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Faster Than Normal - The ADHD Podcast

Having ADD or ADHD is a gift, not a curse. Hear from people all around the globe, from every walk of life, in every profession, from Rock Stars to CEOs, from Teachers to Politicians, who have learned how to unlock the gifts of their ADD and ADHD diagnosis, and use it to their personal and professional advantage, to build businesses, become millionaires, or simply better their lives.
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Now displaying: 2021
Mar 17, 2021

We’re talking about workouts & and how the pursuit of physical fitness strengthens your brain, mind-body inter-communication, re-defining your identity and the snooze bar challenge today! Layne Norton holds a PhD in nutritional sciences and a BS in biochemistry and has contributed numerous original scientific research publications to journals such as The Journal of Nutrition, American Journal of Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism, and the International Journal for Sports Nutrition. He has been involved in the fitness industry for over 20 years as a competitor, coach, author, and entrepreneur. He has competed as a pro natural bodybuilder as well as pro natural powerlifter, winning nationals twice (2014 and 2015) and achieving a gold medal in the squat at 2015 IPF World Championships (668 lbs) and a silver medal overall. He has published various books including Fat Loss Forever and the Complete Contest Prep Guide. More recently he co-founded Carbon Diet Coach a nutritional coaching app available for iOS and Android. He also recently launched a new supplement line, Outwork Nutrition.  Enjoy!

 

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***CORONA VIRUS EDITION***

 

In this episode Peter & Layne Norton discuss:

1:05  -  Intro and welcome Layne Norton!

2:30  -  So, 668 lbs… dude.. let’s talk about that small elephant you lifted!

4:00  -  On “let’s work out right now, no, Now”

5:00 -  On the process of exercise and healthy habits/losing weight and keeping it off 

5:40  -  On the term “low-recency” and what that means for losing weight

7:00  -  On keeping your resolutions and what that means/all it entails

9:34  -  On mind-body inter-communication

10:34  -  On how ADD/ADHD tendencies can border addiction – how one skip day can spiral into getting off the repetition train. 

12:00 -  On cultivating confidence; setting smaller goals to achieve long-term & larger results and correcting setbacks

12:55  -  The one week, “no snooze bar” challenge

14:39  -   On rituals vs resolutions; breaking old habits & behaviors; re-defining your identity

17:00  -  On examininging your habits and behaviors 

18:35  -  On healthier outcomes via smarter choices and life hacks!

20:00  -  On the psychology of eating

21:09  -  On CBT & DBT and how it can be an extremely helpful tool

22:50  -  Tell people how they can find you and get more info on you?  @biolayne on Twitter  INSTA  YouTube  and LayneNorton on Facebook  You can find his books, products and services via his website:  www.BioLayne.com and his new App Carbon Diet Coach <—here!

23:50  -  Layne Norton, thanks so much for taking the time being on Faster Than Normal, I appreciate it.  Guys, as always, Faster Than Normal, if you liked what you heard drop us a review.  We appreciate you guys being on the podcast, we appreciate people listening. We are, as far as I can tell, one of the top, if not the top ADHD podcasts out there, so I love that, and that was all because of you guys, and I am eternally grateful. If you have a guest that you think might work, or maybe it's you, someone you know, You can always reach me via peter@shankman.com or @petershankman on all of the socials. You can also find us at @FasterThanNormal on all of the socials. We would love to hear from you guys, uh, it thrills us to no end when we get notes. Also, one final thing, if you have the book, if you've read Faster Than Normal the book, go on to wherever you bought it https://www.amazon.com/ or https://www.audible.com - whatever, drop us a review, you'd be amazed at how those reviews really, really help. As always, thank you for listening. ADHD is a gift, not a curse. We are looking forward to seeing you next week, you guys take care.

24:09  -  Faster Than Normal Podcast info & credits!

 

TRANSCRIPT: 

Hi everyone,  you are listening to another episode of Faster Than Normal,  the neurodiversity podcast where we understand that ADD and ADHD, anything along those lines, is a gift, not a curse, and the more people we get to understand that, the better everyone's lives will be! :) We are thrilled that you are here today, my name is Peter Shankman, I am your host as I have been for the past 200 something episodes, and that will probably continue to be long in the future because I don't like change.  Anyway, great to have all of you listening today and I want to introduce a man who I've been following on Twitter for at least God, three, four, five years maybe now.   Layne Norton is a PhD in nutrition... nutritional science, and a BS in biochemistry. He has written numerous scientific research publications to journals such as the Journal of Nutrition, American Journalist Psychology, I'm sorry. Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism, the International Journal for Sports Nutrition. He's been involved in the fitness industry for over 20 years as a competitor, a coach, an author, and entrepreneur,  yes, if you haven't already figured it out, this is a fitness episode. He's competed as a pro natural bodybuilder, as well as a pro natural powerlifter winning nationals twice in 2014 and 2015 and achieving a gold medal in the squat, at the 2015 IPF World Championships, 668 pounds. So repeat that, he squatted 668 pounds as I look over in the corner at my two 25 pound kettlebells, and I'm so inspired that I'm just going to end this interview and go and eat a pizza… Layne, welcome, it is, it is great to have you today, man. 

Thanks Peter. I appreciate that introduction and I love how you said that, uh, ADD and ADHD are, aren't a curse and uh, my Mother has actually always referred to it as the gift. 

Yes. Your Mother is a very smart woman. That is exactly what it is. It is, it is a gift   We look at it aligns or just because it's different doesn't necessarily mean it's wrong, and that I've been, I've been living that life for four years. Um, okay. I just want to get that away, 668 pounds? Dude, that's like, that's, that's damn that's impressive, that is pretty impressive. 

Yeah. I think, um, you know, it's funny when you, when you're doing it and you're, you're in there and you're training for it and the load kind of, you know, it's not like I woke up one morning.  It was just like, wow, that last workout was really good, I added  300 pounds on my squat. You know, this was, you know, a decade and a half in the works. 

Of course 

Um, and so you kind of lose perspective on it. And then now, looking back, I mean, I, I'm still lifting, I would still like to do another meet. I've kind of been battling a few different injuries and whatnot, but I'm looking back, I'm like, damn, I was bad.  I was bad. You know? Like, um, so yeah, it was definitely a very, very, very proud moment in my life.  was, was that one.

I’m sure. I think one of the reasons I hate Facebook so much is because it shows you the bad times and it also shows you the really great times. It's like, hey, look at, you, look at how hot you were four years ago, you f’ing fat ass now, you sit there and eat that pizza you know, four years ago, man, you looked awesome. 

So I definitely, definitely can be the unfortunate reminders, but, um, you know, it's, it's all everything we go through, uh, whether it's good or bad kind of shapes us and makes us how we are, so, um, I'm grateful for the good stuff, but I'm also grateful for the bad stuff because in the end, the bad stuff may be better.

Oh, Amen, I'm a huge believer in failure. I, you know, I won't hire anyone, I won't work with anyone that hasn’t failed before, you gotta learn from it. So we were talking offline, you know, just this morning… so I have a great trainer. He, he, he's an equal ops and I've been working remotely with him the better part of a year.  I turn on FaceTime and I have a mat and I have my kettlebells and I have my, my, you know, my foam roller and, and we've, we've had great workouts, and I've actually gained a ton of muscle this year because when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail, right. So, you know, kettlebells, that's what I got, that's what I've been using and, um, I was exhausted this morning and I, I woke up and I texted him like, you know, My daughter was up last night. She wasn't feeling that hot, so I didn't get a lot of sleep. Can we move this to this afternoon? Or maybe we could do this like tomorrow or something like that, and he just texts me and he's like, no, let's do it now. I'm like, “Oh, you dick, right? but he was actually 100% right, because it wouldn't have happened later right?   So, I mean, I think one of the first things I want to talk to you about is, you know, you to train for competitions, you don't just decide, Oh, I'll train, I don't even want to train today. That's, that's dedication, right, and I’m sure there are days when you wake up and you're like, man, I don't want to do this. I want to stay in bed or I want to eat that pint  of Rocky Road or whatever, talk us through that process. 

Yeah, so I think, um, I talk about this a lot actually in terms of fat loss.  Um, uh, one of my big passions is kind of looking at people who are able to lose weight and keep it off, cause they're kind of unicorns, to be honest, if we're talking about weight loss more than three years, um, for the most part, you know, 80 to 90% of people will not lose weight and keep it off over a three-year period.  So, um, one of the things that they found,  that the people who were really good at that, who were able to do that, uh, one of the biggest character traits they had was what they call it Low-Recency. Now, recency is basically a measure of how much you value, uh, short-term information versus long-term information.  Um, so for this, for the purpose of this, you can kind of look at like, um, delayed gratification, it's not the same thing, but for the, for this discussion, it kind of is. So it's like you just said, OK, that, that extra, you know, sleep in, you know, that extra bowl of ice cream or, or whatever it may be, that's going to make me feel better in the short-term, but what is my long-term goal?  And does that fit my long term goal? And I'm not saying that you should never sleep in, I'm not one of those people. I'm also not saying you should never have ice cream, that's not what I'm saying, but I'm saying, you know, if it's not going to fit within your calorie goals or that sort of thing, like, what do I value more?  Well, I value one thing I've always been really good at now. I wasn't always good at it, but I've gotten, I've become really kind of a bad-ass at it is,  I will watch a blade of grass grow in terms of my goals. I, I, I don't care if it takes me five years. I, if I am confident that I know if I have this process of how to get there, I'm confident that if I put the work in, I will get there.  Now that the problem becomes... is, you know, when we first started going, we talked about some resolutions, right? We're really motivated, like we're fired up, you know, this and that. Well, let a few weeks go by and some work stress creep in,  you know, um, you know, some emotions like breakups, all that kind of stuff, all of that stuff can derail you is actually you just talked about in a systematic review of people who lose weight and keep it off.  Um, and so... what, what, what does that mean? Well, you experienced it today, you didn't feel good, um, you didn't really want to do it, and I'll say this a lot to people I work with, or, or people my team works with, because I have a team of coaches now, or people who use our nutritional coaching app. Um, I'll say, you know, it doesn't have to feel good.  It doesn't always have to feel good, you just have to do it. Okay. Now, again, I'm not saying you can never have a day off, that... that's not it, but you have to be careful because the one day off can start to spiral. You know, if you're, if you've been hitting it hard and you know, you're a little bit more sore than normal and you feel like a rest day could be productive so that you can have better workouts later in the week, that's a productive rest day. But if you're taking a rest day, because you're just not feeling it, or you're just not motivated, that sort of thing, you have to be really careful because that can kind of start to spiral over time, and usually what happens is that once you get back into it, once you actually get through that, that barrier of, oh, I don't want to do this and you start, you actually feel fine.  So I, Peter, I actually had the same thing yesterday. I got like, I had some like, business stress and some other stuff, and I got like two or three hours of sleep that night. I just did not feel good, and. I thought about missing my workout. And then I was like, you know what, I'm just gonna, I'm just going to go in and just, just kinda go through the motions, right?  Like, I'm not going to expect you to big PR’s or anything, but I'm just going to warm up and we'll see what's there, right, and you know what happened? I actually had a pretty good workout and that doesn't always happen like that. But I think David Goggins says it like, you know, I let mediocrity think it's going to win.  So. I'll just do a little bit, you know, and then when you get into it and the blood gets moving and you get kind of in your flow, a lot of times it ends up being better so I always tell people like, don't rely on motivation to keep you going. Motivation is like nitrous oxide on a car, on a race car, right, it will help you go really fast over a really short period of time, but, uh, dedication and determination and perseverance, that's your gasoline. That's, what's actually going to take you places. 

That’s a great, that's a great thought. I mean, there's also the, the, the premise that what was the quote? Um, you can't wait for your body to say, it's ready. The mind has to be ready and tell the body it’s ready. 

Yeah. I mean, I tell people if you're waiting for the perfect time for, to go after your goals, there's never going to be a perfect time. And one of the things I always, I always fall back to is I'll say, listen, you know, a lot of people have different challenges.  You got three kids, you're a single mom. You’ve got, you know, whatever. Maybe you have, you know, some kind of learning disability or you have a physical disability  totally get that, you know, not everybody in an ideal world, we'd all start in the 50 yard line right? That's not how it works. Some of us start on the other team's one yard line and some of us start in our own one yard line, right. Um, but you have the ability to, to win, to score and no matter how bad you've got it, I'm almost certain that somebody came from worse and did better with it. So it is possible, 

Well I mean, I think that's an interesting point because you know, the, especially what you said earlier about the premise that, um, you know, it tends to spiral.  I, a lot of times ADHD. ADD and  things like that are, are, are very, very close to addiction, addictive personality  and things like that.  And you know, for me, I know I have to do what's… “I call it playing the tape forward” you know. You know, okay. I don't really want to get out of bed. How am I gonna feel in 12 hours, right? Let's say I do sleep in, and then I go to work and whatever. Well, I've slept in now. I don't have that dopamine hit that I was hoping for, and I'm a little slower I'm going slower. Probably haven't had the best meetings or gotten them the best work done. Well, I haven't got done. That's worked. I'm probably a little pissed off, and how do I usually rectify that? Well, now I've ordered a pizza. So that, that one decision. right, decided to sleep in when I didn't really need to,  has ruined a day, right. And now, well, it's ruined a day. Well, now I'm really pissed off, I might drink.  Well, if I drink what's gonna happen tomorrow morning, right?  And the next thing, you know, three weeks later I've gained 20 pounds.  

That definitely happens, and I think, you know, one of the things people ask, like, how did you, like, did you, were you born with this mindset or did you have to cultivate it?  And you know, I'll give credit to my parents. I really had great parents in terms of, you know, like believing in me and pushing me, and we didn't, we didn't have a lot of money or anything like that, but my parents were hard workers and I saw that, and I think that that was very important for me. Um, but I didn't have a lot of confidence growing up, and so how do you cultivate that? Well, cultivating, that was honestly just setting like little goals. and, and hitting those goals and then setting ones that are a little bit bigger and achieving those,  and the ones that are a little bit bigger, and then you start to hit some setbacks, cause when you, when you have small goals, you have small setbacks, but when you have big goals, you have big setbacks.  It's usually pretty proportionate, and so, you know, I was able to grow my confidence in proportion to those goals I was hitting. And then what really helped me gain confidence was overcoming setbacks. When I started overcoming setbacks. And especially when it was set, when there were setbacks where other people were telling me, Oh, you're not going to be able to get past that.  When I got past them, that started developing an enormous amount of confidence in myself, and if you asked my wife, she would say, I almost have too much confidence in myself because, you know, she's like, you think you could just get through anything. So, um, you know, but that takes time to cultivate. 

And one of the things I, I.  somebody asked me the other day, like, how do you know, how do you fit so much in like, what do you, what do you do? Like what's, you know, and there's no, there's no like true hack or anything like that. Like that, that doesn't exist. But one thing I'll say that I, I don't do, is I don't use the snooze button. I don't hit, I don't hit the snooze button once my, I... if I need to, if I need 10 extra minutes, I'm going to set my alarm for that 10 extra minutes, like I'm not going to hit a snooze button because honestly, the sleep you get during that extra 10, 20, 30 minutes is not even any good, and now you set yourself back in terms of time, and you also know deep down in your heart, I had the chance to get up and get after it, and I didn't do it. So I think one of the things that you can start out with for just like a little small, tiny win, like a micro win, is dedicate yourself to, you know, for a week, you're not going to hit the snooze button. You're just going to get up and get after it. And you know, when you do that, even if you get up and you feel terrible, you might feel terrible, but at least mentally you say, you know what? You got out of bed and you started getting it done.

90% of the time,  the, the mental breakthrough of, hey, I did that. I mean, look, I mean, I, I, you know, my, I, my trainer FaceTimed me this morning and I'm like, hi, he's like, all right, let's do it. I'm like, shut up. Just, just talk slow. I don't want to talk, you know, but by the end of the workout, I'm like, all right, you're right, thanks, whatever, shut up. You know, and it was, I mean, it's like, it's like, I turn into Archer when I'm with them. I'm like, “Hey, shut up” You know, but he's on it, he’s right? I did it. I felt much better, and my day has been that much more productive right?  It's a lot of what you're saying goes into the premise that I've set up, um, uh, rituals, not resolutions, right? You're not gonna lose 20 pounds the first two weeks of... you know, of a new year, but if the ritual is “get up and go to the gym four times a week,” that's accomplishable, right. 

For sure, like I said, I just got done reading a, a big systematic review, uh, ironically, uh, kind of, if I can pull up my own ego here, the, the researcher who published it actually said that my book inspired them to, to do their PhD, which I thought was really, really cool.  Um, They talked about rituals, uh, in terms of a, what are some commonalities amongst people who lose weight and keep it off. And part of that is reinventing their identity because part of their identity is tied up in their old habits and behaviors. And a lot of people want to still hang on to those, but transition into a new body, new health, and that's just not the way it works, you know, if you want to, if you want to shed your skin and go through a transformation, like it's truly going to be a transformation, because if you don't transform internally, any external transformation you make, is  just going to be short-lived. And so you’re talking about habits and behaviors, uh, one of the things that shocks people, when I tell them the data, there are no studies out there in terms of like meta-analyses, which are basically studies of studies, that show that there's one diet that emerges as superior for weight loss, all diets, in terms of long-term weight loss tend to be pretty similar in how much weight loss they produce, and they tend to be pretty similar in adherence level. But what does bubble up in terms of people who lose weight and keep it off,  is a series of habits and behaviors like cognitive restraint. Self-monitoring. exercise, uh, those sorts of things that low-recency, like we just talked about it’s habits and behaviors, because if you don't change your habits and behaviors, knowledge is nothing without habits and behaviors.  And I'll give a great example. Um, you know, so what ends up determining weight loss is calories in calories out, right? I mean, that's it. Now people will argue this, this and that,  alot of that's because, people don't want to take responsibility because that's calories in calories out. There's an inherit responsibility in that.  And people say, well, that's too simplistic to explain all this just because the answer is simple, doesn't mean the execution is easy. OK, like a great example. Is saving money. I don't think anyone's going to argue that in order to save money, you need to earn more money than you spend. Now you can say things like, well, but you know, interest rates can fluctuate and you know, your income can fluctuate if you're an entrepreneur and your investments can fluctuate and your expenses can pop up that you didn't plan for all of that's true.  That's all true, but it doesn't change the fact that in order to save money, you need to earn more than you spend. But why don't people like keeping a budget? Because if you keep a budget, if you have to actually look at what you're spending money on, then you have to admit the fact that dang, I spent $1200 bucks on eating out at restaurants last month, I could have saved that.  And people don't want that, a lot of people don't want that... kind of accountability, so it's, it's all about revamping your habits and behavior. So, you know, it is calories in calories out, but just telling people to eat less and move more, that doesn't really… that's not really helpful information anymore than it is to say, well, just earn more money or save more money or both, Or earn more, spend less, you have to change their habits and behaviors, right, because all that stuff, we are, we are governed by our habits and behaviors, and a lot of the stuff we do during the day is just completely autopilot, we don't even think about it. 

Yeah. It's very true, and I think that, that, what's... what I find fascinating about that is, that is that we not always tend to fall off the wagon for reasons that at the end of the day are kind of pointless, right. I look at it along the lines of, OK,  I was pissed off that X happened to me.  Is eating that pizza, going to somehow go back in time and prevent X from happening, right? And what else can I do instead of that? I remember the day that I got…I had gotten into a huge fight with my ex-wife and we were great friends, but whatever. This particular day, we had a huge fight. And I was walking home, and I was so angry, this is ridiculous, and in my head I’m imagining the meal I’m gonna order from… wherever, and i get home and just, I’m like you know what, let’s just go on the tread…. on the Peloton, let’s just get on the bike for 45min, and if you still want to order that meal, order the meal. Had one of the best... strongest rides of my life, right? Anger, anger, fuels rides with the best rides. And, um, you know, and, and, and sure enough, I get off, I have all the dopamine, all the serotonin, all the adrenaline, I'm not hungry and I don't do it.   I'm like, it was the same exact thing. Both of those would have led to my feeling better, but only one of them was healthy. 

Right, and that's, you know, that's almost like a cognitive rewiring right there. Just a different way of looking at things. I mean, if you want to look for it hacks, I mean, that's a hack right there.  Right? You, you recognized. Okay. And I,  this is huge. So I've talked to, um, a lot of people who deal in the psychology of eating, uh, because you know, people make a big deal about hunger, a hunger., you didn't mention it... hunger once in there. 

Right, right, right. 

This diet makes you feel less hungry, then I'll tell people.  Yeah, but you're assuming people only eat because they're hungry. That is a small part of why human beings eat. There are social cues, there are environmental cues, emotional cues. And especially if you've tied  you know, certain emotions. And it sounds like where you came from that stress emotion would be accompanied with, you know, some sort of food reward to try to make yourself feel better, right, so what you've done is actually re-wire that response to where, okay, well I can go exercise, right, and that totally changed it. And so it's kind of like, uh, you know, some people say people who talk about like spending and whatnot, uh, they say, you know, before you make any purchase or, you know, a big purchase, let's say give it 24 hours to sleep on it, and if you know, 24 hours later, you still feel the same way, then OK, go ahead and buy it. So you just did that. You said I'm going to give myself 45 minutes, and if I still feel this way, then I'll go do it. 

CBT is an amazing thing.  a good friend of mine, an ex-girlfriend of mine is a CBT and DBT, a therapist, she's a psychologist, and, um, you know, she swears by it and she works with it, it’s  an amazing thing. Being able to rewire their brain and think differently. It's just, it's just a gift. No question about it. 

Absolutely. I mean, that's how they treat, uh, that's how they treat a lot of people with binge eating disorder is they'll they'll, they'll a lot of it is because, like we said, we're on autopilot a lot of the day, right? Because it takes some of us with our jobs, it takes a lot to do those jobs and then you have to like, for survival, you almost have to go on autopilot for certain parts of the day, right? Because being on and making decisions, I mean, there is such a thing as decision fatigue, so you have to rewire those autopilots because a lot of people, when they overeat, it's not being even glutinous or anything like that, it's simply, “I didn't even realize I was doing it.” You know, I've, I've been around people who had binge eating disorder so bad that, um, they, it literally was like a blackout episode, but, you know, they wouldn't really come out of it until they had finished, and boom, there's 3000 calories gone, you know? And so I, one of the first things is, and I'm not a psychiatrist...psychologist, so I don't want to, you know, this isn’t my area of expertise, but this is my understanding for what I've heard them say, is identifying those emotions, so.. you... that's exactly what you did. You identified the emotion first, and then you said, okay, “What can I, what can I do about it? All right. Let me, let me feel my feelings, let me, you know, do something to occupy my time and then let me see how I feel.” But that is… that's like you said, that CBT right there.  That is exactly how it works. No question about it. 

Awesome. Layne. I want to be respectful of your time. How can people find more and how can they find you? 

Sure, so on most social media platforms on Layne Norton, PhD (@biolayne) • Instagram photos and videos. If you follow me on Twitter, I use colorful language and I don't sugar coat., so, um, if your feelings get hurt easily, you might want to follow me somewhere else.  But, uh, and then my website is Biolayne  I have a, uh, you find most of my stuff there, but. I have a nutritional coaching app called Carbon Diet Coach, which is phenomenal. Um, again, you know, if somebody, you know, can't afford a trainer or a personal nutrition coach, it's an extremely helpful app that will literally coach you for nutrition based on your goals, your individual metabolism, eh, you know, lifestyle, all that kind of stuff and dietary preference, and then a few books out there,  https://www.biolayne.com/fat-loss-forever/  one I mentioned, um, you know, those sorts of things, but you can find most of the stuff that, uh, that I do and the stuff I sell on my website Biolayne. 

Awesome. Well, thank you so much for taking the time to come on Faster Than Normal today, I really appreciate it. 

No worries, thanks for having me.

Credits: You've been listening to the Faster Than Normal podcast. We're available on iTunes, Stitcher and Google play and of course at www.FasterThanNormal.com I'm your host, Peter Shankman and you can find me at petershankman.com and @petershankman on all of the socials. If you like what you've heard, why not head over to your favorite podcast platform of choice and leave us a review, come more people who leave positive reviews, the more the podcast has shown, and the more people we can help understand that ADHD is a gift, not a curse. Opening and closing themes were composed and produced by Steven Byrom who also produces this podcast, and the opening introduction was recorded by Bernie Wagenblast. Thank you so much for listening. We'll see you next week. 

Mar 10, 2021

So I use Brain.FM all the time and many of you do also! Today Dan rejoins us to talk about some of the new research they’ve been doing with the help of grants, benefitting those of us with ADHD/ADD/Neuroatypical, new studies exploring neural phase-locking and how business is going in general. You may improve your focus AND get 20% off by using this special link to BrainFM with the coupon code: FASTER  Enjoy!

