Hey Coach,

What if I told you that ADHD could be a superpower for you, an entrepreneur?

Michelle Evans certainly didn’t think so when she was diagnosed in her forties. But after becoming a certified life coach for empty nester moms, she discovered that her ADHD, when harnessed properly, was the key to success.

However, the journey was not easy, as Michelle struggled with the organizational aspect of her business. But through collaboration and a willingness to seek help, Michelle found tools and techniques that worked for her.

Are you ready to unlock the potential of your ADHD and take your entrepreneurial journey to the next level?

In this episode, you’ll discover how Michelle Evans, the adventure-seeking life coach with a brain wired for entrepreneurship, overcame the paradox of ADHD by finding the personalized tools to increase productivity and success.

In this episode, I’ll show you how to:

  • Meet Michelle Evans and find out how she found coaching
  • Gain insights into transforming ADHD challenges into business triumphs.
  • Find out which tools are perfect for fueling entrepreneurial brains with ADHD.
  • Understand the difference between ADHD and Executive Functions.
  • Know what NOT to do when you are challenged with certain executive functions.

The key moments in this episode are:

02:24 – How Michelle Got into Coaching,
03:54 – Helping Empty Nester Moms with Adventures,
08:28 – Starting a Business with ADHD,
11:11 – Understanding Executive Function and ADHD,
14:53 – The Importance of Finding the Right Coach for ADHD,
17:01 – From Filing Structure to Prioritization,
20:39 – Can You Learn a Skill Like Organizing When You Have ADHD?
27:24 – Managing ADHD and Getting Organized,

 

Your Close-the-Gap Coach,

Tracy Hoth's Signature

 

Resources Mentioned:

The Client TrackerConfidently manage your clients with this all-in-one system. 50% off right now.

Michelle Evans, The Adventure Coach:
Website (Book a “Plan Your First Adventure” call by clicking the button on the bottom right)
Free Adventure Guide
Instagram

Article About ADHD and Executive Functions

FREE File Naming Formula Cheatsheet
Get Time Freedom with a Systemized and Organized Business 
FREE Workshop: 3 Secrets to Organize Your Digital Files 

Connect with me:

Website 
Email 
Instagram 

Subscribe and Listen:

If you’re loving what you’re learning on this podcast every week – the strategies, how-tos, and time-saving ideas to set up your organized and systemized business so you can work less and scale – please follow, rate, and review by heading to Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts.

I’m getting better and better at being me. – Michelle Evans

Transcript with time stamps:

This is it. My very first podcast guest, Michelle Evans. I’m so excited you’re here. Why don’t you introduce yourself and tell us what you do?

Hi. My name’s Michelle Evans and I am a certified life coach, and I work with empty-nester moms that are transitioning to empty nesting and they want to get into adventures.

I raised six kids for 27 years, and when I was done raising kids, it was like I couldn’t even remember who I was anymore. I was like, what? Wait, what? So yeah, I went through that transition myself and so it’s really dear to my heart to be able to help people be able to start adventuring

Tell me how you got into coaching, and then I want to know why ‘adventure’? What do you like about adventure?

I got into coaching because I was like this insane mom. Ooh. Tell me more. What’s that look like? I just was yelling and I didn’t love how I showed up. I wasn’t loving who I was even at work.

I didn’t love how I would show up. My boss would call me in and I would get so offended, so worked up, and I was so sensitive, he even asked me a few times like, why are you so sensitive? I just have questions about work and I was taking so many things personally, and I couldn’t figure out why.

I couldn’t figure out why it was such a problem for me and why was I acting like a crazy person. I wanted to figure out how could I do better. I had read a couple of books and that was helpful but then I stumbled onto coaching. My sister actually sent me a podcast and I listened to it and I was like, wait a minute.

What? Wait, what’s happening here? I need this in my life. Like yesterday, well, like 20 years ago, but today for sure. I signed up to start getting coached and I watched people get coached. It completely changed how I was showing up: in my professional life, how I was showing up in my personal life, how I was showing up in my marriage, how I was showing up for myself.

