ADHD symptoms, changing fixed mindsets, finding focus w/ Avigail Gimpel

In this episode, I talk to Avigail Gimpel. She’s the founder of HyperHealing program –  a powerful, easy-to-follow program for parents of HEALTHY children struggling with ADHD symptoms.

Avigail is a college lecturer, practitioner in private practice, parent educator, and author of HyperHealing.

We discuss ADHD: symptoms, diagnosis, treatment options, ADHD in children vs. in adults, changing your fixed mindset, and much more. 

Show Notes:

  • (01:37): HyperHealing: The Empowered Parent’s Complete Guide to Raising a Healthy Child with ADHD Symptoms
  • (05:05): ADHD: Symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment
  • (12:40): Adderall vs. Ritalin: Differences and side effects
  • (17:07): ADHD in children vs. ADHD in adults
  • (26:59): Reframing your thoughts about yourself
  • (32:27): Accomplishing your plans and goals 
  • (43:42): Changing your fixed mindset

👋🏽 Connect with Avigail:

Book: HyperHealing: The Empowered Parent’s Complete Guide to Raising a Healthy Child with ADHD Symptoms

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    Misbah Haque  00:00

    Avigail, thank you so much for joining me today. You are somebody who has written one of the top 10 best books on ADHD recently, and it’s one of the cool things that I love about talking with people like yourself is a deep understanding that you have of how our minds kind of work and you specialize in working with children and teens. And so that was another, of course, selfishly, I’m like, All right, do you have some stuff that adults can use to? And can I take away? But I’m sure there are some things that I know I’ve been wondering about this like, and I’m sure a lot of people do like not Do I have ADHD, it’s something that throat we throw around, easily out there, sometimes. My girlfriend has been exploring this a lot recently, where she’s been looking into resources and people to talk to about it. And it’s very interesting, the type of resources that are out there, some are great, and some are just really terrible, and not helpful. And so thank you for sharing your time with us today. And I’m excited to have you on and chat about this stuff.

    Avigail  01:01

    Is absolutely my pleasure. Thank you so much for inviting me.

    Misbah Haque  01:07

    For people who don’t know, take us back to like your book, I’m sure there’s, there’s a whole journey before the book even happened right before you’re like, Alright, I need to write a book about this. What got you so into this field? And not just into studying ADHD, but like, into working with also kids? Is it something you dealt with as a child? Or did your kids deal with it? What kind of brought on was the inception for, for writing this book.

    Avigail  01:37

    So the book is really it’s not an afterthought. It was a lot of hard work. Anyone who ever says that the book wrote itself, it’s not true that it was a big effort. But it was the culmination of 20-plus years of working with ADHD. And there is a story there. Obviously, it starts with me as a young girl being not a very good student at all, I was much much more than that troublemaker hiding under the teacher’s desk. And like, whenever there was something that needed to be done that was not allowed to be done. So I was called upon to do it because I was that kid. And but I was not I was not flourishing in school, I was really failing a lot. And, and when I look back at it and I would have been one of those kids that would have been put on Ritalin, for sure, but I’m too old. So, therefore, I missed the wave, my youngest brother was put on Ritalin pretty young, but it was a couple of years between us. And when I look back at it, once I got to high school and was actually chosen as valedictorian and graduate school, so it took that long to get my act together. But my understanding many, many years later was that I was going through some serious stress and trauma. And therefore I was my brain was absolutely not capable of sitting and learning. And this was something that took me years to understand it is probably through my children that I finally understand it. So I might unmarry, probably the most energetic person on the planet. Like when he’s sick, he sleeps for four hours, this is my husband, and he gets more done in a day than anyone I know. And we have six amazing kids. That’s right. I have six children, I said that. And most of them were diagnosed with ADHD. So when I revisited the journey, as a mother, I really got a much deeper understanding of what exactly ADHD is my training is in special education. special education teacher and I worked with ADHD before I had children in the classroom, right, but when my kids started rolling in, suddenly, it became personal. And I wanted to really understand what was going on.

    Misbah Haque  03:54

    I’m sure you also had this edge also of being able to look out for it, like, what are some of the signs to look out for, and maybe you detected it way earlier versus in your personal experience, or with resources for people like 4050 year years ago, where we didn’t have a lot of the knowledge we do now. It’s kind of like you wonder, what’s wrong with me and you’re kind of you think Ritalin or Adderall or any other medication is maybe the only solution. What’s been your experience with that like with medication, right? And especially with having a brother who was you got to see like, Okay, here’s, we both had maybe ADHD and here’s what would happen if you’re put on Ritalin. You’ve probably gotten the study on that medication side of things a lot more. Yeah. Is there a way to obviously like I’m sure in some cases, it’s very necessary? But what’s been your experience with the crowd you work with? Is it you do have to deal with a lot of medic Asians are working with a lot of natural ways to kind of settle the mind a little bit.

