André Brisson has a unique talent for breaking down complex issues and finding solutions. André has launched several businesses, and like most business owners, he first experienced challenges and failures. After learning from previous mistakes, André currently runs three very successful companies, including a self-managing engineering firm (Objective Engineering Inc.) specializing in niche markets requiring unique training, experience, and an impulsive urge to try new things.
Throughout his life, he has remained hyper-focused on the topics of personal development and strength assessment, studying assiduously to deepen his understanding and find new applications for these concepts within his team.
Recently André was diagnosed with Type II Diabetes, severe ADHD, and later Asperger’s Syndrome. Although his undiagnosed ADHD presented difficulties, it was also the key to his achievements. Since discovering how to turn his ADHD into a strength, people have sought him out for help with using their ADHD as a strength to drive success.
The Impulsive Thinker Podcast
A lot of people let the diagnosis affect them negatively. What if you could flip it around and use it to your advantage? That’s precisely what André did after being diagnosed with ADHD and Asperger’s at 44 years of age, and he now shares his knowledge with other entrepreneurs with ADHD. In The Impulsive Thinker Podcast, André Brisson celebrates ADHD entrepreneur success and discusses challenges and solutions. He shares his personal stories about overcoming his undiagnosed symptoms and refining his systems, routines, and habits once diagnosed with self-awareness and personal growth.
According to a 2016 study, the worldwide prevalence of adult ADHD is estimated at 2.8%, while approximately 5% of children and adolescents are affected by ADHD globally (see the study here). That’s not a small number, and it’s crucial to spread awareness and knowledge on the topic.
Through Tactical Breakthroughs, André helps high-achieving entrepreneurs with ADHD harness their strengths, clarify how their brains work, and develop strategies to structure themselves.
And now here’s André Brisson.
Full transcript below
Video on Fighting for the Right to Be Unique, with André Brisson
Visit andreb.ca to Learn More About André
Objective Engineering Inc. is André’s Entrepreneurial Engineering Company
Discover Tactical Breakthroughs for the High-Achieving ADHD Entrepreneur
Listen to The Impulsive Thinker Podcast
Connect with André Brisson on LinkedIn
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Podcast with André Brisson. Fighting for the Right to Be Unique.
ADHD, André, people, strengths, started, brain, person, problem, manage, symptoms, company, impulsivity, work, challenge, entrepreneurs, understand, entrepreneurial, created, gave, asperger
André Brisson, Mike Malatesta
Mike Malatesta 00:03
Hey everybody. Welcome back to the How’d It Happen Podcast. I’m so happy to have you here, and as you know, my podcast is powered by WINJECT Studios. Today I’ve got an amazing success story for you. I’ve got André Brisson with me, André, welcome to the show.
We met through a Strategic Coach connection, and we had a little call together and I was like, alright, yeah, let’s get on with it, as the world needs to know more about André. So let me tell you a little bit about him to get started, and then we’re off to the races. So André has a special ability to simplify complexities and solve difficult problems. Like most entrepreneurs, he started multiple companies the first two of which failed for various reasons that we’ll probably get into, learning from those failures. André now operates three very successful companies, including a self-managing entrepreneurial engineering firm, specializing in niche markets that require unique training experience, an impulsive instinct to try new things. During his lifetime, he has maintained a hyper-focused interest in personal growth and strength identification, studying intensely to increase his knowledge, and discover ways to apply these concepts to his team. Recently, André was diagnosed with type two diabetes, severe ADHD, and later Asperger Syndrome. While his undiagnosed ADHD created challenges, it was also the key to his success. Since discovering how to turn his ADHD into a strength, people have sought him out for help using with using their ADHD as a strength to drive success. So I’m really excited about the opportunity to explore that. You can find André at his website, which is firstname.lastname@example.org. He’s on the socials as André Brisson, and you can check out his podcast, the Impulsive Thinker Podcast, which is also the URL, theimpusivethinker.com. And you can probably get it anywhere where you can get podcast. So André, I start every show with a simple question. And that is, how did it happen for you?
André Brisson 02:32
How did it happen to work for myself? You
Mike Malatesta 02:34
mean? You can answer it however you want? And how did it happen? How did it happen to do that? How did it happen to be a chaos navigator? How did it happen to be all the things that you are?
André Brisson 02:46
Well, to me like when you asked that question, How did it happen, was you know how did I start my entrepreneurial career journey and that was when the job. I was at my only full-time professional job ever. And last. It became a toxic place and they didn’t want to grow. They were happy where they were. We brought it from a company of $50,000 revenue to over a million dollars in a few years, I developed their fabrication shops, it was a niche entrepreneurial firm. But once they got to that level, that’s where they wanted to stay. And they were hampering my growth. And I just decided to leave and go on my own because I couldn’t find what I know now is actually a need to create an environment that can support me and accept me, as later on. I found out with my ADHD, it kind of made it a tricky workplace, but ultimately, being stagnant and being happy where they were wasn’t enough for me. I need to keep learning, I need to keep trying something new. I need to keep trying challenging new things. And that was being hampered. So I went to my wife who was six months pregnant at the time in our house that we just renovated and blew our savings and said I had enough. I’m gonna try it on my own. And I had eight pages of arguments from her and counter arguments ready for a conversation and she just looked at me said it’s about time. Dinner’s ready. And that was it. And we ran off.
