Embracing Intensity

Use your fire without getting burned.
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Dec 29, 2020

This is the final rerun episode for December before we launch into a new season of interviews, solo episodes and amazing guest speakers!

Love is the very fabric of the universe, and I get so excited when I see someone using their intensity to spread the love around. My guest this week is Alexandra Loves, and I actually approached a year ago to be on the show. I’m so glad we decided to wait until now, because my connection with Alexandra has grown and bloomed during that time, giving us plenty to talk about! Alexandra is a Love Attraction Coach, Intuitive Spiritual Guide, and Entrepreneur. She is on a mission to catalyze creative power, and use her intuitive spirituality to guide her clients into their best existence. In everything she does, Alexandra is all about harnessing the power of that abundant universal fabric from which everything is made, Love.

Today, Alexandra and I are talking about how intensity can be a force for good, for love, and for large-scale transformation. Because of her international upbringing, Alexandra feels comfortable talking to just about anyone. Added to that, she never felt the need for all the labels and stereotypes in the world today, yet the world seems inclined to want to place them on everyone. Rather than let that be the reason for toning herself down, Alexandra has fully embraced who she is and what she stands for. Now she is using her gifts to help people find love, find meaning, and find who they really are.

Alexandra is teaching us today how to use our intuition. Once we begin listening, nothing can hold us back, and we can only increase our impact on what is going on around us. Alexandra says it best, “We are changing the world right now.”

More in this episode:

  • Alexandra shares why she is so committed to understanding her gifts and using them for a higher purpose.

  • Alexandra is on a search of Absolute Truth, and she is OK with that definition evolving over time.

  • In love, Alexandra embraces the “Wise Beyond Her Years” label.

  • Much of Alexandra’s practice deals with reconciling gender expectations within men and women.

  • Alexandra is on a mission to help us understand the dangers instant gratification.

  • The cultural factors that have shaped Alexandra’s ability to embrace her intensity and her racial identity.

  • The segregation and racial terms that put shackles around Alexandra’s neck.

  • Alexandra toned herself down in terms of dating and intensity.

  • How Alexandra realized she couldn’t tone herself down anymore.

  • Everyone struggles under assumptions and stereotypes, and we need to be aware of that!

  • Alexandra was able to heal from a damaging relationship because of her incredible support system and her own intuition.

  • What habits Alexandra uses to fuel her fire.

  • Alexandra helps women do the hard work of diving deep within themselves.

  • Learn to recognize when you are being diminished.

Visit my Embracing Intensity Patreon Page for weekly reflection questions and other self-exploration tools!


Alexandra Loves

Dec 23, 2020

This December I’m sharing reruns of some of my favorite episodes from 2018. This one is from one of my all time hero’s René Brooks of Black Girl, Lost Keys. She was super amazing when I interviewed her and since then her following has absolutely blown up! I remember being excited for her last Christmas time when she hit 10 K followers on Twitter and now she’s grown exponentially with over 36 K. She’s also lined up a book deal and has a ton of other amazing projects in the works.

She’s also created 6 amazing workbooks on topics relevant to folks with ADHD including cleaning, time perception and “Guarding Your Yes,” and added a variety of great products to her store from T-shirts to fidgets and more! She now started gift cards just in time for the holidays. You can find it all on her website at

What I’m most incredibly grateful to René for is bringing awareness to the topic of Twice Exceptionality.

Did you know that you could help somebody by just being honest and transparent about who and how you are? It's such a validating experience to know that somebody really gets you. Today's interview is with René Brooks. René's been a typical ADHD personality for as long as she can remember, losing keys, books, homework, and even her glasses sometimes when they were on her face! Although she was diagnosed with ADHD at the age of eleven, she never received any treatment for it until she was twenty-five. So her experience of learning that she had something real and that it could be worked with, started at that point. Listen in to find out what René has to share today, about growing up as a gifted person with ADHD.

René created a blog, Black Girl Lost Keys, with the intention of sharing the experience of receiving a diagnosis of ADHD later in life, while being part of a demographic that is still mostly skeptical about mental illness. ADHD and giftedness are not mutually exclusive, and many people don't realize that, so it was often hard for René to be understood while growing up. Listen in today to hear her talking about the ups and downs of her life growing up with ADHD, and how she channels her intensity, her fire, and her passions.