    Avigail  05:05

    Right. So when I, when my daughter was diagnosed, my oldest daughter who’s 23 now and becoming an electrician, and she’s she is one of three girls in her class. I’m very proud of her because she’s doing what is feels right to her. But when she was diagnosed at the age of seven, the diagnostic process took about 10 minutes. And basically, she jumped out of her seat to help the doctor pull a paper out of her printer, and the doctor says, Oh, my God, she’s hyper and slam dunk, ADHD. That was the entire thing. And then she handed me a prescription. And I said, Well, what am I meant to do with this, and keeping in mind that I was a classroom teacher, I had students who were going out to the nurse to get their second dose of Ritalin in the afternoon. It’s not like I didn’t know what it was, but I knew my kid and my kid is healthy. And I certainly do not have ADHD and never did. And that’s why I brought my story up and my husband’s story, he definitely has ADHD, and I definitely don’t, but both of us were exhibiting similar symptoms, which is what intrigued me and got me to really dig in deeper. In terms of your question, I want to answer your question that I want to add to it. Yes, there are many, many ways of dealing with ADHD without Ritalin because ADHD is not a riddle and deficiency, it is a list of symptoms that are caused by many, many different causes. So, therefore, what I’m adding to the field of ADHD is that we have to ask why the child is struggling, or the adults, instead of asking What diagnosis the person has, and that’s been, the style that we’ve been dealing with is what does the person have in order to fit that person with the correct pill. Now, the pill might not be the correct treatment. Because in my case, let’s say going through some stress and trauma as a child, my parents splitting up and other things going on. That would have been the worst treatment option because I was misbehaving and acting out and not focusing in class because I was overloaded, mentally and emotionally. And I was calling out for help an adult, right? Notice, notice, and if you put a kid like that on Ritalin, what you’ve done is say the problem lives inside of your brain, you are the problem, and we need to shut that down. And we need to calm that down. But very often, ADHD is a clash between the environment and the person. And that was my story. In terms of classic ADHD, we’re looking at a person who has trouble with transitions, trouble with sitting and learning carrying through trouble a lot, and often social issues. So those are, that’s just in a nutshell, those are some of the things we’re going to see a lot of impulsivity, and, and immaturity. So these are things we’re seeing, most of that is coming from what I call an instant gratification personality. And that’s a healthy personality. And it’s a great personality, it’s the person who wants everything here. And now and fast and interesting and fun and slightly dangerous. A lot of those people, by the way, land up turning to extreme sports. And we call that self-medicating, but they’re not self-medicating. They’re always looking for the next thrill excitement goal. And so in your line of work, you’re going to bump into a lot of people who are instant gratification personality people. I mentioned my son before, he’s definitely that way. And he’s always every single workout, he’s setting a new goal for himself. So this workout he did,  200 muscle-ups, and it has to be 250 muscle-ups, I promise you it can do that. So, therefore, so that is that’s that personality, but if you are that type that wants everything here and now interesting fun, then what you’re not doing is repeating behaviors, and therefore not creating habits, which is why people with ADHD are such a mess with anything that requires a routine. So they’re healthy, but they need help with routine. And therefore that that would be where I would come in or a parent or a teacher or a coach would come in and help that person build habits but that’s only one cause of ADHD symptoms. There are so many others. And that’s why we’re asking the question, why is this child struggling? And that’s going to be the beginning of every program.

    Misbah Haque  09:56

    The example you gave of you and your husband Then how there’s you exhibited similar signs, but how did you don’t have it? And he definitely does. What, especially today, right? Like I know, back then you said like a 10-minute diagnostic test, you got a prescription like, maybe it is still just exactly the same. But I’m sure it’s changed or evolved a tiny bit. What today is being used as a diagnostic tool that is actually like, Okay, this makes sense. And I’m sure there’s a ton, but like, in your experience that helped you differentiate between? I don’t have it or I do, but we’re, like, how do you even begin to look at that? Because you’re both? As you said, the symptoms are, what you would normally analyze or look at is the same.

