How To Succeed As A Practice Owner With ADHD ft. Amber Hawley

Growing a practice can be challenging. Growing a practice while dealing with ADHD brings its own unique challenges.

Join me, Uriah Guilford, as I chat with neurospicy therapist and consultant, Amber Hawley, as we share some tips and tools for ADHD practice owners.

Click to listen now!

In This Episode, You'll Learn:

  • What are the challenges for practice owners living with ADHD?
  • How can you work WITH your ADHD to achieve your goals?

Resources Mentioned In This Episode:

FREE Energy Management Training
The Easily Distracted Entrepreneur podcast
AmberHawley.com

䷉ Click for full episode transcript

Uriah
Uriah
Hey, look at you. You're back listening to the Productive Therapist podcast. My name is Uriah. I'm so glad to be talking to you today. I got to have a fun conversation with my good friend, Amber Holly, and she's a licensed therapist and a consultant who works with entrepreneurial individuals, executives, and couples with the emotional side of business. She She's the owner of a therapy practice in Silicon Valley, the owner of two online coaching, consulting, and training companies, and is the host of the Easily Distracted Entrepreneur and the Easily Distracted Therapist podcast, where she helps ADHD and ADHD-ish business owners in their work, life, and relationships. Amber originally worked in the tech industry, but her love for people led her to pursue a career where meaningful relationships are at the center of everything she does. I've actually known Amber for quite a few years, and we've met up in person a few times at different events, and we always have fun conversations, fun and insightful, I would say. I hope you really get a lot out of this episode. It was helpful for me, and I enjoyed talking to Amber. Take a listen and enjoy.

Hey, Amber. Welcome to the podcast!

Amber
Thank you. Thank you. Excited to be here.

Uriah
Yeah. Genuinely fun to talk to you twice in two weeks. I mean, this is rad.

Amber
I know. That's like, we're really... Maybe we should start this as a trend.

Uriah
I feel like we have good conversations, at least from my perspective. We do. Yeah. In the wild and recorded, of course.

Amber
Exactly. Yes. Yeah.

Uriah
So I'm stoked about this topic today for a number of reasons, primarily that I have multiple family members with ADHD, and I want to know how to help them better, as well as therapists in private practice who we support through productive therapists who are owners, who are ADHD-gifted, and want to figure out how my team can better support them, too. So thank you for being here.

Amber
Yeah, I'm excited about it. For sure. It's a good thing. The more understanding and support we can give, how much happier and better the world would be.

Uriah
Definitely. There's probably some people listening, maybe only two or three, that have not had the pleasure of meeting you or hearing about you. So maybe we should tell them about the awesomeness that is Amber Holly.How's that for a set-up?Maybe more.

Amber
I know. I was like, Maybe more. Yeah, definitely. Before getting into that, I guess I'm hoping that in the next 30 something-ish minutes, that I'm hoping I'll be able to give a takeaway about what if you are neuro-spicy, I like to say neuro-spicy, neurodiversion, because I'm spicy, maybe it's the red hair. But also helping the neuro-spicy therapist, business owner, figure out how to feel more successful and more efficient in the work they're doing. Or like you're saying, if you're a therapist and maybe a group practice owner and you have therapists that work for you that are NeuraSpicy, understanding how we can support them in a way that feels really sustainable. So my hope is that's the magic we're going to be bringing here.

Uriah
We're definitely getting there.

Amber
Yeah. Otherwise, apparently everyone knows me except for two people. I'm just kidding.

Uriah
Let's fill them in.

Amber
Yeah, let's fill them in. I'm probably the... What is it? Like the biggest smart ass of all of the people that we usually hang around with. Agreed? Yes. I like to have fun. I think it's the ENFP thing. It's like being blunt. I'm neuro-spicy, I'm ADHD, maybe a little OCPD stuff, a little extra. That's why it's the recipe, right? There's this unique recipe. I want people to feel better about themselves and stop the cycle of overworking and then crashing. It's this overwork, crash, overwork, crash. I don't want that anymore. I want us all to have fun, enjoy our lives, because we didn't become business owners just to work like a corporate dog.

Uriah
To be an employee with a job.

Amber
Totally. No, thank you.

Uriah
Yes, that's good. Anything you want to say about your background and your business?

Amber
I was like, you're already going to read my bio, right?

Uriah
Yes, I told them all about you.

Amber
I know. Yeah. I guess, yeah, for me, I feel like I have a very varied background, which I think is helpful, which is really helpful in doing business consulting, coming from a marketing and operations background as a dot-commer before becoming a therapist, and then having those therapist skills. And then, of course, the specialties. My specialties are working with couples because You get a lot of neurodivergent people who are seeking couples therapy and also working with neurodivergent people, ADHD, autism, OCD, bipolar, all of that. So, yeah, I feel like I have this eclectic background. It's like I left the dot com world because I had an existential crisis at 27, like most 27-year-olds do. And I was like, if the world ended, what's the value of my job? I was in that space for many different reasons and then became a therapist. And then it was really funny because then all of a sudden, that whole tech marketing thing came back. So it's like full circle of this is it. I want to do something where it feels meaningful and it matters. I also didn't want to keep having directors. My time in the DotCom world, everyone was a director, and they were usually really inept and just stupid. I'm just going to say They were just really stupid. And I felt like I was smarter than them. And I'm like, this really sucks. This person is making triple of what I'm making, and this sucks. So the full circle thing coming back and now being able to use both skill sets to help business owners, but doing it for people who are making an impact in the world, I think it's super fulfilling.

