Mental illness and coping with attention deficit disorder can be stigmatizing and lonely. Not everyone is able to face this diagnosis, along with addiction, when working in the c-suite. Executives face lots of pressure to perform and deal with challenging circumstances. Some believe having ADHD is not that bad as an executive, as long as it is under control. Find out why it might be hard to share the diagnosis and how to navigate the challenges as an executive.
The thing that executives struggle with is a type of superhero persona that is either attached to them or they believe themselves. As a superhero, they should be invincible, able to cope with anything thrown their way, and will do anything at the drop of a hat that will benefit the company and others around them. The brain of someone with ADHD needs constant stimulation, so it might make sense they gravitate towards jobs where they have to manage multiple moving parts at the same time. Going from project to project seems to be what is best for them. A diagnosis can also limit a person who thinks they are perfect but feels this is an imperfection, so they hide it from others. The challenge of sharing comes from stigma and shame they will be found out to not be perfect superheroes, rather they are imperfect humans (like the rest of us) and are not infallible, after all.
Losing the Stigma
The hardest thing to do is lose the stigma around ADD and ADHD diagnoses. When someone is diagnosed, they are often told this is a weakness and they should adapt to their environment in this way. They learn to look for people to help them shore up those weaknesses and support them rather than focus on their personal strengths. This can build insecurity and make them feel different about how they see themselves. Here are some strategies people in the c-suite can think about when they are looking to work on their ability to lose the stigma and thrive in spite of their diagnosis:
- Problem-solving: executives need to think outside the box. They need to see from different angles thrown at them. They can come up with solutions others do not see more easily
- Focus: get laser-focused and clear on goals and objectives. Make lists, get organized, and keep focused on building on those goals rather than let stigma determine the course of action
- Be creative: black and white thinking are harder for people with ADHD. They tend to focus on technicolor. They will find a way to make it happen because their brain cannot focus on one thing for too long. They come up with new perspectives and ideas to keep things fresh, which livens things up for everyone
- Generate ideas: create a system that generates new ideas and helps with organization. It can also generate ideas for others which may save, time, money, and prove to be more efficient than existing systems
- Take risks: people with ADHD don’t sit too long on an idea. They are risk-takers, which can land them in hot water, or embolden them to soar to new heights. A person with ADHD is really now or never, take it or leave it. They focus on what is possible and go for it
This positive focus on these attributes can help executives shake off stigma and begin to build their careers around something else (aside from the diagnosis). There are hope and healing in this way of doing things but may require extra support to keep moving forward and stay focused on what’s ahead.
The Last Resort understands how to help executives with diagnoses that are challenging to find hope again. They are able to work flexibly while still in rehab and even focus on the deeper issues that led to addiction. Medication and support will be offered for those who need it to temper mental illness symptoms. There is room for everyone to find hope after addiction. Let us be the ones to help. Call us to find out more: 512-750-6750.