Brooke Schnittman: Navigating underwhelm and building momentum

Nov 27, 2023


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“You try to accommodate and please everyone and it ends up biting you in the ass because you're the one who suffers.”

Brooke is a compassionate ADHD coach who has worked alongside ADHDers and their families since 2006. However, Brooke herself wasn’t officially diagnosed with ADHD until 2019. 

She now runs Coaching with Brooke, an international coaching organization based in Boca Raton, FL, and she has rapidly become a leading global authority in the field of ADHD coaching.

She has been featured in magazines and websites such as Forbes, Entrepreneur, ADDitude, and CHADD. Her work has also been featured on news outlets such as CBS, NBC, and FOX. She also hosts the SuccessFULL With ADHD podcast and runs the popular Instagram account, @coachingwithbrooke.

We talk about her new book, Activate Your ADHD Potential: A 12-Step Journey from Chaos to Confidence for Adults with ADHD, as well as her trademarked 3C activation program. We also talk about building and maintaining momentum, and moving past ADHD underwhelm, overwhelm, and other ADHD disruptors.

I’ve been trying to get Brooke on this podcast for years now, so I’m so glad we could finally make this work — it’s a fantastic conversation (no surprise there), and I know you’ll love what she has to say so here is my conversation with Brooke!


Instagram: @coachingwithbrooke


Activate Your ADHD Potential: A 12-Step Journey from Chaos to Confidence for Adults with ADHD by Brooke Schnittman




Brooke Schnittman 0:00
It's okay to ask for what I want. And when we start creating those boundaries, then we have more time for things. We all have the same 24 hours in a day. It's not that we don't work as efficient as a neurotypical, it's just that we expect so much of ourselves, and we overschedule

Katy Weber 0:23
Hello, and welcome to the women and ADHD podcast. I'm your host, Katy Weber. I was diagnosed with ADHD at the age of 45. And it completely turned my world upside down. I've been looking back at so much of my life, school, jobs, my relationships, all of it with this new lens, and it has been nothing short of overwhelming. I quickly discovered I was not the only woman to have this experience. And now I interview other women who liked me discovered in adulthood they have ADHD and I are finally feeling like they understand who they are and how to best lean into their strengths, both professionally and personally. Alright, before we begin, I would like to share with you this review from a listener named also Katie, on the Apple podcast platform. It's entitled Love, love, love. Every single time I've listened, there is something new that I can relate to. Or maybe it's something I forgot, but it feels so good to hear and say me too. I think sometimes when I'm struggling in my ADHD paralysis, just listening to this podcast helps motivate me to do the things I so desperately want to do or even just feel better about not doing them and being gentle with myself. You are truly amazing. Well, thank you. Also, Katie, I think you're amazing. This is really lovely to read. And the timing is perfect, because in today's episode, my guest and I talk all about motivation, momentum and getting over paralysis. So thank you for being motivated enough to write this review. And if you're a listener of this podcast, and you found it helpful, please consider leaving a review, you can head over to the Apple podcast platform or audible or you can leave feedback on individual episodes on Spotify. And if that feels like too much, and I get it, you can also just quickly hit those five stars. In fact, why don't you just hit pause right now and do it I promise we will wait for you. Okay, here we are at episode 165 in which I interview Brooke Shipman. Brooke is a compassionate ADHD coach who has worked alongside ADHD years and their families since 2006. However, Brooke herself wasn't officially diagnosed with ADHD until 2019. She now runs coaching with Brooke an international coaching organization based in Boca Raton, Florida, and she has rapidly become a leading global authority in the field of ADHD coaching. Brooke has been featured in magazines and websites such as Forbes, entrepreneur, attitude and Chad. Her work has also been featured on news outlets such as CBS, NBC and Fox and she also hosts the successful with ADHD podcast and runs the popular Instagram account coaching with Brooke we talk at length about her new book activate your ADHD potential a 12 step journey from chaos to confidence for adults with ADHD as well as her trademarked three see activation program. We also talk about building and maintaining momentum and moving past ADHD disruptors like underwhelm and overwhelm. I have been trying to get Brooke on this podcast for years now. So I'm so glad we could finally make this work. It was a fantastic conversation. No surprise there. And I know you'll love what she has to say. So here's my conversation with Brooke Brock, thank you so so much for joining me today.

Brooke Schnittman 3:43
Thank you so much for having me. I was thinking about you. And then you reached out it was like apropos Kismet?

Katy Weber 3:51
Yes. I know. Right? And not only that, but we as we were talking before I hit record like I feel like I know you already from your social media presence. And it's so I'm just I'm Yeah, fan girl like a little bit here. Okay, so you are definitely not my first guest who worked with children with ADHD for many years before that light bulb went off for yourself. So I'm so curious. I want to start at like your education background and kind of working in special ed and then how that transition into you kind of putting the pieces together for yourself. And what were those pieces that made you think like, oh, wait a minute, I should look into this.

Brooke Schnittman 4:34
I truly believe like we were talking about that things just are Kismet and I was gravitating to people who are like me, and I didn't know that I was like them. I didn't understand it in my own brain. But I went to school for elementary education. My undergrad was at Penn State and I realized I took one special education class at And I thought to myself, this is interesting. How am I supposed to become a teacher if I don't really know more about this? So I said, I'm gonna hold off in starting to teach. And I'm going to just go directly into my master's in special education, you know, like this hyperfocus at the time, and I applied to all of these different schools, ones where I didn't have to take any tests to get into it. So I didn't have to, I don't even remember what they're called, but I didn't have to do any thesis is or anything like that. So I was like, okay, which schools in New York? Can I go to that I don't need to do a thesis? Okay. NYU, Columbia Hunter, I needed to do a thesis. And there were a couple of others. So I applied and luckily, I got into a bunch. And it was between NYU and Columbia. And Columbia was a two year program like, no, no, he was a one year program. Yep, that's for me. Let's get this baby going and finish it as soon as possible.

