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ADHD-2514

Celebrating Your Wins with TCA Coach Lynn Warner

Our ADHD can feel like a weight on our backs. But what happens to you when you stop, take stock, and celebrate what is going right?

This week on the show, TCA Coach Lynn Warner joins us to discuss celebrating our Wins with ADHD. But it’s not just about knowing that cakes come on birthdays. Today’s lessons are about retuning your brain, training yourself to see the wins around you — big and small — and finding ways to reward yourself appropriately. This means learning new language, and seeing the world with fresh, more positive eyes.

Learn more about Lynn at TCA.

As a bit of follow-up this week, we answer a few listener questions that were originally addressed to dietitian Nicole DeMasi Malcher. Listen to the show for details, but here’s the handy list of snacks we reference on the show. Thanks Nicole!

  1. peanut butter sandwich or any sandwich with meat – choosing whole wheat bread will help to keep you fuller longer
  2. yogurt or cottage cheese & fruit
  3. pita/bread and hummus
  4. tuna & crackers
  5. protein bar
  6. deli meat roll-ups
  7. dates and peanut butter
  8. roasted edamame or chickpeas
  9. smoothie made with both fruit + protein
  10. leftovers! (just not leftover chips!)

Episode Transcript

Brought to you by The ADHD Podcast Community on Patreon

Pete Wright:
Hello, everybody. And welcome to Taking Control: The ADHD Podcast on TruStory FM. I’m Pete Wright and I’m here with Nikki Kinzer.

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

Pete Wright:
Hello, Nikki Kinzer. Why so soldiery? I feel like I’m in a cadet review.

Nikki Kinzer:
What’s funny is I started working with a new client who has listened to us for a long time, and I pushed unmute on Zoom, and I said, “Hello!” And she goes, “Hello, Nikki Kinzer.” And it totally threw me for a moment. I’m like, “Whoa! Are we recording a podcast? What are we doing here?”

Pete Wright:
That is amazing. More of that.

Nikki Kinzer:
Yeah.

Pete Wright:
That is amazing.

Nikki Kinzer:
It was pretty cool.

Pete Wright:
That is very cool. Would you call that a win? Are you celebrating that as a win?

Nikki Kinzer:
Yes, of course that’s a win.

Pete Wright:
The podcast has seeped into the brains of clients. That’s fantastic. Well, I’m glad that we are celebrating that.

Nikki Kinzer:
Yes, that I just go by Nikki Kinzer.

Pete Wright:
Yeah, just all it’s like, it’s like Sade, but you’re not cutting the name off, you’re just adding to it. It’s just more…

Nikki Kinzer:
Just Nikki Kinzer.

Pete Wright:
Nikki Kinzer.

Nikki Kinzer:
Pete Wright. Pete Wright.

Pete Wright:
Pete Wright. Right. There’s just, I got rid of the space, legally. It’s just Pete Wright.

Nikki Kinzer:
Right.

Pete Wright:
That’s all it is anymore. Well, I am so thrilled about our show today because we are meeting the third of our new coaches at TCA, Lynn Warner is here. Nikki.

Nikki Kinzer:
Yeah, she is. And I’m so excited to talk to her.

Pete Wright:
You’ve done such good work. With Ian and Aviva, and now Lynn, good job. Good job.

Nikki Kinzer:
Thank you. Well, they’re wonderful and I’m honored to have them as part of our team, for sure.

Pete Wright:
Well, I sure am too. And so honored to be able to introduce them all as we have over this last three weeks. It’s been a real treat to get to know them. And as we wrap up the year and the season to be able to do a little bit more of this, we’ve got all kinds of fun stuff coming up in November. Melissa, Discord mom, has planned my curriculum of podcasting.

Nikki Kinzer:
Good.

Pete Wright:
For “Tech-vember”, and so we’re going to revisit a lot of old shows, so that’s something to look forward to if there are things that are now wrong or, I don’t know, she built a whole thing for me to review and then podcast about. So get ready because I have a punch list.

Nikki Kinzer:
Tech November.

Pete Wright:
Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer:
Tech-ovember. Tech.

Pete Wright:
That’s exactly it. I’m very excited about it.

Nikki Kinzer:
I love it.

Pete Wright:
I think, yeah, Tech-vember. Maybe there’s an apostrophe in it or something, I don’t know. Anyway.

Nikki Kinzer:
Who knows.

