12 February 2023
Candid Chronicles of a Female Founder | Part 1
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Well, hi there, you lot! These last few weeks have been a wild ride, thanks to my old friend, ADHD.
I am currently in the epicentre of launching two businesses, while onboarding 4 new clients, organising a launch party alongside smashing my current, full time PR contract.
This is no coincidence. I have a busy brain, and an impulsive streak. I get a brilliant new idea and start working on fulfilling it, before I've had time to close the lid on a the jar of gherkins I am eating for "lunch".
But, I've learned to turn my quirks into strengths and am flying high in my ambitions; not letting my neurodivergence hold me back,
And, let me tell you, it's been a journey- but one of boundless creativity, super hard work, and a tonne of silliness - my fave kind of fun.
You know what, kids, running multiple businesses with ADHD is like trying to herd cats whilst playing a game of Twister.
As a Founder and CEO of a non-profit company, and Director of Ltd group company that operates under six (yes.... SIX) trading names, each with their own website, services, branding and suppliers - I have enough going on to make my head explode.
But, somehow, I've made it work. And it is a magnificent, stimulating, and highly rewarding, experience.
My ADHD has a hugely POSITIVE impact on my life, offers my clients a new perspective, and allows me to cut through the boundaries so ingrained in workplaces to ENABLE the marginalised women I mentor, through my non-profit organisation Fierce Futures.
To grow a business - and be a progressive society - staying in the same comfort zone of conformity probably isn't going to cut it.
This is me and I know for a fact that I would not have achieved the things that I have, without it...
Although some days I do wish I had a whole team of blue-sky-thinking superheroes working alongside me (like my gal, Fierce PR social media whiz, Daisy) to help me out.
No, it is not always plain sailing, but as time has gone on I've learnt ways to manage the difficult bits so that I can leverage the many benefits my diverse brain gifts to me. Apps are my friend. They improve my life and make running my web of brands so much easier.
With methods like mind-mapping (I use Mindmeister) and cloud based project management tools (I love Notion) I've been able to get a handle on my ADHD and improve my productivity. Whether you are neurodiverse or not, there are loads of great apps out there that can make your life easier, so don't be afraid to explore them - many are free! Being able to switch from my laptop to my phone, using the same synched tools is a god-send when I have a cool idea, mid dog-walk.
So, for anyone out there who's dealing with ADHD - and perhaps managing multiple projects - I've got a few tips that might help.
It is like taming a wild horse - it takes some effort, but with the right tools and a bit of determination, you can do it.
Go with the flow: Embrace your ADHD and go with the flow when you're on a roll. Use your energy and enthusiasm to get things done.
Develop systems: Having clear systems in place to manage your life and work can help you stay organised and reduce stress. Everything needs a home. And a home from home. I often find myself wandering up and down the stairs several times a day, not knowing why I'm in a certain room, and I bounce between projects like a pinball machine. So, I set up my iPad in the kitchen, and my laptop in my office - both set up with the same cloud based software. This allows me to work from different rooms, and keeps me in the flow if I suddenly remember something I need to do.
Keep track of your belongings. Losing things can be a huge halt in productivity. You just want to do the thing. The moment takes you. But where is the THING to do the THING!? I have baskets at the top and bottom of the stairs for items like keys, headphones, and random tiny things that I have moved around the house are easy to lose. I am up and down the stairs so often, usually with random stuff in my hand (and no idea what I'm standing in the kitchen for, with a blank expression on my face). The baskets the take the edge off the chaos, and are easier to carry than balancing my iPad on my head, with a phone charger around my neck and earpods in my socks.
Get techy: Take advantage of technology to help you stay on track. Use apps and reminders to keep you on top of your tasks and appointments. Of course it doesn't help when Alexa hasn't understood you and you get reminders like this one...
Do short bursts of activity: Tackle tasks in short bursts of energy to make the most of your ADHD. Focus on one task at a time and give it your all, then take a break and come back to it later.
Get Plenty of Sleep: Sleep is essential for managing ADHD, and preventing burnout, so make sure you're getting enough rest each night. Aim for 6-8 hours of sleep per night to keep your energy levels up and your mind sharp. I should really practice what I preach on this one... and of course, it's not as simple as 'get more sleep'... but try to develop good habits and have a wind down period before bed, doing something away from work and screens.
Take Regular Breaks: It's important to take regular breaks to recharge your batteries and give your mind a chance to rest. Read a book, or listen to music and dance around the house, with your dog (that's what I do)
Get some fresh air: Regular physical activity, especially outdoors, can help boost your focus and concentration, so make sure you're making time to nip out - that's when the best ideas seem to come so make sure you have your phone and have downloaded Google Docs or your fave note taking app.
Celebrate your wins: Remember to celebrate your successes, no matter how small they may be. Recognise your progress and enjoy the journey. That boring thing you have been putting off for weeks... you created a new document and wrote the title. That's a win; you got over the barrier and made a start. Wahoooo... you're cool.
Assemble your squad: Surround yourself with a supportive and understanding team, both personally and professionally. Honesty is the best policy, and being upfront about your ADHD can lead to a happier workplace. Plus, it shows that your company values authenticity, making it a magnet for top talent. So, gather your allies, and let's tackle the world together!.
My ' random stuff' baskets take the edge off the chaos... and are easier to carry up and down the stairs than balancing my iPad on my head, with a phone charger around my neck and EarPods in my socks.
I am fortunate to have a fellow (heavily suspected) ADHDer, Daisy, on my Fierce PR team. Daisy is a creative, entertaining, wise, and driven individual who adds tremendous value to my business and brings a smile to my day. As a business owner, I encourage other leaders to be open about your ADHD - and mental health in general. You will attract people who value integrity and offer an invaluable perspective, with added bonus super powers. And you too could be lucky enough to find a shining star like Daisy who adds that extra spark to my life.
Here she is! Isn't she lovely? 😍
As many of you know, I do a lot of work around trauma, including public speaking, mentorship, and blogging.
Recently, there has been new research suggesting that ADHD could be interlinked with trauma and the way the brain changes after experiencing significant traumatic events. This doesn't mean that the ADHD diagnosis is not valid, but I felt compelled to contextualise my blog in the grander scheme of openness and breaking down barriers that prevent people in reaching their potential, and adding value to the world.
I firmly believe that trauma is at the root of most mental health diagnoses. However, that is a topic for another day...
To wrap up, ADHD may have its difficulties, but it can also bring about a unique perspective and boundless energy. By embracing the chaos and using my quirks to my advantage, I've been able to turn my ADHD into a source of creativity and success.
So, don't let ADHD hold you back.
Embrace your unique qualities, your weirdness, your BRILLIANCE and turn your challenges into SUPERPOWERS!
Get support for ADHD, neurodiversity or mental health
If you’re experiencing a mental health problem, Mind have an A-Z list of mental health information. You can call, text, or email our Infoline. And your local Mind may provide a range of support services.
There are also several organisations that support people with ADHD:
The ADHD Foundation
The UK adult ADHD network
The UK ADHD Partnership