2415 adhd april summary fun

Overcoming Obstacles • Nikki & Pete April Summary Fun

Nikki and Pete review lessons learned from their last three episodes on overcoming obstacles, from impostor syndrome to tech troubles!

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This week we’re tabulating lessons learned from our recent series on overcoming obstacles. Over the last month, we met Mallory Band dug into imposter syndrome, RSD, and ADHD. Aron Croft shared his experience through higher education when his expectations ran straight into undiagnosed inattentive ADHD. And Christina Avallone shared her perspective on thriving in a digital world and building healthy relationships with your tech.
If you haven’t listened to these episodes yet, check them out in your podcast app or listen on the web right here: 

Episode Transcript

Pete Wright: Hello, everybody, and welcome to Taking Control, The ADHD Podcast on TruStory FM. I’m Pete Wright, and right over there is Nikki Kinzer.

Nikki Kinzer: Hello, everyone. Hello, Pete Wright.

Pete Wright: Hi Nikki. It’s a summary fun

Nikki Kinzer: Summary fun. Yay. I keep wanting to, when, when I see that I see summary fun, but that I want it to be summer fun.

Pete Wright: Summer fun, yeah. No, we’re not there yet.

Nikki Kinzer: Nope, not yet.

Pete Wright: We’re not allowed to say summer fun yet. We are going to be talking about the last set of episodes that we did. The last set of episodes, Overcoming Obstacles. Is that what we were calling this theme?

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah. Yes it was.

Pete Wright: Is that what we called it?

Nikki Kinzer: Mm-hmm.

Pete Wright: Yes, so Overcoming Obstacles. We have three episodes that we’re going to talk about, and I learned a lot. I learned some things.

Nikki Kinzer: Me, too.

Pete Wright: I’m excited to hear you talk about them. Before we do that, you can head over to takecontroladhd.com. You can get to know us a little bit better. You can listen to the show right there on the website or subscribe to our mailing list and we will send you an email each time a new episode is released. You can connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest, @takecontroladhd, but to really connect with us, join us in the ADHD Discord Community. It’s super easy to jump in there into our general community and chat channel. Just visit takecontroladhd.com/discord and you’ll be whisked over to the general invitation and log-in. If you’re looking for a little bit more, particularly if this show has ever touched you or helped you understand your relationship with ADHD in a new way, we invite you to support the show directly through Patreon. Patreon is listener-supported podcasting. With a few dollars a month, you can help guarantee that we continue to grow this show, add new features, and invest more heavily in our community. Visit patreon.com/theadhdpodcast to learn more.

Nikki Kinzer: Everything you just said is all true.

Pete Wright: All of those things are true.

Nikki Kinzer: Yes.

Pete Wright: All right. Nikki, let us commence The Summary Fun.

Nikki Kinzer: First up, three episodes. First one-

Pete Wright: One was imposter syndrome, RSD and ADHD with Mallory Band.

Nikki Kinzer: Yes.

Pete Wright: Delightful Mallory Band. Number two, When Expectations Meet Your ADHD with Aron Croft. Delightful Aron Croft. Thriving in a Digital World with Christina Avallone, Avallone. Christina Avallone, not Avallone. Sounds like provolone. That was number three.

Nikki Kinzer: Yes, indeed.

Pete Wright: Let us begin-

Nikki Kinzer: I like that word-

Pete Wright: … with-

Nikki Kinzer: … right now.

Pete Wright: … imposter syndrome.

Nikki Kinzer: Indeed. I just said it three times.

Pete Wright: You’re a real Sherlock Holmes.

Nikki Kinzer: Right?

Pete Wright: Indeed.

Nikki Kinzer: Indeed. Yes. Well, okay, so Imposter Syndrome, RSD, and ADHD with Mallory Band. What I love about all of these interviews is it’s wonderful how the conversations just kind of go wherever they want to go, and so we end up talking about a lot of different things, not just one subject. This had me thinking. I wanted to reread her article in Attitude about imposter syndrome and perfectionism, so we’ll link that in our notes because I think it’s a good one. There was a quote there that she said, "I recognized how my perfectionism kept me in a tortured, exhausted state."

