Episode 18. Choosing to thrive with Tyler Dorsey

Tyler Dorsey was ahead of the curve. As a fifth grader, the 90s baby was diagnosed with ADHD — well before the majority of girls who wouldn’t be diagnosed well into adulthood. 

By the time she made it to college, she knew how ADHD was showing up in her life and with a non-negotiable pushing her ahead, her spot on the volleyball team, she put her own boundaries into place and started to see herself thriving.

As the founder of Focus Forward, Tyler helps people of all ages change their mindset on how they view and manage their ADHD. And what started as a get-to-know-you conversation ahead of Tyler’s first webinar on September 21st quickly turned into Tyler introducing Lindsay to the power of a good, old-fashioned mindset shift in embracing the thrive and retiring the survive

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Lindsay Guentzel (00:01):

This is episode 18 of Refocused with Lindsay Guentzel. And today we’re chatting with Tyler Dorsey. We’ll dive into her ADHD diagnosis story and the motivation behind her commitment to helping others on the same path. That’s coming up next on Refocused with Lindsay Guentzel.

Lindsay Guentzel (00:39):

Welcome back to Refocused with Lindsay Guentzel. I am out of office, sort of. If you know me, you know that I’m never really out of office. My life/work balance is actually just a massive mix of, well, it’s a very, very gray area is what I’m trying to tell you. I’m actually recording this introduction from my friend’s cabin less than 30 miles from the Canadian border. I’m on an island on a massive lake, and last night the power went out. And it wasn’t even during a storm. It just started flickering. The light started flickering a bunch. We were making dinner, and then they just slowly faded out, which is always really concerning when the power goes out, and there’s not something very apparent to blame it on. It was still sunny out. The sky was still blue. There wasn’t a massive thunderstorm with a ton of wind.

Lindsay Guentzel (01:38):

Anyway, going back to our conversation that we’ve been having on transitions and learning to go with the flow, the lack of power combined with the lack of internet did not sit well with the person who had brought both her computers and a long list of work to do with her to the long weekend where she planned to take advantage of the quiet time by getting an unreasonable amount of work done. It’s fine. We’re fine. The power is back on.

Lindsay Guentzel (02:08):

Long story short though, this is my calm before the storm. And yes, my calm was getting away to a relaxing cabin in the woods to do work. We all have different forms of self care. There is no judgment.

Lindsay Guentzel (02:23):

We’ve been hinting at what’s coming up. The October Project is what we’ve started calling it because we didn’t know how to quite explain that it’s still the podcast. It’s just a special series of the podcast. And so I’m very excited to announce that we have named the baby. That’s how Bos put it the other day. Coming up very soon we’ll reveal all the details tied to Refocused Together, which is something special we’re doing for ADHD Awareness Month in October. It’s our first time celebrating ADHD Awareness month together on this podcast. And we have some really amazing conversations in the works to share with you very soon.

Lindsay Guentzel (03:02):

But before we get to October, we have a lot to get to in September, including a webinar with Tyler Dorsey, the founder of Focus Forward. This is the first of many webinars Tyler will be hosting alongside the team at ADHD Online, and we thought this was the perfect opportunity to introduce you to her, have her share a bit of her own ADHD diagnosis story, and then share a bit about the philosophy she carries with her every day as she helps her clients move forward on their own ADHD journeys.

Lindsay Guentzel (03:32):

And a reminder, you can find out more about the different webinars that are coming up by visiting ADHD online.com/webinars.

Lindsay Guentzel (03:46):

I mentioned there’s a lot on the calendar for September, and we’ll run through those after we wrap up my conversation with Tyler. But first, Bos has a special message that he wanted to start the episode off with.

Keith Boswell (03:58):

I wanted to start today by actually speaking directly to our patients. We’re experiencing just an exceptional backlog of patient support requests, people that need refills, people that need transfers, prior authorization. We are doing our best to work through it all. I just want our patients to know, I’m in marketing. I don’t often have to answer the phones or talk to them directly. But I sit right across from the teams that do. I see how busy they are, the overtime they’re working to work through this. And I just want everyone to know that we’re committed to each and every one of our patients. We will get caught up. It’s just the nationwide shortage of Adderall has not helped, and hopefully that’s going to be getting better in the next few months. But we just appreciate everyone’s patience as we work to catch up. And thank you all because your care is really what keeps us here and why we’re here.

Lindsay Guentzel (05:19):

So there is a new face you’ll be seeing around ADHD Online. I’m very excited to welcome her to Refocused with Lindsay Guentzel. Tyler Dorsey is joining us, and a very fun event coming up on September 21st that people can access for free by going to ADHDonline.com. But before we get into any of that, I want to start by asking you to share your own ADHD diagnosis story and kind of what led you to this point.

Tyler Dorsey (05:47):

Yeah. Well first, thank you for having me. I’m seriously so excited not only to be here with you, but to become a part of the ADHD Online community. What sparked all of that is Tyler today when it comes to ADHD. Well, let’s start with, we can start with my diagnosis. So I was, I’m 30, I just turned 30 this past May. And I was 11 when I was diagnosed, in the fifth grade, I believe. And leading up to that point, I know my parents constantly, I was born in ’92. The 90s babies are the babies who really started getting the diagnosis younger. There are some 80s babies sprinkled in there, but it was really the 90s babies that kind of hit that boom.

Tyler Dorsey (06:32):

And so teachers started to become a little more aware of what to look for in the classroom. And I don’t like saying you present a boy, but I presented what people know to be a boy’s presentation. It was very, very obvious. I couldn’t sit still. I was struggling in school. I was impulsive. I was hyperactive. All the obvious signs of ADHD that you see.