A little more about our guest today:

Daniel has been in love with technology- and its potential to positively impact the world- for as long as he can remember. From building websites when he was 13, starting a design and advertising business at 18 and driving $2MM in revenue for multinational brands as a director for a boutique ad agency, he has truly been at the forefront of how technology can exponentially grow successful businesses. One of Brain.fm's first users, he called the company 12 times before they agreed to bring him in for an interview. When he did receive an offer, he jumped at it (even working for free for the first few weeks). He eventually moved up to Head of Technology, and is now the CEO. As CEO, Daniel is constantly striving to build a company that can not only change the world through music, but also be one of the best companies for people to work for and grow with. Daniel has visited over 20 countries across five continents, with plans to set foot on all seven (including Antarctica).

***CORONA VIRUS EDITION***

In this episode Peter & Dan Clark discuss:

1:10  -  Intro and welcome back Dan! 

2:24  -  For those who don’t know; tell us about Brain FM and describe what it does?

3:46  -  So since our last talk in 2018, how has the company grown, or changed? Ref: Checkout our first interview w/ Dan

5:10  -  On the studies Brain FM are conducting about using it for pre/post-op and how people are now able to wake up twice as fast from anesthesia – tell us more about that study! 

6:41  -  On how Brain FM is a tech company that respects & uses science, using it in the right way 

7:54  -  What has Brain FM learned to help people focus & stay calm, amidst the craziness of where the world is now?

9:15  -  On the benefits of using headphones, just in general 

10:00  -  On creating helpful habits for maintaining a good a mental state w/ the use of tech

11:12  -  On developing daily rituals

12:50  -  On the grants Brain FM have enabling them to use music for ADD/ADHD and Neurodiverse brains specifically

15:00  -  On the importance of music memory and its ability to distract the brain in one way, allowing better focus in other ways. Ref: for those of you too young to remember this song from “St. Elmo’s Fire”

17:53  -  On the importance of taking the time to learn your brain & how it functions, just like you take the time to learn how to use anything else important in your life & your pursuits 

19:07  -  Tell people how they can find you and get more info on you?  DClark on INSTA is kind of the only place and those are private so; it’s all about BRAIN.FM with Dan right now. You can find THEM @BrainFM on Facebook  and @BrainFMApp on Twitter and INSTA

19:50  -  Dan Clark, thanks so much for taking the time being on Faster Than Normal, I appreciate it.  Guys, as always, Faster Than Normal, if you liked what you heard drop us a review.  We appreciate you guys being on the podcast , we appreciate people listening. We are, as far as I can tell, one of the top, if not the top ADHD podcasts out there, so I love that, and that was all because of you guys, and I am eternally grateful. If you have a guest that you think might work, or maybe it's you, someone you know, You can always reach me via peter@shankman.com or @petershankman on all of the socials. You can also find us at @FasterThanNormal on all of the socials. We would love to hear from you guys, uh, it thrills us to no end when we get notes. Also, one final thing, if you have the book, if you've read Faster Than Normal the book, go on to wherever you bought it https://www.amazon.com/ or https://www.audible.com - whatever, drop us a review, you'd be amazed at how those reviews really, really help. As always, thank you for listening. ADHD is a gift, not a curse. We are looking forward to seeing you next week, you guys take care.

20:13  -  Faster Than Normal Podcast info & credits!

 

TRANSCRIPT: 

Ladies and gentlemen, this is the first episode of the new year that I am recording here in my apartment, because we all know that Coronavirus does not respect a calendar, they don't have little day planners and say, “Oh, it's 2021, we can stop doing anything.”  But that being said, welcome to a new episode and a new year of Faster Than Normal.  Of course, now that I think about it, you're probably hearing this in March, so whatever, screw it. It's good to be back. It's good to see you guys. I'm glad to be here. I'm glad to be talking to you again. I'm glad to have my guests. My first guest, my first recording guest of the year, is someone I had back on 2018.  Dan Clark. Dan is the founder of Brain.fm and Brain FM. I, I use them religiously. I put music on, I put audio tracks on it my headphones, when I'm working, when I'm trying to sleep, um, it's been great. During the past year, when you know, you go to bed and, and something stupid has happened in DC  and you wake up and some more stupid shit has happened in DC.  So it is, it has been very useful to actually keep my sleep going. Dan, welcome back, glad to have you again. 

Glad to be back. 

You're still in New York, you’re surviving, and you're, you're still alive with the family?  

Surviving and thriving. Yeah, um, you know, we, uh, we're, we're not giving up on the city and, uh, you know, it's definitely coming, coming back stronger than ever.

I agree. I mean, being born and raised here, I could not agree more. Of course my, my upstairs neighbors have decided this is the perfect week to redo their floors. And so I'm, I'm, I'm questioning my, my, my decision to stay here, but I'm sure that'll stop as well. Anyway. It's good to have you mentioned, Dan, Dan has an interesting background, Dan, um, you know, he worked in advertising, he worked for multinational brands then.  He was one of Brain FM's first users. He called the company 12 times before they agreed to bring him in for an interview, and then when he received an offer, he worked free... for free for a few weeks, eventually moved to the head of technology, and now.. he's now the CEO. And for those who don't know what Brain FM is, Dan, tell us a little bit, cause I mean, I just, I'm a, I'm a huge fan, but I won’t do it justice, so tell us what it is. 

Yeah, sure, so at Brain FM, we make functional music to help you focus, relax, and sleep better. Uh, what we do is we combine science and technology into music you'd actually like to listen to, and we're putting in rhythmic pulses that create patterns that emulate, uh, the patterns that you naturally have in your brain when you're in certain mental states.  So focus relaxed or asleep and by listening to the music with these certain patterns, your brain starts to mirror the music, which allows you to shortcut into that mental state and then stay there as you’re using the product. 

And I can tell you as a user of the product, it is, it is hugely, hugely beneficial.  It actually helps me. Uh, when I sleep, I probably use it at least twice a week. You know what? I use a lot, I use it when I'm not sleeping in my own bed, which over the past nine months, it hasn't been that much because you know where the man to go. Uh, but other than, you know, when I was on planes and stuff like that, or when I was in airports or, you know, having to crash in hotels, whatever, you know, but you know how much I travel, I was using it religiously.  And it was, it was, I think it was something along the lines of it...it made me feel like I was home, right?  And it took any of the pressure of where are you, what you are doing, off, and I just, I was able to fall asleep and for someone with massive ADHD and sleep apnea, you know, that's a really good thing, so, I mean, I'm a huge fan.  Um, tell us about, so, so last time we talked to you was I believe 2000….I want to say March of 2018. So it's been almost two years, um, has the company grown? How's it doing? 

Yeah. Great questions. Um, the company has grown pretty significantly, um, we've probably grown over a 100% since we’ve talked. Um, but what we're doing now is really just getting ready, um, for, for growth. Um, we've done a lot of really interesting things which we can explore. Um, one is, you know, continuing our ADHD studies, um, which is, you know, we have grants for, to, to validate that we can be an effective treatment, um, to help, you know, other treatments that people are doing.  We've done other things where we're taking the same technology and we're doing it with people that are going through surgery. So pre and post-op, and we're finding through some of our pilot studies, um, people are waking up twice as fast from anesthesia. Um, and we're also, you know, creating systems for enterprise companies as well, so we're really, um, spreading the foundation to build and grow on. And, um, you know, it's been really interesting, especially with this pandemic where people's whole lives have changed to somewhat, and they've been really looking for tools to be able to help them keep their same level of productivity or their same sleep patterns, and like you were mentioning, and we've had a lot of people, gravitate  towards, um, you know, tools like Brain FM. 

So let's actually talk about that for a second. Cause you mentioned, you know, that it, talk to me first about the fact that people are waking up twice as fast from anesthesia, that sounds... like really, really awesome.  Talk to me a little bit about that. What kind of study? 

Yeah, it’s really exciting.  So, so, you know, what's,...what's really cool is the idea of functional music has been around forever.  There's binaural beats and isochronic tones.  We’re a different approach called Neuro phase-locking, um, and the... the cool thing is that there's actual real science that is happening in your brain, right?  So, kind of like when you shine a light bulb in someone's eye, it contracts because of an outside stimulus... that's what's happening in your brain, when you’re listening to Brain FM. We're actually aligning the functional networks of your brain to communicate more effectively. And that is the reason why people are waking up from anesthesia faster, was because of the physical effect that we're having, um, on people. Um, so it's, it's really exciting because not only can we help people in their regular life, but we've stumbled across this possibility of helping people in, you know, alternative settings. Um, and it's very exciting because if we can help people, um, you know, wake up faster, there's a lot of really great stuff there, um, but there's even more really interesting stuff pre-surgery, where if we can lower your blood pressure before or during surgery, we might be able to, um, you know, help cardiac arrest and things like that. It's way too early for us to tell, um, but it's fun because we're, we're basically starting to see that the real science that we have in our product is, is, um, an effect that's not only effective in focus or sleeping, it's, uh, effective in much more areas. 

That is amazing work, and I love the fact that you're a technology company that's actually respecting the science and using it the right way, I think that's fascinating.  I remember when I first interviewed you, um, I was, I was, uh, good friends at the time, I still am, with a woman who I also had on the podcast who was a  PhD, um, at Harvard, she was getting her PhD and she couldn't stop raving about you guys.  She heard about you on the podcast and then immediately downloaded and was addicted because it's like, “oh my God, this calms me down as I'm trying to study, right?”  And that was huge for her because she couldn't, her focus was, was, was a big thing, so I love that it's, it's, it's moving on into more science.  Talk to me for a second, about the second part of what you said when it comes down to, um, uh, doing, uh, getting people calm or focus in this ridiculous dumpster fire dystopian nightmare that we're currently living in. Um, you know, I mean, literally they, they, you know, I can't, I have to, I've learned to shut off.  I mean, I always shut off my phone, but now I keep my alerts, my, my news alerts off most of the day, because I go down a rabbit hole, right?  10am,, it’s, you know, a CNN alert needs to forget the James Earl Jones, this is CNN. It needs to come with the tagline about “what now”  right?  And so let's start reading a story, so, so instead of that, talk about what, what, um, Brain FM has learned, and is doing to help people sort of, not only focus, but stay calm and, you know, not want to jump out a window every five minutes in, in this nightmare that we're living in. 

Yeah. Well, you know, it's really interesting. So, you know, our bodies and our minds are made to mirror the environment that we're in.  So I'm sure you've heard sayings, like, you know, the people that you, surround yourself with... the people you are, um, you know, what goes in your mind, uh, you know, where energy goes, attention flows and results didn't follow. I think this is a Zig Ziglar quote, right? 

Right. 

Um, and, and it's all, it's actually true, so what happens inside of your brain is, is, is where you know where your attention is, that's where things like your reticulated activate your RDS RAS system is, is, is looking for, so when you buy a car, and then you see everyone that has the same exact car, that systems like that in place, um, and when you're looking at negative things or something like that, it's sometimes helps us skew to be more negative sometimes.  So it's really important to control your environment, um, and what's really difficult sometimes is, um, you know, having that stuff in your mind and then still trying to be productive, right. One of the easiest things though, that we can do by maybe ... we can't physically control our environment, but we can control our environment through sound.  So, you know, putting headphones on from its own place without even Brain FM, you can really block out, especially with sound canceling headphones, the technology that we have today,  It’s really easy to put yourself in a corner in your house, put on headphones and escape, and then there's an interesting thing where if you add that and then Brain FM with all the science that we're creating, um, what we're finding is people are able to say, okay, no, this is my focus time. Um, this is my relaxed time, and, um, it's, it's very interesting. So when, when this all started, we started doing focus sprints together. so we created, you know, YouTube lives of a couple of hundred people coming together and saying, this is what I'm going to do today.  And from that, we started really learning about how to just develop really strong habits to make sure that we are maintaining healthy mental states, and just a healthy life.  So, you know, one of the things that I started getting into is every single morning, no matter how I feel, I have an iced coffee and I have Brain M playing, right?  Um, I also do a chill session throughout the day, soI'll do it like after lunch or something like that, just to make sure that I'm, um, you know, being able to like, like plug in, and then unplug, and, uh, when we started explaining this and sharing this with people, we found a lot of people were like,   “I don't know what I would do without Brain FM,” especially, you know, having, you know, their, their, their husbands in the same room or their kids, or their cats, you know, I have a cat running around right now, I don't know if you can hear him, um, and it's, it's things like that, that all combined, to creating this habit with technology, to make sure that we are really the ones in control. 

No question about it. I think that, you know, you said you mentioned something about habits and as, since we're at the beginning of the new year, obviously this won't air for a couple months, but you know, everyone says, resolutions, resolutions, resolutions.  I've always been in the opinion that resolutions fail, but rituals succeed and you create rituals by creating habits, right?  And so I'm not going to lose 20 pounds by tomorrow, right? and believe me. I've tried, but what can happen? Is that I can vow to get up a half an hour earlier every day and just try to do that for 30 days and, and, and exercise, right.  What will happen at the end of that month is that I will have created a ritual that will transform into the resolution that I wanted, right? And so music and sound plays a huge part in that, in my, in my experience, in that I know that, you know, I'm a Peloton junkie, as you know, and, and I, I took, um, I had my best output I've had in months the other day, ‘cause it was the greatest showman ride. And I know every song by heart, right?  And, um, well, top of my lungs, right. you know, dying, you know, and my, my, my, my organs are spilling out of my body, but because music can do that in so many facets and so many facets it's creating, you're creating habits and rituals.  And I almost look at along the lines of, I, I, told my daughter, there was absolutely no way we were getting a puppy, uh, during lockdown, which of course means I have a puppy now. And as I tried to train it, it really is just repetition, repetition, repetition, and you get the dog, you know, you get the dog in the habit of going out at 4:30 in the morning to pee... Talk to me about 4:30 in the morning to pee, right?  And so it's the same thing, you know, if that, if you hear that music, that specific type of music, it tells you it's time to chill, it's time to ramp up. So under that, and I think that that more than anything, it needs to be a lot more studies into that. And you have some grants. Well, you're learning.  And you mentioned that you're learning about, uh, what music can do for ADD/ADHD and neuro-diverse brains touch on that for a second. 

Yeah, sure. So we have a, a lot of grants that we've, um, we're currently, you know, waiting to hear back from as well as, um, some grants that we're executing. Um, it's very interesting.  So, you know, we...some of the adaptive technology that we talked about in the beginning with, as those rhythmic pulses and what we're doing is we're adding modulations to sound, um, and what's happening is it's kind of like, almost like a helicopter effect, like <helicopter sound>  and it's in a certain pattern.  That is, um, is aligning those functional networks. What we find in ADHD brains is that that pattern has to be ramped up significantly higher because of the hyperactivity, um, that, that, uh, people with ADHD have. And what's really interesting is when we combine that with this higher level of, um, modulations in the music, what we're able to do…  is help people unlock their flow state very quickly and faster in ADHD brains than we are in maybe normalized brains.  Um, you know, we've, I, and I love your podcasts because, um, you know, it's all about ADHD as a superpower. Um, I believe that with someone that has it as well, and it's very interesting because, um, we're starting to unlock why and, and starting to harness that. So, um, one of the things we just actually released in our app is this thing called the Neural Effect filter where you can actually say, I want high setting, you know, or low setting or whatever, and start taking the technology and control it yourself, and um, people with ADHD, um, click that high button all day because that's exactly what they need to help support them, um, and the really interesting thing is, is part of the reason why Brain FM works so well, um, is not only the, the, the biological component, but because it's actually distracting your brain just enough to help you be more effective.  It's kind of like, taking care of your monkey mind almost. 

Um, it makes, that makes sense. It makes complete, perfect sense. I remember before my parents knew I was ADHD, and I was just a disruption in class, I remember that they would never a punishment for me, it was, I wasn't allowed to listen to music while I worked, and that was the biggest mistake they ever conceivably could have made because I did so well once I had music going in it, even to this day, I mean, I, you know, we all have music memory, right. We hear a song and we think, “oh my God, I remember exactly where I was at that moment. I still remember. I still remember, uh, waking up, uh, I guess my alarm went off, but it was, I must have been like 14, 15, 16. Uh, my alarm went off and I was, I was, I was,uh, it was soft. It was like a Saturday, so they didn't have to wake up early and it was a radio clock radios, and it was, it was the song, um, uh, St. Elmo's Fire,  Man In Emotion by John Parr.  And I remember listening to the whole song sort of half asleep, half awake, and seeing it by the end of the song I woke up and I was like, this is going to be the greatest thing in the world. this level of focus and, and, and, you know, to this day, it's still pretty hard to get back. You know, it there's so much that that being able to take a certain percentage of your brain and just like you said, distract it to do something else, allowing you to focus on the stuff that matters, you know, when you, when you stop and think about it, um, uh, one of the, one of the things about ADHD is, you know, kids get in trouble all the time for speaking out of turn, I remember I used get in trouble for making the, the kids laugh, like being the class clown, and what I learned later in life was, that I was actually trying to give myself more dopamine. Uh, so I could sit down and focus, right? I was actually getting in trouble because I wanted to learn, right. I couldn't stay still. I couldn't because I wanted to focus, but I needed the ... And so, so it's the same thing, being able to distract the brain in one way allows you to focus better in another way, it's phenomenal. 

Yeah. And I think we're just starting to figure that out. Like neurochemically, um, you know, biologically, uh, there's, there's a lot of really interesting things, um, the more we study Brain FM, the more, um, and this sounds weird, but the more impressed we are with, with the, the kind of perfectness of, of the, the system, you can do similar things that, you know, these modulations, you can do it in light, you can do an Vibracoustic. So like by, um, you know, vibrations and things like that, um, you can do it with other mediums, but what's really interesting is your ears are one of the most sensitive parts of your body.  Um, and they can, they can, um, detect, um, frequencies and things way more intense than...than other parts right?  And it really allows you to not, uh, have to like pay attention. It's something that works well with, with what we're doing in our daily lives. So most of us sit at a computer and we have to sit down and work right, and you can't have flashing lights in your face and all that stuff, but you can easily put headphones on and it like aids you and supercharges you rather than taking something away. Um, and it's fun to start figuring this out and, and start making the product better. Um, while we learn about the human brain at the same time.

I think it's the best part is that, is that, you know, the more I start to sort of understand my brain and learn about it and, and I don't want to say biohackers God, that word is so fucking overused right?  You know, I, I don't, I don't need someone to tell me what macronutrients I need to be injecting in my eyeballs or some crap like that, but the premise of just understanding how your brain works, I don't think enough people take the time to realize that, you know, the, the best tools are the ones that you understand completely how they work. I mean, when I became a skydiver, I had to learn every single inch of my parachute because you know, it has that sorta job of, you know, saving my life. And I, you know, you don't want your last 30 seconds on this planet before you impact it, you know, to be what does that thing do? And maybe it should, you know, should they have done that? And, you know, and so you learn and, and, and you feel more confident and safe, right?  I trust my gear. I, I trust my training and my gear, and I think that we all need to spend a little more time understanding our brains and learning about our brains and learning what affects, what, you know, it's something as simple as why I exercise so early. I know that if I do have a better day, right?  I'm not, I'm not a PhD. I don't, I'm not, I'm going to do, uh, you know, a neuroscientist. I don't understand what the chemicals, uh, what their names are, but I understand what happens when I get off the bike, right… and how I feel. And so, yeah, I think more people need to do that. I love that you guys are taking the role in that.  Um, we’re running out of time. Dan, it's... it's Brain.FM, I know that we used to have a, a, um, a, a discount code for you guys, so I'm assuming I'll get a new one from... from you guys, and we'll, we'll hook that back up because I want to start promoting it, we'll promote it on the, uh, on the site and the podcast, but I really appreciate you…. you spending the time.  Do you have, like a blog or do you have a... what's your social so people can follow you and all your, all your exploits. 

Yeah. I mean, so I don't really do tons of socials. Um, you know, I have an Instagram, which is just the Clark, um, which you can find me, but, um, but yeah, I mean, I really putting all my heart and soul and Brain FM right now, and then, uh, eventually I'll have a social life again.

Awesome, I love it, and, and know you, I thought the same thing until I sold my company and no, you, you don't, you'll, you'll find something else to do and you won't have a social life again, it happens. But anyway, Dan, thank you so much for taking the time, guys, this is Faster Than Normal. We love what we do, do, and we love just as passionate as Dan is about Brain FM, we are just as passionate about what we do here. If you liked what you heard, drop us a review, leave us a note, shoot me an email. Let us know who else we should have on the podcast, we're always looking for new guests, we would love that. Reach out any time http://www.petershankman.com/  at Faster Than Normal at @petershankman.  We will see you next week with a brand new episode. Thank you again for listening. Have a great day.

Credits: You've been listening to the Faster Than Normal podcast. We're available on iTunes, Stitcher and Google play and of course at www.FasterThanNormal.com I'm your host, Peter Shankman and you can find me at petershankman.com and @petershankman on all of the socials. If you like what you've heard, why not head over to your favorite podcast platform of choice and leave us a review, come more people who leave positive reviews, the more the podcast has shown, and the more people we can help understand that ADHD is a gift, not a curse. Opening and closing themes were composed and produced by Steven Byrom who also produces this podcast, and the opening introduction was recorded by Bernie Wagenblast. Thank you so much for listening. We'll see you next week. 

Mar 3, 2021

Chris Doelle is a Marketer, Author, Public Speaker, Broadcaster, Game Designer, and Texas High School Football Historian. Chris was not diagnosed with ADHD until age 45. He simply thought he was just more intelligent and motivated than his cohorts. His doctor sent Chris for evaluation and the results showed the highest reading he had ever seen. When asked how Chris dealt with his ADHD, his lifelong need to make lists seemed to be the glue that has held it all together. He never goes anywhere without a half dozen notepads. Recently, Chris has created two tabletop board games that were both fully funded via Kickstarter. www.FridayNightLegends.com and www.SaturdayLegends.com When he is not working on one of his business ventures, Chris can be found on his property in South Texas clearing land, burning out stumps or working with the builder as they will break ground soon on the house he and his wife are having built. Today we’re talking about how he keeps it all together… Enjoy!

 

A little more about our guest today:

Chris was a class clown growing up and was always being creative. From writing action-themed short stories involving all his classmates and reading them to ever-growing crowds of interested students to singing contemporary pop songs to the pretty girls several years his senior, he was always up to something unique. He started his first company in junior high school - he built and repaired bicycles. This was quickly followed by a stint selling sports cards and comics. As the computer revolution began, Chris was instantly interested. He was writing code on notebook paper for a year before the first personal computers came out. At the same time, Chris began selling computer software to his high school and training the teachers how to use the machines as a Senior in their class. Chris was neither the most popular nor the loner. He flowed into and out of every clique of students easily. He played football but didn't get involved in any other extracurricular activities other than student government. He is notorious for being the only student to ever resign as Parliamentarian - stating his reason as, "It's a stupid position." His grades were straight C's because he would ace the tests with no studying but never turn in any homework. That balance left report cards showing him to be completely average. Just after high school Chris was ranked #13 in the world in Hacky Sack. He then put himself through college working four jobs at the same time. Before his schooling ended, he has found two people to do two of his jobs as less than he was being paid and became an employer - albeit unofficial. He studied Exercise Physiology and Psychology. In college he began racing bicycles - a love that has continued for decades amassing over 35,000 miles on the bike. Most nights during his 7 years of college however were spent playing Dungeons & Dragons where he was the Dungeonmaster because "his adventures were the most interesting" of their gaming group. Again, Chris did little school work while scoring 100% or better on most exams. If he did study, it was after D&D ended around 2am the night before a test. After college, he had a short stint in "corporate America" building the computer systems for the Greater Houston Area YMCA Association. This position allowed him to regularly support 35 different branch locations training staff, while installing and troubleshooting anything related to technology. The position was at the perfect time for Chris as the entire association, with his lobbying and encouragement, was transforming from just two PCs across the entire organization, to a computer on every desk all connected together by the high speed internet of the time - ISDN. This constantly-changing position was the only reason he lasted so long in a mainstream job. As boredom set in, Chris went back to his first love - self-employment. Chris continued to start, grow and run a wide range of businesses - a tech support company, a video production company, a cabling company, a photography company, a web design company. Most were either sold, closed or rolled into his current company Fresh Media Works - a full service marketing company he has run since 1996. With the exception of the 6 years at the YMCA, Chris has been "gainfully unemployed" for the better part of nearly 40 years. When podcasting came around Chris was already doing live internet radio and became officially the 5th person to publish a podcast. Since that time he has done tens of thousands episodes and hundreds of shows - spoken to business groups and universities about podcasting and it remains one of his great passions. Through his ventures in podcasting, Chris became a major player in the world of Texas high school football. His site Lone Star Gridiron has become the statewide leader in news and information on high school football in Texas. Happily (albeit bumpily at times) Chris married his high school sweetheart after being apart for years. They have four kids and recently become empty-nesters. 

