In this week’s episode, Billy talks with Genie Love, a coach who specializes in supporting professionals and entrepreneurs who discover they have ADHD and/or Autism later in life. She uses collaborative coaching methods to help clients enhance productivity, confidence, and success in both personal and professional endeavors. Genie's program integrates evidence-based techniques, mindfulness, and emotional intelligence to help clients gain a deep understanding of their brains and develop a personalized toolbox of effective strategies.
Billy and Genie discuss:
–The difference between the terms “neurodivergent” and “executive functioning”
–Providing adults who develop ADHD/ADD later in life with skills and drills to manage their ADHD/ADD
–The fine line between emotional immaturity and having ADD/ADHD
–How the stigma in adult autism can either motivate people to or hinder them from seeking help
–Setting up your physical environment for success
Want more from Genie Love?
Visit her website and check out her LinkedIn profile. You can also email her at: email@example.com
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Billy: Coming up on The Mindful Midlife Crisis
Genie: To someone who is neurodivergent, their brain is working differently than what we have always considered to be typical. So that might be someone who has ADHD or autism. It could be someone who has Tourette's or dyslexia or some other sort of what we would look at and the school system as like a learning disability. Executive functioning is the sort of decision making, problem solving, self awareness, self-regulation, part of the brain that happens in the prefrontal cortex.
Anyone who is struggling with executive functioning might have things like they've always been a procrastinator. They have trouble with deadlines. They are unorganized. Time management, also emotional regulation, thinking flexibly and being able to shift their brain between topics quickly, managing schedules and goals and those kinds of things. Those are all part of that self-regulation, self-motivation, self-awareness, self-evaluation that is executive functioning.
Billy: Welcome to The Mindful Midlife Crisis, a podcast for people navigating the complexities and possibilities of life's second half. I'm your host, Billy Lahr, an educator, personal trainer, meditation teacher and Overthinker who talks to experts who specialize in social and emotional learning, mindfulness, physical and emotional wellness, cultural awareness, finances, communication, relationships, dating and parenting all in an effort to help us better reflect, learn and grow so we can live a more purpose filled life.
Take a deep breath, embrace the present and journey with me through The Mindful Midlife Crisis. Welcome to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. I'm your host, Billy Lahr. Thank you for tuning in wherever you are. The purpose of the show is to help others navigate the complexities and possibilities of life. Second half with more curiosity, compassion, openness and awareness so you can take inspired and intentional action to jumpstart your life.
I do this in two ways. First, by sharing how cultivating my own daily mindfulness practice over the last ten years has helped me navigate the trials, tribulations and successes of my own midlife crisis. I also provide a platform that gives people the space and permission to share their expertise and life experiences so you can use that information to enhance your life with whatever you find relatable and practical.
And remember this free and useful information is helpful to people of all ages. Wisdom isn't about one's age. Wisdom comes from our ability to reflect, learn and grow from our own life experiences, while also learning from the experiences of others, regardless of what stage of life we are in. Because you just never know what life is going to throw at you.
So there just might be a conversation or two from past episodes that help you feel better prepared for the challenges you might face in life or that you're facing right now. Whether those challenges be your emotional, mental and or physical health, your relationships with others, including your partner and children, your career, your finances, whatever curveballs life is throwing your way right now, just know that you are not alone in your experience.
And the conversations I'm having here are with people who have been there before or have done the research to help you navigate these situations with more awareness, openness, curiosity and compassion so you can jumpstart your life. And trust me, I take all of these conversations to heart as well, and I try to apply what I'm learning from these conversations into my own life, because my hope is that you can see and hear the growth I'm making so that it inspires you to seek out the connections between our shared experiences so that you too can take intentional inspired action.
If you're looking for some ways to help you better navigate whatever you've got going on in your life from someone who has been through it before. Joiner Mindful Midlife Community www.mindfulmidlifecrisis.com for our free weekly group mindfulness sessions as well as other resources that will help you reflect, learn and grow. This week's episode focuses on navigating adult ADHD, which is a topic we haven't covered yet, but one I find more and more interesting because I've often wondered if this is why my brain works the way it is, and more and more adults are finding out later in life that they do in fact have ADHD.
