Episode 72. I’m Sorry, I Can’t Be Perfect (and Other Life Lessons from SXSW)

Hey guys! It’s Lindsay. I’m back in Minnesota and gearing up to start treatment for this lil babe of an autoimmune disorder but I wanted to make sure I sat down for a little post-Austin catch-up to catch you all up on what’s been happening over the last couple of months.

That includes: the back story on how I found myself on stage moderating a panel at SXSW last week, what it was the traveling with all of the ‘ish I’ve been dealing with and how I was able to get myself out of the Post-Show Pit of Perfectionist Doom — thanks to a well-timed reminder from a dear friend (you know who you are). 

And yes, the title is an homage to Simple Plan because I have and will always be a sucker for sad music. Is that an ADHD thing?

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Phil Rodemann (00:01):

When you first mentioned South by Southwest, I too was only aware of it from cool people go, movies and music and then I’m thinking, “Well, what is she going to do there?”

Lindsay Guentzel (00:32):

The episode that opens with the sickest burn that is also very, very true. My name is Lindsay Guentzel and you’re listening to Refocused. I’ll be honest, today’s episode feels a little like I recorded my weekly therapy session and am just playing it back for the world. But instead of talking to my therapist, I was talking to my coordinating producer, Phil Rodemann. He’s paid, I promise, and I hope happy in this job because I would really like to keep him around. Today’s episode gives you a little background of how I ended up in Austin. Trust me, it also surprised me and now that I’m home, I’m so glad I pushed to make the trip happen, not just because of my health, which is another thing we tackle on today’s episode, but also because I learned a lot, and dare I say, came back to Minnesota with a little more kindness and respect for myself.


Turns out being incredibly vulnerable from two months of dealing with a mystery illness can be the perfect catalyst for change. Jokes aside, today we talk about some important topics that have come up for me recently, things like advocating for yourself even when the people around you can’t quite seem to understand why you need what you need. We also talk about the power validation can play in the life of a person with ADHD and how the very troublesome push for perfection can make even the most confident person, ADHD or not, a second guessing mess.


I also share my thoughts on attending my first South by Southwest. Is it a good event for a neurodivergent person to attend? Honestly, jury’s still out. One thing I will say, the entire festival could use some more quiet spaces because oh, my God, the overstimulation was real and it was everywhere. But Phil and I jumped right into it. No hellos, no goodbyes. Who has time for pleasantries these days anyway? Starting at the very beginning of explaining how our sweet little podcast and I guess me, its host, found itself kicking off South by Southwest, talking mental health and the entrepreneur over on Austin’s infamous Rainy Street.


When we were working on Refocused, Together back in October, I went out to Grand Rapids, Michigan for a couple of weeks in September to work specifically on that project just 24/7 for 14 days straight and it was amazing. It was so great to get to work with the team at ADHD Online in person and I hosted a panel at this startup tech week event. I’m totally butchering what it’s called. I promise that if I get invited back in September this next time, I will know exactly the name of the event. But when it was over, this gentleman approached me and asked if I was going to be at South by Southwest with them. And I am not joking, Phil. I was like, “I, me?” I totally was like, “I am not cool enough to go to South by Southwest. I have nothing to offer. It was very much imposter syndrome,” and I’ll say truthfully, the imposter syndrome ran itself right up to the panel I hosted on Friday and for a few hours afterwards. It was something that I was really trying to work through.

Phil Rodemann (04:00):

When you first mentioned South by Southwest, I too was only aware of it from cool people go and …

Lindsay Guentzel (04:07):

Cool people.

Phil Rodemann (04:07):

… in movies. Yeah, movies and music. And then I’m thinking, “Well, what is she going to do there?” And to be honest with you, I didn’t understand how we would fit in. So surprise.

Lindsay Guentzel (04:21):

Yeah, it was surprising for me too. And so obviously, this is all being talked about and plans are being thrown around and discussed and life gets busy because that’s just how things go and the holidays come. And we had a meeting about South by Southwest in December and had big grandiose plans. And thankfully, those didn’t happen because we would not have been able to handle them because little did we know what was coming down the pipeline, which is the other side of the coin on this, the entire medical saga of the last now over two months. So I mentioned a little bit on Monday’s episode in the lead up of why we were re-airing an episode and why it was important at this time.


The background is I went on a hike, my body didn’t like it. Fast forward two months and I now know that I have an autoimmune muscle disease and I don’t know many details outside of that. I know the antibody that is causing some issues. I have made the executive decision that until I go through the first round of treatment, I’m not going to google anything. I’m not going to dive into trying to figure things out because I’m at capacity and adding anything else to my plate, adding anything else to my brain, to my heart is just like it’s too much right now. So unless the treatment doesn’t work and we have to start looking at other options, for the time being, I’m going to sit in this nice little safe space here, safe space of somebody who got herself down to Austin by herself with mobility issues and health issues and somehow survived nearly, almost completely unscathed, but I’m very sick. That’s the part of it.


I don’t look sick, so there is this part of asking for help and asking for accommodations and knowing that people look at me as somebody who is a person without a disability, when in reality right now my muscles aren’t working. They are not working the way that they’re supposed to. And traveling by yourself when you are an ADHD person who also over plans and then over packs, it made certain things with getting to Austin a little bit difficult. So when I found out that we were doing the panel and ADHD Online wanted me to go down and moderate it, which is an honor and was very exciting, I had to get medical clearance. Something I’ve never done before, never even thought about. I get the okay. It’s great.