Pete Wright:
Before we dig into our conversation with Lynn today about celebrating ADHD wins, you should head over to takecontroladhd.com and get to know us a little bit better. You can listen to the show right there on the website or subscribe to the mailing list, and we’ll send you an email each time a new show is released. But to really connect with us, head over to the Discord community. It’s super easy. You just jump over to takecontroladhd.com/discord, where it will whisk you over to the general invitation and login page. 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 the show, add new features, and invest more heavily in our community. Visit patreon.com/theADHDpodcast to learn more.
Do we have any news? Nikki Kinzer?

Nikki Kinzer:
No news.

Pete Wright:
No news is good news.

Nikki Kinzer:
I want to go into our interview.

Pete Wright:
Let’s go ahead and talk to Lynn, shall we? Lynn? Lynn?

Nikki Kinzer:
Yes.

Pete Wright:
Lynn Warner was diagnosed with ADHD after becoming a mom, and learned an awful lot about herself, and she ended up doing the work to become an ADHD coach, sought after ADHD coach. And she is here because she is one of our newest and most delightful ADHD coaches. Lynn Warner, welcome to the ADHD podcast.

Nikki Kinzer:
Hello, Lynn. Welcome.

Lynn Warner:
Thank you so much.

Pete Wright:
So glad to have you here. Yes. Ugh, I love this. This has been such a wonderful little tour of the behind the scenes to have all the coaches come on and be able to learn more about you and about how you do your work, and how you help people and why you do this work. We are going to get into all of that, but first we have some follow up. The follow up comes in the form of some great questions that were actually targeted to our past guest, our dietitian, Nicole DeMasi Malcher, who had some wonderful things to say, and these were questions that we just missed. And so Nicole was delightful enough to actually write out responses to these questions. And so we thought we would share them. And if we have any insights we’d like to add to those questions, we will certainly do so here.
So first question, what could I eat in the evenings when I get off work at eight, but need to go to sleep around 10 or 11? My eating routine is crazy due to my work schedule. I try to eat something at work when I stay late, but when I get home, I’m hungry for a full meal. I’m not sure that’s a good idea since I need to get restful sleep. Big challenge.

Nikki Kinzer:
Yes.

Pete Wright:
Here’s what Nicole says. Great question. We’re already like minds. We tend to overeat when we’re not eating enough throughout the day. If you can make it a priority to eat something every three to four hours, that will help prevent overeating in general. It’s okay to eat late at night if you’re hungry. There’s a lot of fear mongering around time of day to eat, but if you skip your night meal, you’ll just be hungrier the next day and it will backfire.
It can also affect your ability to sleep if you’re too hungry. On the other hand, if you overeat you, that can keep you awake, too, if you’re uncomfortable. So I would try and make sure you don’t go hours without eating before you get home from work to prevent binging. The best thing you can do is have a meal planned already so you’re not eating a bunch of random things that may or may not make you feel well. Amen to that, right? I think the biggest lesson for me right there is the fear mongering around time of day to eat. I know I carry this sort of ghost over my head that says, “Hey, don’t eat after a certain time or else it’ll mess up your sleep”. But I think, if you guys have any thoughts on that?

Nikki Kinzer:
It’s finding that balance.

Pete Wright:
Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer:
Yeah. It’s definitely finding that balance. And I like how she says at the end, not eating a bunch of random things.

Pete Wright:
Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer:
I remember when I worked in retail and I would get off late and I’d be hungry, and it was always potato chips. That was my random thing.

Pete Wright:
Yeah, totally. Carb up.

Nikki Kinzer:
And I would just eat them until I was full enough and then I would go to bed.

Pete Wright:
Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer:
Not healthy. This is not what we want you to do.

Pete Wright:
No.

Nikki Kinzer:
Not a good thing. But yeah, finding that balance, and yeah.

Pete Wright:
Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer:
It’s tough when you have a weird, odd work schedule, especially if it changes a lot too.

Pete Wright:
Of course, yeah.

Nikki Kinzer:
From day to day,

Lynn Warner:
For me, often I’ll wake up in the night hungry, so I’m still experimenting with what’s the right way to get to bed and sleep through the night.

Pete Wright:
That’s interesting. I don’t actually wake up hungry, but I do know that feeling of at the end of the day, did I forget to eat? I better catch up. Like, oh no, I skipped lunch. I better go ahead and eat everything now.

Nikki Kinzer:
Which then makes you feel bad because you’ve eaten too much. I know that feeling very well. Yeah.

Pete Wright:
Oh yeah. You’ve eaten too much.

Nikki Kinzer:
Yeah.

