Why Successful Entrepreneurs with ADHD Can Help You (even if you think they can’t)



When we hear that a successful, famous person has ADHD, it is helpful to us for many reasons, including:

1) It normalizes the condition . . . anyone can have ADHD.

2) It shows it’s possible to have ADHD and be successful.

3) Their stories can act as inspiration for us.

4) It validates us. We realize we aren’t alone with quirks and ‘annoyances.’

5) It gives us confidence to use our ADHD strengths.

6) It gives us HOPE!

I hadn’t understood the power of this until I had a conversation with a 9-year-old little boy. He had been diagnosed with ADHD because he was struggling in school. He hated having ADHD. It made him feel different from everyone else and he didn’t think it was fair that he had to struggle so much with things that all his friends found easy. He was so hurt—I really wanted to do something to help, so I asked a few questions. He loved sports, and the summer olympics was fresh in everyone’s mind, so I told him about Michael Phelps having ADHD.

I had never seen such a rapid change in someone’s mood. This little boy was thrilled. He knew he would be OK. In fact, he knew he was going to be more than OK, because ‘clearly’ having ADHD gave Michael Phelps the winning edge!

We aren’t that much different from that 9-year-old little boy. Even though as adults we try to be cool and pretend that celebrities don’t influence us, they do! (We live in a celebrity-centric world.) Famous ADHD entrepreneurs can inspire us with their stories of struggle and victory. They show us that using their gifts (often the ones that non ADHDers want you to get rid!) is how they became successful, and their success paves the way so you know success is possible for you, too.

There are some famous ADHD entrepreneurs that get talked about a lot . . . such as:

• Virgin’s Richard Branson

• Jet Blue CEO David Neeleman

• Paul Orfalea, founder of Kinkos

• Then there is Tamara Mellon, founder of Jimmy Choo’s, the luxury shoe brand. I was thrilled to have a successful woman to add to the list!!

To learn more about these successful ADHD entrepreneurs, I highly recommend you read their books. It will help you and your business. If you don’t like reading (many ADDers don’t), you could get the audio version.

Paul Orfalea: Copy This! Lessons From a Hyperactive Dyslexic Who Turned a Bright Idea into One of America’s Best Companies

Richard Branson: Like a Virgin: Secrets They Won’t Teach You in Business School

Tamara Mellon: In My Shoes: A Memoir

David Neeleman: Flying High: How Jet Blue Founder and CEO David Neeleman Beats the Competition . . . Even in the World’s Most Turbulent Industry  (this isn’t written by David Neeleman, but it does give insight into his world)

If you know of any other successful ADHD entrepreneurs, leave their names in the comments section!

Jacqui Sinfield is an ADHD Coach and author. You can find more from her at http://untappedbrilliance.com/blog/

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