Pete Wright: Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer: Wow.

Pete Wright: Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer: What great writing.

Pete Wright: Yeah. Well, that is exactly what hit me, too, when she said also that her imposter syndrome zapped her of herself.

Nikki Kinzer: Yes.

Pete Wright: Like the whole idea that you’re not who you’re supposed to be when you’re living in this state really connected for me.

Nikki Kinzer: Absolutely. Me, too, and as a coach seeing so many clients, you face this demon every single day, the perfectionism, the RSD, everything that we talked about on the show. It leads to that all-or-nothing thinking and then it leads to avoidance. One of the things that I was really touched by or really my biggest takeaway was the importance of self-awareness and how it’s really hard to know what to do with something if you don’t know that it’s happening. Having her talk about the imposter syndrome and the anxiety that she was feeling and paying attention to when you feel like an imposter. Where is that coming from? One of the things that I’ve learned from you, Pete, is what you are afraid, is it true? Is it fact? I think that was something that hit home for me and to really just sort of dig a little bit deeper about where your feelings are coming from. Can you practice? She had lots of different kinds of strategies and things like that, but the what ifs I think is one of the biggest ones that I took away was not the what if in a negative way, but what if it actually goes well?

Pete Wright: I’ve been really reflecting on the physiological experience of imposter syndrome and when I’m feeling like an imposter because part of what I’m dealing with is still dealing with just kind of regular checks on my blood pressure. I-

Nikki Kinzer: Right.

Pete Wright: … I take my blood pressure all the time, and so I’ve been kind of looking at like, "What’s been going on with my body when I’m feeling this way?" It’s that increased blood pressure, decreased energy, perseverative fear and anxiety giving me the shakes. That’s when I go back to like she said it zapped her of herself. That’s a legit physiological experience when I can’t fully embrace what I’m doing right now because I feel like a different human being as a result of it. All of the measures against which I determine success are somehow in my brain broken and I have to get my hands around that. I guess that’s the thing for me that I walked away with the biggest sense of awareness is like to really stop. What is going on with my body-

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah.

Pete Wright: … when I am in this state? How can I get curious about that? How can I get curious to turn the corner and see, what is it that I’m really afraid of right now? The thing that we… I also went back and I read the transcript and I was looking at like… She started talking about grades. It’s so frustrating because we have just accepted culturally that grades are this widely adopted measure of universal success. Your GPA in high school and college determines kind of how successful you are. I’m not saying that that’s not true, but I am saying it’s irrational. Telling me you got a 1600 on your SAT when you were in college 20 years ago or going to college 20 years ago doesn’t tell me anything about the kind of human being you are right now. The older I get, the more I realize that talking about this arbitrary measure of knowledge acquisition in a classroom outside the classroom is a false equation. It’s just false. It makes me crazy.

Nikki Kinzer: Okay, so this is what I’m so excited about adding to what you just said. Your to-do list is this universal way of measuring your success. It kind of makes sense that when you check things off of your to-do list that, yeah, that’s a good thing. You’re being productive, but it’s irrational if you think you have failed because you haven’t done something on your to-do list.

Pete Wright: Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer: It’s not who you are. It’s false. Do you get where I’m going with that? As soon as you were talking about that, I immediately went to how tied we are to our task lists.

Pete Wright: Yeah, yeah, to any of these sort of arbitrary-

Nikki Kinzer: Yes.

Pete Wright: … cultural measures, right?

Nikki Kinzer: Yes.

Pete Wright: The… Yeah, so we talk about grades as an arbitrary measure of success. It’s just a checklist of past history-

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah.

Pete Wright: … of things you accomplished. It’s essentially checking off your to-do list in school.

Nikki Kinzer: Exactly. Yeah, yeah.

Pete Wright: Really useful for your teacher-

Nikki Kinzer: Right.

Pete Wright: … but not really useful outside of it-

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah.

