Embrace the chaos

ADHD Business Tips - Embrace the chaos

Entrepreneurship is often described as a rollercoaster ride—a journey filled with exhilarating highs and daunting lows. For those of us with ADHD, this rollercoaster can feel like it’s on turbo mode, with twists, turns, and loop-de-loops coming at us faster than we can keep track. Managing multiple tasks, dealing with distractions, and adapting to constant change are just a few of the unique challenges we face on a daily basis.

But, what if I told you that instead of fighting against this chaos, embracing it could be the key to unlocking your full potential as an entrepreneur?

A different perspective

One of the biggest hurdles many ADHD entrepreneurs face is harsh self-judgment. We’re constantly bombarded with messages about how we “should” be. We should be able to sit still, maintain intense focus for hours, maintain organised systems and follow linear workflows. But those neurotypical standards just don’t align with how our brains are wired. We end up feeling like failures for not being able to meet impossible expectations, rather than celebrating our unique strengths and rhythms. Breaking free from that self-critical inner voice and treating ourselves with compassion is crucial.

Renowned psychologist Carl Jung once said, “What we resist, persists” and this quote holds particular resonance for ADHD entrepreneurs. Every neurodivergent client I’ve coached has spent years wearing a mask at work. A lifetime of trying their darndest to be that square peg that fits in a round hole. It’s exhausting, frustrating, and ultimately, counterproductive. They teeter precariously on the edge of burnout, trying to keep everything under wraps and in order so that nobody will suspect the calamitous reality. It is this unsustainable predicament that usually leads them to my door. 

It’s only by embracing the inherent chaos of the entrepreneurial journey however that they can harness their uniqueness and truly thrive.

The ADHD Brain: Wired for Chaos

Contrary to popular belief, the ADHD brain is not a flaw; it’s simply wired differently. Research suggests that we typically excel in environments characterised by novelty, variety, and unpredictability. The very same qualities that define the world of entrepreneurship. In fact, many successful entrepreneurs, including Richard Branson and David Neeleman, openly attribute their achievements to their ADHD traits.

So, why is chaos such a great fit for ADHDers? It all comes down to the brain’s ability to thrive in uncertainty. While neurotypical folk may struggle to cope with ambiguity and change, the ADHD brain craves it. This natural affinity for chaos provides you with a unique advantage. You’re able to think on your feet, adapt quickly to new situations, and see opportunities where others see obstacles.

Thriving in chaos

Embracing chaos doesn’t mean surrendering to disorder; it’s about learning to navigate it with finesse. Here are some strategies and tips for ADHD entrepreneurs to thrive in the midst of chaos:

Cultivate appreciation

Understanding and appreciating your unique ability for handling higher levels of uncertainty can help you capitalise on it. So often, society conditions us to view traits like distractibility and disorganisation solely through a negative lens. However, by reframing your mindset, you can transform those same attributes into potent advantages in the realms of adaptability, creative thinking, and open-mindedness to change.

When you cultivate gratitude for how your brain is wired to thrive amidst fast-paced, unpredictable environments, you’ll have greater conviction to lean into the chaos rather than resist it. This powerful self-acceptance allows you to double down on your entrepreneurial strengths instead of wasting energy trying to override your natural tendencies. With appreciation, the chaotic elements that fluster others become welcome catalysts for you to apply your talents and competitive edge.

Develop your ‘big picture’ thinking skills

Depending on your wiring, seeing the whole picture may come more naturally to you, but most of us have been guilty of getting stuck in the detail when under pressure. The ability to zoom out and see the forest through the trees prevents getting overwhelmed by short-term disorder. Big picture thinking allows you to keep inevitable micro-chaos in proper context as part of the larger journey versus feeling consumed by it moment-to-moment.

The ability to fluently shift between the day-to-day minutiae and the wider view is essential to navigating pandemonium productively. Big picture thinking nurtures a flexible mindset which can allow us to adjust plans iteratively and overcome obstacles creatively. It also helps us identify emerging patterns and trends before they become obvious to others.

Embrace flexibility

Learn to go with the flow and adapt to changing circumstances. Flexibility is critical in the world of entrepreneurship and thinking on our feet is something most ADHDers excel at. It empowers you to rapidly pivot strategies, rework processes, and improvise creative solutions in the face of setbacks or sudden disruptions. A flexible outlook and openness to change fuels personal growth, innovation, and the dynamic resilience needed to overcome uncertainty.

Rigidity is the enemy when facing the inevitable chaos of building a business. Those who cling to fixed plans and refuse to exercise flexibility find themselves quickly overwhelmed and derailed by each unforeseen obstacle. Embracing an adaptable, go-with-the-flow mindset, however, allows you to roll with the punches and turn on a dime as conditions shift. For the ADHD leader willing to embrace it, flexibility becomes the ultimate superpower for cutting through chaos.

Supporting yourself in chaos

Embracing chaos can be liberating but has the potential to quickly become overwhelming. As such, it’s essential to support yourself as you lean into it. Here are some tips to build a healthy relationship with chaos so you can enjoy the benefits without the burdens:

Implement helpful structures

• Create basic routines and systems to inject order into specific areas of your work and life

• Utilise productivity tools like calendars, to-do lists, or time-blocking

• Build in transition periods between tasks to regain focus

• Designate specific workspaces strictly for deep, uninterrupted work

Set boundaries

• Limit unnecessary contexts switches and multitasking overload 

Turn off notifications and distractions during focus periods

• Say no to low-priority commitments that may induce unnecessary chaos

• Delegate tasks and responsibilities that drain your energy

Manage your energy

• Pay attention to your natural productivity cycles and work on important tasks accordingly

• Take breaks to physically move, exercise, meditate or reset

• Prioritise adequate sleep, nutrition and overall self-care

• Learn to spot signs you’re becoming overwhelmed or dysregulated and have techniques to re-centre.

Create oases of calm

• Design workspaces with minimal visual and auditory stimulation

• Use noise-cancelling headphones in required moments of deep work

• Spend time daily in green spaces or adjust lighting/temperature for focus

• Identify places outside the office that facilitate mindfulness

Leverage your support networks

• Enlist coaches, peers or accountability partners to help you manage the chaos when it gets too much

• Consider hiring an assistant for organisational tasks

Rely on understanding friends or family members who can help you see the big picture when you’re stuck or overwhelmed by the detail

• Join communities of ADHD entrepreneurs to avoid feeling isolated


If you’re looking for a way to embrace the chaos right now, try starting with a few mindful moments.

Take a few minutes to pause, breathe, and observe the chaos around (or within) you without judgment. Instead of feeling overwhelmed, allow yourself to be present in the moment and see the opportunities that chaos presents. Mindfulness can help you cultivate a sense of calm and clarity amidst the chaos, empowering you to navigate it with confidence and grace.

In a world that places high value on order and predictability, it’s easy to feel like you don’t quite fit. Instead of forcing ourselves into a mould that doesn’t suit us, why not embrace our chaotic ways and unlock our full potential? By leaning into the power of chaos, ADHD entrepreneurs can turn our unique strengths into a recipe for success.

Take the time to thoughtfully address the aspects of chaos you struggle with most and find suitable strategies. This will allow you to leverage the benefits of productive pandemonium without letting it derail your physical and mental wellbeing. The key is channelling the chaos into an advantage, not getting consumed by it.

The next time you find yourself facing a whirlwind of uncertainty, remember: don’t fight it. Embrace the chaos, and watch as the possibilities unfold before you.

Until next week,

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