It’s Only Spilled Milk. Managing ADHD in Women and Business.

People with ADHD are 3x more likely to start a business.  They thrive in disruptive situations.  Often ignore details.  And 80% of those diagnosed are men.  It’s lonely being an ADHD woman in business.

Even out of that 20%, why do so few women make it into business if we are born for entrepreneurship?

Most of our issues lie in societal roles, and I think this is why I love the team I’ve joined (there is no societal role because geeks don’t understand roles anyway lol).  The symptoms of ADHD, are typically male oriented symptoms:

  • Aggressive
  • Persistent
  • Risk Taker
  • Big Pictured
  • Provider
  • Impulsive

Women with ADHD are no different, regardless of our vaginas.  We often exhibit the exact same traits as the men, except they are “toned down” a bit in comparison to our male counterparts.  We’ll probably be more careful with money.  We’ll probably think twice before making that investment.  People often first see what appears to be a shy, quiet day dreamer.  Only to find a big risk taker and emotional individual full of ambition and vivid imagination, under the surface.  Point being, there’s a lot of opportunity that’s overlooked in us.

Men with ADHD on the other hand, are typically encouraged to build support systems around them so they can utilize their skills.  I’ve watched many men with ADHD build themselves into multi-millionaires simply by having a support system in place.

In society, however, women are typically called upon to BE that support system.  This is why women with ADHD have a harder time achieving success then their male counterparts.  Not only this, but other women often don’t like women who aren’t support systems in their roles.  People look at you funny if you have to hire another woman to help you take care of your kids & home.  Egotistical…I believe, is what someone called it?

Kathleen writes in ADHD in Women (it’s the best article I’ve seen yet on this), “Don’t hang around other women who don’t understand your problems”.  I guess the same can be said for anyone though.  

In an article I was reading on Women 2.0, they were speaking about “women in business” problems.  And in the comments the female entrepreneurs, one woman says “I can sum up all your research into one sentence: the problem is men don’t take care of their fucking kids”.  Well, at least we’re blunt 🙂

So how do you manage us?  You manage us just like an ADHD male:

  • Don’t obsess over corrections and details.  We have to delegate it.
  • You can’t offend us.  Because we forget the next day anyway.
  • Don’t ever lead with control.  ADD people are highly sensitive to being controlled.  Rebellion will ensue 🙂
  • We speak in an abstract language, not literally like our aspie cousins.  But we also struggle with social issues, fitting in.
  • Contrary to popular belief, we don’t like to control people.  As long as we’re healthy minds, our purpose is always to GROW, build, delegate to competent people, move forward, and have more playtime.  We can’t get more playtime by controlling everyone.
  • We feel at peace when things are crazy and changing.  When they’re slow and detail oriented, we become frustrated and shut-down.
  • Some of us do appreciate rules and routines.  I would say “flexible rules and routines”.
  • Depression?  It happens with ADHD.  Usually about once every few years, and will last 1-6 months until a big enough change occurs that will shake us out of it. 
  • When teaching, don’t lecture.  We’ll zone out.
  • Ask questions.  Lots of questions.  We’re curious people, who are stimulated by new experiences and exploration.  A question forces us to ponder things because it’s an open ended statement.
  • It is extremely hard to stimulate yourself with ADHD.  Aspies do stimming, ADHD people do stimulating.  Probably the first 2 hours of my day are spent solely trying to stimulate myself (excersising, swimming, eating protein, drinking coffee, visual stimulation, videos etc etc).  While it seems like pointless playtime, this is required to activate my brain.

That’s all I got for now…

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