Pete Wright: … and your task list, just because it has a… Like my task list is so long, we wear busyness as a badge of honor, too-

Nikki Kinzer: Yes. Yes.

Pete Wright: … and that, I think, is another sign of imposter syndrome. Like-

Nikki Kinzer: Yes.

Pete Wright: … if you’re focused on how busy you are as a sign that you are successful, I encourage you to rethink that.

Nikki Kinzer: Mm-hmm (affirmative). I agree.

Pete Wright: I really encourage you to rethink it.

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah.

Pete Wright: Anyhow-

Nikki Kinzer: Right.

Pete Wright: … this leads right into our When Expectations Meet Your ADHD with Aron cross.

Nikki Kinzer: Yes.

Pete Wright: Right?

Nikki Kinzer: Yes it does, and I really enjoyed meeting Aron and we had talked about so many different things on the show. One of the things that really I appreciated about him was his honesty and how authentic he is. We’ve gotten some great feedback from people really relating to him and appreciating his honesty about where he’s been and where he’s at and what he’s been doing. I really appreciated the emphasis on talking about inattentive ADHD, especially from his point of view because a lot of times when we talk about inattentive ADHD, because of my own daughter’s experience, it is sometimes connected with women and girls being undiagnosed, which is very true. There are a lot of people in the world who have inattentive ADHD, and so I really liked some of the things he had to say. One of the things that was really interesting to me is when he talked about having… Let’s see, what does he say here? There tends to be a slightly greater bend towards passivity and to be more observation. Kind of that quiet struggling and going along with things. He was talking about how well he can just sit back and observe, and I just found that to be a really interesting point of view of how he could depend on his sisters and he could depend on friends to help him get through things, even though he didn’t have a system, because of him being able to observe others, he was able to get through those challenging things. I just thought it was a really important insight and also really important to bring up that people can be incredibly intelligent and have great grades and still have ADHD.

Pete Wright: The thing about Aaron Croft, his entire shtick, he has a shtick because everybody who’s trying to teach anything has to have a shtick, and his shtick is, "How did I go from getting into Harvard to being essentially destitute for 15 years?" Harvard, Harvard, Harvard, there’s just in his stuff and I found that I found that distasteful in all candor going into this show because I don’t think that’s the story. I don’t think that’s his story, either, and I think he knows it. That story could be replayed by anyone living with severe inattentive ADHD in any school, right?

Nikki Kinzer: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Pete Wright: This is about the process of going from having support structures to having no support structures and having to figure out how to grow up and into your ADHD when you don’t know you have ADHD, and that is a much more universal experience, and so when we started that conversation, it was really important to me that he know I’d didn’t feel like this was… that I wanted to tell a story that he hasn’t told-

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah.

Pete Wright: … and he was super amenable to that. I think we ended up having a really interesting conversation as a result of him shaking himself free of some of his stuff that he’s talked about on all of the shows and really focusing on a little bit more of family of origin stuff. A little bit more on the idea that his experiences are much more universe to those of us who are living with ADHD. What he is coaching now doesn’t matter that he went to Harvard. It doesn’t matter at all that he went to Harvard, right?

Nikki Kinzer: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Pete Wright: The other thing that I thought was so interesting because you know I’m on a little bit of a bender about universal design for education and learning styles and all this stuff right now, and, well, we can talk about that more later, but you pointed out something really interesting in that conversation when he said the accommodations that he’d put in place for himself, that he felt like they were manipulative.

Nikki Kinzer: Right.

Pete Wright: … to his instructors. Trying to figure out how to do better on tests and assignments and exams and figure out what was coming up around the next corner by somehow being manipulative. You said, "But that’s what I teach. That’s how I coach my students to work." I had this fascinating conversation with my wife, who’s an SLP, as you know, and she is also very interesting in this idea of universal design for education, that whatever curriculum you’re designing, whether it’s in preschool, elementary school, middle school, high school, college, grad school, the curriculum should be able to be presented in a way that anyone can learn it no matter how they need to learn it, right?

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah.

