Embracing Intensity

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Feb 19, 2024

In this episode of the Embracing Intensity Podcast, we bring you an inspiring conversation with Cosette "Coco" Leary. Coco’s gripping story takes us on a journey from her days as a welfare recipient to eventually becoming a celebrated motivational speaker and entrepreneur. Her story is laced with determination, resilience, and overcoming adversity to redefine herself on her own terms. Join us as we delve into Coco's remarkable life journey.

Coco candidly shares her life from being a welfare recipient to ascending to the realms of high-profile activism and motivational speaking. We learn about her early struggles with poverty, systemic barriers, and personal hurdles that conditioned her resilience and determination to achieve her dreams. Coco speaks passionately about her staunch belief in the power of perseverance, community, education, and self-belief. She beautifully illustrates how she transformed a life limited by societal expectations into a path teeming with promise and endless potential.

Coco’s inspiring story delivers a powerful message about fighting for one’s dreams despite being in the face of adversity. This episode is a testament to the power of resilience, the quest for education, and the determination to change the narrative regardless of one's background. Tune in for a dose of intense inspiration!

In this episode:

  • Coco shares the pivotal role desperation played in building her resilience.

  • Her brave initiative to pen a letter to a CEO that opened new avenues in her life.

  • The importance of having a support system and the role sisterhood played in Coco's life.

  • How her children’s unmet needs in public schools led her to homeschooling, and the benefits thereof.

  • The impactful experience of her stint in Capitol Hill in D.C which led her to establish her empire.

  • Coco’s vision for transforming societal norms through increased social connection and community support.


CoCo's Website

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Feb 6, 2024

In this episode of the Embracing Intensity Podcast, host Aurora interviews Kaitlin Smith, a scholar, facilitator, and founder of Our Wild Minds. Kaitlin shares her journey as a gifted BIPOC individual, her work in supporting gifted adults, and her research on the history of mind sciences. Join Aurora and Kaitlin as they explore the intersections between intensity, cultural dynamics, and personal growth.

In this interview, Aurora and Kaitlin delve into Kaitlin's experiences as a gifted BIPOC individual, the challenges she faced growing up, and the cultural factors that affected her self-expression. They discuss how Kaitlin uses her intensity to make a positive impact and navigate the complex dynamics of the workplace. Kaitlin also shares her insights on harnessing the power of intensity and helping others do the same through her community platform, Our Wild Minds.

Join Aurora and Kaitlin as they delve into the complexities of intensity and its transformative potential in this thought-provoking episode of the Embracing Intensity Podcast.

In This Episode:

  • Kaitlin's journey as a scholar, facilitator, and founder of Our Wild Minds.

  • The intersections between the history of mind sciences and African American studies in Kaitlin's research.

  • The challenges Kaitlin faced growing up in a predominantly white suburb and the conflicting expectations placed upon her as a gifted Black individual.

  • The impact of cultural dynamics on expression and the pressure to conform to societal expectations.

  • How Kaitlin uses her fire for good through various roles, including her work as a PhD student, teaching fellow, and community builder.

  • The importance of clarity, deprogramming, and prioritizing values in harnessing the power of intensity.

  • Kaitlin's insights on creating space for connection, introspection, learning, manifestation, and giving back through Our Wild Minds.

  • The empowering message that it's never too late to embrace authenticity and live a life aligned with your true self.


Kaitlin's Website

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Jan 22, 2024

In this age of rapid and overwhelming information, how does one choose what is important to learn? Opportunities to play are opportunities to learn. Play allows us to imagine ourselves in different realities, in different worlds where the rules are different, where we can be different. In these alternate worlds, we can demand more for ourselves. In these worlds, we can identify our needs and build rules and systems to meet our deepest needs. Just as someone imagined the world you see around you right now; the one in which neurodivergent needs go largely unmet - through play, we can imagine a world in which neurodivergent needs are met.

In this episode of the Embracing Intensity Podcast, host Aurora and Dr. Kimberly Douglas discuss the power of play in decolonizing neurodivergence. Dr. Douglas shares her insights on the relationship between play, imagination, and decolonization, and how they intersect in the context of gaming and world building.

They discuss the power of immersion, imagination, and safety in fostering a state of play, and how play can be a catalyst for expanding thinking and problem-solving. They explore the connection between play and power dynamics in society, particularly within the context of colonization. Dr. Douglas also shares her perspective on the need to decolonize neurodivergence and challenge oppressive systems that limit the expression of neurodivergent identities. The conversation concludes with a reflection on the possibilities and challenges of embracing play and creativity as tools for personal and societal transformation.

Stay tuned for this insightful conversation on play, decolonization, and embracing neurodivergent identities. Make sure to check out Dr. Kimberly Douglas' work and follow her on social media for more valuable insights.

About Kimberly:

Dr Kimberly Douglass is coach/consultant to Neurodivergent Adults.

Dr Douglass is currently constructing the first design studio of its kind, run by AuDHDers, for AuDHDers.

Dr Douglass became a full-time coach after working as staff, peer-reviewed researcher, faculty and administrator in higher education for over 17 years. She began the neurodivergence advocacy work over 13 years ago when she became the chief advocate for her Son who is neurodivergent. She has since gotten more in touch with her own neurodivergence. Dr Douglass is married to Dean Tate and lives in Tennessee.

In this episode:

  • Dr. Douglas shares her background and expertise in working with neurodivergent individuals.

  • The importance of safety and immersion in fostering a state of play.

  • Play encourages imagination, ideation, and thinking outside the box

  • The relationship between play and imagination, and the role of play in expanding thinking and problem-solving.

  • How neurodivergence challenges societal expectations and the worker role

  • The connection between play and power dynamics in society, and the need to decolonize neurodivergence.

  • Why decolonizing neurodivergence requires understanding larger systems of oppression

  • The possibilities and challenges of embracing play and creativity as tools for personal and societal transformation.

  • Permission to play and decolonize can bring up grief but also opens up possibilities


Dr. Kimberly Douglass on TikTok

Learn more about Dr. Kimberly Douglass

I Must be Bug'n Podcast w/ Sheldon Gay

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Jan 9, 2024

Are you a gifted or neurodivergent perfectionist struggling to overcome the damaging effects of perfectionism? 

In this episode of the Embracing Intensity podcast, host Aurora Remember Holtzman invites special guest Aileen Kelleher, a therapist and life coach, to delve into the topic of overcoming perfectionism. Together, they explore the intersection between perfectionism and giftedness and discuss the various ways in which perfectionism can impact our lives. From high expectations and low self-esteem to time limits and parental expectations, Aurora and Aileen shed light on the challenges faced by perfectionists and provide practical strategies for managing perfectionistic tendencies and fostering self-compassion.

Join the Embracing Intensity community at to dive deeper into understanding and overcoming your own perfectionism. Gain access to courses, tools, and support from like-minded individuals who appreciate and celebrate the power of high personal standards. You can also, explore the free self-regulation workbook for gifted and neurodivergent adults, titled "Harnessing the Power of Your Intensity," which offers a practical guide for overcoming perfectionism and embracing your unique abilities. Visit the show notes or for more information and resources.

In this episode:

- The definition and negative impact of perfectionism, including its association with depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem.
- Overlaps between perfectionism and giftedness, such as high expectations, sensitivity, and self-criticism.
- The unhealthy coping mechanisms often employed by perfectionists, such as procrastination and avoidance.
- Strategies for managing perfectionism, including incremental steps, setting realistic goals, and practicing self-compassion.
- The importance of recognizing and embracing the messy nature of overcoming perfectionism and learning new skills.
- The role of self-compassion and cultivating present-moment awareness in overcoming perfectionism and achieving high performance.
- The damaging effects of perfectionism on daily life, relationships, and emotional well-being.
- Practical tips for parents and educators to support gifted children and help them navigate the pressures of perfectionism.
- The unique challenges faced by neurodivergent individuals in managing perfectionistic behaviors and finding balance in their lives.

