OK let’s get straight to it. Hopefully you’re aware of the LinkyBrain phenomenon. If you’re not, here’s an article I wrote explaining what LinkyBrain is, and why I’m definitely a member of the LinkyBrain community. In this article, I would like to explain what I believe led me to be the way I am. If you’ve got an insatiable drive for success, but struggle to know your place in the world, hopefully this may help.
Like most people, the adult me is a product of the young me.
I’ve always felt different and out on my own from a very young age. I was successful at school, in top class for most things. Although, not top, and I often struggled to retain information. Maybe that was down to exhaustion from my other passion. Rowing.
I was lucky enough to go to a school, The Windsor Boys’ School, which produced more Henley winners than any other school in the country, and I threw myself into the relentless training required to compete there. I was obsessed with being the best rower I could be.
I wanted to be remembered. I would remove anything and everyone from my life if they were not helping me succeed. When I did anything less than perfectly, I would punish myself.
Few outside the boatclub seemed to share my ambition, which made me a bit of an outsider.
Now, I wanted to row for Great Britain and bring home gold medals from the Olympics and such. That was not to be (another story), so I after getting seriously into reading self-help and entrepreneurial books, I turned my attention to the business world.
I try to tone down this dangerous, black and white thinking that anything less than perfect isn’t good enough. It’s hard though. I can’t stop myself wanting to be #1. It’s the reason I can outwork most in speed and quantity, if not quality. They’re LinkyBrain tendencies.
The other massive factor in my life is that I have bipolar disorder. I don’t want to go too much into what that’s like. I’ve written quite a few articles, like this one, which you’re welcome to read if you’d like to know more.
During my stays in mental health hospitals, I’ve had many things pointed out to me as part of my diagnoses:
I’m often really happy, elated.
I talk very quickly.
I’m full of energy.
I feel self-important.
I’m sometimes full of new ideas, with important plans.
I’m easily distracted.
I’m easily irritated and agitated.
I’m sometimes delusional. I also have hallucinations and disturbed, illogical thoughts.
I don’t always feel like sleeping or eating.
I sometimes do things that have disastrous consequences, such as spending large sums of money that I don’t have on things I don’t need.
I make decisions and say things that are out of character, that others see as risky or harmful.
The reason I’m sharing this is, that if you know any successful entrepreneurs or VCs, you’ll know they tick a lot of these boxes too. I could talk about this around a campfire in the California desert and get nods, cheers and tears. (Yes, my knowledge of entrepreneurial life is entirely based on movies!......) But there is a major point to this.
So many creative/different/Linkybrains are being misunderstood, leading to labels that prevent them from reaching their potential.
I went through bad times with my mental health, I still work hard to manage living with the highs and lows even today. However, maybe it’s a gift after all. My bipolar made me who I am, a LinkyBrain.
I am now devoting everything I am and have to help sales leaders, founders and salespeople, through my Sales Confidence network and all of its offshoots. I’m also responsible for the growth of Opogo - a new breakthrough in Education.
I wanted to be super successful before I was diagnosed with a mental illness. Now I have been diagnosed, I want to do it even more. I want to show that my difference is my power.
Sure, I’m doing it for my family. I’ve got 3 children and I want them to have the best in life. Yet, I’ve also got to do it for myself, and to inspire others who carry a label with them too.
How about you?
I believe the reason I’m a LinkyBrain is due to my DNA, childhood, my bipolar disorder, and maybe a bit of special secret sauce. What’s clear is that I’ve certainly stopped worrying about it. I’m happy with who I am and what I’m doing.
When you’ve been to the bottom, you lose a lot of your fear.
I hope that if you feel like an outsider, or you feel your brain is wired a little differently from others, you don’t let it dissuade you from going after your dreams.
Please let me know what you think by leaving a comment below.