Back 20 years ago, I had already owned a restaurant, a karate school and worked other jobs. It was at the time when I owned and operated the restaurant just outside of Boston that I fell in love with the practice of public relations. Back then, it was pretty much media relations, trying to secure press coverage for my business. And that’s what public relations professionals did for the most part, manage reputation through positive press coverage.
For me, it worked. Public relations and positive press coverage drove sales for many years and I did very little traditional advertising. In fact I remember one customer saying to me, “You are in the newspaper every week it seems.” It wasn’t the slight thrill of everyone in the surrounding towns knowing who I was, it was more of the thrill of seeing your hard work pay off and the fact that you sent the media something that they felt was newsworthy.
As an entrepreneur with ADHD, this checked all the boxes for me when it came to career satisfaction. And in the end, it was the public relations and promoting my business that was far more enjoyable than flipping grilled cheeses… And that’s when I got out and went into a career in PR full time. One of the few times I worked for someone else in my adult life.
In my book Overcoming Distractions, Thriving with Adult ADHD, we discuss the perfect scenario when it comes to career and thriving with ADHD. When you love what you do, in many cases a person’s ADHD is minimized because they are engaged and stimulated. Public Relations was that medicine I needed. When I saw a TV camera show up to one of my events, I was genuinely excited, BUT professional.
Here is why I feel a public relations career is a great place for someone with ADHD. Let’s go through some if the traits of an individual with ADHD.
Some say that those with ADHD cannot focus. But I feel the opposite is true. We can focus on many things as well as see the big picture. Now, don’t mistake this with multitasking which does not work. I’m talking about keeping tabs on everything that’s going on in your organization as well as potential opportunities to create positive awareness around your mission. Our ADHD minds are programmed to multi focus which I feel is a true asset in PR. In short, you can be the idea factory for your organization or client.
In public relations, sometimes we have to act quickly. Such as in the case of jumping onto a national trend to get press coverage or what some might call news jacking. We have to be able to think quickly on our feet as public relations professionals and that ADHD trait is perfect for getting the attention of a journalist that might have an assignment of localizing a story that is taking place on the national level. Other times we get an idea, push something out to the media and boom, there’s A TV camera. Other times, not so much. You have to take a few risks as a public relations professional.
Okay, let’s go slow on this one. If you can harness your energy and what many call hyperactivity into being a great communicator, this is a true asset. Whether you are the spokesperson, the PR pro trying to get a point across to a client or senior management or pitch a new idea with passion, this is your chance to shine. You have to channel your energy for good and you have to be self-aware enough to know how much to step on the gas pedal. But being just a little bit hyper or full of energy can be an asset in the public relations world. I know many successful people with ADHD who are incredible communicators. They have learned how to use this trait to go far in business without being that hyperactive kid we all know inside of us.
Learn more about how successful people with ADHD have found their passion in my book Overcoming Distractions. You can find it here on Amazon and in book stores across the country.