Uriah
That's awesome.

Amber
I just go in circles.

Uriah
That's all. Random question. Yeah. Have you come across in your career, have you met other therapists who became a therapist after working in tech or in corporate land?

Amber
Absolutely. Yeah. Of course, now, will any of them come? Will one name come to mind? No. That's okay. No, but absolutely. Because I think being in Silicon Valley, you see that a lot, right? Even Even thinking about my grad school program, there were a lot of people that... They were either doctors or lawyers or engineers. They had their first life, their first iteration of their career, and then they were seeking out to do something else. So I definitely see quite a few people doing that, like anything. It's very rare for people to stick to one profession these days.

Uriah
That's true. I was actually talking to my daughter not too long ago, a couple of weeks ago, about her college choice and her career choice, and she's really putting a lot of concerted effort and thought into it. And I said, Just remember, you probably will have 2-3 careers. So whatever you pick, you are not obligated to stay with that for the entirety of your working life. So that's good to know.

Amber
Yeah.

Uriah
Yeah, that's cool. I actually came to business through... I did it the other way around. I became a therapist first and then a business owner. And not that I'm in the tech industry by any means, but it went that.

Amber
But you're a very techy person. That way.

Uriah
You love- Once upon a time, I printed business cards and I put on there the tech therapist.

Amber
Hey, but you have to try I'm on those identities, right? For sure. Because you get... And this is the thing, right? Even in being a therapist, we go through different iterations of specialties, even. Because I can remember when I first became a therapist, feeling like, Oh, I love doing group work, which again, full circle. I'm back to doing group work in my programs. And I love it because I love the energy and the learning and how it expedites things. But I remember feeling like, oh, crap. In a way, though, you feel like this is what I have to do now for the rest of my life. And it's like, no. There's people change and grow. And it was so nice to meet really seasoned therapists who would talk about, oh, in my first 15 years, I did this, and then I did this. And it's what makes us, I think gives us a lot of value to our clients as well, that we are more... We have a very wide... We're all Renaissance people, right? In a way, we have all these experiences. And I told you last week on my podcast that I actually bought the social therapist because I wanted to do social media and tech stuff. I didn't think about the tech therapist for whatever reason. But yeah, I think it's smart. Hey, we're smart enough to know you should be buying those domains. That's right.

Uriah
You know what's funny is back in 2011, was it 2011? Yeah. I was speaking at a conference here in California. You know camp because you used to live here. I was speaking at the camp conference, and my topic was internet marketing for therapists. Okay, cool. And what I was trying to do, it was ridiculous looking back on it, but I was trying to teach all these therapists about the nitty-gritty of search engine optimization, meta bags, all this stuff. And it was completely misaligned. I spoke right over their heads, and I was like, Oh, my gosh, what am I doing?

Amber
But hey, you got to try, right? Because we know the power of that, though. That That was the thing for, I feel so grateful that I had that. I feel super comfortable with tech. I think tech is like how people say, I'm not good with math. It's like, you are, but sometimes we equate that stuff. We have those emotional blocks. When I started my business, it grew super fast because I was so comfortable with tech. I wasn't scared of it. And knowing that I always tell my clients, we need to have that community marketing plan and that online marketing plan, which I learned from the Casey Truffaut, the very first camp conference I ever went to. I was just a brand new student, and I went to it by myself. And she talked, and I was like, oh, she's so brilliant. And so I'm giving her credit for that because it's hers. But it's true, though. We all need that. But yeah, I'm sure they just left feeling really overwhelmed, and they hated you.

Uriah
Or they wanted to hire you. Yeah, and that's why I don't have had any success since then. That's the reason. Well, thank you for mentioning Casey Truffaut, because she was my original inspiration, too. And not enough people know about her. But I first read Be a Wealthy Therapist back in 2008, I think. That was when I started my private practice. And I was like, okay, I got the idea I can be an introvert and still market my solo private practice. So shout out to Casey Truffaut.

Amber
Absolutely. Yeah, shout out to Casey. Yeah, I think I saw her like 2009, maybe. And then she did her own events, and I did buy tickets and the virtual events. She was ahead of her time. She was fantastic. Yeah, my OGs are Casey Truffaut in the therapy world and Marie Forleo in the business online world.

Uriah
Very cool. So I would love for you to define Neurospicy a little bit and then talk about how folks who are Neurospicy, the challenges that they run into as entrepreneurs, small business owners. That would be awesome.

Amber
Yeah, absolutely. Well, knowing, probably a lot of therapists are at least vaguely familiar with neurodivergent people. So that term, again, I like neuro spicy because, again, it's a recipe, and I feel like there's so much overlap in so many of the diagnosis. And it's like, sometimes they have a little bit of this and a little of that. And so it's like this blend. Of course, I understand people get actual diagnosis, but it's usually... Well, it's not usually. It's ADHD, autism, OCD, bipolar, HS P, which people don't always think about that. I love that I can be in a place where you can just say all the acronyms and everyone's going to understand what we're talking about. Oh, yeah. But highly sensitive person, dyslexia, dyspraxia. There's other ones, but those are the main ones, right? And so they're just a way of that category of our brains work differently. Just understanding that... And I think the struggle for so many people is this feeling of we don't fit into the standard regular world, how things are built, how we're supposed to function. And so when you don't fit in, you obviously feel like there's something wrong with you. And so it's understanding that there's diversity in how our brains work, and we need to be embracing that diversity instead of trying to say, this is the singular way to do something. And that's where I think there's so much possibility, but also that's where a lot of the pain comes from, too. It's this idea of, no, it's not diverse. It's this way. And there's a lot of value judgments out there, both to ourselves and from others.