Pete Wright:
Sleep terribly, wake up and you’re feeling bad. Okay. What are some quick filling snacks that aren’t nuts or cheese. That aren’t nuts or cheese? Nicole’s response. So Nicole says, the goal is to choose a combination of carbs and protein so you fuel your brain and keep your blood sugars stable to regulate your mood and your appetite. Some great combos, peanut butter sandwich or any sandwich with meat. Choosing wholewheat bread will help keep you fuller, longer. Yogurt or cottage cheese and fruit. Pita bread and hummus. Tuna and crackers. Protein bar, deli meat roll-ups, dates and peanut butter. Roasted edamame or chickpeas. Smoothie made with both fruit and protein.

Nikki Kinzer:
Yeah.

Pete Wright:
Leftovers.

Nikki Kinzer:
What a great list.

Pete Wright:
Leftovers. But you know what, I’m going to go ahead and add here.

Nikki Kinzer:
Right.

Pete Wright:
Not leftover potato chips. Let’s go ahead and say that. Leftovers.

Nikki Kinzer:
That’s right.

Pete Wright:
Leftovers with [inaudible 00:08:38].

Nikki Kinzer:
But what a great list because I think we…

Pete Wright:
Let’s be reasonable.

Nikki Kinzer:
We do always hear about nuts and cheese, and if you’re bored of those things or don’t like those things, it’s a nice variety of different things to choose from.

Pete Wright:
For sure, for sure, for sure. So thank you. I believe those questions came from Lily that we missed, and so Lily, I’m sorry we missed those. And thank you very much to Nicole for reaching back out and answering those questions. Hope they help others as well.
Okay. Let’s transition. Lynn Warner. And so glad you’re here. Let’s start, just talk to us a little bit about how you ended up in coaching.

Lynn Warner:
It’s really funny you asked that question, because you two are instrumental, so I’m kind of a home grown coach for you guys. I started listening to your podcast while I was going through the process of diagnosis, which, like for a lot of people, took a long time. And what I loved about the podcast was two things. One was your tone is so much more positive, where you’re talking about the challenges of ADHD, but the fact that you guys could laugh and banter about it instead of it all being this drag and all the negativity that we feel with ADHD, especially undiagnosed, it was just a ray of sunshine for me. So, that and the fact that your audio quality is fabulous. And some ADHD podcasts, won’t name any names, but they’re harder to listen to, frankly.

Nikki Kinzer:
Good job, Pete.

Lynn Warner:
It’s harder to get the content.

Pete Wright:
Thank you.

Nikki Kinzer:
Thank you so much.

Lynn Warner:
Anyway.

Pete Wright:
My cup runeth over.

Lynn Warner:
Good job, Pete. I did an accountability group with Nikki and part of that entailed a one on one conversation. And I wound up asking Nikki about how she became a coach and put myself on the mailing list for the training academy. And it took a little while, but eventually everything lined up and that became the thing I really, really wanted to do. I did it during the pandemic, and here I am now coaching where you guys kind of…

Nikki Kinzer:
Oh, isn’t that nice?

Lynn Warner:
Created it.

Pete Wright:
It’s lovely. I know.

Lynn Warner:
Thank you.

Pete Wright:
It’s so fantastic. But I’m honored that this show and inspired you so, and now we are here to talk about celebrating ADHD wins. The way I was thinking about this show before we started to record was that, ADHD can feel like a nice big, heavy sack you’re carrying over your shoulder all the time, and it takes some real intentionality to stop and evaluate, what am I winning at, what am I doing? So we started framing this conversation and thought you could help us through, what does it mean by an ADHD win?