Katy Weber 6:04
I love that hindsight now, where you're like, oh, yeah, the sides were there all along,

Brooke Schnittman 6:08
all along, even when I was a child, but yeah, I could go on. And so I went immediately into my master's. And I loved it. Like I started student teaching right away in his special education classrooms specifically for learning disabilities, ADHD anxiety in a private school in New York City. It was wonderful. I learned a lot. I felt like it was my people. And then afterwards, I then got a teaching job on Long Island was there for like, 15 years as a special education teacher, administrator, I got bored after a while of just being a special education teacher like teaching the same things, even though the lessons could be changing based on the you know, each year, I still wasn't like, as energized about it. So the next step was, okay, what can I do next, right. So I was like, Alright, I'm gonna go get my math certification. And I'm going to teach math, like just for high school, and someone taps him on the shoulder, and they're like, You should be an administrator. I'm like, Okay, you believe in me, I'm gonna be an administrator. So I pivoted, I had like two classes left in my math certifications. And it said, halt, I'm gonna be an administrator. So then I got my administrative degree, and I was a special education administrator for four years. And I realized at that point that there was so much red tape, I was not working directly with the kids. And that's when I decided to get rid of the golden handcuffs and do something where I can make an impact and see the results immediately. So at that point, I moved to Florida. My family was moving here. It was a very tough decision, because I had everything I needed in New York. And I, you know, agonized over it, but I said, You know what, I could always come back if I needed to. So I moved to Florida loved it started my coaching company, and here I am, you know, six years later. So it's been wonderful. Now, six months into working with students, and then adults with ADHD, I started working on the computer. And I realized that when I was doing my sessions, and then transitioning to my notes, and then coming back to my sessions, I was having a really hard time shifting my attention. So I'm like, this is starting to look familiar and an adult ADHD like, why is it that I love working with my clients, but I can't finish my goddamn notes? Like, why is it that I love going back, I can focus on this session, but I cannot finish my notes. So I started putting the pieces together. Like every little thing just started making sense as an adult. And I sought out someone I knew in the field, and she confirmed my diagnosis. Like right away, I did a 90 minute assessment that I had combined type, ADHD, moderate, started, Adderall helped right away. And here I am. I got very lucky. Amazing,

Katy Weber 9:20
I was really surprised, but I heard that you had been diagnosed so recently, because it just you feel I don't know coaching with Brooke just feels like such an institution to meet since I might die because I was diagnosed in 2020. And so it's so funny how it's like we hit the ground running so so much, right?

Brooke Schnittman 9:37
But didn't you have a coaching business before? 2020? Also,

Katy Weber 9:41
I did I did. I kind of pivoted to because I was coaching. I wasn't working with people with ADHD or I was working with people with ADHD. It's just we didn't know it. But I was working with binge eating recovery. And so yeah, so I definitely always joke that I like wanted to go back and contact everybody and be like, guess what?

Brooke Schnittman 9:58
I have ADHD and you might have it do what

Katy Weber 10:02
it says same thing, like you said, like you realize after this diagnosis that all the people in your life that you've gravitated toward or who have stayed in your life over the years are likely neurodivergent as well, because it's like, not only are we drawn to each other, but our communication style is such that we can have, like unconventional fringe groups where we lose touch for eight months at a time and then text each other out of nowhere and be like, we're good. We're good, right? Yeah. So I felt like all of you know, my two besties from university were the only two people I kept in touch with for 20 years, they both after I was diagnosed, I was like, guess what, I got some good news. And also good news.

Brooke Schnittman 10:44
Oh, my gosh, yes, that turning point, it just your whole life makes sense. And, you know, like, there were signs when I was younger, I remember that I hated Scantrons. And one of my teachers in seventh grade, she's like, listen, you're not going to use a scantron. I don't even know if kids these days, use Scantrons. But you're going to use a white piece of paper with lines to take your social studies tests. I'm like, Okay. And so I did. And she also gave me another piece of paper to like, block out any of the other lines just to focus on one line at a time, I was getting C's in social studies. And that test, I started getting A's just from that accommodation. I had no accommodation plan. But she saw that I was struggling with like the lines on the Scantrons. And it gave me this anxiety. And it made such a difference. So that's one thing. I also was like that going strong. I was a swimmer, I would, you know, be amazing at first, but then I couldn't get the technique down. So then I then all the other kids would catch up and be so much better than me. But I'm like, I don't get it. I I am strong. I should be excelling. But I wasn't. There's so many stories in my demo lesson for my first teaching job. I freaked out. I shut down before like the night before. And I had to have a conversation with my mom and one of her teaching friends because I couldn't put all the pieces together. I had all these creative ideas about what I wanted for this science genetic lesson. But I couldn't like put it in a step process that made sense. That day of my demo lesson I was an hour late. Now. I was never late to anything before that, believe it or not. But I was an hour late because I didn't put into traffic when I was driving in from the city. I can go on and on and on. But those are some signs. Right?

Katy Weber 12:46
Oh, my goodness. So you mentioned that you were getting C's, but then you got A's Did you generally do really well. In school?

Brooke Schnittman 12:55
No, I was an average student. I wouldn't say like I never got an IQ test or anything. I would say I was probably average. If I was to get one I wasn't the smartest. My you know, I would compare myself to my sister who was in all honors classes. And it came easy to her things didn't come easy. For me. I was a solid B student but because I had two parents who are overachievers my mom being a math teacher, my dad owning a school and a camp. They always instilled hard work and effort. And so I did I would come home before my swim practice and just work. And even if I didn't get anywhere, I would still try to do my work as much as possible. And then I had tutors and my mom would help me. So I was lucky where I got external help. And in some classes like math is my mom was a math teacher and I was better at math, I got A's and in science, I was really interested in it. So for things that like, you didn't have to memorize anything, but you just applied like strategy and creativity. I did really well in that like chemistry, I loved chemistry, but I hated bio, because you had to remember things.

Katy Weber 14:01
You know, it's funny because I had my science teacher in high school made us memorize the period, the Periodic Table, table, and now and I remember telling that to my daughter and she was like, no, they don't do they don't make us do that anymore. And I was like God, that was like, that was like the only reason I hated chemistry. Yeah, who knows I could have been a chemist.

Brooke Schnittman 14:22
You could be whatever you want.

Katy Weber 14:26
But I was like the only time I used to cheat in high school was when we had to do math formulas. I would I would write them on the inside of my Texas Instrument plastic cover. Yes.

