Here member Michelle Shavdia from Find your Spark shares advice on ADHD in the workplace. Some vital lessons that could help you, your business, your customers and suppliers and your team.
Did you know that had Einstein, one of the greatest inventors of all time with huge intelligence, been born at this time, he would have been diagnosed ADHD?!
I, Michelle Shavdia, 39 years old, am on a mission to raise awareness into the still misunderstood and stigmatised condition of ADHD, breaking it down one myth at a time such as people with ADHD are not intelligent.
I recently spoke on the panel at an event in London for a fantastic charity called Digital Boost who have been supporting and helping me this past year. It was well attended, organised and good energy. I wanted to share what I spoke about regarding my entrepreneurial journey with the audience of start-up entrepreneurs as it may help others too. I am also including some excerpts from a newspaper article I wrote to give further information into ADHD:
‘I took the brave leap of faith to become self-employed in 2011 and set up my business Find Your Spark soon thereafter. I did this through choice as I really wanted to use my skills to coach and support at risk young people and the job I was in, was not suited to my strengths. Also, as is unfortunately the case due to us living in a world that is not quite set up for those who are neurodivergent still (which I did not realise I was at the time), I was not a great employee as I didn’t like to being told what to do as I had my own innovative, creative ideas that I wanted to put into place, which my employers weren’t so keen on!!!
So, I resigned from this job and started a Masters in Coaching Psychology at University for three years from 2012-2015 after having done a Psychology degree.
One of my greatest wins, which in part was due to the support I received from Digital Boost, has been taking the brave leap of faith for a second time to specialise in being an ADHD coach, which I started full time this year. This followed on from having supported young people with ADHD in 2018-2019 not knowing that I had ADHD myself!! I received my own late ADHD diagnosis in 2021 at 37 years old after years of not knowing what was going on with my brain that made me so different to my peers.
I now specialise in the condition of ADHD and am supporting those with and without ADHD one to one and in groups so they can manage living in a neurotypical world better. I understand just how difficult it can be and the problems that come with having this condition despite there certainly being strengths as well.
There are still many misconceptions about ADHD. One of these is that having ADHD means you don’t have enough attention and therefore are unable to concentrate. The fact is people with ADHD have TOO much attention and notice EVERYTHING, EVERYWHERE, ALL AT ONCE (much like the Oscar winning film of that name!!).
One way to describe ADHD is like having squiggles in the brain firing off in all directions, which is what makes it that much harder to concentrate. But when we ARE focused on something that we are REALLY interested in, we can be known to hyper focus on it, much to the neglect of everything else around us (there have been countless times I have forgotten to eat as I have been so engrossed in what I am doing!!!)
ADHD isn’t something we grow out of; it doesn’t go away, and it is not something to be fixed. Rather it is something to be managed and given ADHD is now thought to affect 6% of the population, it is important people understand what it is. There are currently 110,000 people waiting for an ADHD assessment and the average waiting time is between 3-10 years. So, the current system is not working clearly.
In business, as in life, we face challenges and let downs. I have faced many and this year there were two that knocked me off my feet a bit and set me back somewhat. However, I now see these setbacks as lessons and challenges to overcome. Whilst disappointing I am now grateful for them as I truly believe that whatever is meant for you, won’t go past you so focus your energy on your interests, passions and what flows and don’t worry so much about things that don’t.
People with ADHD tend to experience imposter syndrome daily despite the qualifications, professional experiences, and accolades. This is because they have spent much of their life, particularly if they are late diagnosed with ADHD, being told that they are mad, bad, crazy, lazy and stupid and compared to your peers and told, ‘why can’t you just be like them?!’ If you are told something enough times, you will begin to believe it. Even at this Digital Boost event I felt like an imposter before, during and afterwards and yet I was invited to speak at it!!! The way I overcome this now is to focus on what has worked well for you and the successes you have had and use that to motivate and drive you forward. Share this with others and don’t think it is boastful as on the whole, people love celebrating and helping people as not only can it make them feel good doing so but also it can inspire them to improve their lives. We all just human beings having an experience through life so it’s important just to do your best and believe in yourself and the rest will fall into place.
Here are some techniques I have learnt to stay motivated and keep my growth mindset through the challenging moments:
- Remember to focus on what you can control and don’t worry about what is out of your control.
- Do your best to not compare yourself to others and just focus on what is for you / your lane.
- And if its too much, just take a break and come back to it after going for a walk in nature listening to a podcast or having a nap/sleep. You will get through this even the challenging times, just have faith and know everything works out as its meant to so be your authentic self, be a good person and don’t sweat the stuff you wont remember in a year from now.
If you would like to learn more about ADHD, what it is and how best to manage it, get in touch by email or phone. We have two groups coming up for adults with ADHD and family members who wish to learn more on how best to support it. Or if you prefer one to one, we offer ADHD coaching. Here are the Eventbrite links to book onto a group:
ADHD Awareness Group – Tuesday 30 January, 7pm-9pm (Colchester) Buy One Get One Free Offer for £40 till end of December. Then Buy One Get One free till end of January for £60.
We look forward to hearing from and meeting you in due course!!!
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