By addressing the problem of perfectionism and providing practical strategies for overcoming it, this episode offers valuable insights and guidance for high achievers, gifted individuals, and neurodivergent adults who struggle with the damaging effects of perfectionism in their own lives. Tune in to gain a deeper understanding of perfectionism and learn how to cultivate self-compassion and embrace your unique abilities. 


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Dec 5, 2023

In this episode of the "Embracing Intensity" podcast, host Aurora brings on a special guest, Cate Osburn, better known on social media as Catieosaurus. As a certified sex educator with an emphasis on neurodivergency and intimacy, Cate sparks much-needed conversations, tackling topics others often shy away from. With her unique insights drawn from personal experiences and her role as a sex educator, she brings a nuanced understanding of how neurodivergency can interact with intimacy and sex.

Throughout the episode, Cate and Aurora, among other topics, delve into the intersection of neurodivergence and intimacy, discuss the impacts of societal norms on sex and relationships, and provide tangible strategies to navigate through intimacy issues. Cate advocates for self-advocacy, shedding light on the importance of open and honest communication within relationships.

In a world that rarely discusses the intersection of intimacy and neurodivergence, this conversation with Catieosaurus is a breath of fresh air providing valuable insights, strategies, and reassurance that you are not alone in your struggles. Catch up on this enlightening conversation today.

Use the link in the podcast description to join our Embracing Intensity community to access our courses and tools designed to help you use your own intensity without getting burned! Explore different podcast episodes, meet like-minded individuals, and enjoy self-paced learning to better understand and grow from your experiences.

In this episode:

  • The relationship and challenges between neurodivergence and intimacy.

  • Tips for navigating sensory issues during sexual activities, such as using tools like headphones.

  • An examination of problematic gender dynamics that can play out in intimate relationships.

  • Ways to manage relationship satisfaction amidst the challenges of neurodivergency.

  • How to distinguish between drama and passion in relationships.

  • The importance of self- advocacy, allowing for the fulfilling and authentic expression of our needs.

  • The concept of "Ask culture" versus "Guess culture" and the effects on relationships and intimacy.


Catieosaurus’ Website

Embracing Intensity Memberships

New Printed Planner


Jul 31, 2023

This week on Embracing Intensity, I share my experience with the physical and emotional exhaustion that comes with severe burnout. In this episode, I share updates on my personal life that have contributed to burnout, dive into my recovery process and discuss how to overcome burnout symptoms. I also share a preview of what I have coming up as I recover from burnout this summer!

Burnout can affect every aspect of your life, from your job to your personal relationships. It's important to recognize the signs of burnout early on and take the necessary steps to address it. Whether it's through improving your work-life balance, seeking social support, or making small changes to your daily routine, there are ways to recover and find relief from burnout.

Recent research has shown that burnout is not just a result of long hours and excessive stress, but also a combination of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion. It can take a toll on your physical health, immune system, and even your mental well-being. That's why it's crucial to prioritize self-care and engage in activities that promote relaxation and rejuvenation.

Join Me

In this podcast, we'll explore various burnout recovery techniques, such as incorporating physical activity, spending quality time with friends, and getting enough sleep. We'll also discuss the importance of spending time on things we love, seeking professional help when needed, and finding support from friends, family members, and colleagues.

Join me as we navigate the journey of burnout recovery together. I'll share my personal experiences, as well as insights from experts in the field, to help you create a burnout recovery plan that works for you. Whether you're a busy professional, a parent, or someone struggling with burnout in any area of your life, this podcast is here to provide guidance and support.

So, grab a cup of tea, find a cozy spot, and let's embark on the path to burnout recovery. Remember, you're not alone, and there is hope for a full recovery. Let's get started.

In this episode:

  • I discuss my recent absence from content creation due to burnout and chronic headaches.

  • Factors that have contributed to my burnout including work-related stress and big life changes.

  • Updates on what’s been happening for me this year personally. 

  • Giving myself permission not to be productive has been helpful in my burnout recovery.

  • Reconnecting with friends and reaching out for support has been beneficial, as many friends are also struggling after the isolation of the pandemic.

  • Engaging in activities that bring joy and relaxation, such as floating in a pool, can help with relaxation and letting go of stress.

  • Incorporating movement, such as going for walks, and seeking body work and acupuncture can aid in burnout recovery.

  • I am working on catching up on content for the planner club and developing neurodivergent-friendly planners for travel and relationships.

  • I’m open to taking requests for specific planner content to make it more neurodivergent-friendly.

  • I plan to create a printed planner using the disk bound system for customization.

  • Adding a new course to my membership called "Befriending Your Brain, Self Assessment Course."

  • Members of my course membership will have access to upcoming calls, guest speakers, call recordings, and new content.

  • I have many creative ideas and plans for the future, but I also need to honor my own burnout and recovery cycles.

  • Our next monthly call about writing to heal takes place on the third Saturday of the month at 10:00 AM Pacific time.

Jun 9, 2023

This week, we talk with Arianna Bradford, an ADHD productivity coach, about the best ways for adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder to boost productivity in their daily lives. We cover a range of topics, from common symptoms of ADHD and organizational strategies to productivity hacks and the Pomodoro technique. Arianna shares her expertise on how to set specific goals and prioritize tasks, as well as how to use the right tools and resources to get the most out of your work mode. 

We also discuss the importance of taking breaks and transitioning between tasks, as well as how to manage ADHD symptoms in the workplace or in your personal life. Whether you're a project manager, creative professional, or simply looking to be more productive, this episode has something for everyone. So grab a cup of coffee, find a quiet spot, and join us as we explore the world of ADHD productivity with Arianna Bradford.

In this episode

  • Arianna Bradford, an ADHD productivity coach, shares her tips for building productivity processes that work for neurodivergent brains.

  • Productivity for people with ADHD is not an arbitrary number or percentage, and should be set by the individual in regards to upcoming external deadlines.

  • Keeping all tasks and deadlines in one central place is important for feeling in control, and regularly reevaluating task priorities is crucial.

  • The ICNU method (Interest, Challenge, Novelty, Urgency) can help hack an ADHD brain and increase productivity, as can adding challenge and urgency, trying new approaches, and allowing for downtime.

  • Mind shifts and meditation can reduce stress and increase mindfulness, while tracking patterns and cycles can help with planning and prioritizing tasks.

  • Redefining productivity as satisfaction, not perfection, and taking breaks for self-care are essential for preventing burnout.

  • Favorite productivity tools include Amazing Marvin, Motion, The Bright App, Tusk, ClickUp, Headspace, and simplemind pro.

  • Using white, brown, or pink noise, binaural beats, and low-fi beats can help with focus, and starting new routines gradually can avoid overwhelming the brain.

  • Multitasking can be beneficial for ADHD brains, and it's important to remember that worth is not determined by external measures of productivity or success.

  • Understanding monthly and yearly cycles, as well as circadian rhythms, can aid in productivity and introspection.

Building your skills

  • Organizational skills, goal setting, and breaking tasks into smaller chunks of time can also be helpful.

  • It's important to prioritize mental health and self-care in both personal and professional lives.

  • There is no one "best way" to be productive, and different options may work for different tasks or individuals.

  • ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder, and those with ADHD may experience executive dysfunction and shorter attention spans.

  • Pomodoro cycles, mind maps, and analog clocks can aid in productivity, and to-do list apps and project managers can help keep track of tasks.

  • The ADHD community and employee resource groups can provide support and resources for productivity and navigating the work environment.

  • Taking short breaks and allowing for transition time can also improve productivity and reduce anxiety.

  • Mental health professionals, family members, and team members can also be valuable resources in building productive habits.

  • Social media and mobile devices can be both helpful and distracting, and it's important to set boundaries and prioritize privacy.

