I am a certified coach for neurospicy innovators. My coaching incorporates over a decade of experience of advising tech executives in strategy and human behavior, as well as deep expertise in user experience and market research.
I help people (especially those who identify as ADHD) work with to their nervous systems to do big, world-changing work.
You are listening to episode 206 of The Confident Coaches Podcast. The one where we’re going to get a little neuro spicy again. Let’s go.
Welcome to The Confident Coaches Podcast, a place for creating the self-confidence you need to do your best work as a life coach. If you want to bring more boldness, more resilience, and more joy to your work, this is the place for you.
I’m your host. Amy Latta. Let’s dive in.
I have one of the best episodes I think I might have done. This is going to rank so high up there. I absolutely know it. Today, I am interviewing one of my coaches. I am interviewing Megan Kierstead, my ADHD coach, and the conversation you’re about to listen to.
Number one, it is for both the neuro spicy and the neuro spicy curious, you do not have to have ADHD or any form of neurodivergence to get a huge amount of value out of the conversation that you’re getting ready to hear by the end of this episode, you will not only have a better understanding, of how ADHD can present and how it’s showing up, how the world is functioning versus how we function.
But also at the end, we just have what I really think is a beautiful conversation around how you as a coach can become a better coach. For all clients, both neurodivergent and not. And Megan offers some really powerful, yet simple questions. And this will be a conversation for all. I hope you enjoy.
Okay. Coaches. I am very honored and excited to invite my ADHD coach on this is Miss Megan Kierstead, ADHD coach, behavioral designer, and Neurospicy Innovator. Welcome Megan to the podcast. How are you?
Megan: I’m fabulous. I’m really happy to be here, especially because apparently, it’s ADHD awareness month. By the way, it’s on brand that I don’t know that, like that is just a hundred percent on brand.
Amy: So yeah, out of the gate. Know that I had no idea I happened to see it and said, hey, I should have Megan on emailed her. She signed up. We’re here and it’s news to her too. If all of that sounds familiar, you are in the right place because this is how we work. So, I am unsure exactly where I found you.
We met on the internet. We friended somehow tons of mutual friends. Saw you talking about Your black sheep program and ADHD. And if you are new to the podcast, I was diagnosed in March after and I turned 49 in April. So, we’re talking about a very long time of being an undiagnosed woman, mom, entrepreneur, homemaker, business owner, all of the things.
And I kind of thought. Some things, I’ve always kind of known that I was different and yet the beginning of this year, I was almost nonfunctioning, which I have shared in past episodes about, particularly in the month of January, I was like, something’s wrong. I could barely get out of bed some days. I couldn’t put a sentence together.
I, it was rough. It was really rough. And it eventually led me to, and it’s 1 of the reasons why I wanted to have you on Megan and why I think your work is so important. And I had other friends on the Internet talking about getting diagnosed with ADHD and what that looked like. And because they were just sharing, it gave me a doorway to find out.
Hey, does it not sound like me. So, Megan, let me ask you how you. How did this become your thing? Like, what’s, like how did you get here? Because I’m assuming you didn’t wake up in high school and be like, I’m going to grow up to be an ADHD coach.
Megan: Oh, no. I didn’t know I had ADHD in high school, though it would have been really nice if I did.
Yes. So, I, I got diagnosed like, I think I was 23, 24, which nowadays actually seems early because a lot of the people I encounter are getting diagnoses much later in life. But at that time, especially this would have been 14 years ago, something like that, going on 15 years ago, you know, you were either diagnosed in childhood, or it was very rarely in adulthood.
Now, luckily, because of increased awareness, more people are getting diagnosed, but I didn’t know until after college, and High school in particular was very challenging for me. College was better because I got to do more of what I was interested in, but I started to see you know, it was very much a similar experience where I started seeing a psychologist because something was wrong.
Like, it was clear that the world did not work for me, and I was feeling very anxious, depressed, which is really common, by the way, if you are undiagnosed neurodivergent to either feel very anxious or depressed or both. This is why there are a lot of people who get diagnosed with both of those when they sort of start seeing a psychiatrist for the first time.
And I had no idea, especially this was before TikTok. This was before, you know, the world we live in now. I had no idea. The psychologist was like, I’m pretty sure you have ADHD. I was like, what? No, that’s not possible. No, I was not like a hyperactive kid bouncing all over the place, which was the stereotype, especially boys.
It was very much boys and like, you’d really struggle in school and there were all these stereotypes, you know, you’re bouncing off the wall and it turns out. It’s not nearly that simple, which is why we’re seeing a lot more people getting diagnosed now, especially women, especially adult women who have historically been high achieving in one way, shape, or form, because it turns out.
Yeah. ADHD doesn’t make you dumb. And I have no idea what you’re talking about. Exactly. I know. Yeah. I work almost exclusively with like high achieving humans who at some point realized, Oh God, this could be easier. Yeah. So, I actually worked in tech for over a decade. I was a social science researcher.
I researched people and behavior. And what I found as I was doing that, I was learning more about myself and ADHD and how to adapt to things. And one of the things that I found to be deeply frustrating about the corporate world, even though I worked in startups, even though I worked in less traditional environments was how much there were expectations on me to behave a certain way and function in a certain way in a nine to five jobs in a very like structured, linear, organized way.
And I would frequently get sick and. And I have chronic migraines, so all of these, like, came together, and at some point, you know, I started working with a coach. I didn’t know coaching was a thing until sometime in my 30s, and lo and behold, it entirely changed my life, which everyone who listened to the podcast probably has a similar experience where, like, you discover coaching.