Show highlights:

  • What's lacking in the world of neurodiversity.
  • The similar experiences of people with ADHD within René's particular cultural dynamic.
  • What René Remembers most vividly about being a gifted child.
  • Being understood, and taken in context, has become more important to René than whether she's liked or not by someone.
  • René discusses her ethical stance regarding politics, power, and the abuse of power.
  • René has had to learn to pull herself back at times, as she can alienate people with her 'correctness'.
  • Why René doesn't speak about the experiences of other people.
  • What ally-ship in action really ought to look like.
  • We tend to make things so much more complicated than we need to.
  • René had a difficult time growing up as gifted, with ADHD.
  • People often don't understand that giftedness and ADHD are not mutually exclusive.
  • We really need to make space in the world for people who don't follow convention.
  • The ridicule that can come from not conforming to cultural norms.
  • The story of Henrietta Lacks.
  • The way that black people have been exploited and made to suffer in the past by the medical community.
  • More honesty and transparency in people would ultimately result in less suffering.

Links and Resources:

René on all social media: Black Girl Lost Keys

Black Girl Lost Keys Blog

ADHD Essentials Podcast

Books mentioned:

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot.

Far From The Tree, by Andrew Solomon

Embracing Intensity Community

Embracing Intensity Store

Dec 16, 2020

Continuing reruns for some of my favorite episodes from season 2 for this December! This week, I'm sharing my interview with Kate Arms!

I met today’s special guest, Kate Arms, at the SENG conference recently and was so inspired by her talk entitled "Thriving with Intensity: Mining The Magic From Your Overexcitabilities” that I knew Kate would be the perfect fit for the podcast. Kate is a classic overthinker, high achiever, and multipotentialite who exudes intensity. She gets bored easily as evidenced by a career that includes being a lawyer, an arts administrator, a coach to parents of gifted and twice-exceptional kids and gifted and twice-exceptional adults, and an Agile Coach in a high tech company. She is an eager student of western secular developments from Buddhist philosophy and practices and the Theory of Positive Disintegration and the author of the Extreme Resilience Workbook, L.I.F.T.: A Coach Approach to Parenting, Unblock: Writing Prompts for Works in Progress, and award winning short stories in the literary fiction and horror genres. She hosts two podcasts: Kate’s Nuggets features short episodes with advice on living well drawn from the worlds of coaching, leadership development, and psychology; Leadership Arts Review features conversations with leadership coaches about books about good leadership and the ideas in them. But what really lights her fire is being silly with her four amazing kids.

More in this episode:

  • Kate’s shares details about her personal intensity.

  • Factors that affected Kate’s intensity while growing up

  • Kate describes ways her intensity could feel out of control in the past.

  • Channeling ways of questioning others

  • Using leadership thinking to question self

  • How theater can help intense individuals.

  • No one person will have all the answers for you.

  • Kate’s personal practices

  • The personal passion that fuels Kate's intensity

  • The magic question

Resources Mentioned in the Show:

How to donate to help keep the podcast going via Patreon

website: Thrive With Intensity

website: Parents of Twice Exceptional Kids

website: Signal Fire Coaching

Signal Fire Coaching on Facebook

Signal Fire Coaching on Twitter

Undoing Depression, by Richard O’Connor

Making It All Work, David Allen

Dec 7, 2020

This December, I'm continuing the tradition of sharing reruns of some of my favorite episodes, this time from Season 2. This episode is with Arianna Bradford. Since I last spoke to her, Arianna has been busy. She has dissolved the NYAM project and now writes and speaks to groups of parents for a living. Her book, Shame on You, Big Truths from a Bad Mom, was independently released July 7, and it’s been widely regarded as a fun, honest book for parents. She’s currently working on her second book, and is in the midst of relocating to Florida. You can find out more about her book, schedule her for events, and more at:

Is your personality way too big for most people to handle? And do you find yourself sometimes trying to become smaller than you really are? Today we're super excited to have Arianna Bradford join us on the show! Arianna was the founder and lead editor of the Not Your Average Mom (NYAM) Project, which is dedicated to celebrating strong women outside of the role of motherhood. Arianna really loves to talk and to express the ideas that she has going on in her head. She often found herself trying to curb the amount of talking she did when she was in high school, but it seldom worked for longer than ten minutes. Listen in today to find out what Arianna has to share about her passion and her fire.

Arianna was raised in a small town in Florida and spent the first twenty years of her life there. She thought that she would never leave. Due to unexpected circumstances, however, she moved to Texas and stayed there for about six years. During that time, she met her husband and they had two children, Miles and Charlie. Arianna, her husband, and their two young children now live in Happy Valley, Oregon. When she's not busy writing something or photographing people, Arianna enjoys reading, playing video games, or trying to sleep. Listen in today to find out more about Arianna and her brand of intensity.

