In Their Words: Peter Shankman

Peter Shankman, CEO of The Geek Factory, entrepreneur, and author, sounds off on family, work, and life with ADD/ADHD.

Peter Shankman: ADHD entrepreneur writing at desk
Peter Shankman: ADHD entrepreneur writing at desk

When I was a child, my mom would say, “You walk to the beat of a different drummer, Peter. You are different, and this is your strength.” But I didn’t consider it a strength back then. Classmates made fun of me, and my teachers constantly told me to calm down.

I knew I had attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD), so I put off diagnosis for a long while. If you break your leg and see a bone sticking out, you don’t say, “Maybe I should get diagnosed for a broken leg.” My therapist suggested that I satisfy my curiosity anyway. I did, and — surprise, surprise — I had all the symptoms in the book.

I’ve considered taking medication, but I prefer to increase my dopamine levels by running, skydiving, and doing public speaking. ADD/ADHD boosted my career in many ways. It’s spurred me to try new things and create new companies. It has enabled me to push past my fear and attempt what others believe to be impossible.

My advice to you? Different is good, I swear. Don’t ever forget that.

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