  • TikTok users and creative people may have an uncanny ability to focus on certain tasks, but may struggle with others.

  • The most important tasks should be at the top of your to-do list, and it's okay to leave some tasks for the next time or for the last minute.

  • Hard work and effort are important, but so is recognizing and accepting limitations.


ND Planner Club

Arianna on Instagram

Arianna on YouTube

Chase the Chaos Summit

* Transcript Available *

Apr 17, 2023

Never Leave the Playground

In this episode, where we delve into the importance of self-care in our daily lives. Whether it's through mindfulness practices, physical exercise, or leisure time activities, taking care of our emotional and physical health is crucial for a better quality of life. From diaphragmatic breathing to bike rides, we explore different self-care practices that can help us manage daily stressors and negative emotions without relying on prescription medication. We also discuss how self-care can benefit young people, families, and individuals with mental illnesses. Join us as we share new ideas and small steps towards creating our own self-care regimens and personal commitments. From transition rituals to champions of the shengha, we explore the full range of emotions and the importance of social interaction and sense of independence in our self-care plan. So, grab your lunch break or end of the day, and tune in to learn how self-care can positively impact our physical and emotional well-being in the long term.

In this discussion, Rukshana shares insights and practical tips on how to maintain a playful and curious mindset throughout your life. Drawing on her own experiences, Rukshana shows that play is not just for kids – it's a vital tool for personal growth, creativity, and overall well-being.

Staying In Touch with Playfulness

Triem argues that many of us lose touch with our playful side as we grow older, getting bogged down in the demands of work, family, and daily routines. But she shows that playfulness is not just a frivolous indulgence – it's a fundamental human need that can help us stay curious, flexible, and resilient in the face of challenges.

Through engaging stories and exploration, Triem encourages her audience to rediscover their inner child and embrace a spirit of play in all areas of their lives. Whether it's trying new activities, engaging in creative pursuits, or simply finding joy in everyday moments, Triem shows that playfulness is the key to unlocking our full potential as human beings.

Never Leave the Playground is a powerful and uplifting discussion that will leave you feeling inspired, motivated, and eager to incorporate more play into your daily routine. Whether you're looking to boost your creativity, improve your relationships, or simply have more fun in life, this talk is sure to provide you with valuable insights and practical strategies for cultivating a playful and joyful existence. You can find the full community discussion in the Embracing Intensity Membership.

About Rukshana 

Rukshana has a huge Hunger to serve, to bring deep connection to transformation women all around the world. Rukshana Hafez Triem is an Author, inspirational Speaker, and CEO of a Women's Lifestyle Coaching LLC. Her journey started in Zambia living in a Refugee camp. Due to Trauma and overcoming her sexual abuse past, she was able to create a comfortable lifestyle that supports her family. She shares her story with others as she travels around the world, doing public speaking, workshops and Retreat and her New Mission Building schools in Africa, in Mozambique, Malawi and Zambia.

In this episode:

  • Rukshana Triem, a former refugee, discovered the benefits of play and exercise through her Pacific Northwest Women's Hiking Group, emphasizing the importance of self-care activities for emotional health and balance in daily life.

  • Playfulness and nature are connected for Rukshana, who suggests small steps like a mindful walk or bike ride as part of a self-care regimen to reduce daily stressors and promote positive changes in brain function and heart rate variability.

  • Rukshana's book, Never Leave the Playground, encourages readers to create their own self-care plan based on their life experiences and personal commitment to self-love, vulnerability, and privacy policy.

  • Self-care activities can also benefit family life, including young children who can develop social skills and transition rituals through play and new tasks, such as video games or self-regulation strategies, that promote a sense of play for the whole family.

  • Incorporating play into our lives can be a healthy self-care practice for long-term health and managing daily stressors.

  • Taking small steps towards our own goals, such as scheduling play during lunch breaks, can be a great way to build healthy habits.

  • Different people may find play in different activities, and exploring what play means to us individually can be a new skill to develop.

  • Encouraging family members and friends to prioritize play and building a culture of play can also be a form of self-care and a healthy habit.

  • Building a culture of play is necessary for our soul and can give permission to others to prioritize play as well.

  • There are resources available to dive deeper into the topic of play, including call recordings and podcasts.

  • The speakers mentioned in the podcast, Gary Ware and Jeff Harry, have platforms focused on play and are great resources.

* Transcript Available *


Rukshana's Website

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Mar 7, 2023

Seeing Life Differently

In this episode, Zaakirah Muhammad joins us to discuss mindfulness, gratitude and how these practices can help to craft a more meaningful life in her talk on Seeing Life Through a Different Lens: Mindfulness and Gratitude as a Creative. She talks about how one can use visualizing, setting goals and forming a strong support system to help achieve their dreams. Zaakirah also shares some of her personal stories and how she has worked to create meaningful relationships and find her true self.

In addition, she talks about the role of culture and how one can use their cultural values and traditions to drive their motivation and set SMART goals that are qualitative and quantitative. Ultimately, this podcast episode encourages listeners to take small steps, stay mindful of their wants and needs, and form relationships with both family, friends and even strangers, to ultimately achieve a life of purpose and passion. By engaging in the practices of mindfulness and gratitude, one can find a clearer understanding of their purpose and lead them each step of the way to a happier, healthier, and more meaningful life.

About Zaakirah

Zaakirah has more than 10 years of professional photography and branding experience. She empowers people to step outside of their comfort zone through her gift of visual storytelling. Zaakirah is also the CEO and founder of Phocused Media Group which empowers and supports the growth of minority-owned businesses. She has overcome many challenges, including cancer, and autoimmune disease to establish herself as an innovative voice in the marketing industry. Zaakirah is the author of Seeing Life Through a Different Lens: A Survivor’s Memoir on Overcoming Adversity with Resilience. She also hosts the podcast called See Life Different.

Goal Setting Planner and Guide

The Goal Setting Planner Tools and Setting Purposeful Goals Quick Guide are perfect for anyone who wants to take their personal and professional lives to the next level. Our user-friendly resources provide step-by-step guidance on how to set effective SMART goals, create tangible action plans, and stay motivated and focused on your pursuits. With tailored activities, create achievable objectives, envision purpose, and explore core values for an enriching life experience. Find purpose and vision, set specific, achievable goals, and break them down into manageable steps for an effective plan towards success. Reach your aspirations, form strong relationships, and make time for yourself for a happy and meaningful life.

Meaningful Life Goals

Zaakirah’s encourages listeners to create and achieve their own personal or professional goals within their own unique way. By utilizing her advice and tools, such as setting specific goals, creating tangible action plans, ensuring SMART goals, visualizing, and finding motivation in family, friends and spiritual values, they can live a more meaningful, prosperous and satisfying life. Taking the first step towards one’s goal is the most crucial part, and with effort and dedication, they can one day reach the finish line.

In this episode:

  • Zaakirah is an Arabic name for the Hereafter, which is fitting for someone who survived retinoblastoma, a childhood eye cancer, detected by the bright light of a photograph.
  • Zaakirah is also living with PTSD and an autoimmune condition, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, and has pursued both entrepreneurship and part-time work with a positive impact.
  • Zaakirah focuses on increasing awareness of ethnicities, religious faiths, geniuses, and disabilities, in order to create equitable education opportunities and personal growth.
  • Establishing a positive mindset as soon as you wake up through free form journaling and speaking into future tense.
  • Fueling your body with proper nutrition, e.g. fiber-rich meals and lots of water.
  • Utilizing technology to time block specific tasks and set reminders.
  • Remaining mindful and shifting negativity by listening to a focus-specific playlist.
  • Journaling and goal setting as powerful tools for personal development and finding your life purpose.