Yeah, it was such a great transition into a better version of me. So I like to say that I’m getting better and better at being me. Oh, I love

that. That needs to be my quote. Yeah. But too, when, I love when coaches have that impact on people. Their clients found coaching and it’s impacted their life and changed their life so much.

Now you’re helping women find adventure. Why adventure?

I’d always seen people’s pictures doing fun things and I’d wanted to try some of this stuff but it seemed kind of intimidating. I was in my mid-forties and I was thinking that it looked kind of scary. But when I found coaching, I recognized that I was creating a lot of my own drama and I getting in my own way because I didn’t have any physical limitations.

What was getting in my way was fear, anxiety and some overwhelm. I figured out how to start doing some of those things I had wanted to do. I started with small steps and began hiking and mountain biking. Then I started backpacking, and canyoneering. I’d ski in the winter – I’d always downhill skied so I tried cross-country skiing. I wanted to try a variety of sports and so many people were commenting on my posts for example, “Oh my gosh! How do you do all this stuff?”

I decided there was a real need for women to be able to feel empowered and be able to get past their own fears. They need to look after their own safety and be in tune with their own intuition of like, what is actually dangerous versus what is in my own brain coming up with. Which is just fear.

Putting yourself in those situations really brings out all of your thoughts, struggles, and challenges, and you’re gonna help other women through those by being a good example.

When you’re out there doing these adventures, you discover what issues come up and then you realize that you’re able to figure out things like, this worked and this didn’t so that next time you know and can do things differently.

It’s a learning process and being willing to be a beginner and be willing to try something new is really exhilarating.  Yes.

In my mind, I sometimes feel that exhilarating might be an overstatement. I personally want to be adventurous. Luckily, my family forces me a lot to do some adventurous things For example, I am a hiker.

We go to a lot of National Parks, for example, we went to Angel’s Landing to hike. Oh, and we went to Zion. Yeah, Zion. We were on our way over to California and we hiked Angel’s Landing and, okay, I am not adventurous, I just want to do something once. I was scared to death, but I did it and I’ll never need to do that again.

Yeah. Well, usually you wanna start out slow. You don’t need to go straight for Angels Landing, that can be a really scary hike. You need to find out a little about it. Some spots need permits. There they do a lottery system, so we were drawn. Yeah.

Okay. So I’ve been, I’ve done angels lining up a couple of times.

Oh my, what a bragger. Not a couple of times. Well, one time was in college. Right. But, you know, a few years ago, I went probably six years ago, but it was before the lottery, and so there was. Thousands of people and you’re all up close and like scooting past people and the lottery system made it so much more beautiful.

Yeah, I’ve seen a lot of people’s feedback that they really love that and it’s a little less crowded. You don’t need a blinker to merge with the traffic of hikers.

Yes. I thought it was decent, not completely packed. I could imagine what it would’ve been like and that would’ve been even more terrifying.

We got back to the hotel that night and looked up on the internet how many people have died on that hike. When we found out, we started sweating in our beds just thinking about it. That’s how you know your thoughts cause your body’s feelings and reactions. Absolutely.

Okay, so when have a guest, I like to ask them what specific area they want to focus on that will help my audience create results related to organizing, systemizing, and scaling their business. Your answer was that you want to talk about having ADHD and how it’s affected you as an entrepreneur. So tell me about that.

Tell me what it was like to start your business with ADHD. First of all, with ADHD  I have a hard time just staying on one track. I there are a lot of tasks, then it’s like I’m horizontal and paralyzed all at once. I can’t move; I can’t do anything. I could see that there was a lot of work that had to be done, but I couldn’t put it together in my mind a systematic way to get things finished,

I couldn’t figure out even what comes first. Even though I had a business coach that was giving me that structure, the way that she coached and laid things out was structured, it just didn’t work with my brain. I could not for the life of me connect the dots. I was spinning in indecision.