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***CORONA VIRUS EDITION***

 

In this episode Peter & Chris Doelle discuss:

:40  -  Intro and welcome Chris Doelle! 

3:05  -  When you were diagnosed? Tell us your backstory and how what made you different growing up?

5:04  -  On trying a lot of different things, what worked and what didn’t

6:25  -  On lists, deadlines and their importance in his life

7:35  -  On situations where failure to organize w/ lists, etc came back to bite you in the butt. 

7:55  -  On what tech tools to keeping things organized i.e. followupthen.com

9:00  -  On the difficulty of staying busy/finding balance with work and personal life

10:21  -  On being an extrovert with ADHD combined with physical introspective tendencies

11:15-  What drew you to games, and board games?  Ref: https://lonestargridiron.com www.FridayNightLegends.com and www.SaturdayLegends.com 

13:16  -  Tips on working partnerships with someone with ADHD

14:14  -  On finding and maintaining balanced partnerships

15:02  -  On functioning successfully around neurotypicals/what kinds of things changed w/ marriage

16:36  -  Tell people how they can find you and get more info on you? @chrisdoelle on Twitter  LinkedIN  his books on Amazon and at https://boardgamegeek.com/ 

17:06  -  Describe yourself in 15 seconds? 

18:04  -  Chris Doelle, thanks so much for taking the time being on Faster Than Normal, I appreciate it.  Guys, as always, Faster Than Normal, if you liked what you heard drop us a review.  We appreciate you guys being on the podcast , we appreciate people listening. We are, as far as I can tell, one of the top, if not the top ADHD podcasts out there, so I love that, and that was all because of you guys, and I am eternally grateful. If you have a guest that you think might work, or maybe it's you, someone you know, You can always reach me via peter@shankman.com or @petershankman on all of the socials. You can also find us at @FasterThanNormal on all of the socials. We would love to hear from you guys, uh, it thrills us to no end when we get notes. Also, one final thing, if you have the book, if you've read Faster Than Normal the book, go on to wherever you bought it https://www.amazon.com/ or https://www.audible.com - whatever, drop us a review, you'd be amazed at how those reviews really, really help. As always, thank you for listening. ADHD is a gift, not a curse. We are looking forward to seeing you next week, you guys take care.

18:49  -  Faster Than Normal Podcast info & credits!

 

TRANSCRIPT: 

Hey guys, Peter Shankman. Welcome to another episode of Faster Than Normal, happy day, hope you're having a great day and hope your world is spinning the right direction. Hope things are chill. Hope you're enjoying life. By the time this airs, it should be,  I don't know, mid-February or so, and I'm hoping that everything by then has calmed down and we're all doing well.  It's the third week of January here, I guess, and we're moving forward here in New York, so I hope you guys are as well, love that you're here. Always very grateful that you've tuned in. I have another great guest, every week we have great guests, this, this week is no different. Chris Doelle is our guest today, and I will tell you all about him.  And if I seem pretty calm, and much more calm than I usually am. in these episodes, I had a ridiculously hard workout today and I'm not sure, but I think half my brain fell out, uh, I was on the Peloton and I had the best output I've had in about 16 months, so I'm frighteningly calm today to the point where I'm like, not really sure if it's, if this is the, I don't know what's going to happen.  Hopefully this returns, I return to normal, cause this is a little weird, but anyway… OK. Chris Doelle!  So Chris is a marketing expert. He makes marketing fun, he gets you more customers, but he's also an author, a board game developer, a podcast consultant, a producer.  Sounds like someone with ADHD who does a lot.  He was a class clown growing up. He was always being creative, he wrote action theme short stories involving all of his classmates and read them to ever-growing crowds of interesting students. He sang contemporary pop songs to the pretty girls, several years, several years, his senior. I'm dying to know how that worked out for you.  He was always up to something unique. He started his first company in junior high school. He got into selling sports cards and comics, and then he immediately hit onto the computer revolution. so I'm guessing he's about my age. He was writing code on notebook paper before the first personal computer came out at the same time, began selling computer software to his high school and then training the teachers, how to use the machines, which I love.  He was not the most popular nor the loner, he flowed in and out of every click of students easily, which is interesting…. children with ADHD, sometimes can't do that. One more fun fact about him, he was once ranked 13th in the world in hacky sack. Chris, great to have you on the show, man. 

Peter, thank you so much for having me, and I have to tell you that I hope you return to normal too.   

A little, little calm, little calm for too many people. So tell me about, tell me about your brain. When were you, were you diagnosed? How did this, how, what, what, what made you different growing up? Tell us, tell us your backstory. 

Sure. Yeah, actually I wasn't diagnosed til almost 50 years old.

Awesome. 

And I just always thought this is how the world works in, in, uh, you know, everything's going all the time with my head, uh, and getting bored and running off and doing something else.  I love that I came across your book and your show to realize that now is the first time in my life, I'm realizing, wow, I'm not all that different, there are people like me out there. So, so yeah, um, I guess, yeah… at a, at a young age, um, I was always writing.  Writing was always my release. I would write, um, and, and you talk about imposter syndrome. I, I would write in elementary school, I'd write my name a hundred times on a piece of paper and come home and hand it to my Mom, and she'd go, what's that for? And I'm like, so you don't forget who I am. Oh, which was insane. But you know, it worked. And, uh, I think, I think the, the big benefit that I had, you said that, um, it doesn't always work well to flow in and out of those groups. I think it worked well because of my Mother. Early on, she was such a supporter, always telling me you can do whatever you want, you're amazing, you're wonderful. So I believed it. I didn't have those doubts that a lot of people with ADHD have. Um, so,, between her and my father who was extremely ADHD, but again, not to diagnose, um, I learned there's nothing you can't do if you try, so I tried everything. 

Tell me what worked and what didn’t, because one of the things about trying everything is that you have some great successes, but you have a lot of failures.

Oh, yeah. Yeah. I think what worked there was literally realizing that it's only a failure if you don't learn something. So I... I reframed everything and my wife now will tell me I have rose colored glasses. I always try to find the good in everything, the positive outcome, and it's annoying as heck to her.  But, um, but that, that, that's it, yeah. I would fail at things, but, at the end of the day, I would go, okay, is there something to learn from this? Is this something I need to work harder at and go back to, or is it something okay, I've done that move on?  Um, and I became a huge fan of lists. I have sitting next to me, as we talk, a stack of legal pads, uh, there must be 20 of them here each with a different subject, and so every time I think of something, I grab the right list and add to it. Um, without those lists, I'd be lost. 

And you discovered that when??? 

I discovered that probably junior high school, because I realized I can't keep all this stuff together, you know, it, it came and went in, and popped in and out, and I'd remember,  great memory, but there's too many, too much stuff there going on, as you know, to try to remember all of it. 

So lists are, I mean lists are just super important and just as much, they fall into the  same category…. as like having  a calendar, right, and making sure everything you do at any given point, is in the calendar, um, is that sort of, you know, you’re, uh, so if your default is lists, you also have like, does everything have to be written down and everything you have to do has to be like put together and all that?

Well, yes and no. I mean, if, if I want it, if it's something that, um, I absolutely have to do, it goes down the list and it goes on a calendar and gives me a deadline, because as many of your guests have mentioned, and I, I, um, I went through and listened to all the shows, you know, just burned through them, just trying to get it all in, uh, and, you know, the recurring theme I saw was yeah, if there's a deadline, it would happen. So, so that's what I always do. I write it down if you know, I didn't need it, if it was just something like, yeah, sometime I want to do this, then I wouldn't worry about writing it down... I'd do it spur of the moment, but again, if it's important, if it's for business, if it's for a client, if it's for family, it’s got to get written down. 

Right. Have you... had a situation,, tell us about a situation where you, you forgot to write it down or you didn't, or you look at it and, and it came back to bite you in the butt. 

Gosh, that's probably on a weekly basis and it usually involves my wife, sometimes she said just in a passing comment, that I would categorize  in my brain as, “Oh, that'd be cool to do” 

Do you have any (indistinguishable) tools  that you use. Like I said, I swear by https://www.followupthen.com/  Do you have specific  tools that you…. tech tools that you use to keep the stuff flowing? 

Well, I use Google for most everything. So I use Google calendar and I have multiple calendars. I have one for each of my businesses, one for, uh, my wife, one for, um, things...I just, you know, that I have to go to cause I cover Texas high school football. So I have my schedule of places I travel, so that's a separate calendar. I also use the Google to-do lists. Tasks List and it's got multiple lists. So yeah, I do a lot of tech now, but I still rely on these pads 

And you’re doing this all by yourself, no assistant, nothing??

Not yet, although I called Megan and I said, Hey, can you help me? I need, I need what Peter has, wasn’t trying to steal her… although I would in a heartbeat if I could.  

Alot of people have tried, she's very loyal, I’m very fortunate… very loyal, I should probably give another raise. Um, so tell me about, you know, one of the things I read about with you, is you are, you are  constantly on the move, constantly busy. How are you, and I'm sure... I'm sure that the busyness helps you and keeps your, you know, ADHD in check, like, like it does for me. How do you, um, find the balance between staying busy with all of the things you're doing, um, and making sure you have a personal life, I.e. with your wife and, and I mean, you, you, you recently became empty nesters.  You had four kids, you know, how did you find that balance? And, and, and what tips can you tell the audience for finding that balance? Cause that's not always easy. 

And I don't know if this is the right answer for everybody, but the answer for me is, if it involves my wife, It takes priority over everything, so, but she gets it, she understands where I'm at and that I am constantly bouncing here, there and everywhere and crazy ideas and I'm going to run off and do it. Um, and, and she... she's a nurse, so she deals with people all day. I work from home, so I do my marketing. I don't see people, so she knows I need to go out and see people.  She, on the other end, doesn't want to go out and see people, so she's like “go, go, go.” And I think, I think travel helps us. 

Would you say that you are… so you're an, you're an extrovert 100% ??

Yeah. In the Myers-Briggs I'm an ENT J yeah, very much an extrovert. 

Interesting. 

But, but again, I do get, I do get introspective when I'm physical, like, uh, we're working on building a house out in the country. I'm clearing land, burning brush, and I do that by myself and it is like a Zen thing. So yeah, I get very, this is my time.

Understandable. I mean, I think that we all have those moments where we have to do our own thing and only our own thing, you know? Um, I've had to explain that to people in my life in the past, like, Hey, you know, I'd love to see you this weekend, but I've been on for 14 straight days. I need a day.  I need to sit on my couch, for 24 hours, watch King of the Hill and just do nothing. You know, it definitely, it definitely gets to that. Um, tell me about, tell me about….um so we talked about the lists, um, you created board games, right? 

Yeah. 

Is that something that you, you found, you found? what drew you to that? And did you find yourself doing that in part because of ADHD? 

I'm sure I did because growing up when I was in grade school, I used to make up sports related games that I would do with dice and I would play entire seasons of these things. I would go to my Mom and show her the results, and I know it was boring to her, but again, she was so supportive, she'd sit there and listen, yes dear, that's so amazing, that's very cool. And so I've always liked games. Growing up... or not growing up, over the last 17 years, I've run a website called Lonestar Gridiron, which covers Texas high school football, and, uh, in that time have become one of the, one of the big players in Texas high school football media, uh, and so my partner who I've known since junior high school in that, uh, I've been trying to sell him on, let's do a game, let's do a game, you know, because let's take advantage of this high school football stuff.  And he was against it... against it. ‘cause we both have computer backgrounds, it's a lot of work.  And then I said, hey, what about a board game? Would you be up for that? And he said, sure. And it was on. And so our first game was Friday Night Legends, which is, it's a football board game that allows you to play the greatest high school football teams of all time against each other, based on their real stats, so it let's you coach them? Uh, and we sent ..since had….that was the Kickstarter, we, um, then came out with another two years later called Saturday Legends, which does the exact same things for college football. 

I love it, that's brilliant. Tell me how… so you said your partner, when you work with, how do you, what tips would you give someone for working with someone with ADHD?  What have you learned about yourself that you tell people you tell your partner or whatever.

Know your strengths and be clear about your strengths with each other.  Uh, Mike, the, the partner, he is a, he's a numbers guy. He can sit at a desk and crunch numbers all day long and he loves doing it, that would drive me batty.  So, you know, we, we, on our site, we have the most comprehensive list of statistics over a hundred years of Texas high school football. We have all their records, all their coaching records, all the team records, everything you can think of. I couldn't put that together, but I'm the guy that gets out there and goes, hey, this is amazing, come check it out. Yeah. I'm the Steve Jobs, he’s the Wozniak. 

Love it, love it, having met Wozniak I totally, I totally get that, we all need a Wozniak. I think it's fascinating because I think that a lot of people who are listening to podcasts have these great ideas and they do get stuck on that side of things where they're like, I don't know what, I don't have the ability to do the math.I don't have the ability to do the scheduling, whatever. And so yeah, you finding someone is, is probably the best thing you could possibly do. 

Yeah, and that's why I need the Woz for my regular business still. I have it for the high school football,  that's it. 

No question about it. Um, how long have you been married?

Uh, been married, interestingly enough, we've been married for 12 years, but we were high school sweethearts too, so we all, we each went off, had our own little lives, you know, I was the bachelor traveling all over the place and she was the steady one building her nursing career and we got back together.

How, before you were diagnosed, what was it like, you know, did you understand why you were the way you were when it came to, you know, your wife and how did you, how did you function? Uh, when, when we, when we're ADHD, we don't necessarily function the best possible way when we're with other people.  Um, what did you have to learn and how did you have to change? 

Well, yeah, I didn't realize anything was wrong, you know, and I say wrong, it's not wrong because I've always viewed it, thanks again to my Mom's influence… as a superpower. 

You didn’t realize anything was different? 

Different, correct.  Thank you, Yeah, and so I just thought this is the way I'm wired.  I thought maybe I'm smarter than most of the people I meet, but I didn't think anything was all that different, so I thought this is how I deal with things. And again, I created compensations.   My, uh, my office prior to getting married, three walls, were floor to ceiling dry erase board so I would just throw things up, being very visual.  When I’d think of something, I’d jot it down, it was, it looked like mad scientist scrawlings. Um, after getting married, realized I can't have that.  The wife wants the house to look nice, so I have a much smaller, dry erase board and it's more organized. 

It's about the little compromises, right? 

Yeah exactly, and it was worth it. It was tough at first because I'm used to being able to just reach to a wall and start jotting, but of course I can walk over there and jot. 

Tell me how, tell people how they can find you, uh, how they can reach out and get more info on you. 

Well, again, my name since it's spelled uniquely it's Chris, last name Doelle.  You search for that, you can find me anywhere. I'm... I'm on all the socials I'm on LinkedIn. I'm, you know, you name it, uh, really easy to find. You can find me on Amazon because I've got, you know, five books out. You can find me on Board Game Geeks because of the games, anywhere, you just search for me. 

One final question, um,  the Jack-of-all-trades thing, cause I get that right? I do this, I'm marketing ability, you know, how do you describe yourself to other people, right? If you, if you, if you, if your entire life is cats, for instance, and you have a cat blog and you do stuff with cats, I’m a cat person, I write about cats, you know, you do so many things that are not related.  How do you describe yourself in 15 seconds in the elevator? 

I literally just say I'm a marketer because everything I do involves marketing, uh, you know, because none of them would succeed without it. And, uh, other than that, I silo, I talk to people and say, if you know me as a board game guy, we talk about board games and we don't go off on Texas high school football.  We can go off on books. We don't, you know, I silo 

Very smart!  Chris Doelle, thanks so much for taking the time being on Faster Than Normal, I appreciate it. 

Oh you bet, cool. 

Guys, as always, Faster Than Normal, if you liked what you heard drop us a review.  We appreciate you guys being on the podcast , we appreciate people listening. We are, as far as I can tell, one of the top, if not the top ADHD podcasts out there, so I love that, and that was all because of you guys, and I am eternally grateful. If you have a guest that you think might work, or maybe it's you, someone you know, shoot me a note @Petershankman.com.  Follow us on Twitter at Faster Than Normal, @Petershankman, uh, or on Instagram. We're pretty much everywhere. We would love to hear from you guys, uh, it thrills us to no end when we get notes. Also, one final thing, if you have the book, if you've read Faster Than Normal the book, go on to wherever you bought it https://www.amazon.com/ - 

https://www.audible.com - whatever, drop us a review, you'd be amazed at how those reviews really, really help. As always, thank you for listening. ADHD is a gift, not a curse. We are looking forward to seeing you next week, you guys take care.

Credits: You've been listening to the Faster Than Normal podcast. We're available on iTunes, Stitcher and Google play and of course at www.FasterThanNormal.com I'm your host, Peter Shankman and you can find me at petershankman.com and @petershankman on all of the socials. If you like what you've heard, why not head over to your favorite podcast platform of choice and leave us a review, come more people who leave positive reviews, the more the podcast has shown, and the more people we can help understand that ADHD is a gift, not a curse. Opening and closing themes were performed by Steven Byrom and the opening introduction was recorded by Bernie Wagenblast. Thank you so much for listening. We'll see you next week. 

Feb 24, 2021

Professor Esme Fuller-Thomson is cross-appointed to the Faculties of Social Work, Medicine and Nursing at the University of Toronto. She is also Director of the Institute for Life Course & Aging.  She has published more than 150 articles in peer-reviewed journals including the New England Journal of Medicine, The Lancet, and Cancer. Her research examines ADHD and mental health, the association between early adversities and adult physical and health outcomes, and disparities in health. Her work has widely cited in the media including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine and CNN. We’re talking about why the number of Women with ADHD are underreported, about the dark side of ADHD, depression, how to lookout for warning signs in your child, and strategies for making a positive difference. Enjoy-

 

***CORONA VIRUS EDITION***

 

In this episode Peter & Dr. Fullerton-Thompson discuss:

1:12-  Intro and welcome Esme!! 

1:53-  Is it true that there is a big difference between males with ADHD and females with ADHD?  Ref: (requires log-in) https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/cch.12380

3:07:  Ref: More Play, Less Problems?? Episode with Dr. Debbie Rhea. LINK Project

3:10-  How ADHD is looked at differently between males vs females and how they act and react with it?

5:38-  Without strategies to manage your ADHD things can go terribly wrong; women with ADHD have substantially higher odds for things to go wrong than men. How do we address this from early-on in a child’s life?

9:00-  On the need of structure and how it’s a key component of managing your ADHD

10:15-  Ref article: The Dark Side of ADHD: Factors Associated With Suicide Attempts Among Those With ADHD in a National Representative Canadian Sample

11:45-  As numbers of suicide are higher than before, what can parents, teachers, doctors do to be aware/on the lookout for signs, and how to move forward once diagnosed?

13:14-  On addiction and depression.  15:18- Ref: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy  Impulse Control

16:35-  Dr. Thompson, how can people find more of your studies of your research? Just type in Fuller-Thompson + ADHD, HERE on Google Scholar, or via https://socialwork.utoronto.ca/profiles/esme-fuller-thomson/

17:40-  Thank you Dr. Fullerton-Thompson! And thank YOU for subscribing, reviewing and listening. Your reviews are working! Even if you’ve reviewed us before, would you please write even a short one for this episode? Each review that you post helps to ensure that word will continue to spread, and that we will all be able to reach & help more people! You can always reach me via peter@shankman.com or @petershankman on all of the socials. You can also find us at @FasterThanNormal on all of the socials.

18:02-  Faster Than Normal Podcast info & credits!

As always, leave us a comment below and please drop us a review on iTunes and of course, subscribe to the podcast if you haven’t already! As you know, the more reviews we get, the more people we can reach. Help us to show the world that ADHD is a gift, not a curse! Do you know of anyone you think should be on the FTN podcast? Shoot us a note, we’d love to hear!

 

TRANSCRIPT: 

Hey everyone, happy day, Peter Shankman here, welcome to another episode of Faster Than Normal, I'm thrilled that you're here, as I always am.  We are going to touch on a subject today, we're going to talk about ADHD, um, it's not as happy-go-lucky as my normal episodes, but that's okay because sometimes they can't all be happy-go-lucky., and sometimes you’ve got to talk about stuff that is, um, a little disturbing to sort of get along and to make sure that people understand all aspects of ADHD, I highlight the good points all the time.  But you know, it's, there are times where they're not so good, and I think we all know that, and so I am thrilled today to be talking to Professor Esme Fuller Thompson.  Um, she's cross-appointed to the faculties of social work medicine and nursing at the University of Toronto, and she's also Director of the Institute for Life Course & Aging. She's published more than 150 articles in peer reviewed journals, including New England Journal of Medicine, at The Lancet and Cancer, her research…. examines ADHD and mental health, the association between early adversities and adult physical and health outcomes and disparities in health.  She's been quoted in New York Times, Wall Street Journal,  Time Magazine, CNN… whole bunch of others. And I'm, I'm, I'm really, I'm honored that you took the time to come in today professor. Thank you so much. 

Thank you so much for having me, I'm delighted to be here. 

So what I found... you, because there was an interesting article, um, that came to my attention and I think,, there were a couple of them.  One of them was in child health care, uh, development, and that was attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, casts a long shadow findings from a population based study of adult women with self-reported ADHD. We don't talk about gender breakdowns that much, um, I, I think no one does really…. does, um, in the ADHD/ADD world, but there is a big difference between, uh, males with ADHD and females with ADHD.

Well, I think women with ADHD tend to be under the radar screen. Most teachers and health professionals are not really thinking about women and ADHD, and you may present a little bit different, uh, in a different way, so the majority of people with an ADHD diagnosis are males, and for sure it is higher in the... among men, but I think because women often present more, um, distractible rather than the hyperactive, they're… they really don't get noticed enough, and our research is indicating that the women with the diagnosis of ADHD are quite vulnerable with respect to a variety of mental health concerns. 

Yeah, I, and I believe that, you know, we had a professor [Episode with Dr. Debbie Rhea] from the  University of Texas on the podcast who, uh, spent a semester in a junior high school, um, giving I think elementary school or a junior high school, can’t remember which one,  giving, um, they changed the, the workout schedule, the recess schedule from 20 minutes a day to 60 minutes a day. And they changed the lunch, the lunch, uh, options from, uh, primarily carb-based to primarily protein based, and they saw a drastic, not only decrease in ADHD outbursts from boys, but addressing increase in, um, girls who were willing to participate in class.  And that, that struck me, that's always stuck with me, you know, we don't, we don't look at ADHD as the same thing. And, and there are a lot of differences between... between male and female, boys and girls and how they, and how they act and react with it. 

Absolutely. So, I mean, there's two things. One possibility is that women with ADHD are doing more or doing less well, which is what our data seems to indicate, but it could also be that if anybody, there's a whole spectrum to ADHD, like there's a spectrum to everything… and it might be that the, only the women who are at the far, far upper end of the spectrum with the most symptoms, are the people that are being actually diagnosed. So these negative outcomes may be more true for men who are at the upper end, but it's just that men along the whole spectrum may have been diagnosed.  Um, the other piece of what you raised that… isn't particularly, um, from my data, but other research exercise,  is so key exercise structure, organization, it just makes life more livable for sure, for people who have, um, impulse control issues and, and, and disorganization, personal coaches, there's all kinds of positive things that can really make a difference because I think these mental health outcomes that we're looking at, are partly because there's a cascade of negative, um, outcomes, relationships, uh, income, uh, that all of these things, if you can't get yourself completely organized. So, um, being physically active, having lots of structure, having some, maybe some personal coaching, there's all kinds of strategies to minimize the negative, um, outcomes related to ADHD and also to be able to maximize the positives, which I know is your major emphasis on this podcast. 

Right. And it really is a question of getting those strategies in place. I mean, you know, there was, there was a study that showed that, um, a much, much higher number, and I wrote about it in, this, in the book a much, much higher number of incarcerated males have ADHD that are just not diagnosed.  And, you know, if you look at that from the, the bigger, the 50,000 foot perspective sure. You know, they do something wrong, they get in trouble, you know,  they, they, they forget about their court date. Well, now there's a warrant out for their arrest, they get arrested, they can't afford a lawyer, you know, and it just, it just goes on and on.  And so.. so looking at the concept of ADHD, um, you know, from things that we don't often notice, right, and, and ADD and ADHD do things we don't often notice is, is huge. And you know, this, the kind of research you're doing is, is, is so needed. Um, I want to read something that, that, uh, from the results on your, on your, uh, study about, uh, adult women, self reported ADHD, women with ADHD had tripled the prevalence of insomnia, chronic pain, suicidal ideation, childhood sexual abuse, and generalized anxiety disorder and double the prevalence of substance abuse, current smoking depressive disorders, severe poverty and childhood physical abuse in comparison with women without ADHD, even after adjustments for age, race, education, and income, women with ADHD had substantially higher odds of a wide range of problems. What does that tell you, uh, that we need to do? How do we start addressing this um, from the perspective of, of at a, at a younger age, teachers and, you know, moving forward. 

