Last updated: November 27th, 2019
For the last few hours I’ve been reading about how Peter Rahal, the Founder of energy bar company RxBar, sold RxBar to Kellogg for $600 million dollars.
Best of all, there are some incredible lessons for you to take away from Peter’s $600 million success story. Especially considering ADHD played a major role in Peter’s success…
Lesson #1. If you want success badly enough, you can find a way to make it happen…even when you have ADHD
Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to “get rich quick.”
The only catch is that “quick” is defined as a period of at least a few years.
Oh and you also have to be willing to work harder than you’ve ever worked before.
For example, Peter started RxBar in 2012 and sold the company to Kellogg in 2017 for $600 million.
So it took Peter a period of just 5 years to go from zero to $600 million.
Not a bad trade-off for 5 years of intensive, narrowly-focused work.
Just about anyone on planet Earth would take this same deal.
However, just to be clear, Peter’s success story is clearly an anomaly and it would be really difficult to replicate his success.
Going from zero to $600 million in 5 years is crazy difficult.
But, the kicker is that RxBar was generating millions of dollars after just a few years, which is a process that nearly anyone with ADHD can replicate.
Going from zero to a few million dollars after just a few years is 100% achievable for anyone with ADHD. No questions asked.
Lesson #2. Peter Rahal used his ADHD to gain an edge in an ultra-competitive market
I’m currently working on a business in the health food space myself.
Speaking from personal experience, I can tell you the health food market is one of the most cut-throat industries I’ve ever participated in.
When people ask me about the health food space, I tell them you absolutely need some kind of edge if you want to win at this game.
It looks like Peter used ADHD as his edge, considering his ADHD is most likely what drove him to create an incredible success story and prove his haters wrong.
Did it work? Yup!
Here’s what a news story reported in Marker (Medium.com) says about Peter building RxBar with ADHD:
Though sports and his social life were always fine, school was horrible for him, Rahal says, as he has dyslexia and attention deficit disorder.
“I was put in slow classes and labeled stupid and all that,” he says. That, he thinks, made him determined to succeed. “I’ve seen people who haven’t had any adversity in their life, and they’re soft as baby shit.”
This same article from Medium.com explains how Peter used his ADHD to skip over entry-level jobs and jump straight into the role of a business Founder:
He found that his dyslexia and ADD made him great at some things, like pattern recognition and risk evaluation, but “because I’m not good at sequential tasks, I’m not very good at entry-level jobs. I have no problem reporting to someone, but if you look at some sort of repeatable task?”
Many of us with ADHD share a similar outlook as Peter when it comes to entry-level jobs.
I personally sucked at nearly every entry-level job I ever had.
But I somehow always found a way to thrive when dealing with the chaos of commanding a business.
What’s interesting is how Peter specifically names pattern recognition and risk evaluation as the two vital skills that come with having ADHD.
This is very true.
So much of starting a good business comes down to identifying emerging market trends before competitors catch on.
It turns out having ADHD gives you a tremendous advantage when it comes to spotting trends before other people, assessing the risks involved, and feeling comfortable in a chaotic start-up environment.
Lesson #3. Success didn’t come easy for Peter
While it’s tempting to sell Peter’s story as some kind of “overnight success” the reality is Peter’s success didn’t come easy.
Peter grinded from 7AM to 10PM for multiple months (possibly upwards of 1 year) before hitting $100 million in revenue.
15 hour workdays are surprisingly common in the start-up world, which sounds pretty horrifying.
But this is a reality many people deal with during their first year in business.
This is especially the case when you don’t have a lot of capital starting out.
Peter started RxBar with around $10,000, which isn’t much money in the grand scheme of things. So Peter had to make up for this money gap somehow. He made up for this money gap by working nearly every minute of the day. And this decision ended up paying off big-time for him.
Lesson #4. Peter eventually realized he had to risk his personal success and failure in order to work at his peak, which is why he eventually “quit” his job at RxBar
Continuing from the Medium.com article:
Rahal was, he realized, turning into a salaried corporate executive, with no upside, no downside, and no risk. “It was such an easy job. I got paid well. If something happened, it’s like, okay, we’re safe at Kellogg,” he says.
In spring 2018, Rahal read Skin in the Game by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, a former trader turned essayist who argues that people must risk personal success and failure to work at their peak. Rahal’s issue crystallized: “That’s when I was like, ‘Wait, I gotta leave,’” he says. He broke the news to Kellogg’s senior management, who appeared to be less than surprised. “One of the guys was like, ‘Yeah, we were betting under a year,’” he says.
This paragraph beautifully summarizes one of the greatest problems people with ADHD face.
When you work a corporate job, you dramatically limit your risk, which can obviously be a good thing in most cases. There’s nothing wrong with working in corporate because a corporate job can add great stability to your life.
However, working a corporate gig also has the potential to drastically limit your personal success, which isn’t a good thing either.
From what I’ve seen, and personally experienced, people with ADHD perform best when we’re forced into situations where we have to sink or swim.
Being forced to sink or swim pushes you into a state of peak performance.
This is also commonly referred to as “burning the boats.”
When you have ADHD, and you’re forced to perform at your absolute best because your personal survival is on the line, you will be shocked by what you’re actually capable of achieving.