What do Richard Branson (Virgin Airlines), Ingvar Kamprad (IKEA), and David Neeleman (Jet Blue Airways) have in common? Not only are these three men incredibly successful CEOs and entrepreneurs, they also all have ADHD or Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.

There are many famous people with dyslexia and countless success stories; each an inspiration, a personal triumph.

We can’t all be Tom Cruise or Richard Branson, two hyper successful dyslexics, but success is not measured in just dollars and fame. Success is to find your place, self confidence and overcoming challenges, something every dyslexic person can achieve!

These out-of-the-box thinkers have not only overcome the challenges of dyslexia, but have excelled beyond their own and others’ expectations. They are scientists, artists, political leaders, writers, lawyers, professional athletes, doctors, journalists and actors. Branson’s secret to overcoming dyslexia? Discovering his ability to connect with others and the support of his family.

Each success story is a testament to the incredible power of the dyslexic mind to navigate around obstacles, come up with creative solutions and serve our society in meaningful ways, and, as it turns out you may have the skills that naturally give you a competitive edge in the world of entrepreneurship. Recent research might prove those with learning disabilities might be successful in entrepreneurship not in spite of the disability, but because of it.

And the research might be onto something. Healthcare professionals are quick to prescribe stimulants like Ritalin, especially to rambunctious children, to medicate the symptoms of ADHD out of existence, but it’s worth noting some of those common symptoms are, in fact, strengths when put to good use in the right way. Creativity, multi-tasking, risk-taking, high energy, and resilience are common characteristics of successful entrepreneurs; they are also characteristics of ADHD. Instead of working against your ADHD, you might want to try embracing it and learning to leverage it in a way that benefits you.

Having dyslexia makes reading, and sometimes other skills, more difficult to acquire, but having dyslexia is not necessarily a barrier to success. In fact, many individuals with dyslexia have not only been successful, they have changed the world. Research has shown that wiring in the brains of people with dyslexia is different, and many believe that this different wiring of the brain causes people with dyslexia to see problems in different ways that can support innovation and success. Whether or not you consider dyslexia a gift, clearly dyslexia is no barrier to success.

Those with ADHD in prehistoric times were constantly looking for new hunting grounds, water supplies, and new sites for settlements. Village life made them restless, and the same can be said for those with ADHD in the 21 century. They become restless and inquisitive, which make for great entrepreneurs who are constantly looking for new technologies, systems, and procedures.

And, great entrepreneurship skills don’t only stem from hyperactive disorders. Dyslexia is often correlated with less intelligence and slow work, but those with dyslexia could actually be considered powerhouses when it comes to communication and collaboration in a work setting.

They are able to communicate in ways outside of verbal communication. Dyslexic employees can communicate a vision by painting a picture to visualize off the page so people can follow easily. But the real superpower comes in regard to building successful teams. Successful teams are created when every member feels they are respected, listened to, understood, and needed. Dyslexic leaders are people-centric and can build great teams and work environments because they typically have strong empathy and listening skills.

While dyslexia can sometimes feel like a struggle, remember that it can also give you qualities not everyone possesses, like creativity, the ability to multi-task and see the world from a different perspective, and the urge to shake up the status quo. These qualities are what businesses look for in an employee and can help you before they can hurt you. Learn to control them and leverage them in a way that brings you success. There’s only one you, and if you have a diagnosis for a learning disability, well, that only makes you more unique.
If you or a loved one need advice or support with Dyslexia please contact: