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ADD & ADHD
ADD Entrepreneurs Research Project


RESEARCH PROJECT: Volunteers Needed

The ADD Entrepreneur
Turning Attention Deficit Disorder into an Asset for
Entrepreneurs, their Businesses and their Personal Lives

Do you know any entrepreneurs with the following characteristics? 
  • Someone who has a lot of great ideas, but not too many are successfully implemented?
  • Great at delegating, but often oversimplifying the task?
  • Full of energy, but saps everyone else’s energy?
  • Sense of urgency about the latest project, but forgets about the 10 other projects they gave someone else yesterday?
  • Started a great and growing business, but now it has lost its focus?

Coincidentally these characteristics are very similar to people who have been diagnosed with attention deficit disorder. Entrepreneurship is skyrocketing in this country as large corporations continue to merge and "rightsize", and as technology affords new freedom for individuals who have a start-up burning inside of them. Today's school boards are pushing for standardized test results while the use of Ritalin for ADD students is on a dramatic upswing.

The Problem
Some experts estimate that as many as half of all entrepreneurs have ADD (either the hyperactive type or the inattentive type). Also more and more of our youth are being identified with ADD as diagnosis of the disorder becomes more refined. Are these future entrepreneurs who are struggling to express their talents?

Others are already recognizing the connections between ADD and creativity. For example, more gifted children are diagnosed as ADD than normal kids are. That is, they are diagnosed out of proportion to their number in the population at large. Furthermore, the same statistic applies to the number of gifted children who drop out of high school. Therefore educators of the gifted are examining methods such as accelerated programming and mentoring to attract the gifted learner and keep them in school.

At the other end of the spectrum a Superior Court Judge in Seattle, Washington learned from a researcher that a preponderance of prison inmates suffer from ADD. As a result the judge instituted a program a few years ago to test all first time offenders that appeared before him. If they were diagnosed with ADD, and if they qualified for probation, they were sentenced to participate in an outpatient treatment program. The program taught the probationers about their disorder and how to utilize their strengths to learn and work more productively. The judge suspected that if ADD criminals learned other methods to accomplish life goals, they might not re-offend. He has about a 90% success rate with his plan. If ADD criminals can be rehabilitated, we believe ADD entrepreneurs can accomplish even greater contributions to society, if they are shown how to utilize their strengths and avoid their weaknesses.

While many ADD entrepreneurs and youth are gifted and rise above limitations, there are many others who rise and fall, rise and fall, repeatedly. They make fortunes and lose them. They create fantastic ideas that never get fully developed. Their restless natures conflict with commitment to follow through. They disappoint partners, investors customers and, as children, their teachers. Their spouses and children learn to distrust them and eventually become alienated. And worst of all, talented people with entrepreneurial spirit become discouraged and give up their dreams. Since ADD apparently runs in families, this means that generation after generation suffers. The key is turning ADD from a disorder into an asset.

The Solution
Undiagnosed and untreated ADD is a challenge for the individual, his or her family, the community in which he or she lives, and for the American economy. We are proposing a study to correct this problem. The results will aid in harnessing this creativity, salvaging the ADD entrepreneur's self esteem, and restoring healthy family life. The bottom line is to add more solid businesses to the American economy. We need to learn more about the challenges the ADD entrepreneur faces creating focus and balance in his or her life.

Accordingly, we are looking for volunteers who would like to tell us your story. These stories will be the foundation of a book we are writing. If you are an entrepreneur and suspect that you have ADD, please send by e-mail (info@kmarshack.com) a brief description of your situation. We are looking for examples of the ups and downs in your life, the life experiences of living with ADD and entrepreneurship that have shaped you. Be creative; there are no rules to follow here.

As we progress in this research we may contact you again for more information so please leave your address and phone number with your e-mail. If you need more confidentiality, please feel free to send your story by regular mail.

Resources:
To help you in assessing whether you or your boss or a loved one is an ADD entrepreneur please check these two sources:

  • "The Authoritarian Entrepreneur," one of my columns that describes one type of ADD entrepreneur.
  • www.brainplace.com - this website has a quiz to help you identify one of six types of ADD.
  • To keep posted on the progress of this project visit www.payattentionplease.com.

If you are an entrepreneur and suspect that you have ADD, please send by e-mail info@kmarshack.com a brief description of your situation.