I am severely ADHD and I didn’t get this diagnosis until this year. My medication has changed my life, but here’s what I want you to think about when you are in the position to hire someone, or when you’re thinking about what an executive looks like:

Is that person nerd divergent? Or do you have a very defined, preconceived notion of what an executive should be? Can your executives be autistic? Can they be on the spectrum? Can they have Asperger’s? Can they be severely ADHD?

I’m an executive in a publicly traded company and it is challenging. But as I said, medication has changed in my life and having the diagnosis is immensely powerful to understanding the way that my brain works and understanding that nothing is wrong with my brain. There’s no shame in the way that I do things or the way that I can’t do things.

I’ve come to terms with my need for certain coping tools. I’ve had amazing success in my career. I’ve been recognized for some really amazing awards, one of those was the Fortune Innovative Leadership awards. And I’m truly convinced that I am only nominated and recognized for that award because my brain works differently. I don’t think about the things in the same way as a neurotypical mind.

What are we losing in the workplace by continuing to ask people to fit into these very small boxes instead of recognizing that brains work in a variety of ways? That variety just like the diversity that we see is a beautiful thing and makes us a stronger workforce. Yes, it is very challenging for me to sit down and take a two hour training class and complete the whole thing in one setting.

Yes, it is very challenging for me to sit through a several hour board meeting and not move, not need to get up. Yes, it is very challenging for me to get on a stage without notes in my hand (even though I’m not a presenter that ever references notes) because my mind is telling me that I’m going to get distracted by the shiny thing in the audience and forget what I’m talking about.

But guess what? For every one of those things that are hard for me, there’s a counterpoint that is incredibly easy for me. I love to brainstorm new and innovative ways to tackle a problem. I love to think about something that we’ve never done as I sit longer with my diagnosis.

As I come around to the effects of medicine on my brain, and I see the way that my brain can do things that I’ve never realized were different. It’s also allowed me to truly confront how little freedom we have in terms of the spectrum of neurodivergency, especially within leadership of corporations.

I will continue to talk about my diagnosis. I will continue to talk about mental health. I will continue to talk about all of the things that we, for some reason, as a society think are shameful or different, or shouldn’t be shared because it is what makes us beautiful.

I know that as a leader, my off the charts ADHD has brought really profitable ideas to the companies that I’ve worked for and has allowed me to solve interpersonal conflict in a way that, you know, isn’t typical but worked seamlessly.

I challenge you because I realized that even myself, as an executive in a publicly traded company, I don’t know that I would have hired someone who was incredibly honest about their ADHD or any type of neurodivergent condition, just because it didn’t check the boxes of what I thought was normal.

And yet again, in my life, realizing that as much as I want to say I do, I don’t have those boxes. They’re there since how do you puts them in our head and just a new box that I am determined to blow up. So if you are neurodivergent, if you have any type of, you know, uniqueness in the way that your brain works, I’d love for you to drop those in the comments below and tell me, have they make you a better leader and how you lean into them every day and how we can learn to discuss these and trusty things and see them for the beautiful diversity that they bring to our meetings in our boardrooms.