Prioritizing Self-Care

  • Taking time for self-care, such as music, meditation, nutrition, exercise, and art can help support and remind people of their sense of purpose.
  • Healthy eating habits help provide nurturance and energy for the day and improve physical health.
  • Affirmations are personal mantras that can be uplifting and empowering when spoken to oneself.
  • Zaakirah encourages listeners to reflect on their goals and purposes for their actions towards a fulfilling life.
  • Sign up for her email list for vision-boarding tips and more.
  • Utilizing the smart method (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely) for visualizing yourself and your meaningful goals.
  • Zaakirah has a podcast with almost 100 episodes with topics ranging from education and advocacy around BIPOC communities to creative workspaces and morning routines.
  • She is planning an in-person event called "See Life Different" to help participants explore purpose-building and develop skills for working in their businesses.
  • Visualizing the future helps participants recognize and seize opportunities, and it is also important to be conscious of signs of burnout and know when to say no.


Zaakirah's Website

See Life Different Live Event March 11th

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Feb 13, 2023

Overcome Burnout

Welcome to From Burnout to Brilliance, a talk that explores the best ways to manage work-related stress and overcome burnout. In this episode, we have the privilege of speaking with Dr. Zarya Rubin, a Harvard trained MD turned functional medicine health coach, who will be sharing her insights and expertise on this important topic. With the World Health Organization recognizing job burnout as a medical diagnosis, it's more important than ever to pay attention to the signs of burnout, particularly for those in stressful jobs such as health care workers and first responders. With long hours, heavy workloads, unreasonable time pressures, and a lack of self-care, it's not surprising that many people experience burnout. But it's not just work-related stress that can contribute to feelings of burnout. The household chores, long shifts, and a lack of much free time can also play a role.

How to Deal With Burnout

We will take a closer look at the effects of burnout, including physical symptoms, mental exhaustion, and emotional exhaustion. We will also discuss the early signs of burnout and what you can do if you feel like you're experiencing burnout. From the importance of self-care habits, such as a healthy diet, spending time with family members, and deep breathing, to seeking professional help, Dr. Rubin will provide guidance on how to address burnout and begin the recovery process.

So, if you're feeling overwhelmed by work stress, or if you're just curious about the topic, be sure to tune in. The good news is, it's never too late to take the first step towards improving your mental and emotional health. Whether you're dealing with burnout for the first time or have been struggling for a long time, this podcast will provide you with the tools and insights you need to feel better and regain your quality of life.

You can find the full discussion and video presentation in the Embracing Intensity Guest Call Library.

In this episode:

  • Dr. Zarya Rubin introduces herself as a physician, functional medicine coach, and speaker
  • Healing from burnout is crucial so people can share their gifts with the world
  • Dr. Zarya shares her personal experience with burnout and the symptoms she experienced, such as exhaustion, anxiety, panic attacks, and irritability
  • Burnout is more than just a stressful job, it can be caused by a lack of control and tasks that compete with one's sense of self, as well as issues with the company, goals, supervisors, or managers
  • Compassion fatigue and its relationship to burnout
  • The difference between stress and burnout
  • Burnout is a state of emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion brought on by prolonged or repeated stress and can lead to chronic health concerns
  • Personal factors, environmental factors, and work-related factors can all contribute to burnout
  • Neurodivergent burnout and the impact of masking and executive dysfunction
  • The prevalence of burnout during and after the pandemic
  • Burnout is not the fault of individuals and steps can be taken to prevent and manage it, such as improving sleep and food, avoiding going from one high stress job to another, setting boundaries, reaching out for help, building resilience, and seeking help from a qualified professional
  • Zarya discusses the reasons why people avoid seeking help and the high rate of physician and educator burnout
  • Final thoughts from Zarya, "(Life's) not a dress rehearsal, it's the real deal."

* Transcript Available *


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Dr. Zarya's website


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4-7-8 Breath Video

Book: Thriving After Burnout

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Jan 16, 2023

Exploring Gifted Kid Burnout

Gifted kid burnout affects many smart kids and former gifted students who were once in gifted programs. As young adults, they often share a common theme of feeling burnt out and struggling with unrealistic expectations. The pressure to always achieve gold star grades and be at the top of the class can be overwhelming.

Gifted programs, often found in grade schools and even at the national level, focus on high achievement and a fixed trait of being "gifted." But what happens when these young adults, who were once in gifted classes and AP classes, are faced with the reality of adult life and the expectations of society? They may struggle with a lack of motivation and a harmful perfectionism that can lead to chronic stress.

This phenomenon, known as "gifted kid burnout," was first identified by Professor Carol Dweck, author of "Mindsets," and has been studied by the National Association for Gifted Children. It is a result of the fixed trait mindset that is often placed on gifted children, believing that their intelligence and abilities are innate and cannot be improved upon. This belief leads to unrealistic expectations and a lack of emphasis on the development of a growth mindset and good study habits.

Manifestation of Gifted Kid Burnout

This burnout can manifest in a variety of ways, such as a lack of motivation, harmful perfectionism, and chronic stress. For twice exceptional adults, who also have a neurodivergent condition, the experience can be even more challenging as they may have unique sources of stress in their daily lives and emotional needs.

School systems and the current educational environment may contribute to this issue. Gifted education programs and advanced classes may not always take into account the social-emotional needs and unique sources of stress for these students. This can lead to lack of study habits and a type of mindset that is not sustainable in the long-term, resulting in burnout.

About Cate

Our guest today is Cate Osburn, also known as Catieosaurus on social media. She is an ADHD educator, a certified sex educator, and a disability advocate. Cate will share her personal experience with burnout as a twice exceptional adult and discuss her journey to finding balance and harmony in her passions and interests. Cate will also talk about how her experience in a gifted program, advanced classes, and the pressure to achieve good results in school led to unhealthy coping mechanisms and a lack of motivation in her daily life. We hope that her story will be a first step in understanding the experience of gifted kid burnout and the unique challenges faced by twice exceptional adults.

In this episode:

  • Cate Osborne, also known as Catieosaurus, is an ADHD educator and advocate, as well as a disability advocate who focuses on the connection between neurodiversity and sex and intimacy in relationships.
  • Cate splits her time evenly between her interests in ADHD and inclusivity in tabletop role-playing games like Dungeons and Dragons, making a career out of connecting seemingly unrelated things that overlap or are related.
  • Cate's personal brand of intensity results in burnout and struggles with balancing intensity of passion as a full-time content creator discussing serious topics like mental health, sex, and intimacy.
  • Cate's struggle with intensity is heightened as a neurodivergent person with ADHD and recently diagnosed with autism, and Difficulty in achieving balance is a myth, instead it's about finding harmony.
  • Cate's intensity in childhood was characterized by intense curiosity and ADHD contributed to an interest in trying new things and having different hobbies. Cate's hobbies can be valuable in learning and leading to change in one's life.
  • Cate started talking about the experience of being a gifted kid who is now burned out because of the pressure to always be the best.
  • Aurora and Cate discuss how giftedness is often associated with being successful, but it can also result in burnout.
  • Cate struggled with mixed messages about her self-worth and value as a gifted student growing up, and placed a lot of her self-worth in her academic success and being involved in activities and clubs.
  • Cate's tendencies switched over to unhealthy coping mechanisms like people pleasing and perfectionism once she left school and had to start "living a life."

* Transcript Available *


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Jan 7, 2023

The importance of neurodivergent community

Neurodivergent individuals are those who think, process information, and experience the world in ways that differ from the neurotypical (i.e., not neurodivergent) population. The neurodiversity movement advocates for the recognition and celebration of neurodiversity as a natural and valuable form of human diversity, similar to cultural, racial, or gender diversity. Neurodivergence is an important facet of the human race. It seeks to create a more inclusive and accepting society for neurodivergent people. Finding neurodivergent community can play a crucial role in connecting with other like-minded folks.

There are many different ways to be neurodivergent, and neurodivergent people may have unique ways of perceiving, learning, communicating, and interacting with the world. Neurodivergence can affect various brain functions such as attention, memory, and executive function, and can manifest in neurodevelopmental conditions such as ADHD, dyslexia, autism, and more. These neurodevelopmental differences can also provide unique perspectives that can lead to creative problem-solving.

