So why are we still in the closet?
ADHD in the business closet
When it comes to the workplace, most ADD Adults in office environments seem to have a “don’t ask, don’t tell” attitude about ADD / ADHD. Many professionals don’t mention being ADD, but would probably admit it if asked.
I’ve always believed the business world would be a more accepting place for us if we owned up to our brain wiring with pride, in a manner of strength rather than a shame-faced weakness. So I was jubilant when I came across a blogger at Forbes.com, Molly Cain.
The first blog post I read of hers had nothing to do with ADD/ ADHD. It was a piece with the intriguing title of “The 7 Types of People who Don’t Succeed at Work.”
At the end of the post, was a brief explanation about Molly Cain:
Molly is a co-founder and Executive Producer of The Haul Company, the founder of GlassHeel.com and a freelance writer covering business, leadership and innovation. She loves to burn off her ADD by destination running and hanging out with her retired racing greyhounds. Follow Molly on Twitter @MollyCain..
Fantastic! I loved that Molly included that ADD reference in her author’s bio in such a matter-of-fact way.
I looked up her other writings and found a little gem that she wrote for Forbes.com back in January, 2012: “Shiny Objects and Other Things That Distract Me.”
It’s solid gold. Molly presents a spot-on explanation of what it’s like to be a professional with ADD / ADHD, acknowledging some of the frustrations, but exalting in the creative strengths that it brings to workplace. She writes about several successful ADD executives and entrepreneurs, and how their particular ADD traits helped them win business and excel.
Specifically, the article applauds our tendencies to think outside the box, multi-task, pay attention (as in hyper-focusing), take risks and operate spontaneously. It also suggests that ADD Adults can harness their power by learning to be more intentional and working with a coach.
The real significance of this article to me is the venue in which it appears: Forbes.com, the online publication of Forbes Magazine. I wouldn’t have been surprised to see this published in Wired, Fast Company, or Entrepreneur. But Forbes is one of the old-school stalwarts. It began publication in 1917, and has traditionally represented big business (though it’s obviously updated its image.) If Forbes is acknowledging the strengths that can come with ADD, then surely more of us can come out of the closet!
I recommend that any ADD / ADHD working professional print out the “Shiny Objects” article and keep it handy – just in case you want to show it someone some day (or bolster your own pride by re-reading it every once in a while.)
Thank you Molly!