And then at some point, I realized I wanted to leave tech because… Of lots of reasons I don’t need to get into, but it includes a lack of support for people who function differently and I started coaching and it became more and more obvious that we needed to be having more conversations about how it’s okay to function differently and relate to productivity differently and relate to how we work differently and that was always a theme also of the kind of work I did in tech.
So, it’s sort of emerged organically, which is also how I used to operate. So that’s at a high level what my story was, but I definitely never set out to be like, I’m going to be an ADHD coach and it just sort of happened.
Amy: And it’s really interesting. Cause I can already see something that you just said was you.
It sounded like you had this awareness that your environment wasn’t optimized for you, or I didn’t.
Megan: Yeah, and I just thought. I think that’s one of my gifts, honestly, like, is seeing that the environment is just totally wrong. I thought I was totally wrong.
Amy: Like, like, I was like, clearly the environment is fine because look at all these people thriving in it, but I’m not thriving in it.
So maybe I just need to work harder, try harder. I need to buckle down. Here’s all the phrases, right? I need to buckle down more. I have performance reviews from Pratt. Of like, you need to be better at organizing and everything was like, here are all these tips of like, and I’m like yes, I’m going to implement these systems and I’m going to implement it.
Never ever occurred to me. That the problem was outside of me.
Megan: Yeah, right? Well, and that’s what we’re told. Especially because we are, you know, it starts in school. Like, there’s a right answer and a wrong answer. And if you’re not getting the right answer, it’s your fault. You need to learn it and adapt to it.
Whereas it turns out, real world, one, there are very rarely right answers. And two, sometimes the system itself is the thing that’s broken, not the person. In fact, I would, I now default to assuming it’s something with the system. Rather, it’s the person and if a system doesn’t support a diverse set of humans and capabilities and skills, then the system’s wrong.
Not that, that might come because I worked in user experience. So, it was very much like supporting different types of people. Now, not everyone in user experience is like that, but that was one of my things. So now I look at the world and I’m like. Why can’t we support this? Especially because we know there’s so many advantages to having different types of minds working on similar problems.
Amy: And something that you just said there reminds me of the and I’m going to butcher it a little bit, but like systems operate exactly how they’re designed to operate. Meaning like, it’s, if the, if you aren’t function, like. The system is designed, and if there’s, you’re not thriving in there, then it’s like this, it’s operating the way that it’s supposed to be.
So, while there’s probably generate and at least an entire generation, because I’m, you know, being the age that I am gen X woman. Those of us who kept like, well, it can’t be the system that’s wrong.
Megan: Yeah, I think I benefited. I’m a little younger. I’m not, I mean, I’m about to turn 38. So, I think one of the interesting things about when I was growing up is we were seeing these just huge changes because like, yeah, I remember what it was like to not have computers, but also computers were very much part of how I grew up.
So, so I got to see like, Wait a minute. So much is changing here. Why can’t we change it in ways that work for people? So, I mean interestingly enough the remote work crisis that’s happening in a lot of places. There are all these existential crises about letting people work remotely. And that was something that I was a huge proponent of early on because I knew.
That particularly neurodivergent humans often need a different literal physical working environment. And I remember having a conversation with one of my bosses where she said, I need to be in the office, not for any reason related to my work directly, but literally to, you know, have people see my face.
And I just burst into tears, like uncontrollable sobbing, because it was so clear that she didn’t understand how exhausting it was for me to do that. On a day-to-day basis, I could do it sometimes, but it had always had a cost and it wasn’t like a neutral thing for me. It was something that required so much extra work and she just didn’t understand.
And that’s how the system wasn’t supporting me, and this shows up in many different ways. That’s just one example, but the world doesn’t support things. But it could. That’s the part that gets me fired up. It’s like, it’s not like there is no solution here. There are often amazing, incredible, easy solutions as long as people are willing to adapt and be flexible and, you know, question things a little bit.
Amy: like to that point of like the system is producing the outcome exactly as it was designed to and we’re just now starting to say, hey, maybe we need to redesign systems. And I feel like definitely my parents’ generation and a lot of people who are my age or just we were so trained. To adapt the system, and if you do that, and so now I think we’re in this, I hope we’re in this stage of like, okay, if the system is producing exactly what is designed to do, and it’s not working for everybody, then let’s.
What modifications do we need to make?
Megan: Yeah, exactly. And that includes people being aware that there’s nothing wrong with them, and that they don’t need to have anything to be ashamed of. They don’t need to adapt. In fact, the system needs to adapt to them. And it’s a big mindset shift, but once you do it, it opens up a whole different world.
Because you’re like, wait, I don’t actually have to work. According to a calendar and blocking my time or whatever version that is, I calendars, and I just died a little bit right there because calendars and ADHD usually have some very interesting relationships, but like you don’t have to do that. It turns out there are a million different ways to organize your time.
Or relate to time, but because we assume we’re taught, like, these are the best ways or the only ways, people don’t question that. So, what I view as one of my jobs is to sort of just tell people, like, it turns out you can do it another way and it’s okay. And it’s fine. And the world is not going to explode.
And there’s nothing wrong with you if you need to do it a different way. Which is, you know, really the core of, like, a lot of what I talk about. Especially when paired with, like, not being ashamed of it. I have also plenty of rants about shame. Oh, yes. And how it’s not useful at all.
Amy: I’m going to stick a pin in about where I was going to go.
Because I do want to talk about that. That has been Sophie. If y’all want a little behind, behind the scenes, when I came into Megan’s introductory program, it was like, I’m going to have her help me figure out my system. And that’s not what we did.
Megan: This is really common, by the way, Amy is not the only one who has this experience.