    Avigail  10:44

    And that’s a great question. You can’t have ADHD now not an ADHD denier. But which would, would it make sense because that’s my entire field, you cannot have ADHD, you can have symptoms of ADHD. And the reason I can tell you that I don’t have ADHD, I don’t have any kind of ADHD is because when I was able to when the fog lifted off of the stress I was dealing with, my true personality is very methodical and organized. And, and, and that’s what emerged. But with someone who has more of those classic symptoms, then you’re gonna see what’s missing, what skills are missing for that person, and what emotional, psychological, and organizational skills are missing for that person. So when anytime a child is diagnosed, or an adult is diagnosed, they’re doing something extremely simplistic, which really bothers me because they’re just using a checklist of symptoms. And sometimes it’s upgraded to there’s a Mako test is called where they use as a computer simulation, that that kind of checks your level of impulsivity, that, again, is not particularly reliable. And they’ll use it the first part of the test, you’re, you’re without stimulant medication. And the second part of the test, you’re using a similar medication, everybody calms down, and is less impulsive when they’re on a stimulant medication. So you give me or you a dose of Ritalin, we’re going to be more efficient. So the test is not a reliable test. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried Ritalin, but I wanted to see what my kids experience was. And my god, I had the most organized day of my life. I couldn’t take a second day because it was very stressful, but it was some powerful stuff.

    Misbah Haque  12:40

    Is it similar to Adderall? Like, what’s the difference between Adderall and Ritalin?

    Avigail  12:45

    It’s different. It’s working with different neurotransmitters. And but it they’re both stimulants. But they’re working with different sensors

    Misbah Haque  12:56

    if they haven’t taken Ritalin, but I have tried Adderall before. And I have felt that but also the man, I felt such side effects and the downside of that, that like, I didn’t ever have it again after that. Because it affected. Yeah, it had, it has effect on so many different things. But I can see the appeal of like, Whoa, this is how my brain is normally supposed to, like, function.

    Avigail  13:21

    And that’s not true. It is not where

    Misbah Haque  13:24

    It’s not normally Yeah, but you’re you feel that way. In the moment. You’re like, oh, like, this is how it should raise my vision of myself to do all this stuff and get it all done. We were we were talking about Ritalin, ADHD. And then the other question that I want to clarify before we move in is like, ADD and ADHD are they Am I abbreviating? Are they two different things? What’s the difference? The main difference between the two if there is.

    Avigail  13:51

    The DSM five, which is the most recent diagnostic manual has taken added out. That’s no longer term. I don’t know why. Now they have ADHD, it’s all called ADHD and they’re different types. So someone would, would be like, inattentive, you’d be inattentive. If you were used to be add now your ADHD inattentive type, whatever. It’s all just words. But again, it’s none of this is significant. Is it in as much as let’s say, I’ll give you just a simple example. If you’re not feeling well, you go to the doctor throat hurting you. So the doctor asks, like five or six questions, and without checking you, the doctor will say, ah, that’s called it. And, well, here’s the thing. There’s 10 different reasons why your throat would hurt. It could be that you’re overtired or you screamed all night, or you or you have strep throat or it’s COVID or it’s viral, you have no idea and therefore the doctor has to so so meaning ADHD is essentially The throat pain disorder. That’s what it is. It’s just a descriptive name. And what we don’t do that. So that’s why you can’t have it. Because you can have symptoms. But then okay, so you have the throat pain, very good. Now what’s causing it? That’s where we have to go every time. Right? When we say what’s causing it. There, there’s where we’re going to find our answers. And that’s why ADHD can absolutely be treated without medication. Because once we find out why, then we can go ahead and create the right program. I’m not anti the medication, I’ve even medicated my own children. But that is something that I don’t jump into as a first resort, that it’s something that I wait and see what’s going on. If the child’s really struggling, and they cannot join a program, I’m trying to set up for them this minute, and they need to succeed right now, then it’s a good tool to use. Is it a long term that it’s bad long term?

    Misbah Haque  16:07

    It’s just like some supplements or protein and stuff like that. It’s like, yeah, you could get it. Ideally, you should get it through natural sources and all that, but when you need it for a show, and you are, hey, I need to be diligent. I can’t like it’s a solution for that moment, but not a bandaid. Do you want to keep applying forever?

    Avigail  16:26

    That’s an excellent, excellent example. I love that.

    Misbah Haque  16:30

    So I’m totally on board with you here. I think my question is, as an adult, the why is probably still important to look into the why, why is why are you experiencing some of these symptoms? How much of it is ot like still automatic from you may be experiencing this, or just for a long period of time as a kid or a long chronic environmental stress to allow you to experience the symptoms? What do you find the differences between children, I guess, and adults? Like how do you? Are there differences? Or is it very similar?