Brooke Schnittman 14:36
Who didn't come on, right. But I was like, I can't How are we supposed

Katy Weber 14:40
to memorize that? Thankfully, they don't. They don't make us do that anymore. Either. Or

Brooke Schnittman 14:44
you could program it into your TI calculator. I know. There were so many classes where I cheated. I'll be honest, I in my English class. I hated English I for whatever reason I could not do well in English I tried. But my writing context would always get like red marks everywhere. And the teachers, I felt like never really explained to me how I could do better. They only told me what was wrong. So I never understood what to do differently. And I would always do poorly when I was writing essays. And so in English, I cheated. I had a cheat sheet. And I ended up not liking my teacher and he, before the test said, If anyone cheats, you're gonna be kicked out. And I purposely cheated, because I wanted to get kicked out of class. And I did.

Katy Weber 15:42
Wow, that's very innovative. I know. But don't you want to go back to your English teacher and be like, hey, what my book right? Oh,

Brooke Schnittman 15:52
my gosh, you should you should send it. Hopefully this person's not listening. But I'm going to say one thing. I had a boss when I first got into administration, and the person probably has ADHD themselves and doesn't know it and was very overwhelmed. And I remember on a review, he said to me, you have to live in the gradebook stop being so black and white. And he wrote me this whole thing. And I remember like, I don't know, it'll be in the gray and like, be so flexible and bendy. Like, I need structure. I need answers, like, tell me what I need to be doing. And I ironically, just bumped into him and gave me my gave him my book. So I thought of that, like last week. Oh,

Katy Weber 16:36
that's awesome. Nobody's sure even the story about English like it just goes to show how how important it is to have those explicit instructions and how those moments in our life where we didn't get them how much that message then sits with us of like, what am I doing wrong? What's wrong with me that everybody else is getting this right, where it's like, I just needed to be shown how to do something, right. And there's like, yeah, I feel like there's so many examples of that, in my own. My own life as a student, where I'm like, I didn't even know the questions to ask, and I really just needed much more clear instruction. Yes. And so then you're told things like, you know, just do better, or you're not meeting your potential, or all of these vague criticisms where you're like, I don't know what to do with that. Exactly,

Brooke Schnittman 17:22
exactly. I always felt like I missed the mark in everything. I was the best tennis player on my tennis team. And because I did something impulsively to my coach, and I'll explain that in just a second. She decided to vote for captains on the day I wasn't there. And I wasn't voted a captain and I had been playing for like the longest and then. So like, like, I always miss the mark and something and I'm not trying to be negative. But like when you have unmanaged ADHD, it's not just like what you think the not able to focus for long periods of time or shifting attention. It's all those other things that come into play, like telling your tennis instructor to get off the court when you're playing tennis, because you're distracted by them. When they're standing on the court. It's making you nervous, but screaming it to her is probably not the best idea.

Katy Weber 18:27
It's still pretty petty of her to retaliate by

Brooke Schnittman 18:32
voting. Fair enough.

Katy Weber 18:35
No, that's so relatable to write those moments where we just feel like we kind of fumbled through where things make perfect sense to us in the moment. And then it's like, the next day, you're like, I can't believe I said that, or you know, or it was received, like, I feel like we always have the best intentions. Things get messed up in the communication so often. Yes,

Brooke Schnittman 18:55
I actually was just talking to my husband. And I think for many women with ADHD, and I'm sure you can attest to this, we have these fawn responses at this point in later in life because we become people pleasers, not only because of our ADHD but because of how other things manifested with anxiety associated with it. So we don't become as direct as we used to be. And we ask questions and become a little submissive rather than assertive later in life, and my husband's has ADHD and he's a very literal communicator. So me asking him questions is really just like, I want you to say yes to me, and I don't want to cause an argument. But for him, he's like, but you're asking me a question. I'm answering you but you don't want the answer. You just want me to agree with you. It's so it's like this round and round conversations that we have. But until someone points it out to us that we're doing these things we don't even realize that they become so engrained in the way that we are? Well,

Katy Weber 20:03
and not only that, but we don't I don't think we all take into consideration how much is behind these thought processes that we have as women, right? So it's like what we're always asking, before we diagnose like, why am I so exhausted all the time? It's because everything we do seems to have 10 kind of sub categories that have brought us to that decision in terms of how we're going to be perceived, or what we're going to get out of it, or am I going to be thought of as a bitch, or like all of these ways in which we kind of always have to manage so

Brooke Schnittman 20:35
much cognitive overload, right? Yeah,

Katy Weber 20:39
yeah. And I'm like that is. So it's really difficult to describe, but I think it's also difficult for us to even know it's happening, right? Like, we're because we're in such a state of overwhelm, so much of the time before our diagnosis, and you know, even after it,

Brooke Schnittman 20:54
then you come to the point where you're like, All right, well, let me just ask you what you think I should say, because I don't even know what to say anymore. But then that takes away your empowerment. Right? So it's this constant battle of like, do I say this? Do I not say this? Do I leave it at it? Decision Making?

Katy Weber 21:16
Right, yeah. And that not only that, but the paradox between like, feeling very opinionated and having very, like specific ideas and goals. But at the same time, feeling like many times, it's easier to not make decisions, especially like, I think in partnerships, like where it's like, I don't want to decide what we're eating for dinner. Because if I decide we're going to a certain restaurant, and everybody's disappointed, it's going to be my fault. And so it's much easier for me to be disappointed and let other people drive. Right. Yes. So I feel like there's that like that is very common in people with ADHD, because we're so worried about disappointing people all the time. That it's like, no, I don't want to make these decisions. So yeah,

Brooke Schnittman 21:57
absolutely. Absolutely. You you are trying to accommodate and please everyone, and in the end, it ends up biting you in the ass, because you're the one who suffers, and then you're not getting what you really want. And then it causes you to think these things like, Oh, they're not putting me first or they don't care what I want. But really, it's us who are the problems sometimes, you know, we need to learn how to express what we want with that confidence. So hard. I know

Katy Weber 22:29
right. And that was when when Sarah soldier was talking about masking as a form in her workbook where she was talking about how masking often involves pulling away from people that like hit me like a brick, you know, just that idea of how often I have just dismiss myself in terms of like pulling away, I'm just sort of saying like, it's, you know, putting other people centered. I don't even know what I'm trying to say. But you know what I mean, that's like, you kind of deny your in self denial. Exactly.

