Episode 56. Refocused LIVE with Julia Mullins



We’re doing it, you guys. We are recording live shows. Every Thursday in December, join Lindsay Guentzel for Refocused LIVE at 1pm eastern/12pm central and you can reserve your spot for our next show on December 8th here!

To kick it all off, we are so excited to welcome Julia Mullins to the Refocused community. Julia Mullins is an ICF-certified coach based in the Washington, D.C. area who has spent her career building up others and helping them get beyond their own roadblocks through leadership development. 

Julia and Lindsay met at the International Conference on ADHD in Dallas in November where Julia presented on Inclusive Career Advancement, offering up tips for both leaders with ADHD looking to become better advocates for themselves and employers hoping to build more inclusive and supportive workplaces. To learn more about the work Julia is doing, you can connect with her directly through her website and make sure to follow her on social media — we especially love the energy she brings on Instagram!

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Lindsay Guentzel (00:00:01):

Hello, and thank you so much for joining me on Refocused. And a special shout out to all of our listeners in France, Spain, and Australia. I just went through our Spotify Wrapped for the year and was blown away to see those countries pop up. It’s very surreal to think that people around the world are listening to this and connecting with it, and it truly means so much to me that you guys show up week after week. So thank you so much.


Today’s episode is special for a few reasons. The first being it’s a live show, not this part obviously, but what you’re going to hear in just a minute, Refocus Live is something I’m going to be doing every Thursday in December at 1:00 PM Eastern, 12:00 PM Central. I’ve shared a bit about my background in journalism and one of the things I actually really loved was producing live radio segments. You find a topic and you book a guest, you’re doing everything on the fly. Doing things live is quite a challenge, not overthinking edits or mistakes and just rolling with it. I love it and I’ve been wanting to do it and we love to get in our own way. And so I decided to just do it.


I am so grateful to Julia Mullins for joining me on the very first live show endeavor. I met Julia a few weeks back in Dallas at the International Conference on ADHD, and we’ll dive right into that once we start talking so I’m not going to repeat myself too much here. But I did want to formally introduce Julia to you because this is her first appearance and she’s pretty special and she deserves it. Julia Mullins is an ICF certified coach who has held many different roles across many different industries. The common thread though, being leadership development. She spent five years consulting with one of the big four, followed by another five years building top talent development programs for a Fortune 100 company. And now she’s taken all of that experience and passion and works under the Mullins Professional Group umbrella where she splits her time creating neurodiversity webinars and workshops for companies, working with individual coaching clients and running cohorts for her Lead with ADHD program.


If you are on social media specifically on Instagram where I follow her, it’s @Leadwithadhd. You got to add her to your feed. Just lovely positivity, really somebody out there who understands ADHD because she has it and is really working to make things better for all of us. Julia also has an MBA from Penn State, certificates from both American University for Leadership Coaching for Organizational Performance, and one from MIT for Neuroscience and Business, and she’s also a certified interpreter for the Hogan Assessment Suite. It’s her favorite assessment tool for coaching and leadership development workshops.


So we will learn so much more about the work Julia’s doing in just a moment. I just had such a great time talking with her. Honestly, she is so go with the flow and she brought so much positive energy and it was really important because right off the bat we had some lovely technical issues, which is something that can happen when you do things live, and it was a great lesson for me. So Julia, thank you so much for just bringing that positivity today.


I hope you enjoy my chat with Julia. And for those of you who were able to join us live for the taping, I hope you’ll be back next week for more. You can find the links on how you can RSVP and save yourself a spot by going to these show notes or finding us on social at Refocus Pod. Again, this is happening every Thursday in the month of December at 1:00 PM Eastern, 12:00 PM Central. The goal being to get so many under my belt that we just keep them going in 2023. So let’s get on to today’s show.


If you like what you’re hearing, show us some love online rate review and subscribe wherever you’re listening now and follow along on social at Refocus Pod and make sure to check out all of the amazing stuff we’re creating by visiting ADHDonline.com/refocused. And of course, if you have a story you want to share or a topic you want us to look into, shoot me an email directly at [email protected].


Hello and welcome to the very first attempt at doing Refocused Live, my name’s Lindsay Guentzel, I’m the host of this podcast all about ADHD and in true ADHD fashion. I am in a new studio today, not a fancy studio, I’m actually just in my bedroom because we’re having a furnace installed. And so if you hear some crazy noises, it is not the world ending. It is a new Lennox furnace being put into our basement, which is very exciting, very adulting. But the hilarious part about this is that once we scheduled it, I went, oh, Thursday, December 1st. That’s the first day I was going to try to do this live. And if you have ADHD or if you live with someone with ADHD, you know that is a lovely little hiccup, a lovely little stuck moment, a lovely little trying to figure out how we can do this right or perfect or make no mistakes and that just doesn’t happen in life. So to get out of my own way, I am just hitting the record button. We’re going live, and I’m so excited to bring Julia Mullins into the conversation.


I got back from the International Conference on ADHD maybe 10 days ago, almost two weeks, about two weeks ago. We were in Dallas for the conference and Julia’s one of the people that I was lucky enough to meet. And I have to tell you, I talked on Monday’s episode with Ron Capalbo about energy and coaches and feeling like you connect with someone. And Julia’s one of those people just right off the bat, such lovely energy and so kind. I can just tell from our very short but lovely conversations that there’s just kind of mama bear energy and I love that I thrive on that. I work really well with that. And so I’m so excited to bring Julie into the conversation.


Thank you so much for being willing to go along with this little impromptu plan and for making time for us today. In true connectivity… Well, I’m just going to keep going while I get Julia back here. I think we are having just a little bit of technical issues. And again, I come from a background in radio, which means that this is something that I’ve dealt with before. I’m getting a little hot and flustered because no one likes to make mistakes or have this happen.


