ADHD: Find Mentors in All Areas of Your Life
From a series of stories shared with me by Hunters in this Farmer's World
Steve in Cheyenne writes:
After getting out of high school (I was too ADD to ever consider college: I just barely made it through high school, even though I’m way above average in intelligence), I had a lot of different jobs. 1 tried just about everything, from being a bouncer in a strip bar to driving taxis to waitering to working as the assistant manager of a store in a mall.
Then I got a sales job in a company that sells computer parts, and met my mentor.
This man, I’ll call him Ralph, was brilliant. He owned the company, and was every bit as ADHD as I was, although this was about eighteen years ago and back then nobody knew what ADHD was in adults. But he was successful with his business, and he really knew how to motivate people and get things done.
After working for him for about a month, I went to him and asked if he’d be my mentor. He laughed and told me about how he’d had a mentor himself, a man who’d taught him about how to run a business, and so he guessed he owed it to him to pass it along.
The first thing he did was cut my pay and change my job. This wasn’t going to be easy. 1 went from sales, with lots of income potential, to being his gofer (as in “go fer this” or “go for that”), running errands and doing things that a secretary should do.
But he told me that if he was going to be my mentor, then his job had to be to train me to be like him and to do what he did. Since there was only room in his company for one of him, when we were done with the process, he expected me to go out and start my own business with what I’d learned from him.
In a way, I was paying for my own college education (the school of hard knocks and gofering) by taking the pay cut and working so hard for him.
He taught me everything he knew. How to hire and fire people. How to understand bookkeeping and work with accountants. How to develop product and bring it to market. How to know good advertising from bad, good salespeople from failures. How to keep yourself motivated. What to delegate (he said this was the hardest thing for any entrepreneur) and what to do yourself. And on and on.
Then, after a year, he graduated me. He told me that I was fired, and gave me an unexpected $10,000 as seed money for my new business.
I now own a company which installs desktop publishing and electronic prepress systems in other companies, and I’m making very good money. And I owe it all to Ralph.
About two months ago, by the way, a young guy who’d just dropped out of college came to me. He said that Ralph had sent him, and that he wanted me to be his mentor. So now I have my own gofer for a year...