Amy: I was like, oh, so I have ADHD and she’s an ADHD expert. So, I’m going to hire her to help me figure out what’s the system works for me. And instead, what we ended up doing was shame work and it reframed everything. In a very uncomfortable and also very emotional way from for me.
And so, let’s, all right, fine. Let’s talk about that. Why is that so common? I’m not an anomaly.
Megan: You, what you saw in me is very common. Well, I think there are a few reasons, I think, why this is common. One, people get a diagnosis and a lot of the sort of common memes out there are like, you know, you just have to come up with some different systems to work for you.
By the way, there is a little bit of truth in that. But you can’t do that, and have it been sustainable until you learn how to fuel yourself using a different form of motivation that is not based on shame. Because a lot of what ADHD comes down to is a different form of motivation. We are more motivated by interest and stimulation and engagement compared to certain other types of nervous systems.
That is like, we are driven by that. And because… Neurodivergence means that we often are in a world that doesn’t accept us, that tells us we are doing things wrong. You get that message. I think that I forget what the statistic is, but it’s something like by 6th grade, people with ADHD hear negative messages about themselves 20, 000 more times.
Which is just appalling. Like, unsurprisingly.
You end up learning to motivate yourself with guilt and shame. Like, that is one of the primary tools that people with ADHD learn to motivate themselves. And it feels awful, but if that’s the only way you know how to motivate yourself. That’s how you’ve learned how to do things. It’s also, to be fair, its why procrastination is a really big problem.
You know, essentially until the feelings of, like, guilt and shame get so overwhelming that you just do the thing, you keep doing that. So, the important piece here is, like, no system is going to fix that. Like, ever. If you are, you’re fueling yourself with like really dirty, icky fuel that like burns you out occasionally, that isn’t sustainable, that doesn’t, you know, address procrastination or any of these things that we demonize, which I also have feelings about, but you need to be fueling yourself with interest, with stimulation, with engagement, and until you do that, no system will work, at least sustainably.
You will keep going through the burnout cycles, which is why, I mean, it’s, I do a lot of like system and process work with people, but the shaming work is a huge part of it and often comes first and is sort of like a prerequisite to that kind of stuff being sustainable because it just sucks your soul and the joy out of everything and joy is like one of the most beautiful parts of having ADHD. We are joyful people generally.
Amy: We are a joyful people. And it’s funny because. That’s why January was so different because for the first time, I’m looking back and I’m thinking my entire life, the shame of missing a deadline was no longer enough to make me do the work at the 11th hour.
Megan: Yep. And that happens.
Yeah. That’s the other thing. The stakes, essentially you just start getting to a point where it’s like, well, I’m a broken fucked up human. Sorry. I’m not allowed to swear. Oh, you’re 100 percent allowed to swear. I thought so, but like, I’m conscious. I was just on public, like public radio. And I had this like thing about being like, oh my God, I’m going to swear and like, get them fined by the FCC.
Amy: Yeah, I totally thought like back in January, I like totally thought I am just so fucked up. I can’t even like. I was doing a live training. I was so excited about the live training. I was going live in the wrong group. I was sending the stuff to the wrong place. I was so, and for 48 years of my life, previously, I was able to like, find that, and it’s not even a sixth gear.
It’s like a seventh or an eighth gear, right? You’re just like, and you can like, bring it home.
Megan: Well, and you can like hear them, I mean, like, if you think about it, you can feel the gears grinding, making that terrible noise. And like the exhaust is like gross and smelly and polluted. You get it, you get there, but like, it is awful.
It eventually breaks you down. Like, I mean, the things that I’ve seen happen and it even happens with me occasionally. Like I, I still, especially I have some chronic illness that makes it worse, but like these cycles where essentially, you’re using these eighth gear diesel powered.
Terribleness to fuel yourself. And of course, inevitably at some point, like your engine’s like, yeah, we can’t do that anymore. How much pressure you put on the accelerator. It’s just like we’re broken.
Amy: And I mean, like physical sense, my engine just after 48 years stopped in January. I was like, we’re not, we, I, we’re not doing this anymore.
And I didn’t know what was wrong with me. I was like, do I have depression? Like, maybe I have depression. Now, and I, you mentioned it earlier, I used to joke that I go, I think I have like a light form of anxiety and that, but I knew people who had like legitimate, like, I don’t want to say like one’s legitimate and one’s not, but like diagnosed anxiety.
Megan: And I’m like, that is there like, you know, one of the, if we’re talking about root cause. Sort of like that. Yeah.
Amy: Yeah. I’m like, no, they have an anxiety disorder. I just have this like constant anxiety all of the time. So, I knew that wasn’t quite it. And then I, when this happened in January, when my 8th gear just wasn’t working anymore, and my engine just blew up, blew out.
And I was, you know, it’s always worked my entire life just stopped working and I completely shut down and I couldn’t, I was like, lying in bed. Yeah, I didn’t want to get up and that’s when I thought, well, maybe this is depression. And then, you know, leading to the diagnosis, which everybody told me the diagnosis is the first step.
Megan: It really is. And sometimes, like, some people don’t even need to get the, like, formal label from a doctor. Like, part of that is, is, you know, will that feel validating to you? And if so, 100 percent pursuing. But know that, like, it can be costly, it can take time, etc. Of course, if you are someone who wants to explore medication, which is part of one of the tools that you can use to help with ADHD, you obviously need to have a doctor who gives you a diagnosis.