Tyler Dorsey (06:54):

And so my mom, like most moms do who don’t understand ADHD, was like, let’s just see what happens as she gets older. And it just got worse and worse until finally in the fifth grade they were like, okay, it’s time to go and seek a diagnosis. So they did. And I was diagnosed ADHD, which is funny. I have my whole life said I’m ADHD combined type. I’m hyperactive, impulsive, all of it. But I actually tested an attentive type, and I distinctly remember the testing process, and I remember the questions being asked, and I was like, oh, well I want to give them the answer that makes me sound the best I can. So I would unintentionally respond with the answer that made me sound better, whereas my mom is responding with what I am.

Tyler Dorsey (07:43):

So we came back for the results, and they were like, so Tyler makes it sound like she has no problems. And Lisa, her mom, makes it sound like she’s a murderer. I was so impulsive, and I was so extra, and I was failing everything. I also have a diagnosis of a learning disability in reading. I don’t think it’s actually technically formally a dyslexia diagnosis, but knowing what we know now, I have dyslexia. And my dad has extreme dyslexia. So it just all makes sense.

Tyler Dorsey (08:14):

But yeah, so my journey from that point until really my freshman year of college was just this cycle of starting the school year off thinking I would do well, saying I would do well, not doing well, fights at home, bad grades, struggling with confidence, just kind of all the things. I was on medication. I hated medication so I didn’t really actually take it.

Tyler Dorsey (08:38):

And then I left for college, and my structure also left because that was my family and the teachers I had when I was younger. And everything came crashing down, and I realized school’s not my issue. It’s not school. It’s me. I need to figure out what changes I need to make to get out of this cycle. And so my little 18-year-old self figured it out, started the journey. And I mean, it’s a lifelong journey. It’s not something you’re going to figure out overnight. I believe you grow into your ADHD, not out of your ADHD. And I strongly believe that I manage my ADHD very, very well. But if I don’t stay with the systems and routines I’ve built for myself, I’m going to get back into some old habits.

Tyler Dorsey (09:28):

So I decided I wanted to help people. I started out by wanting to help kids like me and parents who were lost like mine were. And it’s just kind of evolved into this. I help people of all ages with ADHD thrive.

Lindsay Guentzel (09:43):

That’s incredible. And it’s so important to remind people this isn’t going away. You can stop doing all the things that are working for you, and you’re going to find yourself back in those scenarios that we all are trying to avoid. And I’m wondering if we can go back to college to be 18 and to have that mindset, and how lucky that you had it at that age. You had the time when you were younger to get used to it and have a feel for it and see all the struggles. And then you got to college, and you were like, okay, enough’s enough. So what were some of the things that you did, and how did you right the ship?

Tyler Dorsey (10:24):

So the key, there were two keys, but the number one key to my making a change in college was the motivation I had to still play volleyball. I played volleyball in college, and volleyball was always my driving force. And because of my grades, I wasn’t going to be allowed to step foot on the court that next school year. And I wanted to be on that court. If there was anything else I knew, I knew that I loved volleyball, and I was good at it. And so that was really the initial driving force to making the change.

Tyler Dorsey (11:02):

The consistent thing I was doing was taking ownership of me and of my ADHD. I actually just on Instagram today talked about the difference between excuse and explanation. And I was using ADHD as my excuse for a really long time, which means I was not taking ownership. I was trying to deflect that and say this is something else’s fault. I have no control over it. When the reality is you do have control over it. Is it hard? Yes. Is it going to take time? Absolutely. But when you make it an explanation and you start saying, oh, I am not getting anything done because distractions are a massive force on me, and I need to learn how to navigate those better, all of a sudden you’re going to see a change.

Tyler Dorsey (11:45):

So for me, it really was, I had a motivator. I wanted to be on the volleyball court, and I wanted it so bad that I was willing to do whatever it took to make it happen. And then the second one was I started just taking ownership and asking for help and stopped thinking no one else on this planet needs help. I’m the only one. And I started saying, no, everyone needs help. And the smartest kids in the class are the smartest kids in the class because they’re asking for help, and they’re using your peers.

Tyler Dorsey (12:09):

And that’s what I did. I created a team that helped me study, and all of a sudden that group that helped me study freshman year, and I went to a very small school in northern Kentucky, and the group that helped me study freshman year, as we progressed and became seniors, we started planning our classes around each other and saying, we want to be in this class together because it’s hard, and we’re going to need each other to get through it. And I’ve just carried that through. And it’s a who, not a how. Who’s there to help you? Not how are you going to make it happen?

Lindsay Guentzel (12:39):

I love that. You were ahead of the game on the body doubling. It’s kind of like I always told myself, I don’t like working out in groups, I don’t want to work out with other people. I want to work out alone. But I would never stick to it. And then you start going to a class, and you make friends, and you start to realize, oh, there’s a reason why group fitness is a thing. You hold each other accountable. It’s that moment in life where you kind of realize we are better together than we are individually.

Tyler Dorsey (13:08):

Yeah. And you know what’s amazing about that is if I could have a movie made of my process in college, you would see the transformation of Tyler who’s leaning on the group to Tyler who is leading the group. And all of the sudden I’m no longer sitting here saying, okay, what’s next, guys? When are we meeting? I’m saying, hey, we’re meeting on this day at this time. I need everyone to bring this so we can get this done.

Tyler Dorsey (13:37):

And that is what then transitioned into Tyler Dorsey, the owner of Focus Forward and this person who just does everything she can to help everyone she can. And so it was this evolution that was really based on the I’m going to take ownership of me. And it’s a constant work in progress. I’m not saying I’m perfect at it because no one is, but it’s like if you can always look back and stop focusing on what external factors are getting in your way and start focusing on what internal things can be changed to make these things happen, you’re going to see growth and change that you’ve always wanted to see.