Julia, I’m going to boot you and have you come back in. Let me see if I know how to do this. I’m going to remove Julia. I’m going to bring her back in. I’m going to try and do this in the quickest way possible. So let’s see how we do this here. Again, you got to love anything that happens live because this is just how sometimes it happens. So I’m grabbing Julia’s information so I can shoot her the invitation. Ah, there she is. There’s Julia.


All right. You know what?

Julia Mullins (00:08:10):

Can you hear me now?

Lindsay Guentzel (00:08:11):

I love it. Yes I can. It was this moment of I’m talking a lot and you were kind of frozen, but I also was like, maybe she’s just doesn’t move a lot. I didn’t know.

Julia Mullins (00:08:23):

I am not still at all. I see that on Zooms all the time. I’m like, why doesn’t everyone else fidget? So yeah, I must have been frozen. Sorry about that.

Lindsay Guentzel (00:08:31):

Oh gosh. Hey, new rule. No apologizing because the only way to learn is to try this out. I actually loved that that happened because it made me so nervous and in this moment of going, oh no, I’m doing something and I’m failing at it. And it’s like the number of times I’ve been on live television or on live radio and things don’t go and you panic and you just got to keep going. So to backtrack, Julia and I met in Dallas and I’m so glad you’re here. Full disclosure, I literally messaged her yesterday and was like, I want to have you on the podcast. I have a bunch of ideas, can you come tomorrow? And you were like, yeah. So thank you for making that work. And let’s just start at the beginning, tell me a little bit about you right now. ‘Cause we’ll go back to your ADHD story, but who are you, what do you do and even where are you located?

Julia Mullins (00:09:23):

Sure. So I’m Julia Mullins. I’m an executive coach focused on divergent leaders. I’m located in the DC area in northern Virginia. I have been in leadership development most of my career, and so this transition from leadership development to executive coaching to kind of zooming in on the divergent leaders and really focusing on folks with ADHD felt all kind of connected and just kind of like nicheing down further and further. That was really because I have ADHD. So 30 years after I was diagnosed, I finally came around to realizing what this really meant to adults and what we have to do to make us shine.

Lindsay Guentzel (00:10:05):

And I love that you figured out where you fit in because I think for a lot of people with ADHD, that’s the constant struggle of finding something that gets you up every day, that keeps you motivated, that keeps you energized. Now that’s not to say that you’re not going to find times where you get stuck, but you have to find something that keeps you coming back.

Julia Mullins (00:10:29):

Absolutely. Yeah. We love our dopamine so we’re not going to keep doing something if we’re not getting that kind of satisfaction from it and really enjoying what we do. So that’s definitely something I look for.

Lindsay Guentzel (00:10:41):

Let’s talk about your diagnosis because for a woman it happened a lot sooner. You’re kind of ahead of the curve, so to speak.

Julia Mullins (00:10:50):

Exactly. I was diagnosed in the ’90s when I was in grade school. And that only happened because my mom, my parents were just incredible advocates and they saw the same things in me. Yeah, [inaudible 00:11:03] parents. But they saw in me what they saw in other kids that were getting diagnosed. Of course they were all boys, but they wanted to make sure that I had the support I needed. The funny thing that I don’t blame them for, or the doctors or really anybody can blame the doctors. Nobody mentioned that I don’t grow out of this. Everyone kind of talked about it we’re just going to kind of figure out how you take tests through the end of high school and it’ll just kind of fade away in college. It didn’t. But I spent the first decade of my career downplaying it, ignoring it, not acknowledging it. And in the last couple of years I’ve really come around to being like, oh, interesting. Every little thing that isn’t going well is tied back to this diagnosis that maybe I should stop ignoring.

Lindsay Guentzel (00:11:54):

I appreciate that you mentioned kind of setting yourself up to get through high school and then it’s like, oh, you’re on your own. And I’ve heard that from so many people who have received later in life ADHD diagnoses where it’s like they get sent home with a packet of papers and okay, and it makes me-

Julia Mullins (00:12:11):

Which ADHD are reading the packet of papers?

Lindsay Guentzel (00:12:14):

None of us. No. In fact, I was shocked that the person I was speaking to who mentioned a pile of papers actually had them somewhere. They couldn’t identify where they were, they knew they were in the house. But it reminds me of first time parents. And I’m not a parent but I imagine you have this baby and you go home, but there are checks and balances in place, you have appointments set up. There are safeguards in place and support systems in place. And obviously it’s not perfect. And by no means being like, yeah, we’re so supportive of first time parents or parents in general in this country. But my thought is you get this monumental diagnosis and then you’re just sent on your way. And for a lot of people it is so incredibly hard.

Julia Mullins (00:13:00):

And I think so much of the focus was just to make sure that the medicine was the right dosage and that you’re not giving it away or selling it or something. It’s not actually, are you thriving? Are you your best self? Are you getting out all of the creativity that you have within you? Are you able to communicate all the things that are going on? Or is it seven tracks running at the same time and nobody can follow what you’re talking about? So that shift, I don’t think it’s even happened yet all these decades later. So there’s work to be done for sure.

Lindsay Guentzel (00:13:32):

So much work to be done and we’ve made so much progress. And I hate that the pandemic happened. I think it interrupted life for so many people and was obviously just catastrophic in so many ways. But for a lot of us it was the catalyst to say something’s off and something’s not working and this shouldn’t be so difficult. I know for a lot of people, you took the body doubling away from your workplace where you were thriving from other people and then you got home and you were like, oh no, this is awful.

Julia Mullins (00:14:05):

There were so many systems and processes that we had put in place, not even intentionally, not thinking like, oh this is helpful for my ADHD. But there were so many things that we did that having a commute even 20 minutes to transition into something new and kind of decompress from work before you’re faced with all the family stuff at home. All that was taken away overnight and we thought it would be two weeks, so we thought I can muscle through this. And then six months, a year, two years later, some people are still in those temporary plans to just patch things over. And I hope people are finding ways to make that permanent figure out what works because it’s not serving you to just be in this temporary state.

