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Keith Boswell and
Discovering His Calling

The moment we’ve all been waiting for – our final episode of Refocused, Together 2023! And it features someone you all know and love already – Keith Boswell. 

Keith – affectionately known as Bos – is the vice president of marketing for Mentavi Health and ADHD Online and has been on the podcast more times than we can count. He’s never had the opportunity to share his story from start to finish which is why we were so excited to wrap up this series with our friend. The perfect way to close out an incredible line-up of ADHDers. 

Follow Keith on Instagram (an absolute must for art lovers and toy collectors)! 

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Keith Boswell (00:00):

When I got into working in healthcare, nobody was talking about the benefits of mental wellness or therapy. In the ’90s and it’s still, going to therapy today for a whole generation is a… well, you’re saying something is wrong with you. It’s not an expression of trying to get better. It’s just literally saying you’re broken, and you’re so broken that you need someone else to fix you like a lawn mower.

Lindsay Guentzel (00:33):

You’re listening to Refocused, Together. And this is Episode 31, Keith Boswell and Discovering His Calling. Welcome back to Refocused, a podcast all about ADHD. I’m your host, Lindsay Guentzel, and it’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for, the last episode of our special Refocused, Together 2023 series.

(01:03):

We started Refocused, Together last year as a part of our commitment to ADHD Awareness Month, sharing the stories of 31 people to represent the 31 days of October. You’ve met executives and artists, college students, college professors, college dropouts. Later in life, ADHDers, thinking about going back to college and even one of my absolute favorite middle schoolers.

(01:29):

We heard how ADHD was described by mental health providers during the disco years, how it’s viewed outside of the US, even how it shows up in other communities like the deaf community, and how those hurdles can add a whole other set of problems for people with ADHD. We met a beer maker, a lawmaker, and a furniture maker. And I even recorded a few of the episodes from a makeshift studio I assembled using a hospital bed and a lot of linens.

(01:57):

Because if we’ve learned anything throughout these episodes, it’s that people with ADHD are incredibly creative and resilient. You just heard a little bit from our final guest for 2023, Keith Boswell. He’s a man who needs no introduction, yet we’re going to give him one anyway. If you’re a regular listener of the podcast, you’ve probably heard his name before at the end in our credits, Keith, or as we like to call him Bos, is the VP of marketing at Mentavi Health and ADHD Online.

(02:29):

He’s the person who oversees all the resources created, resources that help people better understand their mental health. He’s also the person who gave us the green light for this podcast. We literally wouldn’t be here without him, and we’re thrilled to have him as our guest today. Bos was officially diagnosed with ADHD when he was 49.

(02:50):

For years, he had trouble staying focused, battled irritability and emotional swings, and constantly played the classic question game of is this anxiety or is this depression? When a therapist first suggested the idea of ADHD, he was in disbelief. Many years later, after a lot of personal growth combined with proper treatment, he is always quick to share how his life has been transformed by his diagnosis.

(03:17):

Today, Bos is passionate about helping others understand their mental health and find the support they need. He’s a neurodiverse leader and proud to be part of a team transforming the diagnosis and delivery of mental health services. At ADHD Online, he’s surrounded by experts, resources, and other ADHDers who inspire him daily. That’s a win-win in his book. When he’s not changing the conversation around mental health, Bos love spending time with his family.

(03:47):

He’s also an art lover and collector, with a vast collection of toys that would make any kid envious. You can follow him on Instagram @keithboswell to see all the cool stuff he’s into. Let’s hear now from Bos about his journey with ADHD, what makes him feel hopeful about the future of mental healthcare and how outdated stereotypes held him back from an earlier diagnosis and what he’s doing at ADHD Online to change that narrative.

(04:15):

And with that, let’s welcome our final guest for Refocused, Together 2023, Keith Boswell. You know how we start all of these Refocused, Together interviews. I want to know when were you diagnosed and what that process was like, and then what sparked some of those initial questions that pushed you to seek out answers.