    Avigail  17:07

    Big difference. Big difference. The difference between children and adults is that by the time you’ve been dealing with these symptoms, for 2030 years, you’ve added on so many layers of complexity, low self-esteem of all sorts of voices about who you are and who you should be, I have so many failures, that you have to peel that away before you can even get to so what’s causing these symptoms. First, you have to build yourself up again, you have to take away what I call curses, these are these notions about yourself if you’ve been told you’re lazy, or you’re stupid, or you’re good for nothing, or all those things is a curse is because someone more powerful than you told you that and you believed it. And therefore I remember, as a high schooler, my principal told me that I was just really bad at math. And I was at the time, but then I aced it in high school and in college, but in my mind, you can shake it, the curse had already settled in, I was the kid who couldn’t do the math. So these are things when you’re talking about an adult who’s gone through all of the childhood with these symptoms, which could have been resolved way earlier. It’s very painful at that point. And it’s a longer process, and I always will, will help the pertly adult along with their partner or spouse, because yeah, it’s it’s a dynamic that includes a more serious relationship, and really needs that.

    Misbah Haque  18:40

    That’s really fascinating. And I always think about, like, that’s what’s so sensitive about the field of any field where you’re working with kids is like, one offhanded comment that you make or say that’s like totally unintentional. I mean, I remember many myself, like, it can stick with you, for friggin years and just inform something that you have held on to, especially like when there’s such an emphasis maybe on us forming an identity, like as you get older, you’re like, what is the identity I’m going to embody? I’m the tech guy, I’m an IT person, I’m a doctor, whatever. And so now it’s very difficult to disassociate from that when you’re like, No, I am the type of person who I’m not Social, I’m very, I don’t know type A and can do the doctor stuff or whatever. So I, where do you start? I like that you mentioned that you include the partner or the spouse because it is like, yeah, it just makes sense. It’s just kind of the same thing with fitness a lot of times, especially if they’re, we asked him questionnaires, or we would that like, who does the grocery shopping does the cooking. How many people are in your household and based off of those little sensitive dynamics that does make a difference in if someone’s going to stick to something There’s a lot of like little stuff that would come out. That would be like, Oh, well, you’re doing fine. But like your partner is the one who’s making it tough for you, how do you make a cohesive version of this where nobody’s losing? Everybody wins, right? So I’m sure there are some of those crazy dynamics at play, especially with something as complicated as ADHD. So I like that, what do you now then begin to do, as let’s say, a phase one type? process?

    Avigail  20:29

    First of all, I’m amazed, amazed that you do that, I’m amazed that to that you do that with fitness because what you’re, again, you’re doing exactly what we said before, which is that interplay between a healthy person and their environment. So sometimes a person is not managing to work out. And I’ll give an example of myself when we’re talking about workouts. So I love CrossFit. And I’ve been doing it for years. And I’m not I guess I’m not officially a cross fitter. Because I’m not like a diehard, and I don’t know, I still call it a gym, which I think is the wrong word. But the box is something anyway, the games, I don’t follow the game. No, I don’t follow the games. But then it started, I got injured, because everyone in CrossFit gets injured. And I couldn’t go back and now just kind of floating around without a home and I can’t find my, because I love the pump. And I love the tissue. I love that. And I’m like, I’m lost. I don’t know. So this like that’s why I haven’t jumped back into the next thing, because I’m still stuck on my old home. So these are things that we’re doing, especially with people with ADHD. We’re starting with, where are you now? Where are you stuck? Now? What’s happening in your life? We just try to look at what’s happening. And then I always do a deep dive into the people’s past. What were the messages of your past? What was your journey? Where did you travel? A lot of times, what I’m going to find is that people are very stuck in these fixed mentalities where they were supposed to be a certain way. And they couldn’t be that way. And therefore everything goes in the garbage. I just the other day, I had a conversation with a very intelligent, beautiful woman who could really just go very far. And she she really doesn’t go anywhere. She’s She really goes nowhere. And, and I said to her, Well, let’s try to like start looking for jobs. And she says,  can’t start looking for a job because, for the last few years, I was a stay-at-home mom. And I should have been making cookies. And I should have been taking my kids out to the park. And I should have been doing all these things. And I didn’t, and therefore I feel too bad. So it can’t move forward. And I said, Who says you were supposed to be the mom that makes cookies and face your kids in the park? Maybe that’s not you, maybe that’s not the fit for you. But she’s so stuck in that that was the picture-perfect thing that she was meant to be. And therefore she’s completely stuck. So we first identify where you’re stuck. And I tried to put people on a journey of taking one step at a time. That sounds very much 12 STEP program like but it’s taking one step at a time acknowledging what your abilities are now and setting one small goal. And once we start a movement, then I’ll give you another example. I’ve worked with a bunch of older teenage boys who are extremely addicted to their phones, which is one cause of ADHD symptoms. You’ll be interested to know. And so these boys are really struggling because they’re clocking in 11 hours a day on their phone like dash, right? So and this is so what I did with them, instead of saying we’re taking away the phone, I put them on a program where we went through every app, and we reduced each app to three hours to two hours, step by step and then next week, we’re going to add to it and every time I say I’m so proud of you that you’re pulling this off. This is amazing. And, and that’s how we end I am proud it’s not fake. Because when a person is that stuck, you need to get them out by them. They’re not supposed to be perfect. They were never supposed to be and who says they were supposed to be perfect when nobody is. So when we get them out, and then we and then we start the movement.