Mike Malatesta 04:15
Huh. So that’s fun. That’s interesting. So you had put a lot of thought into what she might say. And your response to what she might say. Yeah, and then she didn’t say anything except
André Brisson 04:28
I just, I just had all this prepared and I don’t have to use it. Like
Mike Malatesta 04:34
I’m not ready for dinner. I’ve got all these things we have to talk about first. Yeah, well, that
André Brisson 04:39
apparently I’ve been talking about it for a while without realizing it either. But I think it came down to just not being allowed to grow and not satisfying my need to expand. I think it was my personal growth and my personal understanding in the end.
Mike Malatesta 04:56
And you when you were describing that experience, you use the word toxic, and I wondered if you might help me understand better what was toxic about the environment. I get the stagnation, I get the, you know, sort of comfortable where they are. But
André Brisson 05:09
well, it was, you know, it’s kind of like two opposite ends of the spectrum here where I wanted to push them to grow. And they wouldn’t want to. So I’ve actually try extra hard. We had a whole team that was happy where they were, and there’s a bit of politics, you know, get to certain sizes, internal politics, I was being used a lot. And I was gaslit a lot. And so that just made the whole and everyone was on eggshells, walking on eggshells around me around the owner, my boss, and at the time, I was a partner and I brought in a third person, so that when my original owner retired, I would have a partner to keep going on. And just it didn’t matter what we tried to do me and this other partner, it just was always bad, it was not fun to get to work. Everyone was on edge, everyone’s on top of each other. And I just looked at it as if I can remove this person, would it change? Nope, put them back in I even went all around the staff, and I was the last one to be picked. This is if I remove myself, then the place would be a better place. So that’s when I started realizing that they were stagnant they liked where they were. And me not realizing at the time there was undiagnosed ADHD that was actually taken over my system is taken over symptoms, sorry, am I emotional dysregulation would just spew over with just take over control, impulsivity go out of control. So that created an uncomfortable environment was turned into a toxic and it was as best that I left and the whole company still as is as they are with the same people. And they’re happy.
Mike Malatesta 06:51
So do you think that that they couldn’t understand you is that like, oh, that’s an understatement.
André Brisson 07:00
Okay, yeah. They could understand my drive. And my intensity, once I’ve been on to something and I was really interested in I was challenged, I went down, head down ass up, just go, I was a force to be reckoned with. And if I wanted to pursue a certain thing, if I wanted to learn, I’d hyper focus on it and go, go go. And then if things weren’t going well as planned, that would also kind of frustrate me in. But the intensity and the drive is what they did not understand. And they actually thought for a while I was very greedy. I just wanted more money, but I never correlated advancement. Like I saw revenue more as a measurement of a tool of growth, versus being greedy to get money, because I always end up investing it back into something else. But yeah, it was grossly misunderstood. And it’s not. I’m not criticizing them. And I didn’t give them something fair to judge like to try and figure out because I didn’t know, I didn’t know myself at the time.
Mike Malatesta 08:01
Right? Yeah, I was just thinking through like experiences in my life, when you when you run into a person like you, and you don’t have an understanding of what’s driving you, you will automatically sort of measure you a person like you against a person like me, and it’s like, well, I don’t have those, you know, I’m not like that. So why is this person and it can be challenging for the person on the other end to to figure it out. Like I guess it’s easy to just go to like, there’s something wrong with that person, as opposed to how do we get the best out of working with a person like this?
André Brisson 08:34
Right? And then we’re talking about 20-some years ago, too. So that was a very broad, normal thing to think about is you know, there’s a normal way of doing things there’s a normal way to react to things and there’s a normal way the books tell how you should be doing things ,and I never did any of those. Yeah, it never worked for me. So, like the other thing too, that really throws people off, especially my engineering world, is that people can be staring at a problem for months or days, and then I go in there and 50 minutes later I see the solution. I see what the problem is that everyone seems to be missing. Like to me, it’s glaringly there. And maybe my sarcastic tone and my moods back then would just be very bluntly saying, this is why you guys can’t see it; like, to me, it’s so easy to see, but a lot of people can’t see it. So, the mind night neurodivergent brain that goes all over the place all the time. I seem to be able to put things together that doesn’t make sense to most people. And then but what I need is I need neuro convergent brains that can take all these things and get us on one path rather than 200.
Mike Malatesta 09:42
So make sense. Yeah, I actually want to get non so divergent and conversion that was I liked the way you put that together. So the I think before I get to that, I want to I want to get back to your wife here. So you have these eight pages read The you talk to her and she’s like, I don’t want your I don’t want your eight pages, I just want you to do what you want to do. Right? Make yourself happy and do. How did you mentioned you had the house, you had no say, you know, we did the house, you didn’t have savings, what do you do to get to get off the ground and started?