Lindsay Guentzel (14:15):

And you mentioned Focus Forward. I’m on your website right now, focusforwardadhd.com. And right off the bat is a brunette woman with an orange cat so I feel very at home because that is my life. But I love the message that’s right there. It’s the first thing you see. We help people with ADHD thrive. And what you can see when you go to the website that there’s the word survive, and it’s crossed out. And it goes back to that idea we were talking about, ADHD is not going anywhere. We’re not just going to get rid of it one day. We’re not curing ourselves. We’re learning how to live in a world that wasn’t designed for us. And I love the idea that you’re like, this isn’t just about getting through the day. This is about figuring out the path forward to make it as enjoyable and as successful as each individual person wants it to be.

Tyler Dorsey (15:10):

Yeah. Who wants to just survive? We literally only have one life, and it doesn’t matter what cards you’ve been dealt, no one wants to actually just survive. Some people think they do because it’s sometimes believed to be the easier path, but that’s not… We want to thrive. And I think that that thought came from knowing that so many adults with ADHD give me the, well, I’m doing okay. I’m managing it. And it’s not, there’s no confidence there. It’s just like I’ve been successful, I’m doing okay. But it’s like what’s not working for you? What can be better? Are you truly thriving right now? Or do you just have it afloat enough? But are you always waiting for that other ball to drop? Are you always waiting to know if one more thing gets added to my plate, everything’s going to fall apart? Or are you like, no, I’ve got this? 10 more things can add to my plate, and I will be just fine.

Lindsay Guentzel (16:13):

Yeah, I’m working on getting there.

Tyler Dorsey (16:16):

Oh, it’s a process.

Lindsay Guentzel (16:16):

It’s a work in progress. And it’s also about identifying what you want to be taking on. What plates do you want to be juggling?

Tyler Dorsey (16:26):


Lindsay Guentzel (16:26):

You throw all the balls up in the air, and you’re like, I only want to catch the ones that have meaning to me. How do you then let the other ones drop, let go of the shame, and then the next time not say yes?

Tyler Dorsey (16:41):

Yeah. Can I tell you how?

Lindsay Guentzel (16:42):


Tyler Dorsey (16:43):

You become confident in knowing what you want. I think a lot of us, this is a human thing, not an ADHD thing, we’re people pleasers. We think that we need to do what makes others look positively on us. But when you look at the leaders of the world, and I’m not just talking actual leaders. I’m talking about the people we all aspire to become. There’s a really good chance they’re probably doing what they want to do. And that’s why we’re looking up to some of them. It’s because we’re like, dang, they’ve got the guts to just do what they want. And we still, for the most part, look positively on them. And the things that we look negatively on is usually just things that aren’t values to us or don’t matter to us, or we don’t want for our own life. So why are they doing that? It’s like, well, they’re doing that because they want to.

Tyler Dorsey (17:30):

And so that’s the number one. And listen, I’m over here saying this, and you’ve got to work on it every area of your life. And then it’s, even then, every time you get to the next level in every area of your life, you’ve got to rework on it. So it’s like I’m still a work in progress too, but anytime I feel that weird, oh, I should say yes to this, I think why? How is this going to improve my life? And it’s not to sound selfish, but the reality is unless you are happy, and you are thriving, the people around you are not benefiting from being around you. And I’m not saying you, Lindsay. I hope you know that.

Lindsay Guentzel (18:03):


Tyler Dorsey (18:04):

Speaking in general here.

Lindsay Guentzel (18:05):

Yes, yes.

Tyler Dorsey (18:06):

But yeah.

Lindsay Guentzel (18:07):

One thing I have learned with my ADHD is to not take things too personally, that not everything is about me. Hey, rejection sensitive dysphoria just like-

Tyler Dorsey (18:16):

It’s hard.

Lindsay Guentzel (18:17):

It is very hard.

Tyler Dorsey (18:17):

It’s hard.

Lindsay Guentzel (18:17):

It is very hard.

Tyler Dorsey (18:18):

And I think that’s another reason we struggle with that is it’s like we are extra sensitive to that. And even to this day, I feel like I keep getting to the next level, and every single time I get to the next level, that transition phase, I get back into that, oh my gosh, what are they thinking? Because that’s just naturally who we are. But then I also have to keep in mind everyone else feels this way. So it’s okay. It’ll be fine.

Lindsay Guentzel (18:46):

I had this moment yesterday, so I’m training for a 10 mile run in October, and it was very hot yesterday, very hot. And this week has felt like my schedule is just falling apart. Things get canceled, or things get moved, or I’m waiting on other people. And it’s been a great reminder of working on transitions and not letting the entire day go just because something has changed. It kind of feels very hilarious to be talking about back to school in transitions and then have this happen.

Lindsay Guentzel (19:17):

But long story short, I had 30 minutes to sneak in a run, and it was the worst time of day to run. It was 4:30. It was so hot, full sun. And I went running, and it was hard. It was really hard. I was super sweaty. I felt so gross. I felt like I was doing terrible because it was so much harder than my normal runs because of these changes.

Lindsay Guentzel (19:40):

And I ran into a neighbor, and they were like, oh, did you go running? And I was like, yeah, I had to. And I was like, no, I didn’t have to. I chose to because this is the time of day that I could get it in. And it’s so interesting just how when you change the words and the way you deliver it. I chose to do that. There are a lot of people who wouldn’t have chose to do that. But that is something that I’ve made a priority. And so it’s so easy to discount the awesome stuff we’re doing every day because we are putting ourselves up here, and it’s just this impossible level to get to sometimes.