Well, I mean, our finding is that there was a very high link between childhood sexual abuse, childhood physical abuse,  and ADHD, both in men and women.  It's just that women were much even more vulnerable than the men. Um, certainly says at a minimum, we need to be protecting these children. So it, that ...that abuse may not have happened inside the household, but children, who are…  have impulse control issues, tend to be a little more vulnerable in the community as well.  They may not be quite as thoughtful about, um, you know, where they're at, what time they're out, those types of things. So there's a lot of concerns even right at step one about keeping children safe with respect to, um, almost all of these outcomes, if the young adult has made it through university or college, they're much less likely to be suicidal, to be depressed, to have anxiety disorders.  So anything we can do to provide an infrastructure, to keep children in school and, and, and, or, you know, in the trades or something, but getting something, um, post high school that gets them a good job because not my research, but others have indicated that the serious debt is associated with suicidality and those with ADHD as well.  So how do we, help people manage their funds, learn... learn basic financial management and organizational skills around that.  So basically from child on up, keeping them in school, having them actually get lots of exercise, um, to kind of keep them saying, providing as much structure as possible, personal coaching, uh, there's all kinds of ways to make life more livable and therefore allow people's strengths to come through.

That's a phenomenal point. I find a lot, almost always, it has to come back and focus on structure... it’s so much, I mean, this is the one thing I realized more and more, the more research I do on this. And again, you know, I'm not a doctor, you are, but the more research I've done on this and the more,...and the more I read and read studies like yours, you know, structure is just such a key component.  And, and I remember when I got diagnosed, I spent the next several years trying to figure out exactly what it meant, you know, I can put most of the times where I went to a bad place or a dark place or, or, or a period of time where it was, where I look at it upon that now as negative, all, a lot of which had to do with, I didn't have any structure.  I didn't have, um, you know, I wasn't focusing my days, it wasn't scheduled. It wasn't organized, it was, it was just, you know, things happen. And, and I guess there's something that, you know,  better scientific way to put this, but when you're ADHD, you know, it tends to be, uh, you tend to find things to do that most of the time or a good portion of the time aren't necessarily beneficial right, and, you know, it's, it's the joke I always make about, I won't do this and it's true. I won't do a speech in Vegas where I have to stay overnight, uh, because I don't, I don't want to be, um, I don't want to be unstructured for 12 hours in Las Vegas. Nothing good is going to come of that, and let’s move a little...  you recently published a study that came out in... I believe the end of December., uh, yeah, December 21st, 2020, um, the dark side of ADHD factors associated with suicide attempts among those with ADHD and a national representative Canadian sample and the results... ADHD, adults with ADHD were much, much more likely to have attempted suicide than those without. 14% versus 2.7%  That's a huge number….. That's a huge,

 

 It’s unbelievably distressing information. And when we divided it by gender again, what you started with as well, we need to think about women in particular, the women, 24%, one, almost one in four women with ADHD had attempted suicide. Now our previous research has shown almost 50% had thought about it, but luckily likely most people would think about it and never attempt.  So, this is a really very vulnerable population., among men, it was about 9% who had attempted, so we're very concerned. Um, you know, that's that, that's why we called it the dark side, but, um, I I, before we go on, I just want to say... flip that, remember that the vast majority of men, like 90% of that, of the men with ADHD never attempted suicide and 3/4 of women have never attempted, so it's not inevitable at all. I'm just coming at it as a social worker saying, what kind of interventions can we do to make these numbers go down dramatically? 

I mean, I mean, it is, you know, granted 75%, you know, of the, of the, of the population is not {indistinguishable}  There's just not looking at suicide, but it's, it's still, you know, a much higher number than, than those without ADHD, and I wonder as we move, you know, as you look backwards on that, is, is there, I mean, I know that that when I was a kid, I say this all the time, I wasn't diagnosed because it didn't exist, right?  I was diagnosed with sit down/you're disrupting the class disease and, um, you know, I remember some really difficult times for me in high school and I, it, it, never came to it... came close to it, but it never came to that.  And I wonder, are there, what can, what can parents, teachers, doctors do to be better on the lookout for this? And, and I mean, even to be aware of this, right? So say, oh your child might have ADHD. That should start a, a, a, a chain that says, let's look at these things. 

So, um, I think with both women and men, but perhaps even more with young girls, um, part of the problem with ADHD as it can make social relations difficult, right?  It's harder to fit in. There's more likely to be social rejection, and that is very tough, but particularly in your younger years, as people are trying to make their way in life., so the social rejections, so, um, you know, ADHD medication can help calm the symptoms down, but you, but there has to be a lot of guidance and training around social skills, opportunities to socialize and healthy socialization starting at a young age can make a difference.  Um, the other two factors that we found were pretty important, uh, with respect to risk for having had an a, um, an attempted suicide were addictions and depression. So as a parent, uh, uh, you know, as a parent of somebody with ADHD really cau… um, thoughtful and cautious approaches to minimize, um, substance abuse is really key because once people are involved in substance dependence or substance abuse, there is a cascade of negative, negative outcomes of social academic career, life, everything.  So, and then from that, uh, comes depression and suicide, so I think addictions, uh, or avoiding addictions, um, avoiding substance dependence is really key and parents doing whatever they can on that front to help, and as an adult, um, you know, not some people can drink or use substances in moderation and some people can't, and I'm guessing most people with ADHD are on the all or nothing kind of level about it.  

No question about it.

 

And the other piece is depression. So the rates of depression were very, very high  um, among women, um, just looking at my numbers, but I, you know, it was well over a third, had... almost 40%...  had major depressive disorder and lots of anxiety. So they're really good interventions for everybody, not just those with ADHD. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a calming talk therapy, but it's really designed to help you catch those dysfunctional thoughts.  You know, if you're, if you're giving yourself subliminal messages that I'm useless, I can't do this sort of really negative messages. Nothing that, uh, is going to change that until you start catching those thoughts and reprogramming your brain basically. So it's a very simple, straight forward, uh, intervention.  It can be given in a group setting and it is very effective basically, um, in the general population for every three or four people who take it., and it's eight to 12 weeks, not a big thing. One person moves from depression to, uh, to recovers from depression that wouldn't have otherwise. It is a solid investment of your time and energy.  So cognitive behavioral therapy is one particular type in general that short, and can work with depression and anxiety.  So obviously depression and anxiety are key risk factors for suicidality. The other piece, of course, is impulse control. So if you have a negative thought, which we all do or, uh, would in many people be a fleeting thought, uh, I just want to end it all kind of thing, you know, somebody with ADHD, they may not be able to put that aside, go on and see something better the next day, that.,,,,,,, that's where the impulse control issues come into play. 

No question about it. Um, I want to be, be mindful of your time. Um, doctor, how can people find more of your studies of your research? If, if they, if they're curious, I'm sure they're gonna want to read more. 

So I typically, uh, release sort of media releases on the information. So you can kind of get it all in one page, which works well for most people, including those with ADHD…  So if you just type in Fuller Thompson and ADHD, probably it'll all pop up. Um, we've covered a lot of the research I've done in this discussion with respect to early adversities, with respect to women in particular and suicide, and I have several more papers underway looking at anxiety disorders and also looking at resilience. So it turns out a lot of people with ADHD aren't just free of mental illness, they're actually happy and satisfied with their life. We're trying to figure out the flip of this who's doing well and why, and how can we help more people get there 

What a phenomenal way to end the conversation, because there's no question that we're going to have you back on to discuss that once that research is done.  So Dr. Fuller Thompson, thank you so much for taking the time today, I really appreciate it. 

My pleasure, thank you for having me. 

Guys, you’re listening to Faster Than Normal love that you're here. Tune in next week for a brand new episode. If you like what you heard, feel free to leave us a review on iTunes, GooglePlay, Spotify, wherever you listen to your, your podcasts. We will see you next week with a brand new episode on ADHD and neuro-diversity as a whole.  Stay safe.

Credits: You've been listening to the Faster Than Normal podcast. We're available on iTunes, Stitcher and Google play and of course at www.FasterThanNormal.com I'm your host, Peter Shankman and you can find me at petershankman.com and @petershankman on all of the socials. If you like what you've heard, why not head over to your favorite podcast platform of choice and leave us a review, come more people who leave positive reviews, the more the podcast has shown, and the more people we can help understand that ADHD is a gift, not a curse. Opening and closing themes were performed by Steven Byrom and the opening introduction was recorded by Bernie Wagenblast. Thank you so much for listening. We'll see you next week. 

Feb 17, 2021

Shawn was diagnosed with Asperger's at 42 years old.  After he got that diagnosis, he realized what was up with him, and that allowed him to achieve success in his professional life above and beyond anything he could have imagined. After completely rebuilding several hospital systems as CIO, he became an entrepreneur focusing on entrepreneurial healthcare, technology, around analytics, revenue cycle and clinical informatics. He left corporate America behind hiring nearly 150 employees to create his own neurodiverse workplace culture. He’s been granted multiple patents, created dozens of healthcare analytics platforms, is a well respected speaker and author. In 2019 he sold his company to private equity and is spending the rest of his life, embracing neurodiversity, and the powers in the logic of leadership, personal security, and self-esteem in one's uniqueness. I love that. He's currently CIO of Potentia and CSO/Founder of the Neurodiversity Foundation and that’s what we’re talking about today! Enjoy!

 

A little more about Shawn:  

Shawn Fry became a successful executive and entrepreneur after being diagnosed with Asperger's at age 42. He found success in his professional career only after he was afforded the opportunity as the CIO of several hospital systems to exercise a great deal of autonomy

 in his role.  Shawn's propensity for detail, hard questions, and divergent solutions produced millions in both new revenue opportunities and cost savings for his employer. His innovative approach to the complexity of healthcare data laid the foundation for his entrepreneurial healthcare technology firms centered around analytics, revenue cycle, and clinical informatics. Through these ventures, he left corporate America behind, hired nearly 150 employees, and created his own "neurodiverse workplace culture. Shawn found that by cultivating

 an environment-dependent upon open, honest dialogue, clear communication, and vulnerability, the workplace culture was more supportive and accommodating to everyone's needs. People were happier, more productive, and turnover rates were 0% after nearly 15 years.

 Shawn is a holder of multiple technology patents, which he utilized to create dozens of healthcare analytics platforms. He remains a well-respected speaker and author on critical healthcare issues. Shawn sold his company to private equity in 2019 and has dedicated the rest of his life to embracing neurodiversity and the powers it unlocks through thought leadership, personal security, and self-esteem in one's uniqueness. As CIO of Potentia and The Neurodiversity Foundation founder, Shawn continues to build pathways for others on the spectrum to recognize their ability. He is a firm believer in "Strengths First."  During COVID-19, Shawn created the Potentia Health Registry (PHR), an information management and communications tool used to mitigate risk and provide early detection of COVID-19. He is now bringing this highly customizable solution to school systems and communities looking to reopen successfully. 

***CORONA VIRUS EDITION***

 

In this episode Peter & Shawn discuss:

 :40-  Intro and welcome Shawn Fry 

2:26-  So what were you doing up until your diagnosis at 42, and were you happy?

5:13-  On the others’ perception of Neurodiversity 

6:36-  Failure by assimilation. Neurodiverse “common sense” versus “we’ve never done anything that way before, are you crazy?” The highway is littered with great ideas that have been run over because managers didn’t bother to act on them for fear of what other people would think.

9:07-  On educating others on how neurodiverse brains work, leveraging strengths and breaking down stereotypes.

11:11-  The need to create an audience/creating the space & grace to allow us to DO what we do.

12:45-  Regardless of market research money is going to move the needle; if you understand how to work that system, everyone benefits.

13:30-  On using “reduction” to help neurotypical people comprehend. Ref: Cataloging research at The Neurodiverse Foundation

14:30-  On growing up neuroatypical 

15:11-  On out-gauging IQ tests / the “show your work” mentality of testing

16:27-  You have answers that people probably need to know about! But here’s the thing..

17:00- On Data Science

18:35- Tell us how people can find you?  Via LinkedIn email: Shawn.fry@potentialworkforce.com  www.NeurodiversityFoundation.org potentiaworkforce.org  and @shawncfry on Twitter  INSTA

21:30-  We’ve gotta have you back. This has been phenomenal. It's so nice to hear what you're doing and I love the fact that you're doing it for all the right reasons.  You guys are listening to Shawn Fry, thanks again, we're going to have you back in the new year. I appreciate you taking the time. 

21:44-  Alright guys, Faster Than Normal...as always, we want to hear what you hear. Leave us a review, let us know what's up. Talk to us about what's happening on the street, you name it.   You can always reach me via peter@shankman.com or @petershankman on all of the socials. You can also find us at @FasterThanNormal on all of the socials. Drop us a review at any of the sites that you listen to podcasts on and let us know if you have any good guests.  Shawn is phenomenal one, if you have any as good as Shawn, we'd love to hear about them. Have a great week. ADHD and all forms of our diversity is a gift, not a curse.  We will see you next week. Stay healthy, stay safe, wear the mask, talk to you soon.

22:08-  Faster Than Normal Podcast info & credits!

As always, leave us a comment below and please drop us a review on iTunes and of course, subscribe to the podcast if you haven’t already! As you know, the more reviews we get, the more people we can reach. Help us to show the world that ADHD is a gift, not a curse! Do you know of anyone you think should be on the FTN podcast? Shoot us a note, we’d love to hear!

 

TRANSCRIPT: 

Hey guys, Peter Shankman, this is Faster Than Normal, where ADHD is a gift and not a curse, and we love that you're here. It's been a week since our last podcast.  So it's always nice to see you guys back. We're recording a whole bunch of them the last week of the year, and so,  this is another one. It has been non-stop all day, we've been talking to so many brilliant people and our guest today is no exception. We're talking to Shawn Fry, we're going to entrepreneurship today.  So Shawn was diagnosed with Asperger's at 42 years old.  After he realized that, after he got that diagnosis, he realized what was up with him, and that allowed him to achieve success in his professional life above and beyond anything he could have imagined. The CIO of several hospitals systems... completely rebuilt them, redid them, then he became an entrepreneur, focusing on entrepreneurial healthcare, technology, around analytics, revenue cycle, clinical informatics. He left corporate America behind, hired nearly 150 employees, created his own neuro diverse workplace culture. He got multiple patents under your belt, you've created dozens of healthcare, analytic platforms.  You're a well respected speaker and author on tons of different healthcare issues. You sold your company in 2019 to private equity. Spending the rest of his life, embracing neurodiversity, and the powers in the logics of leadership, personal security, and self-esteem in one's uniqueness. I love that. He's currently CEO of Potentia and the Neurodiversity Foundation.  Let's talk about that, Shawn, welcome to Faster Than Normal man.

Thanks Peter, thanks for having me.

And now it's great to have you. So what were you doing up until 42. And were you happy?

That was a mixed bag, I wasn’t you know, I grew up...I grew up in Philly, you know, and there was no diagnosis back then, right, I was just a kid….very disruptive, uh, didn’t know how to socially integrate, uh, you know, I either had hyper-focus, or no interest whatsoever. I was voted the laziest person in my high school, which is so comical now to look back at it, you know, people have a tendency to cast dispersions on us when they don't understand, and, uh, what's interesting about my diagnosis with Asperger's,I was a CIO of a hospital system. I was meeting the Chief Medical Officer, he was a close personal friend who knew me. We worked together pretty regularly, even though I'm not really good with people, I'm really good with data so I was able to, there's a long story behind the pathway, of how I got there, uh, another person with Asperger's interceded and got me into the hospital where I could, where I could work and shine and show the skills that we have. Uh, but I, I asked him, I said, Hey, John, can I, should I take some medicine for my ADHD? And he goes, he looks at me.. we were sitting over,  lunch together, and goes, “you don't have ADHD.”  I was like, what do you mean? I said, I'm so hyper, I never slow down. He goes, Nope, you're an Aspbe.  I was like, what's that? He goes, you have Asperger's syndrome. I'm like, what's that? I was like, you know any, he said, Sean, you have autism. I'd never heard it before. And I was 42 years old, gone through the school system, gone through college with, and really struggled in life.  He didn't really know that because he only ever saw me more professionally where I could mask, like I think we all do, you know, we're always told to sit down, hold our hands together. not move around too much

Of course, we’re wearing different masks for different locations. 

Different masks for different locations, right. So I went home and I looked it up. I looked it up on Wikipedia and I tell you what, if you die, if you type into Google right now, what is autism? You will not find one positive thing. 

Right? 

I was pissed. sorry if that’s… you know. I was upset. I was mad at him. I didn't talk to him for two weeks until I started reading more about it. I, I, what my threshold to accept this about myself was, and then it just all started making sense.

Right? 

I was like, I refuse to let the standard definition, the clinical definition, the DSM definition of either ADHD or autism define me. I knew I was a good person. I had something to contribute. I had some success at that point, but I was so afraid to put myself out there, because I knew that if people saw me for what I really was, they would diminish you.  And now it was really the changing point in my life. 

Well, the second you... the second you, when you, I mean, of course, if all you're reading about is how it's a negative, right. of course, the second that, you know, you publicize it, (indistinguishable) The whole world will think that you're a negative because that's what you’re seeing.  

Right?  There's something wrong with me. I have, I have a learning disability, which is, which is, if you look at my history, it's the opposite. I think all of you, if you find one of our hyper fixations, or when (indistinguishable) u know, these are, we are the ones that change the world. I mean, I did it. I started working on problems, my patents were on mathematical formulas and telecommunications. Nobody paid me to do that, nope. I just decided, you know what, this is a problem we're solving. 

Right. 

And I started working on these uh, calculations and because of my, you know, my neurodiversity, I locked myself in a room for nine months and I would only leave on Wednesdays.  Nine months later, I walked out of there. Uh, had solved some of these groundbreaking telecommunications issues, then submitted those for patents. When they got to the patent office, nobody in the patent office knew how to do the math, because nobody's ever worked on the math this way before. and I was just starting to realize, well, because to me it was common sense, right?  How do we structure things? But I didn't do it because somebody paid me. I did it because it was a problem to solve, and... that's what we do. 

I think you struck on something there I'd like to touch on. You know, the premise of, to me, it was common sense, right? You know, I have everything I've ever done in my life, to me, it was common sense, right? But…. but I can't tell you how many times I've suggested something that sounds perfectly normal, and everyone's looked at me like I told them I was a spotted owl, right?  You know, it's that… well, it makes perfect sense, why wouldn't we do it this way? And you know, you get everything from, well, we never do it this way, that's never the way we've done it, we've never done it that way. You know, what's wrong with you? What do they think of us, whatever. But in our heads we're sitting there going, but it works 

Right, you are correct. 

And I think that that's, that's difficult because that's sort of, sort of like it's failure by assimilation, right.  And the respect that if you're sitting there and you're saying, okay, I know this works, but everyone's going to call me an idiot. I don't want to have to deal with that. I'm just not going to bring it up. The highway is littered with, with, great ideas that have been run over because people didn't bother to act on them because they were afraid of what people would say.

Uh-huh That was it, exactly, and again, one of the advantages I have of not being, and I want to talk about how neuro people.. who are neuro-diverse are treated now and to no longer take that stigma. One of the advantages I had of growing up in Philly is you kind of get that little edge to you, right? The people in Philly are tough, the people in New York are tough.  You kind of, you kind of let this stuff bounce off of you, so empowered with that and realizing that I was, you know, these ideas work. After I was diagnosed and realized that I think differently, and recognizing that had value, I started speaking up in meetings. I was afraid to do that before, because you know, first of all, a lot of people thought I was weird.  I don't go to lunches. I don't go to happy hours. I don't do things other people  like to do, but I'm super interested in my work. So I started speaking up about some of the issues both the administration was making in the hospital, and particularly…. what just drove people crazy, I started challenging the doctors… on their,  on the ways they were diagnosing patients, the way the care, the care plans, saying, listen either, there's one of three things, happened here with this patient. You either misdiagnosed them cause they weren't getting better, you provided the medication that can't metabolize, or they're not taking the medication.  Who’s going to follow up with this patient and figure out why this patient’s still sick?  Doctors don't have time for that. As I started analyzing the data, I realized this is a prolific issue. These are things that are still issues in healthcare today, and if you've ever gone to the doctor and he's put you on medication, you're still six, six months later, or things get better.  A lot of times people were put on medications that don't really work. They just get better naturally, these are, these are prolific issues that there's not a field of science  because it is a neuro divergent thought process, that neuro typically, simply don't synthesize. These are the kinds of ways that people like you and I, as you just like you, you're challenging the way people are thinking about, So many, so many issues, and there has to be a form to bring that to the market. And you're doing that and we need to create a louder voice. Our voices, our brains are not compromised. They do, they just run faster and they take more variables into consideration. It's the calculus that we're doing. Everything I do in my world. Everything is a math equation from the total number of times I brush my teeth, and in the weird pattern, which I do it, to how I organize my cereal and my closet, to how I organize my day. We're not just random people, but other people looking at us think we look crazy, but there's nothing wrong with that. It's actually, I, I, I, I'm a strengths first, everything from my foundation to the workforce, we're creating now is about listening. How do we leverage these strengths to people about their deficits? I talk about their strengths. And as they start to believe that, psychologically you start to see effective change.  

I think there's also a, um, a premise in there…. that… I remember everything I've ever started, every company I’ve ever built, and you know, people that, Oh my God, it just seems like I didn't even hear about it yesterday and now it's all over the place…. you might, you know, you got so lucky. Well, yeah, it was also 20 years of acting the way I act and doing the things I do and dealing with it on the says, you're ridiculous for doing this, that brought me to this very moment. Right? And so the things that we do, you know, you wake up, every step you take, every cereal you eat... all that stuff, that's who we are. And the benefit is there. But again, a lot of us are, are, are bogged down by the look of it. Oh, what are people going to think, right. But the fact of matter is, not that we're changing anything, it simply works and we embrace it. (indistinguishable)

One thing I think you're exactly right, but here's the thing. We have to figure out a way to create an audience for it.  have two children on the spectrum, so at least when they grew up, I had an idea of what kind of, what was going on and that began to manifest itself. So you start to develop and create a more creating space and grace for these people who have it, to see how they flourish.  Uh, the greatest experiment that I had, that I'd never realized it was the thing after I left, after I started speaking up in the hospital, I started realizing these, these data problems that were demonstrating how hospitals didn't click the document effectively didn't do follow up correctly. Sometimes they had poor treatment plans, everything that carried over into the revenue cycle, which is where I really made money.  When I started showing them, nobody listened to me until I showed them that these core client poor care plans cost us money. And I took the data and I showed them exactly how much money. And then all of a sudden people started to listen. It's sad that it got down to that, that being right and being truthful was not actually got me, uh, you know, constigated, a lot of pejoratives, but but showing him where the money was is what eventually, while people to listen.

Well, actually it makes a lot of sense because, I mean, I remember even when I was working in the .com boom, right, and then the social media boom, right? We, you know, these, these, these CEOs, they hire these 20 something year old kids to handle their social media, and they convince by how many likes you have, and how many followers have you got?  Okay, great, how does it translate to revenue, and they can’t answer, right, and they’re out on their ass.  It doesn't matter what industry it is. Money's going to move the needle. And so the smart people are figuring out ways to connect the dots. I did some, some work in neuro diversity for a huge, um, uh, uh, uh, fast food restaurant. fast food chain And, you know, they realized that people were coming in and looking at the menu and leaving and they couldn't figure out why. And I spent several days with them going to multiple restaurants. Guys, you have 200 items on the menu. it's,, it's digital display and ads are overlaying it, and I wanted to blow my brains out 30 seconds here. Right? Let's go to this other place down the street. oh look, hamburger, cheeseburger, fries, shake done, you know, and all of a sudden there's a problem that makes sense. There's revenue, right? So the second you apply anything to money. and look, Is that right or wrong? I don't know. But at the end of the day, if you understand how to work that system, everyone benefits.