Pete Wright: No matter where they are on the neurodiversity spectrum, and that’s universal design for education. Had the curriculum, had his professors been schooled at that time in universal design, he wouldn’t have had to feel manipulated at all.

Nikki Kinzer: Right, right, right.

Pete Wright: Right? He would have been able to embrace the content in whatever way it was presented in a way that would connect to his brain. That is the thing that I think is so important that we’re all, especially when we’re talking about working with your kids, working with your own education, have an understanding of what it means to have a curriculum presented to you, presented to your kids by your schools universally in a universal design standpoint. It’s so important, it’s so important for how we are are… It is the next evolution in how we teach and I’m think it’s-

Nikki Kinzer: I’m so glad you brought that up [crosstalk 00:14:13] yeah.

Pete Wright: … it’s going to be earth-shattering, so-

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah.

Pete Wright: … that was a really… a powerful lesson for me that you pulled that out of that conversation. It really spun into some interesting directions.

Nikki Kinzer: For sure. Yeah, and it was interesting for him to explain that and how he explained it is exactly the way I would ask somebody to go talk to their professor, so yeah, it was very interesting.

Pete Wright: He had his three-step framework-

Nikki Kinzer: Which I-

Pete Wright: You liked that?

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah, I did like it. I just-

Pete Wright: Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer: … I think that he does a lot of productivity things and one of the questions that I asked him towards the end is, "How do you feel like you manage your ADHD now? You’ve got this coaching business, you’re an entrepreneur." One of the things he said was that he looks for 8% of productivity during the day, you know? Like that’s what he’s-

Pete Wright: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Nikki Kinzer: … looking for is that 8%. What needs to be moved forward? He did, he had this three-step framework. He talks about it towards the end just real briefly. People power. He talked a lot about accountability and just how important and how valuable it is to be working with other people, having that presence, body doubling, all of that. Easy prevails was the second thing. The Law of Least Effort, I love that. Look for the easy task, look for the opening that can get you started, and then practice productivity. That is something that we talked so much about, not so much always just about productivity, but practice everything, everything that you’re doing around ADHD and learning how to build systems and maintain them. It’s all about practice. It’s a skill. I just really appreciated that the way that he talks about these things are so similar to the way that we talk about them, too, that it was just a really nice… I don’t know. Maybe… What is it? Affirmation?

Pete Wright: Confirmation-

Nikki Kinzer: Confirmation?

Pete Wright: … for sure.

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah, that like, yeah-

Pete Wright: Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer: … I get that. That’s what we’re saying, too. It’s like it makes sense, so…

Pete Wright: Well, and just so many of those bullet points that he outlined as his strategies and felt bad about them that we outlined as tools I think is an excellent exercise in perspective-

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah, right.

Pete Wright: … and if you’re struggling with these things, I mean, if you’re not out and out and breaking the law or overtly cheating, you should really be like evaluating the things that you feel strongly about that you’re doing negatively somehow. Are those really, really accepted as negative things? Or are they just strategies to help you get through the day? That’s a lesson from Aron. I think it was really great. Okay, that takes us into our digital episode, Christina, Thriving in a Digital World.

Nikki Kinzer: Thriving in a Digital World.

Pete Wright: Here’s what I think about Christina. This is a woman who feels strongly and exercises her passion about these issues, and while I am a technologist and a nerd, an enthusiastic nerd, I’m also… I don’t live in a hole in the ground with all my computers. I don’t live in a Batcave. What I know is there are some perseverative behaviors around our use of technology that actually gets in the way of our ability to get through a day and be productive and not create some really damaging habits. I recognize that and I think the research is still very young. It doesn’t look great for people who are really struggling with their phones and I think a lot of the tools that she brought to bear are good strategies no matter what. I removed Pokemon GO from my devices for a while. I need to be free of that for a little while. I need to miss some of the events. I need to let some things go by because I need to retrain and reclaim those cycles of my brain-

Nikki Kinzer: Right-

Pete Wright: … for a while.

Nikki Kinzer: … right.