Keith Boswell (04:43):

Well, let’s go through the double diagnosis origin story. I was originally diagnosed by a therapist without testing I think in 2018. I’d been going to therapy, severely depressed, had really reached a point where I was just not functioning properly. I go in at my first therapy session to meet a new therapist, and she’s like, “Oh, you have ADHD.” And I was like, “What? No, I don’t.”

(05:11):

And she’s like, “No, you totally have ADHD. I have ADHD, so I immediately recognize it. And I think you should start medication for it.” And I was like, “Ah, okay.” So, I started taking Concerta with my doctor with no information, literally just, “Oh, I think I have ADHD.” And he’s like, “Well, you’re going to get tested, right?” I’m like, “Yeah, I’m going to get tested.”

(05:37):

He’s like, “All right, well, I’m going to prescribe you this and get you going.” And I think I was just not ready. And I think I really… Concerta did not work for me. I felt very irritable. I was ready to just hulk out, and my shoulders would get really tense. And I just stopped and I really… I think I just convinced myself. I was like, “I don’t have ADHD. I don’t know what she’s talking about.”

(06:04):

So, cut to a few years later, a gentleman I’ve worked with a number of times, Keith Brophy, calls and says, “Hey, I’ve got this role in marketing in ADHD Online. Love for you to come meet the founders and interview for it.” And so, in October of 2020, I went to work for ADHD Online. And it was March of 2021 then when I finally took our assessment, and sure enough, I’ve got ADHD.

(06:38):

And actually taking the assessment, I kept thinking, “Why did I not take the assessment earlier or just any assessment?” Because taking it just so… I mean, it was like someone had spelled out my history, “Oh, you’ve struggled with big task or feeling like you’re procrastinating on things that you know you’ve got to get done, or you’re either really interested in something or not at all,” and things that I had beat myself up over for years.

(07:08):

Because trying to understand why can I not… I don’t think I’m like everybody else, but I don’t think I’m so different. And that really was a point of struggle for me. I just could not put those things together and it showed up at work, it showed up in my home life. And I think that’s really… so it was like being here for six months, working in it and being around it.

(07:34):

I mean, I guess I should have known the first day I came back into the office after having worked at home for 18 months in COVID, and I remember being at my desk a few times and I would just stand up and I was like, “What am I doing?” But I was like, “I can’t sit still.” And I never thought of myself as fidgety. My foot would bounce and that kind of stuff.

(07:55):

And then, I’m standing up in public, looking around and then I’m like, “Sit back down, everything’s cool.” And then, someone at work is like, “You probably have it.”

Lindsay Guentzel (08:06):

I want to go back to your therapist and that conversation that you had in 2018. Were there any things that she pointed out specifically that she could see in you that she could tie back to ADHD? Anything specific you remember from those conversations?

Keith Boswell (08:22):

It was that emotional sense, that real ramp up of going from, “Well, I just really don’t care” to “I care more than anybody in the world, and why does no one else care?” I get this so deeply and nobody else seems to. Again, I just kind of thought, “Well, that’s just who I am.” I didn’t equate that to anything. That just felt like me. So, that was interesting.

(08:51):

There was that, and I think it was the emotional regulation. I was talking a lot about family things and just some of the… again, things sometimes were just very quiet and then very explosive. “Wow, what’s going on right now?” And I think now as an adult, even going back and looking at it, I’m like, “Oh, both of my parents have ADHD.” So, I can see it clearly now, but man, it’s only been a couple of years and I feel like every day I’m still learning more about it.

Lindsay Guentzel (09:23):

Absolutely. And I think one of the reasons why we all are learning so much more is because there’s so much more to learn from. There’s so much more research, there’s more people talking about it. It’s one of those things, and I say this over and over again, but every interview, I learn something new about myself that I can connect back to my ADHD.

(09:42):

What have you been able to connect back about your childhood and maybe some of the things that you dealt with that you didn’t know were connected to ADHD because you didn’t know you had it, but now you can really see it clearly?

Keith Boswell (09:55):

I think it’s one of the things that I probably think about the most is just friendships and relationships and not reading the room. And it’s weird too because I realized probably in my 30s that sometimes people would say like, “Oh, you go to a… if you go out, you’re either the center of attention or you’re up against the wall.” And I never realized why that was because I wasn’t. I went out thinking, “I need to be the center of attention or I need everybody to focus on me.”