André Brisson 10:18
Well, I got my buy-in to the company back, and put that into furniture and just start working, start going after customers, existing customers, and then just getting rid of referrals, I was able to slowly build it up and gain work. But it was very, you know, she had my back, she had a lot of faith, it was doable. But at the same time to always had the like, oh, at that time I said I want to be when I turned 65. I wanted to be able to look back at that and say at least I tried; if I fail, not see what if. But then I did it and then never looked back. But yeah, I was tenacious it was just keep working, people kept coming to me. And the thing is, a lot of times I get the I don’t know how to solve this. This is nothing, no engineers can figure it out. And before they finish, I say yep, let’s work on it. Let’s try this. Let’s try that. And then meeting other people through connections is how I got built up. And the one thing I did decide was, I wanted to build this on referral, this engineering firm, because I wanted a solid foundation, I knew it was going to be a slow growth. But I want to have a solid foundation behind me because I want long-term relationships. I want to work with the right people. And I could have done a bunch of marketing and do commodity type work, which I do a lot of nice, hard thinking stuff. And you know, if I want a commodity, it could be gone one day. And then I actually started JADE Engineers in 2007, my first engineering company, it was just another damn engineer. And that’s what the acronym was for. And six months later, the recession hit. Right. So I could have buckled, I knew I could get a job anywhere whenever I wanted. I know I still can today. I just I had always that faith that bombs, I know I can get work. So when the recession hit, I could have easily backed out I could have saved some money but I just said you know what, if I can get through this, I think I can get through anything after that. And then while COVID hit and I think that that experience helped me navigate this with my team, we’ve had a lot of ups and downs but it’s definitely a skill I got when I started JADE.
Mike Malatesta 12:40
and in the bio you mentioned or I read that you that your first two companies didn’t work, right. Yeah. So what was going on there; help us understand your journey.
André Brisson 12:55
with JADE Engineers, I dealt with the hydro trucks, what people use that work on the power lines. We call them hydro up in Canada, sorry. You guys call them hydro, the power lines. So that could be the arms that bring up the worker to the power lines to do work. Okay, so mobile cranes, a lot of that kind of work, then a manufacturer of one of these types of equipment approached us, approached me and wanted some of my expertise and then we kind of created a new company. And they wanted me to do certain things. And they gave me a whole list of things that hasn’t been working. So it was more than the service side on the equipment because I’ve got a lot of experience working with that equipment, inspecting, modifying, taking apart, and inspecting. And they gave me a whole list. They’re having issues with their service, with their service shop and department. And they’ve been working at it for five or 10 years, they said, and then we went in there, we merged the engineering, my engineering company and their service all under me, and I solved all the issues in six months. They weren’t happy and they did it again, it was one of those kinds of misunderstandings, them not understanding me, being gaslighted again a lot, and I got caught up in internal politics; I just can’t deal with that. And I just had to close it; I had to separate from them. I said no more. So that company had to close; they took it over, and then I lost my engineering company because they took that with it.
Mike Malatesta 14:32
okay so they were connected . . .
André Brisson 14:35
so yeah, so technically the two companies were partners into this third one, and then when I left the third one, my first engineering went with it.
Mike Malatesta 14:46
When was it that your ADHD was first diagnosed? What was the reason that you wanted to investigate that?
André Brisson 14:58
I call it my life Tempest. So what happened with JADE Engineers? It got self-managing, which is a goal we all want, was very successful. We were doing a lot of stuff, but I didn’t realize it that I was getting bored. Because there was nothing new to solve. In the startup phase, there’s always something going on and my ADHD brain’s on, you know, it’s on fire, it keeps focus and all that. But once it goes and we’re coasting, there aren’t a lot of problems to solve. Like, the brain got bored, and I started to create fires to put out, I was creating problems with staff, I was causing all this subconsciously. This was not consciously. So I started to have a lot of issues, losing good staff, losing good customers. And then when this opportunity came by, a new opportunity, a new challenge, sure I needed a change. Let’s do this, even though my gut was saying this is not a good idea. So I went ahead with it. That got into a bad scenario, you know, that I just explained, stories, a very bad scenario rom day one, then the ADHD symptoms started to own me, take over. And so ADHD, it’s inattention, you have symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. Those are the official symptoms. But we also have there’s a lot of research going on this, and it’s been more reported on officially, but it’s also an executive functioning Deficit Disorder. So executive functioning is the part of the brain that helps you deal with data, not deal today, but to do day to day, how to prioritize, set tasks, working memory, how to organize and execute tasks. And then the other big one, emotional dysregulation, is that the ADHD brain feels emotions intensely as compared to the neurotypical emotion that everyone else has? No, it could be anywhere from 100 to a million times, so we feel intensely, immediately, and then it goes away. But we don’t have the filter, like the prefrontal cortex is our filter to say, hey, timeout, should we react to this or not, you know, everyone accused me of having no filter, and it’s like, you’re right, it’s just my prefrontal cortex is not fully formed. So those reactions come out immediately. And then you’re judged as being oversensitive, temper tantrums take over you. The inattentiveness, the impulsivity, which, for me is a really big one. I’m very impulsive. And you’re hyperactive, which I also am sort of, which is rare for adults to be hyperactive. Not only mentally, but physically, hyperactivity took over. And it was no longer me, being short-tempered with everyone, even at home, was really, really bad. So I’m very thankful, grateful. I could have lost my family because it definitely was not pleasant for a good three, four years. And I just remember that no matter what happened, things would set me off it; was no matter what, small or big. It was just, I knew it was me, but this was going on. And I just remember it was one night, something happened, something minimal, but I started screaming at my kids, my two girls, and they just gave me this look. And that scared the crap out of me because that look is the look I’m sure I gave to my parents when something wasn’t going right. And that scared me. So that’s when I started getting that something’s wrong, I need to get help. And I actually went, I got a referral to psychiatrists, I actually went to disprove it was ADHD because it has to be something more severe than that.