So this is something that's very much on the forefront of my mind. And maybe after hearing this conversation, you yourself may feel inclined to look into this further. So if you want more episodes like that, you can check out episodes ten and 35 with fanfavorite Tom Cody, who gives you his unfiltered take on social-emotional learning. Check out episode 23 with the boss babe Tandra Rutledge on how to parent and work with children with ADHD.
And also check out episode 59 with Rich Bracken about the social-emotional lessons being a D.J. has taught him. So with that, let's meet today's guest. My guest today is Genie Love. Genie holds a master's degree in educational leadership, as well as degrees in physical therapy and teaching. She was a special education teacher for 20 years, specializing in working with students who have ADHD and or autism.
Today, Genie lights up coaching professionals and entrepreneurs who are learning they have ADHD and or autism later in life. Through her collaborative coaching modalities. She helps adults from all walks of life become more productive, confident and successful in their personal and professional goals. Her program combines evidence-based techniques with mindfulness and emotional intelligence to help her clients truly understand their brains and build a toolbox of techniques that work for them.
And that's what she's here to discuss with us today. So welcome to the show, Genie Love.
Genie: Thank you.
Billy: You know, you're someone after my own heart working in education. And I figure special education teachers already have their passport to heaven stamped already because it's an incredibly difficult job. So I just want to say thank you for the work you've done in those 20 years. And it's great that you're making this transition to help adults navigate ADHD and autism later on in life.
Because in terms of recognizing that, Oh man, hey, I, I have this and I've never been given the skills to manage it. We need people like you out there to to share what you know, so that they can thrive and be successful. So, again, thank you so much.
Genie: Well, you're welcome. I appreciate your thanks, your gratitude. But, you know, the truth is, is that I love it. Like I find it a challenge that every student, every adult is different. And I find it engaging to me to try to figure out what strategies are really going to help this person and their life with their goals. And so, I mean, I love the work.
I'm happy to do it.
Billy: We're going to dive into that in just a little bit. But we always like to ask our guests the ten roles that they play in their life. So what are ten roles that you play in your life?
Genie: Okay, so I am a mom. I am always I am an outdoors woman, which means my favorite things to do are snowboarding, camping, rafting and hiking and all the other outdoor things. I am an entrepreneur. I'm an ADHD and autism coach. I'm an eater. Love to eat good food. The traveler, a learner, an adventurer, and a digital minimalist.
Billy: So what do you mean by digital minimalist? I like that because especially when we're talking about ADHD and we're talking about attention deficit. Being a digital minimalist is very important and it's something that I struggle with on an everyday basis. So what do you mean by being a digital minimalist?
Genie: I have never really loved Facebook or Instagram or all of that. And I also YouTube videos and I get sucked into YouTube videos and I just don't love going down the rabbit hole. For whatever reason, I don't like the way that that feels and I don't like the pressure that it puts on me to constantly be engaged and involved all the time.
I don't want to like everything I do or comment on everything. It just is pulling my already scattered brain into many directions that feel this pressure to participate and that I've recently discovered that there's sort of a wave of people calling themselves digital minimalists and are pulling back from the pressure to be involved in social media in that way.
So I've decided to just embrace that and also have a race tip from my phone so that I can't just sort of instinctively grab it whenever I have a moment of downtime or whatever. And so I just have decided to let that go and I don't have to. Which is very liberating.
Billy: That's something that I've wanted to do, actually, when I was, I think what I was happiest is when I deleted the Facebook app from my phone. But there is a pressure that I feel to market myself and market the podcast on social media. And there's just like this tug of war of I want to get rid of this, but I also feel like I need to market and I'm not going to lie.
I am an attention whore. So I also like that affirmation of likes like it's currency for me. So I feel like you have a course ready to go in terms of digital minimalism and how that can relate to ADHD, OCD. So I'll take 10% of that for giving you the idea. Got it. And at the end, I'll be a student in the course.