I’m sitting here on Tuesday at our house. I’m supposed to leave Thursday afternoon and my phone rings and it’s the clinic. The clinic calls me almost every single day. We’re like best friends at this point and my rheumatologist gets on the phone to tell me that my antibodies tests have come back. Now, if you follow along on social media, you know that I’ve been sharing a lot of this on my Instagram stories. I shared that I had looked at the antibodies test results and that there was nothing on them, that there was nothing that showed any abnormalities except for someone, me, I’m pointing really right at me, didn’t scroll down to the bottom of the results.


So I looked at the first five and they were negative. And so I was like, “Oh, that’s weird. There’s nothing there.” Little did I know there was a lot. There was a lot below what I was looking at and I’m so glad I didn’t see them. I know I would have googled. I know I would have went down the rabbit hole. And so I answered the phone thinking like, “Oh, he’s calling to tell me that we’re going to have to keep looking.” No, there was an answer. There was a big, bold, bright red letters all over the page answer, which is good. It’s a good news/bad news kind of scenario.

Phil Rodemann (08:01):

You have an answer. You have a name to it, but it’s not a name that you’ve ever heard before?

Lindsay Guentzel (08:08):

It’s not a name that I’ve ever heard before and we actually don’t have a definitive answer because underneath that antibody is a bunch of things that could be wrong. And I am an overachiever, you guys. It might not be one, it might be multiple. So I was just really, really just pushing that goal post on this thing. So anyway, he calls. He walks me through what treatment will be like and then says, “I’d really like to get you in for one treatment of IV steroids before you go just to make sure that your muscles don’t deteriorate anymore.” Those are the words that are being used that are being thrown around about my body right now. My muscles are deteriorating and that breaks me.


I hear that word and it is scary and it sounds like they’ll never come back, which is not the case. But when you hear that, you start to think, “How bad is this going to get and how quickly?” And that’s why I knew I couldn’t google. I couldn’t go down the rabbit hole. I needed to focus on South by Southwest. I needed to focus on the job at hand, which was hosting a panel with four incredible leaders from the tech community in front of a stage of my peers, not only my peers in business, but my peers in the sense that it was hosted at Midwest House. And I live, we live, Phil, in the Midwest here in the great state of Minnesota.


And I’m really proud of myself. I can fully tell you that I did not google once while I was in Austin. I did not go down any of the rabbit holes. I did not look up anything. And it was really freeing. It felt really, really great. And it’s maybe something that won’t stick around forever. I’m in a really nice place right now. I want to stay here as long as possible, but when you deal with unknowns, it’s really hard. It’s super hard.

Phil Rodemann (09:59):

Absolutely. Having a name, putting a name to something is a real advantage, because in your mind, you’ve got a stake in the ground and you can kind of take off from there. And I relate it to ADHD.

Lindsay Guentzel (10:16):

Yeah, totally.

Phil Rodemann (10:17):

When you get diagnosed, you put that stake in the ground and you can start learning all about it and learning what you need to do. You did a wonderful job on that panel, by the way.

Lindsay Guentzel (10:27):

Thank you.

Phil Rodemann (10:28):

No imposter syndrome needed.

Lindsay Guentzel (10:31):

Oh, there’s plenty there. We will get to that. There was plenty there. But what I really liked about the panel was not just getting to go to Austin and getting to be there live. I got to do all the prep work on the front end. So I got to interview all of the people who were going to be on the panel. I got to prep the questions. I got to set up the show. I was the producer of this panel and I haven’t gotten to do that for a live event in a really long time. And I felt so prepared and that felt really good. It felt good to have sat down with you and to go, “Okay, Austin is happening. What do we need to cut back on? What can you take off of my plate? Where do I need to focus things?”


And there were a lot of things that I wanted to get done that I didn’t get done. I had these illusions of grandeur of having those really fancy note cards that would have our logo on the front. And so as I’d hold them up to the audience, they’d see our beautiful new logo, which by the way, if you have not looked yet, it is gorgeous. Sissy Yee over at Berlin Gray outdid herself. I’m in love.

Phil Rodemann (11:41):

It is awesome. They did a wonderful job.

Lindsay Guentzel (11:44):

Yeah, it’s great. And now I totally forgot where I was going with that. You were talking about logos.

Phil Rodemann (11:50):


Lindsay Guentzel (11:50):

Oh, that I wanted a logo. Yeah, okay. I didn’t get my fancy note cards at the end of the day. No one knew that I wanted the fancy note cards or that they were supposed to be there, but it does in those moments, it feeds into some of the insecurities you can feel as things are happening, especially things that you’re excited about. I think one thing we don’t talk about as humans is like when you are nervous about something, it’s a good thing. It’s because you’re excited and it’s because it matters to you. And so when things don’t go perfectly and people are just like, “Oh, don’t let it bother you,” it’s like, “No, it does bother me because it’s important to me.”