Uriah
I actually didn't realize OCD and HSP would fit under neurodivergence as an umbrella. That's interesting. Okay, that makes sense.

Amber
Yeah, right? When you think of it, you're like, Oh, yeah, that would make sense.

Uriah
If you could take a guess or if you know, specifically, what percentage of the population is neurodivergent? What does that look like?

Amber
I wonder. Yeah, I actually don't have the exact stat. Sure. I'm going to say, well, I think I heard something like 30%. Do I know that? I can't tell you where I'm quoting that data from. I do know as far as business owners go, the estimation is 40% for just ADHD.

Uriah
That's interesting.

Amber
Yeah. I will say probably a lot of them... I have so many clients and friends who are autistic ADHD, so there's usually, again, the combo of things that can happen. But that's the percentage that I hear a lot or that has been talked about. I think there There are so many people who have never been diagnosed, so I'm sure that's also a difficulty. I know everyone thinks everyone's getting diagnosed with it all the time. And there's always the diagnosis de jour, especially for children. But the reality is there are a lot of people who get missed. People of color and women tend to not get the diagnosis, and there's a cost to that. I didn't even find out until I was 40 or 41, and it transformational. And I think the only reason is I had three kids in four and a half years. And then the hormonal changes because there's actually a lot of research that shows during perimenopause and menopause, ADHD symptoms that specifically, really start to exacerbate. Really? Okay. And so I think that's why we're seeing so many women in their 40s and 50s getting diagnosed, because I developed these coping mechanisms long time ago as a teen, even earlier, and they work so long. But when you're going through burnout or you have children, because that's burnout, let's just say, there's a version of burnout. And then the hormonal component or being a business owner and just being so overwhelmed, your coping mechanisms just don't work anymore. We're seeing a lot of people there. I guess I feel like the stat, whatever it is, is probably not indicative of the reality. I do disagree, though. I sometimes will have people, this is where I can be a jerk, but somebody wanted to be on the podcast, the easily distracted entrepreneur, and they sent me this pitch, and it said, I think all people are ADHD Yeah, it was ADHD. And I was like, Yeah, you're not coming on. Because no, they're not. And you know why that's a problem? I do say digital ADHD as a joke sometimes to say, I get we are overwhelmed overachievers. We're all distracted. Yeah, we're distracted. We have short attention spans. But the ADHD brain functions differently. And so that is doing a disservice to people who are genuinely can't function in that same way. So That's why I have a little bit. That's my little soapbox that I get on. But also that's why I named my podcast, The Easily Distracted Entrepreneur, because so many people don't know. And while a lot of the productivity stuff I talk about or the ways to create systems and getting things done, while conventional ways don't always work for somebody who's neurodiverse, usually the other way around is usually a better fit. But I'm always advocating that every brain is different, and you really need to both do some reflection and figure out what fits for you and also giving options and choices. It's just we don't want to be... I've talked to, I don't know if I said this when we were talking last week, but there's this productivity expert who's pretty well known, and I was having a conversation with them, and they were like, Well, when it gets painful enough, they'll just do it. And I was like, That's not how ADHD works, my friend, because let me assure you, I can make a world of pain and still not do the thing. Actually, we're really good at taking a lot of pain in that regard.

Uriah
You're underestimating my ability to tolerate pain.

Amber
Exactly. I mean, we would all be masochists by that definition. I don't know. We enjoy this part. But yeah.

Uriah
Okay, I have two specific questions for you.

Amber
End of soapbox!

Uriah
Well, thank you for that soapbox. Two specific questions for you. The first one is, this was suggested to me by a neurodivergent colleague, that to some people, the word productivity could be triggered. What do you think about that? Yes?

Amber
Yeah, absolutely. I think for some people it is. And I think it's hard, right? Because on one hand, I do get it. I struggle because sometimes I'm like... Words also go in vogue, out of vogue. And it's like, Oh, well, my brain is used to saying that. So it's very hard for me all of a sudden to not use certain words. And I also think we give them definitions and power that maybe we shouldn't be, because sometimes that is the perfect word to talk about what we're talking about. However, being that I do work with so many type A overachievers, productivity becomes the identity. And so it actually is keeping them stuck in that perfectionism and overwork, where it's understanding it's like, you've I know you've heard this saying, but it's not about being productive, it's about being... Wait, that's not right. They say it's so much more clever than me, but it's the way of saying it's okay to just be. But I like the word efficiency. And even that, I've had conversations with people where they're like, Yeah, that's not a problem, too. And I was like, I know, I know. I get it. But at the same time, creating efficiency or creating systems so that we can effectively work without overworking so that we can enjoy our lives is to me what I think about when I think about productivity. I'm not thinking about mass producing widgets or doing work for the sake of work. I don't do work for the sake of work unless, of course, I haven't thought it through and I'm not prioritizing, and I'm avoiding something, so I'm just doing something. That's a whole different thing, except for sometimes, as one of my supervisors used to say.