Right. So in that process and the gap between the time I was 42, I'm currently 56, I had to come up with mental processes, mathematical formulas. And one of those is called reduction. I had to take the thoughts that we think in naturally, and you and I have zero problems thinking up, I track everything you're saying, I track what you're thinking behind what you're saying, you know? So... but when we talk to a neurotypical, it's overwhelming.  They, they, they, they, they, it's just so fast and so furious that they can't follow. And a lot of times they don't want to follow it’s too overwhelming. So reduction means taking these complex thoughts and reducing them down to something…. somebody, something somebody can make a decision on. It's typically one, two or three points, that's it.  So reducing that menu down, is a perfect example of, uh, you know, allowing people to make a decision because you have to take, we have to think in the complex ways and everybody listening to this podcast does that, to translate back down to neurotypicals that you almost need a Rosetta Stone uh, breaking it back down to something they can assimilate and synthesize.

That's actually a phenomenal, a phenomenal way to put it, exactly.

Part of my work at the Neurodiversity Foundation, is cataloging how people think, Uh, I have been a guinea pig since the time I was a child, because as a child, even though I had a really high IQ, I really struggled in school, uh, and they, you know, what's wrong with your kid?  Why isn't he trying? And it got to ...so it  wasn't a problem. I was the first person in my grade...in my school to be able to read. And then, you know, when I was reading, you know, I was reading tech manuals, military tech manuals, and they're run, you know, I'm like, Hey, listen, let me know if you find something interesting.

I love it.

So, we want, there are people think differently and it's never been cataloged. These IQ tests they gave me, eventually, as they did, as they started giving me these tests, I started realizing as we got to the higher range of the score, I was, I was starting to realize in these patterns how they were trying to gauge my intellect.  And I was like, look, I can break it down for you that way, but I can break it down for you. these seven other ways are equally as valid, but you're trying to compartmentalize my thoughts and…

Exactly. I call that... I call that the show your work mentality. 

Oh my gosh.  it’s (indistinguishable) You know, I, I don't look at things like their grades or even their IQ. I mean, you have to look at the types of thought they're capable of. IQ tests are not even designed to measure divergent thought. They're designed to measure conversion/linear thought, like everybody else they're automatically prejudiced against us.  Even though we do exceptionally well, we still score higher, but it still doesn't capture our top end. Most of the great revolutions taken on were by neuro divergent individuals for,,, whether there's Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates. These people of course are all they're all just like us. A perfect example was the, you know, the study on valedictorians,  Valedictorians are generalists. They know a little bit about everything and they know a lot about everything, but they don't really have a hyper fixation like we do. So if you're sitting out there and you're listening to this and you said, you know, whole lot about something, I don't care if it's logistics or supply chain or anything, you probably have answers that people need to know about., and that's why entrepreneurship is something that I try to lead people on because... we are the great entrepreneurs, but we need help if I didn't have, if I, you have to learn to surround yourself with people that can make a difference for you. And one thing that I didn't realize was I (indistinguishable) Uh, and we went on and we just, you know, I never took them.  I never borrowed $1. I took zero seed capital. I just started doing the math once the math was right. I knew I didn't need money. I just wanted to start doing the math for other people. I funded the entire company, which went on to be very successful, you know, making $20 million a year, things like that. Uh, literally on, on something I wrote up in a notebook one day and just started applying it into our data  When I presented it to the CEO, he literally cussed at me and threw me out of his office and told me I was crazy, and don't meddle in that department. The chairs that originally hired me overrode it and said, Sean, go do it anyway. I'll deal with you. You can't be fired. I'll go deal with it. After, when they originally filed those claims, we collected $126,000 when they filed my restructured claims, based on the math, we collected that we kept the $126,000. and got $500,000 additional revenue, and I never worked in that department, but the math led me to the truth. Right... data, data changes everything. but there are people out there, they have these degrees in data science, and then you get these certificates and things. There was no data science when we started doing it, why would I need a degree in data science?  This is a field that we created the neuro divergence out there, you know, just like cloud computing, all these buzzwords. We’re  usually doing it 10 years, 15 years before people ever even try, but we don't get credit for our work simply because it's not… categorized and cataloged by.... we are so far ahead of the curve, typically... we are entrepreneurs naturally. So, how do we parlay that into more success for individuals? And I'd love to answer any questions anybody has on how to go down that road. 

I love that. I love that. Tell us how people can find you.

Uh, the easiest way to find me. I'm on LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/shawnfry/  on the Linkedin…. um, my email address, if you want to reach me for work, is Shawn, Shawn.fry@potentialworkforce.com  Uh, where we're leading a program that takes all neuro divergence, whether your autism, ADHD, dyslexia, and things like that. We're creating, we have contracts in place, our first client was Chevron, our second client was (indistinguishable)  so we, when we started telling people that neuro-divergence, this is not a nonprofit.  I do have a non-profit foundation, where we do all the research, but this is a for profit, you know why? Because we make money for people. We don't want sympathy. And there are people out there that were labeled us as abelists,  and things like that. I hate that, I reject that label. I know there are, there are people out there and listen... I work with people all across the spectrum, nonverbal, nonambulatory, I love them, they're all special people. I love them just as much, but we have, we have a resource that's there to harness, and we become exceptional employees.  Real quick… the first program we started... was my company, I had 150 employees, and when I went on to sell the company to private equity, these Wall Street, private equity firms, they look at everything. And one thing they asked me, he's like, Hey Shawn, where's your files? You know, the lawyers come in, where's your files on turnover. I was like, what do you mean? He's like, where are all the people that quit and you fired, and I was like, well, after 15 years, nobody ever quit. They're like what? I've never heard of that, I didn't even know it was a thing.  So what I did though, was I created a company that worked around my proclivities and inclinations and things like that. I built a company that was designed around me... around my neuro-diversity and my sensory issues. In fact, I don't like to be overwhelmed in meetings and I don't want meetings to last more than 30 minutes unless they absolutely have to.  And it turns out that that actually was conducive, not just for the neuro-diverse employees. And I include people in there with, uh, PTSD. There are other things that make you neuro-diverse people, even people with personality disorders, that don't have integrated brains,  still qualify under neurodiversity the way I define it.  I’m creating an environment that's safe for them, psychological safety being the first thing.  And the first thing I tell people, I invert every equation mathematically, and I reward people for telling me what's wrong for complaining or, you know, the faster you told me that you made a mistake, the more praise you get. And people started having psychological safety. What I recognized, is that their productivity multiplied.  Having that ability, because most of us have been told, slow down, shut up, sit still, you know, Shawn, this is a listen-meeting, not a talk meeting.

Oh, yeah. I've heard that one too. I heard that one too. Awesome, we gotta have you back. This has been phenomenal. It's so nice to,... to hear what you're doing and I love the fact that you're doing it for all the right reasons.  You guys are listening to Shawn Fry, Shawn. really, thanks again, man. We're going to have you back in the new year. I appreciate you taking the time. 

Thanks for having me Peter.

All right guys, Faster Than Normal...as always, we want to hear what you hear. Leave us a review, let us know what's up. Talk to us about what's happening on the street, you name it.  Peter Shankman (@petershankman) |Drop us a review at any of the sites that you listen to podcasts on and let us know if you have any good guests.  Sean is a phenomenal one, if you have any as good as Sean, we'd love to hear about them. Have a great week. ADHD and all forms of our diversity is a gift, not a curse.  We will see you next week. Stay healthy, stay safe, wear the mask, talk to you soon.

Credits: You've been listening to the Faster Than Normal podcast. We're available on iTunes, Stitcher and Google play and of course at www.FasterThanNormal.com I'm your host, Peter Shankman and you can find me at petershankman.com and @petershankman on all of the socials. If you like what you've heard, why not head over to your favorite podcast platform of choice and leave us a review, come more people who leave positive reviews, the more the podcast has shown, and the more people we can help understand that ADHD is a gift, not a curse. Opening and closing themes were performed by Steven Byrom and the opening introduction was recorded by Bernie Wagenblast. Thank you so much for listening. We'll see you next week. 

Feb 10, 2021

Mim Ochsenbein [Ox-in-byn] has been a practicing pediatric occupational therapist specializing in sensory processing for over 20 years. Her practice has focused on supporting children and families from birth through adolescence, in variety of settings including private practice, early intervention, schools, clinics, and mental health settings. She received a BS in Occupational Therapy from the University of Southern California. In 2012 Mim received her master’s degree in social welfare (MSW) from UCLA, providing new insights into how she can better support those she works with both at the individual and societal levels. She has advanced training in sensory integration and processing, feeding therapy and a variety of other treatment techniques. Mim has always been fascinated by the brain-body connection and the role sensory processing has on our development, ability to thrive, and the potential to derail it all. As the Director of Education for the non-profit STAR Institute for Sensory Processing, she has been gifted the opportunity to impact lives all over the world by providing education to other clinicians, educators, mental health providers, families and individuals who are addressing disordered sensory processing every day and thriving. Mim strives to always learn more and teach better. This is a fascinating episode, enjoy!

 

***CORONA VIRUS EDITION***

 

In this episode Peter & Mim discuss:

1:10-  Intro and welcome Mim Ochsenbein

2:25-  So explain sensory processing? 

3:35-  So sensory processing does not “just work behind the scenes” for everyone?

4:04-  So, is sensory processing disorder a specific area of the senses that is not processing correctly? Or is it anything having to do with the senses that’s not working correctly?  

4:35-  So 16% is not a low number. Talk about the people you’ve mentioned that get affected by it

5:42-  That obviously makes it even worse in the respect that sometimes it's not just ADHD, you also have the rest of everything else to look at (?)

6:30-  What should parents be looking for? 

8:00-  On identifying sensory processing issues or ADHD within yourself

9:30-  What can people look for, and look inside themselves to realize “Hey, you know, this might be this… it’s not just me being a screw up.” 

10:54-  Is that from a chemical perspective? What is that? Is that Dopamine or adrenaline? 

12:10-  On praxis/developmental coordination disorder 

13:00-  Where can people find out more about your work and more about sensory processing? https://www.spdstar.org  

14:13-  Thank you Mim! And thank YOU for subscribing, reviewing and listening. Your reviews are working! Even if you’ve reviewed us before, would you please write even a short one for this episode? Each review that you post helps to ensure that word will continue to spread, and that we will all be able to reach & help more people! You can always reach me via peter@shankman.com or @petershankman on all of the socials. You can also find us at @FasterThanNormal on all of the socials.

14:59-  Faster Than Normal Podcast info & credits

STAY HEALTHY - STAY SAFE - PLEASE WEAR YOUR MASK.. until next time!

As always, leave us a comment below and please drop us a review on iTunes and of course, subscribe to the podcast if you haven’t already! As you know, the more reviews we get, the more people we can reach. Help us to show the world that ADHD is a gift, not a curse! Do you know of anyone you think should be on the FTN podcast? Shoot us a note, we’d love to hear!

 

TRANSCRIPT: 

Hey guys, Peter, Shankman Welcome to Faster Than Normal, I am happy you're here. It is almost the last day of the year. Well, last day of December, we are waiting once the clock turns over to.. ah, next month, I'm assuming it's just gonna be the 13th month of 2020 that we're not actually going to be out of 2020 just yet.  There’s always people saying, Oh, well, you know, it's 2021, it’s gonna be much better. And I'm like, yeah, this is, viruses don't really know how to use a calendar, but that's okay. Anyway, I am going to screw up this person's name, Mim Ochsenbein. How was that? 

Close. It’s Ochsenbein.

Ochsenbein, Okay. I was close enough. We got a practicing pediatric occupational therapist, especially in specializing in sensory…. sensory processing.  Say that 10 times fast. I double dog dare you. Her practice has been focused on supporting children and families from birth through adolescents in a variety of settings, including private practice, early intervention, schools, clinics, and mental health settings. All right. She received a BSC in occupational therapy from University of Southern California at USC.  In 2012, she received her master's degree in social work welfare from UCLA. She's trained in sensory integration and processing feeling, feeding therapy, the variety of other treatment techniques. We're going to be talking about the brain body connection here on Faster Than Normal, which is kind of interesting because everything we do in our bodies when you're ADHD, is doubly centered on the brain.  Why'd you do that? What's wrong with you? I don't know. It was my ADHD. How many times have you said that? Okay, so we're going to talk about that. She's the director of education for the nonprofits star Institute for sensory processing. She's impacted lives all over the world, by providing education to other clinicians, educators, mental health providers, families, and individuals who are addressing disordered sensory processing every day of thriving.  Start off with this Nim. (1:51)  Thank you so much for being here. It is great to have you, explain sensory processing.   (in 20 words or less, hurry up)

Thank you for having me,,, yeah, 20 words or less, super easy. So sensory processing is really like, we all have sensory processing, we all do it. And it's just the process of our body and brain taking in sensory information.  Uh, sending it to the brain, the brain interprets it. tells us what's safe, not safe, important, not important and then we use that information, to have, you know, outputs to do things in the world to create memories, to create action, to be goal oriented. That is what sensory processing is. And it just like many other things in the brain and the body, it can go horribly wrong.

(2:36)  So this is everything from, Hey, that cup is hot, let it go…. to, that truck is barreling down the street and it's going to go through that red light, we shouldn't ah, cross  (everything in between)

Right. Exactly. And it's also like picking up the cup, like how much force to use to pick up that cup, and then, um, you know, how much energy to put into your muscles and which muscles to run across the street, so you don't get smacked by the truck. 

It's fascinating because we don't think about that. We just assume much like everything else. That's something that just happens, but it's not, it's not perfect for everyone. 

No, no, it's, it's not. And, uh, there's a lot of, um, people who experienced sensory processing challenges.  There's like 16% of kids who have sensory…. who have sensory processing disorder, and then there is a big overlap for people who have ADHD. 

(3:29)  Sensory processing disorder is, is a specific area of the senses that is not processing correctly? Or is it anything having to do with the senses that’s not working correctly?  

Yeah, there’s different subtypes of it. So you can have issues with, um, being sensitive...over-sensitive, under sensitive, really wanting more input or how you interpret input or how your body…. how you use your body to, with that input, so there's a lot of different places…. things can go wrong, I guess, yeah.  (3:58)  And so 16% is not a low number. Talk about, you mentioned that it, that it affects, uh, people that used to get affected by it more?? 

Well, I don't know about if they get affected by it more, but okay. So about 16% of the population of kids, has likely…. has sensory processing disorder and about 5% of kids have ADHD. And about 2.5% of adults have ADHD or something like that. If you look, like globally, but in terms of like how many people with ADHD also have sensory processing disorder.  It's really super interesting because what we know is that something around 40% of people with ADHD also have sensory processing disorder. And even those that wouldn't qualify for like sensory processing disorder, um, just because of the unique and amazing neuro divergent aspects of the ADHD brain, they just process sensory information differently than people who wouldn't qualify for a neuro divergency, um, condition.

(5:07)  So that obviously makes it even worse in the respect that, that it, sometimes it's not just ADHD. You have the rest of everything else to look at. 

Oh yeah. It can be, and it can be really tricky for, you know, from a child perspective, the way kids present is different than the way adults with ADHD could present, but it makes it super tricky for families, um, who are trying to figure out what is, you know, that was always a big question, what is ADHD? What sensory. Um, and usually the answer is yes to both like there's stuff going on that, um, gets in this kiddo's way for both, and then for adults too. Being told your whole life, you know, stop it, you know, knock it off when it's something that's happening at a very physiological neurological level that he can’t just turn off.

(5:55)  That brings an interesting question, what should parents be looking for? Because you know, a lot of times it is, will you just chill out or will you just calm down or stop it? That's not real or whatever the case is. 

Yeah, I think like there's aspects to ADHD that certainly stand out. But as it turns out, um, a lot of kids who have ADHD, um, they have a lot of sensory sensitivities or what we call sensory over responsivity to things and those sensitivities, those over, over responsivities  to movement, to touch in particular to sound a lot of the time, uh, for kids with ADHD, those sensitivities show up,, before the ah, the ADHD symptomology  does.  so if, as a parent, if you're thinking back on your child, and you're wondering if there's ADHD or you're wondering if they're sensory for that matter, like if you think back, was the baby particularly sensitive to certain um fabrics, was the baby particularly foods was the baby particularly sensitive to sounds, um, cause what they're, what research is showing is that those modulation issues or over responsivity issues are showing up before a lot of the ADHD signs. And so you can start, to help address those for our child, so they're more comfortable in the world.  That's not going to make ADHD appear or not appear, but it certainly might reduce some of the anxiety, which is another really common condition for those with ADHD, adult, and child. 

So I think it comes down to it always just comes down to a question, listening. 

Yeah. I'm paying attention. Yeah, right?  And that behavior isn't like looking at behavior as a form of communication, not as “I'm trying to piss you off.”

Right. Right. And that's important because a lot of times, especially even in relationships as adults, you know, the, the way that some people act versus the way that other people act is, is very difficult. I think that, you know, we've seen that in a lot of the people we've had on the podcast, people in relationships and, you know, married people and even, even, even people in the workforce, they talk about the things that they do.  Um, you know, oh, it just drove me crazy and I didn't know why it always affected me. And I always thought well you know, I think you also have to find the difference between “it drove me crazy” because, you know, you're, there's something sincerely wrong and it drove me crazy because, you know, the guys just being an asshole.

It's totally right. Totally. Cause you know, there's definitely that aspect of people you can't always put off that you're not a great human on like something else. Sometimes people just aren't great humans, but, but I think for like, a lot of. people with ADHD or, you know, and, or sensory processing issues. like if you don't know that about yourself, but there's this aspect to your brain/body connection that you really can't control, there is no controlling it. Like how much of what you experienced and the things you feel bad about. Like when, you know, when it comes to like the way you see yourself could, could be so different.

(8:56) What can people look for? You know, a lot of times I get emails all the time. People say, oh, I was listening to, um, you know, Faster Than Normal, and for the first time I, I saw myself and I realized that I'm not so weird and not such a screw up. What can people look for, and, and, and look inside themselves and see and say, Hey, you know, this might be this.It's not just me being a screw up. 

Yeah, no, that's such a good question because it's really hard. Like if you've been this way, your whole life, you know, how do you know that it's not, you just, you look around and you think everybody else is probably experiencing the same thing. They just are handling it better. Right?  But I think like if there's lots of different, um, things you can look at, there's actually, um, You know, like they're all over the place, but you can look up free, um, checklists and, and red flag lists and kind of go through them. There's some for adults and there's some for kids and you can just kind of like, um, online, you can pull them up and you can see like, how many of these things did I circle? Like, Oh, maybe, maybe this is me, or if you find like, especially for the over sensitivity stuff, like, um, how often did I experience that, and really felt like I had to flee, right? Like I had a fight or flight response. Like I couldn't stand it. It was not just a thought. It was a feeling in my body, like get the hell out.

And is that from a chemical perspective? What is that? Is that, is that Dopamine, is that adrenaline? 

No, it's not. Well, I mean, you, you have an adrenaline response. It's not dopamine or adrenaline, what it actually is is that literally your neurology when you are, when you have some sensory over responsivity, we know from physiological testing that the brain, actually, these people feel sensation either more intensely than other people do.  We actually have graphs that show, that how the brain is interpreting. They either feel it more intensely. They feel it for longer, right? or it builds over time. So literally their neurology is functioning differently, and this is coming in to the brain at the bottom, you know, like at your emotional and fear centers at no subcortical levels.  And is, is there before the frontal lobe, that judgment place, um, can actually make sense of anything you are already like your brain is, it's called the amygdala hijacking.  Like your brain is already gone. So it doesn't matter once your thinking brain makes sense of it, your body's already in full blown response.

Wow. Yeah, that's kind of fascinating. I mean, I, you know, you don't think that it, that it, I guess, yeah, everything starts immediately. 

Yeah, and it's, it's interesting because also a lot of kids, at least I don't think, um, I don't think there's been research on adults, but kids who have ADHD also have a lot of problems with what we call, um, Praxis or motor planning. It's also called developmental coordination disorder, and it's this connection between like your thinking brain. Like, I want to get this done and your body of how to, you know, sequencing things and planning and all those things that we always think is like this cognitive um, issue with kids with ADHD, there's a body component to it, that's coming from like… this ability to process tactile information and movement information, and body information. And so, they don't have those foundations to rest their cognitive thinking on, so they have great thoughts maybe, but because that brain body connection is so weak, they can't carry them out.

Very interesting. Where can….. people find more about you because this is, this is first of all, we're gonna have you back on, no question about…. after the new year, but where can people find out more about you? This is fascinating. 

About me or about what I do??..

About you, about the work that you're doing, not you specifically, your favorite colors, ...games.  [laughter]

I was gonna say hopefully not alot of people.. I'm doing my life right. But, um, about sensory processing. So Star Institute, I would go to STAR Institute and that's where we have those checklists for people to look at, there's information there. What is sensory processing? Um, 

all sorts of information on research, um, on education, on treatments, on, we have a blog, like there's lots of information out there in the world. There's tons, if you put in sensory processing or sensory integration is another term that's used, and you stick that in Google, there's all sorts of things. There's lots out there on ADHD with sensory processing. 

I have a feeling, a lot of parents are looking at their kids right now and going, hummm.  that's interesting. So I think you,,, I think you might have changed a bunch of lives there. might have a bunch of lives…..awesome.  Mim, ah, Ochshen….let me get this right, Ochsenbein? 

You’re close….

Ochsenbein?  

You’ve got it. 

Alright, Mim, Ochsenbein,  thank you so much for taking the time, I do appreciate it. Uh, this is a phenomenal episode. We will, like I said, we'll definitely have you back.  Guys, check out the starting super sensory processing, you can learn a lot more there. We will be back next week with another episode, as always feel free to send this to people you think we should interview. We would love to hear about them. That's how we found you and, um, reach out, have yourselves a wonderful day, stay safe, wear a mask, and we will talk to you soon. Thanks so much for listening. ADHD is a gift, not a curse. 

Credits: You've been listening to the Faster Than Normal podcast. We're available on iTunes, Stitcher and Google play and of course at www.FasterThanNormal.com I'm your host, Peter Shankman and you can find me at petershankman.com and @petershankman on all of the socials. If you like what you've heard, why not head over to your favorite podcast platform of choice and leave us a review, come more people who leave positive reviews, the more the podcast has shown, and the more people we can help understand that ADHD is a gift, not a curse. Opening and closing themes were performed by Steven Byrom and the opening introduction was recorded by Bernie Wagenblast. Thank you so much for listening. We'll see you next week. 

Feb 3, 2021

Eric Clark is not your typical educator, and his career trajectory is about as ADHD as it can get. After marrying his college sweetheart in 2006, Eric started teaching middle school math at Central Middle School, located on Boston's South Shore. While earning his stripes in the classroom, Eric was bit by the entrepreneurship bug and launched a small tutoring company called Quincy Tutoring. Two years after starting this venture, Eric transitioned into higher education where he would become the Assistant/Director of the Center for Academic success at Eastern Nazarene College. One aspect of this role was to serve as an advocate for students with learning differences. It didn't take long for Eric to realize that he had more in common with his students than he thought. At the age of 27, Eric officially received an ADHD diagnosis.

 

After 7 years in higher education, Eric decided to go back to his roots and accepted a role at the Woodward School, an independent high school for girls. This transition would then set off a domino effect where Eric would eventually find himself accepting a teaching role at the Delaware Valley Friends Schools and moving his wife and four daughters to Pennsylvania in the midst of a pandemic. DVFS is an independent Quaker school that is dedicated to serving students with a learning difference and a school with a mission that Eric could stand behind 100%.

 

Even through Eric's career was humming along nicely, things were bubbling under the surface and would eventually overpower him and disrupt life as he knew it. From the death of a father, to unexpected DNA results, the emotional baggage that comes with these experiences were compounded exponentially when the underlying ADHD and anxiety went unmitigated. This interview is Eric's coming out story, he has never shared publicly before. Enjoy!

***CORONA VIRUS EDITION***

In this episode Peter & Eric discuss:

 :40-  Intro and welcome Eric Clark!

2:14-  So being a teacher w/ ADHD, your students must think you’re the coolest teacher in the world!

2:52-  Would you agree that people who have ADHD who have had it since birth and either haven't been diagnosed early, or were diagnosed later in life, realize that when they think about it, that they are kind, compassionate and caring even more-so than the neurotypical, because they know what it's like to be outcasts/different and don't want to wish that on other people(?) 

4:15-  Since you got diagnosed with ADHD as an adult, tell me what it was like for you as a kid. Ref: Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain

6:53-  You’re now a teacher at Delaware Valley Friends School, that’s a school that's dedicated to students with learning differences, right? 

8:44-  What are you telling the kids who are neuroatypical when they come to you thinking they are “broken”, “a waste”, you know, all the things we thought as a kid?  