(10:32):

But now kind of putting it all together, that was my public persona. It was my mask. It was me able… it was how I could get people to relate to me, my quick wit, my quick humor. I was always the one making people laugh and adding that element of humor real time that other people… you see comedians and others, I mean, I think that’s probably a neurodiverse skill because not everybody has that ability to turn a thought into a comment in the moment that everybody’s like, “Whoa, that’s so true.”

(11:12):

It’s weird too because I used to say, I remember in college one time I was in a protest rhetoric class and I was sitting there and I had checked out on the class and then I started listening and I was like, “Oh, that’s really interesting what they’re saying.” And then, I realized it was me speaking, and I’m like, “What?” Again, how many more signs did I need?

(11:38):

My favorite one is coming here in this role and then finally getting officially diagnosed. To me, that just feels so put the bow on it, the reverse puzzle pieces.

Lindsay Guentzel (11:52):

Have you thought at all about why you were so hesitant in 2018 to accept this ADHD diagnosis? And you kind of carried this almost like a little secret into this position where people are saying to you, “My gosh, you totally have ADHD. You should take this assessment.” Have you dove into that at all?

Keith Boswell (12:12):

I have, and I think it’s misunderstanding, a lack of knowledge. I still held the stereotype I think that everybody does or so many people in my generation did of if you weren’t the hyperactive boy that couldn’t sit still or wasn’t causing problems that you weren’t it. And I did well in school. I didn’t have issues with academics. In fact, sometimes it felt easy. If I read something, I remembered it.

(12:45):

I think about it a lot and I think, “Wow, I could have had a few more years of a better understanding of myself that I’m getting now.” And so, it feels like a missed opportunity because I pretty much just rejected it and went on with my life. And then, weirdly enough, ended right up in the same situation where I was starting with a new therapist and going through all these things.

(13:13):

And what’s interesting is my current therapist, who I really like and specializes in adolescent ADHD, he didn’t think I had ADHD till I really started going through the symptoms and my assessment with him. And then, he’s like, “Oh, well, this all makes a lot of sense now.” From what he said, I don’t present as the typical ADHD. So, I don’t know, maybe I just got good at hiding it, distracting with my talking and staying quiet otherwise.

Lindsay Guentzel (13:46):

I think that’s totally relatable and I think masking is such a huge part of it. And it’s just interesting the more we all open up and we kind of peel back those layers, what does come out and what we’re able to learn about ourselves, but I think more importantly, what others are able to learn about us and then take it back into their own lives.

(14:06):

When you look at ADHD and how it affects you right now, what are some of your biggest struggles and then what are you doing to combat the way that they show up in your life?

Keith Boswell (14:17):

I spend a lot of time now focusing on catching myself, or I didn’t realize this for a long time, but I would get so excited about something in the moment and then feedback would start coming in. Someone doesn’t understand exactly what I’m saying, and that hurt. That hurt in a weird way that I couldn’t express, and I would get very defensive and very shut down almost. And then, 20 minutes later, I could rationalize.

(14:49):

But in the moment, I’m just like… again, it’s like this emotional hulk comes out and I just shut down and all these what ifs go through my head and I play out 10 million scenarios. And so, I’m trying to catch myself in that and acknowledge it and just let it go and not feel bound to it. Because I think too often, I just was like, “Well, that’s what I’m thinking, that’s what I’ve got to hold onto.”

(15:13):

And I didn’t give myself that permission to let it go, say, “Okay, that’s a thought, but it doesn’t have to rule everything right now.” But even medicated, I take Adderall twice a day, instant release, and I still struggle with my ADHD. I think I still dream about reaching the state of hyperfocus more routinely. When I hit it, I can… I’ve written small books on just things that pour out of me when that happens.

