A little about me first… (well a lot as I do overshare and talk to much)
Having recently been diagnosed with ADHD at almost 49, many things started to make sense to me about my life, my career choices and so much more. I wanted to delve into ADHD and entrepreneurship, as to be honest I am not sure that I could hold a job down long term! When I am truthful with myself, I am sure that is why I have such a varied career as well as varied learnings over the year. I need dopamine hits to keep me engaged and focussed. A 9-5 job will never do this for me. I have done so many jobs over the years and created many different businesses in that time too. Some far more successful than others.
Even my degree was one of diversity! I was not happy with just doing one subject and had to find one that I knew would keep me on my toes. So, I opted for a BA in Contemporary Studies (whatever that meant). I got to learn about politics, philosophy, psychology, marketing, sales, tourism all under the guise of doing geography and history too. I loved that I was always changing around. It kept me engaged.
I was amazing at retail and was a retail manager from an early age, even doing this whilst at uni. I was in fashion, which I loved as it changed with the seasons. But the mundane and poor wage gave me itchy feet and a yearning for more. I loved having a team, hitting incentives, trying on all the clothes, changing my wardrobe weekly… but it wasn’t enough. I went into publishing working for a few magazines in sales and copyright law. I got bored very quickly. The people were fab, the work just didn’t stretch me. So, I went back to university and did a Post Grad in Education (PGCE). At the time I was also weaving the fun of working in late night bars and clubs into the mix. This was fun and gave me the regular hits I needed to thrive.
I then became a geography teacher, soon being promoted to head of department for business studies, as I was adaptable and liked a challenge! I had a tutor group, did lots of leading on pastoral care for the school and sex education. All areas which were a passion of mine. I loved being a mentor and supporting kids that got overlooked. Reflecting now, its probably because I was that kid. Bright, able but was constantly told I was too much and need to turn myself down a notch or two to be more acceptable.
My laser focus changed to birth and home birth in particular. I had my first kid, and realised the way he was born wasn’t great for me. My second was at home in water. 6 months after her birth I had a birthing pool company and was establishing the Bath Homebirth Group with some close friends of mine. I rallied for more support for women and their partners, I was filmed for a documentary about birth, I even got invited to important meetings about maternity services in the south west by the lead consultant. I made myself known very quickly. I loved working in the birth world. I adored supporting women to empower themselves for their birth. It was a very precious time. I did not get bored of this. I expanded and had a shop, therapy space and rentable rooms all around pregnancy birth and beyond. It was an amazing concept. It worked but my personal life didn’t. One of the hardest things I had to do was sell my birthing pool business, let go of the Homebirth Group and stop doulaing (I had just started to do it after training). A year later I sold the online shop part of my other business and closed my bricks and mortar shop along with the therapy space and rooms. It was a massive loss to me. I lost my creatively and drive for some time.
I went back into what I knew – teaching. My new focus was neurodiversity. My son and daughter had recently been diagnosed with dyslexia. It became something I was really fascinated with – how brains are different and how we see the world differently. I never saw it as a disorder or a defect, rather a brain difference. I started out helping back in primary schools, then became one to one support for children with ASD and ADHD. I really enjoyed working with kids that others didn’t know what to do with. This enabled me to get a role as a SENCO in another school. Sadly my marriage broke down, so I stopped working all together to heal my wounds and look after my 3 kids.
Over the years I had been fascinated by wellness – food as medicine, energy healing, essential oils, mediation, mindfulness, etc and had studied extensively in my spare time. I had even qualified in many forms of body work, but realised this wasn’t my calling. I realised that all my work was about empowering women in another way to the norm. I naturally think outside the box. I thought everyone did this, but that’s not the case. So, with my experience and knowledge I set myself up as an EFT practitioner and energy worker. I had qualified years before but did more studies to being me up to speed. I have worked with EFT and oils for years now. I don’t seem to have got bored yet!!! I like to incorporate skills from previous jobs like teaching, holding space, leading, managing, coaching, problem solving and idea creation into my work. This is what makes me tick!
Recently creating retreats with another fellow ADHDer has been a total pleasure. This is another business that’s flourishing! All about supporting women and holding space to safely share and build community. What’s not to like?!