    Misbah Haque  24:32

    Wow. So this is, um, this makes a lot of sense. Because it’s like the most immediate way to make somebody care about what you’re doing enough to like, oh, wow, I feel good. Now I feel a little bit better. My problems being solved and seeing some progress. Let me keep, I have buy-in now. Right? I’ll stick to whatever the rest of the protocol might be. Do you find that adults who have ADHD Yeah, like you said, have a tough time kind of starting like things will, like you said,  this person could really go far for example, but like they years may have gone by, and they haven’t applied to that job or whatever they wanted to do yet. And that is like just like a circle that is very, very tough to get out of, which is probably sometimes the inciting event, right? It’s like, you want to do the thing like that is for this person, get to apply, or for a job or whatever. And now you’re like, why is this thing bumping up against me, so much like I on paper should be able to do this, it’s one-click on LinkedIn, or one whatever I got to do, but mentally, like I can’t sit down and get myself to go through all that overthinking. So, I see a very real example for most, like a lot of people, when they’re going through any type of change even right, where you’re like changing roles, right? Entities going from student to like, now getting a job or you’re like you said, taking on the identity of someone who makes cookies or trying to do your own version of that, like, so. So how do you? Is it defining redefining that for yourself? Like, do you reframe through your encouragement because it sounds like you do have a very genuine encouraging approach, which, of course, can help when you’re like, oh, yeah, I’m doing good. I’m getting momentum when it’s so hard to get momentum. As an adult, I feel like everything is going against you not building momentum as you like, become an adult versus like, in favor. So when you have little things like workouts or you’ve got whatever it is like your whole reframe of how you view yourself, it can be a game-changer. So is that what you’re doing?

    Avigail  26:59

    First of all, I’m reframing. And I’m not ever creating something, I’m letting the person meet themselves. And, and that’s what’s important. Do we discover what are your strengths? Where are your challenges, that’s the real you? And I reintroduce them to themselves. And that’s a very powerful process where they actually start to like that person that they’ve been fighting against for so many years. And then we break it down. And I say, so why haven’t you applied for the job yet? And then we get all sorts of answers. And I say, okay, but what’s the real reason? And often the real reason is what I like to call Failure to Launch, which I know, my daughter’s like, that is not an appropriate term. But I use it anyway. Because it’s funny. But essentially, what it is, is that first step, what was the first step? Is it a phone call? So you said just go on to LinkedIn? Is it? Is it a phone call that you have to make? Okay, so why do you why are you having trouble making a phone call? Well, when my mother used to call me every time, or I called her every time I got on the phone, she was critical. So calling an authority figure, it feels critical, and I’m not making that. Okay. So now how do we get over that hump? Very often, there are certain dynamics that are at play, that are going to stop people from getting things done. And Failure to Launch is one big one. So we get down to the smallest, smallest beginning step. And we hold hands. And we get over that first step together after we understand it, so that the person can do it again. I’m not always going to be there. I when I work with people, it’s very much to get them started and give them skills, and then let them take it for themselves. So I give them mantras. What’s my failure to launch? What’s the first step? What’s the tiny step? How can I move it, and I always say to them, we come from a society where superheroes is a big thing. You’re supposed to be able to do everything on your own, and not sweat while you’re doing it. But that’s ridiculous. That’s not our goal. Our goal is to figure out where we want to go and then find the best people to escort us. And we’ll be there for them. And they’ll be there for us. We’re a community. So I tell them, find your people find your angels along the way. And I start as that and then I left and I help guide them toward people that can help, which is why I work with couples, and parents with children because I want them to know that they’re not relying on that other person. Actually, this might be a very good example for you for fitness, because I met a woman who was extremely, extremely overweight. I don’t know if you’re allowed to say that. But that same thing, but she really was it was there’s no way to get around it. And the doctors like listen, you’re really in a bad place. You can align it with that. abilities and you’ve got to start exercising, this woman could not get up the stairs to her house. So the doctor set her up with a kind of coach to help her. And she would lay down on a mat and the coach would move her arms and legs for her. And that was great for the 20 sessions, he was starting to feel a little bit of muscle developing. But then the 20 sessions were over. And she went right back to couch potato. Because if you’re using the person who’s walking alongside you as your crutch, you’ll never get there. But if you’re linking arms with someone, and you’re saying, I give you support, you give me support, then that’s, that’s what a couple is really, then you can actually progress very nicely together with the tools that I give both spouses, both partners to go along.