Phil Rodemann (12:25):

Just recently, somebody I know went through a job interview and they were commenting on just how nervous they were before going into the interview. And I said, “If you find yourself nervous in the middle of the interview, turn it around and say, ‘I don’t know if you can tell that I’m nervous, but I am, but it’s only because I’m really excited about this.'”

Lindsay Guentzel (12:50):

I love that. That’s a great way to just, like you said, flip the script and get the elephant out of the room, so to speak. Clear the air. That’s awesome. I like that one.

Phil Rodemann (12:59):

And it helps you relax then too.

Lindsay Guentzel (13:01):

Yes, yes, it does. Just-

Phil Rodemann (13:03):

Because you don’t have to hide nervousness. Yeah.

Lindsay Guentzel (13:06):

Yes. No more hiding. No more masking. We got to be done with that. All right. So-

Phil Rodemann (13:11):

Tell me this story.

Lindsay Guentzel (13:14):

If I could take everything that has happened in life that has been tied to my ADHD and just lay it out, if it were to be the open to my autobiography or the very funny scene in a comedy-drama movie or TV series, this is how it unfolds. So I’m traveling for the first time since all of this unfolded, which means that I not only need to get an ADA accessible hotel room with a shower that I can just get in and out of because I may have had some issues getting out of their bathtub here at the house and traveling alone, I was a little nervous. So I book that, feel good about that. Again, there’s some imposter syndrome because I’m asking for accommodations I’ve never asked for before. I don’t know what I’m supposed to tell them. I don’t know how I’m supposed to phrase it.


Luckily, I have some really amazing people in my life who have dealt with this before who offered incredible recommendations at some point. We’re going to do a podcast all about asking for what you deserve because so many of us in life have things that we are dealing with that there are accommodations set up for, and we just don’t know how to ask for them. And so this felt like a great crash course in learning some of those. So I learned that if you need help going through TSA, let’s say you break your leg or you develop a really bizarre autoimmune muscle disease after going on a hike in Arizona and sometimes you have a hard time putting on your own clothes, let alone taking off your shoes in an airport …

Phil Rodemann (14:39):


Lindsay Guentzel (14:39):

… 72 hours before your flight, you contact this TSA group. It’s tsa.gov/cares and you submit a form with your flight information. Now, what was great was I got to speak directly to the team in Austin, that I’d be working with on my way back and they explained how they did it. And essentially, you get to the airport and someone helps you go through TSA. And I won’t lie when I walked up and asked for the accommodations at MSP at Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport, the woman working said, “You need help?” questioning me. And then the imposter syndrome came in a little bit and I was like, “Yup, first time traveling with this new muscle disease. It’s super fun.”


I tried to break the ice somehow and it just became my mantra through the whole trip. Anytime I needed help or I had a question about how I could do something differently so that it would work for me, I just explained that this was my first time dealing with this and that I wasn’t sure what I needed, but that it would be really helpful if they could just explain some of the options to me. And that just your turnaround in the interview suggestion. It really just flipped the script. It didn’t give them an opportunity to question me and it didn’t make me have to explain things any further.

Phil Rodemann (15:55):

So far, things are going fairly normally.

Lindsay Guentzel (15:58):

Yup, so far things are great. I get through security. Everything’s fine. I get onto one of the lovely carts. The gentleman drives me down to my gate, which was great because I was Gate 19 and I think the last gate was 22. So I would’ve had a long way to go. I get to the gate. I get some lunch. I’m stoked. I’m like, “All right, I am proud of myself,” and then I take a phone call. This lovely gentleman who I’ve worked with in the past was going to be at South by Southwest. He’s like, “I’ve got 10 minutes. Do you want to just chat really quick? I can give you lay of the land.” “Awesome. Great.”


So we’re having this call. I at the same time hear that they are allowing passengers on who need a little bit more time to get on the plane. And I’ve confirmed already with the woman at the gate that, “That is me. Hi. I can’t put anything into the overhead container area. I need help with that, all of those things.” So I get onto the plane. I get down to row 28. I am at the back of the plane and I’m starting to put my stuff where it needs to go under the seat, getting myself situated, taking off coats, all of that stuff. And I realized I am missing a bag. I don’t have this little bag that I had put everything into. I don’t know where it is. I do. In my head, I know exactly where it is. It’s sitting next to my chair at the gate where it was sitting when I took the call and I immediately panic.


And I turned to the nearest flight attendant and I was like, “I don’t have a bag. I’m missing one of my bags.” And she was like, “Oh, well, you can get off the plane to get it. You just have to take all of your stuff with you,” and I was like, “Ah. Do you know how hard it was to get me here?” And again, Phil, at this point, it’s like every day for the last two months has been equal parts, heave, crying and laughing because everything just feels very frustrating. So I’m like, “Don’t cry. Don’t cry. It’s no big deal.” And I’m like, “Okay, so what’s the easiest way to do this as throngs of people are coming onto this plane and getting situated?” And she’s like, “We’ll, hold everyone. You can get off. Go get your bag and then come back.” I’m not joking. This is literally how it unfolds.