Brooke Schnittman 23:02
You accepted all of this stuff, whether it be people who don't align with your core values, or people who aren't bringing you up or you can't be yourself with, you've accepted that for so long. As soon as you start on masking, you're like, Wait a second. I don't feel good around this person. Why do I want them in my life? I can't be who I really am at the core. It is paralyzing me.

Katy Weber 23:34
Congratulations on your book. Activate your ADHD potentials. So great. I'm so excited for this to be out in the world. Thank you. And I listened to the episode that you did on your podcast where you were talking about making it at least deadlines that you would set for yourself 72 hour deadlines to write your book. I thought that was really

Brooke Schnittman 23:56
Yeah, I thought that I was going to write a book in three days. And legitimately like, it's not that I even tricked myself. I thought I could write a book in three days. I said, other people are doing it. So I can do it. I dropped everything that I knew about controlling my ad. She knows like, yep, three days. And then getting into it. I'm like, wait a second, come on. I'm not putting something out that's only been made in three days.

Katy Weber 24:25
Well, and not only that, but I think it's like, we probably could think through all the things that you would want in a book in like a very, very short period of time. It's just getting them out of your brain onto the page. That is the hard part. Haratz Correct. That's where I feel like the amazing accomplishment is for anyone with ADHD, which is like how do you even filter all of the crazy thoughts in your head into a coherent book? So kudos to that 100%

Brooke Schnittman 24:51
Thank you, thank you and in in the end, it ended up being like a relatively short amount of time I finished was writing it, I think around July and then there was a lot of editing and I got it out October 1. So and I started in January. So it wasn't that long. And I didn't want to go get a publisher because of course, I couldn't wait a year and apply to a publishing company or get an agent to No, I just want to get it out. Yeah,

Katy Weber 25:23
no, I hear you. Well, it's fantastic now. So I have a lot of questions about the book. So my first question is, we talk a lot about overwhelm with ADHD. But I feel like we don't talk a lot about underwhelmed and so I love the fact that you address it. You talked about underwhelm in terms of being a momentum disrupter. So can you explain that a little bit? Sure.

Brooke Schnittman 25:49
So I thought about the 10 Momentum disruptors that many individuals with ADHD can deal with on a daily basis, some of them at the same time on a weekly basis. And it starts with underwhelm. So underwhelm is when we're bored. We don't have enough dopamine in our brains very often. So we aren't excited or interested in something. And we're seeking dopamine. So we do these dopamine seeking behaviors, like, Okay, let me think of an exciting new idea. Well, an exciting new idea is like, let's create a book, or let's create this new screenplay, or let's buy a house or let's get a new car, all these new exciting ideas, but they're big ideas, generally speaking. So because of that, that increases our dopamine. And because our dopamine is increased very often, when it's not manage, we will hyper focus. And when we hyperfocus for too long, you know, is what you know what happens, then we get overwhelmed, we burn out, then when we burn out, then our emotional dysregulation starts coming into play, we feel like we need to compare ourselves to others because we're not feeling good about ourselves, or we weren't able to do the thing all the way through. Or then we start having, you know, these negative self beliefs, we have a lot of RST moments all the way until we get to complete and utter shutdown. When we shut down at that point, like we have those F responses, the freeze flight fight fawn fib. And when that happens, we are just like, usually frozen, not doing anything, just ruminating in this space of like, not doing anything and because of that, then the cycle starts over, then we get underwhelmed because we stopped everything. And if we're underwhelmed for too long, we can be bored or underwhelmed. So then we need to think of another exciting new idea. And then we hyper focus and get overwhelmed. So it's just this constant spiral for many individuals with unmanaged ADHD. And it can go in different orders as well. But that's the order that I cause, like I commonly see it in from my clients and myself.

Katy Weber 28:14
Right. And I think that it's almost that's where the executive dysfunction around prioritization can be really tricky. Like, I feel like when you were talking about that, you reminded me of clients that I always get into the situation with them where they're like, Okay, I need to work on my nutrition, I need to exercise I need to fix this, I need to clean up my garage, like they're just so right, like they don't even know where to begin. And when we talk about like, well, let's pick one thing they like literally cannot because it feels like all of these buzzers on the table, and they're all going off at the same time. And so do you feel like the dopamine seeking, is that underwhelm? Or is that overwhelm at that point? Because they haven't actually done anything? They haven't really taken a step? So I'm like, is that would that? Would you consider that a state of underwhelmed at that point when, when you're not really applying yourself to anything?

Brooke Schnittman 29:08
Good a question. So when you're bored, I would say you're underwhelmed as an ADHD are when you literally don't have something like 20 things when you just like when they're out of sight, out of mind, and you're in a place where you like, can't really think of these things that you need to be doing. That's boredom. Or when you're doing the same thing over and over again, and it's repetitive, and you need more, you're bored, and you're underwhelmed. And that's why people want different jobs or a different partner or a different exciting new adrenaline seeking activity. So if you are in a state where then you're ready to step out and do the things, but you have all of these things so you're like hyper focusing on hmm, which one should I choose what Well, let me to make this list. I'm gonna make the list and then there's 100 things on the list. And then, okay, so where do I start? So this is something that I was supposed to do a month ago. And that seems like, that's the most important. But then my friend told me that I should be doing this thing, and she's waiting on me. You know, that's where you start becoming overwhelmed. So yes, you can, ironically be underwhelmed and overwhelmed at the same time, no two people are going to be in the same spot all the time. But these are just constant things that I see happening. Right?

Katy Weber 30:34
Yeah, cuz I feel like that's such a hard state to explain to people, that paralysis that ends up happening, where we're like, on the couch, and we're scrolling Instagram, and we can like literally can't get started. We can't get the momentum just to get started. But we're overwhelmed simultaneously by all the things we are not doing in that moment, and, you know, chastising ourselves for not doing all of those things. And so then that comes in the exhaustion and then you can't get off the couch. And then it like, you know, that cycle happens. Yeah. So to an outsider, it looks like you're relaxing. And you're, you're like, No, I'm definitely not in a state of relaxation right now.