Lindsay Guentzel (00:14:54):

Not at all. And one thing that I’ve been working on so hard is identifying where I get stuck and then asking for help and actually then taking that help and figuring out how to pass things off. I think we are so prone to having to feel like we do everything on our own. We have to be the one to get things done. We can’t ask for help. And it’s exhausting. But once you realize it and you realize that it doesn’t have to be that way, it’s a totally different ballgame. I want to ask what you remember from your childhood diagnosis.

Julia Mullins (00:15:34):

I don’t remember too much because I was young, but I do vividly remember this one piece of the testing that I went through. I was in a room with I assume a psychologist and they gave me a piece of paper, just like printer paper. And they said, you’re going to write down 10 different things for me and they put it straight in front of me and I tilted it about 30 degrees because I write on an angle. The man straightened it up and I tilted it because this is how I write. And he straightened it, and so then he read off the first thing that I had to do and I wrote at a 30 degree angle. ‘Cause I’m like, if my paper can’t be diagonal, my writing will be. And he just kind of huffed a little and wrote a note. I’m like, oh is this what I’m getting tested on? And so I think that was the first time I realized that all these little things that I didn’t know were different, apparently this was saying so much more about how my brain was working and how I was connecting. I don’t know, it’s kind of just an empty little anecdote, but that’s what I remember of the testing.

Lindsay Guentzel (00:16:41):

I think it’s a great little anecdote and I also think it’s an important reminder that sometimes the mental health professionals or the healthcare providers that you see the first time are not necessarily the right fit or they’re not the people who are going to connect with you. And the same could be said with coaching. Every person has their own energy and their own philosophy and their own way of communicating. And that’s why I think when we met in Dallas, I was just really blown away by, I don’t want to say motherly, but very caring. It is very clear after meeting you instantly that you are a very caring, kind human. You just project that into the world. And so I’m curious, you mention starting your career and getting into this place with leadership and then realizing you could embrace your ADHD and use it. And so what was that transition like?

Julia Mullins (00:17:43):

So it happened in the pandemic when so many people were getting diagnosed for the first time and I really realized it with how I engaged in certain meetings. If we were all cameras off and it was a topic that I don’t care about, it’s really hard for me to stay engaged. So that was one of these triggers that I was like, okay, I need to ask for what I need. And so you don’t always get it ’cause nobody wants to turn their cameras on sometimes, but I like connecting, seeing you, I know who I’m talking to, I feel like we’re doing something here. That was interesting to kind of figure out what my own version of advocacy looked like and then turning that into how I can help clients with their version because not everybody needs camera on, some people hate it and it actually adds too much information and they don’t want it. So, it’s not to say that that’s the right way, but figuring out what you need and being able to ask for it in a way that says not do it because I ask, but do it because it will help me produce the work that you hired me to do. That’s pretty powerful. So that’s been fun to help other people hone that message as well.

Lindsay Guentzel (00:18:53):

Yeah, it’s a reminder that this world feels very one size fits all in so many ways. Even just as a 36 year old, I’m not married to my partner, we’ve been together for eight years. We have a mortgage, we live together, we have a dog and a cat who are literally sleeping on the bed right next to me and everyone wants to ask when we’re getting married. And it’s like that might not be in the cards for us.


It’s just so interesting how when you take a step back and you look at school and jobs and I love that you mention realizing what you needed because I think sometimes it’s really hard for us to realize what we need. I was even saying to you before we went live, I sent you all of these instructions, a kind of rundown of what to expect when signing into this conversation so that there are as few of hiccups as possible. And then even as I was typing it out, I was like I would never read this because I’m an audio person. Had my college textbooks been in podcast form, I might have done better at school, all of those things. But you don’t know in the time because it is so one size fits all and you don’t know until you try it. We are very good at when we try something and it doesn’t work, we just stop.

Julia Mullins (00:20:18):

Especially folks that have RSD or rejection sensitive dysphoria. I mean you’re feeling physical pain because something didn’t go the way you anticipated or you think it will go wrong. And that’s a big motivator to never try anything new ever again. It doesn’t feel good to hurt. So yeah, I completely empathize with folks on that.

Lindsay Guentzel (00:20:43):

I want to ask one thing. You mentioned your parents being advocates for you, you and I love that, and I think there are a lot of parents right now of all ages who are feeling some guilt and some shame and sadness that they weren’t advocates. And again, you don’t know what you don’t know and everyone is just doing the best that they can. But you mentioned that there were things that they noticed that were similar between the boys that were being diagnosed and you, what were some of those things? Because women traditionally in ADHD, the younger ones, I was very chatty, I was very talkative, I was very emotional, very inside my head, never talked about things, especially anything that was embarrassing. I never came home and told my parents if it got yelled at or got into trouble. I was so ashamed. So I’m curious in those conversations that you remember stuff that you’ve talked about now, what was some of that stuff that stood out?

Julia Mullins (00:21:43):

So this would be a good question to ask my parents. I’m realizing I don’t think I’ve asked them this. When they listen to this they’ll be like, we didn’t tell you any of that. So I’m going to make it up based on what maybe they would tell me, based on what I can remember. I think I didn’t have the true hyperactivity, but it’s more of the cognitive hyperactivity. So my brain is bouncing all over and doing all these things. And so if I’m in math class, I might be thinking about art and if I’m doing this art project I might start another one. And I just have a lot of things going on. So that was my version of hyperactivity and just kind of that way I could bounce around from different activities, I was chasing the dopamine.

Lindsay Guentzel (00:22:29):

At a young age, which I love. I was the same way, but it wasn’t picked up on as anything other than being disorganized. I was messy. Everyone talked about how messy I was and I still am very messy. I am realizing now, I just realize as I was putting on makeup this morning, makeup bags are very small and when you put stuff inside of them and I can’t see it, well then it’s getting flung all over the place. So I was thinking in my head, I was like, I need a box. I need a box where everything has its place. And again, it’s this idea of I don’t like structure but I love structure.