(15:50):

And just trying to produce I think the environment for myself where that can happen more regularly, because for a long time, I didn’t recognize how much I was contributing to my own bumbling through things. And so, that lack of awareness, now that I have some, I think that’s what I try to focus on. It’s just like, “Okay, what’s at play here right now because probably, again…” I mean, it’s like I’ve got 20 multiplexes going at once, playing out every movie version of every scenario that’s in front of me because my brain is very visual.

(16:32):

And I think in cinematic terms, a lot of times I often tell people, I have to storyboard things for myself sometimes to know what I need to hit, but that’s… again, it kind of goes back to some of those lessons I’ve learned about why did that make sense to me? Because it gave me a framework to work in. Again, I didn’t know anything about masking or body doubling, and I just thought, “Well, maybe I’m not like everybody.”

(17:04):

And I was okay with that, but it didn’t make it easy, especially when you have a family, you had on the pressures of just wanting to be doing well in your career and everything else, and it’s a lot. And then, I think, “Wow, half my life undiagnosed. That’s crazy.”

Lindsay Guentzel (17:26):

Let’s talk about your career for a second. You’ve mentioned this emotional hulk and having trouble dealing with emotional regulation in the moment, especially when it was something you were excited about. How do you think ADHD has affected your career and the career path you took and some of the issues that you might’ve had that stood out at the time, but you couldn’t quite connect what they were supposed to be dealing with?

Keith Boswell (17:54):

I know I became an entrepreneur at 23, mid-’90s. If you weren’t going to Silicon Valley and you told somebody you were going to start a business, I mean, I remember my friends and family’s reaction, they were all like, “Good luck. See you again soon,” and move off to Oregon.

(18:10):

But it was that sense of I can accomplish anything I put my mind to that I know is part of my ADHD that just unboundless fearlessness to conquer anything or just not be afraid of things and say, “Somebody else has done it. I can figure it out, too.” And so, that has led to some really amazing moments in my career, getting to work on some amazing projects at a number of different companies.

(18:44):

On the flip side though, it’s certainly not knowing exactly how my brain was operating, what typically happened for me, unless I was in an environment like this where it’s more of a startup, it’s more flexible, I’ve got some capability to make my day adjustable to me, that doesn’t work at all 9:00 to 5:00 companies.

(19:08):

And I’ve taken the… getting called up to the big show and worked for some really big companies, and the MO there was like I could come in and be really successful early on in ways that others just could not. But then, that same success, if I couldn’t figure out how to replicate it, it just led to frustration and me pulling back and not, again, picking up on the social cues that I might be missing that were very clearly saying, “You’re not getting it.”

(19:43):

And I’m just like, “Oh, here I go.” And it led me to thinking it was me. And I think that… I mean, it led me to some really dark mental places where I felt like I don’t know what I know. Everything I thought I knew is a joke. Talk about imposter syndrome. I literally told myself, “I’m a phony. I’m not who people think I am. I don’t have the experience they think I have. I’ve only read this stuff.”

(20:17):

Because if someone’s going to find out that I’ve done these things, I mean that’s what’s so weird now when I think about it, I’m like… but my brain convinced me. I was in active dialogue with myself convincing myself, “That was true.”

Lindsay Guentzel (20:32):

And it’s almost like this cycle where the imposter brain starts to pick up and that voice, it gets louder and louder, and you go through the checklist that you just talked about. But then, you have these moments where you have glimmers of hope where you’re like, “Okay, maybe I’m not an imposter. Maybe this is the real deal.”

(20:51):

And so, then, all of that starts to fade away until the next time. And so, it becomes just this cycle of trying to figure out who you are and where you fit, and the negative voice is always louder.

Keith Boswell (21:06):

It is, and it’s weird. I am always one to say, “I like to work. I like to work with people, everybody that is going to push me to be better.” I don’t assume I’m the best in the room. I just want to surround myself with people that are yes, and people, not no, but. And realizing that I was knocking myself out of the game is crazy. But I think about athletes, when you put yourself in that performance mode day in and day out, and the expectation is you’re always going to nail it.

(21:47):

And the day that you don’t is the day that you can’t. Everybody’s dealing with this in some way, and we don’t talk about it enough. I think that’s just another gift I’ve gotten through the podcast and just through this job. I never felt comfortable talking about my mental health at work before this, and now I feel almost an obligation.

