Exploit your strengths instead of “fixing” your weaknesses

ADHD Business Tips - Exploit your strengths

Tell me.. as someone running a business with ADHD, how much time have you wasted obsessing over all your perceived flaws and shortcomings?

If you’re anything like me, it’s more than you’d like to admit. There have been plenty of times when I’ve chastised myself for being disorganised or forgetful, or spent countless hours trying to create systems designed to help me complete mundane tasks. My bookshelves have overflowed with all the guides to time management, organisation and overcoming procrastination. Can you relate?

The most annoying part is that no matter how hard I’ve tried to force myself into being a perfectly productive, together human being, I’ve always fallen short. Self-criticism can be hard to avoid in such situations, and I frequently find myself filled with frustration at an inability to meet society’s (and my own) vision of an ideal entrepreneur. 

It was while I was training to become a coach several years ago that I discovered the power of a strength-based approach, and everything shifted. Instead of concerning myself with all the ways I fell short, I started zeroing in on the traits that lead me down the path to training as a coach in the first place.

When we buy into the notion that ADHD is a deficit to be overcome, we lose sight of our greatest assets as entrepreneurs. Working furiously to “fix” ourselves can tragically blind us to the immense gifts our neurodivergent minds possess as well as burning through energy we just don’t have to spare.

Understanding and appreciating your strengths

The first step to exploiting your biggest assets is building greater insight around your unique cognitive strengths. Those of us with ADHD tend to have huge amounts of creativity, curiosity, and the ability to hyperfocus on engaging topics. We’re incredible innovators and problem solvers who can connect disparate ideas to create brilliant solutions.

Rather than seeing a restless, exploratory mind as a weakness, we can recognise it as the entrepreneurial advantage it truly is. Yes, we may struggle with logistical details or get bored easily by repetitive tasks – but we also have the capacity to imagine innovative ideas and pivot rapidly based on changing environments.

The most successful entrepreneurs are able to dance between big picture strategising and hands-on implementation – precisely the cognitive flexibility that ADHD can provide. Our tendency to blurt out ideas that others may find wacky or impulsive? That’s the seed of disruptive innovation!

Finding your unique strengths 

How can you uncover what your core strengths are?

Start by taking time for honest self-reflection. Which parts of building a business light you up or feel effortless versus those that quickly drain your energy? Do you thrive on generating creative visions or executing your big plans? When do you naturally fall into hyperfocus mode? Give yourself permission to name your innate capabilities without judging them against societal norms.

It can also be helpful to invite input from others who know you well. Ask those close to you about the strengths and patterns they observe that serve you at work. Often an outside perspective can reveal unique abilities you overlook, underestimate or take for granted.

Formal assessments such as Extended-DISC (my personal favourite) or StrengthsFinder can also provide enlightening insights. While no test is perfect, the right tool can help quickly illuminate the core talents you can lean into.

Stop forcing yourself to change 

Once you know what cognitive strengths and tendencies to leverage, you can stop fruitlessly trying to change ingrained parts of how your ADHD mind operates. This usually provides a sense of relief for my clients who may have spent years forcing themselves through excruciating weekly planning rituals or designing intricate organisational systems that ultimately never stick. Even in my own personal experience I know I’ve wasted a ton of time and energy on disheartening attempts to become a different type of person.

The truth is, developing a few robust systems to help you capitalise on your innate superpowers will always be far more effective than waging war against your natural tendencies. If organising spreadsheets drains you while designing creative strategies energises you, stop squandering resources on building those logistical muscles.  Instead, plan to fill the gaps in other ways, like finding an assistant or ops person to seamlessly handle operational details while you unleash your visionary side.

Not only is it demoralising to fixate on perceived inadequacies, doing so is terrible for business. An obsessive focus on weaknesses ironically blinds us to our greatest competitive advantages as entrepreneurial leaders. When we focus on our perceived flaws, we miss golden opportunities to amplify our differences into economic and cultural impact.

Leveraging your strengths to propel your business

So how do you implement a strength-based approach when it comes to your business journey?

Knowing what is and what isn’t in your metaphorical bag is key when it comes to determining how best to spend your limited time and energy at work.

Firstly, let go of the idea that one person can do it all. I believe you’re immensely talented and you very likely have a LOT of useful skills you’ve honed over your life as an ADHDer – BUT

1. A skill is not the same as a strength, and,

2. Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should.

Secondly, put a (high!) dollar value on your time. It’s much easier to get sucked into spending time and money developing our weak areas when we don’t have a sense of how much our time is really worth. Other people can do things that aren’t in your wheelhouse, and they can probably do them faster and cheaper than you. Hire, outsource or delegate things that aren’t in your area of expertise.

Remember, the sooner you know what is your bag, the sooner you’ll be able to realise the true value of your time and afford more help to fill in the gaps!

Look for ways to build your business model and work routines around your specific talents rather than defaulting to one-size-fits all methods. Maybe you thrive with task batching instead of rigid daily schedules. Or find ways to strategically leverage your hyperfocus spurts rather than forcing sustained attention.

Most importantly, relentlessly amplify your entrepreneurial strengths through radical self-acceptance and self-compassion. When you discover the power of honouring your neurodivergent mind rather than fighting it, a whole new universe of authenticity and flow opens up.


If you don’t have a good grasp on your core strengths and how to exploit them, an Extended DISC assessment can be a great place to start. It’s an excellent tool for helping us better understand our behaviour and I find it so valuable that I start all my 1:1 engagements with an E-DISC profile. As a reader you can access mate’s rates on a profile & unpack ($300+GST) if you book yours before April 30!

Forget chasing conformity and trying to do it all – the world needs more ADHD innovators wholly embracing their unique brilliance and paving their own path. That’s how the most disruptive ideas are born, and impactful businesses are built.

How well do you know your strengths?

I’ll see you next week!

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