Julia Mullins (00:23:09):

And I’m the same way. I took a pint glass from the kitchen and that’s like where all the things stand up. Anything that’s like a mascara brush that stands up. Yeah, it’s all in a pint glass.

Lindsay Guentzel (00:23:19):

You have to see it.

Julia Mullins (00:23:19):

‘Cause I have to see it. I don’t know where it would be if I put it away. We just kind of cleaned the house and tucked a lot of things away and later the same day I’m like, well it’s gone forever. I have no idea where I put it.

Lindsay Guentzel (00:23:31):

I was just thinking that because one of the things I’ve been putting off is cleaning our house because of the new furnace going in and we have to wash everything. Our old furnace was burning and everything stinks and I was so overwhelmed. I was getting just really overwhelmed by it. And I was like, I’m not cleaning anything until that thing is out of here. But even as I was thinking, I was like, oh, we could put the sunscreen in with the beach towels in that box. And then in my head I’m going, but will I remember that that’s where it is?

Julia Mullins (00:24:00):

Yeah. It’s funny, we would joke growing up that if we lost something, we put it in a very safe place because it made sense at the time, but then you can’t remember what logic you were using and where did it go.

Lindsay Guentzel (00:24:13):

Yes. Absolutely. You mentioned the seeking of dopamine and one of the things I have found really interesting in the conversations that I’ve been having with people with ADHD… So in October I recorded 32 interviews across the 31 days with people of all different ages and demographics from around the country, some living globally about their ADHD. One of the things that I found really kind of consistent in some of them was this pull towards seeking dopamine from other people. I say that as somebody who grew up, I wanted to be an entertainer. I still do. I think the reason that I love being a storyteller is that I get to connect with people and then share that. So many people have asked like, oh, are you going to become an ADHD coach? Are you going to dive into that? And it’s like, it’s stuff that I would love to learn about, but it’s not where my focus is. Sure I could do it, but I don’t know that it’s something that I would get up for every day.


So I am fascinated by your desire to help people because I do think that there’s a correlation with the empathy side of ADHD and helping people. And so I’m wondering when you look at how you fill yourself up from helping people and how it makes you feel and why it’s so powerful for you?

Julia Mullins (00:25:36):

Yeah. Well, thank you. You called me a mama bear twice and long before I became a mother to a human, I had been called a mama bear. And around the whole executive coaching piece and then moving into ADHD coaching, people have joked that I’m a stage mom because I just want everyone else to succeed.

Lindsay Guentzel (00:25:56):

And that to me, that’s it. I’m glad you said it so I didn’t have to because that is something to me, I love to help people in my career as a journalist I always get young women who reach out who are like, I want to do what you do, what are some of your recommendations? And I always make sure that I make time for them because I didn’t have that. And it’s hard. It’s so hard. And it’s this cutthroat energy that’s put out into the world. And so I just, there’s something about the fact that you say that you’re like, I want everyone to succeed. And that to me is, we need so many more of you. Let’s clone you, let’s get it out there. Because I truly think that we’re all just trying to get ahead of one. Another middle school box out basketball, just get in there. And I’m glad you said that because I want you to own it, truly, it’s a gift.

Julia Mullins (00:26:46):

Thank you. I’ve evolved to that place. I didn’t start there. I haven’t always been there. I think the first three jobs I held I didn’t even tell people the role I played I just said the company I worked for, because I thought that was the big flex. And who cares? If 80,000 other people work there too, you’re not that big of a deal, whatever. It’s the impact you have on other people, it’s the impact you have on the work. And so that took me time. I think it was also because I was just junior and figuring out the role I played and what I could do and what I’d succeed at. But more in the last five years I would say I’ve really tied my identity to the impact I can make. So it’s not about the company name or my title, but oh I live for the notes from clients telling me that they’ve had a great meeting with their CEO or they’ve been able to stick to some new process. I’m like, okay, it’s all working. This is amazing.

Lindsay Guentzel (00:27:48):

I love that you actually read the notes because I don’t. I like to be the one to give compliments, it’s very hard for me to receive them. I’m working through it. Again, I feel that way when someone reaches out and they’re like I listened to this episode of the podcast and it pushed me to do this or I’ve had a lot of people reach out that are like, I sought on a diagnosis because you talked about it openly and in a way that I understood. It’s hard, it’s super hard. But I love that you take those moments because I think it’s very easy to not, to kind of just go, oh well this is what my job, this is what I’m supposed to be doing. And it’s like, no, we need to be our own biggest cheerleaders because who else is going to do it? I think sometimes we’re just waiting-

Julia Mullins (00:28:39):

And that’s taking time too. That was not natural. And still if people say it to my face, I’ll be like, no, you’re the good one. My dad always jokes that I have this reflexive, whatever he says I’ll say it right back to him. He’s just like, that doesn’t even make sense. And that’s a defense mechanism, I can’t have a real conversation about my success, go away. Yeah. So it’s taken time and I definitely digest it better when it comes over email or a LinkedIn message because then I can read it when I’m ready for it. But yeah, it’s really validating because sometimes you don’t really know. Especially I talked to a pretty large group, it was a small company, so not like a household name, but there was a couple hundred people on the line for this webinar and we were talking about neurodiversity at work. Most of it was presentation, but I did some Q and A at the end and there was some great questions about disclosing at work and how do you talk about that.


So I hoped that I had made it an impact, but I didn’t know. And after the fact I heard that just because of my talk on psychological safety and the safety we had built on that call, they saw this huge jump in conversations about workplace accommodations. So people felt safe enough to say, I need to work from home for this reason or I want to get new headphones that are noise canceling or whatever the little accommodation, these things are not million dollar asks, the average amount spent on accommodations is less than $500 per people per person. And the people won’t ask. And so if whatever I said was the catalyst to start a conversation or to help them feel comfortable talking about it, I just got filled with warm fuzzies.