Brooke Schnittman 31:12
Exactly like that lazy, it makes me like cringe, right? If we had just recently posted something where if we were all we were doing was being lazy, then why are we thinking about all of the things inside of our head that we're not doing right? We usually as an ADHD are not lazy. It's just that activation piece of our executive functions that has such a difficult time in starting something because of the overwhelm. So in the first step of the book, I share if you are overwhelmed, or you're simultaneously underwhelmed and overwhelmed, I want you to think about what you're not attending to not all the 100 million things that you're not doing, like what in your body, are you not attending to or you're not sleeping, you're not drinking water, you're not eating? Are you not laughing? Are you not doing that fun thing, like, I want you to just do that, first, get yourself going, get that dopamine flowing, and then make the brain dump of all of the things that you would like to attend to break it down, make a mind map, make it really, really small, then get that accountability, whether it be a coach, a friend, a partner, so you can then say, okay, great, I don't care what thing is more important, I'm just picking one. Because at that point, you're just chipping away at the rock, things are so chaotic, that you just need to take action. There's no rhyme or reason why one is more important than the other, you just need to literally like close your eyes, put your finger on something and do that. But we don't have the confidence very often to do that. And that's why we also often need accountability in doing so.

Katy Weber 33:05
Yes. Preach. So, do you feel like activation is harder or motivate or or momentum? is motivation or momentum? Do you think is the which do

Brooke Schnittman 33:18
you think is the big? Really good questions?

Katy Weber 33:21
I'm totally just thinking of this off the top of my head because you already said activation? I was like, oh, you know, that's very, like getting started is an entirely different executive function than staying, you know, keeping momentum for our brains. Yeah. Thankfully, you deal with both in the book too. So that's the other thing I would have give a plug to that, though. But like, I love the fact that you talk about maintaining momentum, because sometimes I feel like there's not a lot of focus on that. With books.

Brooke Schnittman 33:49
I think when you're maintaining momentum, you are constantly you using activation. So activation isn't just getting started on a big task. It's also getting started on all the small milestones along the way to complete it. So I would say that activation is the driver to the lack and disruption of momentum. That's one of the big drivers, for a lot of different reasons, are emotional dysregulation or overwhelm or underwhelm every single 10 of the ADHD disruptors. Yeah,

Katy Weber 34:23
right. And I think there's also a difference too, between maintaining momentum and say consistency, right? Like I feel like a lot of people with ADHD want this elusive consistency, they want something that they see that started working for them to stay working for them forever. And sometimes I feel like we need to let go of that idea that we are going to stay interested in something you know that that momentum doesn't necessarily mean sticking with the same thing forever.

Brooke Schnittman 34:53
Correct. And I actually it's it's interesting because my three C activation activation program is actually control, consistency and confidence. So you'd be like, why would you put consistency in a three C program for individuals with ADHD, that makes no sense. But the consistency piece is consistent in taking action, it doesn't have to be the same action over and over again, it's just that momentum, it's like, just don't stop, just keep going, right. And even if you fall, you're gonna pick yourself back up whenever it is. And you're going to try again, if you ever think of like the stairs, where you're taking those small steps, and I think it was Steven Kotler where he like, falls off the stairs on to a trampoline, and then pops right back up to a higher step, and then goes up the stairs and then falls onto the trampoline, and pops back up to a higher step, and you just eventually keep going. So of course, we're gonna crash, and we're gonna feel all of these feelings, and we're going to be overwhelmed at certain times, but be consistent in the actions that you're taking. I

Katy Weber 36:02
love that that's such a great way of describing it because it's true. Like, it reminds me of the very first business coach I ever had, who would always say like, you know, failures are research, right? Or something like that, right? Where it's like, anytime we get stuck, like that is as important information for us as as not getting stuck, because we can start to look at like, what was it about that moment? What can I learn from that? What can I do differently getting really get into that problem solving mode, in terms of, you know, the consistency is not necessarily the same path? It's not a linear path, but it's a consistency in terms of moving forward and evaluating and applying knowledge. Yeah, exactly.

Brooke Schnittman 36:39
But the biggest thing I would just say to people who are overwhelmed in all of the decision making that you have to do is start at that 1%, that those first two stats, what are you not attending to? And what is just one thing, it doesn't have to be a priority, but like one thing that you can just do right now, and check it off the list, then you could learn about how to set bigger goals, why you're setting these goals, what are your values? What are your strengths? What is your motivation for doing certain things, but trying to figure all that out when you have completed another chaos? It doesn't make sense, because you're going to be in that paralysis stage that you're talking about on the couch or in your bed or in your head in many different locations.

Katy Weber 37:29
Yeah, well said. Now, the three C activation program is that is that I know that you would do that as a training with coaches. Is that a program for clients as well? Yeah,

Brooke Schnittman 37:41
so I started with clients, what happened was, I was working solely with one on one. And then one of my clients said, Hey, I really liked this one and one thing, but I think there's a lot of power in a group knowing what other people are struggling with. So it organically turned into a program because I would find out what the themes are that we're going on each week with all my one on one clients, I put them in a group and then I would create a lesson based on that theme. And each week, I would create a lesson. So over time, it ended up being 12 lessons. And then of course, I molded it and you know, change this or that. But that's how the receipt came about. And then they really liked it. And I was like, You know what this thing actually works like I'm not doing it because I just want a program. I'm doing it because this is what they need. And four years later, we've been doing it to hundreds of cohorts. And then I've had people who became coaches afterwards and said, hey, you know what I would really like to teach your three deactivation program like yeah, whatever. So I kept going and kept going. Two years later, finally, I kept getting people like, Hey, do you do ADHD training? I'm like, Okay, I think it's time for me to just take a step back and give the people what they want. So I actually just had my first cohort who has coaches in it getting the three C activation training, so 30 credits through ICF, that they can actually use all the materials and through C activation, teach it to their clients and run with it, they get a badge, they get the 30 credits of certification, they would obviously need like 35 more credits from another certified program to get an ICF a certified certification like ACC, but this gives it part This gives them part of it. So I love it. And then I put it into the book.