Dominant societal standards have traditionally prioritized neurotypical values and perceptions, which can often leave out the rich perspectives of what neurodivergent people experience. The diversity of human brains and the ways in which they function can lead to new ideas and perspectives that can benefit society as a whole. By fostering an environment that is inclusive and accepting of neurodiversity, we can tap into the unique abilities and potential of neurodivergent people and create a more diverse and innovative society.

Building a solid neurodiversity network can help others connect over their common traits, and explore their own style of neurocognitive functioning.

Finding neurodivergent community

The Embracing Intensity Community is a supportive online space for gifted, creative, and neurodivergent individuals. It is a place where members can connect with others who share similar experiences and challenges, and find support and understanding. The community is designed to provide a safe and welcoming environment where members can discuss their unique perspectives, share their insights and skills, and explore their full potential. The goal of the Embracing Intensity Community is to empower gifted, creative, and neurodivergent individuals to embrace their intensity and to live fulfilling and meaningful lives.

Other neurodivergent community resources

There are a number of other ways that neurodivergent adults can find and connect with their neurodivergent community. Some options include:

  1. Online communities and forums: There are many online groups and forums specifically for neurodivergent people, where individuals can connect with others who share common experiences and challenges.
  2. Local support groups: Many cities and towns have support groups for neurodivergent people and their families. These groups can provide a sense of belonging, as well as practical advice and resources for navigating daily life as a neurodivergent person.
  3. Neurodiversity-focused events: There are often events and conferences focused on neurodiversity and the neurodiversity movement, where neurodivergent individuals can meet and connect with others.
  4. Professional organizations: There are professional organizations that advocate for and support neurodivergent individuals, such as CHADD, the Neurodiversity Project and the Dyslexia Foundation. You can also find local resources in many areas.
  5. College campuses: Colleges and Universities often have groups not only for neurodivergent students, but events for the larger community surrounding the school.

By finding and connecting with other neurodivergent people, individuals can find support, validation, and a sense of belonging. Neurodivergent people may also be able to share their experiences and offer insights and advice to others. Additionally, the neurodiversity movement promotes greater understanding and acceptance of neurodivergent people within society, which can help create a more inclusive and equitable world for all.

Neurodiversity advocates

Neurodiversity advocates play an important role in promoting the acceptance and celebration of neurodevelopment differences and the unique ways in which people experience and perceive the world. They often share their personal experiences as neurodivergent individuals and work to educate others about the concept of neurodiversity. They may also work to highlight the strengths and abilities of neurodiverse people, as well as the challenges they face. By sharing stories and experiences, neurodiversity advocates can help to build understanding and acceptance of neurodivergent individuals within society.

The neurodiversity movement is often seen as a social justice movement, as it seeks to create a more inclusive and equitable society for neurodivergent people. Neurodiversity advocates work to raise awareness about the infinite variation in the way people’s brains function and the diverse ways in which people experience the world.

One of the key roles of neurodiversity advocates is to connect neurodivergent individuals with the various neurodiversity resources that are available. This may include information about support groups, educational resources, and professional organizations that can help neurodiverse individuals navigate their daily lives and achieve their goals. In addition to advocating for neurodiversity within society, neurodiversity advocates may also work to build strong and supportive social relationships within the neurodivergent community. By connecting with others who share common experiences, neurodivergent individuals can find support, validation, and a sense of belonging.

Overall, the role of neurodiversity advocates is to promote understanding, acceptance, and celebration of the unique ways in which people’s brains function and the diverse ways in which people experience the world. By doing so, they help to create a more inclusive and equitable society for all.

About Marc

Marc Almodovar is a neurodiversity advocate, and the cofounder of the ADHD Men’s Support Group, a group specifically for men who have been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Marc founded the group after his own personal experience with ADHD led him to feel isolated and misunderstood. He saw a need for a safe space where men with ADHD could connect with others who shared common experiences and challenges.

Through the ADHD Men’s Support Group, Marc aims to provide a sense of belonging and support for men with ADHD. He believes that by sharing stories and experiences, men with ADHD can find validation and understanding, and build strong and supportive relationships. Marc also hopes to raise awareness about the unique ways in which people’s brains function and the diverse ways in which people experience the world, as part of the larger neurodiversity movement.

Marc recognizes that mental illness can be stigmatized within society, and he hopes that the ADHD Men’s Support Group can be a place where men with ADHD can feel safe and supported, regardless of their unique ways of thinking and experiencing the world. He believes that by fostering a sense of belonging and acceptance within the group, men with ADHD can work together to advocate for neurodiversity awareness and acceptance within society as a whole. He strikes a unique balance between positive feel-good stories and authenticity, without resorting to toxic positivity.

ADHD Men’s Support Group

The ADHD Men’s support group is a group specifically for men who have been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The group provides a space for men with ADHD to connect with others who share common experiences and challenges.

One of the main goals of the ADHD Men’s support group is to provide a sense of belonging and support for men with ADHD. Many men with ADHD may feel isolated or misunderstood due to the unique way in which their brains function and the neurodevelopment differences they experience. The ADHD Men’s support group can provide a safe and supportive environment where men can share their experiences and find validation and understanding.

In addition to providing support and a sense of belonging, an ADHD Men’s support group can also serve as a resource for men with ADHD. Group members may share information about treatment options, coping strategies, and other resources that can help men with ADHD navigate their daily lives. The ADHD Men’s support group can also be a place for men with ADHD to connect with others who share common interests and goals. Through group discussions and social interactions, men with ADHD can build strong and supportive relationships and work together to advocate for neurodiversity awareness and acceptance.

Overall, the ADHD Men’s support group can be a valuable resource for men with ADHD, providing support, validation, and a sense of belonging, as well as an opportunity to connect with others who share common experiences and goals. It can also be a place for men with ADHD to work towards social change and advocate for neurodiversity acceptance within society.

In this episode:

  • Marc Almodovar is a coach, speaker, and has ADHD
  • He is passionate about community building and helping men with ADHD feel seen
  • Marc started an online support group for men with ADHD and it has grown into a nonprofit organization
  • The organization is the largest online community for men with ADHD
  • It’s goal is to educate, empower, and inspire men with ADHD through community
  • Marc enjoys chatting with other people with ADHD
  • He struggled with understanding and managing his ADHD and had low self-confidence as a result
  • Cultural factors, including a lack of awareness, education and understanding about ADHD, affected Marc’s ability to express himself and understand his own brain
  • Marc did not have behavioral or impulsive issues, but he was often “toned out” or distracted
  • He learned to tone himself down by learning to manage his time and energy, setting boundaries, and practicing self-care
  • Marc has also learned to embrace his intensity and use it to his advantage by finding ways to channel it into his work and passions
  • He has found that learning to manage his intensity has helped him to be more present and engaged in his relationships and activities

Creating neurodivergent community:

  • Marc uses his intensity to create a space for others to be themselves and feel seen
  • His personal brand is built on transparency and listening to others
  • Marc has harnessed the power of his intensity by being true to himself and embracing his strengths
  • He has found that by putting himself in spaces where he can be himself, he is able to use his speaking and active listening skills to connect with others and make a positive impact.
  • Marc uses affirmations to hype himself up and boost his confidence before speaking events
  • He helps others use their fire by sharing his own experiences and learning openly and transparently
  • Marc believes that honesty and transparency are important and encourages others to embrace their intensity and not worry about pleasing everyone
  • Marc emphasizes the importance of self-care and setting boundaries to manage intensity
  • He advises others to embrace their passions and find ways to channel their intensity into their work and hobbies
  • Marc encourages others to be kind to themselves and remember that it’s okay to not have everything figured out

* Transcript Available *


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Nov 15, 2022

As neurodivergent creatives, we often find ourselves overwhelmed with too much stuff both in our environment and in our minds. We may be overrun with office supplies, craft supplies, and/or miscellaneous things that support our hyperfixations or latest hyperfocus. The ADHD brain is especially prone to mental clutter, and when our environment is a mess it's even harder to quiet our thoughts. On our last guest call, Nadja Carghetti shared how you can use Marie Kondo's approach to tidy your brain!