Lindsay Guentzel (00:30:31):

As you should, as you should honestly, because I do think it’s so hard. And I think for a lot of us we’re so used to hearing no, I’m always amazed when I meet someone who is not afraid of the word no, I am deathly afraid of it. I’m afraid of hearing it and sometimes I’m afraid of saying it. And it’s hard. It’s really hard to get out of your own way.

Julia Mullins (00:30:55):

Oh yeah. Yeah, I’m terrible at it. And back in October I was talking to a friend saying, I have a couple big things coming up, we had the conference a couple weeks ago and some presentations and I don’t know that I can take on more. She said, well just tell people you’re booked through 2023. And I’m like, oh okay. So it’s not a no it’s a not yet. And that is way easier to digest because that’s just protecting me for eight more weeks of the year at the time. So it’s not saying I’d never want to work with you, it’s saying I’m booked. And that’s kind of that balance between growing your business and managing self care that is always going to be kind of something to work through. But the turning nos into not yet has been pretty important.

Lindsay Guentzel (00:31:49):

I have a similar scenario, a woman that I work with at Minnesota Public Radio, she’s a host, she’s very sought after to speak at charity events and just always being asked, pulled into so many different directions. I was saying, how do you do it? This one day she had hosted the show and she was at her desk changing and getting ready to go to something else. And I just was like, how do you do this? And she was like, oh, I tell people I’m at capacity. I say, thank you so much for thinking of me. This sounds like an amazing opportunity. Right now is not great, I’m at capacity. Feel free to touch base the next time you’re looking for someone.


But I think we’ve all had an experience where we have set up boundaries and someone has not followed them or not acknowledged or respected them. And so then all of a sudden you get really worried. I think when you’re someone who’s very passionate about your career as well, you’re afraid to say no to things when someone asks because that opportunity might not come up again. And I know for me it’s like I’ll say yes and then I will kill myself making everything happen and then it’s not even an enjoyable experience.

Julia Mullins (00:33:05):

Absolutely. Yeah. Finding those boundaries and being able to stick to them, I think we all have some room for growth on it. But the great thing is it can evolve. So what your boundaries are now, those don’t have to stay the same. Maybe those get you through the new year or maybe it’s for six months, but we’re the owners of all of that. So that kind of takes some of the pressure off at being such a big scary thing. You’re like, I’m just making up rules as I go and I’m doing what serves me.

Lindsay Guentzel (00:33:38):

Yes. And rules are another one, who made the rule? Are they still around? Does the rule make sense? Yes, there are rules and games for a reason, but rules in life, you should be the one setting them.

Julia Mullins (00:33:51):


Lindsay Guentzel (00:33:51):

So I’m glad that you talked up about evolving and growth and we can all learn and change and evolve and I think that that is something that’s so important to acknowledge. And I think this time of year everyone’s very busy and we’re all kind of in this holiday mode and gearing up. But at the same time, I think a lot of people are looking for this fresh start. I kind of view New Years and back to school in the same capacity. I think back to school for me because of the excitement of going back to school, to me there was nothing better than getting a syllabus on the first day and then sitting down and organizing my planner. Of course by the second month I was not using the planner any longer, the novelty had worn off.


So I view those times of year as this rebirth, this renewal, this time to restart. And I think a lot of us are like, I’m going to do all of these things and then nothing happens because we’re so overwhelmed by it. So I’m wondering when you look at this time of year and setting up ourselves for success in 2023, and I love that you shared the story that you’re booked till 2023, you’ve got stuff on your plate from here until now from then. How do you approach this time when you are either offering up advice for the people you’re coaching or for yourself?

Julia Mullins (00:35:21):

So like you said, all these rules are made up and so the idea that New Year’s has to be this big thing, we put that on ourselves. If it serves you and if it helps you to reset, that’s amazing. And if it’s causing you more stress and it’s more of a problem than it’s just the next day of a new month, it’s fine. So just take what you need.


But if January 1st is kind of that fresh chapter for you and if you’re kind of looking towards it as this new year fresh start, I don’t think it makes sense to use these last four weeks to run to the finish line bruised and broken. Just take care of yourself and celebrate everything you’ve done. We’ve gotten through 11 months of this year, what have you done? And it doesn’t have to be big, it can be maintaining certain routines or growing certain friendships. It doesn’t have to be the massive promotion or anything career related. All these little things affect who you are and how you show up. So celebrate them. So that’s my plan for December. Just look back at the first 11 months and be like, okay, we did a lot.

Lindsay Guentzel (00:36:39):

I love that. I think it’s so important. I said we have to be our biggest cheerleaders, we have to celebrate what we’ve done and at the same time be excited about the future but also be living in the moment. I think that that’s something that I have had such a hard time with. I’m always, what’s next? What’s next? And you forget, oh what, what’s happening right now is pretty amazing.

Julia Mullins (00:37:02):

Yes, exactly. Yeah, being present for that is so easy to just get swirled up in our heads listening to all the other things that we should do. But yeah, just enjoying the present is pretty powerful.

Lindsay Guentzel (00:37:17):

Executive coaching to me, coming from a world where I’ve worked as a journalist, so I’ve worked for media organizations, I haven’t really worked for corporate America, so to speak. And so I think that someone hears the words executive coaching and they think, oh, that’s not for me or for C-level people. Which by the way, I literally just learned what that was in September. That’s how far removed I am from corporate America life. Someone was like, oh yeah, the C-suite people. And I was like, I don’t have a clue what you’re talking about. It’s really nice to be reminded that coaching can be for everyone and it can be what you need it to be. It’s kind of how I look at therapy. Everyone’s, they have this idea of what therapy is. It’s very strange analogy to use here, but it’s very, the Hannibal Lecter, the dark room with the couch and you’re talking very philosophically and sometimes that happens, but a lot of times it’s very specific to what you need in that exact moment.