(22:12):

And even if I wasn’t here, I think I’ve thought about that before, “Would I still be talking about my ADHD as much if I weren’t here right now?” And I think I would because I do realize what an impact it’s had on me. And if anybody cannot go through that, I mean, it’s a wonderful thing to me because I wish I’d known earlier. And I can’t go back and, “Oh, I regret all this stuff.”

(22:42):

You think about it, you definitely think about it, but I’m just choosing to say, “Man, I’m so glad I know now because it’s changed so much.” So many conversations for me have changed in a better way.

Lindsay Guentzel (23:00):

When you look at life and all of the stuff that you have going on, where do you see yourself thriving and how do you see ADHD playing a role in that?

Keith Boswell (23:09):

I see myself thriving with my family. I think we’re a family of four ADHD and one combined type three inattentive. And I think all of us now knowing has changed so much because it’s changed the dialogue within the house. It’s made us more aware of, “Whoa, you look like you’re about to get emotional, aren’t you? Let’s not keep pushing.”

(23:36):

Where before you’ve got four forces of nature, and we didn’t know that we all were struggling with it. And so, that has just been a breakthrough. And then, I feel like I’m probably in the prime of my career, not just because of experience, but just what I’m doing, where I’m at, the team I’m with, what I get to do every day. It’s amazing. And I’m super grateful because it’s unusual.

(24:03):

I really had spent enough time in healthcare, traditional healthcare, to actually reach a point in my career where I thought, “I won’t go back. It’s just not for me.” Because it felt like there were just so many barriers that wouldn’t work for me, that I wouldn’t be able to do what I wanted to do there. Early in my career, I would’ve never thought I would be as passionate about healthcare as I am today.

(24:34):

So, that’s been a real blessing, too. Because when I was in college, I was like, and then I still, I got creative notes and stories for movies yet to be made and series and all kinds of things. So, that’s just again… that’s how my brain works. So, I had this whole vision of move to Hollywood, write the next Star Wars, whatever. But I’m much happier doing this because I know it makes a difference and it’s not the way I thought I would, but it’s so much better.

Lindsay Guentzel (25:07):

When you look at healthcare and everything that you’ve experienced in your time working in it, what excites you the most about the future of how we are treating ADHD and providing resources for patients?

Keith Boswell (25:20):

I think the thing that’s most exciting to me is feeling that we’re connecting as a community and that the loose threads that each of us was dealing with are starting to come together. And it’s in pockets still, but I feel like so much of the health journey, each of us usually feels like we’re in it alone or that others can’t relate. I just find the more I have others to talk to about it, it’s so encouraging.

(25:53):

And when I got into working in healthcare, nobody was talking about the benefits of mental wellness or therapy. In the ’90s and it’s still, going to therapy today for a whole generation is a… well, you’re saying something is wrong with you. It’s not an expression of trying to get better. It’s just literally saying you’re broken, and you’re so broken that you need someone else to fix you like a lawn mower.

(26:23):

That’s almost how it was equated or how it felt. And so, I think to be on the front line of… we still, I mean, people drop by our Facebook page and, “Oh, why are you peddling meth to kids?” And for every person that says that, I just say, “You’re pushing that kid closer to the life that you so vehemently are saying you don’t want. And it’s a lack of understanding, it’s a lack of knowledge.

(26:57):

And so, rather than be upset with you, I just need to greet you and try to change your opinion.” And that’s no small feat, but I’m up for it because I’m like, “This is great because tell me how this is wrong.” I think to be a part of a generation that is producing hope in healthcare is big because I think so often people were driven out of healthcare because they thought, “Well, it can’t change.”

(27:28):

I think the one thing that COVID showed us is everything can change. So much has. So, it broke open. It was terrible and it was great. It’s so weird that this horrible thing has produced so many. We talk about it all the time on the podcast, the legion of undiagnosed people going into COVID, that came out of COVID, with a completely different understanding of who they were. That’s crazy to me.