    Misbah Haque  30:53

    I love that. How do you make it acceptable to do something so small, when like you said, everybody is today like the superhero culture, or just like, on paper, this is true and food and because food is hard to like your relationship with it. And there’s a lot of preconceived habits and stuff that you’re trying to unwire. So, how do you on paper, it looks Oh, this is simple. This is, of course, I get it logically to boil an egg. This is the first step. But it’s not just an egg. It’s not just boiling the egg, there’s a lot more behind that. And it’s almost can be like, it might feel embarrassing or pathetic. When you’re like, Wow, this is like how small I have to go to get started to like, do the next step. How and especially when maybe some of these folks could be all or nothing type mentality, I don’t know very often. Okay. So it’s very difficult. I found, especially people I’ve coached in fitness and nutrition to stick to like, something sustainable, and do this for a long period of time, like, they need like that. It’s, it’s all or nothing, it’s like I’m doing this hard, five, six days a week, an hour a day, or like, I can’t do the hop on for 10 minutes and just move for the day or whatever it is, right? So what’s been your Do you have any tactics for working with adults, or kids, right?

    Avigail  32:27

    All or Nothing is the fixed mentality that I’m talking about. And I bump into it all the time, I was meeting with someone who was planning a vacation for herself and her spouse and and she was, she was so anxious because it needed to be the right hotel and the right ski lodge and the right this and the right that and, and she was not able to have any joy in the process. And I said to her, I said, first we have to start this way before you start planning. You say to yourself, it’s already good. Well, it’s already good. What’s good is that my, my husband has a birthday. And that’s already great, because he’s healthy, and he has a birthday, and we have the time to get away and we have the money to spend on this vacation. It’s already good. Now, what are we adding to that? I worked very hard to get people out of that fixed mentality. And that once you get past that, and you say I’m on a journey, then you’re ready to start at the smallest step. And I actually started this program with a young client of mine absolutely adorable. She was a an 11-year-old at the time. And I the program that we started was called at a brick. And what that was is that she was very stuck in being a talented kid. She knew that everything she did had to be either gorgeous because she was an are a very artistic kid, very artistic. And everything had to be gorgeous or was garbage. There was nothing in the middle. That’s a curse, calling someone artistic instead of saying, You’re so good at choosing colors, or you’re so good at ads, being consistent with your work and you’re and you’re drawing makes everybody so happy. Those are blessings. The curse is you’re an artist because now you always have to be an artist. So there’s that’s where this sweet girl was stuck. So I said to her, our program is like this. There’s one person who wants this to neighbors, they want to have a big lot. Each one of them they want to build a house. One of them is planning and planning and wants it grandiose and beautiful. But they put so much plan into it and so many details into it that they never get it off the ground. The guy next door. He wants a house. So what does he do? He plays bricks every day. Every day goes to his lot and he puts one brick on top of the next. Now his house is not going to be so beautiful. Or maybe it will be it’ll be great. It won’t be as beautiful As the plans have the guy next door, or the guy next door doesn’t have a house. So every day, we plan our brick at the beginning of the day. And then we see at the end, what did we do? So my brick is going to be 10 minutes on the treadmill today, that’s going to be my brick, did I accomplish that, because if I can accomplish that, then I could put the next row of bricks and the next row of bricks, and then I’ve already built up something so that 10 minutes on the treadmill this week, is going to look really, really good in six months.

    Misbah Haque  35:31

    What does your time to seeing if the sticks look like so for us, like two weeks, sometimes it’d be like, Okay, if you could sustain this maybe hit your protein goals or whatever, something even smaller, like eat breakfast, then we’ll move on to the next thing, and we’ll layer after that. But two weeks is a good litmus test is like one week, you’re good, you’re motivated, but then Okay, the second week really start to like, die off, you got to find kind of what really does motivate you to stick to this. Or you at least you welcome some of the struggles that come up with sticking to it. And then you have data, right? You’re like, Well, what did actually, we may have overestimated, like, it’s not just hit your protein, like, let’s break it down even smaller, so free for you like what have you found in terms of this laying bricks concept? How many bricks is enough to kind of move someone’s ego, I guess, right, where you’re like, alright, I feel good, I’m doing this. And it starts to create that positive momentum that we want, which then can skyrocket a bunch of other stuff. 