So I would love it if you could touch a little bit on your mentality with coaching and I guess in a sense pitch it to the general population because I do think that there are some people who are like, that’s not for me because that’s for people who are up here or who are doing something very noteworthy and I hate isolating it to that.

Julia Mullins (00:38:47):

Yeah, totally fair. So the term coach, this title is probably the most vague title of any job we have today. There’s fitness coaches, there’s business coaches that are trying to grow your revenue. There’s all these different coaches. To me, what I keep as one of the most important things is the International Coaching Federation has a set of ethics and standards. So I’m a member and I have my ACC accreditation and so I stick to that. So, ICF coaching, really make sure that we’re not consulting, we’re not mentoring. So I would never tell you or any client, here’s your action plan, go do these three things. That’s consulting. And I’ve spent five years in big four consulting and what clients do is they take your final report and they’re like, oh, we’re doing it wrong. And then they tuck it in a drawer, they hire you a year later and they’re like, oh, we never fixed things. What should we do now?


So consulting doesn’t always work. But coaching actually taps into the participant to do a lot of the work. So you’re not just showing up to get, have this thing happen around you or to you, being part of a coaching dynamic is really putting yourself out there and wanting to grow and change. And to the term executive coaching, it did start with more kind of higher up leadership levels and executives. But if you go on the ICF website, I think it’s coaching federation.org, they have all these dropdowns for the different types. And so you can find a leadership coach or a career coach and all these different coaches that might support a different niche if that’s what you’re looking for. So it can mean so many things. So I would just say if you think it’s not for you, okay, maybe, but just make sure you’ve checked out all the things because yeah, maybe you’ve heard of certain types of coaching, but there’s something else that might resonate with you.

Lindsay Guentzel (00:41:00):

Well, and I think the great thing about where we are right now with the internet and social media is people are learning about it more. It’s more readily in front of us. People are talking about it and you’re very active on social media and talking about what you do and how you can help people and even sharing some of your expertise online. I think that that is just such a critical part of it because it does take some of the accessibility issues out of the equation. I think it shows people how adaptable it can be.

Julia Mullins (00:41:37):

Yeah, absolutely. The reach social media can have in helping people understand that they’re not alone is so powerful. Especially when we were isolated at home for so long. I’ve had people reach out from countries that say ADHD coaching doesn’t exist here. And same with all coaching really. So yeah, it’s incredible that we’re all connected. We can hop on any video calls and work with people around the world. So it’s not therapy where you’re tied to a state passing certain licenses and stuff. The ICF coaching, I can have clients on any continent. So yeah, it’s pretty cool. We can partner anywhere.

Lindsay Guentzel (00:42:24):

That’s awesome. I love that. I love the idea of just looking at it as support and accountability and a drive to the future. I mean when say that is that kind of, I don’t want to put it into a box, but those are some of the things that I feel-

Julia Mullins (00:42:44):

Exactly. It is so future focused and that’s one of the differentiators I’ve used between therapy and consulting because working with a therapist, you can unpack the why, what’s holding you back, what happened in the past that is affecting you now. And then once you know that, then you can work with a coach to make your plan moving forward and understand how to protect your boundaries and how to advocate for yourself and do what you want and go where you want to go. So yeah, the accountability is kind of a fine line. I never want to become a true crutch for anybody. So coaching engagements usually are six months on the long end and usually shorter because you don’t want to be like, you just need to pay me for the rest of your life or else you’re not going to do okay, that’s terrible.


So it’s all about what can you do when I’m not in the room and how can you do that without me? So maybe we work together for six sessions over three months, maybe six months, but it’s not supposed to be this forever thing. I think people that do see coaches for longer are switching out their leadership challenges. And so there’s always new challenges. But I’ve even worked with different coaches because I want those different perspectives. I don’t want that one coach to be that kind of golden thread through my whole career. So, I’ve worked with a couple of different coaches that kind of fit the need.

Lindsay Guentzel (00:44:14):

I like that you emphasize not becoming the crutch because I think that we’ve all been there, we’ve all added something into our lives that at the time made a lot of sense and made things great, as you grow and change and evolve or that relationship changes or the needs change, it’s hard. And I want to see what you can do when I’m not in the room because that’s the goal. I don’t want to constantly have to go up to my partner and be like, look what I did, acknowledge this. And he’s like, why? You folded your laundry? And I’m like, I did. I folded my laundry. It’s like I want to feel that excitement and be able to just do it and move on.


So I’m curious in your role working with people with ADHD, are there any trends you see? We often talk about where we get stuck and that’s one of the things that I am working on identifying, especially even with this podcast where I’m getting stuck and what’s holding me back and then working on the plan to change that. And so when you look at some of the clients that you’ve worked with, what stands out as some of the things that are commonalities?

Julia Mullins (00:45:35):

I don’t know that I’ve seen true trends because my clients are really all over the place in their careers and the coaching challenges that they bring my way. But I do think this maybe common piece is that sometimes people aren’t ready to be coached and that’s okay. And I think Ron talked about this on your last episode as well a little bit. But I’ve had people that think they’re ready for coaching and they want to sign up and do this, but I don’t see anything between sessions because they’re not actually putting anything into play and they’re not really trying to do the work. And so that’s okay, you’re just not ready for it and you have a lot on your plate and you do you, come back in three months or six months and try again. But yeah, just making sure that you’re not your own roadblock to coaching. You joked about getting out of your own way, so yeah, if you think you’re ready for coaching but you don’t want to do any of the work, you’re in your own way.