Genie: You'll be my first student. I actually really love that idea. Yeah, I'll build a course for you.
Billy: That would be great. I think you would probably have quite a few people who would gravitate towards a course like that. You're also an outdoors woman. I like this because you live in Colorado. You basically have the outdoor is the snowboarding, the camping, the rafting, the hiking at your fingertips. What's it like being a Colorado resident?
Genie: I actually think that that kind of aligns well with my digital minimalism because most of where I live, because I live in the mountains, if you just drive like ten miles out of town, you have lost your cell service. And so it's very easy to get away from the technology and I love it. I love to go away for the weekend and it just doesn't work.
And then you have nothing else that to just be where you are with the people who you are with and the opportunity to be a little bored, a little less stimulated. And that's the most amazing thing.
Billy: Well, I bet that lends well to being that adventurer, which is something you're looking forward to in the second half of life. What adventures are you looking forward to? What are you planning on doing?
Genie: So I kind of identified the three that I am looking forward to in the second half of my life is being a mother and being this ADHD and autism coach and being an adventurer. And the other two kind of align with the adventurer. Like I'm super excited to see where this my daughter is ten years old. I can't wait to see what adventures we get into in the second half of her life with us before she leaves us.
We love to take trips together. My daughter and I, road trips go on adventures. I'm excited about this business and where it's going to lead. I have no idea. It's still somewhat new and so that's very exciting. Then my family and I, we lived in South America for five years and came home around the COVID time. We were kind of ready to be back in the US, traveling the US, and now I'm ready to get back out and do a little more international traveling again.
And yeah, adventures, whether it's challenging my brain in a new way or doing something physical.
Billy: Where in South America did you live?
Genie: I lived two and a half years in the northern part of Chile in the Atacama Desert, which is the driest place on the planet. And then I lived two and a half years in our Akiba Peru, which is in southern Peru. It's kind of like if the tourists come to go to Machu Picchu and Cusco, they stop through our key.
But the big city, but also a pretty popular tourist place.
Billy: When we talked last time, you had mentioned that your daughter has ADHD and you can see sort of the combination here then of ADHD coach and mom. It's a personal for you.
Genie: Yeah, and it wasn't when I started. The two were kind of happening at the same time. Here's what happened is we returned home from South America and it was sort of how where are we going with our careers? And my husband decided he's well, we decided he would go back to work because he had been a stay at home dad and that I would stay home for a little while because it's possible our daughter was going to need to be home schooled.
And we live in a pretty rural area. And so COVID was pretty minor around here. She didn't need a lot of home schooling. So I was like thinking about what am I going to do with my career? At the same time, she was struggling with sort of behavioral and emotional regulation. So it seemed like me going back to teaching in the public education system wasn't going to give me the flexibility and the emotional energy to be the best mom for her.
So then I just started analyzing everything. What do I want from the second half of my life? What are my goals? What are my priorities? Kind of work through all of that and then started to build what was going to give me that. And I was researching, researching all the time what roles in my qualified for or what inspires me and motivates me.
And that's when I discovered this growing number of adults who are identifying as having ADHD and or autism. And I thought, Well, this is something that I know and I've been doing for a really long time. I wonder how that would translate. And so I just threw myself out there as a coach, and it's taken off and I really, really love it and super excited to to work with adults.
Billy: Well, that's what we're going to talk about here today. So we're going to take a quick break. And when we come back, we're going to talk to Genie about the work that she's doing with adults for identifying as ADHD and autistic. Thank you for listening to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. Thank you for listening to The Mindful Midlife Crisis.
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My hope is that these conversations resonate with others and inspire people to live their best lives. Thanks again. And now back to the show. Welcome back to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. We're here today talking to Genie Love. She works with adults who have ADHD and autism. And we're just figuring out try and identify some skills that she teaches people who identify as neurodiverse emergent or have executive functioning disorders.