Mike Malatesta 18:57
So it was in your mind?
André Brisson 19:00
In my mindset, yeah. Because you know, I can’t be a good person and just have this condition that kind of throws it off a bit, there’s something worse wrong with me. And that has a lot to do with the negative energy I’ve had for 40 years and then forcing myself to play a character that is not me so I can fit in.
Mike Malatesta 19:20
I was thinking as you were saying before you started mentioning your family that your wife had to recognize that there was something unique about you when in not just in your own relationship, but in the relationship you were having with other people and your business partnerships and that kind of thing. So when you got the diagnosis, you said you went in with the with the sort of objective of disproving it when you got it. What did you think?
André Brisson 19:52
I really questioned it, wanted to make sure he was making the right call. Because to me, it was just too simple have a solution to make sense of my whole 43, 44-year life, right? It just couldn’t be just this one little thing that just put everything in perspective, and it’s just kind of everything flashed back to me just like boom, boom, boom, boom, all these scenarios going, Oh, I get it, I get it, I get it. So at first, you know, no matter what kind of diagnosis you get, you know, be it physical or mental health, there’s always a denial stage. So, I didn’t follow the whole grieving process to denial, I fought it by doing a lot of research, and then finally just came to accept that it is ADHD. And I don’t know about you, but I think my generation seems to be able to think that any condition you have can be cured with a pill, or whatever, just be cured. But it’s like with my type two diabetes, I got, I think I’m really happy I got diagnosed with diabetes a year before the ADHD because with the diabetes, I realized I have it, there’s nothing I can do. But I can manage it, I learned that I can manage it. And if I can manage it to a point that’s not hurting me, I control it. And I lost 70 pounds, all my numbers are really good. And I’m just one pill a day. So then with ADHD, I can’t get rid of it. I just need to manage it in this world that’s not wired for my brain. Like, to me, that’s the biggest thing. My brain is just wired differently than everyone else’s. So I’m wired differently for ADHD, I’m wired differently for Asperger’s. And then also right now researching is helping me just understanding how the brain is wired and how we can work with it, we can make it work elsewhere.
Mike Malatesta 22:00
So let me poke into a couple of things there. They’re the type two diabetes, you know, that’s something that you can get diagnosed with and you can’t deny it. So you said you’d had that about a year before. And since you couldn’t deny it, you accepted that you would have to manage it and then ultimately control it. Right. And you talked about some of the things you did, how have you learned to manage and control your ADHD and harness its power, I guess, but minimize whatever challenges it brings along with it?
André Brisson 22:48
Right. So, the one thing I’ve been doing a lot of research into is to identify strengths and everyone’s strengths, and I have observed that if you overuse a strength or underuse it, it actually becomes a weakness. So overused, or underused, if you if you don’t manage your strengths, they become your weaknesses. Like for me, I’m a learner. I’m a big learner, I love to learn, just the process of learning. So I can get really caught down a rabbit hole on learning something new and not move forward on something because I just want to learn too much. Or if I don’t learn enough, then it causes me grief or challenges. Also, I don’t know if that’s a good enough example to understand that. Like my wife has to harmonize one of her top strengths. So if they’re trying to over harmonize, then ties for business to give too much away because they just want everyone to get along, or if they under-harmonized, and they get stepped on.
Mike Malatesta 23:57
So that’s a good example of how it can be a strength if overused, or underused. Yes, correct. You just have to monitor, okay.
André Brisson 24:05
And if they get right in the happy middle, then their strength is used for good, and everyone gets harmonious for the right reasons. So I took that module and I kind of said, well, if those five years my ADHD symptoms were unmanaged and allowed to free flow, then we just have to learn how to manage that. So that they can be strengths as they are, because impulsivity is really good for me on a job site because I can impossibly check and see and just look around I’m always scanning and then the odd questions it’s impulse to come up with a thinking or self-checking gets the right questions out. And, and that’s a strength but if it goes too long or too far, you know if I get frustrated, or if I’m bored, my Bhosle actually, my mouth starts running off for entertainment, but not for everyone else’s benefit just for my
Mike Malatesta 24:57
I see. Okay, right.