They hold everyone. I take all of my stuff. I’m walking very slowly up to the front of the plane. I make some joke with the flight attendants who are standing there, “Oh, good try. Nice effort. I really got this one.” And I turn and the jetway is full from the door of the plane all the way to the gate. Literally, people lined up like sardines who are all waiting for me to get off the plane. And I just was like, “Do not make eye contact. You just go straight forward.” And about midway through … This woman is holding a baby. She’s got a toddler on her hip and the toddler starts waving and saying hi to me as I’m walking by. And I was just like, “Hey, don’t look at me. Do not acknowledge me.”


I get off and the woman at the gate, she turns and she has the most sympathetic look on her face because I’m sure over the walkie, they’re like, “The woman in 28B needs some help again,” or whatever. Anyway, long story short, I get my bag, I get back on the jetway, I get onto the plane, I get situated. And that is when I realized that in the kerfuffle, let’s call it that, I have now lost the fork, a napkin I had put with my salad. So now I have a salad on an airplane with no fork and no napkin. And if you think I didn’t eat it, well, then you would be wrong, because as we sat to get deiced, which is something that happens if you live in colder temperatures-

Phil Rodemann (19:34):


Lindsay Guentzel (19:35):

Yup, 15 minutes on the runway getting deiced, I turned my body in a way to block everyone that could potentially see me and I ate in this little bubble between my chest and the window with two fingers because I did not have any extra napkins, but I did have some clean face masks. So I knew that if I just got two fingers dirty, it would be less of a mess than dealing with putting my whole hand in the salad. And I sat there a little bird eating my salad piece by piece with two fingers as we deiced. And I don’t know if any of you remember the story, but a few years back, one of our senators, Amy Klobuchar, got some heat because there was a story that came out about her traveling with one of her assistants or staff members and the staff member failed to bring a fork on the plane for Amy’s salad. And there was a line thrown out, something about, “What do you think I’m just going to eat this with my fingers?”


Again I don’t know how much of it is true, how much is exaggerated, but I straight up was like, “I am Amy Klobuchar’ing this salad on a plane right now on a very important work trip that I am really excited about and I could give two you know whats.” I’m just going to say, there were no shits being given, because at that point in the day, it was like everything that can go wrong has gone wrong and now I’m eating my salad with my fingers.

Phil Rodemann (21:09):

So was it a finger and a thumb or was it like chopsticks?

Lindsay Guentzel (21:14):

No, so one of the things that I would like everyone to keep in mind is that this lovely little autoimmune muscle disease that has yet to be named, we haven’t named the sweet baby yet, it also is affecting my hands. So again, when I said, “It might not be one autoimmune disease, it might be two,” something’s going on with my hands. And so my hands are incredibly swollen and my muscles and my hands barely work. So it was a pointer finger-thumb scenario. Definitely, I’m not ambidextrous enough. Is that the word, ambidextrous?

Phil Rodemann (21:40):


Lindsay Guentzel (21:40):

Ambidextrous is when you use both hands, right?

Phil Rodemann (21:43):


Lindsay Guentzel (21:43):

Right, I was not-

Phil Rodemann (21:44):


Lindsay Guentzel (21:45):

I did not have the dexterity, thank you, to do chopsticks, which as I’m showing Phil on camera, that would not have gone well. I would just say-

Phil Rodemann (21:53):

I can barely use real chopsticks …

Lindsay Guentzel (21:58):

I know, right?

Phil Rodemann (21:58):

… let alone with my fingers. Yeah.

Lindsay Guentzel (21:58):

If we talk everything, everywhere all at once, these are very similar to the hotdog fingers that they deal with, except for these are actually my hands right now.

Phil Rodemann (22:08):

That was a sick Oscar’s brag there. You just threw that movie title in.

Lindsay Guentzel (22:13):

Yeah, no big deal. It is all about ADHD. If you haven’t watched it yet, by the way, my God, it’s all about ADHD. It’s incredible. So that is how I got myself to Austin. It was an adventure. I learned so much though, so certain things I didn’t think about. When you land, you need to get transportation. Transportation is not anywhere near baggage claim ever. I had to go and find where the Lyft, Uber spots were. It was so far away and I was by myself and it was hot and my muscles … This is the other really fun and so sexy part of what’s been going on is that when my body is upset, not only does it swell and my muscles don’t work, but then my body gets covered in these really, really attractive hives. So the whole flight, I’m sitting there going, “I can feel them. I can feel them all over from my hips down.”


I get off the plane in Austin, I go to the bathroom and I lift up the pant legs, and sure enough, they are bright red, just bright red. So I’m uncomfortable and by myself. I have overpacked. It is appalling how much I had overpacked. And now I have to get myself from baggage claim to get to the car, which was not great. But all of these things I’m thinking in my head, “If this is a ‘new normal’ for me, what a crash course in figuring out what people who have disabilities have to deal with every single day.'” It was very eye-opening and laughable at some of my lovely little mistakes, but I made it to Austin …

Phil Rodemann (23:45):


Lindsay Guentzel (23:46):

… I think with all of my belongings. I haven’t figured out that I’ve forgotten something yet, but really happy with-

Phil Rodemann (23:51):

And this is Thursday that you traveled, right?