And those two words are starting to become more and more popular these days. So what are those terms mean.
Genie: To someone who is neurodivergent? Their brain is working differently than what we have always considered to be typical. So that might be someone who has ADHD or autism. It could be someone who has Tourette's or dyslexia or some other sort of what we would look at. And the school system is like a learning disability. Executive functioning is the sort of decision making, problem solving, self-awareness, self-regulation, part of the brain that happens in the prefrontal cortex.
Anyone who's struggling with executive functioning might have things like they've always been a procrastinator. They have trouble with deadlines. They are unorganized. Time management. Also emotional regulation. Thinking flexibly and being able to shift their brain between topics quickly, managing schedules and goals and those kinds of things. Those are all part of that. Self-regulation, self-motivation, self-awareness, self-evaluation that is executive functioning.
Billy: As I was doing some research on this, particularly the symptoms of adult ADHD, you know, I was going through some of the symptoms and I'm like, Yep, that's me. Yep. Check, check, check, check. But then I got to thinking like some of the conversations that I've had with adults, and I think people tend to take isolated incidents that they have in their life and they chalk it up to, Oh, that's just my adult ADHD, when in reality we're all just human.
And the brain is a powerful Oregon. So when people look at these symptoms, what questions should they ask themselves when it comes to better understanding the extent that these situations are having on their daily lives and how they're impacting them? And I guess, more importantly, what's the fine line between emotional immaturity as an adult and having ADHD or ADHD as an adult?
Genie: So I would say as you look at these symptoms and if you're curious, I would absolutely consult a physician and they can direct you for an official evaluation. If you want to start to think about how you relate to this, you might think about, has this always been something that's gotten in your way? And so, I mean, my clients can relate this all the way back to struggling at school, whether it's social relationships or just meeting the expectations that all kids are expected to meet in school.
And if you've always felt like you just never had it together, then you would know that this is kind of something that you've carried with you as opposed to having life, You know, families who need whatever they need jobs that are asking for whatever they're asking. We have financial issues or all those things are going to lead anyone to be a little scatterbrained at times.
And so I think it's like looking a little more deeply about how it may have been affecting you your whole life. And my clients carry a little bit of baggage about all of that because they've never had it together. And they don't feel very good about themselves and they've struggled in their work as well. And so I think, you know, and I see with my clients a sense of like, aha, I have found me when they self-identify and when they go, Yes, check, check, check, check, check.
Okay. I have found me. I understand me in my brain. So many of my clients come to me, like with a self diagnosis as opposed to official diagnosis. And as we talk, it's like, yeah, all those things that you've been feeling is what I know from all the people that I've worked with. And as far as emotional, what did you say?
Billy: Immaturity. Emotional immaturity.
Genie: Yeah, that's interesting. I guess. I don't know that I have a response to that. I would say that when the other things all fall in line. So, for example, I was talking to this woman recently and she said she's been diagnosed as having anxiety and depression and OCD and I don't know these other social issues. And she's like, but really, what I had is the whole package, which when you put it all together, emotional regulation, all that behavioral management, we put that all together, it looks like, and that's like a half.
Okay. So I think if you look at emotional immaturity and all the other things are in place, then it's probably not I would say probably not an executive functioning issue, but we have to look at we have to dig in together. I mean, that's really an uncovering of all the pieces of life.
Billy: How interesting. Interesting. So it's too dismissive of me to say, well, I will chalk it up to emotional immaturity when the reality very well could be that it is an executive functioning disorder.
Genie: An emotional regulation disorder, or, you know, autism. Is that difficulty relating to people in a social environment. Yeah, maybe lean in a little bit more to the whole story.
Billy: That's a good reminder, because when I'm teaching mindfulness, I always talk about come at things with compassion, come at things with curiosity. Hey, even teachers need to be taught sometimes. Even coaches need to be coached. So that's a good reminder to take a step back and be like, Oh, okay, yeah. Lean into the curiosity. Lean into the compassion a little bit.