But because you’ve been fueling yourself your entire life using the wrong fuel, and you know, you have essentially been adapting yourself to the world rather than adapting the world to you, you have to unlearn a lot of stuff. I mean, that, that’s really what a diagnosis usually is the first step towards is like, it allows you to realize, oh, there’s a different way of doing things.
I need to be doing things differently. So, I need to learn this and like. The reality is taking medication is not going to fix that either. It doesn’t, by the way. No, it doesn’t. I mean, I take medication. I’m a big fan for me. It’s very helpful. The way I talk about it, it reduces the difficulty setting.
It doesn’t, however, magically make you able to do things differently. That’s where the, a lot of the shifting happens. And that’s a lot of the work I do with people is okay, if we start from basic principles. We stop fueling ourselves using guilt and shame and pressure and shits.
What do you do instead? That’s the journey.
Amy: Yeah, and what I found; the medication eased my anxiety. 100 percent, which was fascinating, you know, that all of a sudden that constant anxiety wasn’t always there. I still have 27 tabs open. Oh, yeah. Yeah. I still walk out of the room with the water running. You know, I still like I’m doing all of the behaviors, but the anxiety over it.
And then it helps me get to what Megan here is sharing is. The first step of the work, which is okay. If I’ve always fueled myself, you know, I seek accomplishment because I’ve always received such, I mean, I am your, you know, national honor society you know, magna cum, whatever I graduated with from college, the gold core, you know, accomplishments always been incredibly important to me, but I’ve always achieved that accomplishment in a way that I was told was wrong.
And I also didn’t know how else to do it. So, shame, all of that. So, fueling by shame and avoidance of rejection.
Megan: Well, and another one of the secrets is that they’re bad. Like people think of like motivation and like in stimulation coming only from like good things sometimes, but you know, what’s really stimulating, like conflicts and stress.
And like Scary deadlines. Those are really stimulating, by the way, so they have some downsides, which is why we want to, like, at least look at them and be like, okay, when is this of service to me? And when is this not of service to me? Because that’s the other piece of this is recognizing, like, there are probably a lot of ways if you aren’t consciously stimulate, you know, giving yourself the appropriate stimulation, you’re going to go find it somewhere.
Amy: I always joke, and I thought it was a joke, and now I know, oh, it’s not a joke. I am your clutch gal when shit hits the fan. Oh yeah. That’s the real thing. Yeah. Like when shit hits the fan, my husband, who’s so on top of everything, suddenly just goes like, you could just see the wall of like paralyzation coming over him.
Oh yeah. Yeah. And I am like, All right. Okay. Here’s what we’re going to do.
Megan: Like if someone gets seriously injured or there’s like an accident of some sort, I’m like the person you want there because I just, it’s like the laser focus is a very real thing and it’s because those situations are, provide a lot of stimulation to our providing the stim.
Yes. Which is like, alright, let’s do this. We have, this is what we’re built for. So, this is another piece. And there’s. Probably some dispute about this, but I think it makes complete sense. And I subscribe to this and there’s research to support it. Okay. You know, we think about 5 percent of the population probably.
Can be labeled ADHD and all of this is a spectrum anyways. It’s not just like one thing or two. It’s sort of like everyone has their own manifestation of it. But at that percentage, it means there’s something advantageous. Usually if something is like, just bad from an evolutionary standpoint, it’s some, it would be a smaller percentage, but because it’s sort of at that age, it’s like, Okay.
Okay, there probably was, from a population standpoint, a good reason that a chunk of us have this and the theory is that essentially having people who are risk driven, who seek stimulation, who really want to go out and Do exciting things, even if they might have a cost is beneficial when you’re living in a communal society because you need some percentage of the people who like when you’re sitting and starving and don’t have food are willing to go out and figure out, like, can we kill a lion because it’s the only food around?
Like, it’s beneficial to have some percentage of the population be there. Now, if everyone were like that. We might have died out because we would all have been fighting lions or whatever. But from a population standpoint, having a subset be highly stimulating, you know, we put together lots of like complex ideas and stuff is very advantageous.
But and this is where the, like, the system comes in, the modern systems, modern, the way capitalistic post-industrial society works is like a lot of that stuff. Is not as important anymore because we have a lot of our basic needs taken care of and we’ve imposed a lot of structure and a lot of like executive function stuff that back in the day when we were involving the nervous systems that we had were not a thing.
So even from a sort of, you know, population standpoint, ADHD theoretically is a very advantageous thing, and we’d see it at smaller numbers. So this is also why I’m a big fan of not calling it a disorder. It’s just a different way of being, it’s a different type of nervous system that doesn’t currently match the way society operates, or at least in a lot of ways it doesn’t.
Amy: Everything you just said feels like a couple of puzzle pieces just clicked together, like that I really can understand and comprehend what you’re sharing there. There is an to having ADHD there is an advantage. Our ability to put things together that. You know, seem obvious to me and yet not obvious to others that ability to, you know, in times of crisis.
Be able and I can literally feel it in my, my, my brain and my body. It’s like. Oh, this is the weirdest out of nowhere reference that there’s a Kevin Costner movie for the love of the game. And when he goes, he’s a pitcher and he’s trying to get his like perfect game and he calls clear the mechanism and it’s the scene and they show his like everything around him.
I’m like, that’s what happens to my brain in a time of crisis. A hundred percent. Yeah. I actually like everything else clears. I totally laser focused. It makes sense that so, like, so many, whether it be, you know, 5%, whatever the percentage is, it makes sense that there’s a chunk of us and it makes sense why that ability doesn’t fit into modern day.