André Brisson 24:59
So what I actually really did as I just worked on the triggers and identifying when conditions are I get in attempt to, or identifying stuff I don’t like to do. But a lot of what I’m what I figured out with time was if we as an entrepreneur, if we could just stay in our unique ability and just do what we do best, then the ADHD is the primal strength, we can hyper focus, we don’t need to focus to focus because we’re doing stuff that we love. So as long as we can structure our our boundaries and barriers, we can structure our environment to support the ADHD and only do what you do best, then it’s no longer a challenge. And that’s what I did a long time ago with JT engineers, I didn’t realize I started creating standard operating procedures SOPs, I thought it was for everyone else, but it was like I wasn’t getting the information to projects weren’t going in a certain way they should, they should. So I start to structure them because they’re all follow through people. But actually, what I start to do is actually create a nice, safe environment with procedures so that I would not be surprised or come out with something came out of left field from behind me as a surprise at the last minute. So if we start
Mike Malatesta 26:11
Yeah, okay. You know what I mean? Yeah, yeah. Non surprise process? Yeah. Don’t Don’t tell André at the last minute that something is not where it should be? Well,
André Brisson 26:21
exactly. Like, just one thing I tell him, I said do not to communicate is when I’m running out the door. At the end of the day, I’m already late. That’s not the time to ask, Do you have a minute?
Mike Malatesta 26:35
So you, I want to this use the word managed to, you know, with your type two diabetes, and earlier you said, self managing company. And I think there’s a lot of people who may never have heard that term, and don’t know what that means you you used it and two as a sort of prelude to say that you were getting bored. Tell it tell what’s what is a self managing company?
André Brisson 27:00
Well, at self managing company is, you know, your company’s a position at a stage where you actually can take time off. And company doesn’t need you for a period of time, and your team can continue the work, they can receive the work, execute the work, and they don’t need a lot of your attention. So you don’t you’ve grown the company to, to a fair size, you’ve got a lot of work coming in on its own without really needing it. But it’s not self multiplying. So they’re, the company is good to just manage the software, it’s not and to maintain that that momentum.
Mike Malatesta 27:38
Okay, so in other words, it’s, I mean, would it be fair to say that at that point, it’s high performing? Or would you say, your high performing meaning, that’s the sort of the goal of a business is particularly an entrepreneurial business as you get it to a point where it doesn’t need you, all the time, or my, my seeing it wrong or different. For some
André Brisson 28:00
entrepreneurs, that is a goal that it doesn’t need me, I’ve always had that mantra, that mindset, but not everyone likes that, you know, some some entrepreneurs like to have the control and the authority at all times. And, you know, they don’t want to give that up to their staff. So it depends on on who the entrepreneur is. But for me, it was ultimately when I learned that concept from Strategic Coach was, that’s a goal I wanted to get to because I wanted to take time off. I didn’t want to make all the decisions in day to day because I’m just not a manager of people. I got no patience for and I learned that way too late in the game.
Mike Malatesta 28:35
Right? Right. Right. Yeah. How did it Okay, so you, you, you get this diagnosis, and you accept it at some point. And now I’m wondering how have you. You mentioned the standard operating procedures, but you mentioned Strength Finders and some other things, I’m wondering how when you how when you meet people or bring them into your organization, or work with them in a collaborative process or whatever, how do you get them? How do you both get on the same page? what’s your what’s your, what’s your strategy for that so that people understand how you work and you can understand how they work because it’s, I imagine that it’s a challenge can be a challenge.
André Brisson 29:25
Yeah, for staff when we use the Colby as part of the interview process, okay, and they come on the team, we do StrengthsFinder so we can identify their, their top five strengths that we try to, to, to get to that point where we can just delegate to those strengths. And then we got to be thinking about the communication how we’d like to be communicated to and all those Colby strengths and the communication tools. It’s, it’s we talk about it all the time, and how it’s 99% of the time. It’s a communication problem, and how can we fix it for the next time in the interview process, Mike, I just openly tell them how I work how I am. Because I don’t want them to find out six months later, this is not personally want to work with you. And to find out right now at this interview, if you want to work for us, and kind of my, my personality, the way I deal with things comes out during the interview, because I just don’t like having that surprised to say, this is not who I realized I was working with, or like people will put an act in an interview and I don’t want those acts. So I’m genuine, this is how I am. And if you don’t like it, well, then don’t decide to come work for us.
Mike Malatesta 30:40
Even you’ve mentioned Strategic Coach a couple of times and how was it but for people who don’t know what strategic coach is, it’s a it’s an entrepreneurial coaching program that I’ve been in myself, I was in for six or seven years and got it, it was very transformational for me. But I, I wonder for you, when you first got into it, how was? How were how were you received in that space? And what’s been really helpful for you to be in a program like that.
