An Introduction to the World of Attention Deficit . . . Ooh! Shiny!
Hi, I'm Peter Shankman. I'm the most ADHD person you're ever going to meet. But I'm also really, really proud of that. My ADHD is responsible for the majority of my success, and I've had a little bit of success. I've started and successfully sold three companies, the most well-known of which is called Help a Reporter Out (or HARO), which singlehandedly changed how journalists around the world find their sources and how companies and regular people get into the media. I'm also a worldwide keynote speaker, spending the majority of my time on an airplane to give keynote talks to major companies across the globe, including American Express, Disney, Huawei, Starwood Hotels, and hundreds of others. I host one of the top podcasts on ADD and ADHD, called (duh) Faster Than Normal. I run an online entrepreneurial community of more than three hundred people called ShankMinds. I've written four business books, including two bestsellers. I built a top-selling video course on ADHD, called the FTN Course. I go on TV a lot, including CNN, Fox, Bloomberg, and CNBC, talking about marketing, advertising, business, and the customer economy. I'm an Ironman Triathlete, a "B" licensed skydiver with more than four hundred jumps, and possibly most important, a dad to an amazing four-year-old daughter.
I've also been diagnosed with ADHD three times, have a very addictive personality, and wake up every single morning sure that today will be the day I'm found out to be nothing more than a fraud who's never done anything good in his life. I've blown countless past relationships because I didn't know how to slow down and match the life-speed of my partner, I've had some spectacular failures, both professionally and personally, and for whatever this is worth, I've cried at more than 70 percent of all episodes of The West Wing.
While you're reading this book, look for the word "SQUIRREL!" Why? Because I get it-I'm ADHD. I know that books in general are occasionally hard to read-not because we don't like reading, but because sitting through sixty thousand words can, at times, make us want to do anything else. Again: I get it. That's why I'm going to use the term "SQUIRREL!" When you see "SQUIRREL!" it means that I'm saying something even more useful than everything else. It'll be something small, it'll be something tweetable or great for posting on Facebook, it'll be something you'll want to highlight and share with people, it'll be a quick tip that can truly change your life. So keep an eye out for "SQUIRREL!" They're essentially the Cliff's Notes of this book.
Needless to say, an introduction like that doesn't get me very many matches at speed-dating events.
If you're reading this and you don't have ADHD-or maybe you've never been diagnosed-or you know friends or family or loved ones who do-keep reading. One of the beauties of this book is that it's also for everyone-not just those with ADHD. Those without it are going to learn just as much (if not more) from the tips, tricks, and hacks that I lay down here. Trust me-you'll get three hours a day back in your life, just for starters.
If you do have ADHD, though, some of the stories here will be incredibly familiar to you, I have no doubt. Like sitting in my dorm room at Boston University two days into my freshman year, asking myself why I simply couldn't shut up every once in a while, because I'd just blurted out something that I thought was funny, but no one else in the room did, and I was sure I'd just blown the next four years of my social life.
Or perhaps the frequent trips to the principal's office in grade school, where one of my parents would come collect me after school, and each meeting would start with "If he only applied himself . . ."
Maybe you might relate to the constant "WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU?" looks that I would get every time I had a new or (in my mind, anyway) amazing idea, after I presented it to my bosses, or even to people who I thought loved me. (Definitely one of the reasons I went out on my own professionally, that's for sure.)
During my time researching this book, and doing all of the homework for it, I've run into countless similar stories from people I've met, those whom I've interviewed on the podcast, and others who have e-mailed me out of the blue to say "I can relate."
Do any of these scenarios make any sense to you?
After getting a note from the dean of students in my son's bag six times in two weeks, I called the dean up and asked him point-blank, "Can you tell me if there is anything my son is doing right lately?"
If I get into the office super early and work before anyone else shows up, I'm so much more productive. The second the office fills with people, it's like my brain shuts down and I start spacing out.
I finally had to explain to my boss that I needed a half hour in the middle of the day to go exercise, or I'd be useless to him for the remainder of the day. Once I got that and he understood why, my productivity went through the roof, and I've been named "Employee of the Month" three times in the past four months! SQUIRREL!: Here's what matters more than anything: You're not broken. You're not damaged, you're not defective, and you're not destroyed. You're not on the island of misfit toys, and your life isn't "wrong" because you've been diagnosed with ADHD.
In fact, I hate that term "diagnosed." You get "diagnosed" with a disease that can hurt you, one that can kill you. You don't get "diagnosed" for good things. No one has ever been "diagnosed" as a lottery winner, or "diagnosed" as stunning enough to win a beauty pageant.
So the first rule here is this: you're never allowed to say "diagnosed with ADHD" again, because ADHD is not a negative. Say it with me: ADHD is not a negative! Quite the opposite. You're gifted with a brain that's faster than normal, and in this book, we're going to learn how to operate it to its maximum potential. It's going to be awesome.
Copyright © 2017 by Peter Shankman. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.