Megan: Yeah. Yeah. We’ve been socialized out of that. We have a lot of the sort of like basics. Like, I never say that people should like make their lives worse. And, like, more dangerous if you have ADHD. Not what I’m proposing. And to be fair, there are plenty of people in the world who still have very dangerous lives where their basic needs aren’t met.
Not going to pretend that’s also not true. But many of us who live, you know, in a more privileged world where our basic needs are met, a lot of the stuff that ADHD… Was is stimulated or driven by is just gone. And so instead we have to find other ways of stimulating ourselves and there are all these other stupid requirements like filling out papers and like having your car registered each year and stuff.
That is like absolutely toxic to us from a like stimulation standpoint because it yeah, there are lots of reasons but The other thing I wanted to mention is that entrepreneurship, because I know that’s your people, I’ve seen different statistics, but it’s estimated that something like 50 percent of entrepreneurs might have ADHD.
That is not surprising to me even a little bit, but that also indicates a certain pattern in like what we are attracted to and also sort of how we are Valuable members of society who have a unique set of gifts that has a really important place in the world.
Amy: Yes. So, two things just came up, which, because that was a very positive bent.
And then my brain, of course, for some reason feeling very doomsday-ish, I think about when things are, I am never more anxious than when things are going really good.
Megan: Oh, it’s terrifying. Ugh. I joke, but it’s like 90 percent not a joke, that boredom is actually the scariest emotion if you have ADHD.
Amy: When things are going really well, it’s almost a skin crawling discomfort. Yep. And I’ve had endless conversations with my sister about this, and I’m like, I think for the first time ever, I have on, I finally understand why, because. I’m stimulated by the excitement and to be really clear, I’m not somebody who actually likes a lot of interpersonal drama, why I don’t like housewives, I don’t like, like that stuff.
That’s not the kind of drama that I’m talking about when I use the word drama, but like, when there’s not a problem, I need to go solve when there’s not kind of a mild catastrophe that needs fixing when things are going really well.
Megan: Oh, it’s awful. It’s terrifying. It’s like, what do I do with my life? No, in fact, it’s funny because of course, a lot of times when I’m working with people, especially one on one longer term, we get to that place.
And then it presents a whole new series of problems because it’s like, I’m sleeping well, I’m taking care of myself, I’m making money, I’m doing all these things, and then it’s like, oh crap, what do I do now? Like, everything feels good, and I have now seen it happen so many times that I’m like, okay, now we know that this is going to happen when things start going well, you’re going to start looking for problems.
So, what do we want to do, where do we want to get our stimulation under these circumstances in a proactive way, so we don’t go out and create… Gigantic catastrophes for ourselves.
Amy: Yes, because what I have found is I have spent over 48 years of my life waiting for this place of calm to arrive. And I’m like, oh my God, I’ve been bullshitting myself this whole time.
Oh, you don’t want calm? I don’t want calm.
Megan: Oh no, calm is awful. I don’t want, I don’t want a contentment. Contentment is poison.
Amy: So, I think this is a great question. All right. I think this could be highly relatable. We’ve circled around like what we really want to be motivated by, but this is a great place to talk about that.
It’s like, okay, I am well aware. So, this is kind of like how we can kind of blow our own shit up when things are going. Well, you know, we find drama where there isn’t drama. We make a problem where there isn’t a problem because actually it’s incredibly uncomfortable if you’re wired this way to be calm.
So, if I don’t want to. Fuel myself with shame. And I don’t want to fuel myself with, you know, an achievement for the sake of recognition and making other people happy. And I don’t want to fuel myself by constantly solving giant problems. How should we be fueling ourselves?
Megan: I asked you and it was like an answer, like, oh my God, I don’t like, this is awful. Why did you ask me this stupid question? It’s asking yourself a question that seems really simple, but it’s not, which is, what do I actually want to do in that question, asking yourself and sitting and listening to the answer.
Like if you did nothing else like that would change your life. Because most people don’t know the answer to that question in the moment, like, even from a simple day to day perspective, like, it’s sitting in, sitting down, like, you know, you have a moment. Let’s assume that you have an afternoon to yourself and asking yourself, what do I want to do?
Not what I should do. Not like what’s on my to do list. Not what I plan, but like, what do I want to be doing right now? How often do you ask yourself that question? And that is the question to ask yourself to fuel yourself with ADHD. What’s fascinating that I’ve seen is engaging with that idea is really challenging because that question requires you to start unpacking the shoulds and the shames and all the things that are getting in the way of you actually being able to answer that question of like what do you want to be doing.
There are a lot of layers between that and most people.
Amy: It is the simplest question that is so hard to answer, and I remember, and I think I still have never actually honestly answered that question. So, thank you for reminding me. Fine. I’ll put it on a post about and put it around the house. So, I’m constantly reminded because I’ve done a fabulous job of avoiding it is that.
I’ve been asked that so many times and every time my answer is, well, I’m doing this thing so that this so that will set up this so that then I won’t have to worry about it anymore. Like 99 percent of my answers are the thing. The reason I’m doing the thing is because I got to do this thing so that this thing can happen so that I don’t have to worry about it anymore.
Then I can ask myself. Yeah. What do I really want to do? I’m in a constant cycle of, well, let me take care of this thing first, then I’ll ask myself the question. Well,
Megan: And it comes from a very reasonable place, which is a lot of us have this fear that if we ask ourselves what we actually want to be doing, we will say, I don’t want to do anything, or I want to essentially give up on my life and just become a slug.
Which, by the way, is actually not objectively a bad thing. I’m just questioning that, but yeah, that’s
Amy: a whole other conversation we’re going to have around, like,
Megan: Breaking Dead Lazy. That’s a whole other conversation, but, like, if I ask myself what I want, that answer is not going to be an answer that is acceptable.
