Madison Job

Peter Shankman: How ADD Can Be a Gift

giphy7It is easy to pick out your own flaws and dwell on them. We all have done it— we become our own worst critics time after time.

For example, I worry that at times I talk too fast; I am not as productive as I want to be during the day; or that I stress about minuscule things that do not have a lasting impact on me. However, that does not have to set a negative precedent for how I choose to live my life or tackle my dreams.

I recently had the opportunity to Skype in with American entrepreneur and author, Peter Shankman. Peter provided a refreshing perspective on treating his ADHD and ADD as a gift— a gift that at times, he was in trouble for. Instead of letting the “haters,” as he called them, get him down, he instead chose to whole-heartedly accept both his strengths and weaknesses and use them to help people— something he truly has a passion for and has been quite successful in.

This evaluation lead Peter to his own podcast and website called Faster Than Normal.  He has also written four books — one was a bestseller — and founded Help A Reporter Out, which is a resource for journalists looking for a source on deadline, and the PR firm The Geek Factory.

It was truly inspiring to see how far motivation and a unique work ethic could go. I think it takes a lot of courage to recognize that you may not blend in with everyone else, and it was refreshing to see someone like Peter who proudly embraces that, as if it does not phase him the least bit.

The concept of evaluation is also explored in the article, Roadmap to the Digital Media Startup. Peter was realistic with the resources he was working with and his own maximum capacity when it came to getting the job done. This is a concept that many people can find difficult— admitting what they can’t do doesn’t always come easy.

Peter made it very clear that he is not good at managing things, which is why he leaves scheduling and other various tasks up to his assistant. He has targeted his strengths and used them to his full advantage (just look at his success) while also considering what he isn’t so great at and taking those frustrations out elsewhere.

Aside from assessing his strengths, Peter also spoke about how he comes up with his own start-up companies. Instead of building something people would eventually adapt to, he built his products around people.

This reinforced the idea that products are meant for specific audiences and the desire to solve a problem. A similar passion was displayed during an interview with Whitney Wolfe, founder of Bumble called, How I Built This. Both Whitney and Peter had a passion so deep for an idea they loved. In turn, it ended up helping others. Peter’s was to use his gift and help others like him and the problems around him, while Whitney was determined to change the way men and women think.

The success that comes with these ideas are certainly enticing, but it cannot happen without a little motivation and dedication along the way. It also doesn’t hurt to turn your perspective around into a positive wave of energy that can’t possibly be brought down.



One thought on “Peter Shankman: How ADD Can Be a Gift

  1. Hi Madison! It is so true that we are our own worst critics. I myself constantly want to change things again and again and again because it is not perfect. But that is the thing, nothing is perfect and more importantly, nobody is perfect (no matter how hard we may try). Shankman embraces the fact that he is not perfect and uses his ADHD to his advantage. He understands what works for him and what doesn’t and he openly accepts that. Taking Shankman’s flaws into account, it is, as you say, incredibly inspiring to see how his motivation and strong work ethic has turned him into a very successful entrepreneur.


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