Lindsay Guentzel (00:46:38):

To me, I say this to my therapist because we do a lot of to-dos and goals and all of that and I always say I don’t want to be a broken record and there’ll be weeks where I come in and I’m like, I’m the broken record again. I’m saying all these things that I know I need to do and I know what I want to do and I’m not doing them. It’s difficult. But again, I love that you acknowledge that just means you’re not ready or that you’ve got too much on your plate and it doesn’t mean that it won’t change and it doesn’t mean that it’s not a good thing for you. It just means identifying in the moment what those are.

Julia Mullins (00:47:17):

Sometimes I’ve had clients come back and they kind of sheepishly say, I didn’t do anything that we talked about. I just pivot to the positive because let’s talk about strengths and I’ll say, well what did you do? And their face will light up and they’ll talk about all these cool things that they got done and new things they tried and whatever it could be. If that’s what fills you up, cool, do more of that. And if there’s something on your list, call the doctor because you haven’t been in three years, go do that too. But it’s about finding that balance. And so yeah, when you’re deprioritizing just because you don’t want to deal with it versus well I have all these other things and I don’t think that’s actually important anymore, those are different.

Lindsay Guentzel (00:48:00):

I want to know with one month left in 2022 and I love that you said you are going to spend the next month celebrating all the things you accomplished in 11 months, which is how it should be. 11 months have gone by and we are all here, like I said, getting ready for the holidays and starting to think about 2023 and what that’s going to look like. What’s one thing that we should be doing right now to get ourselves ready for the new year? And it can be the tiniest thing.

Julia Mullins (00:48:42):

So one thing I have found that helps with work is just making sure I have what I need. And so in the next couple of weeks if you realize there’s something like so silly and little that you have to move from your office to the kitchen or home to work, whatever it is, buy two of them. This sounds so silly, but this used to happen with scissors. I would keep them in the kitchen and then my husband would take them to open a package and leave them in some other room and then I would borrow them and leave them and then we can’t find them. So now we just have four pairs of scissors. And as silly as that sounds, that has helped this idea of have what you need, where you need it so that you can just go be successful. That all your creativity, everything you can do, everything you’re good at, isn’t snagged up by something as silly as like, oh I can’t find my headphones. I have different headphones, I have two computers, so I have the wired ones for this one, these, I have one for working out and one in my laptop bag that I travel with. Maybe that’s a little excessive, but also I never lose the ones that I need because they’re always where they’re supposed to be.

Lindsay Guentzel (00:49:59):

You say excessive. And even as you’re saying that, I’m like you’re talking about the scissors and I can think of many times where I have one thing that I use in multiple areas or I use in multiple buildings, like you said, you bring it to work or you go to the gym with it. When you can’t find it, think of how many times a person with ADHD goes on the hunt for that one thing and all of the distractions and things that we can get caught up on. So I actually really appreciate it. I don’t think it needs to be looked at as frivolous or just like, oh, go and buy all of these things. Because scissors are a very small thing, but you’re taking the roadblock out of it, you’re not stressing about it.


I was thinking about this the other day, I realized, so I do night classes at the gym and I love it. I love the people I work out with. It gets me there. And people have always been like, well why don’t you just go in the morning and get it done? It’s like, this works for me. I’m not trying to adjust it. I realized by happenstance that if I shower at the gym and get back into my day clothes versus coming home where I shower and I put my pajamas on because why would I shower and then put on another pair of clothes before going to bed, it just makes sense to put on my pajamas. I’m much more productive when I come home in my day clothes, I get stuff done. It’s not like pajamas are on, the night’s over. And then I was thinking, okay, so I need to start packing the stuff that I need at the gym to shower. I was like, oh, but that means I’m going to have to unpack everything and move it. I was like or I could go and buy another set of what I need for the gym and it just stays in that bag.


But it’s realizing that, what is the hiccup? Running around the house trying to find the one thing that you packed for the gym that now you need in your bathroom. And I’m like, oh, this is why.

Julia Mullins (00:51:59):

Yeah. I know that could be so unreasonable if you’re like, well I need a new 50 inch TV in every room. Okay, that’s an excuse. But yeah, if spending 30 bucks on toiletries so that you can keep up this really productive routine is all you need, what an incredible investment and go for it. I love it. That’s perfect.

Lindsay Guentzel (00:52:26):

And then on the flip side, what is something we should be wrapping up for 2022 in these next four weeks? Is there anything that we should be going back and I mean you said celebrate taking stock is really important, but are there any action items that you are kind of looking at, yep, this is my time to get this done before we head into a new year?

Julia Mullins (00:52:51):

So I’m going to say put a pause on any negativity you’re holding towards yourself as ADHD years. We can be so hard on ourself for what we haven’t done or what we’re not able to do or something like that. And I know we talked about the word yet early on in this podcast, so use that. So if you’re being hard on yourself because you haven’t been promoted yet. If you’re being hard on yourself because you don’t think you’re in the right career, yet. If you’re hard because you can’t discuss accommodations with your manager, yet. Just give yourself that grace and make that promise that you’re going to stop beating yourself up. Leave that in 2022. If you’ve been hard on yourself, you have 30 more days. Get it out of your system, in 2023 you better be nice to yourself.

Lindsay Guentzel (00:53:46):

The things that you start to beat yourself up about is kind of unreal and once you acknowledge that voice in your head, you realize how often it happens.

Julia Mullins (00:53:58):

So when I was younger, it was like my first job out of college, I was an event planner. I would travel with the executive team to all these meetings all over the northeast. So I had weird access to these top level leaders, which was really cool because I got to see in their brain a little bit. I remember being a junior team member, I was grumbling about something that I probably shouldn’t have even bothered an executive with at all, but I was grumbling about how something wasn’t right./ He just said, put an expiration date on it. I was like, what does that mean? He’s like, it’s okay to be pissed off. Put an expiration date on it. Are you going to be mad for an hour? Are you going to be mad for a day? I’m like, okay, I’m going to be mad for an hour. I’m like, and then I’m never going to mention it again. We’re cool.

Lindsay Guentzel (00:54:49):

I love that.