Many people think you are either tidy or untidy, but the good news is that tidying is something you can learn! In Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, she shares how we can systematically tidy our space by getting rid of things that don't spark joy. Marie Kondo’s method of tidying can be applied to your mind as well as your stuff and help prioritize the things we spend our mental energy on.

On this episode of Embracing Intensity, we share our talk with Nadja Carghetti, former tidying coach and host of the Unleash Monday Podcast, on Tidying Up Your Brain, Marie Kondo Style!

In this episode:

  • Why people’s homes reflect their life.
  • Nadja's experience of being a multipotentialite and interested in many things.
  • How growing up messy in her tidy parents’ house led her to believe you were either tidy or untidy.
  • It took a long time to realize that tidying was something you could learn.
  • The systematic decluttering process that can help you clear your space and mind.
  • How learning the KonMari tidying method led to diving deeper into what brought her joy!
  • Finding yourself through the process of tidying.
  • Why tidying is considered a festival rather than a party.
  • The 5 categories of things and the best order to sort them.
  • Sorting through information overload to find the important bits.

* Transcript Available *


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Oct 10, 2022

Building Self-Advocacy

This week on Embracing Intensity, we share our talk with Dr. Matt Zakreski on self-advocacy skills. Self-advocacy is an important skill that can help you take charge of your own life and move toward greater freedom, fulfillment, and happiness. In this episode, we’ll explore the concept of self-advocacy and how it can help us feel more empowered in our own daily life.

The goal of self-advocacy is to actively advocate on your own behalf to get your needs met. To be a strong self-advocate, you have to have a clear understanding of your own needs. This is important because it will determine your goals and how you will achieve them. If you have a goal in mind, you need to have a plan to get there. 

The first step to positive change is to know what you are good at and what you are not good at. Explore how you can use your strengths to your advantage, and use your weaknesses as opportunities for growth. 

When you’re trying to make a change, bringing in allies is powerful because it can give you insight into the world that you don’t have. They can help you see things that you wouldn’t have thought about. Gifted and neurodivergent folks often feel like they have to go it alone in their adult life. Self advocates use their support system such as colleagues, service providers, family members, or peer support. They aren’t afraid to ask for help!

Setting the Stage!

It is very important to set the stage and prepare yourself for the conversation ahead of time so that you can be as successful as possible. The best way to do that is to set aside time to prepare and to have all of your notes and your ideas and your facts ready. This way you will be able to focus and be more effective during the conversation.

Also, consider doing it at a time and in a place where you can expect to have success. Set up a good place and time to talk about your needs, but give enough context of what you’d like to discuss so the other person doesn’t assume the worst. 

Before we start with self-advocacy, we also need to consider the person we are advocating to and understand that their strengths and challenges might not be the same as ours. We need to be specific and tangible and help them take ownership and buy into the solution. By taking on a leadership role in the conversation we can help guide its direction.

In order to give yourself the best chance possible to succeed, you have to be prepared to be flexible and let go of rigid expectations. If you are getting resistance from your boss or others, it’s a good idea to ask yourself, what do I need to do to get to the thing I want? Let them play a meaningful role in shaping what you need to do next. What new things can you try to improve the lives of people you’re working with? What employment opportunities might forward your career?

Supporting Long Term Success

It is also helpful to consider the benefits to everyone and make it a win-win. Explore how you both get the most out of the situation, help build and strengthen relationships and improve the lives of others. Getting what you want in the moment may not pay off in the long run if it means burning a bridge. Communicating clearly and assertively can help get our own needs met without compromising the needs of others.

It’s important to be specific with your plan for following up or life might get in the way. Self-Advocacy is a lifelong process of constantly setting and re-setting boundaries. This process helps you to move forward in a positive way, towards being more successful as a self-advocate.

Join us to learn more about self-advocacy with Dr. Matt!

In this episode

  • Good self-advocates get super clear on what they need.
  • Tips for playing to your strengths, using your weaknesses as opportunities for growth, and taking steps to overcome them.
  • Exploring your resources, connecting with allies, and recognizing the kind of help that’s available.
  • The importance of timing and coming prepared to set yourself up for success.
  • Setting clear goals to improve our own lives and the lives of others.
  • Developing meta-communication and self-determination skills.
  • How flexibility can help us get what we need in the long run.
  • Meeting in the middle to set up a win-win solution.
  • Getting buy-in and setting everyone up for success.
  • Communicating assertively instead of passively or aggressively.
  • The importance of specific, tangible, and direct communication.
  • Setting a clear plan to follow up for success.


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Sep 26, 2022

I am so thrilled to get to share Dr. Kimberly Douglass’ talk on Decolonizing Neurodivergence!

From Violence to Love

Do you ever wonder why we get into loops on social media platforms when we talk about neurodivergence? We have convinced ourselves this conversation is just about validating each other and understanding the traits of various conditions. The very definition of what it means to be neurodivergent is rooted in colonialist thinking and behavior.
It’s clear to me: we don’t want to talk about the hard changes we have to make to ourselves, to our self-image; the hard changes we should demand from our society.

We keep the conversation at the level of defining a problem; defining ourselves as the problem. We are willing to be the problem as long as we don’t have to challenge ourselves, other people, our families, our employers, our communities, our worlds.

You are not a problem!!! Write this down: YOU ARE THE WAY!!!

But, you know we talk about neurodivergence in ways that allow the powerful to hold on to their power. We are more comfortable with this than risking being disliked, having things taken from us or feeling powerful inside our own skin. Even the word power makes us uncomfortable. These are the ways we have been taught. This is colonization.Regardless of what you have been taught, YOU are the way to transformation for yourself and for others. With guidance on how to think about neurodivergence, we can help see yourself just as you are!

YOU are the way to this new understanding…. for yourself, for your team, for your community.

Let’s discuss here on my weekly blog:

About Kimberly:

Dr Kimberly Douglass is the full-time owner of Kimberly Douglass, PhD, LLC. Dr Douglass and her team are designing a world in which neurodivergent people feel they belong. The team fuses disability advocacy with design thinking. Douglass’ team designs digital and paper content, such as courses, ebooks, journals, workbooks and the Neurodivergently Thinking cards. Also, the team offers premium 1 to 1 coaching services.
Dr Douglass’ signature product is her Decolonizing Neurodivergence course.

Dr Douglass and her team design tools that validate the neurodivergent experience.

The team’s content and services challenge everyday processes that marginalize and shame neurodivergent people. Dr Douglass became a full-time business owner after working as staff, peer-reviewed researcher, faculty and administrator in higher education for over 17 years. She began the advocacy work over 12 years ago, when she became the chief advocate for her Son who is neurodivergent. She has since gotten more in touch with her own neurodivergence. Dr Douglass is married to Dean Tate and lives in Tennessee.

In this episode, Kimberly Shares:

  • Her thoughts on growing up neurodivergent and breaking from the system.
  • Moving from seeking validation to examining systems.
  • Some common threads of neurodivergence.
  • How we are living in a culture of consumption.
  • Why no one wins under the current capitalist paradigm.
  • Creating an agenda to make change.
  • Why neurodivergence often comes with trauma.
  • Examining how do we know what we think we know?
  • The focus on compliance in our schools.
  • Why we accept less, and deserve ease & flow.
  • What neurodivergence Brings to the table.
  • Supporting each other & building relationships.
  • Examining our own systems we live in.
  • Moving away from defensiveness & denial to make positive change.
  • The elements of white supremacy culture.
  • How you can support Kimberly’s work!