Katy Weber 39:34
Yeah, that's amazing. No, okay, so now with the book, it's a workbook it's sort of like a partially you know, it's mostly book lots of workbook stuff. Are you doing it a book group or anything? Because the one of the things that I've learned with ADHD is that I will never fill out a workbook on my own. So I think there's like a larger question there. Well, I'm like, it's gotta be interesting writing a book as an ADHD coach. Knowing that like people will sort of stubbornly go through the phase of like, I can do this on my own, let me just buy the book, I can do this on my own. And then at some point, you have to get to that realization, that aha moment where you're like, I need to do this socially, I need to do this in connection with other people. And I'm, I feel like, that's just so key with everything with ADHD, like, why do we even

Brooke Schnittman 40:23
need that accountability?

Katy Weber 40:25
Right? It's so central. So I'm like, how do you balance that out with the book? I mean, I know

Brooke Schnittman 40:34
it. No, I get it. I gotta trust me. This is not some overnight like Success book, you can't just read it all and be cured and managed. There's no such thing. And this book is not for that. This is a deep dive into going through the stages and steps to become confident from your chaos of your ADHD brain. So to your point is this is a course how is someone expected to read it and run with it? No. So the options are, you could join our Discord community for free for life and body double with other people who are reading the book at the same time. I also send out for anyone who gives me their email address and sends me a receipt of purchase. I do free webinars like monthly, like, Hey, join this free webinar. So I can go through the book, I also have a webinar that's recorded, where I go through Lesson One and two and kind of teach them how to go through the remainder of the book, I have a whole like print out of different other resources. And then I have some other programs that support the book as well for a very low cost. So I have my membership, I have a maintaining momentum group. Once you have this steps here, we could apply them in this weekly continuation group. So there's many things, some of them are free, you don't have to pay more. And some of them are free for life. So hey,

Katy Weber 42:02
okay, well, all right. Clearly, you have not thought about this. I have not

Brooke Schnittman 42:06
thought about it at all. But I had, I don't have a book club going on currently. So that is something that I definitely want to be thinking about. And I as an ADHD, or I've never done, it's never perfect. I'm constantly changing the landing page of my book page. So that may be the next thing that they get as buying the book, come part of our book club, or I can give you some prompts to start your own book club. I love it.

Katy Weber 42:32
Yeah, right. Because it's, it's it is like, sometimes I just feel like, Let's just cut to the chase people like you're gonna fill out the workbook, you need to do it. But I love it. You're right, I totally forgot that you also part of the book is, once you buy the book, there is access then to the discord.

Brooke Schnittman 42:50
You know. But it's funny that you said that I have given some copies of my books out and you're getting one even though I thought I sent it to you, but I didn't because of my ADHD list. But it's on its way. But at least you have the manuscript for now. And Bree paler from current at she coaching. She was like showing me pictures of all the lessons that she did. And like you just got that book, like, how are you this far in the book, she goes, Oh, I'm doing like two to three lessons a day. I'm like, really? So as a coach, it might be a little bit easier to go through these activities than someone who hasn't, like thought this way before. So everyone's different. But I would say that the majority that people need accountability and need the community to help guide you through the book.

Katy Weber 43:43
Yeah, well, I feel like for me, I just need to say it out loud. Like I need to talk it out. I can it's sort of the same thing I was saying before about like, you get so overwhelmed by all the thoughts in your head that there is just that shutdown where I'm like, I can't possibly start writing what is happening in my head right now. And so then I just wander off. Yeah.

Brooke Schnittman 44:06
I hear you, I hear you. I had a person who Instagram messaged me, and she had the book fair to picture very accessible to speak to the person and they're like, Okay, is this what I'm supposed to be doing here? I'm like, Yep, you're on the right track. What is this question mean? Here you go, boom, and then she moved on. So like, don't ever feel like you can't reach out to me in any platform and ask me a question about the book.

Katy Weber 44:28
That's fantastic. So are you are you doing anything at the ADHD conference? Are you speaking or

Brooke Schnittman 44:33
ironically, I'm on a women's panel?

Katy Weber 44:37
Why is that ironic? Well, I

Brooke Schnittman 44:39
happen to be on a woman and ADHD podcast right now. Oh, right. Yeah. So in person, I am on a like, ADHD through the woman lifespan. So I'm in a third use category even though I only have six months left there. So I'm hanging on to the third use And we're going to talk about like what we want to see more of as women with ADHD, what we want to see less of those kinds of things. And then for the virtual conference, I'm going to be talking about how to control overwhelm, and underwhelming taking people through the book. What about you? Amazing.

Katy Weber 45:15
I'm not no, I'm attending, but I'm not speaking. And I find that I love the all the different hats because I feel like I go and I look through the last year I would look through and I'm like, am I today? Am I a coach? Am I a parent? Am I psychology students? So it's like all of you know, I think I'll be attending most How do

Brooke Schnittman 45:36
you make the decision? Maybe you need to make a guide for how to decide which ADHD session you should go to.

Katy Weber 45:47
I really, I was really loved the mind mapping walkthrough too in the book, because I find that that is so incredibly helpful. But again, another one where I'm like, I can get paralyzed by the blank page. So even just having that outline was so is so incredibly helpful. That was really great idea.

Brooke Schnittman 46:04
Thank you. Yeah, well, as I was going through it, I of course, say like, gave it to my coaches and some of my clients and like, what do you feel you would need here? If you were to just be given this without any sort of instruction, really? And they're like, Yeah, you should use examples. So I tried to, like, make it as black and white as possible with the littlest amount of confusion or room for not being transparent. So trying to make it as easy and simple to go through. Because going through something all the way to the end is hard enough with ADHD that I want to make it friendly.

Katy Weber 46:46
Yeah, so now let's talk about the panel. And now I'm curious what as a as a woman who is ending her 30s, what would you what do you want to see more of in the world of ADHD?

Brooke Schnittman 46:57
More Love, or love and less competition? No, seriously. I mean, as women, we have so many things, we have so many demands that we put on ourselves that the world puts on us, we are moms, we have hormones, we have to plan for our whole family. We are business owners, we are teachers, we are all of these things. And if we could just get help from on each other and support each other, rather than compete in a negative way, I think that we could rise as a society and from there being more governmental roles as well.

Katy Weber 47:46
I actually, I feel like the ADHD, at least the online ADHD community is incredibly supportive. It's one of the most incredible communities I've ever experienced.

