Peter Shankman credits ADHD for his successes (and some failures), and spoke to our class about how understanding how his brain works has helped him become an extremely successful entrepreneur. Shankman also hosts a podcast called Faster Than Normal, which aims to help people use ADHD to their advantage.
Shankman founded Help A Reporter Out (HARO), which helped thousands of reporters connect with sources looking to be quoted in the media. He’s also well-versed in PR and social media strategy.
According to his website, “Peter’s Customer Service and Social Media clients have included American Express, Sprint, SAP, The US Department of Defense, Royal Bank of Canada, Snapple Beverage Group, Saudi Aramco, Foley Hoag LLP, NASA, Haworth, Sheraton, Walt Disney World, Abercrombie and Kent, The Ad Council, Discovery Networks, New Frontier Media, Napster, Juno, Dream Catcher Destinations Club, Harrah’s Hotels, and many, many others.”
There are some HUGE names on that list. SAP is the largest business software company IN THE WORLD. Let that sink in! Then, let’s bring the US Dept. of Defense into the mix, they’re fairly important too, right? Snapple, Walt Disney World, Harrah’s Hotels … if all of these powerhouses “and many, many others,” are putting their trust in Peter Shankman, this guy knows his stuff.
Fast forward to my class’ Skype conversation with Peter, and he is personable, humorous, vibrant as can be, and very frank. This is the type of person I respond very well to. I enjoyed every aspect of our class’ conversation, but I did have one issue with a message he conveyed. Peter Shankman, more or less, said that if you haven’t failed, you’re not trying hard enough.
I understand that failure is necessary to growth (both personally and professionally), but I don’t think that someone needs to fail outright in order to succeed later on. Granted, I’m not entirely sure if this is exactly what Shankman meant, since I didn’t ask outright: ‘does this mean I have to fail at something to become good?’
While that’s an admirable stance, I do not think it’s all-encompassing, I think people can make mistakes without failing completely. I think partial failures are important because you don’t need to completely botch something to understand how to be better next time. Partial failures are also more common, and if we’re able to take lessons from each of our smaller, individual failures, we will have a better understanding of how to better ourselves in the future.