Yes. The, like, Zen secret here is that, like, actually asking yourself that question regularly, and listening to it, and doing it, ends up doing all of the other stuff too. If you start fueling yourself with what I want to do, all of this stuff that is in the category of like, I kind of think I should do, I kind of want to do, it just becomes easy.
Because you are fueling yourself with a different kind of thing, namely you are following your interest in what you want. Like, that is so crucial. So, like, there’s an assumption, like, people, if you ask yourself this question, I’m never going to do chores ever again. And like, my life will fall apart, and my kids will starve.
And the opposite is true because you’re fueling yourself in a sustainable way, and it turns out if you do that, you then have energy and desire to do all these other things too, because it turns out you actually like, don’t want your kids to starve, it’s just, you’re fueling yourself with this, like, want, like.
My house is actually in really good shape most of the time, like, it’s not cluttered, like, I don’t have too much trouble cleaning, didn’t used to be that way, but when I started actually asking myself what do I want to be doing, it just started to be something that, that happened naturally because I want my house to feel a certain way.
Amy: Yeah. So, I know that I’ve done a podcast episode on it, and if you are in my free program, or my free Facebook group, Play More Sell More, if you’re in my paid ones, you know about my concept of the playlist. The playlist is taken right out of ADHD dopamine menu. Exactly.
Megan: Yeah. We talk about menus a fair bit in what I do too.
Amy: So, it’s right out. It’s I saw that concept of creating a dopamine menu and play. I’m a music lover. So, I was like, oh, it’s like, let’s create your playlist, which, you know, it’s the same thing. Just to be really clear. It’s still. 9 times out of 10 being implemented to help you accomplish the should not want like, I am well aware of that, and I know that most of my clients who are utilizing it.
That way, like I feel like it’s a step ahead, but it’s still not a hundred percent of where we really want to be going.
Megan: Still, ideally that menu is filled with stuff that like you are going to be so fucking excited to do. If given the like, depending on, you know, the combination of stuff on your menu, like that part of you is going to be excited and you don’t have to force yourself.
You don’t have to use willpower shit. And by the way, one of the reasons this works is because it takes so much less energy. Like so many of us probably have that experience of like getting like part way through the day and just being like, I’m done, I have no energy to do this. It’s because if you’re fueling yourself with all this shit and stuff, it takes a lot more energy to do every little thing you’re doing.
Whereas if you’re coming from this place where you’re naturally fueled by like, this is what I want to do. You’re like, oh wait, I have lots of energy. Cause I’m not using all my energy to cajole myself into doing stuff.
Amy: Yes. And so, I’ve felt it really important because the people who’ve listened to me Are like, how is this different than the playlist?
Most of us are still using that playlist to still get those shoulds accomplished. And what Megan is really offering here is to move, like the playlist is everything that we want to do that still creates the same. And I think maybe even I’m going to question myself as those words are coming out of our mouth.
Maybe not even the same result, but a result that’s even more like it’s even farther beyond of what we even imagined yet. 100%. Yeah. Yeah. You can tell I’m still integrating. I’m still learning. Oh, absolutely.
Megan: And by the way, it’s like, that’s the other challenging part because people with ADHD are so like present focused, like.
Cause the future, it feels like you’re future focused cause you’re always worried about the future, but you’re not essentially like, if things are not going to give you a good feeling that you want right now it’s not real, but this stuff takes a little bit of time. One to like, just sort of grok and understand, but then to like shift, there’s this thing that I’ve observed happens.
Essentially, if you start fueling yourself from this alternate place, it starts being like, oh, wait. Okay, I don’t feel quite as drained. I don’t feel quite as drained. Yes. Then you get to this place where like, oh, I kind of feel neutral. And then you start being like, wait, I naturally want to be doing more.
I naturally want to be like, doing all this stuff that I’ve been struggling for years to do in my business. I’m just like doing them and it’s not a problem. Is something wrong? And then you just keep following it and it gets better and better. But there is like an adjustment period. That’s very scary because it feels like I’m not going to get to this place where things are easy, but it’s because you sort of have built up debt that you need to
Amy: like, that’s the going back to that whole statement about the diagnosis is the first step.
So, if I was diagnosed in the last week of March, and I’ve been on medication, and I did like a fraction of the program, but then joined black sheep and we’ve had a couple of one-on-one sessions. And I feel like I’m still in that. I am still like, okay, I am finding ways to be more playful, be more me.
It’s still to accomplish more shoulds than wants though. But I have that awareness of it. Yeah.
Megan: And the men not shifting over time, like rather than being 99 percent shoulds, it’s like, 70 percent and then you start getting more energy back and then you’re like, oh, wait a second. This actually is real, and it works.
And it is a cycle though. I mean, it’s definitely, especially because so many of us have been punishing ourselves for so long, you know, you’ve been operating essentially in the deep red debt levels for so long that it takes some time to climb out. Even if you’re really like unpacking things and doing the work.
It’s a lot. It’s a lifetime of ableism and oppression that you’re essentially unpacking and over.
Amy: Yeah. So before we wrap up, I really think that it, because for those of you listening, and I’m going to put a I always record a little thing at the beginning and I’m going to make sure that I say there’s something for the non ADHDers here.
Because I think that’s the, I have had not quite as many, but I have had clients reach out and say, okay, I don’t have this. But having listened to you, I feel like. Maybe I have some clients or, so if you are a non-ADHD or if you’re working with, you know, particularly for people here who are selling products and they’re working with clients, you know, the systems that we’ve created to help our clients get from point A to point B, it, it may, you know, it.