André Brisson 31:19
Um, well, first of all, what I liked most strategic coach is there’s no corporate people, you had to have, you need to own a company. And, and, and you’re had to be a certain success level. So wasn’t most people were not startups that were in there. So everyone’s had their skin in the game, they’re all have. And it was nice to be around a room where I didn’t have to justify my ambition, or the reason I went into business, we’re all there. So everyone just knew it. I call it my entrepreneurs anonymous group, like it’s group therapy, almost. We meet quarterly, like minded people, I’m in a small community. So there’s not a lot of high achieving entrepreneurs in the area, there’s a lot of hobbyists, you know, they just have these side gigs or side hustles, or they don’t quite understand our ambition for for growth. But definitely support to be able to be in the same room with people that understand you, from that side of the fence. It’s very supporting, and then the ideas we can generate, you know, I can be having this problem now, Mike, and then Mike, you see, oh, I’ve had that problem a few years ago, this is how I resolved it. And then I can now take it and apply it to my situation, and a lot of ideas sharing. So it’s very powerful, you can find a group like that.
Mike Malatesta 32:39
Okay, good in this, this talent you have for solving complex problems quickly. You’ve mentioned it a couple of times, you’ve given us a couple of sample day. It’s like, to me, it’s like the guy you sound like the guy who can solve the Rubik’s Cube and like the, you know, 10 seconds or something, it’s like, what, what, what keeps you interested, if everything if you if you have this sort of ability?
André Brisson 33:13
What keeps you interested? Well, the thing is the, that’s the challenge, it has interesting, from like, for the ADHD brain to, to want to focus, it’s got to be interesting, challenging, novel, or urgent. That’s why a lot of times, we’ll delay stuff until it’s last minute and others and urgency and, you know, now, now I can get the you know, the the, the terms, you know, the stress hormone, to start adrenaline start pumping, which gives me more dopamine from my brain to stay motivated. So now, you know, I did that for about 20 years in my career. Always keeping things urgent, last minute over, over schedule, go, go go wake up in the morning, you know, you know, book, 15 hours of work a day in an eight hour day, that kind of stuff just to keep the brain firing. So that’s the challenge is it’s got to be challenging, unique. Novel, an urgent, and that’s kind of the challenge. And that’s why now I’ve restructured where, how I’m doing work and where I’m doing work and with who. So I’m a good problem solver. I’ve always been the bottleneck and project so I just got everyone else doing the projects and they come to me when they need to get unstuck. Or if there’s a common problem, and I got customers now call me unique problem. Come on down, solve it. A lot of times, I’m really good at figuring out where there’s a mess. How to reorganize the mess so everyone can keep working. Expert witnessing is another one that’s fun. But right now, the other interest I’ve got that’s keeping me interested is you know, what I went through and what I saw out there for podcasts or even content or other coaching services, they weren’t really rarely just throwing the science at you and hope it works. It says I can take this complex information and simplified it, I just simplify it down to it’s a brain thing, executive functioning, some emotional dysregulation, but if you just structure the environment first, then work on your non ADHD on your ADHD strengths, how to manage those symptoms, and then identify your non ADHD strengths. I created kind of an ADHD transformation journey program, that I can help others. That’s why I started the podcast, just to have real conversations. I you know, I have my 13 year old daughter on there talking about that period that like Tempest period where she said, it was not fun to have you around and why. And we had a nice conversation, real conversations, bringing on other ADHD entrepreneurs are successful, we still have our challenges, but it’s still can’t be done.
Mike Malatesta 35:53
Tell me more. Tell me more about how you walk people through the journey. How do people become aware of you? And what what do you get out of it?