Of course, when I met Jo 5 years ago I knew we would be doing a business together. Similar backgrounds and similar busy minds. No surprise she had an ADHD diagnosis a month before me is it! Edu Cam has been born from a need for teachers, parents and young people to be heard and have a voice. It is there to support ND families and those of us who have mental health challenges. We have lived this from all sides. Both of us. We understand and we want to educate and share our knowledge and experience.
I am sure this will not be my last business idea. I get joy from creation and sharing. I have constant ideas; I see things differently and I love the buzz. I am sure 3 businesses on the go at the same time is not my limit, but perhaps it should be so I avoid burnout. I just like thinking….
The reason I have shared as I have is because when you read below you will see it is plain to see that ADHD has helped me in my work choices, successes and challenges over the years.
Back to ADHD…
In recent years, ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) has been increasingly recognised in women. Though often overlooked or misdiagnosed, women with ADHD possess unique traits and strengths that, when harnessed, can lead to tremendous success in the entrepreneurial world. In this blog, we will explore the distinctive characteristics of women with ADHD, their strengths, and how entrepreneurship is an excellent fit for them.
Understanding Women with ADHD
Women with ADHD may experience symptoms differently than men, which can make it more challenging to identify. While hyperactivity and impulsivity are common in boys, girls often exhibit inattentiveness, daydreaming, and forgetfulness. Because these symptoms can be less visible, they may go unnoticed or be misinterpreted as laziness or a lack of motivation. Women tend to mask their traits more making it challenging to unpick too.
Many women with ADHD have heightened emotional sensitivity, making them more prone to feeling overwhelmed or stressed. This sensitivity can be a double-edged sword, as it may lead to strong empathy and understanding of others' emotions, while also causing intense emotional reactions to situations. This can make women with ADHD great therapists and space holders because they can read a room very easily and feel empathy and understanding for others.
As a result of these subtler symptoms, women with ADHD often receive a diagnosis later in life. This delay can result in missed opportunities for early intervention and support. However, once identified, women with ADHD can begin to understand and leverage their unique traits to their advantage.
The Strengths of Women with ADHD
Women with ADHD often possess incredible creativity. Their minds are constantly racing with ideas and possibilities, which can lead to innovative solutions and unconventional approaches to problems. Thinking outside the box is second nature.
Living with ADHD often requires adapting to various challenges. This can foster resilience and determination in women, as they have learned to navigate obstacles throughout their lives. I often got comments about how I manage challenges in my stride. I don’t but I do try my best to see solutions rather than issues. I always look at another way to do a task or fix and issue. This can make others perceive you as being strong when often you may just want someone to make the decisions for your so your brain can rest!
While ADHD is often associated with difficulties in maintaining focus, women with the condition can also experience hyperfocus. This intense concentration can be a powerful tool when applied to projects or tasks that genuinely interest them. When I am being laser focussed on a task, I can forget to eat, drink or even go to the loo. I will sit wriggling rather than go, just to get a little bit more done and not distract me from what I am doing.
The emotional sensitivity of women with ADHD can contribute to heightened intuition. They are often skilled at reading people and situations, which can be invaluable in personal and professional relationships. Again, great for reading a room, being in caring professions, and being able to see others perspectives.
Entrepreneurship and Women with ADHD
The world of entrepreneurship provides an excellent platform for women with ADHD to harness their strengths. The flexibility and autonomy afforded by entrepreneurship can allow women to channel their creativity, resilience, and hyperfocus into their ventures. It means you are in control, no one else. It means you can create for you and how it works for you, it means you can adapt your life around other commitments too.
In an entrepreneurial setting, the challenges of ADHD can be turned into assets. For example, the ability to multitask, adapt quickly, and problem-solve under pressure can be critical for success in the fast-paced world of entrepreneurship.
Networking and Collaboration
The intuitive nature of women with ADHD can make them excellent collaborators and networkers. Their empathetic approach to relationships can create strong connections with colleagues, partners, and clients.
Women with ADHD have incredible potential for success in entrepreneurship. By understanding their unique traits and leveraging their strengths, they can turn challenges into opportunities and create thriving businesses. The world of entrepreneurship offers a space for these exceptional women to shine, and their contributions will undoubtedly shape the future of innovation and business.