May not be that our system is technically wrong, but it’s not working for that person. So, this part, like, how can we use this knowledge to help our clients and just kind of have that, like, I’ve had somebody specifically say, what are the signs? And I don’t think it’s as simple as that, like, what are the signs,
Megan: but like, especially because of some of this stuff, like it presents in different ways.
It also like the reality is clusters of different things also lead to ADHD or ADHD type experiences, even if, like, trauma, like, like, literally PTSD can lead to a lot of the overlap there, you know, menopause actually creates some things, sleep, the thing that I always say to, like, mimic, you know, some of the downsides of ADHD, the best way to simulate it is to, like, go, like, four days without sleeping.
Because that sleep deprivation also, there are a lot of different things that sort of can lead to this, but I think the wisdom is always comes back to asking that question of like, what do you want to be doing? What is fueling you? What are you actually interested in? Like, that, if you just come with that perspective, rather than the like, this is the system that we’re going to implement, and you need to follow it regardless.
Yeah. Just that shift will help so many humans. It’s simple but complex. But it, you know, anytime your brain goes to like, just do it, or like, why aren’t you doing this because I told you to do it. That’s when you want a question to be like, wait a second, as a coach, as an entrepreneur, maybe it’s not because they don’t want to do it or like there’s something it, maybe it’s they just need to hear it a different way or come at it from the perspective of like, why is this something that you want to be doing?
And sometimes you’ll figure out they don’t want to be doing it and that’s okay too.
Amy: Yes. Then it becomes, okay, so is, what’s a different way we can create the same result? Or is that even like, it goes back to what is it that you really want? Is that even the result that you really want? I think probably like, no, I think I still want it, but maybe it’s like, okay, well, what are some different ways I, and I think this is so important, particularly for newer coaches who feel so like, these are the tools that I was taught and this is how I know how to use them.
And if we vary from that, then we can get a little shaky and unsure. So, this is really also, I think building trust in yourself that you can say, here’s the framework that I have, I’ve noticed over the past couple of calls that maybe this isn’t quite working. So, let’s start with what is it that you were like, what.
Let’s figure out, like, is this something you actually want to be doing?
Megan: Yeah, that’s a really, like, that, do you want to be doing this? And what do you want to be doing? Like, those two questions. That’s, like, going to solve 95 percent of that. And just getting curious about that.
Amy: Yeah, just staying in that curiosity, I think, is so helpful.
And you don’t have to go be trained in how to work with neurodivergent people. It has much more to do with just having the willingness to be really curious and stay side by side with them and that you aren’t wrong. Your system isn’t bad or wrong. They aren’t wrong. They aren’t really.
They need something a little bit different and your purpose there is to help them find that and to really build that trust in yourself too.
Megan: So, in the interest of providing a tool and a tiny bit of self-promotion, I actually have a class on my website that for those of you who are trained in using the model from the Life Coach School or CBT or anything, I actually specifically have a class that is about how ADHD affects that.
So it might be that might be something that would be so good. So, like, I literally like go through the model and sort of like, how does ADHD show up in all these places? And what can you do about it? So that’s so good. So, yeah, so it’s a good class. And it gets into exactly what we were talking about here, like figuring out how to, you know, just ask questions and be curious and know that like, there are going to be some minor Yeah.
Yeah. Yeah. Like, if you get to some minor points of resistance, it’s okay. Nothing has gone wrong. You aren’t wrong. They aren’t wrong. It’s just, you have to switch a little bit.
Amy: Switch a little bit. And then the last, this could be a whole episode in and of itself, but I’ve had enough people reach out about, I’ve mentioned it a couple of times.
I can’t remember if I’ve done a full podcast or not, but I don’t know if comorbidity is the correct word, but oftentimes with autism and ADHD, you have. Those same people can also experience something called rejection sensitive dysphoria.
Megan: Yes. That is, yeah, it’s something that’s present in a good chunk of people with ADHD, even more present in people who have ADHD, and it’s essentially a strong emotional reaction to the idea of being rejected in some way.
Yes. Which, as you can imagine, plays really poorly. With a world that, in some ways, rejects you out of hand.
Amy: The first time that I was, like, listening to a book, and this was in April, so just, like, weeks later, and I was listening to this very basic, like, women and ADHD book, and I got to, it was chapter 4, and I literally…
What?! I was, like, literally screaming out loud because I’d never heard of it. Didn’t know it was a thing and everything she said was like, that’s how I experienced it. That’s how I experience any sort of negative feedback. And I’ve had some clients. That’s a second thing that clients have reached out of like, okay, I don’t have, but you’ve mentioned this, and I’ve wondered.
So, if your client, if this is for that coach who maybe is providing feedback for a client. This isn’t, they may or may not have it. They, you know, they may or may not have ADHD. They may or may not have this, you know, kind of secondary condition rejection, sensitive dysphoria. But I think just knowing that was a thing helped me figure out the next best.
What, how to handle that conversation.
Megan: Yeah, because it’s safe. Yeah, because a lot of this boils down to exactly what you just said, which is helping people feel safe and helping them feel like you are questioning something or you pointing something out isn’t about them. It isn’t about you judging them, or, you know, telling them that they’re wrong, you’re there to support them.
So, certainly a lot of, it’d be interesting for me to go back and like, look at my own coaching about how I do this, because I know I do it. There is a lot of like, we’re just going to get curious about this. Like, if I don’t have any course in the race of what your answer is, like, it’s completely fine if, like, we learn that, like, you actually do in fact want to be a slug on the couch, like, that’s okay.