Lindsay Guentzel (28:01):

I think it’s so important though, with something that was as awful and life-changing as COVID and the pandemic, to be able to find that silver lining. And I think for a lot of us, it is a better understanding of ourselves because you were forced to figure it out. And I go to a different place a little bit than you do with trying to change those people’s minds because I just feel like I’m not going to, so putting energy into trying to is not worth it for me.

(28:31):

My energy is better spent making sure that the people who might be in their range, the people that they’re connected to, I need to make sure that what I’m putting out there is as welcoming and as positive.

Keith Boswell (28:45):

Agree. That’s why I say, “You can’t go on the attack.” You literally have to greet them with an open arm.

Lindsay Guentzel (28:53):

Yes. Oh, the number of times I write comments and just delete them because I’m like, “Not worth the energy.” But it’s hard because you realize you can only go so far with those voices out there.

Keith Boswell (29:05):

I equate it to, because we’re a provider, because we treat this condition, I feel like it’s our duty to be the defender of this condition. It’s why we launched the podcast. It’s why we produce articles. It’s why we have the webinars. Because we know, even as much information as out there, people still have questions. They’re always coming.

(29:34):

That has been a really big game changer, and I feel like that’s just part of now how I operate. And I’m so encouraged that the younger generation, my kids, that they are more open about what they’re going through. The only risk I see in that openness is a potential for just a misunderstanding of your own self. I realize now, you need medical professionals in that loop because TikTok and YouTube and it all, they can’t answer it all.

(30:09):

And they can give you clues and they can give you information, but I just worry that people are going to go down holes they don’t need to because they just, “Oh, that’s me.”

Lindsay Guentzel (30:21):

When you look at the future, what is really exciting for you? What is something that is pushing you forward right now?

Keith Boswell (30:28):

I think what’s pushing me forward right now is a belief that I can get better every day. I never put myself in that camp. And it’s not like… I mean, I certainly have things to do on my physical fitness. I’m working on that, my diet, but I never really… I just kind of always was on autopilot with myself. And so, I think the fact that I’m thinking about where I want to be and how I want to be, it’s what’s inspiring me right now.

(31:03):

Because I didn’t realize… things caught my interest, things I would get fascinated in, but I just kind of always felt like I was floating through it. And so, to feel more plugged in to myself and not like I’m just floating is huge. It just changed everything.

Lindsay Guentzel (31:24):

You’ve touched on this a little bit, and we were just talking about these people out there who either don’t believe ADHD is real or don’t believe that people need to be medicated for it, and they have all of these opinions. So, when you look at the general population and what they know about ADHD and a lot of the stuff that they misunderstand, what is the biggest one for you that you would like to see a clearer light being shined on?

Keith Boswell (31:56):

I think the one that stands out for me is probably, and this was even my own misunderstanding, but the perception of stimulants varies by individual greatly. And I think it’s hard for people to understand how… I mean, you’ll hear people say, “College kids look at stimulants as performance-enhancing drugs, and that’s how executives look at it now, and everybody’s trying to get ahead.”

(32:24):

And what I think falls down for me in that conversation and was really one of the providers here that shined a light on it was a stimulant in an ADHD brain does not produce the same effect that it produces in a non-ADHD brain. The analogy he gave me was, when your brakes are stuck and you’re pushing as hard as you can to slow down and you can’t, and that a stimulant for an ADHD brain frees the brakes to where you press on it and you can actually stop and focus.

(32:58):

I find that to be true from my own experience. I’m not bouncing around off the walls, I’m not staying up. The first week, it was a little bit of a sleep adjustment, yes. But since I’ve been used to taking it, I don’t sit there and think like, “Oh, my gosh, I need more.” I just think, “Did I take my medicine? Oh, my gosh, I forgot to take my medicine.”

(33:20):

And we’ve talked about this before, saying that sometimes because it’s a stimulant, people will go, “Oh, well, look, you’re clearly… see, you need it.” And it’s like, “Okay, but if I was a heart patient and I get out my pill bottle, you’re going to shame me for taking my heart medicine?” And then, we’re talking about my brain, and I don’t think it’s for everyone.