André Brisson 36:06
I’m actually searching for I’m building a community I could not find a community of ADHD entrepreneurs high achieving, because the high achieving ADHD person is successful. And they’re not seen as having ADC or as it’s a big problem. So it’s a side of ADHD that’s kind of neglected, ignored, because there’s a lot of people they see that have a lot of problems. They can’t set goals, they can’t achieve them. They’re, you know, they got a lot of problems. No, I was always told you’re too smart to have ADHD, I’m still told that you’re too successful to have ADHD and you’re in. And people still tell me that but that’s not true. It comes with its own set of challenges. That’s not people are very were aware of. And there’s a lot of us, especially in the professional realm, there’s a lot of people that have ADHD, and they’re silently silently suffering. Because like for me to organize an either day, it’s about it. Now we’re an hour and a half just to be on top of it. And then throughout the day, just keeping on top like just how the organizational system that’s normally accepted does not work for our brains, and to be able to stay on top of stuff or our working memory is very short compared to everyone. So try to keep something in our mind, if we don’t write it down. We can’t keep track of things and we lose stuff. We don’t know, we got messes. And if it’s not visible, it’s out of sight out of mind impulsively saying yes to multiple projects, no idea. So you know, and we can get into overwhelm very quickly. So the first thing I realized was, it’s a brain thing. So if we just understand how the brain works, and how the brain kind of stumped makes you stumble, then we kind of work out the triggers on how to minimize the symptoms, and then create an environment, especially boundaries and barriers is a very key one. So we don’t want rigidity. But we’d like structure our brain like structure. And to key if it goes as planned, it’s perfect. If there’s a bunch of changes that you didn’t plan, the brain goes haywire. But just raising awareness about it is very key. Because if you’re aware, like I had this the other day where my data is, I 15 minutes into the day, I knew it was going nowhere, the way I plan, so I had to now that I’m aware of what I could become the person I don’t want to be, I’ve now tried to put in some protection steps to minimize any further emotional dysregulation, or executive function issues. And just kind of sit down and say, take a breath, it’s not going to go as planned, it is what it is and to move on. And have those systems in place as protection is very key to any success and to gain more success. So after we figure out the brain, then we’ll delve because I find like To me that’s the next to your foundation. If you can fix that foundation then the next step is getting into the ADHD strikes. Because you got that foundation we’ve kind of controlled the environment, then we can concentrate on what’s on the symptoms a little more in depth. Kind of like what I call in your mapping your ADHD going into true understanding of your ADHD because my ADHD is not the same as someone else’s like the same goes. If you saw one person ADHD, you saw one person with
Mike Malatesta 39:42
that ADHD, okay, okay. It’s very unique. It’s
André Brisson 39:45
very unique and it’s on a spectrum, right and we got, you know, we have like minus hyperactive, we got the inattentive ADHD, which is more, you know, more internal daydreamers hard to focus hard to stay organized. And then you got the combined. So we honed down identified your ADHD because I’m tired of giving solutions or getting solutions that just kind of like, this is a process, hope it works for you. So I want to work to understand your ADHD and I have a skill to add is to really learn about someone and what they’re really good at, figure that out, put more systems and boundaries around those symptoms so that they can become your, your strengths. That’s makes sense.
Mike Malatesta 40:32
Yeah. And it and do you, do you, you mentioned the dirt divergent and convergent before, do you both in your own life and in these people that you that you work with? Do you do sort of bring convergence into their lives, like intentional convergence so that you, when things maybe aren’t going the way that you plan, you have someone who organizes that for you so that you can move on to something else that doesn’t bog you down on that or
André Brisson 41:06
right, and then the third stage stage is identify your non ADHD strengths. So that’s your bringing the StrengthsFinder Colby print, and we just got a way to identify what you’d like to do what you don’t like to do, and then identify that then hire for all the stuff you don’t like to do. Okay, build a team around you, so that the environment is also the team. And then once we can get all those in place, stay in there, then they kind of graduate into, I don’t like to turn out to be kind of like a mastermind concept. But it’d be we’re all ADHD in the room, we’re all entrepreneurs. And the next step is, see, the thing is, our interests always change. So the systems we have now we’re gonna get bored with or as we grow, whatever reason, business wise, personal wise, we have to change our system to adapt to adapt to the new person. And so it’s it’s kind of like a never ending story. But as a group, we can as we grow together, we can bring with them more of the emotional stuff, the personality stuff is a big one. Then we can help change things as we grow. And if we just like Coach, if if he can come in the room, the same people with the same brain, and then talk about the struggles that we can take gather in a group setting help each other out to grow, and like to be in a room to say I don’t have to justify or explain my symptoms there anyone? It’s, it’s pretty powerful.
Mike Malatesta 42:38
Yeah, because, yeah, and another one demonstrative reason why you your environment for success is not in a corporation or something where everyone’s sort of like we can’t have we can’t, we can’t deal with someone like this, you know? Not? We don’t we don’t want to.
André Brisson 43:00
Yeah, that, like, some ADHD brains do like, corporate jobs, because it is structured. Yeah. Okay. But the entrepreneurial, the even the entrepreneurial person is not a corporate person, either, right?
Mike Malatesta 43:13
Yeah, exactly. You know, the, the Asperger’s that you have as well. Is that common for people with ADHD to also have some spectrum of Asperger’s or is that unique to you?
