Is it me, or is it my adhd?

OK it’s about to get a bit deep.

I spent 40 years of my life NOT knowing I had ADHD.

To be fair I still don’t really know if I have it, but over the past few years while trying to get a diagnosis for my now 11 year old every book I have read has unlocked a new level of understanding, frustration and pain.

How did I NOT know?

When ADHD in adult women started to get talked about I would listen to my peers (and sometimes clients) talking about their symptoms and I’d be like,

“Yeah? So what? I have those symptoms too…we all do”

I now feel incredibly embarrassed at those early opinions, and equally as angry when someone who doesn’t have ADHD tries to dismiss it in either myself or my daughter.

My brother was diagnosed when he was a young boy, but I was nothing like him so I couldn’t have it right? Plus, for years I was just told I was “TOO MUCH” too loud, to excitable, to nosey, too interested in the world, I wanted everything, I wanted to do it all.

Naughty yet highly capable, jeckle and hyde character at times. The class clown. Excelled in the topics I loved, drama, English, and sociology and kicked out of many of the topics my brain or body couldn’t cope with…maths, french, PE.

I was written off at school, my reports reading “If only she applied herself “talks too much” “doesn’t take life seriously”

But I actually went on to get a first-class degree with honors and a master’s. I just needed to focus on something that interested me. Hyperfocus was a gift, even if other areas of my life where chaotic. 

My early jobs required me to be organized, and I developed a habit of getting to things early in case I got the time wrong, I sometimes got the complete week wrong, or turned up at the wrong location. I learned to laugh it off, or blame it on a hangover. I used drink and recreational drugs to self medicate, to switch off my over active brain. 

I found getting on with people relatively easy, even if I hated authority and being told what to do…left to my own devises I did brilliantly in most roles, and always found work as a freelancer. I developed a lot of masking skills, but burned out regularly, and took contracts ending, and being made redundant very harshly. 

Entrepreneurship always felt like the most sensible path…in control of my own destiny, big rewards, targets I could set to over achieve. I mean who grows a global plus size fitness business from the corner of her front room with a new born, just to prove her doctor wrong when he said “you are Too Fat to Run”

Cough, cough…6 marathons and 100s of endurance races later…I beg to differ my friend. 

So what’s the big deal then with this late-in-life diagnosis? Surely, I have done ok without knowing, without having a label.

YES…but at what cost?

I am exhausted a lot of the time, especially as peri-menopause has added new pressures and the juggle of solo parenting seems to be harder today than it’s ever been. I sometimes wonder what life would be like if I didn’t have ADHD, if my brain worked more normally. Who I would have got to be. If I would be more successful. If I would have been able to maintain relationships in a more healthy way.

I have experienced a lot of hardship and challenge, a lot of trauma over the years, and sometimes it is hard to figure out what is related and what isn’t.

So? Is it just me…and my inability to cope? Or is it ADHD? And does it even matter?

Recently I have been spending more and more time in the neurodivergent space, listening to the voices of other business owners navigating their own unique neurospiciness. More and more of my clients are talking openly about their diagnosis, their symptoms, and their challenges. People are contacting me to ask if I specifically work with ADHD clients…and I am not sure about how I feel about answering YES to that.

Many of the tools, products and programmes I have created around purpose, productivity and profit seem to speak to this group of people…and yet I DO NOT want to explicitly niche into this target market. I am a business legacy strategist first and foremost, I care most about helping my clients build businesses that work for them, that don’t leave them broke. 

Because here is the thing.

I have spent 30-odd years juggling my own unique time, focus, and energy management, and the emotions of always feeling like you are not good enough, not doing enough, not being normal enough. And it can be really flipping hard keeping it all together, especially if you are navigating the world of business alone, and without support. 

I put a lot of my success down to creating tools and techniques that harness my quirks and ways of thinking, and taking action….based on years and years of getting it wrong, figuring shit out, learning from people who seem to be doing a better job, tweaking those ideas to work better for the way my brain works.

It’s why my programmes are never prescriptive, not one size fits all…I mean how could they be?

Solopreneurship is a fucking head fuck with or without a neurodivergent brain….stress, anxiety, comparisonitis, overwhelm, lack of clarity, misinformation, competing priorities, fatigue, burnout, skill gaps, family shit, the day to day challenges of life… that’s the stuff I help my clients with, I have spent decades meeting people where they are when it comes to change and transformation.

Finding creative solutions to complex challenges is my bag.

So sometimes 100% it’s my ADHD, other times its just ME…I haven’t done what I said I was going to do, because I took on too much, or family stuff got in the way. Sometimes I mess things up because I didn’t create a system for it, or I ignored the warning signs. Sometimes I change my mind on a project or on a direction for my work because I am bored and my brain needs dopamine, other times its because the original idea was a bit shitty, and the new one is better. 

Somedays I feel like my brain is the greatest gift, when I can plan out someones entire business ecosystem and come up with a Sexy AF brand and strap line for them in an afternoon, or when I can hyperfocus all summer and write a best selling book….yeah then my ADHD is a superpower and I am grateful that I am not neurotypical (blurgh hate all these terms)

And on other days, when the bins haven’t been emptied, and my desk has 25 cups growing shit, and I’ve double booked myself 3 times in a day, because I could have sworn tomorrow was actually my day off….then it’s not so much fun, when I beat myself up for not seeing projects through to the peak of success when I don’t have the patience to bring in support when I have rejection sensitivity to the point of feeling as if I might actually die…yeah that’s not so hot.

The truth is I am nervous about talking about my own brand of neurodiversity because I don’t want to be judged, or put in a box…I work with all kinds of Solopreneurs because I like the extreme diversity within my day. One call might be with a graphic designer, the next with a self-employed driving instructor, the final call of the day with a PHD graduate looking to get into speaking. 

Whether they describe themselves as neurodiverse or not doesn’t bother me one way or the other…what I am keen to know is what are their biggest Solopreneur challenges right now, and how might I be able to support them. I hyper focus on the icks and the slicks…the things that create friction and pain, and the potential for creating movement and joy…I mean who doesn’t like the occasional slip and slide into the fun stuff?

Not sure if THAT is my ADHD, or just me. 

 

Want to know how to get your solopreneur shit together (ADHD or not) with me by your side this year?

I have a number of products, services and tools to help you get more organised and ontrack with your business this year. 

From my new Business Model on a Page service which is ideal for folks with a million ideas but no clear roadmap to actually implement any of it, to my Solopreneur Dashboard which is a firm favourite of business owners sick and tired of juggling all the things. 

Come and tell me what you are struggling with, or where you are trying to get to with your business…and let’s see if I can’t help find a creative solution.