Speaking with Cameron Herold is an experience. A fascinating, mind changing experience. Ask most people how they would define people who have ADD or bi-polar and most would tell you that they are living with mental disorders. That they live with a handicap that will keep them from fully functioning in life.
Cameron firmly disagrees. Diagnosed with ADD, and as being on the spectrum of bi-polar along with a form of dyslexia, dyscalculia, where numbers are switched, Cameron sees these as gifts. At the age of seven he was selling hangers to dry cleaners and learning the talent of negotiating. At the age of 20, he owned a franchise business painting houses and had twelve employees. For the next decade he headed three businesses and coached over a hundred entrepreneurs.
His father realized Cameron’s gifts as an entrepreneur and from an early age encouraged him to develop them. He was also urged to join clubs and be involved in sports. By the time Cameron was in high school, he knew that he was smarter than any of his teachers. He would continuously come late to his economics class because he was busy trading stocks. His teacher was impressed and never said anything about his lateness.
On the school front he was averaging 60 -65. He tried hard, but didn’t put too much weight in the subjects taught at school. Real life beckoned and he was up to the challenge! Cameron feels that the educational system needs a complete overhaul.
“Because of my ADD, I notice everything, I get distracted, I can’t focus for long periods of time on one thing. The reality is that in business, there is no ‘thing’ that needs to be focused on. There is no one right path. The fact that I see everything, I see what’s happening with the market, the supplier, the customer, the time, I notice the details, I am able to see the opportunities. I see numbers, the market and I can notice a trend. I can develop the momentum, but I quickly bore, so I delegate, that’s what starts a business.
“The issue is that in the school system, as it is today, isn’t geared to give students individual attention and focus on each student’s strengths.
They need to stop labeling people with ADD or other mental variations as having disorders. They are just unique with their own unique set of skills and strengths. Students need to be empowered and encouraged to use their given talents so that they can succeed. There is no one template that fits everyone. They need to get rid of grades completely. Let kids learn on their own.
“My 16 year old son is expected to memorize quadratic equations. He told me, “This is ridiculous. I’ll never be using this.’ And he’s right. He has a great business idea. He’d much rather learn about the math of a balance sheet, a profit and loss statement, or the math of gross profit margin. He would be completely focused on these topics because that’s what interests him.
Every person should learn how to balance a bank account, know about real estate, investing and saving for retirement and health care, because that’s called managing your life.
“The world trained me to be my own positive reinforcement. I learned through my school experience that I wasn’t going to get empowered by others and that it would need to come from within myself. I believe it is all important to teach kids to love themselves and give them confidence in themselves. For 18 years I was told that I was dumb even though I knew there were things I was really good at – life skills connecting skills, leadership, and building skills.”
People with ADD don’t like to have bosses. Cameron started a group for COOs, the Second in Command. “COOs usually don’t want to be the first in command. They want to build someone else’s business. Most COO’s know they dont have the skills to head their own business. The role of the COO is to see that the CEO is iconic and the CEO’s role is to help the COO build his business.”
Being bi-polar and ADD have impacted Cameron’s relationships with loved one. It’s hard for him to stay present, his mind is always racing, the stress and depression he experiences can be hard on them.
“I try to be present and to let them know I love them. And let them get included in the decision making which will help curb some of the manic aspects.
“When I feel the dark moments, I realize that it’s just a stage that will pass.
When I’m down, I’ll go back up and the opposite as well. No one is going to praise me for my high, high, energy and the same when I’m down. I don’t work nights and weekends anymore. I give myself time to decompress. Recharge. If I’m tired, I’ll go lie down or go for a walk. I don’t beat myself up about it anymore. I don’t define myself by it. People follow me because of my highs, and my lows are when I recharge. It’s okay.
If Cameron had a magic wand to wave with which he could create a perfect world dealing with differing mental states, no one in this world would tell people that they have a problem. People would be accepted with their difference(s). Each type would utilize their uniqueness for its strength. Unless a person was so far out on the spectrum that they were dangerous they would not be medicated.All of Cameron Herold’s books are available on Amazon. And his podcast Second in Command is a must for all COOs.
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