Lynn Warner:
Well, I’ll start by saying that a lot of the clients I work with, and this wasn’t intentional, but it’s worked out really quite well, are middle aged people, like me, who got diagnosed late. So not exclusively, but largely, that’s my client base. And because we didn’t understand for a long time why things were such a struggle, we’ve become really, really good at identifying everything we’ve ever done wrong, and why we could have done things better, maybe how we could have done things better, but it might escape us when we need to do it.
And so the first question I ask in every coaching session is, and I warn people about this when we first start working together, give me a win since the last time we talked. And for the first several weeks of a coaching relationship, there’s a blank, deer in the headlights kind of….
And inevitably something will bubble up. And sometimes, this happened to me this week, I think in the end there were five wins. But it takes that time, and I tell people right up front, there are two reasons why I’m doing this. One is because I want you to be looking for the wins. We’re basically creating new neural networks in the brain instead of always looking for, oh, that thing that I did that I shouldn’t have done, or the thing I wish I hadn’t said. What you’re doing, because they know they’re going to have to answer me every week, is their brains are starting to look for the wins, so that next week instead of going, they can readily come up with an answer. And so we’re literally just training the brain to look for the positives, to look for those wins.
And then the second reason is that our executive functioning, which is always challenged in ADHD, is happening in the prefrontal cortex, which is that part of our brain right behind the forehead. And it’s the most recently evolved part of the human brain. So when we’re super stressed, actually, I don’t even think we have to be super stressed, when we’re stressed, that part of the brain basically goes offline, and the more archaic, the lizard brain parts of the brain, go into action. And that’s right, that’s what should happen. What order in which we should do something is not really a question when we’re under intense survival stress. The problem is that our brains don’t make that distinction between is this something that I may or may not survive, or is this an awkward encounter with a colleague in the office who just said something rude and now I’m in RDS, rejection sensitive dysphoria, and I can’t trust my executive functions anymore because that other part of the brain just took over.
So starting each coaching session with a win, what we’re trying to do is move our headsets or mindsets into a positive space where we can actually get to our executive functioning. And I tell people that right up front that I’m going to do this, I’m going to do it every time, so start thinking about it. And it’s really lovely to watch that progression. The first two or three sessions, everyone kind of stammers, and then by the third or fourth, usually they’re like, I knew you were going to ask that question and I have an answer for you. And every time I’m jumping up and down in my seat, that was the goal. There we go.

Nikki Kinzer:
It’s interesting because when you were talking about that blank stare, I see that too. And I think it’s hard for all the reasons you said, it’s really difficult to wrap your head around, what did I do well, when you are always constantly feeling like you’re doing everything wrong.
What are some examples of wins? And I ask you that question because I think that sometimes people think it has to be a big thing, and you and I know that’s not the case. But the ADHD brain is saying, oh, if I have to report back a win, it better be that I won the game. Not just that I showed up, but I won it. I always find it fascinating, the different answers.
I remember asking somebody the same thing and their win was asking for help, which I thought that is a big win, to be able to have that courage to say, okay, I really do need this help, I need more information, or I need more time, or whatever it was. And sometimes it is just showing up to the coaching session when you almost canceled it, or whatever it might be. So yeah, I think it’s just really important that we let our listeners know they’re small and big, and they can impact you, they can impact others. They’re there though.

Pete Wright:
Well, and that gets to one of my questions, and I wonder if this is a frustration that others share, that sometimes it can be really tiring, only celebrating small wins. You feel like, okay, I got up this morning. All right, great, I’ve celebrated that before, and I’m kind of tired of celebrating getting up in the morning. What I really want to celebrate is getting a promotion, or getting married, or getting divorced or whatever. I want to celebrate a big transition for once in my life and something that I really, really want. How do you help people find joy in those little things when they are having fatigue around lack of progress?

Lynn Warner:
I think often those little wins start to add up. And what I find myself thinking often is I’m watching clients develop the angel and devil’s shoulder, kind of thing. Sorry, I’m doing this on video. So you’ve got that voice on one shoulder saying, no, no, you do this wrong every time, this has happened to you a million times. And what we’re trying to do is cultivate that other voice that can talk back. And so, I get your frustration, Pete, but I think that accumulation of small wins, and sometimes, especially if you’re doing it on your own, as a coach, Nikki and I are going to get in there and say, well, let’s dig around a little bit, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we couldn’t find something that feels like a more substantial win.
But a friend of mine, who’s a therapist, used a phrase years ago that I absolutely loved, which was, she sees her job as taking a machete to the neural networks of clients brains, so that they can create new pathways. And so I think maybe framing that question a little bit differently instead of, all right, what am I grateful for, maybe it could be what happened differently yesterday that hadn’t happened before?

Pete Wright:
Yeah.

Lynn Warner:
And maybe that gives you a filter of, okay, oh, that happened because I’ve set myself up for that success.

Pete Wright:
We experiment with what we learned today, like what did you learn today? Because learning, when you think back to, I just learned something new today, implies an experience. And that experience denotes change, or something that has evolved in your life today. That’s another mental model to think about.

Nikki Kinzer:
Absolutely. And I think as Lynn was saying, as a coach, we’re going to dig in a little bit more. And I know that my curiosity goes to what would feel like a win? What are you missing, and are you comfortable adding that into your routine, or whatever it might be. So I think questioning where those feelings are coming from, and not only what did you do differently today, but what can you do differently tomorrow, to have a different thought process around it?