    Avigail  36:40

    So often, I see a lot of change within about six weeks, then I see that once we pass the month point, which actually takes about a month, and when I’m sure this, to build a habit. So if I see the person’s made it past the month, and they’re already moving into the next month, then they’re usually it’s solidified, they’re doing well. But since we’re dealing with their entire personality and the whole, what I call is a huge suitcase of their past experiences that are sitting on their shoulders all the time. There’s a lot of ebb and flow. So it’s different than exercise we’re working out or, or changing a diet, although the diet is very much part of my program. And I’d love to talk to you about that. But yeah, but it’s definitely something that it will, you’ll do great, you’ll do great as great. And then you’ll have a crash, and that’s okay, I tell them always that’s built into the program, you’re gonna have a crash, and that you’re supposed to have a crash. And someone asked me the other week, what would I say to a new dad, you just had a brand new baby. Hope you have your own child one day you’re holding that baby? And what would be my advice to that dad? And I would say that dad, making mistakes is built into the cake. It’s right. It’s baked in, expect to make mistakes and expect to enjoy the journey because we learn from our mistakes. So when you take a dip, okay, what happened? There’s no such thing as failure. There’s success, and there’s a learning experience. What do you learn from this dip just now. And let’s get back up even stronger. That’s how we do it.

    Misbah Haque  38:24

    I used to use that too, because it built expectations also, right? Like, if you made it sound like it was just going to be this linear process where things do really just keep getting better, and it never likes that it’s going to hit 10 times harder. When things don’t work. The person is going to be wondering even if they don’t voice it, they’re going to be like, Ah, this is not the right program. This is not the right coach, I’m something’s wrong with me about like all the stuff that comes up. So just a simple acknowledgment regularly have that of like, Look, if let’s give this a shot, it’s an experiment. It’s not a big deal. If you can’t, like nail this more than 80% of the time, but let’s see what happens. And we may need to tweak this but you make it kind of just a norm to tweak. Tweak what you decide, right? It’s like, hey, let’s we’re starting with this. But let’s adjust and keep it open to that.

    Avigail  39:19

    The process is really what’s powerful. That’s where I’m going to prom. Embrace the process of processes your god here. This is what the power is in that it’s not in the end goal. We talked about body dysmorphia, it’s not in the end goal, that’s where your strength is it’s in making good choices every day. We’re learning from that choice every day. That’s where we’re meant to live. And that’s where I try to place people.

    Misbah Haque  39:51

    Yeah, because I’m sure that just like we talked about the all or nothing is this another trait that you see is on, And obviously outcome and goal winning oriented focus people like we want the end. That is why we’re maybe sticking to a process. And so the challenge can be, how do you just embrace the process and focus so much on that, that maybe you forget about the other stuff? Have you dealt with that type that personality type? What’s been effective when working with somebody like that? Who’s just so outcome? oriented? That getting them to focus on the process is a challenge. It can be done, I’m sure. But what have you found if you’ve dealt with that personality before?

    Avigail  40:38

    For sure. I’ve not only dealt with it in my work, but I’ve also dealt with it in my own family. And I’m all for achieving goals. Before it, I would not have put out a book or be where I am today without setting goals. And my second book is coming out pretty soon, too. So I love gold. 

    Misbah Haque  40:59

    What is it called, by the way? The second book?


    Avigail  41:03

    It’s coming out in September. So it’s already done. It’s ready to roll beautifully. It’s called hyper healing, show me the science. And it’s the scientific background of medication of the diagnosis itself. And also the historical background of ADHD where it comes from the diagnosis. And it’s interesting stuff for me. This is I love that. 

    Misbah Haque  41:25

    Okay. Well, we’ll make sure to circle back again, when that comes out.

    Avigail  41:30

    So to the person who’s very goal-oriented, so that I, that’s great. And I’m not into participation, metals, I think that we’ve gone weak, and it’s very good to have healthy competition. Kids who are in sports, have to learn how to compete honorably, and they have to learn how to lose as well. And that’s what so when we, when we’re doing these giving awards for showing up. We’re saying you’re not really worth anything, you showed up, congratulations. That’s not what we want. Well, my daughter came in yesterday from her soccer tournament, and her team won first place. That was the big deal. We sang, we danced around the kitchen, she came in with her trophy and everything and yay, fantastic that, that we want that in life. We want to celebrate that. But we also want to be able to say, What did I do today? What choices did I make today? And we focus on the choices? Did I? Did I run harder? Did I work? I was I polite during the competition? Did I give my teammate space to achieve as well. So that’s what we’re doing. We’re doing both in parallel, set big goals, set very small goals to get you toward your big goals, and learn how to focus on your choices, rather than the outcome as well.

    Misbah Haque  42:54

    So instead of even process if you even give it the word choices, that brings it down to something so granular or molecular that’s like, oh, yeah, everything is kind of built up of this choice, or that choice, or anything else on this that you would like to leave people with in terms of an actionable way that maybe we could, whether you have ADHD or I’m sure there are times and environments where you experienced some of those symptoms, and they’re heightened, or you at least your perception of it is that that’s there, then we can put to use some of what you’re saying, what would you if there’s something to take from today’s episode? What would you leave people with to kind of implement that could maybe help their focus or energy attention and streamlining towards maybe what they do want to get?