There’s no amount of coaching that coaches you out of having this lack of executive function. I wanted to do the things she suggested, but I just couldn’t see a clear path. Mm-hmm. And, yeah.

Did you know you had ADHD since were younger? When were you diagnosed?

I knew. I was tested a few times when I was younger and every time they would say, “She talks a lot in school and she has a hard time staying on task, but she’s well adapted socially so we don’t think it’s ADHD.” But then as an adult, I saw that it started to manifest more, and then in my forties, I was actually diagnosed.

Hmm. That’s kind of interesting with how you started. With yelling or being hypersensitive to what your boss was saying too, like those seem to correlate a little bit. So you then found out you had ADHD and did you start treatment or did you find coaching?

Yes. Yeah, and just being aware of that.

Having ADHD is one of the things that brings in that super sensitivity. Was just having that awareness like, oh, like this isn’t a problem. That actually helped me bring some of those emotions down so they weren’t so intense because before I didn’t have a really good explanation for them.

I felt like I was this wild hair all the time that could just be set off at a moment’s notice and I didn’t know why. It was just beyond my understanding. Then I found coaching. I started researching. I follow a bunch of coaches that have ADHD and listen to some podcasts.

Once I was diagnosed, that was extremely helpful. It helped me understand that there’s nothing that’s gone wrong here and that there were reasons why I was feeling and acting the way I was. I just hadn’t known. Mm-hmm. It was kind of crazy.

I think just you saying that is gonna help so many people. Someone just told me that something like 80% of entrepreneurs can’t remember if she said has ADHD.

I think that’s what she said. Now I haven’t looked that quote up or anything but, if you don’t realize that that’s what is causing the chaos and then they get into a program or a course, or you know, their task list, and they can’t seem to get it together. People sometimes think they have a character flaw and that they’re just not able to do it.

I love that you share what you went through and how you felt. Yeah. there wasn’t any thought work I had to do. I didn’t have thoughts that were preventing me, right? I just have, you know, this executive functioning and, and it manifests for everybody a little bit differently. There’s a whole spectrum of how it manifests.

For me, that was one of the ways that it manifested. It was just this feeling of not being able to get going, and then when I actually get going and then I stop, then it’s hard to get going again. I asked myself, “What’s my problem?” And I would sit there and say, “Come on!”  You know? Once I know about ADHS I realized that this is not a huge problem and that there were answers. I just have to have some other tools in place to help me be successful. Yeah.

Really quickly, I’ve been doing some research. I’m reading a book on executive skills and functions and how to be successful when you feel scattered.

I looked up ADHD as an official diagnosis. An executive function is a term that refers to weaknesses in the brain for the self-management system. The difference is you could have ADHD and definitely will struggle with executive function, but you can struggle with executive functions and not have ADHD.

I was looking up some of the things that someone with ADHD will experience and found that there are many areas of executive function impairment. A few of them relate to what I do – disorganization problems, prioritizing, poor time management skills, problems focusing on a task, trouble multitasking. excessive activity or restlessness, and poor planning.

It’s funny that you mentioned that some of those are in there. Everyone’s going to have something different that they’re challenged with or it really shows up in different areas. What did you do then, because you were struggling with this? What did you decide to do to get help or figure out how to fill that gap?

So one of the things that I do really well is perform under pressure. When I was working in a corporate or government position I had a boss, somebody that was over me, and I had deadlines that I had to meet. I would procrastinate to a certain point, but I could always meet the deadline because I could super hyper-focus right when the deadline came and I would get it done.

When I decided to start my own business, I had no boss, and deadlines were coming and going but there was nobody there to apply that pressure that I perform well under. What I did was I actually hired you and that created that system that I needed where I needed to complete this task for this week.

I knew that the next week you were going to ask me, “Where are you at? How did you do? How did these things go?” I knew that that was coming, so it created a pressure situation that had me dial in and be able to get things done. I needed to do it in a very organized, structured way, and I just totally relied on you to give me the steps in a way that made sense and that I would, at the end, be able to put it together.