Lindsay Guentzel (23:53):

Yes. So I traveled down on Thursday. Being from Minnesota, you always give yourself buffer time, especially because of snow and we have been getting a lot of it lately. And so I booked the night before thinking at least I’d get down there, I could get settled and that was great. I got to get down there. I met up with some of the people who were going to be on the panel. We got to walk through things. I got to see the space. I was in bed early. I had Target stuff delivered the next day, so I had fruit and yogurt and water for my hotel room because it will shock you, there was not a lot of vegetables available at South by Southwest that was not … People were not hopping for salads midday. It was more like anything deep fried. So I was really glad that I could do those little things Thursday night.

Phil Rodemann (24:39):

I’m pretty impressed, the planning to have Target delivered.

Lindsay Guentzel (24:44):

See, I have moments. I have these really good moments where you’re like, “God, Lindsay, that’s really impressive,” and then things like the plane happened. And I’m wondering sometimes how I’ve made it to almost 37 years old.

Phil Rodemann (24:57):

It makes you appreciate the moments that worked out.

Lindsay Guentzel (25:00):

Oh, gosh. Does it though? I don’t know if it does.

Phil Rodemann (25:04):

It’s just like I went to California one time on business and I’m having lunch with a number of my peers. And I’m driving the rental car, so I’m driving them all. I’ve got a van, I’m driving to the lunch, and boy, it’s a gorgeous day in California at the time. It’s in the 70s and sunny in February. And I made the comment that, “I live in Minnesota and we appreciate the nice weather more than you guys do because it snows,” and they just cracked up laughing. Oh, no. They know exactly.

Lindsay Guentzel (25:42):

Yeah, exactly why they’re living where they are. Yes. And we do too and it’s called global warming. No, I’m just kidding. That is another conversation, but really, let’s be honest.

Phil Rodemann (25:53):

Episode 75.

Lindsay Guentzel (25:54):

Exactly, right? Global warming and maybe no. God, can you imagine? No, we’re not going down that path anytime soon. I’ve got enough on my brain. I don’t need to take on the world’s problems right now. No offense.

Phil Rodemann (26:05):

Yeah, so panel.

Lindsay Guentzel (26:08):

We’re in Austin and it’s a lot hotter than I thought it was going to be, which is fine, but the panel went great because I was so …

Phil Rodemann (26:16):

Yes, it did.

Lindsay Guentzel (26:17):

… prepared. Thank you. I am really excited to share it with you guys. Even if you aren’t an entrepreneur, these are four incredibly creative, inventive people who are also very open about themselves and their lives and the stuff that they shared is stuff that I think all of us can really take and try in our own lives. And so you’re going to get to hear the edited version of that. We’ll speed it up a little bit because watching a panel and listening to a panel on a podcast are very different, but it went great. I was super happy with it until it was over. And then the perfectionist in me came out and she came out swinging and she came out to the point where, Phil, I was thinking, the people who stopped me to tell me how great of a job I did were just doing that to make me feel good about myself, that none of them meant it, that they told me nice things and they made comments about certain things that I did that they really liked, but they weren’t excited enough and they weren’t over the top enough.


And my goodness, I should have come off the stage and people should have been running up to me to congratulate me because I realized, as this is unfolding in my head and I am all of a sudden wanting to put my head between my legs and hide from everyone because I’m so embarrassed at this horrible job that I’ve done, I’m realizing how dependent I am on other people’s validations. And the statistic that I go back to is the one that Melissa Orlov shared about kids with ADHD who before the age of 12 experienced 20,000 more negative interactions with adults than kids who don’t have ADHD. And it really reminded me about how certain things that happened when I was a kid, and it’s not just in my house, it was in school, it was in sports, it was in dance, all the community activities really have made me a human who second guesses themselves a lot.


And here I was on this really big stage and I felt really good about myself until the second the spotlight wasn’t on me and I had to sit with my own feelings.

Phil Rodemann (28:29):

I think that it’s human nature to question if you’ve done a good job, but then you add ADHD on top of it and that statistic, I think it’s even worse. But the reason I think that you did such a good job is because I saw the way that you were transparent and open. And even though those other people on the panel tend to be that way, you fostered that. And I think you do the same thing with the podcast too. So you’re just being yourself. You’re being transparent, you’re being open. And in that situation, that’s awesome to be able to do that. And so I think that you sit there and you’re just being yourself, but other people see what you do in that regard as, “Wow, she’s really sharing and she’s really doing a wonderful job.”

Lindsay Guentzel (29:32):

Thank you. I had a moment when I was in Austin where I wasn’t self-conscious and I was really being myself. And it has been a while since that has happened. COVID obviously plays a massive role in all of that, but to feel like you aren’t masking and to feel like you actually are being the person that you want to be, it is really nice. And it takes a lot off your plate because you aren’t trying to manage everyone’s expectations for you. And that is always something I’ve really struggled with like, “What does this person need from me? Who do they want me to be? Okay, but then what about this person? What do they need from me?” And when you go in and you’re just like, “No, this is me and this is what you get,” it’s very freeing. And all of a sudden, once it happens over and over again, you start to become way more comfortable with it.

Phil Rodemann (30:26):

Yeah. For me, that’s the big part of the excitement of working on the podcast with you is that, as somebody who is diagnosed later in life, it is so much more freeing for me to just be able to be myself. And I didn’t realize just how much masking I’ve done.

Lindsay Guentzel (30:48):

I think a lot of us don’t realize and I don’t think that it’s just people with ADHD. I think we as humans really don’t truly understand how much masking goes on every day.

