It took me 49 years to receive a diagnosis of ADHD after which many of my own challenges suddenly made sense.
Although I was brilliant at activating and motivating others, I felt a near paralysis when it came to doing what I needed to do for myself and my business unless it deeply interested me.
I struggled with important but mundane tasks, not being able to apply a "just do it" ethos, and couldn't work out why.
I was consistently inconsistent with things that I started unless these were collaborations, and wondered why I couldn't seem to grow my consistency muscle.
I would thrive on urgency, but this was risky.
Unless I was deeply engrossed in my work, my mind was easily distracted. This is like having an "ON" or "OFF" switch, all or nothing, and very difficult to moderate.
I relied on word of mouth for marketing, and while I could make ends meet, I knew I was avoiding being proactive with business development. The prospect of rejection was profound for me. I was perplexed and frustrated at not being able to overcome this as I supported many of my clients to do.
I knew I was underachieving. My high performing clients were surpassing me and I couldn't work out why. There was something amiss but nothing I could put my finger on. I was clearly limited. I felt a deep sense of shame.
So I spent a lot of energy hiding my incompetencies. This was easy to do working for myself. But it took its toll. I felt exhausted and increasingly like a fraud. Even though "imposter syndrome" is a globally human phenomenon, hiding all my difficulties stoked my imposter. It was draining and impacting my confidence and self esteem.
I didn't know, but my lack of understanding about my brain wiring was not allowing me to be the professional I needed to be.
Everything changed after my diagnosis
It was sheer luck through investigating ADHD in two of my children that I discovered the symptoms described me and what I'd been experiencing my whole life.
With my diagnosis I realised that I was never going to completely grow out of my challenges. I wasn't going to wake up and be different, despite what I knew about neuroplasticity (the brain's capacity to change).
This was hard at first - accepting that I was dealing with a neurodevelopmental difference and not just a character defect on my part ("just do it!", "try harder"). But ultimately it was a gamechanger because now I could work on understanding my brain better, getting the support I needed and re-structuring the way I did life and business to help me succeed and help others succeed. Especially understanding that ADHD is something I had going for me, not against me.
Now I'm taking what I've learned and still learning, and bringing it to my own clientele, so I can help other professionals and business leaders with ADHD to thrive.