Julia Mullins (00:54:52):

So that’s one of my favorite memories of that particular leader because it was such a silly little small thing he said, and it completely shaped how we can drag things out for far too long. Whenever you’re doing that to yourself, just remind yourself, put an expiration date on it. You’re allowed to grieve, you’re allowed to feel sad or angry or whatever, but don’t let it consume you.

Lindsay Guentzel (00:55:19):

I love that and I actually want to bring that back to what we were talking about with the scissors because I was diagnosed almost two years ago and I did not know about emotional dysregulation. Now I know a lot and I see a lot and I can tell you from my own experience if I’m wandering the house looking for that pair of scissors, I am not going to be in a good place. And I also love that you said, what does the expiration date mean? Because you said it and I was like, I don’t [inaudible 00:55:47] but when you say it, you’re like, oh. Giving yourself to acknowledge your feelings, you don’t have to sweep them under the rug but don’t carry them around forever, which it’s hard.

Julia Mullins (00:56:00):

Right. Yeah. 10 years from now, are you going to be like, oh yeah, I’m still that person that lost the scissors? Oh my god, no.

Lindsay Guentzel (00:56:06):

Well, let’s hope not.

Julia Mullins (00:56:08):

Yeah, right. Let’s hope not. So yeah, if this isn’t going to live with us forever, then it needs an expiration date. And if it’s something like that, we can move that up to 10 minutes from now or something, be nice to ourselves.

Lindsay Guentzel (00:56:19):

I want to wrap this up actually by asking you about this cohort you’re having and I say that and I don’t necessarily know what that means. So right now people can follow you on social media, Lead with ADHD, and you’ve got the Lead with ADHD program coming up or it’s happening. And so tell me a little bit about what that is and what you’re offering and how people can get involved.

Julia Mullins (00:56:46):

Yeah, absolutely. So Lead with ADHD was actually a program I put together and got to talk to folks about at the conference a couple weeks ago. And this is a leadership development program for people with ADHD that are navigating their careers and kind of want that ADHD popup video version. Like, oh my God, that’s such an old reference, but if you want leadership development with little popups of this is what it means for people at ADHD like that’s kind of how I built this. Over the summer I ran the first cohort that was kind of open enrollment. I’ve only done it with clients where they kind of created their own cohorts. So I did it over the summer or early fall I guess, and we’re doing it again in January.


So it’s six group sessions where I provide a bunch of content. So it’s not really coaching, it’s more of kind of a leadership development program. But there’s the Hogan suite of assessments, which I love because it kind of takes all the guessing out. It’s kind of this data driven approach to understanding your identity and reputation and how you show up at work. Yeah, we’ll do some body doubling or kind of co-working calls that are totally optional but are available to folks. And so, yeah, the cohort’s still open. So if folks want to join the link in my bio on Instagram or leadwithadhd.co, we’ll take you there. Love to chat more.

Lindsay Guentzel (00:58:21):

And I will share all of that information in the show notes as well. And again, on social media at Refocus Pod. And I want to ask because you know, talk about leadership and I think I’m not someone who needs leadership, but I do because I hand work off to people and that takes leadership and that takes knowing how to work with other people. I’m curious, when you look at ADHD and some of the ways that it can hold us back from being good leaders, is there anything that stands out?

Julia Mullins (00:58:51):

So what you just mentioned is actually part of one of the sessions about delegating because it’s so hard. We are more often than not perfectionist to a fault. So maybe there’s nobody that can do the work as well as we can, or maybe we didn’t know it was due until the 11th hour so who are you going to give it to other than yourself? You have to do it last minute. So we get ourselves in these binds and then we end up doing it and then we never learn for the next time and then it keeps going. So, the delegation piece is so relevant. So you don’t have to be a corporate executive. You’re anybody that is working with people and delegating things and partnering. So yeah, I do use the term leadership loosely because I think we’re all leaders, we’re all leading something.

Lindsay Guentzel (00:59:37):

And I was always told, oh, Lindsay’s a great leader. She’s a little bossy. You go back to the elementary school report cards. And I have found that I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, so I never know how to provide feedback or ask for what I really want. Instead I just accept it, pretend everything’s great, which doesn’t help anyone involved in the scenario and then I just get resentful. I’m going to go ahead and guess that that’s probably something that you’ve seen quite a bit.

Julia Mullins (01:00:11):

Yeah, that’s totally part of it. [inaudible 01:00:13] work through that-

Lindsay Guentzel (01:00:15):

Well I’m going to wrap this up. The last thing I’m going to ask you, what’s one ADHD hack that you use in your life that you tell people about or that you wish everyone knew that is something that, besides buying multiple pairs of scissors, that’s something that has really made a difference for you?

Julia Mullins (01:00:39):

So we’re in the process of moving and I’m looking out my window right now and I’m realizing that in my next office I don’t want to be looking out the window. I did it this way because the lighting is phenomenal.

Lindsay Guentzel (01:00:53):

It is. It is great lighting.

Julia Mullins (01:00:54):

Thank you. But I get to see all the trees and the blue sky, which is lovely but it’s also super distracting. I probably spend too much time looking out the window. So I think that’s the little hack that the littlest changes of literally turning around and facing a different direction can sometimes be the quick answer you need to work differently or work better.

Lindsay Guentzel (01:01:20):

Well, we couldn’t have timed this out better because I can hear the HVAC crew in the basement getting ready to finish up for the afternoon and our time is up. And Julia, I just truly want to thank you for your honesty and your kindness and for coming on and sharing so much about your story and what you’re doing. And I love that you say, I love watching people succeed, that’s like my joy in life. Thank you for putting that out there. And I will then, I’ll share all the info that you need to get in touch with Julia and follow her on social and bring that energy into your life. But thank you for coming on and let’s do this again soon.

Julia Mullins (01:01:57):

I love it. Thank you so much. Take care.

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