Tyler Dorsey (20:18):

But let’s go back to that, I have to. What result are you looking for? You said you’re training for a marathon, right?

Lindsay Guentzel (20:25):

10 mile.

Tyler Dorsey (20:26):

Or 10 mile. Sorry.

Lindsay Guentzel (20:27):

10 mile. I have done marathons.

Tyler Dorsey (20:28):

See, that’s where my brain zoned out when you said that. And then I was like, okay, wait, pick it up Tyler. What did… And I was like going back.

Lindsay Guentzel (20:33):

No, you’re fine. 10 miles is plenty for me right.

Tyler Dorsey (20:37):

Yeah. So you’re training for 10 miles. So yes, you have to do that to get the result you are wanting. But do you have to get that result? No. You’re choosing to get that result. And I say it that way because all of it is ultimately a choice, but the I have to comes from the importance of that result to you, not from an external factor.

Tyler Dorsey (21:02):

And the same goes, I’m kind of drawing this, for some reason work is coming up for me. Because a lot of people are like, I have to do this for work. And yes, there are things that have to be done so you can get your paycheck at work. But do you have to do that at that time in that way? No. You chose to do that. Every now and then, we’re throwing things fast paced, and we’re like, hey, you need to have this done in 15 hours. Fine, I get that. But for the most part, many of us know what’s coming down the pipeline, and we have chosen to put it off.

Tyler Dorsey (21:37):

And this goes back to that ADHD is an excuse or an explanation. No. Every time you procrastinate, you are choosing to procrastinate. Using it as an excuse is saying, I can’t do that right now. I have ADHD. Using it as an explanation is saying, okay, I have ADHD, which tells me there’s something going through my brain that is leading me to procrastinate. And understanding, I’m not just procrastinating because I’m dreading this run or the task I have to do. I’m procrastinating because it feels like it’s going to take a long time. It’s hot. I’m not sure I’m mentally ready to dive into this. I don’t know how to get started.

Tyler Dorsey (22:18):

So we choose to do everything. We have to do what needs to be done to get the results we’re looking for, whether that’s the 10 mile run, getting the paycheck, having the family you want, whatever it looks like. Those are choices. But we have to take certain steps to get there. But we get to decide what those steps are.

Lindsay Guentzel (22:39):

So coming up on September 21st, it’s your first webinar with ADHD Online, How to Survive the School Year. And I don’t want to get too much into that because I want people to come to the webinar. I want to just let everyone sit in there and learn from you in that moment. So let’s go back to big picture when we’re talking about focusforwardadhd.com and the message you have, how to thrive with ADHD. We’ve touched on it a little bit just through conversation, but where do you begin? A new client comes to you. Wherever they are in an ADHD journey, what is your path forward? And how do you help them get there? What is the mindset?

Tyler Dorsey (23:26):

So we focus on tearing everything down and rebuilding a foundation. We cannot do anything in life if there’s not a solid foundation to work off of. And those of us with ADHD don’t have it unless we’ve built it. But it’s not something that’s naturally there for us.

Tyler Dorsey (23:45):

So what is a solid foundation? It’s understanding exactly how ADHD is impacting you. There is still this thought out there that ADHD is just an inattention. It’s just maybe you’re hyperactive and impulsive. A lot of people, unless they’ve listened to podcasts and done some digging, don’t know that emotion regulation’s part of it. They don’t know what executive function is, and that organization, time management, planning, prioritizing, procrastinating, getting started, motivation, all of those are pieces of it. So we tear it down, and we say, okay, let’s look at every aspect of ADHD and how it impacts you.

Tyler Dorsey (24:23):

Let’s talk about tools. What tools do we have? Medication as a tool. Planners are tools. Post-it notes are tools. Timers are tools. The tools are great, but how do we want to use those tools? We all, I can imagine you’re like me, and you’ve had planner graveyards where you go when you buy the planner, and you don’t use them. It’s because we haven’t formed the habits and routines we need around that planner to properly use it. So we’re talking about what have we tried and what works and what hasn’t.

Tyler Dorsey (24:51):

And then we’re talking about what results are we trying to get? You came to us because you were looking for a result. We’ve built this foundation. Now what results are we going for? And now let’s coach you, and let’s help you get those results. Let’s help you basically get out of your own way. Let’s change that mindset. Let’s change that way of thinking, and let’s reinstill some confidence that you’ve got this, and you’re going to make it happen.

Lindsay Guentzel (25:14):

For me, and I’m just going to use myself as an example, and I imagine that a lot of people who have a later in life ADHD diagnosis maybe feel the same. So I’ve got 37 years, well, almost 37 years, giving myself a little extra there, 37 years of stuff, of habits and behaviors, and literally actual things like things I’ve acquired and hobbies and all of these things. And some of them have attachments to them. It feels like a mess. And some days I feel like the only path forward is literally just wiping everything out and starting from scratch.

Lindsay Guentzel (25:52):

But as an adult, we know that that’s not possible because in that mess there are bills and accounts and things that I actually want to keep like photos or mementos from my childhood, or I play the dead dad card, and I’m always afraid to delete stuff off my computer because I don’t know if there’s a voice message from him in there or anything like that. And so it’s this massive baggage that I’m just carrying around.

Lindsay Guentzel (26:23):

And so how do you walk somebody through that, this idea of I want to change, but I have all of this stuff sitting here that I’ve got to deal with? And how do we slowly start going through that and whittling that down while still making moves into this new realm that I want to live in?

Tyler Dorsey (26:43):

Yeah. So we break it down into steps. It sounds like you’re actually talking about physical stuff at this moment.

