Sir Richard Branson, the late IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad and many other entrepreneurs have one thing in common: they were dyslexic. I had my own communication problems as a child, which I shared in The Ultimate Bite-Sized Entrepreneur. But why does that struggle help define our ability to make an impact?
Seth Godin articulates it nicely in his classic The Icarus Deception. Here's why it may be easier to move forward when you aren't easily understood.
Acceptance wasn't an option for you
Here is Godin's brilliant explanation:
Those with [dyslexia, ADHD or other communication issues] are less likely to be picked, less likely to be at the top of their class, or chosen by the fancy college, or recruited by Procter and Gamble. Precisely because they didn't fit in, they had no choice but to choose themselves. And then it becomes a habit.
So you had to choose yourself
Acceptance is like a drug. You get a best-selling book and you expect your next product to be a hit. You get an applause from a joke and believe that something is wrong when people don't laugh at your next attempt. You shift from doing a natural, spontaneous act to manufacturing something to maintain the new status quo.
The problem is that you will never do anything worthwhile defending the status quo. To paraphrase Brene Brown, safety and innovation aren't on the same side of the street.
And that becomes a habit
So, if you have felt misunderstood or have visions others don't understand yet, then you are used to persevering despite the status quo. You don't have any credibility or acceptance to lose.
When I coach, helping people getting over what other people may think is at least half the battle. If you aren't used to being accepted on some level, then you've already begun to develop that muscle, that habit, of acting based on your own internal compass. For those of us who have struggled with communicating, our muscle is well developed.
The Bransons of the world succeed not by showing doubters who's boss, but by showing people how to listen to their own best boss: Themselves.