Brooke Schnittman 47:56
I agree. Yeah. And I wouldn't say that it's necessarily the ADHD community, I would say it's a person who has ADHD, who's a woman going into society, with people who don't have ADHD, that's where that support might not be as strong. So it's just not a whole. So that's what I would like to see more of.

Katy Weber 48:19
Ah, all right. Well, I feel like one of the things that I find really challenging is how many women with ADHD reach out and say, like, speak for yourself, you have it all together, and my life is a total shit show. Right? And they're like, you know, all these people talk, you don't

Brooke Schnittman 48:33
have ADHC? What are you talking about? That's such a neurotypical response. It's so general, like, you don't know what I'm dealing with. Right?

Katy Weber 48:42
Like, I think that there's like, I always wish for more people to just see themselves in such a better light. Like, that's always heartbreaking to me that there are so many women out there who have ADHD and feel like they will never get it together. Right? That they just feel like they are broken, and like hopeless, right and broken. And that's where I feel like I want to wave my magic wand and help everybody because I'm just like, every single one of you like I'm sure like Tracy Otsuka says like every one of everybody has this amazing quality, right? Everybody's brilliant at something. It's just really about self confidence. Yeah,

Brooke Schnittman 49:21
I agree. And I think that the biggest thing if I had to like put my finger on it that women struggle with with ADHD is not setting a boundary not setting a boundary for ourselves and not saying it's okay to shut off now because my brain is done. Or it's okay not to start at 7am. If 10am is a better time for me if you have that privilege, right? It's okay to only see three clients today rather than 10. It's okay to ask for what I want. And when we start creating those boundaries. Then we have more time for thing We all have the same 24 hours in a day, it's not that we don't work as efficient as a neurotypical, it's just that we expect so much of ourselves. And we overschedule

Katy Weber 50:12
I love the part in your book where you were, like, get up, and don't just tend to yourself first, no matter who is screaming for you, or whatever, like, you know, it's just like, you have to, like, connect to yourself before the beginning of the day. And I think that that was so again, really a concrete, structured way to talk about self care, you know, because we're always like, you know, treat yourself and you know, do things for yourself. And, but, you know, it really starts from the moment you wake up sometimes, especially as a mom to write and just to be like, the first person you need to connect with, the moment you wake up is yourself. And that hit me hard.

Brooke Schnittman 50:49
Oh, thank you, the way that you start your day is the way that the rest of your day is. So if you start your day, chaotic, the rest of your day is screwed. Unfortunately, it's really hard to come down from my chaotic morning. But if we can start it with mindfulness, or attending to ourselves, rather than our phones, or our kids, or whatever, and like really making that work for us whether and I know people are gonna listen to this episode, and be like, Oh, you're silly. Like, you don't have kids, you don't understand. No, I do have kids. And I understand how hard it is. But sometimes we just need to ask our partner for help, or wake up earlier and do those things or when they go to bed, like legitimately put them to bed at a time where you can decompress. So whatever it is, if it's a morning, if it's at night, if it's in the middle of the day, you got to take time for yourself.

Katy Weber 51:51
Wow, you're awesome. Thank you so much. This is great. I'm so excited. So so I have to ask you my question I always ask, which is if you could name 80, if you could come up with a different name for ADHD? Would you call it something else? Yes,

Brooke Schnittman 52:04
attention is delivered with the help of dopamine.

Katy Weber 52:11
And it's still ADHD. I love that. Because that was always my complaint with like, vast I'm like, you're still gonna have to google adhd with fast.

Brooke Schnittman 52:21
Right? Like it doesn't it's not the same name. Not the same acronym.

Katy Weber 52:26
Yeah. No, I love that keeping that acronym too. That's amazing.

Brooke Schnittman 52:30
Thank you. Thank you.

Katy Weber 52:32
How old is your How old is your youngest now.

Brooke Schnittman 52:35
So I have a 20 month old who's a mini me. And it's a it's a lot for a mom with ADHD because we get so like structured into our own routine. And then surprise, there's a kid. And guess what, when you start learning how to work with your child, then they change and then you have to retry different things. So I love her so much. She gives me so much dopamine. And it's also like all hands on deck a lot. So I give myself grace and permission, I asked for help. And I really try as much as possible. And I'm not saying I'm perfect or an expert at this. But I try as much as possible that when I'm with her to like really be present because I work full time. I have a nanny, but I want to be with her when the nanny is not there. I want to be present in her life. So that helps me set those non negotiables workwise where I can focus on what's important. And that sir?

Katy Weber 53:40
Oh, well said and it speaks to that idea of the transitions that you talked about at the very beginning. Right? Yeah,

Brooke Schnittman 53:46
correct. Correct. Like setting transitions are really hard. But like having that break in between whatever you're doing to the next thing. So like, right after work, if I just run and attend to my daughter, it's gonna be a little stressful and I'm not gonna lie. Sometimes I like live on the edge of chaos I don't like. But at the same time, I really try to like go outside and live in Florida. I tried to do something before. I'm all hands on deck again. So I have her and I have two stepsons, a 10. And a 12 year old so it's a family of five.

Katy Weber 54:26
Amazing and they both have been diagnosed to write with ADHD. Yes,

Brooke Schnittman 54:30
yes. Yes. You did your homework. Yep. But the funny thing is going back to the beginning of our conversation, I was attracted to people who have ADHD. So my husband and the two boys were not diagnosed with ADHD until I came into the picture. And my husband said, Hey, by the way, like I think my youngest, like he's literally jumping off the walls. I'm not kidding. Like we had a cord and he was jumping and bouncing off the walls. So I think he has ADHD and like, oh, yeah, he has ADHD and I would guess, the oldest has ADHD and you have ADHD. And he goes no way. And like, yeah, he was fully thought I just had trauma. Because of my childhood, I'm like, go see my psychiatrist, and then come back to me, and all of them are diagnosed. And they're, they're thriving. Luckily, they are, you know, getting the tools that they need. One of them is working with one of my executive function coaches, Gabe, and I like talk about the strategies that we use in my coaching practice, and my older one is just thriving. So we're all so different and doing really well.