Lindsay Guentzel (26:49):

Yeah. Kind of.

Tyler Dorsey (26:51):

You’ve been posting on your drawer. What did you call it? A doom drawer?

Lindsay Guentzel (26:54):

I didn’t come up with that. Somebody in the-

Tyler Dorsey (26:56):

I’ve never heard it that way before. Love it.

Lindsay Guentzel (26:57):

We did a Facebook Live, and someone called it a doom drawer, And I was like, it is because you open it, and you’re like, ooh no. I don’t want to be here.

Tyler Dorsey (27:06):

I have a doom drawer, and I will post it later to join your-

Lindsay Guentzel (27:08):

I love it.

Tyler Dorsey (27:10):


Lindsay Guentzel (27:11):


Tyler Dorsey (27:13):

And you know what? I think we should all still have a doom drawer. We all deserve that one little spot that just doesn’t need our attention.

Lindsay Guentzel (27:18):


Tyler Dorsey (27:19):

But here’s what we do. We break it down, and we talk about what are the baby steps we can be taking. Step one, the photos seem overwhelming to me because I know my pile of photos is quite literally a massive box with photos shoved in it. So we can either delegate that. There are people who will organize those for you. Or we just, let’s save that for later when we feel like we’re extra organized. So we pick something small, something we can get a quick win. It’s all about getting you quick wins in that aspect so that you can start building that confidence, and no, I’ve got this, I’ve got this.

Tyler Dorsey (27:52):

So let’s go to the doom drawer for a second. What is it to… Your drawer, if I remember, it’s not actually that big.

Lindsay Guentzel (27:59):


Tyler Dorsey (27:59):

It was kind of a smaller drawer. And I call it my kitchen junk drawer, the one that you showed.

Lindsay Guentzel (28:05):


Tyler Dorsey (28:05):

And so we dump it out, and we organize things. I always think of the Sex in the City episode where they’re going through Carrie’s closet, and they all have their trash, take and then keep, like keep it as a memento, take it to wear and trash it because we don’t need it. And I go by that. And this is where a body double is phenomenal because sometimes we need someone to help us make some decisions. But it’s like what am I trashing? What am I keeping? And then what am I taking? So it’s like what stays in the drawer because it needs to be in the kitchen? What has a different home? And what needs to go in the trash? Let’s start small.

Tyler Dorsey (28:38):

But here’s what you’re going to learn in the process of starting small. You’re going to learn how to make decisions. You’re going to learn why we weren’t making decisions so fast earlier. You were going to learn what actually belongs in that drawer. And once it’s organized, if we’re on this journey to maintaining this level of organization, you’re going to be a lot more motivated to take your lipstick upstairs and put it in the drawer that is in your bathroom instead of putting it in the junk drawer because that’s an easy, quick place to put it and hide it.

Tyler Dorsey (29:12):

So it’s all about creating these new habits. So now all of a sudden we’re going to talk about, okay, what do we need to do to maintain that? So mine is not a great example, mostly because we moved in a year ago, and that’s where we housed all the little things we didn’t know what to do with. So I still need to go through it. But the office I’m actually sitting in today was my doom room. It was the place where we moved in, and we put every box that we didn’t know what to do with it. So when I moved Focus Forward from a physical location to virtual, I needed to move my office home. And so I had to go through my doom room, and I did. I took it a box at a time.

Tyler Dorsey (29:48):

And you mentioned you played the dead dad card. I don’t necessarily have that experience, but there are things that we hold onto for different reasons. So I took time to go through every box, every flash drive in every box and see what was on it and get rid of whatever it was. Because at some point you have to. Otherwise you’re going to get to the end of your life, and someone else is going to have to.

Tyler Dorsey (30:11):

And how many things are maybe actually in there that you… There could be a voicemail you didn’t even know you had because you didn’t go through it. And I know why we didn’t go through it. But it’s all about baby steps. And as we’re working through those baby steps, your understanding of yourself and of what’s important to you and why it’s important to you is just going to grow.

Lindsay Guentzel (30:30):

I love that. It’s a great reminder. And I think we’ve all had that experience where we have done that small thing, and you feel great, and you cross it off your list. And you’re like, oh, that wasn’t so difficult. I can do this. I can move forward. But it is, I think you’re spot on, when you look at it, at big picture, which is where a lot of us go, we go, oh my goodness, this is so overwhelming, and I don’t have time in the day. How am I going to do this? Can I throw money at the problem? Is that the best resource? Do I ask a friend? We don’t know how to manage it.

Lindsay Guentzel (31:10):

But I also think there are so many scenarios in life where I have shown up for people in situations where I’ve been asked, and that could be a great time to try and have it reciprocated. Like hey, could you just come over? And I know this sounds silly, but I want to go through this box of photos. And maybe I invite my sister over because they’re family photos, and maybe we have dinner, and maybe we go through them together, and we set ones aside that we want to keep. And then maybe we get them over to somebody who’s going to put them into a digital form for us, and then we can tuck those photos away. It’s just, there are ways around it, and when you put a plan in place, it feels much more manageable, actually something I could do and feel good about on the back end and then be done with it.

Lindsay Guentzel (32:05):

I’m sitting in my kind of doom room. We moved in here over four years ago, and this is the first time I’ve been doing anything in it because it was the catchall. And I had this moment where my boyfriend said, yeah, we’ve lived in this house for over four years, and she’s never been able to work in the office. And it was that feeling of all the time I had spent cleaning this, trying to organize it, trying to get it ready, and if I had just sat down once, done it, been done with it, all that time could have been doing things in this room that I actually wanted to be doing, working on a sewing project or going through those photos and having heartfelt moments with it. But I spent all that time trying to clean, trying to make it, and you don’t get that back. But when you look at it that way, you’re like, oh, if I check it off my list, and it’s done, that means I get to do something else I actually want to do.