    Avigail  43:42

    So since we focus very much on the fixed mindset, and being on a journey on a path, instead of moving over to that, I would say that, first of all, it’s not just an ADHD that will put you in that fixed mindset is someone who has been through trauma or abuse or has had a lot of messages that were very fixed and even being told you’re beautiful, or you’re smart, or things like that, that will also set you on a path have always needed to be beautiful. So you’re always looking over your shoulder wondering if anyone else who just walked in the room was more beautiful than me, and being obsessed with that. And, and therefore, I would say that that’s the first step is self-kindness. You have to realize I’ve been stuck in something I didn’t create for myself. This was an environmental cause. But I’m here on this earth to accomplish something. I’m not here to feel sorry for myself. I’ve been jam-packed with some amazing qualities and values and I can go forward but the first thing I have to do is kindly understand that I’ve been hijacked a little bit and it’s time to get out of that. So start there, start by saying, I’m a good person, and I should be respected as I am. And then reintroduce yourself to yourself, see what your values are? What are your unique, unique characteristics, no two people are the same? And we’re all on this earth for different reasons. To see who you are. And I would say the other thing I want to add because we’ve talked a lot about how to get yourself out of that fixed mindset. But the most powerful way to get away from a fixed mindset is gratitude. Wake up in the morning, and be thankful for what is now my home, my family, my health, the strength I have this morning, and go to bed at night, saying thank you for what has been. And that will keep us always feel always present in this moment. So add self-kindness and gratitude. And always keep focusing on that journey, and brick, and another brick. And, and you should be able to really go very far that way.

    Misbah Haque  46:12

    I tried this thing where like, instead of a to-do list, I’ll do like a to-done list where outright stuff as I go. And it makes me feel so much better. Because I’m like, Oh, I don’t know, sometimes the To-Do lists can be very, it can constrain you, or paralyze you, Oh, which one do I do first? Which one do I do next? But like if you’re just kind of acting, and you’re like, I do have to do this and do something, then you’re just kind of doing it and you get evidence at the end of the list or the day where you’re like, oh, I did all these things, which I’m sure based on what you’ve described with, like, all or nothing and outcome-oriented personality types that can be a common thing is like, I’m not doing enough, that kind of circles back to the all or nothing thing. So the other thing that I really took away was what you mentioned around action versus like identity. So instead of saying like, I’m a writer, right, that’s like identity, that you’re an artist like you said, or I’m beautiful or whatever. It’s like, rewarding the action that goes into maybe that identity like, Oh, I am someone who writes or I’m someone who

    Avigail  47:18

    I make choices. Right today.


    Misbah Haque  47:24

    So I guess I get that. And that’s a huge shift. Like, I don’t know if growing up even now, or like seeing it with my younger cousins and stuff. Like, it’s still kind of in our culture in society to like, be praising the title, like, what’s the title? How do you describe the title, right? So and then reading books like James clears atomic habits and stuff, he talks about using identity, right? You use the identity want to, like contribute actions that feed that identity, but at the same time, it can also I feel like, like you said, work against you where you’re just so wrapped up in that one, when we’re not really just one dimensional. This is my identity, we have maybe three to five that are revolving around maybe throughout the day. So keeping it more action-oriented, or choices oriented, makes a void because Orient, I would say yeah, yeah, it makes it very immediate, I would say so. Yeah, I found this very helpful for me. Because I can definitely exhibit I think some of the symptoms you mentioned, not not like, I don’t think I need Ritalin or something like that. But some of the tips you mentioned, were helpful for me to think about, where can we keep up with your book, release more social stuff anywhere you kind of hang out and people can support what you’re doing?

    Avigail  48:43

    Absolutely. So you can visit my website, which is And people definitely write me messages there. And I respond. And I’m always happy to give people extra tips or direction or answer a question. Also on Instagram, at hyper healing that ADHD on LinkedIn, of course, I’ve got Elgin pal, and sort of on Facebook, but I try not to be no way off. And my book, hyper healing is available on Amazon. So check it out there. And yeah, that’s, that’s where you could find me, but I’m very definitely accessible, and very much happy to help out.

    Misbah Haque  49:26

    Thank you so much for sharing your valuable time and insight with us today. I think you brought just a lot of data that would take years and so much energy for us to mind through ourselves. And so thanks for distilling and consolidated a lot of like just what you’ve seen, not just in books and the DSM five or whatever, but in actual life, and in working with a variety of people. So, thanks again, and we’ll make sure to get all that stuff, the deputy show notes.

    Avigail  49:54

    With pleasure. Thank you so much for having me.


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