Katy Weber 55:40
What a gift to be able to see the world through this perspective and to be able to hear know what those approaches are, and to have those ideas and those to know how to sort of explicitly bring that structure instead of having to be in school and have a teacher say things like, you're just not doing it well. Well,

Brooke Schnittman 55:58
well. So I don't know how much time we have. And I know this is probably a whole other podcast episode. But my young my boys, they both go to private school, and they go to a private Catholic school, and I don't think they really understand ADHD. Luckily, the older one is brilliant. So he compensates really well, but the younger one doesn't have as much smarts, and he's hyper outwardly hyper. And the teachers don't know how to deal with him. So we have to fight with them to receive his accommodations to get an individualized education plan. Private schools don't have to give it so it's been a little bit of a battle. And it's not easy. So like just being on top of that, as a divorce household with executive function difficulties. Being on top of the school district, the teachers, the principal's it's a lot of EF skills going on there, but we're doing the best we can so he can get the best education that he deserves.

Katy Weber 57:07
Yeah, well, I think the most important part in all of that, I mean, yeah, like when you talk about the EF skills about accommodations and medication, like even just getting medication every month is such a huge chore.

Brooke Schnittman 57:20
Oh, my gosh, don't even get me started. They both they're both on Concerta Okay, fine. Like without a shortage. It's still like to remember to call your doctor. We love calling doctors say, hey, it's that time I need my medication again. Here's my pharmacy, then waiting for the text from your phone or calling the pharmacy to make sure that the medication is ready. Then going to the store the medications not ready having to wait or come back. It's a whole process. Then there's a shortage. So both boys are on Concerta trying to call every single pharmacy in South Florida to find their medication. Luckily, my husband hyperfocused and found a pharmacy but now we're paying out of pocket to get them their Concerta. So it's it's a lot. It's a lot, but it's worth it. And we all have our strengths. And it just comes together because we all understand our brains. And it's so cute. Both boys have the book next to their beds and the older one who's a reader. He is there in the same bedroom. He puts his reading light on at night when the younger one is sleeping and he starts reading the book. He goes oh yeah, like and he like starts summarizing it to me. She's 12 years old. Oh my god,

Katy Weber 58:47
that's so sweet. Yeah, I love it. And I think you know, despite all of those really, really incredible frustrations as a parent with ADHD having to advocate for your child with ADHD. I think the most important part at the end of the day is them knowing that you're in their corner and that you're advocating for them and that you see them right like it that you see that this is what they need and that it's not going to be easy, but at least feeling like you know they're not going to be growing up constantly going to be asking that question What's wrong with me that I feel like so many of us asked ourselves?

Brooke Schnittman 59:20
Absolutely, absolutely. We understand why their bedrooms, a mess. We understand why their bags are in the middle of the house, even though it might drive me crazy. I get why it happens. So what can we do about that? Can we buy maybe a box and you put it in the box and that's where it goes when you first walk in? So like trying to accommodate them and meet each person where we are right I think that's the thing. Just one really funny thing that I didn't mention you had acid at the beginning, like how did you know like, what are some things that got under, you know, undiagnosed and you look back and you're like, Oh yeah, that was definitely a ha one story that I share. a lot recently is when I was younger in my childhood house, we got robbed twice. And both times, my room was untouched. I had mounds of clothes on the floor that I would step over every day. And I swear both robbers thought to themselves like, this room is definitely accounted for. So there is a silver lining, my friends. If your child has a messy room, close the door and don't look,

Katy Weber 1:00:33
oh, my goodness. I don't know if I should tell my daughter about this story or not tell her about this.

Brooke Schnittman 1:00:40
Does she have ADHD as well? Yes,

Katy Weber 1:00:42
she both my kids do. She's 16. And her room is the bane of my husband's existence. And he's always like, he always is like, have you gone into her room lately? And I'm like, No, I don't go into her room, because I would have that react. Well, and not only that, but I'm like, I don't want to have like it would give me agita to go into her room. So I don't it's her space. And I want her to have her space. But yeah, he's constantly Yeah, he's very much of the like, we have to fix, you know, we have to figure out how to teach her how to be organized before she leaves the house. And like, he feels this a lot of pressure to teach her all of these executive functioning skills before she becomes an adult and leaves the house and I'm like, she'll get there, you know, but like, you can't force it on her. She has to work experiential learners, right? Yes,

Brooke Schnittman 1:01:28
yes. So

Katy Weber 1:01:30
she's gonna get it all together when she has to live with somebody, or when it's her own house,

Brooke Schnittman 1:01:35
like it'll happen, don't worry, motivation is there. And she doesn't have all these other things on her plate one thing at a time, right? Like, we're not perfect. As adults, there's so many things that I could be doing better. And if I was told all the time, I need to do this better. I need to make sure that I do this that like it's just all those negative messages again, that US ADHD ears hear over and over again. So we got to embrace what we can do, and accept what we can't do. And if we can't do it, and we're lucky enough to get help, or you know, just leave it as it is. Fine.

Katy Weber 1:02:13
Ah, beautifully said. Thank you. Well, thank you, Brooke, it's been a real, real treat to have you on and to have be able to pick your brain a little bit. So thanks.

Brooke Schnittman 1:02:22
Thanks so much. Thank you, Katie. Such a pleasure. And

Katy Weber 1:02:26
congrats again on the book. Very exciting, really, really great job. So thank you for putting that out in the world for the rest of us.

Brooke Schnittman 1:02:33
Thank you. It's been a pleasure. Really, it's a gift to me that other people are reading this and thriving with it and are actually like really interested in it. So thank you.

Katy Weber 1:02:50
There you have it. Thank you for listening. And I really hope you enjoyed this episode of the women and ADHD podcast. If you'd like to find out more about me and my coaching programs, head over to women and If you're a woman who was diagnosed with ADHD and you'd like to apply to be a guest on this podcast, visit women and guest and you can find that link in the episode show notes. Also, you know, we ADHD ears crave feedback. And I would really appreciate hearing from you the listener, please take a moment to leave me a review on Apple podcasts or audible. And if that feels like too much, and I totally get it. Please just take a few seconds right now to give me a five star rating or share this episode on your own social media to help reach more women who maybe have yet to discover and lean into this gift of nerd of urgency. And they may be struggling and they don't even know why. I'll see you next week when I interview another amazing woman who discovered she's not lazy or crazy or broken. But she has ADHD and she's now on the path to understanding her neurodivergent mind and finally using this gift to her advantage. Take care till then