You taught special education, as we mentioned, for 20 years, and now you're working with Neurodivergent adults. How does the development of the brain compare and contrast to how ADHD affects children and adults? And is it possible for people to develop ADHD later in life?
Genie: So I don't know the answer about developing ADHD later in life. I think that it's a lifelong thing. As I kind of alluded to before, you would see it going all the way back to childhood. So the prefrontal cortex is the last part of your brain to develop, and that is the part of the brain that we're talking about.
So with children, that can even be a little bit difficult because like all kids are impulsive, all kids have emotional regulation problems, all kids, whatever, and they're developing that part of your brain and into your 20 years. So how it compares to the adult brain, which is fully developed, there's just still these same core issues that they're dealing with.
This is how my daughter was diagnosed. My daughter was diagnosed because I have been working with kids who have ADHD for a long time. And it wasn't until I started taking adult clients who then started to tell me about the noise and the busyness and just the pulled of so many directions in the timeline as they started telling me what was going on in their brain.
And I was like, Oh, that's my daughter. That's it. That is why she struggles to, like, start things because it's an overwhelming task and she doesn't even know how to prioritize and start. And then I sort of identify some of these things in my own brain. Well, my brain bounces all over the place and sometimes it's hard to complete a thought and I get lost and I am organizing documents and things is like a thing that just doesn't even make any sense to me.
I don't remember exactly where this conversation started, but maybe you remind me of the question or if I answered it.
Billy: Well, I was just wondering, do people develop ADHD later in life? And the reason why I asked that is I'm wondering, since you're becoming a digital minimalist, is ADHD something that will likely become more common given how overly stimulated our brains are becoming as technology outpaces brain research?
Genie: So that is and I think that's where the struggle is right now, is that especially for my clients of ADHD, is this kind of goes back to everybody thinks they have ADHD right now. We're all pulled in too many directions all the time with the amount of alert going off and notifications and the constant. I mean, they have brilliant scientists developing the social media to be more addictive.
A dull ADHD, or just like learning. So this is where the mindfulness comes in and the self-regulation, like really being aware of the choices that we're making so that we don't get pulled all the time. And so I think that scientists taking advantage of the chemicals in the wiring of our brain to build programs that are robust and even more.
And so, yeah, so that'll be part of the course.
Billy: What I suspect is that what technology is doing is it's rewiring, it's restructuring our brain. And it could be a normal brain, but because of the restructuring of the brain, the rewiring of the brain through these addictive measures in social media, which feels instant, right, it's insta that we then are in turn displaying symptoms or qualities that might be similar to particularly ADHD.
And I wanted to take a look at these statistics here, because when we look at ADHD, I think that they're kind of interchangeable or we think of them as interchangeable, but really they are two different things. So here's what I found, and you can let me know if it's different. But the research says that 8.4% of children and 2.5% of adults are affected with ADHD.
But the National Institute of Mental Health thinks that those numbers are most likely higher because that's only based on diagnoses which we're going to come back to here in just a little bit. But while we're talking about A.D.D., we're talking about 33% of adults with a diagnosis who are in attentive. So it's a lack of focus. Then the ADHD label is in reference to hyperactivity and impulsivity, which only affects 7% of adults, which I think actually makes sense.
And then 60% of adults have some form of combination of the two. Then what is it that we get wrong about people with A.D.D. and ADHD? And what do the people who work with you not see when they're starting out with you?
Genie: So there's still a lot of research going on about what is going on inside of the ADHD brain and the brain. And one of the things that they have found is a decreased level of dopamine in the brain, which is the reward chemical. And so what that means is that it's harder to motivate yourself. So when you complete a task, you feel a sense of accomplishment, or when you're having a hard time getting started on a task, you can visualize how you're going to feel at the end of it.
The sense of accomplishment that I think is harder for someone who has left dopamine in their brain to envision that and get yourself there and get yourself motivated. So I hear clients say and my daughter say, I want to start. I know that I need to start, but I just can't do it. So there's that as far as what is going on in the ADHD brain.