Uriah
Except for sometimes. Last year, I wrote a book called The Productive Practice. And of course, I put the word productive in there. It's in the name of my business, so it made sense. And there's a section in there where I'm addressing objections, if you will. And one of them is like, If I'm neurodivergent, will this work for me? And In the book, I don't go into a lot of specific tips or strategies on how to be productive or just get more things done if you're neuro-spicy. But my point in the book was, productivity needs to be personalized because you could tell me everything that you do and say, You're right, you should do what I do because it works for me. And that would be awesome, but probably not helpful. Yes, exactly. And vice versa, right? So it's got to be... You got to know what works for your unique brain, your unique life, and all those things. So I think that's true.

Amber
Yeah. And I think, to me, well, and again, I'm in that space. I just don't... Some people get really triggered by it. And I would say, Well, then you should look at that and see what's causing that. Talk to your therapist You might want to talk to somebody about that, why that particular word puts you over. But again, I think they're buying into this whole philosophy. And I think we spend too much time deciding this word sucks and this is bad. And instead of just like, okay, How about I stop obsessing over stuff like that? See? And instead focus on, am I living the life I want to live? Am I intentionally creating a vision and intentionally doing things? And do I feel fulfilled and satisfied with that? To me, that's productive. I like it. I love it. I love the name of your business. And I say, they can all suck it.

Uriah
So my second very specific question is if someone, and this is just almost completely a selfish question, but hopefully somebody will benefit from this. But if someone, if myself, was trying to get a hold of and get a response from a NeuraSpicy friend or colleague or other business owner, what are some tips and tricks? Obviously, a lot of us struggle with email, and it seems to me, especially people with ADHD, don't necessarily have a handle on that all the time. And so emails can get lost and dropped and gone. What do you recommend when you're having trouble getting a hold of somebody and getting a response from them?

Amber
Yes. Okay. I I love this question. I'm sure there's going to be people where this is helpful. Probably so. Yeah. I mean, honestly, even I feel like my world is surrounded by neuro-spicy people. Even my hair stylist is neurodivergent. Everybody who I attract in my world is.

Uriah
Are you saying you're a magnet for- I am a little bit of a magnet, which is why I am smart to do the business I do.

Amber
Why not capitalize on things that come with ease? Yeah, this can be a struggle for us dealing with others as well. One is I would be thinking, Okay, what is this personal? Is this professional? Do they owe you money? There's different approaches that I would be thinking about. In general, if I'm working with a client and they're talking about this process, I usually will try to find out, is there a preferred method of communication? Sure. Most of the time I'm talking to the neurodivergent person, trying to help them, how do you teach others, like your team or others in your life, how to work with you most effectively? And it can never be a mandate. It's like a two-way street. But talking about this is a real struggle for me. This is not a good way to communicate with me or this. I tell people, if you're going to email me, because I have clients that I see all the time and work with a lot. And I'm like, if you're If you're going to email me something, you have to send me a message in WhatsApp or Voxer to let me know you've sent it. Because sometimes I catch it because I just happen to be there. But once it goes below the fold, it's a crapshoot, whether I saw that thing or not. A preferred method of communication makes sense. A preferred method of communication is one. The other is leaving space. So I guess this depends. Do you need to hear back from them? Is this an employee? Is this somebody, again, who owes you money? Or is it a friend? Like not personalizing it. Because I will even have people say, Oh, you ghosted me after blah, blah, blah. And I was like, First of all, three hours is not ghosting. That's called having a life. Second of all, often, if there is a while time period between responses, I think we always go to, They're mad at me, or something has happened, or they're avoiding me, rather than understanding that it could quite possibly, most likely, has nothing to do with you whatsoever. And so following back up, but following back up with reassurance, I think is really important. I have a great story of this woman that I'm about to start doing work with. Like last year, I had said, Oh, I want to do this thing, and we had a discovery call, and then she kept reaching I was going through a super busy time. I was just overloaded. But once I felt that I had gone past, Oh, I should have responded to her yesterday, then all of a sudden, that avoidance stuff comes up. Sometimes, again, we can talk ourselves into things to navigate that. But I'm helping people learn skills will never be perfect because I'm still going to be ADHD, so it's never all. But once I felt bad, and often that's what's happening. If somebody isn't responding, trust that they're probably feeling terrible about it and stressed. And then the narrative is, now it's too late. Now it's so long, and they're going to be so upset, and they hate me now. It's the rejection-sensitive dysphoria. They hate me. Oh, my God, this is such a big deal. So emotionally, writing a response, very simple response, feels overwhelming. And so if you can reach back out. So this person, she reached out, I want to say 10 times. But she did it in a respectful... In different avenues, too. But it may not have been that much, but it felt like 10. But she did it really respectfully and was putting it out there. And then eventually, I, again, learned techniques, but I was like, Okay, I just want you to know I'm not avoiding you. Thank you so much. I've just been really overwhelmed, but I promise I'm going to respond. So that gave me enough of a buffer to come back and then be able to respond to her. And there are people that get pissed off and just you start to get those nasty messages or edgy messages. That's only going to heighten the anxiety and the avoidance. And so I think when you can be like, Hey, I totally understand that life is really hectic and busy right now, but I just want to... Whatever the thing is, I just want to check in and make sure everything's okay, or I just want to check in and see... And then, again, it depends. Do you actually would you really have to hear back from them, or would you like to hear back from them? It's a totally different thing. I have responded to an email after a year, and then I started with, Hey, turns out it takes me a year to respond to people. Because it wasn't urgent. It wasn't important. But still, it happens.

