In one situation, an ADD entrepreneur needed to spend more time with his wife Mindi. We enlisted his team and his friends to help him. Here was the deal: He had to come home between 6 and 6:30 every night (with special exceptions that were accounted for) or he would have to publically sign up to get certified by his arch enemy and competing business owner - this, of course, would be highly humiliating. We woud text him around 6pm with the question "Are you on your way home?" His friends got caught up into it too. So, do you think he came through? You bet he did! He already had everything he needed so what did we agree upon as a reward if he succeeded? He loved and collected good scotch. So as a reward, we bought him a bottle of single-malt Scotch (which he loved) with a custom label on it that read "Mindi's Private Reserve".
In another instance, a wine enthusiast (who owned $500 to $2,000 bottles of wine), and owner of numerous pairs of very high-end shoes, agreed to accountability on completing his tasks. Here was the deal: He would have to complete his work-related tasks by a specified time -- or he would use his most expensive wine as cooking wine, while wearing a Payless pair of shoes. Can you imagine pouring a $600 bottle of wine into your pasta? Yikes. Did he come through? Indeed he did! Personalized, relevant accountability is priceless.
Living in An ADD Society
Let's face it, in a fast paced, competitive marketplace, we all need structure, focus, accountability, and a good diet and exercise, not just the Magical ADD Dragons. The tools that help ADD entrepreneurs can benefit anyone in business.
Here's an irrestible offer if you want more strategies on how to harness your own ADD or someone you are close to simply contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us 410-235-7070.
Taking you from where you are to where you want to go,
Jon Goldman, CEO