9:59-  As you see these kids growing up, getting older and going into more advanced classes, what are you learning from that? You mentioned that you’re learning alot from them, what kind of stuff are you seeing in them?  

11:05-  How has it been teaching in this pandemic?  

12:25-  How can people find you?  Website: www.EricAlainClark.com and @EA_Clark on INSTA  Twitter  & @eac.socialmedia on Facebook

12:42-  Thank you Eric! And thank YOU for subscribing, reviewing and listening. Your reviews are working! Even if you’ve reviewed us before, would you please write even a short one for this episode? Each review that you post helps to ensure that word will continue to spread, and that we will all be able to reach & help more people! You can always reach me via peter@shankman.com or @petershankman on all of the socials. You can also find us at @FasterThanNormal on all of the socials.

13:00  -  Guys, you’re listening to Faster Than Normal,  I want to wish you a happy day.  If you know anyone who you think might want to be on the podcast, let us know. We're still looking. I’ve been doing interview after interview, so we are definitely going to be booked up for the first few months, but let us know who you know, and we'd love to interview them. Have them reach out to me at https://www.shankman.com/  As always… ADHD is a gift, not a curse. We will see you in a week, keep smiling even under the mask, we'll talk soon.

13:26-  Faster Than Normal Podcast info & credits

STAY HEALTHY - STAY SAFE - PLEASE WEAR YOUR MASK.. until next time!

As always, leave us a comment below and please drop us a review on iTunes and of course, subscribe to the podcast if you haven’t already! As you know, the more reviews we get, the more people we can reach. Help us to show the world that ADHD is a gift, not a curse! Do you know of anyone you think should be on the FTN podcast? Shoot us a note, we’d love to hear!

 

TRANSCRIPT: 

Hey guys, welcome to Faster Than Normal. 

Hi you guys, Peter, Shankman welcome to Faster Than Normal background noise edition.  [producer squints eyes & boots up iZotope’s RX7].  I am recording this a couple of days before the end of the year. And we’ve got, let's see, we’ve got my daughter in one room playing with the new dog. We’ve got the lovely cleaning woman in, in this room, cleaning everything. We have a gorgeous day outside.  Um, everyone is, is, is, is betting that 2021 is going to be better. I'm sitting here remembering that viruses don't know how to read calendars. So it's going to be an interesting time, either way. Welcome to Faster Than Normal, my name is Peter Shankman. I am thrilled that you are here. We have Eric Clark on the podcast today, who is Eric Clark?  Well, Eric Clark is not your typical educator, although he is an educator. After marrying his college sweetheart in 2006, Eric started teaching middle school Math at Central Middle School in Boston’s South Shore.  While earning his stripes in the classroom, he was bit by the entrepreneurship bug and launched a tutoring company called Quincy Tutoring out of Quincy! I know Quincy well.  I went to Boston University and as a photographer or a Photo major, I got to photograph all these, all these projects at different schools and like Dorchester and Roxbury and all that. 

 I love it. 

I take that, take that, uh, that, uh, accent and bring it anywhere I want.  One of the interesting things about Eric though is after he started this venture, he transferred to higher education where he became the assistant director of the center for academic success at Eastern Nazarene college.  Okay. And he served as an advocate for students with learning differences, and that's when he realized that he had more in common with the students than he did with the other teachers.  At the age of 27, he received an official diagnosis of ADHD. (@2:14)  So being a teacher with ADHD, you must've thought ….the kids must have thought you were the coolest teacher in the world.

Yeah, I think so. Um, I think that's just a lot of my personality too. There's a lot of, a lot of love and caring and compassion that goes into, into the work that I do in the classroom. A lot of that was sort of established early on in my life... um, really having a positive outlook and, um, I think the students probably enjoy the, the ADHD mind, but, um, definitely needed to learn how to, how to hone it in, so  we can achieve the outcomes that we're looking to, to achieve. 

(@2:52)  I would argue that people who have ADHD who have had it from since birth, you know, and, and either haven't gotten diagnosed early or gotten diagnosed later in life, like.. realize that when they think about it, that they are kind and compassionate and caring more so than normal people, because they know what it's like to be outcasts.  They know what it's like to be.. um, uh, you know, the different one and they don't want to wish that on other people. Would you agree with that? 

Absolutely. And I think my experience as being called the lazy kid, um, feeling like I could never accomplish a task that I set out to do.  If I go back and I think of my, some of my childhood experiences where I set out to do these lofty projects, like painting a barn that was located on my property. I started it, but I never finished it. 

Painting a barn on your property? 

Um, my parents ended up paying for somebody to paint it- so it all worked out. Um, but I never was, when I think back, I never was lazy. I started working at 14, 15 on the farm. Um, did Masonry work and stuff like that, but I wasn't lazy. I just, I needed some help to figure out how to get from point A to point B. Um, so that executive functioning that, that inner space of, you know, the beginning and, you know, the end, um, really trying to figure out how to get there was the problem for me. 

Understood. I think a lot of it has to come down with the fact that, you know, when, again, the things we love doing, we do them really well.  The things we don't like doing, we sort of start and then we never sort of half-assed them and never actually finished. (@4:15) Tell me… so you got diagnosed as an adult. So, what was it like as a kid? 

Growing up, It was, it was interesting. I think, uh, I've read the book Spark, probably just the ADHD sections. Um, but there's a lot to be said about, uh, cardiovascular and the ability to focus.  So I played two, two seasons of athletics, both Fall and Winter. Um, in those seasons, I was, I was pretty spot on, I was, I was doing B work…. A work in some, some classes, but then come the spring when I wasn't in athletics, um, things sort of tanked. Um, so growing up where, where I grew up in Vermont, we didn't have a whole lot of access to, um, sort of specialized care.  And to be frank, I don't know if my family had the bandwidth, um, to process that ‘cause at nine years old, um, my, well, let me back... back it up a little bit. So when I was 18 months old, my biological father passed away, um, from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, and then my mom remarried about a year later. Um, but then when I was nine years old, big Tim, my Dad was diagnosed with a brain tumor.  So a lot of our bandwidth and whatnot was focused on, on him and making sure he was taken care of. And we did well, we did what we did, what we needed to do. There was, um, I had three siblings, uh, I had two brothers and a sister…. have.. two brothers and a sister, so we did all that we could do to survive. Um, and we made it work.  Um, but I think fast forward to 27 and you see sort of the, the impact of all of the decisions that have been made... you have made throughout the course of your life, because you understand a little bit more how a diagnosis can be helpful, um, in establishing structures and systems that can help you to, to optimize and maximize your ability to be successful.

(@6:02)  No question. I mean, if you don't put those things together, it can ruin you. And I think that, um, I mean, from what I'm hearing, you kind of, didn't  have a choice, right? You sort of had to come out and have, have that immediately. 

Absolutely. And it was sort of, we did what we didn't even really acknowledge the trauma that we, when you go through with a sick parent, I think I started really processing that maybe four or five years ago.  Um, and a lot of that is credit to my wife. She's a saint, she's a, she's a, um, Boston University graduate with her Master's in social work. So she has a skill set to deal with my,  with my nonsense. I wouldn't, I wouldn't wish it upon her, but I'm very grateful to have, to have her in my life. 

It is great to have someone who can help you.  (@6:42)  Tell me about, um, so as you, as a teacher now, um, because you're at, I totally just lost the name of the school where are you … you’re at….

Delaware Valley Friends school. 

Delaware Valley Friends right!  (6:53) So, tell us, it’s a school that's dedicated to students with learning differences, right? 

Absolutely. So, um, my family and I decided to move in the midst of a pandemic from the Boston area to the Philadelphia area. 

Of course, as you do! (laughter) 

Absolutely, and I was, I didn't think it was going to happen. I didn't, I didn't, the job prospects were, were nil, um, because of the pandemic and it didn't seem like anybody was hiring, but I was presented with two offers within 48 hours of, of, of each other, which was, which was pretty crazy.  Um, so from what I gather, um, I'm very new to this sort of Quakerism, um, which I, wish I would've learned about a long time ago, cause it sort of aligns with their core values aligned with my own. Um, but with that being said, there's a lot of Quaker schools in the Philadelphia area, um, and about 30 years ago, they came together at one of their yearly meetings and said, look, um, we do it, we're doing all this great work, but we really don't have a school that focuses on this particular type of student and we want to make sure that we're serving the entire student and making sure that we're serving these students well., um, so about 30 years ago, Delaware Valley Friends school was established, and, um, I can tell you from being there just for a handful of months, it's a very, very special place. Um, they, they, they look at the students as, as an entire person.  They, one of the Quaker values is finding the, the inner lights. Um, so I think every person has an inner light, um, that is God within us. Um, and we try to seek that out and everybody, um, and it's. We, we're getting tangential here because, um, that's what we do. Uh, Quakers typically from what I experienced, they're not, um, evangelical, um, and it's more of a set of core values that can be assigned to humanists, to Buddhists, to, to whatever.  There's a lot of, there's a lot of alignment there and a lot of inclusivity, which is something that I, that I've really come to love and respect. 

(@8:44) What are you telling the kids who have those different brains that just like we do? How are you, you know, and they, they come in and they think my God I'm broken.  I'm, I'm, I'm a waste. You know, all the things that we thought as a kid. 

And, and I thought I was going to encounter a lot of that, but I'm finding that students that have been at DV for a while, they're really empowered to be self advocates. Um, and they know who they are as students and as people far better than what I do as a 36 year old.  And I'm, I'm inspired and they teach me something every day. But I think what I try to tell them is that you are capable of more than what you think you're capable of, and I want you to acknowledge the fear that you may be experiencing. Um, and with it,  I experienced a lot of fear in my, in my classes because I teach math whether or not you have a diagnosis or not just because that's the nature of the subject matter for a lot of students.  Um, so regardless of the fear that you're facing, um, I acknowledge it for what it, what it is, and then build systems to help you overcome that fear because fear is, is not forever. And if you can find a way to overcome it and work through it, you're going to be, you're going to be better off for it. You're going to be able to, to be the rockstar that we that know you can be. 

(@9:59)  I love that…..  that fear is not forever.  That's a really, really smart answer. It makes a lot of sense. When you think about it… how about, um, as you see the kids growing and, and, and, and sort of moving into, they're getting older, and they're going to more advanced classes, um, what are, what are you learning from that? You mentioned that you're learning a lot from them.  What kind of stuff are you seeing them do? 

I have ...I got, I'm thinking of one student in particular, he's coming at me with all of these crazy stories of historical references of, of these mathematicians, um, from, from back in the 1600’s / 1700’s.  and so on. Um, I'm finding that these students have a depth of knowledge and a depth of interests far outside of the scope of, of my content area.  And I need to find ways to tap into that. Um, to get them excited about the work that we're doing in house. Um, and also one thing that my students are showing me is that they're passionate for, for justice. Um, so in equity and, and, and things of that nature. So I want to find ways to incorporate those themes into the, into the curriculum that I present to them on a, on a daily basis.

(@11:05) How’s it been teaching in the pandemic?  

Um, I've learned a lot. I think I would, obviously I prefer to be in the classroom, but if I focused on all of the negative aspects of it, it would become overwhelming and I wouldn't be able to do anything with it. Um, so recognizing this as just a moment in time, and we need to do our best to weather the storm because we will get through this, um, one major thing is, is really taking away the technology that we use in the virtual classroom and finding ways to incorporate that into, um, the, the face-to-face learning environment.  And I mean, just really ramping up my empathy and my caring and my compassion. I felt like I was pretty empathetic before, um, but really giving students the benefit of the doubt when they come to me saying that they don't understand it, or if they just don't hand in an assignment. The, the immediate reaction for me is going to be okay.  Let's figure out why this is. And not assume that the student is slacking off intentionally because there's a lot going on. Um, and we really need to focus on sort of the whole student and not get caught up in our own ego that the students aren't getting the coursework done. Let's figure out why they're getting the, not getting the coursework done and come alongside them and help them overcome these tangential obstacles that, that could be impeding their success. 

(@12:25)  Wish I’d had more teachers like you when I was a kid..  How can people find you? I think, I think that you’re probably gonna get some questions throughout answer and definitely some of the kids, Eric.

So, on Twitter and Instagram, Eric Clark (@ea_clark) | Um, my website is being revamped. It's http://ericalainclark.com/, but that's with the French spelling, alainclark, but find me on the Twitters or on Instagram, and we can, we can connect on, on other, on other  platforms. 

Awesome. Eric Clark, one of the best teachers I’ve ever had on the podcast. Thank you so much for taking the time, I truly appreciate it. 

Peter, thank you so much. It's truly an honor. Thank you so much. 

Guys, you’re listening to Faster Than Normal,  I want to wish you a happy day.  If you know anyone who you think might want to be on the podcast, let us know. We're still looking. I’ve been doing interview after interview, so we are definitely going to be booked up for the first few months, but let us know who you know, and we'd love to interview them. Have them reach out to me at Petershankman.com.  As always… ADHD is a gift, not a curse. We will see you in a week, keep smiling even under the mask, we'll talk soon.

 

Credits: You've been listening to the Faster Than Normal podcast. We're available on iTunes, Stitcher and Google play and of course at www.FasterThanNormal.com I'm your host, Peter Shankman and you can find me at petershankman.com and @petershankman on all of the socials. If you like what you've heard, why not head over to your favorite podcast platform of choice and leave us a review, come more people who leave positive reviews, the more the podcast has shown, and the more people we can help understand that ADHD is a gift, not a curse. Opening and closing themes were performed by Steven Byrom and the opening introduction was recorded by Bernie Wagenblast. Thank you so much for listening. We'll see you next week. 

Jan 27, 2021

Raven Baxter, also known as Raven the Science Maven, is an award-winning and internationally acclaimed science communicator and molecular biologist who works to progress the state of science education and culture by creating spaces that are inclusive, educational, and real.

Raven is an entertainer and content creator known for her unique style of combining science and music that teaches and empowers those in STEM and beyond. Raven speaks about innovation in science education and social change in STEM.

Raven is the founder of Science Haven, a non-profit organization that operates at the intersections of science, education, and the public. Science Haven houses STEMbassy, a live web series that connects the public with science and technology professionals, and Black In Science Communication, a group that works to build relationships in the science community, equipping others with the knowledge and resources necessary to share science with the world in their own flavor. Raven has quickly developed a reputation as a strong voice in science education and has been recognized as a global influencer in several publications, including Fortune Magazine’s 40 Under 40 list for 2020.  Enjoy!

***CORONA VIRUS EDITION***

 

In this episode Peter & Raven discuss:

:41-  Intro and welcome Dr. Raven Baxter 

2:47-  So tell us about your background?

4:45-  Where did you go to college?

5:17-  So tell me a bit about when you first got diagnosed with ADHD?  

8:45-  So when you decided to pursue your career, how did that counter with your ADD/ADHD in the premise that it requires so much focus? You can’t sort of round-up in science, so how do you make that work and keep that focus and immediacy that’s needed?   

11:05-  Tell us about what you do, specifically? For kids listening that might want to go into Science, and have that fear they might not have the capacity to focus. 

12:40-  Tell us about what you’d say to kids who may have been told by teachers that science isn’t for them?  

13:54-  So, what would you say to kids about where to go next?  You know, you might get a seventh grader that says, “Hey, I want to do more of this!”  

15:10-  Tell us what you're doing now?

16:20-  How can people find you?  Website: www.scimaven.com and @RavenTheScienceMaven on INSTA  Twitter & Facebook YouTube and @Sciencemaven on TikTok

16:32-  Thank you Raven! And thank YOU for subscribing, reviewing and listening. Your reviews are working! Even if you’ve reviewed us before, would you please write even a short one for this episode? Each review that you post helps to ensure that word will continue to spread, and that we will all be able to reach & help more people! You can always reach me via peter@shankman.com or @petershankman on all of the socials. You can also find us at @FasterThanNormal on all of the socials.

17:26-  Faster Than Normal Podcast info & credits

STAY HEALTHY - STAY SAFE - PLEASE WEAR YOUR MASK.. until next time!

As always, leave us a comment below and please drop us a review on iTunes and of course, subscribe to the podcast if you haven’t already! As you know, the more reviews we get, the more people we can reach. Help us to show the world that ADHD is a gift, not a curse! Do you know of anyone you think should be on the FTN podcast? Shoot us a note, we’d love to hear!

 

TRANSCRIPT: 

Hey guys, welcome to Faster Than Normal. My name is Peter. I am your host today and I'm thrilled that you're here. It's a gorgeous day here as we get close to the end of 2020, everyone's assuming that 2021 is just going to be that much. Like we're going to flip a switch and all of a sudden everything's gonna be better.  And, uh, you know what, I'm too tired. I'm too tired to argue with that. So I'm going to say, yeah, sure. That sounds great. We are talking to someone who will tell us all about how crazy that idea is because this woman is involved with science. Her name is Raven Baxter, Dr. Raven Baxter, otherwise known as Raven, the science Maven. which I love.  Okay. She's an award-winning and internationally acclaimed science communicator and molecular biologist. All right. So right here, I can tell you this woman's four times as smart as me, which is great. She works to progress the state of Science, Education and Culture by creating spaces that are inclusive, educational and real.  I love that so much, I'm sitting here staring at my seven year old daughter, and I'm thankful that people like Raven exist.  Raven is an entertainer, she's a content creator, she's known for her unique style of combining science and music, that teaches and empowers those in STEM... and beyond. Raven speaks to that innovation in science education and social change in STEM, she founded Science Haven. Science Haven has this STEMbassy, I love that name, which is a live web series that connects to the public within science and technology and the connection with science, technology professionals, and Black In Science Communication, a group that works to build relationships in the Science community, equipping others with the knowledge and resources necessary to share science with the world in their own flavor. She was one of Fortune Magazine's “40 under 40”, this year. She has a job,  she has a project in progress called Nerdy Jobs with Raven the Science Maven, which I think is awesome. She's had a TEDx talk,  she's on the STEMbassy season finale, she’s all over the internet…. welcome Dr. - welcome Raven. It is great to have you. 

Hi, thank you so much for having me. I'm so excited to be here. I hope you're doing well. 

I always know that my introductions have gone too long when the person like falls asleep and has to come back and say, Oh yeah, Hey, but no, it was a great into,  wonderful to have you. I'm thrilled that you're, that you're a part of this.  (2:47) Um, you're doing some amazing, amazing things first and foremost. Tell us about your background. Tell us about how, how, how Science sort of picked you, as it were. 

Yeah, I mean, I think, you know, a lot of people listening to this podcast can relate. But potentially to having ADHD and like being, perhaps being a child and being into everything and wanting to explore everything.  And, um, I feel like with ADHD that was amplified in that, you know, I really felt like I was unstoppable. If I wanted to learn about the clouds I was in the library, like trying to get my hands on every single cloud book and. You know, when I got to the point where I felt like I knew everything about that, then I wanted to learn about space and I went to space camp, and I found that I was afraid of heights..  Yeah, I did it. Have you ever been??

Hey you know what's funny. I never went as a kid. As an adult. I got invited to Media Space Camp, and so I spent three days doing the same thing that they did in space camp and it was incredible. 

That's awesome. So you know how cool it is? 

Oh yeah

Just imagine being a little kid. 

Oh, I can't even imagine, plus I went . I saw the movie, like the second it came out. Right. I was all about Jinx the robot. I wanted that robot, jinx. I was like Jinx and Max friends forever. I totally wanted that robot. 

Yeah, and I also, well, I guess not to be a downer, but I found out I was afraid of heights at space camp. So, you know, my dream of being an astronaut totally wiped down the dream, but I luckily had already been exposed to in part due to space camp, all of the different types of science careers you can have.  So, you know, I just dove into everything and eventually ended up into molecular biology. And that's where I’m focusing now,  and, um, kind of parlayed into science education after having a career as a corporate scientist. 

Amazing amazing. Where'd you go to college? 

I went to SUNY, well, I went to a couple, a couple different colleges actually.Um, I started at SUNY college of environmental science and forestry also known as SUNY ESF. Um, and then I went to community college for a little while, and then I transferred to, um, Buffalo State College where I graduated with my bachelor's and eventually my master's. And now, um, I'll be finishing my doctorate in May at a university at Buffalo. 

Very cool. (5:17)  So tell me a bit, so, you know, science, when you were, when you got ADHD, what was that? When did that? Okay, well, first of all, when did you get diagnosed?

I was diagnosed when I was about six or seven. 

Oh wow really?  OK, and did, get that at that age… it  probably, it probably didn't really change much for you. You just knew, you know, here's, what's up, like it wasn't like you're diagnosed in your thirties or anything like that. 

Right? No. Well,  so when I was diagnosed, um, ADHD medications were very new on the market, right?  And so it was really up to my Mother to say, “OK, she has this okay, she has this diagnosis, what do we do now? Um, being that the medications were so new, she really didn't feel comfortable putting me on anything, so, um, I essentially just… freestyled it, sorry, my dog is sneezing in the background. are you okay?  Um, yeah, so she just kind of freestyled it with me and just, let me, let me be me.

That's awesome. You know, it's interesting. Um, when I was, when I was growing up, it didn't exist. Right? It was the sit down and interrupt the class disease and, um, you know. 

Oh yeah, that was me. 

So here’s the interesting thing,,,,the, the, the, the stuff that you liked, right? The, the, you know, like science, whatever kind of subjects you liked, I'm sure you were great at. 

Oh yeah. I was, I was naturally gifted at pretty much everything that I did, and I think that's. That's probably what frustrated my teachers the most is that I couldn't sit down and do my work. I'd get up. I'd be spinning around during class while the teacher's teaching. And while literally everyone else is seated, I just be up like twirling, twirling around like a tornado.Um, but my work would be done, right? Like acing  everything. So. I mean, I was, I was also bored, but I also was hyperactive, but it was also very smart and getting my work done. So teachers really didn't know what to do cause they couldn't really justify putting me in time out because I wasn't white, like misbehaving, you know?

Yeah. So, but they were putting me in time out. Um, that's the, my mom stepped in after that. 

It's good to have parents that’ll have your back. That must've been tough. You know, here you are getting all this stuff done and it's just that you were too fast for them. 

Yeah. Yeah, I didn't, um, I remember them putting me in, um, a gifted and talented program, uh, at the same time that they put me in a special education program, which is a little confusing for me.Um, because I was going to like three different classrooms where most of my friends weren't moving around. Like they just stayed in the same classroom. And, um, the, in the gifted and talented program, I, I was smart enough to do the work, but those kids were really self-disciplined. Um, they could sit down and do the work, and I felt very out of place because I couldn't, you know, it was a smaller group of kids and I realized I was the only one, like, couldn't stop moving around. Um, but I, I felt home in the special ed classroom. I really did. 

Yep. I believe it. And you know, what's interesting is that, is that you go, you know, I remember, I never, my grades were… in  New York City, there was something called a resource room where you could get extra time and to do all these things, but my grades were too good. I, you know, I had great English skills and my math wasn't great, but my English and science, all that was enough that you're like, oh, he doesn't need that, but he won't shut up. 

Right. 

So you couldn't, you couldn't really win when you, (8:45) so when you decided to pursue science as a, as a career, you know, how was that, how did that sort of line u…. uh, how did that counter with your ADD/ADHD with the premise that, you know, you have to focus, right? You're looking at things that, you know, I say, what is that great, uh, that great quote, when, uh, when, uh, you know, when, when a nuclear physicist screws up the world explodes, one of geologists goes up, rock breaks and that's about it, you know, but you, you're, you're sitting there with like, you know, you're doing stuff that matters and you're doing stuff where you have to be completely on point, right?  You can't just sort of round up. In science. Exactly. What, tell us, tell us how you are… um, how do you make that work? How do you, how do you keep that focus? How do you get that sort of, uh, immediacy that's needed? 

That's a very good question, and that's something that I honestly struggled to answer myself.  Um, because as a student, um, being a scientist as a student, and when you're learning the science, there's really not a lot of pressure. Like you're, like what you were saying, you know, you’re just enjoying the subject, you're mastering the subject. But when you're working as a corporate scientist, the script is completely flipped.  You know, when you're working in drug discovery, where I was working, um, it was very difficult, to work in that high pressure situation, um, where you know that every number matters, right?  There's barely any room for error because you're working on a million dollar project and every test tube that you waste is $10,000 down the drain, literally.  And you're also making things that will potentially go into somebody's body down the line. And so you really want to make sure your work is the best it can be, which is possible with ADHD. But, um, I personally don't feel like professional environments, such as like, a corporate scientific environment... I don't think that they've quite come up with the resources needed to make that a comfortable working environment for somebody like you or me.  Um, I do think that like there needs to be special accommodations just like there isn't school for people with, um, you know, learning disabilities and attention disorders. I think I would have had a much more comfortable working experience had that been in place. 