Pete Wright:
Well, and I think because so much of it, like you talk about that lizard brain, I cannot stress how exhausted I am at my brain reacting at what seems to be out of my control. You know what, I have an oven and a toaster and a refrigerator to keep food from spoiling. There are so many times throughout the day that I feel like my lizard brain is kicking in, and I don’t need it. I don’t need it. So that is like, existentially…

Nikki Kinzer:
So I have a question.

Pete Wright:
And so that can mask, sometimes, the feeling of being able to find a win when I’m feeling like I’m constantly in fight or flight and don’t need to.

Nikki Kinzer:
Okay, so this is a silly question because everybody’s going to listen to this and say, well, duh, you should know this, but my memory is not serving me. What is a lizard brain?

Lynn Warner:
The lizard brain is the part of the brain that we share with other creatures, that’s really there just to do survival. So it’s literally other physically parts of the brain that are there to say, super stressful, it’s fight or flight.

Nikki Kinzer:
Oh, okay.

Lynn Warner:
Would be the simplest answer.

Nikki Kinzer:
All right. Yeah, right.

Lynn Warner:
Fight or flight is like, okay, I don’t have time to put these things in order in the spice drawer.

Nikki Kinzer:
Right, right.

Lynn Warner:
All of that goes out of the window.

Nikki Kinzer:
I’m going to run away.

Lynn Warner:
It’s time to run away. And in modern day, our brains are still going into fight or flight, even when it’s something incredibly minor. I can remember having this happen to me recently, when you’ve run down to the car to do the errand and you remember, I didn’t bring a mask. And you run back up to the house and you run back to the car and then one more thing, and your family is sitting in the living room chuckling every time you let yourself in because…

Nikki Kinzer:
You’ve forgotten something.

Lynn Warner:
ADHD, right?

Nikki Kinzer:
Right. I see.

Lynn Warner:
And the voice that comes out of that, especially if you were on a time deadline and didn’t really have that time to run back and forth, it is amazing how negative we can be to ourselves for something as silly as that.

Nikki Kinzer:
Okay.

Pete Wright:
Yeah.

Lynn Warner:
And it’s basic…

Pete Wright:
Because it starts in the amygdala and I started calling this the amygdala hijack, right? Because it’s like this is where the sensory experience of emotion takes over rational thinking anymore. And you just get mad or scared, or whatever. And it’s so great when that happens when I’m crossing the street and I don’t see a car and my body reacts without me having to think about it and jumps out of the way, right. That’s awesome. Keep that, lizard brain, do that job. But like you say, when I get terrified of the spice drawer, that’s where we need to draw line, like come on, brain body barrier, let’s draw a line on when I actually need you and when I don’t.
And some of that can creep in when I’m looking for these wins to celebrate, which is, I think there is a meta experience where I kind of live, low key that is, oh, now I’m sort of scared right now because I can’t think of a win alone. I know with a coach, I could sit down and we could probe and all of that, but I’m not living with a coach. I sit down at the end of the day and I’m like, what happened that was great today. What’s the best part of my day? And I don’t know. And then I live with this, oh God, well, that’s the ADHD monkey on my back. That’s the ADHD lizard in my brain, and is preventing me from having any joy in my life. And that’s the rollercoaster, right?

Nikki Kinzer:
Yeah, yeah.

Pete Wright:
That’s the feeling of fear, uncertainty, and doubt.

Nikki Kinzer:
So then the question is, how do we not go down that rollercoaster so fast and so furious, right? Because at some point there has to be a pause where you can reflect back to what’s going on. Lynn, what do you think about, how would you help somebody see that pause?

Lynn Warner:
There’s a principle that I think of personally is the red velvet curtain, which the best example I can think of is when my kids, who are now teens, were little kids, we were really, really restrictive about television. And both my kids had ADHD, I’ve got their permission to say that. And we would get to places where the two of them were just right up against each other and I was at wit’s end. And there’s a little cartoon called Pingu. If anyone’s ever experienced it, it’s this wonderful European animated cartoon. There’s no language, but absolutely clear what’s going on. And they’re eight minutes long. So our TV is hidden behind Louvre doors, and when the kids would get to that place where we just could not make any forward momentum, we were just in that locked kind of battle, I could pop those doors open, the kids would plop down, and we could literally watch a single eight minute video. And when everybody got back up and I closed the doors on the television, everybody was in a different head space than they had been when they started.
So I mean, that’s a kid appropriate thing. But what I’ll often do with clients is look for what are the things that you could do that bring you pleasure, or even better, joy, that you can use when you catch yourself in one of these spirals downward. And it happens to me all the time, my favorite is look for a room in the house where no one else is, and play music on my iPhone and dance around like crazy. And maybe it’s just one song, maybe it’s two or three. By the time I turn off the music, I’m in a totally different place. So catching yourself is the tricky part. And again, that’s one of the things that a coach is going to work with you on, but you can totally learn to do that yourself. When you feel that spinning, what is something you can do that will just absolutely break the mood, put you into a different space, and then you’re back to where you can reach for your executive functions and you can make better decisions. And then you make your choice about what happens next.