My clients come to me because they have had this Aha about what has been going on their whole life and now they want to take action. I have always struggled with this and now I'm ready to take action and look. There's coaching available, empowering their employees of ADHD and autism. And one of the things that I see is that they might you have them already employed and they might not even know that they have ADHD at work.
When we start together, it's just like, what's your biggest problem right now? My biggest problem is that I am not on top of my work. I don't have enough energy to do all the tasks that I need to do something like that. And then so we start to dig, you know, and then come up with some strategies that they can implement immediately.
Then at the same time, the mindfulness comes in, which is slowing down, taking a step back, being very thoughtful and purposeful about what you're doing with your time and how you're making your decisions and not responding on impulse or out of this addiction to busyness that we all have right now, which is part of the social media. Anyway, so then we add the mindfulness to kind of like be more thoughtful about the decision making and then the sort of emotional intelligence and mental fitness to keep the strategies.
They've tried everything and none of it has stuck. So how can we repeat over and over and over again and get some good mental strategies to keep the techniques that you've been working on?
Billy: One thing that I find interesting on your website is that it says adults both diagnosed and self identified as having A.D.D., ADHD and or autism want to better understand themselves and learn how to manage their own lives. And that's why they choose to work with you. And I remember reading that line about self-identified or self diagnosed, and I was like, Oh, that's an ethical dilemma for me right there.
I don't know how much of a fan I am of self diagnosing as ADHD, ADHD. But you had an interesting reframe around that. So can you explain that, please?
Genie: Yes. Well, and maybe you can tell me, do you remember what I said when I reframed it?
Billy: I think we both kind of came to the conclusion that it doesn't really matter if you identify as ADHD, You're just recognizing that there is a need for some sort of executive functioning support because you're struggling with focus, because you're struggling with emotional regulation.
Genie: Yes, And that's exactly right. And it's it can be difficult, expensive and time consuming. And to get an autism diagnosis is especially hard for adults. I mean, it's just like you you check the boxes and then you dive back a little bit in your history and you go, yes, this is the thing that has always been in my way and I have always struggled with, and I've never had it together.
And when again, I'm not a medical professional, so I cannot diagnose anyone. But I've got a lot of experience working with children and adults. And when they come to me and they tell me what's going on in their lives and their history and we dive into it, all signs point to they're right. I would say that they nailed it.
They understand themselves and their brain. And so I don't care. I don't need a diagnosis because I have found that they're pretty spot on from my observations and from my experience.
Billy: Well, let's do this. Let's take a quick break. And when we come back, we're going to continue talking about the skills that Genie shares with her clients so that they can better navigate this A.D.D., ADHD and autism mind. Thank you for listening to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. Thank you for listening to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. New episodes come out every Wednesday to help you get over the midweek hump.
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If you want to check out my world adventures, follow me on Instagram @mindful_midlife_crisis. My hope is that my trials, tribulations and successes will inspire you to take intentional action to live a more purpose filled life. And while you're at it, remember to show yourself some love every now and then, too. Thanks again. And now back to the show.
Welcome back to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. We're here today talking to Genie Love. She's got a program that combines evidence-based techniques with mindfulness and emotional intelligence to help her clients truly understand their brains and build a toolbox of techniques that work for them. She focuses on people who have A.D.D., ADHD, and autism. We haven't touched on autism much yet.
So what are you seeing then, when it comes to adult autism? And what role does stigma surrounding adult autism play in people getting the help they need? Because I imagine the first thing that comes to mind for people our age when we think of autism as the movie Rainman.
Genie: Yeah, but there's a growing number of sort of influential people who are starting to talk about it again, maybe self-identify and it's becoming easier to talk about in conversation. And so the stigma might be I mean, there are maybe some assumptions about, you know, they're all good at technology or there's this sort of maybe assumption that they have a difficult time forming relationships.