What’s funny is you think you relied on me, which you know, there is some truth in that, but you made a whole list of all the things you wanted to accomplish in our time together. I don’t even know if I had to adjust anything. Maybe I marked them down, we talked about it and we prioritized them. We just went down the list.

Yes, you didn’t come to me because you knew I could help you do that necessarily. I mean, I think you signed up for a file structure organizing call. I’ll always remember you said, “I almost didn’t sign up for this.” Why was

that? Well, my thought was that I didn’t know if you work with people with ADHD.

I wanted somebody that kind of understood that this was an issue that was not a thought problem, right? I didn’t wanna be coached on my thoughts. It’s just an ADHD issue. It’s an executive functioning issue that I have and that I’m aware of. So I wasn’t sure because I wasn’t familiar with you. I had seen you and I had seen some of your stuff.

You were off offering this call for file structure and my files were all over the place. My idea of organizing is just to make a new file. So I would have this file here and then the same file named something else over here. Things were everywhere. I didn’t know how to find anything. I’ve always been interested in organizing and being more organized, but I lack the ability to set up the framework.

I decided to put myself out on a limb here. I’m signed up for a free call. I wanted to see what the system was and thought maybe it ccould help me. So, yeah, I signed up.

You signed up for the call and I remember when we went over your file structure, you said, “Wow, this makes sense to me.”

Or something like that. Do you remember what you said? Yeah, it was so easy and I wondered why could I not pull that out of my brain. Right? Like, why couldn’t I set this up? And I don’t know why. I just think that it’s just, I can follow it when it’s in place. So I set out a day and I decided that I was just gonna organize, which is actually really counterintuitive because it sounds a little bit daunting.

But I was thinking, “I’m just gonna organize. Sort. I’m just gonna sort my files. That’s all I’m gonna do. I’m going to do my personal ones. I’m gonna put them in this folder, I’m gonna put my business ones over there, and that’s how I’m gonna start. That’s all I’m gonna do.” I had to give myself just a very small baby step because if I looked at my Google Drive, I have my personal stuff and my business stuff, and all of it was everywhere.

Yeah.

Yes, that’s the first step of organizing – to sort. Now you have these folders to sort into, and I remember at the end of our call we talked about where you were at. What do you need? You were telling me you needed help prioritizing. This thing is so confusing. I’m just not sure.

I said that I totally can help you with that. I don’t think you signed up right then. I think you talked to me later and said, “Okay, I’m ready.” Yeah. I think it was a couple of weeks. Yeah. Yeah, cuz I think you did, you asked me something about how could I help you. And, so I told you all of those things and the way that you framed it, I knew I needed somebody who had that ability to lay that out for me in a really structured way because it takes away some of that overwhelm.

Because if I start doing stuff and then I can’t find it, I save it here and there, it’s on my desktop and it’s not in my Google Drive, then I cannot find anything. I was layering on additional confusion, but then when I was working with you, it was just very clean and very clear, This is where this goes.

I would have a call with you and beforehand think I’m totally confused, I don’t know where to put this. You would say that that’s not a problem. And you helped me to set all the basic structure up to really get started and be organized. You helped me to be able to put my finger on things really quickly as opposed to just searching and searching and searching and then giving up.

Yes. And what you just said there too, when you’re searching and can’t find something, that puts a stop in your path. You were saying earlier that when you stop, it’s hard to get restarted. When you stop because you can’t find something, then all of a sudden you’re done. It’s not something you automatically have even if you have your file structure in place, I mean, it takes practice, right?

It takes practice to remember, “Okay, how did we see it? What’s the vision of it?”I had to remember the bird’s eye view of how we structure things. I had only five or six main categories.  I can remember practicing thinking that, but I remember one time you came to a call and you said, “I just woke up in the middle of the night. I went and organized my files for two hours and it was really fun.”

I could not believe that. I didn’t think I would ever say that.

That was really fun. It was fun because I had a structure that I could start to move into. It would, if I was trying to set it up, it would’ve been overwhelming and daunting, and I would’ve never thought in the middle of the night that was a good idea.