Pete Wright:
This is that, we’ve talked about it, the similar language that we’ve been using over the last year or so is just pattern interrupt. What is it that you do to stop the pattern that you’re repeating right now and start something new that is more beneficial, with the aid of your executive function?

Nikki Kinzer:
You may need a reminder. So it’s also good to have reminders. We’ve talked about this before with joy, when we talk about joy and we talk about having things around you that bring you joy. Having more of that around you so that you can look at a photo or a photograph or something to trigger that, okay, I need to stop this pattern. Because it’s not going to happen instinctively to say, oh, I’m in the middle of a spiral, I need to stop. But having those things around you might help you at least say, I don’t feel good right now, I know I don’t feel good right now, I don’t want to continue. Maybe this little reminder could help you get back on track.

Pete Wright:
So how does this relate to leaning into your strengths, being able to sit back and recognize what is it that I’m good at, what is this, I don’t know what we’re talking about, a sort of psychosocial skill or a practical skill. How does leaning into my strengths aid in celebrating my wins?

Lynn Warner:
I think we’re kind of revisiting the angel devil voice a little bit too here, where the devil voice tends to be so loud for us. Especially, again, people who’ve been diagnosed later, which was me. We’ve spent literally decades telling ourselves, this is so hard, why does this seem incredibly easy to everybody around me and so incredibly hard for me.
And what I find in working with clients, there’s a tool that a lot of coaches use called the VIA character strengths, which I ask everybody to do before we start working together. And it’s a free tool, it’s absolutely fantastic. And the idea is there are these 24 character strengths, and there’s nothing about it in which you’re losing. Everybody has all 24 of these strengths, but they get ranked for you as you go through this questionnaire. And the top six or seven are typically referred to as signature strengths. And what I find is that signature strengths are usually the things that are so deeply baked into our personalities, that if someone were to compliment you on one of those things, you would shrug it off. I don’t think, it’s not a strength.

Nikki Kinzer:
Thank you, but, right.

Lynn Warner:
It’s just who I am.

Nikki Kinzer:
You knew that. Yeah, yeah.

Pete Wright:
Yeah.

Lynn Warner:
Exactly.

Pete Wright:
Right.

Lynn Warner:
Literally a shrug, like I don’t have to work at that, I don’t think about it. And because of that, we don’t see those as strengths, we see those as things that come naturally. But one of the joys of getting to work with all these different clients is getting to watch how those 24 things get re-ranked for each person. And so the same thing that one person is striving for and really, really struggling with, is number one on another client’s list, and they literally would just go, yeah, that’s easy.
And so helping people identify that and see that those things that they’re good at, that they want to pretend don’t matter, are in fact really crucial. And so an example of this that I have is a client I started working with quite a while ago, now graduated, who, when we first started talking, there were a couple of things that were coming up again and again and again, and probably the top one was the messy apartment.
So we’d meet over Zoom and the background was blurred, so I had no idea what the apartment actually looked like, but it came up every week. And it was such an emotional drain for this person and organization, tidy, cleaning, these are not typically ADHD strengths with rare exceptions. So it came up again and again and again, and what happened over a period of time was this client decided that maybe what they needed was house cleaners to come every other week. And part of the reason we were talking was that they wanted to find a job and they weren’t able to do it.
And so there was this, of course, this tension between, I’m going to spend money to have somebody clean my house when I don’t have a job. They finally made the decision, they hired the house cleaners, and within a month they had a full-time job. And I thought, that was no accident. This was somebody instead of bedeviling themselves with the thing that they weren’t good at, they hired somebody to do that, got themselves out there, I believe they got that first job that they interviewed for, and they’re still there, and still enjoying it.
And so there’s that great sense of if we stop threatening ourselves with all those things that are hard, and instead let ourselves take that easier route, there’s real success to be had. Think about the Richard Branson, the famous ADHD-ers, or Adam Levine comes up a lot too. These are people who have been able to play to their strengths. And part of it, of course, is financial success, means you can hire people to do everything else for you.