André Brisson 43:30
No, no Asperger’s which is on the autism scales? Yeah. Technically, we can’t call it Asperger’s. But it’s Autism Spectrum Disorder. But it doesn’t bother me, but it just seems to it’s a high functioning autism. And that affects the social social interaction aspect of it. But no, it is true that there’s a lot of Asperger’s or high functioning autism with ADHD. So they are comorbidities. It’s not. It’s not. It’s common, but not uncommon. Okay. So, but that that layer has its own sense of complexities also with Cisco social interactions. You know, it’s a lot of times you see if he if, if you ask me exactly how I feel, I’ll tell you exactly how I feel does matter with social convention says it’s just, you know, like, I saw this joke earlier from an on an autism group and it says, If you want to find out over the next two hours how an autistic person feels then you ask them, because they’ll tell you in detail. Yeah. In detail. Yeah. Okay, because that’s what you asked. Right, right. And we’re, it’s a lot more of a literal thing. That’s I’m finding where I take things very literally, I’m really good with words. So I take it literally what you say not necessarily the nuances
Mike Malatesta 44:56
of it. Okay. And what about medication is medication the part of the management of this or have you managed it without,
André Brisson 45:06
okay, management is part of the treatment. Education is number one medication is part of it, and to self awareness. And it’s basically the whole kit and caboodle. They also say pills don’t build skills. So the pills or use the medications there to kind of help you maintain your focus or depending on the the ADHD or what you’re trying to work on. Like, for me, it was a lot of mood stuff. But I’ve tried medication, it doesn’t seem to work as well for me as others. So right now I’m, I’m doing it without medication, which has its challenges, but that’s why it’s a lot more important to have the right team and structure around you. And it’s you just stick to doing what you’d like to do. Because like one thing I realized a few months ago was I really get really pissy if I’m doing a lot of jobs that I don’t like to do or tasks. And that and I don’t want people to bug me or talk to me, because I know I’m going to be very, very belligerent. And could be belligerent or or testy around people, because I’m doing stuff I don’t like. Yeah, so I tried to minimize that, or no, right now I’m getting rid of them. So that’s an example of awareness, which I think is it’s a skill most people can’t do, or you need someone to help you kind of make you aware of it.
Mike Malatesta 46:29
And that’s so funny, because I’m, I’m sort of the opposite, because the I get pissy, too when I when I’m doing things I don’t want to do, but I won’t, I’ll sort of mask it, you know, I’ll be sort of like, I’m just gonna deal with this and your cortex. So fine. Well, André, thank you so much for coming on the show today and sharing your your journey, it’s, I’m, it’s been, it’s been so inspiring for me to talk to you because one, I don’t get an opportunity to, to talk to someone who’s been through the journey you’ve been through and had all the success that you’ve had by, by, by, really, at first it was by not being even aware. And then second, it was because of your awareness, you know, really being able to address it. And then getting yourself around these other people who don’t care what they they’re just there to support you, which I think is something that more and more people need to do what regardless of what you may or may not have you get around people who support you and aren’t trying to drag you down every day or make their problem your problem or, or whatever the case may be. So that you can focus on being the very best version of yourself that you that you are and focus on your strengths and maximizing your strengths, not turning them into weaknesses, as you said, yeah, yeah. Yeah.
André Brisson 47:57
And I’m doing that for my kids. I’m hopefully and help that with other people to just, you know, always since I was a kid, I always fought for the right to be unique. Why can’t I just be me? And why do I have to be like everyone else? And then not made sense while I was unique? Right. So but the challenge now is my whole life, I’ve been fighting a current. And that gave me motivation. But now with this diagnosis and being aware, I no longer have a current fighting against so that’s something new. Ah, okay, I’m not sure what the hell to do. What do you mean have an easy life? What are you talking about? Right? It’s all brand new again. So it’s all trying to figure out to make sure that it’s me, André, that’s wanting to do this not the old character that was built to fit in or to make look like to fit in and I really became this character. And I believe that me to be me. So and a lot of a lot of us struggle with that.
Mike Malatesta 49:08
So that’s so that’s really interesting. Because your your ability to recognize and manage has also created. It’s kind of made that person an avatar of who you are now, and now it’s just like, Okay, well, who am I now again, right. It’s a discovery process once again. Yeah.
André Brisson 49:29
And it’s interesting. It’s fun. Yeah. But it’s not easy. And that’s, that’s the thing. So with my program, it’s just if you we all know that as we got to certain success. We overcame our own symptoms, but there’s still a few things that are missing to just make everything clear. Got and I and I know I’ve got the gift and a talent to help you figure that out with the program and just want to work with people are smart and who are open to honest conversation and deep thinking and deep self awareness. I can talk about that all day every day for till I die.
Mike Malatesta 50:07
I mentioned some ways to connect with you at the beginning. There are other ways that you want people to get in touch with you.
André Brisson 50:14
Yeah, you can go to tactical bts.com, which is tactical breakthroughs, which is the big company for the the ADC transformation journey. But if there’s anything that hits you, or that resonated with you, please send me an email at André at Andréi b.ca. Or you can reach out at tactical bts.com TACTICAL bts.com For more information on a program or to reach out to me,
Mike Malatesta 50:49
perfect. André, thanks so much for being on the show. Well, I
André Brisson 50:51
appreciate the opportunity, Mike. Really big on spreading awareness for adult ADHD, especially in the entrepreneurial world. And the more we talked about it, the better it is for other people to be self aware. And I know it’s been about two years been doing this seriously. I know a seven have gotten a diagnosis. And because of my podcast, one person who started their own, so the more Oh, nice about it. The more we get it out there people understand each other.
Mike Malatesta 51:19
Okay. André Busan. Check him out. Thank you. Thank you.