(11:05) Tell us about what you do, specifically…. right?  So give us like your top three. So you have a lot of kids who listen to this podcast and they're, you know, if any of them wanna go into science and they're afraid, well, I don't have the, the capacity to focus. Tell us what you do. Cause it's, it's obviously you've proved that it's possible. 

 

Yeah. Um, I think that for me, having ADHD is definitely about recognizing where your superpowers work the best, right?  Um, and asking for help when you need it. So, for me personally, I feel like, um, my excitement and my love for science really is best used when I’m teaching about science and sharing that with other people. Um, and so I'm able to take everything that I learned about as a student and share it with people that want to learn about science who are around me.  Um, and that's what I do now. As a science communicator, I use music, I use videos, I use music videos and, uh, I communicate science through all of those things to help people learn about science and teach people about new things. 

I've never heard that  term science communicator, I love that. And what I'm going to love, is that you've managed to take what you love, combine it with what you do, and here we are.  

Right? Yeah. I love it too. Um, there, I'm sure you've heard of Bill Nye, The Science Guy, Neil Tyson… those are all science communicators. I just don't think people know what to call them. 

Yeah. I'd never heard the term. That's so cool. (12:40) Tell us about, um, so. What do you say to kids who don't believe that, you know, oh, they've been told by the teachers and you know, mistakenly that yeah, you're ADHD. You're not gonna, you know, science isn't for you. I mean, I, I, I, had a teacher that actually said I should pursue accounting, right? 

Oh my gosh. I think that science is perfect for people with ADHD. And the reason is because there's so many questions to answer. And if you're anything like me, you want to bounce from question to question to question.I mean, one day I'm thinking about. Oh my gosh, how did the universe start? Whoa. Now I'm looking into quantum physics and yeah, quantum physics...documentaries, and trying to learn about the big bang theory and different, different theories that exist that, um, that are talking about where the universe came from or where did life come from on planet earth, right?  All of those different theories. And it's really exciting. There's, there's really no one way to love and enjoy science. And there's so many different questions to answer, that it's perfect for somebody with ADHD, because there's something new all the time to focus on and learn about.

I love that. I love that. So the premise that you'll never get bored?

You'll never get bored. I can almost promise you that. 

(13:54) So, what do you say to, uh, where, where should the kid go next? You know, you're going to get a seventh grader or something that says, Hey, I want to do more of this. 

Ah, gosh, that's a really good question.I think that what's worked for me when I was a young kid is just not getting too worked up about following a particular path. Like really just follow your natural instincts and pay attention to what's interesting to you and just get lost in it. Right? Like I, some of the, I would've never become, I would have never become a molecular biologist if I didn' decide that I could learn anything I wanted to learn and do whatever I wanted to do to learn that. So like going on Wikipedia, and clicking on Wikipedia to different articles and just getting lost in the articles, because everything's linked to each other on the website, um, that's one way to do it or watching documentaries. Um, going on, you know, asking your parents to go on to Netflix and picking up documentaries,  that’s appropriate for you to watch, to learn more, asking your teachers interesting questions, because they might be able to teach you something new. Um, those are different ways to get into it. 

Yup. I love that. Very, very cool. (15:10) Tell us what you're doing now...

So now I am working full time as a science communicator while finishing my doctoral research.  Um, and I'm hoping to start a couple of new series with a major network next year. Um, all of this is pretty much under wraps, which is why I'm being a little vague, but, um, it's a network that everybody loves and enjoys. That, um, we're working on two shows together and both of those shows are science shows.  One of those shows is focused on biology and learning everything there is to know about biology. And, um, the other show is me exploring different jobs in science, technology engineering, and that the medics. 

All right. Very cool. So stay in. So it's good that you're not busy or anything like that. 

Yeah. Yeah.

Right. Well, this has been very, very cool. (16:09) Tell, tell people how that they can find you, cause I have a feeling that you get a ton of followers and a ton of questions off this interview. How can people find you? 

You can find me um anywhere on the internet, if you Google  “Raven, the Science Maven.” I'm on Twitter @Ravenscimaven, and everywhere else at “Raven the Science Maven,” except for TikTok, where I am @Science Maven. 

I love it. I love it. Raven Baxter, Raven the Science Maven, thank you so much for taking the time to come on the podcast. This was a lot of fun and I think you're going to give a lot of kids a lot of hope because let me tell you someone who has a seven year old daughter, who is currently playing with her brand new rescue puppy that we got. Um, it's pretty awesome to watch her get excited about things. We've been doing science experiments, we've grown a crystal. Um, what else have we done? Done lot of fun stuff and, and it's, it's fun to watch her eyes light up when we do it. So, you know, go--- go science!  I'm always, it's funny. I haven't, I haven't said this yet, but I always want to quote the line every time she does something gets excited about, I want to teach her to say the line from um, um, from Breaking Bad where they cook their first batch of meth and is “science bitch,” but don’t wanna do it.  Raven, thank you so much for taking the time, we will definitely have you back at some point in 2021, stay safe, stay healthy, and we'll talk with you soon. Guys, you've been listening to Faster than Normal. We love it when you're here, we love it that you're here. We love it that our numbers keep going up and the more people are learning that  ADHD is a gift, not a curse.  Please stay in touch with us, shoot us an email, let us know who you want to hear. Raven came to us… uh, from a user, from a listener who said, “Hey, you should have this person on your podcast.”  And we did. That's how it works. It's really simple, so if you want more, give us some names, we will make more easily.  Otherwise leave us a review, stay safe, stay healthy, wear a mask, we will see you guys next week. Thanks so much for listening, my name is Peter Shankman.

Credits: You've been listening to the Faster Than Normal podcast. We're available on iTunes, Stitcher and Google play and of course at www.FasterThanNormal.com I'm your host, Peter Shankman and you can find me at petershankman.com and @petershankman on all of the socials. If you like what you've heard, why not head over to your favorite podcast platform of choice and leave us a review, come more people who leave positive reviews, the more the podcast has shown, and the more people we can help understand that ADHD is a gift, not a curse. Opening and closing themes were performed by Steven Byrom and the opening introduction was recorded by Bernie Wagenblast. Thank you so much for listening. We'll see you next week. 

Jan 20, 2021

Tunch Diptas is an accomplished executive & coach, a master of combining the discipline of the mind and body, turning the previously unobtainable goals into self-fulfillment and success stories. Post graduation, Tunch mastered in International Economics. He has cultivated advanced relationships with wealth advisors, private bankers, business bankers, insurance agents, trust specialists, advanced financial planners, and mortgage consultants, as a Certified Financial Planner. As a result of the long time interest, he set his heart on the consultancy. Tunch has worked with executives from Fortune 500 companies including, Wells Fargo, Northwestern Mutual, Chase Manhattan, KW Inc., guiding them to get outstanding results. So far, Tunch has worked with soccer teams to reach championship status; early career executives to obtain leadership roles; and successful professionals to accomplish their dreams. He is a Senior Leader with the Tony Robbins Leadership Academy, focusing on Business Results Training. He believes that “Leadership begins with an ability to persuade and connect. Engaging and captivating any audience from beginning to end for a powerful, lasting impact can be learned!”

Tunch provides a rich set of practical and life-tested ideas, concepts, and frameworks that will help those who want to change; to be the best that they can be. His ambition is to make people better in their focus area, discover their purpose, make a strategic plan, and finally get measurable, quantitative results with a significant improvement in leadership and team building skills. With the ambition of inspiring people with impactful ways so that they can all have authentic and meaningful lives, Tunch is always glad to connect with new people!  Enjoy!

 

***CORONA VIRUS EDITION***

 

In this episode Peter & Tunch discuss:

:50-  Intro and welcome Tunch Diptas 

1:26-  So what’s your story?

2:15-  What prompted you to get tested for ADHD?

3:22-  What were the medications the put you on first? How did that go?

6:10-  Tell us a little about how you took control of your happiness after your diagnosis?

7:20-  On defining purpose

8:45-  On focusing on what’s important and what’s working

9:25-  What do you advise on negotiating the downsides of change and embracing the positive?

12:20-  Let’s talk about emotional fitness; how do you deal with anger, anxiety and communicating with your partner/family/co-workers, etc?

14:50-  How do you find a middle ground/balance with your work and life?

16:20-  How can people find you? At www.TunchDiptas.com and @TunchDiptas on INSTA  Facebook and YouTube

16:54-  Thank you Tunch! And thank YOU for subscribing, reviewing and listening. Your reviews are working! Even if you’ve reviewed us before, would you please write even a short one for this episode? Each review that you post helps to ensure that word will continue to spread, and that we will all be able to reach & help more people! You can always reach me via peter@shankman.com or @petershankman on all of the socials. You can also find us at @FasterThanNormal on all of the socials.

17:26-  Faster Than Normal Podcast info & credits

STAY HEALTHY - STAY SAFE - PLEASE WEAR YOUR MASK.. until next time!

As always, leave us a comment below and please drop us a review on iTunes and of course, subscribe to the podcast if you haven’t already! As you know, the more reviews we get, the more people we can reach. Help us to show the world that ADHD is a gift, not a curse! Do you know of anyone you think should be on the FTN podcast? Shoot us a note, we’d love to hear!

PS: If you're looking for that special gift this holiday season for someone in your life who has ADD, ADHD, or any kind of neurodiverse brain, how about a conversation with me? I've finally been convinced to join Cameo, where you can request videos, shout-outs, birthday greetings, even a one-on-one talk about how ADHD is a superpower! You can find me on Cameo here!​

 

TRANSCRIPT: 

Hey guys, Peter Shankman... happy to have you here. As we enter the world of ADHD, ADD everything that are diverse, for another episode of Faster Than Normal, good stuff going on. We're gonna be talking to a coach today who I love his bio. The guy seems to have done everything. Um, his name is Tunch Diptas and I want it to tell us it tells us his background because it's, you're gonna find it fascinating, but I can give you the highlights.

He mastered the International Economics. International Economics, right? He's worked with companies, Wells Fargo, Northwestern Mutual, Chase Manhattan. Um, he led soccer teams to championship status. So I want to hear about that. And then we're going to talk.. I want to focus a lot on managing stress change, conflict of crisis, which is his big thing.

So welcome Tunch, good to have you. 

Thank you. Thanks for having me. I'm excited. 

Good. So yeah. Tell us, tell us your backstory, cause you're not from this country. Tell us where you came from, how you got here… and you said you weren't diagnosed with ADHD until you were in your thirties. So tell us that, that as well, start at the beginning.

Sure. Uh, I'll be happy to. Um, so I actually grew up in Turkey and, um, when I was growing up, um, I didn't know anything about ADHD and my family didn't either. And, um, I grew up with so many challenges, um, family challenges and then also challenges at school. But, um, I was able to make it happen and I moved to the United States actually with no money, no English and no contacts.  So, um, that was my journey from Turkey to the States. And, um, I was able to overcome the challenges and  I'll be happy to talk about all of those. 

Yeah. Tell us, so tell us when you, what, what prompted you to get diagnosed with ADHD? 

So I, uh, after moving to the States and one of the things that I've done is I wanted to grow and learn the language and improve myself.  So that's why I start growing and then going to libraries. And, um, and then later I, um, I started working in corporate finance world because my background... education background was economics, and, um, I became successful.  Uh, I was so hyper-focused with success and, uh, I made it happen. And one of the meetings about six, seven years ago, um, one of my colleagues told me that you have ADHD. And I said, I don't think so. And he said, no, you're bored in every meeting. And, um, and then also you're easily distracted. So you got to go see a doctor. And I said, sure, because. I was successful, but I wasn't happy. So I was looking for answers. 

That's actually, that's actually a trait, the concept of being tremendously successful in it, but still feeling like something's wrong and you haven't been able to accomplish a thing. 

Exactly. And I didn't know what ADHD was because I grew up in Turkey and when I was growing up, it's still a developing country and nobody told me anything about it, but I was always feeling the symptoms. And like one of the stories that I remember from my childhood, that, um, I was always falling down. Always like, um, had wounds on me. And once I had an accident and I fell, I fell down and it just, um, I had a big wound on my face and my chin and, um, and then I went back to the, uh, the class and my teacher looked at me and, she said it's….  still developing countries,  so, uh, she said, why'd you do that? Why do you keep falling down? Why do you always, why are you so clumsy? So she looked at me and she said at in effect, she called my Mom, and my Mom came to the school because it had to, um, I had to go to a doctor for a stitch for stitching my chin and, um, my Mom looked at me, and she said the same thing. Why are you so clumsy? What's wrong with you? And that story is just, um, got stuck with me and I asked the same question all my life to myself. I said, what's wrong with me? And, but that was my primary question until I realized what I'm asking. I was asking myself and that's when as soon as I realized, that's when I stopped, I decided to change. And I went to doctor, uh, after, uh, hearing from my friend, and he said, uh, the doctor said you have high ADHD. Um, constant boredom was the highest thing that he said. And I said, okay. So they start giving me medication. And I used it may,  be short, maybe two, three months, and I decided that it’s not for me, and I made a choice. (4:51) What medication were you on? Um, Ritalin,  Conserta,  um, Adderall,  they tried everything and it was, it was interesting because I'm like, am I, why am I taking all of these things? Because I have more anxiety, I feel more depressed. I was feeling down and, um, and I was like, I was happier before. So, and that's when I decided that I need to come up with steps to make myself feel fulfilled and happy., and if you want, I can go through the my steps, no, that makes perfect sense, but tell, yeah, tell us a little bit about what you,  how do you, so when you decided to take control, you know, a lot of people say, God, I need to be able to feel happy through it. And then they can't put it into sort of actionable items.

So in a nutshell, you know, in a minute or less, tell us what you did. 

So, um, I looked at my background, my history, as I mentioned, I came to this country with no money, no English, no contacts. So how did I do it? How did I do it? Because I had a belief that I came to this world for a reason. And I knew that my purpose is to grow and discover myself and learn what's going on in this world, explore myself and explore everything else, so that was my purpose when I was, when I came to this country and that's what made me going. And then that's what I know now, if I am so clear with my purpose, that keeps me going. And then also, um, It makes me progress. That's what makes me happy. So that was the number one thing that I put it down. I said, I got to know my purpose, be clear with it, and, um, I need to align with every day. So that was my first thing. 

 I think, a lot of what happens, uh, when, when you, I mean, in general, but certainly when you have ADHD, you have this feeling like that if you're not moving forward, you're going backwards, right?   And so not having a purpose and not having really anything to keep striving for is probably the worst thing in the world for someone with ADD or ADHD.

Absolutely because, um, I mean, I have worked with clients and then also the colleagues that I noticed when someone who has ADHD, they, um, it’s just easily get distracted and easily, um, critique themselves so much that they go into depression mode.  Instead, what I came up with, I said, I got to remind myself my purpose every day, and that will give me the juice to move forward, to get motivated. So that was the first thing, but the most important to that, I figured out about five, six years ago and cheesy enough, but easy to say it embraced who you really are. And, um, embracing is like loving yourself with who, who I am, and loving I am, and um, why is that so important, because I used to, as I mentioned my, in my story with my mom and my teacher, I came up with that question to myself every time I'm forgetful, I, I used to say to myself, um, why am I like this? What's wrong with me? Or every time I'm clumsy. 

 Well, that's always the question. What's wrong with me. Why aren't I like everyone else? Why am I getting in trouble? Why am I the one being picked on?  Right, exactly.   So, and then I made a choice. I said, I'm going to love myself as who I am, and I'm going to reframe... that's the third step.  Re-frame everything. So instead of saying I'm forgetful, I actually start telling people and myself first myself and telling people that look, I only remember what's important only. And, um, I can, I can hyper focus on what's important and I can make things work. Um, that way the other things, yes, I forget, but I remember what's important. The question you get to keep that to heart. 

 

No question about it. In terms of, so, so one of the things that you, you focus on is managing stress and, and sort of change, you know, people want ADHD, we can do very, very well at change. If we have the tools to do that, you know, if not, if things like, for instance, when COVID started and, you know, all of a sudden I was home every day, instead of being on the road, you know, 300,000 miles a year, that was brutal for me, and that took a lot of changing, to get sort of under control and a lot of, a lot of work to make sure that I was okay because you know, all my creativity came from being on a plane and that was taken away from everyone, um, almost overnight. So in terms of a change, because 2021 is going to be just as insane, hopefully a little less, but you know it’s still going to be crazy.  What do you advise, especially someone with ADHD, you know, in a few minutes, tell us what they can do, and what anyone can do, to sort of negate um, the downsides of change and, and embrace sort of the positive side?

 Yeah. Um, so we gotta stay in house. That's the challenge. That's what you're saying, right.

Well, just not being able to travel, not be able to do what I normally do. All of a sudden they have to, you know, I'm a home, but my, my, it was a massive change for me to start being home versus to be on the road all the time. I had to change my entire system of how I lived. 

Right. And that's one of the things that I was my fourth step is, um, team up, teaming up with people, um, who can help, who can compliment you to overcome stress, and in also to make you successful is so important. And that's why I took this time to build the daily habits, which will help me get motivated every day. And it kept, I kept doing the daily habits. Even though there's no routine because I have a chaotic brain, creative brain I say it instead of chaotic brain, I said creative brain. And, um, I have a creative brain, so, but I still need to remember my purpose and then keep doing the activities, which help me get going. And then the other thing is this time is perfect to connect with people at a deeper level and also, um, help, help, it will help you get going. If you find the right people to team up, like right now, I am teaming up with people who can help me with organizing, who can help me with details, who I'm a, why person I'm a visionary person. If I find the right team, right person to help me right now, it's even more important.  So, what I will say is connecting and then cultivating deeper relationship, deeper relationships will help us get going right now, get motivated, and in also coming up with the daily positive activities, which will align with your purpose, 

That makes a lot of sense. Um, you know, if you have, if you have accountability buddies that were, that tends to, uh, that tends to help.

So no question about it. Um, in terms of, um, uh, emotional fitness, right? A lot of time, we have a hard time expressing how we feel. I know that in my world, uh, and, and a lot of the guests you've had on the podcast, when you have ADHD, you need to feel heard and you need to feel validated. And if you're in an argument with someone that's not always the easiest thing to do. What do you suggest, in terms of dealing with anger and, and, and anxiety, um, either with a partner or on your own, what can you do to sort of, you know, top, top things to do to prevent that? Anxiety. And, um, what else do you, uh, anger of, you know, w with a partner or a friend or whatever. 

Okay. so what I would suggest is again, um, the connecting with people at a deeper level, and then also as far as the anxiety, um, my suggestion is, is, um, taking time to, of course, to meditate and doing something, which will make me, that's what I do, which will make me get present. First. I get out of the state that I am in. Right now  it's so important to get out of the house, um, do something which will make you present again. For me, it's walking just to get out of the house and whenever I feel down, and then I start looking at where I, where do I focus?  Do I focus on what I have or what I don't have? Do I focus on, um, what I can control or what I can't control? Do I focus on, um, what's present and what can I do? What can I learn? Or what's what's in the past. So I look at where I'm focusing on and then also, um, also doing something to get me out of a comfort zone. Couple of weeks ago, I was, I wasn't feeling like top of my game. And I said, I got to do something to get me out of comfort zone, which I see your picture. I did go skydive to get out of my comfort zone. And right after that, what can I do to control my focus? That's what I think the two things getting out of the comfort zone by changing the state, and the second thing is where's my focus. And then also a third thing is how can I be optimistic about the future? Where do, what am I focusing on in the future, right. 

Yeah. No, that makes perfect sense. Tell us, um, in terms of establishing a balance, you know, a lot of times, when you’re ADD/ADHD, we're really all or nothing, right?  We go in and do everything or we do nothing. How do you find that middle ground? Because middle ground is really, really hard for people with neurodiverse issues. 

Actually, I don't. ha OK -  Here’s why. Um, I used to, um, try to, I used to try to do like, uh, how can I find the balance? How can I find the balance?  Now what I do is, okay, I found what I love doing, which is coaching. And when you do that, and I just get obsessed with what I do and I love it. And then people around me are integrated with it, so, um, it’s just, I believe that work life integration. And I just, do my work, and then people around me. I just integrated it in it.  Um, and that's, that's my solution to it. And it, because I love obsessing. What I love and what I love doing. And that's the, um, that's the formula to success. If you want to be successful in anything, you gotta be obsessed with it, which we have that, as ADHD people as a gift as that's what makes us unique.

Great answer. And I think that's a great place to leave it right now. Definitely want to have you back on again, Tunch, thank you so much for taking time. How can people find you? Give us your website. 

Um, it's um, I can find me on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and, um, it's Tunchdiptas.com. And they can find me, uh, with the same thing,  any, any social media. 

Awesome. We'll put that all into the show notes. Tunch, thank you so much for taking the time to spend some time with us today on Faster than Normal, we truly appreciate it, guys, if you're listening and you've listened this far, leave us a review. Ah, reviews that show up on the, on the site and on Amazon or Amazon or Spotify, or wherever you download your podcasts, they do tend to help and they do tend to get more people interested and more people can then know that ADHD is a gift, not a curse, been saying that for going on four years now, so we appreciate that you've been listening, we appreciate that you've been here. Any guest ideas, feel free to shoot me a note. Peter@shankman.com. We would love to have them.  Thanks again to our guests and to all our guests, and guys, ADHD is a gift, not a curse. Stay safe, wear a mask, we'll see you next week.

Credits: You've been listening to the Faster Than Normal podcast. We're available on iTunes, Stitcher and Google play and of course at www.FasterThanNormal.com I'm your host, Peter Shankman and you can find me at petershankman.com and @petershankman on all of the socials. If you like what you've heard, why not head over to your favorite podcast platform of choice and leave us a review, come more people who leave positive reviews, the more the podcast has shown, and the more people we can help understand that ADHD is a gift, not a curse. Opening and closing themes were performed by Steven Byrom and the opening introduction was recorded by Bernie Wagenblast. Thank you so much for listening. We'll see you next week. 

Jan 13, 2021

Rach McBride (they/them) is a professional Ironman triathlete and three-time Ironman 70.3 Champion, with numerous podium and course record results. Known as the “Purple Tiger,” Rach is known for racing and training with grit and resilience: having run half Ironmans on broken feet, raced an Ironman with food poisoning to qualify for the World Championships in Kona, and is an undefeated beer mile champion.  Deemed "the most interesting [person] in triathlon" by TRS Radio, Rach is also the first professional triathlete to be out as gender non-binary. It's not surprising that Rach was recently diagnosed with ADD: They hold two graduate degrees in genetics and are an accomplished cellist, having toured the US and performed in Europe with various bands. Rach loves being a minimalist, continues to hone their fire spinning skills, and currently works in sexual health education and advocacy in beautiful Vancouver, Canada. Enjoy!

 

***CORONA VIRUS EDITION***

 

In this episode Peter & Rach discuss:

1:30-  Intro and welcome Rach McBride 

Ref peter’s video about training for an Ironman 

4:05-  So why triathlon? What got you into it to begin with? Let's start there. 

5:40-  When were you diagnosed with ADD? How much of a part did ADD play in your decisions to compete?

7:55-  On self-medication, switching addictions and the benefits of Sport & hyperfocus

9:14-  Is Competitive Sport a trait of people with ADD, ADHD or otherwise neurodiverse?

10:29-  Tell me about how you approach training/your daily routine/motivations, etc?

11:30-  On staying disciplined/not letting yourself talk yourself out of what’s next on deck

13:35-  Why doesn’t working out feel like forced or grueling ‘work’?

16:40-  About COVID and readjusting our weekly routines. How have you been surviving?

18:30-  How did the race in, and at Daytona International Speedway go for you last year?

20:14-  More about Challenge Daytona and how the loop works with the psyche

22:10-  The ‘tricks’ of competing in triathlons 

23:20-  What’s the one piece of advice you have for when people say: I can’t exercise, I just can’t!?

24:30-  LIGHTENING ROUND!  

What’s your fav piece of tech you just can’t do without? What’s your resting heart rate? If you had to live in ONE place for 6 months, with only 3 items, what would they be?

26:07-  Peter’s story about his first Ironman experience. 

[You can get in touch with Rach McBride via https://www.rachelmcbride.com]

27:55-  Thank you Rach! And thank YOU for subscribing, reviewing and listening. Your reviews are working! Even if you’ve reviewed us before, would you please write even a short one for this episode? Each review that you post helps to ensure that word will continue to spread, and that we will all be able to reach & help more people! You can always reach me via peter@shankman.com or @petershankman on all of the socials. You can also find us at @FasterThanNormal on all of the socials.

28:45-  Faster Than Normal Podcast info & credits

STAY HEALTHY - STAY SAFE - PLEASE WEAR YOUR MASK.. until next time!