Tyler Dorsey (33:07):

Yeah. So I want to play off that for a second though because you do get to do something else you want to do, but if you don’t have habits and routines created to maintain it, you’re going to be back to where you are. So that’s where it’s like the junk drawer or the doom drawer, for example. We’ve organized it, and I know every house has that one that’s just, it’s always going to be that. But for those of us with ADHD, it’s multiple doom rooms, doom drawers, doom purses, doom everything. And so it’s about, okay, we’ve got the drawer organized, what is our process to keep it organized? So my process, so I’m sitting in my dom room. It is now my office, but you know as well as I do that an office can get just as cluttered with papers and everything that flows through here. And so I have a process for how am I going to make sure this space stays clean and organized.

Tyler Dorsey (33:59):

Behind me are some shelving things I got from IKEA. So I have systems. Everything’s got a home in the drawers, and everything looks pretty above. And then if it’s on my desk, I would say about once a week, I try to go through my desk and clear it off. And I have to be intentional about setting that time aside, and I can’t allow the thoughts of okay, what happens if I come across something that doesn’t have a home, stop me, because that was going to stop me in my tracks before.

Tyler Dorsey (34:28):

So that’s where, when we’re working with someone, it’s all about saying, okay, this is clean now, but we haven’t mastered this to go clean the next thing. We need to talk about how we’re going to maintain this. And it’s the baby steps and let them build. Because what’s going to happen is this, you’re going to get your doom drawer cleaned. We’re going to keep focusing on the doom drawer and building habits around it, but because we’re really excited, you’re going to go find another space to organize and clean. And it’s going to build, and it’s going to be a snowball effect that way. Whereas before you were going to get it cleaned, you’d go clean another space, but then all of a sudden that drawer was not clean again, and we’re going to get overwhelmed, and we stop. So it’s about getting us out of the cycle. And now my office is my favorite space. Maybe my husband, he walked in, he was like, why does this get to be your space? And I was like, because you have an office outside of the house, and this is mine.

Lindsay Guentzel (35:22):

I love that you use the word maintain because I don’t think it’s talked about enough in so many things in life, but especially with ADHD, even looking at medication. Medication can help, but it’s not changing your behaviors, and it’s not going to get you on a path to move forward unless you put in the work.

Lindsay Guentzel (35:43):

And I was having this thought the other day about how we hear what we’re supposed to do. But the problem is we’re never told how long it’s going to take to get those results because for every single person it’s going to be different. So whether you are a parent with a child with ADHD, and you’re talking with their teachers about changing their habits at home, and hopefully that changes certain behaviors. We can’t give you a timeline. The teacher can’t give you a timeline. You can’t set a timeline because it’s going to happen in the way it’s supposed to happen. And the only way to move forward is to keep sticking with it. But it’s hard because we want those answers. We want to know that I’m going to clean this room, and then it’s going to stay that way. Well, that would be great. It’s just not really how it’s going to happen.

Tyler Dorsey (36:33):

Yeah. And I think my thing to you, so let’s talk about your room, how long is it that you’ve been thinking about cleaning this room?

Lindsay Guentzel (36:41):

It has been since years we moved in.

Tyler Dorsey (36:43):

Four years?

Lindsay Guentzel (36:43):

I mean, it’s a constant struggle in our house.

Tyler Dorsey (36:46):

Right. So we struggle with time with ADHD constantly. So I try to do the reverse on time. So it’s like for four years now, you’ve been struggling and putting it off for whatever reasons your brain has been telling you. For four years, you could have had a clean office. And I don’t mean you should have done it four years ago. I mean, play off of four years. How fast did four years actually go? But also, how long was four years that you put it off? And how can we use that to say, okay, in the grand scheme of four years, what is one day to write a list of what needs to be done in the office, start getting it done, convert it to an office and spend the next two months coming up with a routine to maintain it?

Tyler Dorsey (37:31):

And I would actually physically do a checklist. When I’m trying to do something new, whether it’s maintaining an office, whether it’s cooking. Now my new habit is we’re trying really hard to make sure we don’t eat out. We’re cooking everything we can. One, health. Two, everything’s super expensive now. And three, we just don’t need to be eating out that often. So I literally put up a board so I can write down what I need from the grocery store and what I’m going to make each night. I’ve been trying this for five years now, and I haven’t been able to do it because there were other things that needed to be prioritized before I could even know how to maintain that.

Tyler Dorsey (38:08):

So that’s where you’ve got to figure out what’s the number one thing you should focus on now, and then how do you set yourself up for success, again, to maintain that? And then I play off, if I’m sitting here, I don’t want to do this right now, I sit, and I say, how long have I been saying that? Okay, that much time has passed, and I still haven’t done it. One, does it actually have to be done? And if the answer is no, stop thinking about it. The answer is yes, let’s… I literally take a minute right then and there to create a plan of action. How am I going to get this done? And then I will put it on my calendar, saying this is the day I’m going to focus on it. And I’m going to try really hard not to get into impulse of doing it right then. Because we do get excited sometimes, and sometimes it’s appropriate, sometimes it’s not.

Lindsay Guentzel (38:53):

Yes, sometimes it is appropriate. Most of the time for me, it is not. But it’s a good reminder to slow down, think about what actually is the most logical path forward, what actually is the most important versus what’s the most important in your head. And it kind of goes back to when you’re talking about work. When are things done in a way that they need to be done immediately? And when is it us putting that timetable on it?