Uriah
I'm totally going off script with all these questions, but it's fine. It is your podcast after all. That's right, dang it.

Amber
You are in charge.

Uriah
I'm laughing at myself right now. What do you think would be the ideal personality for an executive assistant or a virtual assistant of some sort to be paired with a neurodivergent entrepreneur? What do you think would be the ideal recipe, to use your verbiage there, between those two to have a good working relationship?

Amber
Well, some of that's going to depend on... Because even with what I have learned over so many years of working with people who are neurodivergent, there are so many different flavors. Just like anything, we can be so vastly different. There can be commonalities in such vast differences. And so some people, what one person might find professional and enjoyable, somebody else could be like, That is rude, and I don't like it. Sometimes, well, you have to know yourself, know thyself, right? That's a part of it. I was going to make a joke and say, because a friend of mine and I used to talk about this, finding somebody who's slightly codependent, because then they're going to be making sure they take care of everything. But they can't be the kind that's going to have an edge to them when they feel... I find, through my years of having assistants and intake coordinators and people who... Because I believe in outsourcing. I'm a huge outsourcer. The people who who can't have direct communication and make passive-aggressive comments or personalize something that has nothing to do with them and then, again, have this edge to them, I do not do well with those people. That does not work for me because then I start to feel like I have to caretake you. It triggers my own people-pleasing thing that balances that RSD. Also, manage your anxiety. If extreme anxiety just doesn't work for me because they overthink everything. Now, if they can have anxiety and talk to me about, Hey, I just want to check in because it seems like you're a little short, then I can be like, Oh, I'm so sorry. I am stressed. Now, again, I try to do a really good job of managing expectations when I'm hiring somebody, but I think understanding your own process. I know that if I have somebody, and I had this happen, actually. It was a little over a year ago with somebody who was making mistakes and dropping balls. And then they were blaming me for them constantly and then getting all upset about, well, this needs to be done. And in my brain, I'm like, no, I don't think it's a priority. It's my business, so I don't really care. I didn't say this. I'm very nice to people. Internally, I'm an asshole, but externally, I can say nice things. But once there was this vibe vibe of, I can't just have a direct conversation and tell you that I'm feeling a certain way, then I'm like, Yeah, that's just not going to work. That's not going to work. That is so important. I don't know. That was a really roundabout way of just saying, know yourself, right?

Uriah
Well, I mean, here's the thing, and this is what I'm hearing from you, too, is that there's no one recipe or one way that works with everybody, obviously, right? I was thinking about a time when we got some feedback from one of our members, therapist business owner, that was using one of our virtual assistants, and she said basically she was a NeuraSpicy 7 on the Enneagram. I'm not a big Enneagram person, but I know a little bit. She said, You gave me a one virtual assistant who's the perfectionist, right? And that was such a beautiful combination because her virtual assistant helped keep her on track and really make sure that all the T's were crossed and the I's were dotted. And that was a good combo.

Amber
Yeah, I love that you said that. That's helpful because is that a healthy one? So that's the difference because sometimes ones can feel really curt and they're angry with you and they're not. Again, this is where- I can see how that could go wrong. Yeah, having a conversation. It's funny. I'm a seven as well. I jokingly say that all sevens are also ENFPs are ADHD, but not all ADHD people are sevens or ENFPs. I feel like if you're a seven or an ENFP, you're full bore. You're on it. I'm sure there's an exception, but everybody I know is that... I think it's also like, what is the health of the other person? That's a good point. I know that if you're into the Enneagram, a lot of business owners are usually... The most popular numbers are three and seven, and we can understand why. The enthusiasm. There's also the people who are really methodologies methodical and just really ambitious, and they can be a good blend. But again, I think it's about, I don't know, maybe this comes down to, are they an effective communicator? Does the style work together? Because I've hired some people where I thought, Oh, this is great. It's that same thing. They're just super methodical. And really, they just came across super bitchy after I hired them. And again, I try laying the land. I remember this I just think it was funny because I really didn't mean to do this. But in the interview, I said, I just want to... Because I talked about being an ENFP, she knew what it was. And I said, I just want to make sure you can handle all my ENFp-ness. And then I stopped and I looked at her with these eyes of like, holy shit, I just said that in the interview.

Uriah
And she's like- B-ness.

Amber
Yeah, exactly. And she goes, I think this is where the interview ends. And that was funny. Oh, really? No, in a funny way. And I was like, yes. So I hired her, and turns out that was the last last time she made a joke. Oh, no.

Uriah
That's tragic.

Amber
Yeah, but you're right. I think sometimes it's having that balance. But even with ADHD people, there's such a diversity among that. I follow, like I've trained in Dr. Amen's, he talks about seven types of ADD, and I usually can have more than one. One of mine, I call it obsessive, but it's called over-focused. I actually I am very organized. It's either organization or a shit show. There's no in between. That's just how it is. But I love systems and labels and organization, and that gives me peace to feel like my environment is whatever. So I'm good at that, but I need somebody who's balancing those other parts of me that can also... Yeah, so it's finding that balance sometimes. It's that symbiotic relationship.