Nikki Kinzer:
Sure.

Pete Wright:
Right, right.

Lynn Warner:
So it’s easy to shrug off that stuff that you don’t want to do. But I love to look at that model and think, how many of us, if we were in a position to just farm out the work that we think we should be able to do, but really don’t like to do it all, wouldn’t that let most of us free ourselves and move much more happily toward the things that we can fly with?

Nikki Kinzer:
Great example.

Pete Wright:
It is a great example. And I think part of the lesson though is like, how are you approaching or conceptualizing what you can let go of. And you bring up financial resources, that’s number one. My hypothesis is that some of the frustration will come from just not approaching critically enough, the opportunity to give stuff away. If you really thought about it, there probably is some stuff you give away without costing you an arm and a leg, I guess that’s what I’m trying to say. Have you really gone through the things that you don’t love doing or that are getting in the way of you, as you say, finding that new job.
But I’m sitting there listening to this and thinking of somebody hearing it, it must be really nice if you’re Adam Levine to be able to do that. I would love to pay somebody to go get my dry cleaning, just to be stereotype. Do you have any thoughts on how you can break that process down for somebody who might not be living with Adam Levine’s resources.

Lynn Warner:
Which is, everyone.

Nikki Kinzer:
Right. We know you’re listening, yeah.

Pete Wright:
A long time.

Nikki Kinzer:
Yeah.

Pete Wright:
Long time fan. Yeah, right.

Lynn Warner:
Yeah. I mean, I think it mostly boils down to the ability, and it’s not an easy one, it’s when we all have to cultivate, but the ability to just ask the question. I think most of us get locked in these patterns. This client, really concerned about the fact that they just couldn’t get their apartment clean, when in fact it wasn’t really their greatest problem, but it felt like, because they were living in the midst of that.
I’ve had multiple conversations with clients recently where their difficulties in a job, seemed to the client to be entirely their own fault. And in fact, you can ask the question and say, is it possible that there are jobs that wouldn’t put you in that position? And you see eyes go wide, of never, this is my job, this is what I do. I’m used to bumping up against the same barriers and making similar mistakes. And I think that, Nikki, you just said this, that pause, that ability to stop for a second and try to get a different perspective on a familiar situation is probably what it comes down to. That we don’t even see the problem, we’re just living the problem. And when we can step back…

Nikki Kinzer:
And assuming that it’s you.

Pete Wright:
Right.

Lynn Warner:
Yeah. That’s it.

Nikki Kinzer:
Assuming that we’re the problem. Yeah, and I think that’s really true. And I think this also goes into this thought process that I have to do these things like everybody else does them, or I’m not good enough, or I’m not good enough to do this job. And a lot of times with the work that I do, it’s learning that we’re not trying to put our circle cells into a square. That’s not the purpose. Our purpose is to find out what does work for you? How do you play into your strengths?
And you don’t have to tell your employer, well, I have ADHD, so I’m not a great organizer. You can tell your employer that, it may take me a little bit more time to get through the details and get this back to you, but it’s going to be great when you get it. I’m very thorough and I’m going to be able to do this. I just might take a little bit more time. So it’s working with who you are and how you work, and not comparing yourself to other people and see that as a strength. I think that’s so disheartening sometimes, is that people beat themselves up so much when it’s not their fault. They’re not doing anything wrong, they’re just doing it differently.

Lynn Warner:
Yeah, totally agree. I think creativity, that VIA character strengths that I referenced, creativity and curiosity are so frequently up in the top few. And yet I often see clients who are profoundly creative, not feel safe actually using their creativity because they’ve internalized all the rules around them about how you’re, quote, unquote, supposed to do this thing or that thing. And so asking those questions and stepping back to say, maybe I do know of people who’ve actually been able to move to different positions within the same company when they were able to find the right way to talk about how they do. My favorite phrase in that is, this is how I do my best work, which is a nice way to step out…

Nikki Kinzer:
That’s a great phrase, this is how I do my best work.

Pete Wright:
Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer:
I love that. Oh, people need to write that down.

Pete Wright:
For sure.

Nikki Kinzer:
That’s really good.

Pete Wright:
Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer:
That’s really good. Pause. Write it down.