Transcript Available on Embracing Intensity's Website

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Jun 6, 2022
Taking a little pause to focus on moving & back end stuff.
May 23, 2022

Today’s episode is a recording of our talk with Leela Sinha on the intersection of neurodivergence and gender. This is definitely not an “inside-the-box” topic. You can find the full discussion in the Embracing Intensity community at  

Show Highlights:

  • The overlap between autism and gender diversity
  • How neurodivergence is defined as a very broad umbrella term for the different ways that people’s brains function
  • Why the definition of queerness has changed over time but is still used as an umbrella term
  • The overlap between queerness and neurodivergence
  • How growing up with a different sense of known reality will cause attitudes and moves of self-protection
  • How deconstruction occurs in society and feels “right” to stigmatized people
  • Why identifying as non-binary or trans has become trendy as people have become more aware of their options for exploration
  • Challenges in the non-binary gender spaces because of bias even in inclusion views
  • How a fully nourishing environment helps neurodivergent kids understand their options and feel safe to express themselves
  • How the progression occurs in media representation for queer representation and non-binary representation
  • How pathologizing neurodivergence or queerness can affect a person’s ability to access resources and care
  • Why accessibility is often not accounted for in the help and support spaces




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May 9, 2022

We all have our “beyond our wildest imagination” dreams that we never realistically hope to achieve. This is not true for today’s guest. She truly is living her dream in a place she never thought possible, and she’s teaching others to reach for the unimaginable also. Join us to learn more!

Sadie Smiley created Passive Income Pathways, where she gives expert advice about online businesses and how passive income can help achieve your wildest goals. She pushes people to learn how to make full-time money with part-time work, teaching them to “create, sell, kick ass, and repeat.”


Show Highlights:

  • Why Sadie is intensely passionate about helping people make money beyond their wildest dreams
  • The key to Sadie’s success: networking with others with different superpowers as a trade-off for the things she doesn’t love to do
  • How Sadie’s personal brand of intensity in being “too much” means that she submerges herself 100% into whatever she does
  • Why a time audit color code can be a game-changer for entrepreneurs
  • How to charge your “happy price” and feel good about it
  • How Sadie, with ADHD and autism, was a gifted student with good grades who had problems following rules
  • How Sadie helps clients make money, no matter what barriers they have
  • How Sadie learned where she was “masking” herself and learned to feel loved, cared for, and respected through the love of her husband
  • How Sadie’s intensity has felt out of control many times because of her neurodiversity and personality issues, but she has learned to “grow through” the intensity
  • How Sadie uses her fire for good in channeling her intensity into coaching and helping others
  • How Sadie feels safe in her life now and doesn’t worry about doing things wrong “according to the experts”
  • Why showing up consistently for her family, clients, and readers has helped Sadie manifest everything she has achieved
  • How to focus on something small that is within your control when you feel the “shame spiral”
  • Why Sadie loves helping others identify their passions and interests to give them what they need
  • Sadie’s parting advice: “Work hard on showing up authentically and with consistency. Do something every day to move your business forward, and success will be the only option. Picture your wildest, craziest dream–and then work backward from it to show up every day to make it happen.”



Connect with Sadie at or here to learn about the Passive Income Pathways membership program.

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Apr 27, 2022

Today’s episode is a recording from last fall about time management from a neurodivergent perspective. We are joined on the guest call by Emily Roach-Griffin, who is ADHD and gifted, and her insights resonate soundly with many of us. She is a business coach and speaker at BizBFF who loves helping business owners and those with an entrepreneurial spirit to build businesses and lives they love. Join us to hear Emily’s nuggets of wisdom about practical time management strategies!


Show Highlights:

  • Journaling prompts about what’s most difficult about time management
  • Why time management should be thought of as “task management”
  • Why we need to unravel and untether ourselves from much of our traditional thinking about productivity and self-worth
  • The importance of a toolbox of strategies, realizing that different tools may be effective on different days:
    • Tools to help with “time blindness” and time awareness, like a timer and to-do list
    • Tools to help with being on time, like an app 
    • Tools to help with tasks, like breaking large tasks into “baby tasks”
    • Tools to help prioritize tasks, like containers
  • How Emily has “game-ified” her household tasks to change her perspective
  • Why time management is NOT about getting more done in less time
  • How to use a check-in system with your energy level to determine what is possible
  • Why avoiding certain tasks might be our attempts to conceal our pain


Connect with Emily: Biz BFF and Facebook

Why Bother: Discover the Desire for What’s Next by Jennifer Louden

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Apr 11, 2022

Today’s show carries a timely message for those of us who returned to work or school after the anxiety-ridden shutdown of the pandemic. As we try to move forward, many of us still face anxiety and burnout. My guest’s message of tapping into your intuition and doing things outside the box is relevant to almost everyone. Join us to learn more!


Cam Werley-Gonzales is an intuitive, living visionary, gifted embodiment expert, and intuitive unschooling catalyst. She is the owner of the Cambria Institute, a company that celebrates learning and living fully outside the proverbial education “box.” With over 25 years as an expert educator, it is Cam’s deepest conviction that while learners can engage with some success in typical schools, they are optimally served by alternate learning pathways, most notably “unschooling.” The Cambria Institute supports gifted families to embody their giftedness in all areas of life. The truth is that we get to learn, friend, work, love, parent, hobby, and enjoy all the things that come along with this intense and massively phenomenal gifted life with ease and alignment, uniquely in our own way. 


Show Highlights:


  • Why Cam is intensely passionate about unschooling and her family’s unconventional life of travel and location independence as digital nomads
  • How Cam opened an alternative-style brick and mortar school in Pasadena in 2019–right before the pandemic chaos began
  • Why the Cambria Curated Community (CCC) was formed as a community of unschooling families
  • How Cam’s personal brand of intensity means big feelings and big emotions–all the time
  • How Cam’s intensity affected her in childhood with the need to hide her true self and be a people-pleaser in her family
  • How Cam learned “to play the school game” really well as a kid but was traumatized, in part because of Pragmatic Language Impairment
  • Differences in Pragmatic Language Impairment (PLI) and autism
  • How Cam noticed communication differences the most in relationship with her spouse, who comes from a different cultural background
  • How Cam learned to tone down and tune herself out in her professional career as a teacher and just follow what she was told to do
  • How Cam’s intensity got out of control when she was homeschooling her oldest son
  • How Cam uses her fire for good to help families learn unschooling and live intuitively
  • How unschooling is defined: “Trusting that each person will intuitively be drawn to learn all the things they need to learn in their lifetime to tap into who they are as individuals so that their learning caters directly to them. The focus is on self-direction in learning.”
  • How our intuition relates to our authenticity as a unique person and promotes emotional intelligence
  • How Cam harnesses the power of her intensity by tuning into her happiness and joy with her life, family, and work
  • Why Cam adopted the personal habit of giving herself the gift of “slow mornings” 
  • How Cam helps others use their own fire by teaching people to tap into their true intuition and authenticity
Mar 28, 2022

Today’s episode is the Embracing Intensity Community Call with guest speaker Alexandra Loves. The topic is Drama vs. Passion, which is highly relevant to intense people. I’m excited to share this with you! You can find the full discussion at

As I’m working hard to finish out this school year, I am busy behind the scenes with some great projects planned for this coming summer and fall, and I’ll be sharing more about those later. Enjoy the call with Alexandra!


Show Highlights:

  • How Alexandra defines the concept of drama vs. passion: “Passion is an intense desire or emotion sourced from within from a loving place. Drama is a chaotic, ungrounded emotional desire that comes from a place of fear and is sourced from ‘out there’.”
  • A personal example of a conversation Alexandra had recently with someone about their passion–but it felt manipulative 
  • What it feels like when someone says, “You are being dramatic.”
  • How Alexandra has learned to look for clarity and mutual trust in relationships
  • Why your passions are worth protecting with high standards and boundaries
  • How to deal with intense emotions and discern between drama and passion


Connect with Alexandra and claim a free download, Unstuck: Remedy for Internal Toxicity:

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Mar 14, 2022

Imposter syndrome is something that most people have felt at some point or another. Intense people may feel this in magnified ways, as the world tells them they are not welcome as they are. Join us on this guest call to learn more!