(33:42):

Again, I was at a period where Concerta did not work for me. Again, that was something when I did decide to start treatment, I talked to my provider about. We went over all of that, and she had ideas about what to try and that’s made all the difference. Having a provider that you can have an honest dialogue with.

Lindsay Guentzel (34:05):

What I love about that though is that you acknowledge that you had a misunderstanding about something and then you are able to learn more about it and change your mind. And I think that we have such a hard time encouraging that as a society. It’s like growth is so hard for us and we don’t like to acknowledge it, but it happens and it’s a good thing.

(34:30):

It’s a good thing to learn about something and be confident in changing your mind and your opinion.

Keith Boswell (34:38):

It is. It is, and I regret the state of the current sense in this country that we have a really difficult time sitting down and talking and sharing without it feeling divisive or confrontational. Because I think we all have permission to change our minds. I think if you don’t, it’s hard for me to process because I’m like, “Well, then I’m not growing? What is knowledge then if I don’t grow from it?”

(35:09):

“What is wisdom if you don’t change in some way? And is changing your opinion horrible?” Again, if I had the wrong opinion and then change it for the right reasons, what’s wrong with that?

Lindsay Guentzel (35:25):

Well, I also think too, we have a hard time just being like, “I don’t know enough about this to have an opinion,” and not continuing to talk. That’s this weird place I think we find ourselves a lot.

Keith Boswell (35:38):

And this may be just the ADHD trait in me, but we have a joke that for my next trick I’ll ruin the evening. Not that I am so socially awkward, but I have been known to pivot a conversation 180 and again, just, “Well, that’s interesting, but here’s what I’m really thinking about.” Everybody else is like, “What?”

Lindsay Guentzel (36:00):

I’ve never had that happen. No, totally, I literally have been that person many a times, but mine is more like my shift is to a wah-wah-wah moment.

Keith Boswell (36:13):

Oh, yeah. Well, no, this has been… I’m like the optimistic pessimist. I bring the great news with the, but the asterisk on that is, and you’re like, “How do I feel about that now?” And I’m like, “I don’t know. I’m on the fence too, but I had to tell you.”

Lindsay Guentzel (36:31):

Well, I’m so glad we got to do this. You’ve obviously been on the podcast so many times, but we’ve never been able to actually tell your story. And I learned stuff, which I’m so excited about. I’m so grateful. I think it’s so important that we just keep telling as many people’s stories as possible and how wonderful that we’ve gotten to tell so many from people who are tied to the podcast, yourself included.

(36:53):

So, thank you for always being open to share your story and for being here.

Keith Boswell (36:57):

Thank you for asking me. I was honored. Even being a part of it, I was like, “Ooh, so excited.”

Lindsay Guentzel (37:03):

I opened Refocused, Together the first season, 2022, and you are closing Refocused, Together 2023. Full circle, I love it.

Keith Boswell (37:13):

I do, too.

Lindsay Guentzel (37:19):

My conversation with Bos made me think about how special it is to have colleagues or work for an organization that understands what it’s like to have ADHD. Probably everyone listening right now gets that. So many ADHDers have either worked, currently work, or despite best efforts will end up working in places that aren’t supportive or aware of what it’s like to be neurodivergent.

(37:44):

ADHDers experience a variety of challenges that can negatively impact their work performance and overall well-being. Let’s run down the short list. One, when our main challenge is difficulty with focus and attention, a highly stimulating workplace or one devoid of structure can cause us to struggle with staying on task and completing assignments on time.

(38:07):

This can lead to missed deadlines, decreased productivity, and increased stress and frustration. Open floor plan offices look cool, but everyone can watch your every move and bother you anytime. Two, we often need help with time management and organization. We’re already feeling behind, and now we need to spend time masking so we don’t look disorganized or overwhelmed on a regular basis.

(38:33):

We’ll keep our workspace tidy-ish, but don’t look in the drawers. We’ll get to appointments and meetings on time. We’ll remember the tasks that had to be reprioritized many times, but at what cost? Anxiety levels can be so high. Three, we sometimes experience challenges with communication and social interactions. Some of us need help to pick up on social cues or maintain appropriate eye contact, which colleagues or supervisors can then misinterpret.