Pete Wright:
Pause. Everybody pause. Pause the podcast.

Nikki Kinzer:
But it’s important that we have that language, and I think that sometimes we don’t think of it and being able to remember, oh, Lynn said this, this makes sense, I can say that it’s important.
Had a client yesterday who I was working with, and he was explaining to me this project that he had, and he just finished it, and his boss had the opportunity to listen to him on a call, talk to this employee, and they both got off of the call to do a recap, and she said, I just want you to know that you handled that masterfully. And I was like, that was so nice.

Pete Wright:
That’s nice.

Nikki Kinzer:
And I said, you need to write that down because someday you’re going to forget.

Pete Wright:
For sure.

Nikki Kinzer:
Or you’re going to think that, you’re going to doubt yourself or whatever, but I want you to write that down and remember that, no, this person said that about you because you did such a good job in that moment. And so it reminds me of, we talk about the gratitude journal, we need to have a win journal. When these things come up and you feel really proud, write those things down so you can go back and look at that. And especially on those days where you’re feeling a lot of self doubt, and ADHD is loud and frustrating, you’re capable of doing these great things.

Pete Wright:
Takes lots of screenshots.

Nikki Kinzer:
Yes. Yeah.

Pete Wright:
I feel like looking at things in context, if somebody says something nice to you in social media, which celebrate that, just…

Nikki Kinzer:
In itself. Yeah.

Pete Wright:
Just as a win.

Nikki Kinzer:
Because there’s a lot of mean stuff.

Pete Wright:
Yeah, completely broken. Yeah. But seeing it, I think there’s something really important about seeing it in context. If somebody writes a letter of recommendation, take a picture of the whole letter. So you see letterhead and you see signatures. Seeing a nice thing about you in the context of the world is really important. So I think that’s great. I still use day one for that stuff, so everything is…

Nikki Kinzer:
Absolutely. Well, and wrapping it back to the beginning when Lynn talked to talk to us about why she became a coach or what inspired her to be a coach, we just kind of shrugged that off. I’m very proud of our show and I’m really proud of you, Pete, and of what we do, and that we can inspire someone like Lynn to go into coaching, because she’s an excellent coach and it’s what she was made to do. And so I want us to have our own kudos too, because thank you, Lynn, for bringing that up and sharing that, and I’m honored that we were part of that journey for you.

Lynn Warner:
I’m grateful that you were part of that journey for me. I would not be here without it.

Nikki Kinzer:
That’s great.

Pete Wright:
And I predictably had a real hard time even hearing that, and so I did shrug it off and put it right back under the desk in dark shadows because I can’t take compliments. So, thank you. I do mean that. I thank you very much because I am also proud of the show and of the audio quality and of all of the technology that goes into it and of how we do the show. So thank you. I’ll just say that out loud. It means absolutely a great deal.

Nikki Kinzer:
Well, thank you for being here. Yes.

Pete Wright:
Yikes.

Nikki Kinzer:
I know.

Pete Wright:
Thank you so much, Lynn. You’re the best. I’ve got links to where people can learn more about you on the site. Can you just tell us real quick, what kind of coaching are you doing for TCA right now?

Lynn Warner:
I’m working with adults, and again, it’s kind of accidental, but my specialty has apparently become working with folks who’ve had later diagnoses. It’s not exclusive, but it’s where I live, and so it’s something that comes naturally, it’s really easy for me to identify the common problems and help people find solutions. So yes, I’m working with adults and really, really enjoying it.

Pete Wright:
Well, it means the world to us and to those you’re working with. Thank you so much. You can learn more about Lynn and I think, are you actively taking new people right now? Are we wait list? I think we might be wait listing.

Lynn Warner:
No, I have a little bit of room, and I probably have a few people graduating in the near future.

Pete Wright:
Okay.

Lynn Warner:
Which is bittersweet, but something I’m proud of.

Pete Wright:
Okay.

Nikki Kinzer:
Absolutely. You got to let them go.

Pete Wright:
Fantastic. Fantastic.

Nikki Kinzer:
Let them fly.

Pete Wright:
Let them go. Let them fly.
Well, we sure appreciate you, Lynn. Thank you everybody who is listening to the show for listening and downloading. We appreciate your time and your attention. Don’t forget, if you have something to contribute to this conversation, we’re heading over to the show Talk channel in our Discord server, and you can join us right there by becoming a supporting member at the deluxe level. On behalf of Lynn Warner and Nikki Kinzer, I’m Pete Wright, and we’ll see you 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.