The stigma might be that they don't want relationships, and none of that is true. But what is really, especially someone with autism, they've been trying to fit in to social expectations their entire lives. In fact, when I was teaching 20 years ago, we were teaching them how to fit in to society and the social expectations. What's really cool is that I think that we're kind of uncovering and letting go of that and this idea of letting people be who they are.
But now with my clients, we have to start to peel away the layers that they've been building up to be what people expect them to be their whole lives. And so that is a lot of work. I have clients are just like, it's unnerving to try to dig into who you really are when you start your whole life building the facade of what people expect you to be.
Billy: What are some of the symptoms then, of autism? What is it that people who maybe are listening and they're like, Oh, wait, Because I feel like of the two ADHD, A.D.D. gets more notice than autism. So what would be some of the symptoms as people are listening to, they're like, Oh, okay, that's a starting to resonate with me a little bit.
Genie: One of my clients came to me and described it for what we can talk about a few different things, but one of her experiences is she called it not having enough students, something about a global lack of students and described it as like you use the students that are in the draw, but there aren't enough students. And she feels that way about her energy.
So these tasks require a different amount of energy for her to initiate, to plan for, to see all the way through. Then it's like then she means to sort of come down afterwards and so reset her energies. So they she gets some people with autism are very sensitive to sounds and noises and social situations cause a lot of anxiety because they've always struggled and smells and textures and all those things.
And so that can be taxing to your nervous system if it's always on edge like that. And so the build up to the task and then the coming down and then I mentioned previously executive functioning. Sometimes you struggle, then switching between tasks. So how do I and that task and then the sort of monitoring of the time, how long is something going to take?
What are all the steps that I'm going to have to do to take care of this task and be incredibly challenging to her energy level? I have other clients who really have struggled with emotional regulation. Fight or flight is on, sort of bringing that down to a smaller level so that it's easier to regulate and slow the fight or flight down.
I think people are a little more commonly aware of the struggles with social regulation that people with autism typically have. So those are some of the experiences of my clients.
Billy: One of the steps you take with your clients is an audit of their physical environment. And as someone who has been moving around from place to place for the past 18 months, I can tell you from personal experience just how important having a space conducive to focused thinking and deep work is. What do you look for when you do these audits and what do you advise?
What do you advise against when you're doing these audits?
Genie: So I think maybe people can relate to having like a tidy workspace or something like that, but also to think about your energy regulation. And so I'd love to get up and move and how can we use the space that we have. So this is maybe about work. So how can you use the space that you have a little more creatively and how can you do sort of an energy level audit to see what do I need to focus right now?
Do I need to be more alert, sitting upright and maybe that kind of a more stiff chair? Or is this sort of a brainstorming brain done thing or casual? And I would be more comfortable in a more comfortable place. What role does technology play? How can you not only just turn off the notifications, but really just make that a conscious effort?
I am now getting myself ready to do this sort of deep, challenging task where that looks like closing all the tabs, turning off the notifications, maybe even putting your phone out of reach so you can't get bored and grab it. When to take breaks and get up and move can really spark creativity, which is amazing. So those kinds of things, like I was coaching a client on how to set up her own home office and it was, you know, a chair by the window with a pencil and notebook.
Sometimes you just need to get rid of the technology altogether when you're brainstorming or thinking or trying to be creative, where could you put a laptop on a countertop so that you can stand and work if you need to be more alert? Those are the kinds of coaching that I do for my clients.
Billy: How have you set up your daughter's space for success?
Genie: Well, she's only ten, and the school this season, which is amazing, does not send home homework for elementary school students. I think that's hugely valuable. Important, Huge props to them for that. But she is very distractible. She gets pulled from one thing to the next thing to the next thing. And so just having sort of a space knowledge like this is the project that's going on right now.
Here's your workspace on the table. And then when that's done trying to clean up and acknowledge that you're are you really finished with this project or even pulled away? So some of that self-awareness, self-regulation conversation happening.
Billy: As you mentioned, schools there, you know, in schools they have things like five or four learning accommodation plans to support students. But life, including work, does not come with 504 plans. What are some reasonable accommodations neurodivergent thinkers can ask for at work in order to help them manage their executive function disorders?