Tyler Dorsey (39:21):

Yeah. And how much in work are you sitting there, you’re like, well, my boss didn’t give this to me in enough time? And trust me, there are always those things. But my question to you is, did you go ask your boss what needs to be done this week? Or are you just expecting your boss to come tell you when it’s time? And it’s important to know that role, because also we aren’t necessarily proactive intentionally. And so the more you can just take reins on every aspect of your life, say hey, what’s next? The more you can stay ahead and get it done once you’ve got the systems in place to make it all happen.

Lindsay Guentzel (40:00):

Before we just do a quick preview of what people can expect for the webinar on September 21st. I want to ask, in your time working with clients through Focus Forward, when you have those moments with your clients where it’s a light bulb for them, where you are able to explain something to them that has been a struggle, and they haven’t been able to put the puzzle pieces together, are there any areas that stand out as repeating ones, ones that most of us are missing or anything that stands out that’s unique in the sense of that had been holding that person back, and the light bulb moment because you could see it, but they couldn’t?

Tyler Dorsey (40:50):

My thought is immediately going to what we have come to believe about ourselves is the common denominator. I had a student I was working with the other day, and he’s one of the most proactive. He’s a college student, wants to make a change, so excited. All everyone has so much possibility and is capable of so much. But this is one of those people that you just come across, and you’re like, man, you are unique in how you do this. And I asked him, I said, so what’s really getting in our way of staying on top of our schoolwork? And he is like, I guess I’m just lazy. And I looked at him, and I was like, you’re lazy? And we had just gotten done getting through every aspect of ADHD. And I was like, what do you mean you’re lazy? And he was like, I’m lazy. I just don’t want to do it.

Tyler Dorsey (41:45):

And then I reminded him of some of the things we talked about. Well, we have a hard time estimating time accurately. We have a hard time breaking tasks down into manageable chunks. We have a hard time transitioning into getting started. And I brought up some of those, and he was like, oh yeah. I’m like, so where does this lazy thing come from? And he was like, well, I’ve just always been told I’m lazy. I’m like, there it is, there it is. That’s what needs to be changed. And it’s not just that we’ve always been told we’re lazy, we then become this, no, we are lazy. We identify as lazy. We are lazy. But that’s not necessarily true.

Tyler Dorsey (42:19):

And so I really think that the pivot point for all of my clients isn’t just let’s understand our ADHD. It’s that switch in mindset of who we believed we were versus who we are going to be, who we want to be. And it’s switching from being unintentional about who we are to intentional about who we are and who we will continue to become. So it’s the mindset, honestly. I know that’s probably not the answer you were looking for, but it is. It’s finding each person’s what’s holding them back, what thoughts are holding them back and stopping them from making these changes.

Lindsay Guentzel (42:55):

I actually love that. That’s what it was. I had this realization the other day, and you kind of mentioned it talking about when you were diagnosed at the age of 11. You said you were like, I was a lot. And I think for women when we are ourselves, and we have big personalities, or we’re loud, or we’re confident, heaven forbid a woman be confident, we get labeled as too much or over the top.

Lindsay Guentzel (43:22):

And I stumbled upon one of those young women the other day who is big and bold and loud and herself. And I had this moment where I thought, I’m so glad no one got to you. I’m so glad that those negative voices that were pushed down on me, and I can go back and see exactly when it happened at different points in life and who it was coming from and why I let it affect me. And I looked at this woman, who to me is so full of life, but to some people that’s that’s too much. And I was just relieved. There was relief in knowing she made it through. She made it through those really tough years without anyone putting their own perspective on her.

Tyler Dorsey (44:07):

Yeah. But let’s like flip that script to men because I keep coming across those men who are like, I’m not emotional. I’m fine. And they want, they’re supposed to, I’m doing air quotes here, they’re supposed to have it all together. They’re supposed to be confident. They’re supposed to be big and bold. But they’re faking it, and not with the fake it til you make it mentality, like I’m working on it, and I’m just going to fake it til I believe it kind of thing. No, they’re truly faking it. And so it’s on both ends of the spectrum. You’ve got to know where you are now, and you got to forget what everyone else wants you to be and focus on who you want to be and what your path is to get there. Because your parents, your friends, your spouse or significant other, they are all going to have their opinions, but none of them are you. So yeah, I totally agree with you.

Lindsay Guentzel (44:54):

Let’s wrap up by talking about the event on September 21st. And people can find out all the information by going to ADHDonline.com/webinars. It’s called How to Survive the School Year. And so I’m curious, what are you going to be diving into?

Tyler Dorsey (45:12):

I’m so excited about this event. I’m also really excited because Katelyn Mabry, who is the host of Journey With Me Through ADHD podcast for kids is joining me on it. And we are kind of talking about that cycle. We’re excited. It’s the new school year. We’re ready for the fresh start. We’re committing to good grades. All of a sudden we start falling behind and struggling. Now we feel overwhelmed. And before we know it, we’re back where we were before. How do we get out of that cycle?So we’re really excited to talk about the insights and give some families insights into what their kiddos are really struggling with and why.

Tyler Dorsey (45:45):

And then flip side, kids should 100% join this because anytime I’ve had a kiddo come and see me speak or hear me speak, they’re like, Mom, she’s me. And I always get that elbow from the kid, like hey mom, did you hear that? Hey. And then the elbow from the parent like, hey, did you hear that? And I love it because that tells me that things are clicking, that they’re starting to hear it from a different perspective. And so it’s really all about understanding what is that struggle and why are we struggling with that? Because again, until you understand that, we can’t know how to make a change and get out of this cycle.