Phil Rodemann (30:57):

Yeah, yeah, I agree. So the panel went well.

Lindsay Guentzel (31:02):

The panel went well.

Phil Rodemann (31:03):

You’re off the stage. You talked about Melissa talking about the interactions and then there was Lisa Woodruff and she had a comment in the episode that we just re-air.

Lindsay Guentzel (31:23):

Perfection doesn’t exist. It doesn’t exist, so stop … It doesn’t exist. You’re a person of excellence. So it’s actually really funny is that I had this moment afterwards where I called my mom to tell her all about it and I was really down in the dumps and I was just like, “Nah, whatever.” And at the same time, I was texting with my friend and my friend said, “You are a perfectionist. You are always going to think you can do better, but what you need to remember is that you can do better next time. You can’t go back. You’re going to ruminate on this. You’re going to think of all the things you would’ve done differently, all the things you would’ve said differently, all the little jokes you could have made.”


Even the panels that I watched throughout the week, all of a sudden you’re like, “Oh, that’s genius. They made a slide up on the TV that has their photo and the QR code to follow them on LinkedIn. Next time, we will do that. We did not know that that was something that we should think about.” And I could beat myself up and be like, “Oh, my God, I should have known that. How would I have known that?” I prepared to the best of my ability with what was happening around me and you have to be okay with that. And it’s hard. It is so hard. It’s so hard to get out of your way, but yeah, that quote and to have it pop up in this episode that we chose to re-air, it was not easy for me to do a re-air. And to have that there and to listen to that again and go, “Yes, perfection doesn’t exist, but I can be a person of excellence and I can keep getting better.”


And I’m going to bring it all around here because there was a Minnesota meetup at the Midwest house on Saturday. Being from Minnesota, I was very excited. Actually, Phil, I ran into people I haven’t seen since college, which was so fun. And one of the people who was there, actually the organizer, Greg Swan, is someone that over a decade ago I was on a panel with. And I remember showing up to that panel prepared the way I would have had it been a middle school science fair project, meaning I had done it the night before. And Greg showed up with an amazing deck slideshow, whatever they were calling it back then, Powderly, still a PowerPoint. And he was so prepared and he had giveaways for the audience and everything was interactive.


And I just remember being like, “I am out of my league.” Now I know that, that’s where Greg was in life. He had worked up to that point. He knew from doing things before and attending things before what to deliver. I didn’t. And so then to look back at what I was able to deliver on Friday and then see Greg and be like, “Oh, how far I have come,” and that’s the whole journey, right?

Phil Rodemann (34:06):


Lindsay Guentzel (34:06):

You don’t go from showing up at a panel ill-prepared from the night before to being the most sought-after public speaker in the world. There has to be time for growth and you have to be okay with that.

Phil Rodemann (34:23):

Yeah, and preparing the night before for the science fair, you did pretty well back then.

Lindsay Guentzel (34:32):

I’m a firm believer that I was not good at science fair projects, but I just wasn’t afraid of speaking to adults, so I always scored really high.

Phil Rodemann (34:41):

Well, you had a skill at that age …

Lindsay Guentzel (34:43):

There we go.

Phil Rodemann (34:44):

… that was advanced. And you have a skill at this age that is advanced …

Lindsay Guentzel (34:50):

Thank you.

Phil Rodemann (34:50):

… but it’s something that you’ve worked on.

Lindsay Guentzel (34:56):

It is something that I’ve worked on. Anyway, long story short, Austin was a great trip. I’m happy to be home. I’m happy that my doctors are using the words treatment plans, which means that we’re going to be getting going here on treatment soon. And all in all, it was an awesome experience. I left really happy. I left feeling like I have some great little irons in the fire for guests. In fact, we may have our first Refocused, Together 2023 guest already locked in and I am, beside myself, when I tell you, Phil, I didn’t even think somebody of this level, someone who is so influential in the sphere they’re working in would even consider this.


And when I met them and explained what I do and their excitement and this just moment, it was a two-minute interaction of explaining what Refocused, Together is, and seeing how jazz they were, I was like, “Oh, my God, we’re doing this.” And it was those interactions throughout the whole weekend, meeting people in the tech space who are working to increase access for mental healthcare across this country, all of these people who just are so passionate about what they’re doing. There is something that you bottle that up and you’re like, “Okay, all right, let’s go, let’s go.” So that being said, it was great.


I do want to talk a little bit though about being an ADHD person at South by Southwest because I had a lot of people be like, “Oh, I would love to go.” It’s a lot. I was overstimulated from sunup to sundown. It’s loud everywhere. Every place you go has music all day long. There are lots of lights and stages and distractions and it’s great, it’s cool to see all of this stuff happening, but there’s also this side, and, Phil, I’m sure you can relate to this, where there’s so much you want to do, but then you start putting pressure on yourself because you’re like, “I don’t do all of it,” or, “If I don’t feel like I did enough, I’m going to leave here and I’m going to feel like it wasn’t worth it.”


And those expectations you set in your head, those are things we deal with every day, every single day when we are doing our to-do list, when we’re starting to do laundry, when we’re making dinner. But then to have it at a stage of this level with so much excitement and there is so much really cool stuff happening, but you have to just be like, “I’m going to get to what I get to and I’m going to choose to enjoy that and everything else then will be icing on the cake.”