As always, leave us a comment below and please drop us a review on iTunes and of course, subscribe to the podcast if you haven’t already! As you know, the more reviews we get, the more people we can reach. Help us to show the world that ADHD is a gift, not a curse! Do you know of anyone you think should be on the FTN podcast? Shoot us a note, we’d love to hear!

PS: If you're looking for that special gift this holiday season for someone in your life who has ADD, ADHD, or any kind of neurodiverse brain, how about a conversation with me? I've finally been convinced to join Cameo, where you can request videos, shout-outs, birthday greetings, even a one-on-one talk about how ADHD is a superpower! You can find me on Cameo here!​

 

TRANSCRIPT: 

Hello everyone. My name is Peter Shankman. You are listening to Faster Than Normal. We believe that ADHD is a gift, not a curse and that all forms of neurodiversity are valid. We're glad you're here. 

Oh, You are listening to Faster Than Normal. How do I know this? Cause I am currently doing the interview. My name is Peter Shankman. I am thrilled that you are here. It is a gorgeous, it's just become a gorgeous day. We had a massive snow storm here about three hours ago. Now it is gorgeous. It ran all night. There's tons of, well, now it's all brown snow on the ground. This is New York city, but it is now the sun is out. The clouds are fading away. It is a, if you, if it wasn't 12 degrees out, you think it was just a beautiful day to go for a run. It probably means that I will not be doing that. So instead, I'll be doing an interview. Today’s interview is with Rachel McBride. We got a professional Ironman triathlete, and three time Ironman, 70.3 champion on the podcast and I’ll give you a hint, it's not me. It's Rach.. because when I do. My Ironman. I occasionally finished. I occasionally wind up in an ambulance. It really depends on the day, but the person we have right now is professional Ironman triathlete. I'm very excited about that. 

Known as the purple tiger, Rach is known for racing and training with grit and resilience. Having run half Ironman on broken feet, racing iron man with food poisoning to qualify for the world champions in Kona and races, an undefeated beer mile champion. I want to hear all about that. Rach is deemed the most interesting person in triathlon by TRS radio. Rach is also the first special triathlete to be out as gender non binary. That means that we do not call Rachel, we call each by the pronouns that Rachel prefers, which in this case is that I'm going to try really hard to say they, and I apologize in advance if I, if I subconsciously go back to she, but I'm going to work really, really hard on that. Um, I have a couple of friends who are non-binary and it's something I'm constantly trying to get better at not surprising that Rachel was recently diagnosed with ADD. Two graduate degrees in genetics and an accomplished cellist. Very interesting. Having toured the U S before in Europe with various bands, Rachel has being a minimalist nice continues to hone their fire spinning of course, you're a fire spinner. Why not? And currently works in sexual health education advocacy in beautiful Vancouver, Canada, Rachel, welcome to Faster Than Normal. What an awesome bio! 

Oh, thanks, I am super excited to be on your podcast. I'm a big fan. I, I, you know, I'm a huge, the more I learn about your, the more my God, three times 70.3 champion, we're talking about that you, you were deemed the most interesting person in triathlon by TRS radio, and we have something in common. I was deemed one of the funniest people in triathlon by traffic magazine. So Hey. You might not know a little secret. I made the video that I have no doubt that you saw about 10 years ago after my first iron man, 10 years ago, this past October, I made a video called I'm training for an Ironman where these two guys or a guy and a girl talking to each other and the girl goes, Do you wanna go get some dinner? And the guy says I can't. I have to go to bed at 6:00 PM. And she goes, what the hell is wrong with you? He goes, I'm training for an iron man. And it wound up getting picked up Lance Armstrong before we knew he was made of chemicals, tweeted it and it blew up and has several million views. And if you've been in racing triathlons, as long as you have, I'm sure you've seen it. 

So can't believe that I'm talking to the person who created that video! 

It was based on an actual conversation with an ex-girlfriend who would help, who helped me. I trained for Kona while we were dating. And is that not going to Cozumel while we're dating and as soon as the, um, as soon as the, uh, triathlon ended, you know, we broke up and then that was, that was, uh, uh, a combination of all the conversations we had. 

So, yes. So I love it. 

So why triathlon? What got you into it to begin with? Let's start there. 

Well, so I, um, basically spent most of my adult hood, uh, not as an athlete at all. Um, and I was actually doing my, I had really changed my life a whole lot gone from like being really involved in the Toronto music scene, uh, to doing my first masters in Ottawa, Canada, where it is freezing cold in the winters. Yeah. Um, and I was really hating life and not super happy with what I was doing and where I was. And so I decided to run a marathon and I trained for a marathon. I qualified for Boston. Um, I had done a little, yeah, I had run until I was 15. I had done like back in cross country. Um, and uh, after running Boston, I, a mentor of mine was like, Hey, I think you could be an elite triathlete. And I was like, well, I mean, this person knew me as an athlete, as a runner, but, you know, I, and I swam when I was a kid.

So I had a little bit of that and I had been a bike commuter all my life. So first of all, for some reason I took that idea of being an elite triathlete. And I was like, yeah, I'm going to do it. And so I started training really hard. I did my first triathlon, uh, 13 years ago and almost won it and just like it just took over the state, took, took over my life. I just, I couldn't, you know, the smile I had on my face when I came out of the swim and got onto my bike, I was like, Oh my goodness, I'm doing this. I'm loving it. Hm. What do you, so, so when were you diagnosed today? Um, I was diagnosed with add earlier this year.

Wow. So it's brand new to you. How much of, how much of a part do you think A DD played in. You deciding? Yeah, let's just run a marathon. Oh, here we qualified for Boston. Let's run that. Or, Hey, let's do a trip, you know? Do you think that when you said you were very unhappy, right? You said he used to run as a kid and then you stopped.

Do you think that the running helped you up until you're like 15 and 16 and you stopped running? And when you, when you lost that sort of that you probably didn't even know you were having. Do you think that had an impact exactly like this is the thing with the, this is what's been so profound for me is that this recent diagnosis has made all of these like puzzle pieces of my life finally fit into place and like why, for why I have gone from like career to career, to career and then found triathlon and have been in this now for I've been a full-time professional for 10 years. And I can't believe that I've stuck in this for 10 years, because usually I get bored and I move on what I have and what I realized when I became a full-time athlete. I'm like this, this doesn't feel like work to me. This doesn't feel like a job. Like I love my life. I love waking up every day and doing this and didn't realize that like a quote unquote job could feel like this. And I think what is so special about me finding this as, um, as an athlete, is that as a person with ADD is that it is absolutely self-made at medicating. You know, all of the things that I'm learning about, like how to cope with ADD symptoms is like exercise, exercise, exercise, and structure, and it like, this is checking so many of those boxes, plus it's three different sports. If I was just in one sport, I think I would be so bored. I would not have lasted this long, but because I have to get to swim, I get to bike, I get to run. It's like super varied and I get to travel all over the world and I get to, you know, explore so many different places, even mine in my own neighborhood. Like, you know, it, it keeps me super entertained. And obviously for the past decade. 

I think one of the interesting things you said, um, is pretty awesome. The concept that it is self-medicating. And I remember when I quit drinking and I started focusing on my health and getting in shape and working out, I would, there were times where I was probably like, you know, five years ago, it has been go to the gym two times a day.

Right. Or I'd go out for I'd wake up at 3:00 AM because it was the only time I'd do a 10 mile run, you know, before I had to lift at 7:00 AM, be in the office by eight and. I remember I had a friend of mine. He goes, dude, you're self-medicating, you're just, you just switched one addiction for another. I'm like, um, yeah, where's, where's the, where's the downside there, you know, and I really didn't see it.

I still don't see it. Right. Absolutely. I think, and I think what, what sport helps me do as well is, and why I'm so successful as it added is because it's a way for me to, I can hyper-focus in there. So I, because of how my brain works, I can, in my Ironman swims, I'm literally singing the same, like verse of a song over and over and over and over and over for an hour. And that helps me, like calms me. Focuses me. And then, you know, the same thing on the bike and the run it's like that I'm able to like be in, in that. And it's super hyper-focusing. 

It has to be an ADHD trait because my first half iron man in 2009, um, to get through that, you know, you're not allowed to wear headphones and music has been my life in any extra that I've ever done all my life and so. The first race I ever did. First half Ironman. I'm like, Oh my God, I can't wear headphones. How am I going to get through this? And I found myself, I sang the entire, I recited the entire on the bike, the entire script back to the future and on the run, the entire script to midnight run. And, you know, I mean, there were times when I'd be, I'd be passing people more like if people were passing me, but you know, I remember passing one guy and, and, and he hears, and looks at me strangely cause out of my mouth comes, “you guys are the worst bounty hunters I've ever seen. You couldn't bring back a bottle of milk!?” And he looked at me, he goes, like, “yeah, just have a good race”. And you know, but, but, but that works right. And, and, and the premise of being able to do something in our brain that gives us after four minutes gives us those chemicals for as long as we want for as long as we can, you know, technically sustain it. Right. Is, is I just think one of the miracles of the human body and the human brain. And I don't mean to be trite by that, but it really, you know, I'm upset. I'm frustrated, I'm angry. Let's get on the bike. Let's go for a run. Let's go for a swim. Um, tell me about, so tell me about training because a lot of times when I talk to athletes with ADHD, one of two things happens. They wake up and my God, they love to train on certain days and they wake up and, Oh my God, I, this the last thing I want to do, I'll I'll murder 14 people and eat ants before I have to get on that bike or go for that run over that one. 

Yeah. I mean, for me, I am definitely the person who wakes up and is like pretty excited to train. It's tough. It's obviously not every day. And I do what keeps me going is the accountability of like having coaches, um, who I know are paying attention to what I'm doing. And also, um, having sponsors and fans and supporters who are. They're behind me. And so it's, it's like this level of accountability that keeps me going every day. 

How, I mean, I do wake up in the morning and it definitely takes me a couple of hours to, to get ready to go. Um, and I'm really good at procrastinating too. So I, I have to, if I don't work out first thing in the morning when I wake up, I simply do not work out. And I have had, um, uh, you know, if I, if I have to do it. You know, in the evening, um, I will think of a reason, you know, I've, I've said this in the podcast before I'll be walking to the gym, you know, from my office, like, you know, I read an article in the news, there's an asteroid orbiting Pluto, you know, just to be safe and I figure out a way not to do it. And so, so, so, you know, the question becomes, um, what do you tell yourself? How do you sometimes when you don't want to do, but you have to, what do you do. 

Um, yeah, I mean, I'm, I'm really in that same boat of when I, so I work, um, once a week at, uh, in sexual health and it's basically a seven hour or eight hour shift in front of a computer and talking on the phone and at the end of that shift, I am completely wiped. And I, if I, it is really challenging for me to, to get in that workout. And I really just for me, I just, I can't think about it. I just need to, like, I need to have a plan and a time. So it's like, if I have a swim then, okay. My swim is scheduled for like five o'clock. I've got to be there or a gym session. It's like, it's on the way home. So I can't hesitate basically. Um, And, you know, when I first started triathlon and I, when I first started, I was, I was really quickly at an elite level and training at an elite level and still working full time. So I was like up at four 30 in the pool at five, working from seven 30 to three 30, doing another workout in the afternoon and evening, and then like getting up and doing it all over again. And. It was basically, I felt like I just wasn't thinking, I just like had to keep plowing forward. Um, and I think that's kind of one of those super powers that I have as a person with a brain like this is, um, is just that ability to just like keep moving forward. 

You know, you mentioned something interesting. I want to go back to, you said that you, you, you don't mind this and you don't mind the workouts because it doesn't feel like work. Right. And I think that it's really important that our audience understand that and that we bring a little bit more into that because a lot of times add ADHD. One of the biggest issues with that is that we are as human beings. We are forced into doing things that are, uh, considered normal by everyday standards, but aren't necessarily normal for people like us, for instance, a nine to five job or some kind of work that, uh, You know, we don't necessarily love. Um, and it starts when we're really young, um, as, as, as kids, right. You know, in school where we have to sit there and not move and, and, and, and be told to pay attention, it's difficult for us. But what you said is pretty awesome, because what you mentioned is that if you love it, it doesn't feel like work. It doesn't feel like you need to, you know, you have to do this. It doesn't feel like you have to do this. You're, you're happy to do this. Right. And that's the thing that I'm noticing. Um, And I think we should touch on, because a lot of kids, adults who are just diagnosed ADHD, they haven't realized yet that the reason they're quote unquote not good at school or the reason they're quote unquote, not happy with, with their job, whatever it is because they're being forced to do something that isn't necessarily normal for them, even though it is for many other people, you know, along the premise of I became an entrepreneur because I didn't play well with others.

Right. And sitting in the office from nine to five, wasn't my thing. Precisely. And this is why I'm like, when I figured this out, it really made everything click into place of like, because I had spent my, the majority of my twenties trying to do that, like Trump, when I'm wondering what was wrong with me of like, why do I hate sitting in front of this, like computer being at this.

 

Like going to the same place every single day and having to be there from nine to five, like, why is this so torturous? And I, my brain is not there. Like I'm incredibly inefficient at work. And, um, and so when I discovered triathlon, it totally took over my brain space and then I was getting nothing done at work. And, uh, and so. It. Yeah, it really was. It has now given me permission to, to, and I think this is what I, from listening to your podcast as well, and, and hearing about all of these other folks who have made these incredible careers, um, out of like, yeah, doing, having their own schedule, being their own boss. And this is one of the biggest things that I've been saying throughout my career. Now, when I, when I, now, when I'm thinking about like, what am I going to do when I'm not able to perform at this level? And I have to. It's figure out a new career. I have these now stipulations. 

Absolutely. I cannot go to the same place every day. I probably can't have a boss. I absolutely can't sit in front of a computer for eight hours a day and I definitely cannot work nine to five. I can't have a set schedule. I need to work on my time. One of the things about COVID, um, has for me anyway, has gone, has me, has been me going from 250,000 miles a year on the road on a plane to zero and it required a lot of readjustment, because it's been a very tough ride for me to sort of get to that point where I'm like, okay, I'm not going crazy sitting in front of a computer because that's deliberately what I carved my life out to not do. Right. And all of a sudden, you know, here I am doing that and it's been tough, but I think I've managed.

What are you, um, how has, how has COVID impacted you? I mean, obviously you went, you said you went to Daytona a couple weeks ago to race. I wanna hear about that, but how did you, how have you survived, been surviving the last nine months? 

Well, truly, um, I live in an incredible place. So BC is so beautiful. And in my, in the recent years, I've gotten a lot more into gravel writing and really I have just, I basically pivoted. So, you know, it took me out of the really structured training, but that, but now I was able to like, kind of do some of the things that I I'd always wanted to do. W, you know, athletic, you basically use my fitness to go and have adventures. So I went and spent a week in the riding gravel in the Rocky mountains. I went up to Northern BC and did a bunch of gravel riding and, um, basically just. And then exploring the trails here, um, in, in our, in, in my neighborhoods, like we have incredible mountains here. Uh, and so it was really about creating a structure in a different way and tapping into some of those, like, I love adventure and I have like these huge goals of, of doing ultra distance things in my future and so it was a little bit of a, you know, starting to explore a bit of that. 

Well, we'll talk about Daytona. What was it like? And it was the first, I mean, I haven't, I haven't done it yet. God's been well over a year now. I was supposed to do Kona this year and that obviously did not happen so hoping for 21, but yeah, I finally get to meet you.

That'd be great. And well, well, if you want to hang out, I mean, I guess if you want to hang out for like another eight hours after you finish, you know, you'll eventually see me cross the other side as well, and then that'd be fun. Um, what, tell me about the experience with, for you. 

Um, Daytona was really incredible. I mean, talk about having something to inspire the world of triathlon into 2021. Um, you know, the, the, the race was such a unique format. It was an incredible field of full of, you know, short course Olympians and long course world champions. And it was an incredibly dynamic race and really unique, I mean, being at the Daytona international Speedway and having the whole course on that, it was incredibly spectator friendly and you got a whole lot of spectator, uh, support and, um, and B it was like, you know, you're going around in a circle 20 times. Of course, uh, it is, uh, it is a really different animal than anything I think that any of us had ever raised. And so you saw, you saw the carnage on the run that, that bike had the toll that it had taken out on all of us. And, um, it was, it was a very, very cool experience even to just like connect with the triathlon community again. You know, we were all socially distanced and masked, but you know, you still felt that, that connection. And I think the response afterwards, I have heard from all over the world of people, just like, I'm so glad that that happened. Um, because it's been really motivating to, to take us into 2021. 

Well, the interesting things about that race, I'd be curious about your opinion, you know, most, most uh, Ironman, most, most half Ironman. You, you, you write a course outside and it's, you know, a set map, right? Like, um, when it, last time I did Atlantic city, it's, you know, you start by the boardwalk and you ride through the streets and you get onto the highway and you read the highway for a while. And then you repeat that three times. And there's your six miles. Um, this was 20 times around, uh, a race track, as you mentioned. And as I was watching it, I was, I was chatting with a bunch of my, my, my triathlon friends. And they're like, Oh my God, it's so boring. I'd kill myself this way. My first thought was. Actually that's awesome because my ADHD brain looking at it that way is able to count down. That's okay. 20. Okay. 19. Okay. 18. And to me, my God, I feel like every track I'm going to be that. 

Yeah. I mean that, I was actually, I loved that aspect of it because I mean, that's what you have to do with those big efforts is like, you know, take them down into smaller blocks and it was so easy to do. And exactly like, it was basically just like having that song on repeat just like going, going, you know? And, and so it really allowed me to do. But a hyper-focus and that those two hours on the bike went by in a flash. It was incredible. 

Yeah. And that's, like I said, that's probably, to me that would have been the best part because, you know, I remember Cozumel full Ironman and even that was three times a week around, um, the Island. Right. And it was flat, but it was still three times. And so even. Even with the headwinds, which were just, Oh my God, I wouldn't wish on anybody. Even with that. I remember thinking, okay. Three, okay. Two. Okay. One, but it was still 33, 30, six, 33 miles a piece. I feel like 20 times around would have been a lot. Cause it's a much less mileage. It would have been easier for the brain to break down. Cause that's really the first time we ever start running. Right. And so, okay. I just wanna get to that light post right. The second time. Okay. I just want to get to that tree. Okay. I just wanna do a mile and you know, I, I think that as human creatures, we just do that. And when you're ADHD, it actually benefits you that much more because you in your head it's, I mean, how many times have you run a race where you're trying to calculate what your time's going to be? Okay. If I could do this X mile and X, X minutes, then the mile after that would be nine minutes and that, you know, and then if I do the run right every time on the bike, I'm like, okay, if I can get this time with a bike that gives me.

 

You know, I could say I could walk X hours. Right. But yeah. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And I mean, I would argue in Cozumel too, I've done that race twice. Uh, that those three loops you can actually divide those loops into four bits, like jungle part. You've got the bottom part. You've got the windy part. You got the town part. Yeah. I am. I'm scared to death about Kona. I'm gonna have to get, I'm going to get there a week earlier and do exactly that like 10 miles a piece. Okay. This is 10 miles of this is the 10 minutes, you know, just to make it through, but. Tell me, um, what would you suggest? 

So, so it's obvious that that, that, that exercise is, is sort of the best potential fixer for ADHD, add and ADHD, the best thing to keep it used as an advantage. So knowing that, what do you, what's the one piece of advice you'd give to listeners when you, when they say it, uh, you know, I just, I don't exercise. I'm too fat. I'm too thin up to this. I've never done it before, whatever, what's the first, the only, the best advice you can give to them that says, Hey, here's why you can do this. Or how to start it or whatever. Yeah, yeah. 

Yeah. I mean, I think first of all, um, you need to choose something that you, that you enjoy. Like if you hate running, don't start running, like find something that you find interesting. Like whether that's like, maybe you love to dance. So like, you know, doing the Zumba classes or whatever, um, and setting a setting a schedule, like having something accountable. And so, you know, and. You know, really that breaking it down into that smaller bits of like, okay, let's just do this for three weeks. Or like, let's just do this for a week. Let's do two workouts this week. And then, you know, two workouts this week and try and set that structure and set that accountability. I think those two, those three things are the most important something you enjoy having a structure and having accountability. 

That was a great quote, quick left, final question. Um, make this a lightning round. What is your favorite? Your one piece of tech that you can't train or race without? Um, you know, honestly right now, it's my Loop. Uh, my heart rate, variability monitor. I live and breathe by this attracts everything attracts my workouts attracts my sleep, but yeah, everything. What's your resting heart rate. If you comfortable telling us, uh, my resting heart rate, it's usually around 54. 

Crazy. Okay. That's that's I, all of a sudden, I don't feel anywhere near as out of shape as I should be. Cause that's, that's the same as mine, so I feel pretty awesome right now. I'm not going to put an Ironman. That's okay. Um, final question. Uh, if you had to, if you were forced to live in one place by yourself for six months, with only three items, what would they be? 

Three items. Um, Pair of running shoes. Um, Oh gosh, three items, a pair of running shoes. I mean, I have to say my bike and, um, coffee. 

Hah! Great answers. I like that. Very, very cool. Thank you so much, guys. Listening to Rach McBride, a phenomenal interview. I definitely want to have you back before Kona. If nothing else would talk me off the ledge. So I'm looking forward to that. 

I will repeat really fast. My favorite, um, story that came out of my first time. And I was, uh, I had been running, uh, an internet company that had gotten some. President was pretty popular back then called help a reporter out. And, um, people that used it and thousands, a hundred thousand people use it. One of the people that use it was, was the head of, um, uh, public relations for jelly belly. Um, and Joey makes sport beans and I'm sure you've, you know, sport games. And so they, I, I mentioned in one of my emails, my love of scorpions, and they sent me a jersey, um, that said, um, that all of it had pictured jelly beans all over the other. It's gorgeous. I've worn it for like, everybody's sort of done it. So. Um, I'm sitting on the docks because it has, I'm a waiting for the race to repair like 5:00 AM. I couldn't sleep. I got up early, went down there, you know, and I'm just sitting, watching the water, the chilled water, I see a Manatee. I'm like, Oh, it looks like me. And, um, you know, I'm just watching, watching any, uh, a German triathlete, obviously a pro, um, comes over to me and says, ah, he sees my shirt. He goes, I see you to a sponsored athlete. Um, Yeah, they gave me a shirt and he goes, well, you know, this is, this is good. This is good. This is it'd be good. Good to race against other professionals. Are you, are you, are you hoping to place? He actually looked at me and asked me if I was hoping to place. Um, and I looked at him and of course it's wearing a shirt, says D’avella. Yeah. Right. Obviously sponsored by sir. Um, I noticed from your shirt, you're sponsored by D’avella one of the, obviously the fast triathalon bikes in the world. Sir, if you look at my shirt and then see I’m sponsored by fucking candy, and I'm not hoping to place, he goes with, what is your time goal? I go, it's the same day. I need you to just go over there. And that was how I started my first iron man German guy asked me if I was trying to place in the race. So it was, it was, it was a fun experience. But, uh, thank you so much for taking the time to come out today, to talk to us. I'm looking forward to chatting with you again, and we got so much more. We need even get to talk about your, your, your other skills, all that stuff. So that's going to have to come up next. We'll definitely have you back in like a month or so. And then we'll, we'll do this again. Amazing. I love it. Awesome. Thank you so much. Happy training and stay safe guys, Faster Than Normal is here for you. We want to know what you think as, as, um, I'm recording this probably like 13 days. So the end of the year, we're hoping that 2021 is a better year. I want to know who you want to hear. Um, you, uh, Rachel actually came suggested to us from a mutual friend. So if you have anyone you think who has ADHD or just an interesting person, has a story to tell about diversity. Do you think they should be in the podcast? I'd love to hear from them. Should have them shoot me an email. peter@shaman.com or shoot me an email. Introduce us whatever the case may be. We're looking for great guests in 2021. Like we've had for the past four years. Thank you all for listening. I appreciate it.

Stay safe. Stay healthy. Wear the mask. ADHD is a gift, not a curse. We'll see you soon.

Credits: You've been listening to the Faster Than Normal podcast. We're available on iTunes, Stitcher and Google play and of course at www.FasterThanNormal.com I'm your host, Peter Shankman and you can find me at petershankman.com and @petershankman on all of the socials. If you like what you've heard, why not head over to your favorite podcast platform of choice and leave us a review, come more people who leave positive reviews, the more the podcast has shown, and the more people we can help understand that ADHD is a gift, not a curse. Opening and closing themes were performed by Steven Byrom and the opening introduction was recorded by Bernie Wagenblast. Thank you so much for listening. We'll see you next week. 

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