Kate Arms is a return guest to the show, and I’m thrilled to welcome her back for this guest call. Kate is a classic overthinker, high achiever, and multipotentiality who exudes intensity. Her career has spanned being a lawyer, arts administrator, coach for gifted and twice-exceptional adults and parents of gifted and twice-exceptional kids, and an Agile Coach in a high-tech company. She is the author of several books and has experience in coaching, leadership development, and psychology. Kate is here to help us understand imposter syndrome and how to reduce our suffering within it by building more connections. 


Show Highlights:


  • Kate defines imposter syndrome as “a group of symptoms clustered together to make us feel like we don’t belong”
  • How symptoms can include anxiety, hypervigilance self-consciousness, self-sabotage, perfectionism, and a sense of hiding who you really are
  • How these symptoms pair with suffering to make us feel awful and ashamed
  • How symptom relief and root-cause relief work together
  • Why imposter syndrome boils down to belonging, connection, and a feeling of, “They won’t want me if they know who I really am.”
  • How we are programmed (especially intense people) to think we are not welcome as we are because of childhood shaming, being told to “tone down,” and being too much or too sensitive
  • How the “mismatch” occurs and how to address it
  • How the process of learning happens when we start out blissfully ignorant
  • The difference between identity and character vs. skills and experiences
  • Why we must to learn to be comfortable in being ourselves–even if it makes others uncomfortable
  • Why it’s hard to risk having the courage to overwhelm others with who we really are
  • How we can build our sense of belonging through building our community
  • How feeling connection with at least three people in your group will foster your feeling of belonging



Hear the follow-up conversation with Kate: 

Feb 28, 2022

Today’s show focuses on the twice-exceptional experience. As with so many people in this line of work, my guest looks to provide for students and families the help and support that he needed–and didn’t have as he grew up. Join us to learn more!


Barry Gelston is the president of GHF, Gifted Home Education Forum. They do amazing work with gifted and twice-exceptional families. Barry is an educator through “Mr. Gelston’s One Room Schoolhouse,” an online homeschool program focused on providing individualized educational services for gifted and 2E learners. In this episode, we enjoyed discussing how being 2E ourselves led us to the work of helping and supporting 2E families. 


Show Highlights:

  • Why Barry is intensely passionate about making a difference by being a positive activist who loves his family and tries hard to be a good person in the world
  • How Barry’s personal brand of intensity shows up with constant focus and rumination about one topic at a time and being aware of sensory overload
  • How Barry grew up totally dysregulated as an underachiever with social and emotional issues from being in a divorced family
  • How Barry approached his problems with his attempt at executive functioning skills to become a good student and make more of his life
  • What Barry would say to the adults in his life “back then”
  • Why Barry’s work today revolves around what he needed as a 2E child
  • How Barry learned to overcome his reading struggles and dyslexia to become a voracious reader
  • Why wonderful things are happening in strengths-based approaches with 2E students
  • How Barry’s cultural identity formed largely around growing up in a Jewish family in Queens
  • Why Barry always felt like he had to tone himself down or tune himself out as he grew up and learned the art of conversation
  • How Barry’s intensity felt out of control in early adulthood because of social pressures
  • How Barry uses his fire for good through teaching and his work, trying to fix for others what he wishes would have been fixed for him
  • How mindfulness, meditation, self-centering, and 2E awareness have helped Barry harness the power of his intensity
  • How creating systems and structures has helped with executive functioning for Barry–and how he uses it to help students
  • How Barry helps others use their own fire through connecting and learning from each other



Connect with Barry:  GHF Learners and Mr. Gelston's One Room Schoolhouse


Feb 14, 2022

Today’s show looks at the differences and overlap of giftedness, twice-exceptionality, autism, and ADHD within the overexcitability framework. Join us to learn more!


Chris Wells is a writer, therapist, and researcher on all things Dabrowski. She has a nuanced take on the concept of overexcitability, a topic on which she has focused much time, energy, and study. Chris is our first three-time guest on the podcast, having appeared most recently to discuss positive disintegration. Let’s hear more from Chris!


In this episode:

  • How Chris came to overexcitability in 2014 on her quest to learn more about twice-exceptionality
  • How Chris was identified as gifted as a kid but felt more disabled and mentally ill
  • How Chris felt broken and emotionally intense by the time she was 40
  • How overexcitability turned around her perceptions of herself as problematic and defective
  • How Chris became hyperfocused on understanding overexcitability
  • How Chris found Dabrowski’s early work, which identified four types of overexcitability: psychomotor, imaginational, sensual, and emotional
  • How the gifted education world has finally accepted overexcitability as a characteristic of giftedness
  • Why overexcitability is an umbrella term that brings together all the elements of neurodivergence
  • Why Chris says autism and ADHD are “clearly neuro-cousins”
  • Why there are so many misunderstandings about overexcitability in gifted education
  • How overexcitability brings a whole different reality to those who have it
  • How Chris’s imagination would take her to another place and another reality when she was growing up–and overexcitability gave her the answers for it
  • The problem in learning to live with overexcitability
  • Why giftedness is a meaningful difference, even in adults
  • How we can best support those with overexcitability in light of the knowledge we now have and the labels we use
  • Why we struggle as a whole to figure out the right language to use


Check out our calendar of upcoming events:


Jan 24, 2022

Today’s show introduces you to a difference-maker in the world of neurodivergence. Her collective endeavors to advocate for kids, parents, and families are truly making a difference. Join us to learn more!

Debbie Reber is an author, speaker, and parenting activist. In 2016, she founded Tilt Parenting, a website, top podcast, and online community aimed at helping parents raise differently wired kids from a place of confidence, connection, and joy. Debbie’s most recent book is Differently Wired: A Parent's Guide to Raising an Atypical Child with Confidence and Hope.


In this episode:

  • Get to know Debbie, who lives in Brooklyn with her husband and 17-year-old neurodivergent child; they lived in the Netherlands for several years prior to moving back to the US
  • Why Debbie is intensely passionate about learning, being curious about everything, writing, helping kids and families, and running
  • How Debbie’s personal brand of intensity comes through in her inability to stop doing things and not being able to stop or rest
  • How Debbie grew up as a misunderstood child and class clown who channeled her energy into sports because it was the one area in which she was competent
  • How Debbie, as a high school student, worked just hard enough to get by and didn’t care about applying herself
  • How cultural factors affected Debbie: her family didn’t prioritize academics and didn’t teach her to value herself; there were strict religious rules that she wasn’t allowed to question
  • How Debbie’s best friend’s family w
  • ere the ones who introduced her to museums, travel, and a world outside her small Pennsylvania town
  • How Debbie learned to tone herself down during her college years because she wanted to be perceived in a certain way to achieve her “means to an end”
  • Why Debbie felt close to burnout during COVID and learned to prioritize what’s really important to her
  • How she has learned to enjoy her life more and not work so much
  • How Debbie uses her fire and drive to help people and make a difference
  • How making things sparks her and fulfills her
  • How Debbie has learned to be really organized from her beginning with poor executive functioning skills and is constantly hacking her own systems and processes
  • Why Debbie’s discipline around exercise and fitness is the key to mental and emotional health for her
  • How Debbie helps others use their fire by helping them create the lives they want
  • Why Debbie began Tilt Parenting almost six years ago because there were so few resources for parents of neurodivergent kids
  • How more and more adults talking about their neurodivergence is helping to “fuel the movement


Connect with Debbie:


Books by Debbie mentioned in this episode:



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