I would’ve just scrolled TikTok.

That’s awesome. I love it. Okay. you were saying that berating yourself doesn’t help you get organized. Tell me more about that.

So I, like I said, I wanted to be organized and I would club myself with my mental chatter and say, “Come on, you can figure this out.”

Even in my corporate jobs, I had a hard time following some structure. I had people that came in as a new hire who would say, “I do not understand this filing system.” I understood that because there was no system. It was just everywhere.

That piece was so frustrating for me. Being able to plug that gap with a coach who has the ability to be very organized was just so helpful. That’s true.

Can I answer your question? Yeah, totally. It’s true that we all have things that don’t come naturally, right?

We can berate ourselves. We can be mad about it. We can try and try on our own, or we can just go get help from someone that is good at that. It’s all a mental talk. We think that we don’t know how to do something. It’s just okay. I’m just willing to admit that this is something that I struggle with and so I’m willing to get some help.

I just imagine someone’s thinking that I can go get help with that, but is there anything I’m gonna take away and be able to do on my own or be better once I’ve learned that? Or will that be something forever, that there’s a gap there? What’s your thought on that?

That is so interesting because I think that there’s a gap of knowledge and wonder if I can fill it.

Even having ADHD, I wonder if I can still learn a skill. I ask myself that all the time. Can I learn this skill? So just working with you on just the filing structure, I recognize that. I really want to organize my pictures – I have a million pictures. I have six kids and their photos are everywhere. I have, well, not everywhere. I have them in a drawer, but there’s no rhyme or reason.

They’re just thrown in there because that’s someplace I can put them.  I was looking at the way that you organize and think that I can get them organized on my own. All I need to do is put six boxes, one with each kid’s name, and then a family box, because I want my own pictures, and then I can just open that drawer and start putting pictures in the right box.

That would be the first step. So I think that if there was something I learned was that if I have a bigger task, something huge, I would probably bring somebody in to help me. Especially when it comes to like like my computer systems, like all my logins, my sign-ins, my, you know, all of that.

It’s very helpful to have somebody help. I would love at some point to just offload that on somebody that has really good organization skills and do it for me. That’s what my daughter helped someone do. She restructured all of her lists on her phone and put her passwords in one spot altogether.

The fact that you think that organizing your photos is just like a little task versus a bigger task, like you said, or a harder task is funny. Most people would put off organizing their photos until the very, very, very last thing if they ever do it because it’s such a daunting task and you’re like, “Yeah, I just need to get seven boxes and start sorting.”

That’s awesome.

I think I could take myself through that system, your system of organizing. I think I could get an end result where my kids’ pictures would be in photo albums and I would just give myself a lot of time. I love those tools that you gave me and so I think it’s something I can learn, but I think I’m also not afraid.

To have somebody help me and to have someone to ask for help when I need it is really important. I don’t have time to dilly-dally. I am turning 50 – the last thing I want to do is try and pretend like I know how to do something that I don’t know how to do.

Yeah. It’s more fun, and faster, if you have someone there helping you do it.

I’m all about short-cutting things. Wait, wait, what? Somebody’s good at this. Okay. I’m in. Yeah.

That’s awesome. So while we worked together, we went through a whole task. You completed your funnel, you launched it, and you just got your first consult. It’s so exciting. I know. My open rate is around 60%!

Oh my goodness.  The  CLO (cost per lead) is $1.36. I figured it out this morning and I was excited! A dollar thirty-six is amazing.

Yes, that’s so good. Now I have another client that is in the same situation as you were. We’re going to be systemizing a little bit of what she’s doing, but one of the things she says is it’s just having someone there too to talk things through with that’s helpful.

If you’re in a group coaching you can help share what you’ve learned like we just came up with it because you have a process. You just don’t know yet what it is. And I said, “Yeah, so what is it?”

I said, “Well, how do you do it?”You just started telling me, we wrote it down and that it. It was good. That is a process.

