Written by: Dr. Lauren McClenney-Rosenstein, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
Reflecting on my childhood, I realize that no matter how hard I tried to excel in the traditional education system, it seemed like failure was inevitable. Resilience became ingrained in my DNA as I navigated through school, facing challenges such as difficulties with sustained attention, impulsivity, and struggles with organization and time management, all of which are commonly associated with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Despite the hurdles, I maintained a positive outlook, determined to succeed.
Discovering my niche in education
I discovered my true potential only when I ventured into education as a profession.
Graduate school brought a newfound ease in earning A's and B's, signaling a shift from academic struggles to a realm where creativity and adaptability flourished. As I pursued a career in special education, I found that the structured environment, complete with schedules and organizational requirements, played to my strengths. Serving as a middle school special educator, I thrived in a dynamic setting, moving from class to class and engaging with students on a personal level to enhance their understanding.
Navigating burnout and transitioning
However, post-pandemic burnout and the challenges of being a black educator in the American school system prompted a reassessment of my path. The demanding commute and the added responsibilities of family life left me feeling drained. Recognizing the need for a change, I embarked on an entrepreneurial journey, a decision that proved transformative for my ADHD.
Entrepreneurship as a perfect fit with ADHD
With my ADHD intricately managed through a routine of medication, therapy, and a meticulous mindfulness routine, entrepreneurship emerged as the ideal canvas for my capabilities. The autonomy to shape decisions, alter focus, and craft my work environment proved the elixir of success. At 37, I embraced my authentic self, harnessing ADHD as a unique advantage. From undertaking contract jobs to orchestrating teacher workshops, engaging in literacy initiatives with families, and coaching women in mastering ADHD and their nervous systems, the liberty to forge my path proved liberating and empowering.
If discovering your passion and purpose seems elusive amidst the challenges of ADHD, introspection becomes the compass guiding you toward your new path. While entrepreneurship may not be for everyone, its rewards are profound for those willing to navigate its challenges and uncover what works for them.
Six considerations for neurodiverse individuals
Flexibility is key: Seek roles that allow for breaks and flexibility in work schedules, acknowledging the challenges of sustained attention in traditional jobs.
Embrace creativity: Explore roles that celebrate diverse thinking, allowing individuals with ADHD to channel their creativity and engage in varied tasks.
Mindful decision-making: Leverage the impulsive nature of ADHD as a strength by seeking roles that value quick decision-making while allowing space for thoughtful consideration when necessary.
Movement opportunities: Explore roles that incorporate movement, addressing the challenges faced by individuals with hyperactivity in jobs requiring prolonged periods of sitting.
Organizational support: Thrive in environments offering structure and organizational support, with precise schedules and deadlines aiding in effective time management.
Minimize distractions: Navigate away from open office environments, seeking workplaces that provide quiet zones or allow for personalized control over one's surroundings to reduce potential distractions.
The traditional path may only intermittently align with the strengths of neurodiverse individuals. Embracing ADHD as a unique perspective and venturing into non-conventional opportunities can pave the way for a fulfilling and triumphant career. As I continue my entrepreneurial journey, I encourage others with ADHD to explore options that harmonize with their strengths and provide the flexibility needed to survive and thrive.
Dr. Lauren McClenney-Rosenstein, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Dr. Lauren, founder of Resilience Unlimited, is a seasoned educator, life coach, and entrepreneur, bringing unparalleled expertise to the organization. As a black woman with ADHD, she profoundly understands diverse challenges, covering trauma healing, education, parenting, and more. With over twelve years of experience internationally and domestically, Dr. Lauren prioritizes transformative journeys for families and women of color, emphasizing growth over survival. Committed to personal transformation, she guides clients with a compassionate, non-judgmental approach tailored to their unique needs. Embark on your journey to success with Dr. Lauren as your empowering guide at Resilience Unlimited.