Pete Wright: Those are strategies that I think are really good. I don’t think we need to do it through fear. I don’t think we need to create a culture around our devices, and that has been a thing that I have really been reflecting on and I believe in the last week that I have softened in some of these areas around how we use technology that I think we can do it proactively and productively. Sever the things that are negative in our lives and the negative behaviors by building new positive habits to replace them and we don’t have to worry about some of the data that she dropped that she dropped fairly casually that I think have some larger implications that caused me to think twice.

Nikki Kinzer: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah, I agree.

Pete Wright: Is that fair?

Nikki Kinzer: Oh, I think it’s really fair, and I think there are some really great points and some of the things that I really took to heart, when I was reflecting back, it’s like, "Okay, where am I doing good? What can I still improve on? Where do I really need help?" Right? I definitely think it’s a-

Pete Wright: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Nikki Kinzer: … a show where you can actually reflect to and think, "Okay, how am I using my technology? Where am I using it? Does it make sense? Am I getting what I need out of it?" I agree with you. I think there were some things that were probably said casually that, "Oh, boy, if we had expanded on that," I don’t know where we would have gone because I don’t think there’s enough research at this point-

Pete Wright: Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer: … to really say one way or the other on how giving an iPad to a two-year-old is going to affect them when they’re 25. I mean, we just don’t know-

Pete Wright: Yeah, right.

Nikki Kinzer: … and the reality is we live in a technical world and we will continue to do so, and I think that that’s always been your point is that we have to figure out how to live with technology because it is so much around us. Yeah, I mean, I think that this is a conversation that when you talked about strategies, one of the things that I would like to do maybe continue to explore with the community and with people that are listening is, what do you guys do to help you curve this? It is something that I see so often with clients, and I don’t always have an answer because it’s not just easy to just say, "Okay, put it in a lock box and don’t look at it again." It’s not that easy. That’s the strategy, but it’s really hard to do. I am still craving more information from people. I want to learn more about how people really do thrive in a digital world. How do you find that balance? It’s hard. It was a great conversation. I really enjoyed it, but I still want more. I still want to learn more about it. Does that make sense?

Pete Wright: I think for me, I… You know, the things that I responded really positively to are the things that make me feel like an old man.

Nikki Kinzer: Right. Totally. I know.

Pete Wright: Right.

Nikki Kinzer: Me, too.

Pete Wright: I miss… I do love civility in our communication and I love it when people look me in the eye when I’m talking to them, and I’m not crazy about looking down at watches and notifications for every bing and bong, and the whole discussion about rudeness really hit home for me.

Nikki Kinzer: Absolutely.

Pete Wright: It’s an important point for me, right?

Nikki Kinzer: I agree.

Pete Wright: That’s important to me. It’s important for me to teach my kids civility in communication when talking to somebody and-

Nikki Kinzer: Being in the present.

Pete Wright: Exactly, being in the present, so I struggle with that stuff. The stuff that I’ve been really reflecting on, my own ideological worldview, when you go into any conversation and there a lot of people who feel strongly about this, and I’ll use one point that I don’t have a lot of phone numbers memorized anymore.

Nikki Kinzer: Right.

Pete Wright: Right? That’s something that’s easy to feel bad about. It’s also easy to spin up a story that my brain must be changing super negatively because I can’t remember stuff anymore. I guess I’m on the other side of that. I don’t remember a lot of phone numbers because I don’t have to try to remember phone numbers anymore. I remember names and I can just say, "Dial this person’s number," and it gets dialed for me. That for me is augmented intelligence, right? Or-

Nikki Kinzer: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Pete Wright: … augmented memory. It’s not augmented reality, but it’s augmented reality adjacent. The fact that I have a trusted system, a truly bulletproof system for remembering phone numbers that I don’t actually have to soft tissue remember-

Nikki Kinzer: Right.

Pete Wright: … anymore is fine for me. It hasn’t broken anything for me. I still know how to read. I still know how to write. I still know how to do stuff and I don’t need to worry so much about that because of technology augmenting my memory. I look forward to technology continuing to augment my memory in away that lets me… that frees me of some cycles to do other stuff. Don’t really know what that other stuff is yet.

