Work and family obligations (and maybe even some ADD/ADHD challenges) have kept me away from my blog, but I'm ready to get back on track.
by Michael Laskoff
I haven’t blogged in so long, I feel the need to reintroduce myself.
Hi, my name is Michael Laskoff. I’m a 43-year-old entrepreneur and CEO of a small company called AbilTo. Four years ago, I learned what others had long suspected: I have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD) -- always did, always will.
I was the kid who essentially failed second grade and my freshman year of high school but also graduated both University of Chicago and Harvard Business School with honors. Later, I got myself hired by some of the most prestigious companies in America only to quit or get fired from most of them. I have always worked hard -- just not always consistently. I get bored easily, buck authority, and have a wicked temper at times. If you have ADD/ADHD, you know what I’m talking about.
So there I was, four years ago, sitting in the office of Dr. Stephen Josephson, learning about such an important part of who I am for the first time. And when he pronounced that I have ADD/ADHD, for the first time in a long time, I felt profound relief -- not because I have a mental disablement but because I could do something about it. With Dr. Josephson, I did a short, sweet course of cognitive behavioral therapy that helped me to recognize and change ADHD-provoked behaviors. And I met with a psychiatrist named Dr. Roy Boorady, now of the Child Mind Institute, who confirmed Dr. Josephson’s diagnosis and prescribed Vyvanse, an ADD/ADHD medication that I take to this day.
Without knowledge of my condition, I could have never sought out and benefitted from the very effective behavioral and pharmaceutical options that are available. But I was ready for a change in my life and embraced the potential with as much ardor and enthusiasm that I could muster.
And the results have been extraordinary. My life changed from the defensive (always preparing to apologize) to the offensive (finding an implementing ways to succeed). This has many implications but particularly within the business sphere. Three years ago, I decided to strike out on my own and start AbilTo. And while it would be premature to claim success, there are reasons to be optimistic about the venture’s prospects. For example, we just announced a deal with Aetna to help individuals recovering from a cardiac event to manage the depression and anxiety that so often follow a traumatic event.
But my intention in this and successive blogs is not to toot my horn. Rather, it’s to talk about the practical realities of how I attempt to succeed in the business world despite having ADD/ADHD. And that’s not always pretty, because ADD/ADHD cannot be cured; it can only be managed. I’m still impulsive, forgetful, thin-skinned, and a variety of other things that I wish I weren’t. Such is my life.
Admittedly imperfect, I have two things going for me as a blogger. I’m out there doing the sorts of things that would not have been possible without addressing my ADD/ADHD. This gives me real-world experience. And I’m in a position in my career and in my life where I can talk about it openly. In other words, I’ve got stories to tell and a willingness to tell them. And thanks to ADDitude, I’ve even got a soapbox.