Lindsay Guentzel (46:21):

I have to tell you, Tyler, it was so lovely getting to talk to you in this capacity. And it’s so clear why Focus Forward is such a success because you look at things, the way you digest things is you just see such a clear big picture. And I love that everything I said, you had the reverse response to. And I just, what a gift for the ADHD community and for your clients. And thank you for sharing that because I kind of feel like, for women, you were ahead of the curve because, as you mentioned, you were diagnosed at the age of 11. You got to have those years of figuring out as a child, and then you turned 18, and you were like, enough’s enough. I don’t want to do this. This isn’t what I want. And I can figure out a way to not let those issues hold me back.

Lindsay Guentzel (47:15):

And I think a lot of us with ADHD who are diagnosed later in life, we are just getting there. So thank you for being this mentor big sister. You said that, and I was like, oh my gosh, I’m in that. I’m Tyler 18 right now, just figuring it out. And so it’s a relief to know that there is a path forward. So just thank you for your candor and your honesty and for choosing this path because there are a lot of ways you could have gone in life, and to be able to give back that is just, it’s awesome. So thank you.

Tyler Dorsey (47:48):

Well, thank you. I genuinely love it. It’s actually my passion, and I love being here.

Lindsay Guentzel (47:54):

Awesome. Well, again, you can sign up for the webinar by heading over to ADHDonline.com/webinars. And of course, Tyler, we’ll have you back whenever you’d like to come. And I can’t wait to dive into the topic about back to school. I don’t have children, but I am a coach for a nonprofit, and so I work with girls ages, they’re third through fifth grade two days a week, so four hours a week. There’s 40 of them, and so I think knowing more about what some of them might be dealing with is super important. So I can’t wait to check it out.

Tyler Dorsey (48:29):

Wow. I love it. Well, thank you so much, Lindsay. I enjoyed being here today with you.

Lindsay Guentzel (48:38):

That was Tyler Dorsey, the founder of Focus Forward. She’ll be hosting a webinar on September 21st, offering up some great guidance on how to thrive throughout the school year.

Lindsay Guentzel (48:47):

Again, you can find more details on the upcoming events by visiting ADHDonline.com/webinars.

Lindsay Guentzel (48:54):

And as promised, here’s a quick recap from Keith Boswell, Vice President of Marketing for ADHD Online, on what resources he’s loving that are available right now over on the website.

Keith Boswell (49:04):

On the educational front, we’ve got some upcoming webinars. We’ve got Rick Webster from Rena-Fi. We’re going to be doing a credit repair webinar on September 14th.

Keith Boswell (49:29):

The other thing I wanted to highlight are just some recent articles I found personally valuable, and I think others might. Michelle Citzer wrote a piece on autism and ADHD and the crossover and how she discovered it through the diagnosis of her own daughter. So it’s a highly personal piece, but it’s also very educational, and I learned a lot. And as someone with ADHD who has wondered about autism and some of the social awkwardness I’ve experienced myself, I found it really interesting.

Keith Boswell (50:05):

Another one I wanted to highlight was a topic that we felt we wanted to address because we hear it so often, but should I reveal I have ADHD at work? Luckily for me, it’s not a question here at work. We talk about mental health all the time, but in most offices, that’s not the case. And so one of our experts walks you through the points to consider if you’re thinking about talking about ADHD at work or potentially asking for some accommodations for your work style because of ADHD.

Keith Boswell (50:39):

The last one I want to highlight is an article on Back to School after the Disruption of Covid. I’ve got two teenagers who went through virtual school and the whole at home lockdown world. This is just an article about the pros and cons of that time that they had, the things that they might be experiencing, especially kids with ADHD. But it really applies to all of us, I feel like, because we all went through that. And it just gives parents some tips on how they can help.

Keith Boswell (51:07):

I just want to close this week with a shout out to you, actually. Last week we got our first comment from a woman who was diagnosed after listening to the podcast. We kind of anecdotally said when we started, if we could help just one person, that would mean everything for this project. And so I was like, we’ve confirmed we’ve helped one person. So we’re off to the races, Lindsay. I mean, officially, we can check that one off the list. And it was just such a positive share and comment, and I don’t know, it just, to me, it was so exciting to see someone validate what you’ve been doing and all the time and effort you’ve put in to this that people don’t see that I just see a small part of even, and we’re thrilled by how this is all going. So I just wanted to celebrate that with you here on the podcast because I thought it was an awesome moment.

Lindsay Guentzel (52:15):

Refocused with Lindsay Guentzel is a collaboration between me, Lindsay Guentzel, and ADHD Online, a telemedicine healthcare company committed to providing affordable and accessible ADHD assessments, medication management and teletherapy. To find out more about available resources where you live, head over to ADHDonline.com.

Lindsay Guentzel (52:40):

Our theme music was created by Louis Ingles, a musician and composer based in Perth, Australia, who was diagnosed with ADHD in 2020 at the age of 39.

Lindsay Guentzel (52:54):

A big thanks to Tyler Dorsey for sharing her story with us. I can’t wait for the webinar on Thriving Throughout the School Year on September 21st. I mean, I don’t have kids, and I’m not in school, but September has always felt like a new beginning. And I’m confident I can adapt some of her ideas into helping my own routine.

Lindsay Guentzel (53:11):

And as always, a thanks to Keith Boswell, Bos, for joining us every single week.

Lindsay Guentzel (53:17):

It would mean so much to all of us here if you would rate, review and subscribe to Refocused with Lindsay Guentzel wherever you’re listening now. And if you’re loving what you’re hearing, give it a good old share on social media. I’m so grateful for all the love and support we receive week after week. It means the world to me that you’re loving this podcast. Thank you for listening, and we will see you all back here next week.



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