Uriah
I think that's huge because if someone was to ask me, you're What's the key to being successful? I mean, there's a lot of things one could say, but I think what I would say and what's worked best for me is to focus on my strengths. So figure out what you're naturally good at, and then hire for your weaknesses, right? I mean, that's the way to go. I think you want to hire somebody, you want to hire support that's going to fill in the gaps that you naturally have. That's going to work, I think, most ideally. I hired a virtual assistant, I think it was last year or the year before, outside of my company for a couple of different reasons. I wanted to see what it was like, what the onboarding experience was like, and also there was other reasons that aren't important. But I started working with this person, and she was amazing, so amazing. She would come to our meetings with notes and with an agenda, and then she would send me a recap email. She was fantastic. She gave me the feedback. She said, Uriah, she's like, Sometimes I don't know what to do because I've never worked with somebody more organized than you. I was like, That's That's the best compliment I've ever received.

Amber
It totally is.

Uriah
It was great.

Amber
I've never been accused of that. I love that.

Uriah
I don't know why I told you that story, but it was, I guess, to the point of finding somebody that sinks well with you and fills in the gaps and that thing. I would love to ask you about practical tips because I'm all about like, Okay, so great. What do I do for yourself or for the clients you've worked with or the coaching clients you've worked with? What are some of the the go to strategies that you've seen work for a good amount of people? Body doubling or other different things. What would be your top three or five?

Amber
Are you talking about for helping? I'm going to speak to business owners because that's what your therapist, right? Most of them are probably business owners that are working, if they're seeking out VA services as well.

Uriah
It could apply to anybody trying to get things done in their personal life, too.

Amber
True. But usually, if we're saying, What are my tips to help people? Because what I'm seeing most people is either just being super overwhelmed and burnt out. Those are the two big things. They go hand in hand, right? How do we get things done? That's what I like to talk about. I usually say it in a different way, but how do we get things done? So you mentioned body doubling. I actually think body doubling is a miracle. It's so simplistic. It should not work, and yet it does. It does work for everyone. You don't have to be neuro-spicy, but it is really effective for Neurospicy people. I, again, didn't get diagnosed till I was 40, and I didn't realize I naturally did that. I would ask my husband. I'd have all these boxes of paperwork to go through and have to sit down and organize stuff. And I would ask them to come in the room and just sit there because I just needed somebody there because it almost kept me focused and centered on what I was doing. And I didn't understand that that was what was happening. It's very effective. I've been running online co-working, so that's essentially body doubling. It's very effective if you want to use it, right? But it doesn't have to be in person, although I think in person is also awesome. There's a different dynamic. It helps you when you're usually stating an intention, and that way it's like you can come back to it and your brain is like, No, I'm going to wander off? No, this is what I'm here for. I'm not wandering off. And I usually combine that with a Pomodoro method, whether that's the 25 minute working five minute break or 50 minute, 10 minute break. And the effectiveness of that piece is when we have like that, a little bit of time pressure, it helps to keep us focused. We also then our brain knows we're going to get a break. And you can gamify it because there's times where we're in the zone and I'll see the Timer counting down because when I'm hosting these weekly, And I'm like, oh, my gosh, I'm going to finish these by the end of this hour. And so you'll get a little faster. You get a little energy in it, right? And so it's just a very effective strategy for keeping you on point, because really what we're fighting is distraction, right? We're all trying to gain traction in what we're doing. And the research will show the most productive people are people who the research has shown, I'm sorry, the most productive people are people who say, this is what I'm going to do, and this is when I'm going to do it. And then that's what they do. And so you have to create a plan. That is probably the number one thing, the problem that I see with people. It's like they want it to be like, I don't want to schedule. I want to be willy-nilly and whatever. And that is great. You will not consistently be effective. You may occasionally get in the zone and get into flow because we can hyper focus, and that's amazing. You will not consistently do it. You are also costing yourself a lot of time by doing it that way. So you have Having a plan. I do weekly planning, monthly planning, quarterly planning, yearly planning. It's important. We do that in our incubator, and it's transformational. When you have that weekly planning that you do, it just changes changes things, and there's lots of components to that. I also think managing your schedule... To me, it's energy management. So creating your schedule to support you. It's not just time management. It's also understanding, When are my best energy times? When I'm, I say, green energy is like, your brain is on totally functioning and creative and you can process things and you can problem solve. Yellow energy is the medium I'm here, but I'm not at my best. And red is like, I'm exhausted and I can't do much. Depleted. Depleted, exactly. And I will often say to the therapist, you should be seeing clients during your yellow energy because you are really good at being a therapist. You know this inside and out. You can do it at the back of your hand. You don't want to do it when you're low energy because you're not giving and showing up, but you don't need that green energy time. That should be for tasks that are super hard for you to do that you are avoidance of or creative projects. Like, is it content creation? Is it figuring out the next program or looking at your business and doing strategic thinking? That's the time you should be doing those things. So that's another big piece. I talk a lot about energy management, and that to me is... I mean, time management is a piece of it, but it's really about energy management. Are you doing things in a flow that sets you up to build momentum? I always talk about momentum makers and momentum breakers. Are we building momentum? And that's using psychology, it's using strategy. Or are you doing things that are actually sabotaging your success? And often that's what we're doing because we don't think about it or we don't take that step back.

Uriah
That's a good insight.