Phil Rodemann (37:30):

When you say that there’s so much going on and all the noise, and is it like the great Minnesota get together, the state fair, “I’m not a big state fair person because of the crowds,” is it like that?

Lindsay Guentzel (37:47):

Yes, it is like that. The one thing that’s different about the state fair, so Minnesota has a massive state fair and it’s on these grounds, so it’s isolated. You get a ticket in and then you can walk around. How this is set up is it’s buildings, hotels, convention centers all over Downtown Austin. So you have to also then get yourself to those locations and know where you’re going and then get there with enough time to get in line and get there enough time to get yourself a seat. And so there was a lot of stuff on my list I really wanted to do and so glad that I talked to a bunch of people, but most importantly to Greg Swan. He was like, “Anything that’s being on video, I just save it because I can watch it at home. Yeah, it’s cool to be in the same room as a celebrity, but you’re not like having this one-on-one interaction. So what’s the difference if you’re sitting in the back row or if you’re watching it on video at home?”


And I’m really glad I heard that because there were a lot of people I wanted to see that I thought would be really cool and then I all of a sudden got there and was like, “That means I have to wait in line and I’m going to have to stand there and think a lot of people who fall under the neurodivergent umbrella would be really overwhelmed by trying to manage all of the events because they all let out at the same time.” So visual for you, we’re on the fourth floor of the Hilton and every room is full. It’s like 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM, busiest time of day, and the door swing open at 10 59 and everyone floods the hallway. So now there’s thousands of people in these hallways and you’re trying to get around to where you need to go, but you don’t know where you need to go because you were in a city you’ve never been in before. Using this app, trying to find a map, trying to get to a different place, it was like pure chaos.

Phil Rodemann (39:27):

What a great suggestion from Greg to not worry about the things that were being videoed …

Lindsay Guentzel (39:34):


Phil Rodemann (39:34):

… because right there, it’s like, “Well, I don’t have FOMO if it’s being recorded.”

Lindsay Guentzel (39:38):

But I also think too, in those moments, we want to be in the room with that person and it’s not that connection that you think it’s going to be. Other funny thing to go back to really quick, when we landed in Austin and I realized how busy the airport was, because in Minneapolis I had been on that cart, so I had been isolated, the second we landed in Austin, I was like, “Oh, my God, I have not been around people in two months. There are so many people here. I’m going to get bumped all the time.” And then all of a sudden you’re like, “Well, what is the international symbol for, ‘Don’t bump me. I’m injured’?” And then I was like, “Oh, it’s a cane, a walker, a wheelchair.”

Phil Rodemann (40:12):

Sharp elbows.

Lindsay Guentzel (40:14):

But I literally was like, “I have nothing. I look like a person without a disability just walking through this airport,” and I’m just sitting there going like, “Please, please just don’t touch me. Just don’t touch me.” Yes, it was a great trip. I appreciate all of your help while I was down there. I couldn’t have done it without having you to just feed things off of and throw things to. And I’m really excited to be home and to feel refreshed and to feel like we’ve got some stuff working from my time in Austin that I’m stoked about, that little tease I’ll have to tell you about, that little guest surprise and I’m-

Phil Rodemann (40:50):

Yeah, I still don’t know.

Lindsay Guentzel (40:51):

I know. It’s so good. You’re going to be very, very excited. So-

Phil Rodemann (40:57):

I’m going to have to do some extra work because there is no perfection. There’s only being a person of excellence. So I have to work to up my game before we get to a special guest for Refocused, Together, so that I’m sure that I’m doing the best job.

Lindsay Guentzel (41:17):

What do you mean?

Phil Rodemann (41:18):

You know how it is with imposter syndrome, “Am I doing this well enough? Am I thinking of all these things?” And for me, that means I am almost constantly looking at education or taking tips from YouTube, just trying to make sure that all the bases are covered.

Lindsay Guentzel (41:40):

I think we both are. I think everyone who’s connected to this podcast right now is trying to figure out, “How do we take it to the next level and feel good about it without making our lives miserable?” And then you throw in the lovely little me over here who’s got some stuff going on. Oh, man. But-

Phil Rodemann (42:02):

Just need to cure you of your difficulties in delegating.

Lindsay Guentzel (42:07):

Oh, yeah, yeah. Good luck with that one. I wish you well. No, it is … My brain is gone.

Phil Rodemann (42:19):

It’s okay. It’s all right. I have learned that this is a trait of yours and I get where that comes from. You were talking about being an entrepreneur and the realization that that’s really what you are is an entrepreneur and entrepreneurs in general have difficulty delegating.

Lindsay Guentzel (42:45):

You’re spot on and what you’re referencing is that I opened the panel by explaining that. As we were getting ready for Austin, I had this doom realization that I am an entrepreneur and I own this podcast. And if the podcast doesn’t get done, I’m the one who then has to take the heat. And that was like a, “Ooh, when did that happen? And no one told me.” It’s not like mailed and arrived at the door like, “Oh, excuse me, Ms. Guentzel, you are now in an entrepreneur and you own this business and you’re all the things you have to do.”

Phil Rodemann (43:14):

You didn’t sign the contract, did you?