Yeah. I remember thinking, “I love my process!”  I see all these other people, they say you have to do it like this and thought that  I didn’t want to do that. I thought that sounded terrible. But once we figured out what works for me and what works for my brain, then I was oay

The other thing that we worked on was my to-do list. It wasn’t like a lot of people that talk about Monday Hour One – I am not Monday Hour One girl. I can keep Monday Hour One on Monday and maybe on Tuesday and by Wednesday I can’t even remember what I scheduled. I wondered why I scheduled what I did. So it didn’t work. It just doesn’t work for me.

I scheduled things on my phone and I put reminders in. Well, every time I pick up my phone, that would be a distraction, and so I could not put it on my phone because I would go down a rabbit hole. I would get a notification reminding me to do this thing, and then I’d be scrolling on Instagram and I’d look up and it had been an hour.

That was another thing that was a no for me. I tried some paper planners, but I lost them. There’s this constant thing trying to figure out what works for your brain. What I figured out works for my brain is I have one of those big, huge Post-it whiteboards – the flip chart paper one. Every week I just draw seven squares. I put Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and next week. Ooh, I love that. Then I just write the things that I need to get done on Monday and Tuesday, and then I know on Wednesday usually I’m doing some coaching calls, and then Thursday I try and block off for adventures.

Friday is my catch-up day if there was anything on my list that I didn’t complete. Sometimes I don’t complete everything anyway. I decided that that was just going to have to be okay. If I avoided something for five weeks, I decided I would just take it off my list because it’s not gonna happen. So I did.

I mean, unless it’s something I HAD to get done then, then I would have to stop and think, “What’s my hangup here?” And just try and get started.

That’s part of it too, I try to think where I can help people or another coach. Can I help someone pull out what their system is and then test things? Even if you have ADHD or have some executive function that you’re lacking, it doesn’t mean that I don’t have an answer for you.

We say we’re going to test this for a week and come back to see how it went. Maybe test it for another week. Maybe try something different or figure out why you didn’t follow through and go from there. I like to help figure out what actually works for you. You telling me about your planning system for the week where you use the paper board makes me want a paper board!

I’m going to think, “Be like Michelle.” Ha! I just had to have it so big and right in my face so that I didn’t forget. Right! And I had to leave my phone in the other room no matter what so that I could work. I told myself that no matter what, I’m going to work for four hours. I can either sit here and stare at myself and do nothing (but not at my phone) or I can start checking things off the list.

With ADHD there’s a lack of dopamine, but you can start to give yourself dopamine. And when I give myself a check mark that I’ve done something, I get a little “Yeah!” That is the dopamine you needed. Yep. Okay. Anything else?

What is one action that someone listening could take to get organized, call you, or schedule a call with you? What’s one action?

I would say that if you’re looking at your business, start out by sorting your priorities. Just start by sorting what your priorities are and deciding which thing is most important because everything can’t be at the top of the list. We like to try and think it is.

So sorting, just your priorities. And then start working on those.

Perfect. I know I have an episode that’s about the five steps – sorting, purging, assigning homes, setting limits, and maintaining. So I talk about an example in there of how you sort your mind, how you sort your to-do list or organize your to-do list. Go and listen to that episode.

How can someone find you, Michelle, if they are approaching empty-nesting or if they’re in that stage and adventuring is a little bit intriguing to them? What should they do?

You can follow me on Instagram. I’m at @michelle_evans.life and on TikTok – either one. I’m mainly on Instagram right now.

I also have a free freebie that I can give you the link for your show notes that people can click on and they can get their five-step adventure guide to how to start like planning your first adventure. Awesome. So you can like just start getting out there

and I’ll put a link too to get on a phone call with you.

Yes, anybody can do an adventure call with me and I can help you figure out what it is you wanna do, what sounds interesting, and if there is a fear that is keeping you stuck. We’ll dig into what kind of fear that is – what it is and how we overcome it.

Awesome, I love it. Thank you so much for being here.

Yeah, it was so much fun.

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Tracy Hoth