Nikki Kinzer: Right.

Pete Wright: I know I’m doing it every day, I know I’m doing stuff with my brain. It hasn’t shut down. I’m still creating. I’m shipping new sort of stuff every day to the world. I’m okay with that. I really am okay with that and I don’t think we have to feel bad about it that… You feel bad about it, go do a crossword puzzle. Make yourself feel good. Get a little dopamine push, and then move on about your day.

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah.

Pete Wright: Go not remember some more phone numbers because you have a system for it.

Nikki Kinzer: Right, right. Yeah, I agree. Well, and I think that that’s really good point, too, of how we are just learning. We’re living with the technology we have. There isn’t a need to remember those things-

Pete Wright: Right.

Nikki Kinzer: … and-

Pete Wright: If there wasn’t a compelling system-

Nikki Kinzer: Right.

Pete Wright: … if there wasn’t a compelling system for me to remember all of these phone numbers in my device and in the cloud and in the system, then I would remember the phone numbers.

Nikki Kinzer: Right, right.

Pete Wright: I know how to memorize things still-

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah, yeah.

Pete Wright: … and I think my kids also know how to memorize things still. My kids are very young. They went through school. They know all their times tables, they know all their stuff. They don’t need to know my phone number.

Nikki Kinzer: Right, right.

Pete Wright: Right?

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah.

Pete Wright: They hardly know their phone number. Who cares?

Nikki Kinzer: Well, and it’s so… This is so off the topic of technology and I’m sure we’ll probably get somebody that will comment on this, but it’s like cursive writing. We learned how to do cursive writing, but really what is the point now? We don’t need to learn how to do cursive writing. It’s not in our world. I mean, I just have no reason to write something in cursive, so it’s also okay for things to change. Things change. Things evolve and it’s… I always get a little crazy when somebody says, "Well, when I raised you," or, "Back when I was young-

Pete Wright: Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer: … "it wasn’t like that," but you know what? You’re right. It wasn’t like that. It is different now and we have to embrace that. It’s different.

Pete Wright: One of the great anti-technology memes that goes around is, you know, or the pro-technology memes that goes around whenever people get upset about the invasive use of phones in technology is this picture of a crowded train car and everybody has a newspaper open-

Nikki Kinzer: Right.

Pete Wright: … you know, when, when the newspaper became a big thing. It was like, "Oh my God, newspapers are going to kill us all."

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah.

Pete Wright: Right? We’re terrified of what it happens to our socialization when everybody’s face is in a newspaper. Well, you know, it’s the same thing. There are some different implications that we do not know, some positive, some negative, and we get to embrace and adapt as we go. I guess I’m just… I continue to be more bullish than bearish on our technological future and I think it’s more important for us to figure out how to live with this stuff-

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah.

Pete Wright: … than to fear it, so-

Nikki Kinzer: I agree. There you go.

Pete Wright: There we go. All right. Hey, that was fun. That was some real Summary Fun.

Nikki Kinzer: Summary Fun. Yay.

Pete Wright: I-

Nikki Kinzer: With some technical issues.

Pete Wright: With a little bit of technical issues, I don’t know what happened today. If you’re listening to this in the public feed, boy, did you miss some good times. Computers crashing, live stream’s not starting. It was a real mess, but you don’t have to deal with that, so you’re welcome, I guess. Anyway. Hey, thanks everybody for downloading listening to this show. We sure appreciate your time and attention hanging out with us for this April Summary Fun. Don’t forget, if you have something to contribute about this conversation, we’re heading over to the show talk channel in our Discord server. You can join us right there by becoming a supporting member at the deluxe level or better. On behalf of Nikki Kinzer, I’m Pete Wright, and we’ll see you right back here next week on Taking Control, The ADHD Podcast.

Through Taking Control: The ADHD Podcast, Nikki Kinzer and Pete Wright strive to help listeners with support, life management strategies, and time and technology tips, dedicated to anyone looking to take control of their lives in the face ADHD.