Lindsay Guentzel (43:16):

No. I did not sign the contract and no one showed up to help me figure it all out. But I think one thing that I’m working on and I think my issues with delegating is not letting go of control all the time, definitely is a part of it. I think sometimes it’s figuring out how to teach someone how to do something and let them learn. And I think one of the things that we have struggled with on this podcast and I think a lot of people struggle with it in life is like that takes time and a lot of times we don’t have time. So in our brains, we’re like, “It just makes more sense. Just let me do it. It’s quick. I can do it, blah, blah, blah.” Whereas if you put in a little bit of work and lead up, you can set somebody up to then take that on.


But I think sometimes we just in our heads go, “No, I don’t have time to tell them how to do that. I don’t have time to explain this. I know what needs to be done,” but at the end of the day, that’s just not helping anyone.

Phil Rodemann (44:12):

There is a concept that I learned in a management class I took at one point and it’s different levels of authority. When you get somebody that you want to delegate to, you have to take them through these different levels, so that you have a comfort level with that delegation. An example of one of the levels might be you would delegate something to be done, but that you have to approve it before it is considered done. And then the next level might be you would delegate it but would only need them to come to you if they have any concerns. And so maybe it’s just communicating those different levels so that you have confidence in where the people on your team are.

Lindsay Guentzel (45:06):

Yes, all of those things. All that I am working on and talking through in therapy and with friends who are in leadership positions, I think I’ve always just really shied away from being in leadership positions because anytime something goes wrong and I have to then address it, I’m like, “Oh, my God, you don’t know how to do this. You don’t like confrontation.” And so working on getting through all of that is 36 years in the making, but hey, we got 36 more. We’ll roll through that real quick. But I’m glad that we got to sit down and just walk through Austin. I actually think, one, it was a lovely little therapy session for me to be able to talk about all of the things that I did get to do and I do feel really good about.


And a lot of that is just advocating for myself, knowing when to say, “Enough’s enough.” Being smart enough to get a hotel close enough to the venue that I could beat back up in my room in five minutes. Taking breaks throughout the day. I went in the pool. It was not a full work trip. There were a couple of trips into the pool.

Phil Rodemann (46:11):


Lindsay Guentzel (46:11):

And it felt really good and I felt like I really deserved it after everything that’s been going on.

Phil Rodemann (46:17):

And you had vegetables delivered to your room.

Lindsay Guentzel (46:20):

I did a lot of things that I needed to do to put myself first, which is something that I struggle with and that felt really good. But the thing that I actually think I’m the most proud of is how prepared I was when I went on stage. I was nervous. I was nervous because I was so excited, but I knew exactly where the conversation was going. I knew everything I wanted to talk to our guests about. I knew both their stories and then what was off limits and I thought that it was just a really great show. That being said, there are things that I know I will do differently next time to make it even better. It’s not to say that this one wasn’t good. It’s just that, in my mind, I know, “Okay, here’s how I will do it next time to establish this earlier on.”


So anyway, that’s the last couple of months. Obviously, not the health stuff. If we did podcasts about the health stuff, my God, we would be here for would be for months because that part of advocating for yourself and asking for help and getting help in our healthcare system has been the most traumatic thing I’ve ever dealt with. So if you are in it, I feel you. It is awful. It is so hard. Keep pushing. Don’t back down. And here’s the one thing I will say from the three emergency room trips that I went to where they told me the wrong diagnosis at all three of them and told me that my blood work was fine at all of them, always ask to see the blood work. Always ask to see your results. Have them explain them to you and make sure that you know exactly what is not showing up as normal.


Because I was told everything was fine three different times and that was not the case. And we could have been moving along a little bit faster had I thought about that. But again, we put trust in people for a reason and I wasn’t dying, so they sent me home and I know better now. That’s my hot tip of the week. Okay, well, we have to stop talking because I have to edit this tonight and this is already longer than I thought it was going to be. Shocking. But thank you for coming on and letting me just throw all my feelings from Austin in the last couple of months at you.


And I am super excited, I can tell you guys that Monday’s episode is a great one. I’m pulling something out of the archives that had been sitting for a little bit. We were trying to figure out what we were going to do with it. And I listened to it today while I was simultaneously meal prepping and waiting on hold with insurance. And it feels like it was supposed to happen this way because it is a very motivating, inspiring, refreshing conversation with an incredible young woman and you’re going to get to meet her on Monday and we will feel like we have a little bit more time to keep plugging ahead.


So in the meantime, if you haven’t gone back and listened to some of the Refocused, Together episodes from 2022, there are 31 of them there for you to listen to including some of your favorite social media personalities like Jesse J. Anderson and Katie Sue. And follow us along on social @RefocusedPod. I’m @lindsayguentzel and you can email the show hello@refocusedpod. And that’s it, right? That’s all we have to say. We don’t have to do anything else. Is that … We’re good?

Phil Rodemann (49:26):

We’re good.

Lindsay Guentzel (49:27):

Oh, thank God. Refocused is a collaboration between me, Lindsay Guentzel and ADHD Online, a telemedicine mental healthcare company that provides affordable and accessible ADHD assessments and treatment plans. To learn how they can help you on your journey, head to adhdonline.com.



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