ADHD (Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is undoubtedly a huge part to play in the entrepreneurial success of SOUL CAP over the past few years. SOUL CAP co-founder, Michael Chapman, was diagnosed in 2017 and has been embracing his individual way of working ever since.
Why is ADHD so overlooked?
In the UK alone, it’s estimated that up to 1.5 million adults are living with ADHD – but only 120,000 have a confirmed diagnosis. That means almost 1.4 million adults could be living with undiagnosed ADHD.
“When I was growing up, there was definitely a lot less understanding of ADHD,” said Michael Chapman, a 31-year-old entrepreneur and the co-founder of SOUL CAP. “During my diagnosis, we looked back over my old school reports. My teachers had said things like capable and intelligent, but lacks attention and talks too much – and now all of that makes a lot more sense.”
This lack of awareness in teachers and parents means that thousands of young people could be going undiagnosed every year. And if the teachers and parents don’t have awareness of ADHD, it’s even less likely that the kids will recognise the patterns in themselves.
Without the right understanding of ADHD and how it affects us, it’s easy for teachers and parents to dismiss the symptoms as poor behaviour – which can cause problems with motivation and success for kids who don’t get the support they need.
But while ADHD can affect anyone, this dismissal of symptoms can be even worse for young Black men:
“Being of colour, I definitely feel there was an element of labelling my behaviour,” said Michael. “There’s a massive issue in stereotyping Black boys as naughty – as opposed to investigating further.”
Productivity isn’t one size fits all
“ADHD is like a motor running that doesn’t stop,” said Michael. “Even if I’m in bed trying to sleep, if I have an idea at 3am – I have to get my laptop out.”
“Sometimes you can appear erratic,” he added. “Often, your ideas are cloudy and it’s difficult to articulate them in a linear way. But I’m lucky to have a business partner in Toks who’s understanding of that.”
Embracing ADHD for positive results
Living with ADHD can be a challenge. But for many, they’re turning their condition into an advantage – harnessing the ADHD traits of hyperactivity and impulsivity and transforming them into the entrepreneurial habits of a high work capacity and action-oriented risk-taking.
People with ADHD can often achieve a state of hyper-focus for an extended period of time, following their passion and interest far beyond the point where neurotypical people would get exhausted.
And while neurotypical people might spend hours agonising over the options and potential risks of their decisions, someone with ADHD can find it easier to take bold steps forward, taking decisive action that can reap huge rewards.
“ADHD is my superpower,” said Michael. “I wouldn’t be an entrepreneur without it. I’ve totally embraced it and I know my work patterns are different. Sometimes my best work will get done at night, and it helps having partners and colleagues who understand that.”