Genie: If you feel comfortable and this is where it gets challenging, but if you feel comfortable and you've got a good relationship with your manager or your other coworkers, if you can just kind of like start to dig in to what are the things that you really struggle with. For me, it's like document management. So can you please let me know ahead of time what is the purpose of this meeting so that I can make sure that I've got all that I've dug in and found all the documents that I need for this?
Breaking tasks into smaller pieces can be hard for me. So having a friend that I trust to walk through those steps, make sure I haven't missed anything, and then getting it all into your calendar. Another thing might be that you might need a little extra time to think in a meeting. They might ask for questions or responses or feedback, and someone else might need to walk away and let that kind of distill for a little while.
So you might ask, is it okay for you to be able to follow up with that in a day with your feedback sensitivities? So if you're sensitive to lights and sounds or smells, there are easy ways to maybe be able to have some easy adjustments for that, whether it's headphones or different lighting, a quiet space to take a break.
I think it's common to take a break in the lunch room or that sort of space, but maybe what you really need is a place to get away and just kind of slow down and let your thoughts settle for a while. I feel like that's something that you can ask for. Those are just off the top of my head. Some ideas.
Billy: I know you have a workshop coming up here soon. Unfortunately, this episode will air after the workshop, but you're talking about the workshop focuses on how people with ADHD autism can use mindfulness in order to navigate some of these situations as well. What are you planning to cover in that course?
Genie: So we'll cover sort of some of the symptoms isn't the right word, but sort of the some of the emotions that you carry with you. So start to identify which ones resonate with you most, where these are negative emotions you have feeling about yourself that you've been carrying for a while. So we'll start to those. Then we'll do a little mindfulness practice just to get some practice.
After that, we'll have a few techniques, so we'll have a few techniques to manage your time and attention, a few strategies to manage your emotions and a few for sending that sort of inner critic away and it will practice a little bit more mindfulness. And then we'll just talk about how. Okay, so let's pick some strategies that you want to focus on for the next two and you'll use mindfulness practice in order to make sure that you don't lose the momentum.
And so how can you use that in preparation for using the strategies? How can you use it at the end of the day, when to reflect back on whether or not you use the strategies, how can you use it when you start your day so that you don't give up and come back to it over and over and over while you're building these new neural pathways in your brain?
These new habits, new emotions takes a lot of work because you spend a lot of years in these other habits. So yeah, that's kind of and then we'll set some goals and see where everybody wants to take it.
Billy: Well, Genie, thank you for doing all this amazing work with people with ADHD and autism. I know that you are offering five of our listeners the opportunity to book Clarity calls with you so that they can discuss their goals, uncover what's holding them back, and develop strategies they can implement immediately. We'll put that link in the show notes so that they can contact you.
Thank you for offering that to our listeners and thank you for sharing your wisdom with us today.
Yeah, happy too. Thanks for having me. It was nice to talk to you.
Billy: Hey, if you like this week's episode, be sure to look in the show notes for all of Gina's contact information. And don't forget to subscribe to the show wherever you get your podcasts so you never miss an episode. If you're an Apple listener, you can do that by clicking the plus sign in the upper right-hand corner. And if you're a Spotify listener, click the follow button and then click those five stars under the cover to show the show some love.
If you like what you hear and you're looking for more, but you don't know where to start, click on fan faves under the podcast habit www.mindfulmidlifecrisis.com. While you're there, don't forget to sign up for the mindful midlife community. So together, we can reflect, learn and grow. Finally, I know Genie and I would greatly appreciate it if you would share this episode with the people in your life who may also find value in Genie’s expertise and life experiences.
Remember, the purpose of the show is to help you navigate the complexities and possibilities of life's second half. And I hope this conversation provides some insight that will help you take inspired and intentional action so you can jump-start your life. So for Genie, this is Billy. Thank you for listening to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. May you feel happy, healthy, and loved.
Take care, friends.