And sort of, like, being very explicit over and over again that, like, Your answers are fine, regardless of what they are, and really reminding people that you’re working with that whatever they’re doing is okay, whatever they’re thinking is okay, and that they’re still a worthy human being and like being very proactive about that.
It isn’t the same as by the way, like sort of cheerleading and the like rah, it’s very much. It’s very, yes.
Amy: Yeah, it’s very much. It’s an empathetic emotion than a cheer and I have an example as a client of what. For lack of better words, I wish a coach would have done instead, which is, you know, well, I did this thing and they’re like, well, I just never would have done that.
Megan: Yeah. Oh my God. I’m not like, I wanted to crawl in a hole.
Amy: I was like, Oh my God. You know, Oh my God. She just never would have done that. Why would I do that? Like, now I understand that maybe I understand my emotional reaction a little bit better. And now I’m like, oh, if there was, and I don’t, this isn’t necessarily the fault to those Coaches other than like, they’re probably just as exhaust, you know, exhausted by like, I, why haven’t I still done that thing?
But now I’m like, oh, this would have been a great opportunity to be like, you know what? I noticed that this doesn’t quite seem to be working for you. Let’s figure it out. Why like it work for me, but it’s not working for you, and I don’t know that it makes it a problem.
Megan: Yeah, it just means that maybe it’s just not what you want to be doing.
Maybe it’s just needed a different path to get to the same thing. A lot of this is really getting unattached to how someone accomplishes something. Yes. At the end of the day, it’s really like standing back and being like, okay, we know where we want to get to. We don’t necessarily know exactly how we’re going to get there.
And the more. Flexible. You are with the house. Yes. You are able to support neurodivergent people. I think that’s a really sort of core thing.
Amy: Yes. I have reflected back on, you know, definitely since 2016 when I was certified with the life coach school, but even farther back than that, just coaching, you know, in, without formal training, without, you know, with different mentors of how helpful That would have been as a client with ADHD and rejection sensitive dysphoria.
Not that I knew it at the time, so it’s not like I expected them to have known it either. Yeah.
Megan: I think it’s also just helpful. For clients, like clients in general, let’s be clear. I think it’s very important if you’re working with people who have, but like, I think it’s just also being a good coach.
Amy: And isn’t that funny how I, this is how you still know that Amy has still had some work to do on the side of the table. It was like, you know, so that was, you know, I was like the weirdo in the room who needed that special thing. Or maybe Amy. Maybe that just would have been a solid coach and to be like,
Megan: yeah, maybe that just would have been a better way to go.
I mean, I try to stand away from, no, that’s not true. I’m a very judgmental person under certain circumstances. When I am coaching someone, I am not judgmental at all, but I am a hundred percent judgment. I’m from the Northeast. I can’t not be judgmental. That’s like built into my DNA.
Amy: So, I’m from the Midwest. We will let you walk all over us.
Megan, this has been, I, this was even better than I could have imagined. And just so you know, no, we had no framework. Is anybody surprised? And yet we still, I think hit a lot of really key spots that I hope that if. Any of this resonated with you, you’re walking away with some good questions. If you don’t have ADHD, but you are going to work with a diverse population and you just want to be a better coach, maybe this conversation has left you with some really great questions and ideas to explore.
Megan, how can my listeners connect with you? Sure. And reach out with you.
Megan: So, probably the best social to find me on is Instagram, and my handle is Meg Kierstead, on Instagram. That’s where I post most often. The other really good place is to go to my website and subscribe to my mailing list, because I do.
Send out stuff regularly. You’ll get notifications about new podcast episodes and programs and all that jazz. So, like those are the two places. That’s probably best to find me and my website is Megan Kierstead. com, which my last name has too many vowels. And I’m sure it’ll be in the show notes.
And if you search for, like, something resembling my last name on Google, there aren’t, like, many people who are me and have a similar name. So, it’s pretty easy to find me.
Amy: Yeah. So, I will make sure that it’s in the show notes and you spelled it twice.
Megan, this was a delightful conversation.
Megan: It was fabulous. I love it. I love talking about this stuff. It’s so much fun.
Amy: It is so much fun. Thank you so much for being here.
I mean, I wasn’t lying coach. I’m telling you the end of that conversation, I found so profound and so helpful. And it’s such a great reminder for all of us. So, I hope that you grab your notebook, rewind if you need to, and jot down those questions that Megan offers for when you are coaching. And also, if you are looking for additional resources on ADHD, getting diagnosed with ADHD, I invite you to connect with Megan, and I will have some additional resources in the show notes as well.
And I hope this goes without saying, but obviously this episode is not a tool or a means. For which to diagnose yourself. It is not intended as such. It is not intended to be medical or mental health advice. But I do hope that it is something that at a minimum is going to make your coaching so much better and even at the big possibility that you might have sense of yourself in this episode today and make some changes that will have you doing what you really want.
In this world, I just have to say that my transformation this year has been so huge. So powerful. I shared after we stopped recording, unless my podcast editor threw that in of, I’m finally at this place where I’m not trying to be fixed and it is a powerful place, and it gets me incredibly emotional to truly be enjoying this journey.
And to understand that the more that I just ask that question, what is it that I really want to do, the closer and closer that I will really get, and there’s not an end to it. Insight. I’m also recording this exactly six months until my 50th birthday. There’s something a little magical about that too, for me.
So, I hope that you have picked up some of this magic from today’s episode and that you will run with it. And I cannot wait to see what you create and until next week.
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Thanks so much for listening to The Confident Coaches Podcast. I invite you to learn more. Come visit me at www.amylatta.com and until next week, let’s go do epic stuff.