(39:04):

That can lead to misunderstandings, conflicts, and feeling alone or excluded in the workplace. Extra special shout out to the fresh hell, known as mandatory team building. Thanks, but no thanks, Becky. I am good not playing two truths and a lie as an icebreaker with a bunch of people who already know me while we awkwardly sit in the birthday party room at a bowling alley. I don’t care if there will be tacos later.

(39:31):

I just want to finish my work and go home to watch TV with my cat. Now that I’ve got that off my chest, let’s talk about some ways workplaces can provide support and accommodations for employees with ADHD. Here’s a micro list to get started. One, as much as possible, provide structured work environments, clear communication, flexible scheduling, and accommodations such as noise-canceling headphones or extra time on tasks.

(39:58):

Offer remote work and make group events short or optional. Two, create a sense of community where individuals with ADHD can relate to each other’s experiences and challenges. This can reduce feelings of isolation and promote a supportive work environment. It’s said that having colleagues with ADHD can actually increase levels of empathy and understanding in the workplace.

(40:24):

Three, provide opportunities for the development of coping strategies and techniques. ADHDers can learn from each other and share tips and tricks that have worked for them in managing their symptoms. This can lead to better self-awareness and self-management, improving overall job performance and quality of life. And for God’s sakes, stop scheduling surprise meetings without an agenda.

(40:47):

If there’s no agenda, I assume I’m being fired, the company is in the shredder, the world is coming to an end. An easy way to bypass all this pain is to simply send a note that says, “All good things,” or simply tell us what the meeting is going to be about. Our minds wandering is only beneficial when it’s in the good place. Don’t do us dirty like that.

(41:10):

So, you’ve got that workplace HR departments. It’s pretty simple. Be inclusive, be supportive, and provide opportunities for personal growth and development. Done and dusted. We’ll look more into ADHDers in the workplace later this year, so stay tuned. It makes me so happy that we were able to wrap this year’s season by sharing Bos’ story.

(41:32):

The way that the stars had to align for us to work together, it’s truly one of the best things that’s ever happened to me, not just because it created this podcast, which I know I’m biased, but is pretty fantastic. Getting to work with Bos has been like finding the work best friend I’ve always been on the lookout for, but failed miserably at trying to make it happen.

(41:53):

I’ve never worked with someone who believes in me the way that Bos does, the way his whole team does. And to find that kind of support has been a game changer for me, especially considering what this last year looked like. Despite everything, it was one of the most exciting years of my career, and I have Bos and his team to thank for that.

(42:12):

My only wish is that we were able to work in person more often because it’s as ridiculous as you’re imagining. And Grand Rapids is a seriously underrated city. It’s bittersweet to bring Refocused, Together 2023 to a close. We have some really incredible episodes on the horizon for you, stuff I’m so excited to share. And I’m just so grateful to everyone who stuck by me as we work to get these episodes done.

(42:38):

It was the best distraction through the worst days, and I’m really grateful to get to do this. Big things are ahead for the entire Refocused team. If you haven’t listened to all 31 stories from this year’s series, I highly recommend going back and checking them off of your list. You can also learn more about the series and all of our amazing guests by heading to adhdonline.com/refocusedtogether.

(43:05):

Thank you so much for listening. And now back to our regularly scheduled programming. Support for Refocused comes from our partner, 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.

(43:31):

And remember to use the promo code REFOCUSED20 to receive $20 off your ADHD Online assessment right now. The biggest thanks go out to our team at ADHD Online, Keith Boswell, Suzanne Spruitt, Melanie Mile, Claudia Gotti, and Tricia Merchandani for their constant support in helping make Refocused, Together happen.

(44:02):

These 31 episodes were produced thanks to our managing editor, Sarah Platonitis, our production coordinator, Phil Roaderman, social media specialist and editor, Al Chaplin, and me, the host and executive producer of Refocused, Lindsay Guentzel. To connect with the show on social media, you can find us online @refocusedpod. And you can email the show directly, [email protected]. That’s [email protected].

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