Amber
Yeah. And I think those are the big ones. I say this schedule is the foundation because that is about energy management. It's about figuring it out. So I always start my clients, and I do a lot of trainings on creating your perfect work week. There was one last one that I was thinking of that Oh, I know. When you talk about stuff all the time and then you forget, you're like, Oh, yeah, that thing I talk about every single day. I think the number one thing, and all of that goes into this, if you have extreme clarity on what you're supposed to be doing. You don't have it really... Some people will go, I'm going to do this project today. No, it has to be broken down to the task level. You can just check it off and get things done because when it's at the task level, there's less resistance to doing something. Because once we have resistance, then all of a sudden, our brain takes over and it's like, I have to do this. All of a sudden, I need to index the garage door or whatever. Things are happening. We're going to find ways to distract ourselves. I think it's extreme clarity. And that comes from all of that: setting up a plan, being strategic, having that schedule. And I know we resist schedules. I also don't love schedule. There's ways to create schedules that you want to keep, like support you. And then ruthless prioritization. You can't have it all. And I'm sorry to have to be the one to tell you that. You can have it all eventually. You just can't have it all at once. If you keep trying, I tried for years to prove people wrong. I would talk to every expert and say, Hey, so I want to do these five things. And can you tell me how? And I don't remember if we talked about this on my podcast. I asked Pat Flynn. I asked... All of a sudden, they all went out. My Bill Ransick, a bunch of really successful people. This is what I want to do. And then the answer was always the same. You Got to master the one thing, get it into maintenance mode or flow. So it's clicking clockwork. Give Mike McAloitz a little shot out here. And then add the next thing. And we do not want to do that. We want to do it all at once because it's exciting. I have FOMO, too. And finally, when I made peace with it, that's when I really started to see my effectiveness substantially increase.

Uriah
You made peace with what part of that?

Amber
The fact that you couldn't do all the things at once. That I can't do it all at once. Yeah. I mean, I could continue to do that, but I'm really costing my effectiveness. And again, that's where I go back to that effectiveness. Yeah. And it's still draining. And I had read all the books. I love The One Thing. That's actually what my goal planning workshops are modeled after the one thing. And I love essentialism. I read them at the same time. And yet I still was like, no, I'm going to beat the system because I am neuro-spicy special. I was like, no, you're not.

Uriah
Isn't it hilarious when you're so educated and you know so many different things, and then you try to do the opposite? And you're like, oh, this isn't working because all the things that I know.

Amber
Yes, exactly. Well, that That's the difference between knowing and doing, right? Right. And that's where maybe that's another strategy. I'll say, we as therapists, we love learning. I read a lot of books. I know you do, too. There is no point in reading another book unless you're going to integrate it. So just stop and just slow down. Remember that business is a marathon and focus is a sprint. And so you have to take the moment to focus on what's in front of you. And again, I'm hoping you chose those priorities. I'm hoping you have a strategic plan and you're not just letting other people's emergencies determine your day. Good stuff.

Uriah
I'm not saying you have to, but if you were to write a book, what would you title it?

Amber
I am actually, but yes. Oh, okay.

Uriah
Everybody I talk to is writing a book. I'm like, Oh, right.

Amber
Aren't they all? So this is literally... This is going to make me sound so crazy, and I tell people I'm woo, not woo-wu. I'm singularly Wu because I believe in science.

Uriah
Just W-U, right?

Amber
No, just W-O-O, not woo-wu.

Uriah
Okay.

Amber
But I actually got to the point I hired. I did my very first psychic consult for her to tell me which of my books I needed to finish.

Uriah
Oh my gosh.

Amber
Because I started so many. That is wild. It's a sickness. And also I have to be okay with that. That's the ADHD way. However, The one that I am the one because I have a few titles, but I'll share the one that's being worked on right now that hopefully will be done by the end of the year is the easily distracted entrepreneur.

Uriah
I'm going to say that would be my choice. Yeah, that's a good name.

Amber
Revolutionary, right? The name of the podcast. I was like, yeah, why not keep in brand and talk about... It's fun when you get to do the work day in, day out, you learn so much. I'm like, Well, why wouldn't I write about that?

Uriah
Perfect.

Amber
Yeah. That's what it is. That was a really long way of saying that answer, by the way.

Uriah
I can't wait to hear more about that. I want to tell you about a book that you may have seen or heard about, but I haven't read yet. Just picked it up, just came out. Knowing what I know about this person in this book, I think this would really be attractive to people who are NeuraSpicy. It's called Feel Good Productivity. The subtitle is How to Do More of What Matters to You. It is actually based on quite a bit of research and science that talks about... Well, I can't really give a good summary of the book, but talks about how when you enjoy what you're doing, and that helps you get into flow. When you get into flow, you get more done, and it feels natural, and it feels good. It's not about hustle and hard work as much as it is about alignment and bringing some enjoyment to the things that you're doing. A hundred %. I'm looking forward to reading this book. Yeah.

Amber
Yeah. No, I was going to say, just by the cover, I love the cover. I love color blocking because that feels organized and happy.

Uriah
For sure.

Amber
Organization is my porn, so I love it. But I do say that, what was the subtitle? I say that a lot.

Uriah
How to do more of what matters to you.

Amber
Yes, do what matters to you. That's the whole point, right? But I agree. It is about alignment. The only thing, the only challenge challenge is, this is where we get stuck as business owners, is the things that we don't enjoy doing, we will avoid at all costs, and it can cost us a lot. The ADHD tax is what we call it, and it can be really painful, not just financially, but emotionally, and it can be relationships, all kinds of things. So yes, there is a way I believe in getting into flow state and really capitalizing and outsourcing things you don't like. But there are sometimes where we have to figure out, how make myself do something that's a challenge to me, but in an effective way that also supports me. But unfortunately, I think we're at time, so we don't have time to go into that. But I am very excited. I'm going to check that book out. So thank you.

Uriah
Yeah, definitely. I'll send you a link to it.

Amber
And the only reason I'll read it is because I'm going to integrate it.

Uriah
No, I'm just kidding. Amazing. Actually, the last couple of years, not last year, but the couple of years before that, I read a lot of books. I was on a tear, and a lot of them were business books, and I kept a log, and I put in my blog posts. But I did realize at some point that I was reading a lot, but I wasn't really retaining as much as I would like to have retained, and I certainly wasn't implementing as much as I wanted to. So this year, I just picked six books. I was like, These books will help me achieve my goals for this year. If I read them slowly, great. I'm going to take notes. I'm going to highlight stuff. I'm going to try to soak it in and use it. So I think that's good.

Amber
I think that's a good motto for business altogether. Slow down, do less, and it'll be way more effective. We think like anti hustle stuff, even though I sometimes will... Sometimes hustle is good, but we need to slow it down and it's more sustainable. It's like that idea of just in time learning. Read the book that is pertinent to what your challenge is right now, you are more likely to integrate it.

Uriah
Can I tell you my just-in-time next book I want to read? It's not the book I want to read the most, but it's the It's almost just in time. It's actually called Debt Free Degree, and it's all about how to help your kids get through college without student loan debt. Oh, I love that. I'm reading that one next because I've got a senior in high school and want to help her try to start off on a good foot.

Amber
A hundred %. Yeah. And that's way more effective. Now, I'm not saying you can't go buy them all because I buy a lot of books.

Uriah
Oh, buy the books. Buy all the books.

Amber
But buy them because it makes you feel good. No.

Uriah
Because at one point, it will be the just-in-time book. It will be.

Amber
And then it's there for you. I like knowing that knowledge is secure right there. Yeah. And so I'm not anti-pe... You can read as many books as you want. So obviously, I'm just making... But I am making a comment to people who They continue. They're like, because I've worked with people like this, where they're like, I'm just going to read another book instead of actually doing the work that they know they're supposed to be doing. That's more what I'm talking about.

Uriah
Procrastinating productivity. Yeah.

Amber
It's productive procrastination. There you go. It's procrastinal learning is what it is.

Uriah
Can I tell you something funny really quick? Yeah. I think it was one of the first times I met our mutual friend, Melissa. For some reason, I was showing... I pulled out a power bank, and somebody wanted to charge their phone, and I pulled it out, and I was so proud because it had my brand sticker on it. It had my logo on it, basically. And then she accused me of procrastabranding.

Amber
Procrastabranding, yes. Yeah. Denise Duffil-Thomas talks about that. Yeah, it's so awesome. It's true.

Uriah
I have seen- What I need to do right now is order stickers. That's the most important thing that I need to do right now. Obviously.

Amber
And guess what? As the business owner, you get to. You get to choose that That. Just acknowledge that's what you're doing.

Uriah
President of Swag. That's me.

Amber
Yes. Yeah, I like it. I like it.

Uriah
Let's put a pin in it for now until we talk again. And I'm sure people are feeling this amazing vibe that you're bringing. So where can they go to get more of that good stuff?

Amber
Yeah, I'm laughing because it's usually they're like, Yes, I need this, or, Man, I hate her. There's no in between. That's too much. That is way too much. Change the channel. That's fine. I'm Okay, don't call me. If I'm too much, don't let me know. Yeah, actually, I would like to give to the audience. I know we didn't get to go in-depth into the energy management, but to give to your audience a little mini training on energy management. And you can find that, and I think I'll put it on theeasilydistractedtherapist.com/uriah. So they can go there. And so I'm sure it's going to be in the show notes. So go down right now and click on it so that it's saved because you're going to forget. And then you're going to be like, What would I hear? Which podcast? I don't know. Where was that thing? Go do that right now. But yeah, so I would say go there, check that out, and But I am curious for you, Yuraya, what was your biggest takeaway or learning from what we talked about today?

Uriah
That's a good question. Well, like I said to you in the beginning, I'm trying to figure out how I can best support my family members as well as other therapists that we help through productive therapists without being annoying. Basically, I guess that was my goal going into this conversation. I definitely took some mental notes on the things that work best for Neurospicy folks to get things done. I can suggest those things and use them myself. I think Those are my takeaways. Also, you talked about not taking it personally, which I do sometimes for sure, because I'm hyper-organized, get things done person, and it's generally easy for me. It's easy for me to take it personal someone in my life or someone I'm working with is not getting things done. So that's helpful to just take a breath and then maybe talk about, Hey, how can we do this together? Or, How can I best help you? That thing.

Amber
Yeah, absolutely. Well, good. I know we didn't really get a chance to go... There's so many ways to go in-depth just on, is it the family member stuff, or is it an employee, or whatever? It's helpful. But thank you. This was a great conversation. Yeah, I enjoyed it.

Uriah
Yeah.

Amber
Thank you.

Uriah
Until we talk again.

Amber
In two weeks.

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