Show highlights:

  • During the time that she was living in Texas, her desire to capture images of her small son rekindled Arianna's interest in photography.
  • Arianna loved the creative direction portion of photography when she started taking photos again, towards the end of 2014.
  • The hard part of photography for Arianna then was that there was not a lot of money to be made from it in Austen.
  • Discovering that she has a passion for working one-on-one with people, as a photographer- especially with women.
  • Arianna's main focus is on helping women realize their own individual power and strength.
  • What growing up was like for Arianna.
  • Arianna was raised to think past what people would tell her.
  • Being raised in a household with the attitude that you may as well be straightforward because people are going to judge you anyway.
  • It took Arianna a long time to realize that sometimes it wasn't her chasing people away. It was their own prejudices and problems that did that.
  • Arianna had to really try to curb her talking at high school, but it seldom worked for longer than ten minutes.
  • Wanting to be smaller than she was.
  • Most people believe that they need to be liked by as many people as possible.
  • An anxious moment that Arianna had back in college when she was struggling socially.
  • An incident that caused her anxiety and OCD to get out of control.
  • Arianna believes that all emotions, even negative ones, can be channeled into something positive.
  • She has made some of her greatest things in times of intense anger or sadness.
  • The NYAM project was born of intense anger in Arianna.
  • There are people who really identify with Arianna's writing.
  • Art has really helped Arianna with harnessing the power of her intensity.
  • Working hard on communication and trying to understand where other people are coming from.
  • Remember that there's nothing wrong with being firey. People don't have to love you and it's okay for your fire to warm some people more than others.


Arianna’s Website

Arianna’s on Instagram

Arianna on Twitter


Embracing Intensity Community

Free Harness the Power of Your Intensity Workbook

Nov 30, 2020

In his book How To Be an Adult, David Richo refers to assertiveness as “owning your own power.” This is so important because one of the best things we can do to increase our energy is to increase our sense of power and reduce our feelings of powerlessness. The most crucial way to do this is by getting clear on what we want and asking for it.

In this episode:

  • Assertiveness is owning your own power
  • Passivity is giving your power away.
  • Aggressiveness is changing power to control.
  • You can use the four step STAR (Stop, Think, Act, Request) to communicate assertively.


Embracing Intensity Store

Embracing Intensity Community

Free workbook on Harnessing the Power of Your Intensity

Nov 23, 2020

Today’s guest made quite an impression on me when I found him on TikTok. His specialty is self-regulation, and he has found inspiring ways to teach his techniques to teachers and parents. Join us to learn more.

Chazz Lewis, aka “Mr. Chazz,” is a preschool teacher who currently focuses his talents on teaching teachers to teach. He’s a mentor and motivational speaker who also hosts the podcast, Mr. Chazz’s Leadership, Parenting, and Teaching.

Show Highlights:

  • Why Mr. Chazz is intensely passionate about becoming the best version of himself and helping others do the same
  • Why Mr. Chazz teaches self-regulation to parents and teachers
  • Why we need to be careful to not “crush” someone’s superpower
  • How Mr. Chazz’s personal brand of intensity means being in flow with his natural superpowers and giving and receiving energy from others
  • How Mr. Chazz struggled in school, was always trying to catch up, and took ADHD medications that made him feel constricted
  • The interpersonal battle over what people wanted for him vs. what he wanted as his own success
  • How cultural factors affected how Mr. Chazz expressed himself, especially within the framework of his private Catholic school with a very specific discipline and structure
  • The #1 lesson Mr. Chazz has learned: we need to adapt the way we teach to the way children learn instead of expecting them to adapt to the way we teach
  • How Mr. Chazz has to tone down his curiosity by decreasing the number of questions he asks
  • How Mr. Chazz has learned to know his likely triggers in certain situations so he can plan to pause and create a safe environment for his emotions
  • How Mr. Chazz harnesses the power of his intensity through journaling and goal setting
  • How Mr. Chazz helps others use their fire for good by helping them identify their fire
  • The importance of finding your WHY--no matter how the circumstances change
  • Final words from Mr. Chazz: “Spend a lot of time figuring out who you are and what lights you up.”


Mr. Chazz Podcast

Mr. Chazz on Patreon

Website coming soon at Mr. Chazz

Find Mr. Chazz:  TikTok: mrchazzmrchazz

Instagram: Mr Chazz Mr Chazz

Facebook: mrchazzmrchazz


Nov 17, 2020

This week's episode is brief, with a quick update about my quarantine, exposure to Covid and awaiting our test results. 

In this episode:

  • Barriers to early identification.
  • Asymptomatic spread.
  • Even when we follow all the rules, we can still get exposed. 
Nov 9, 2020

Today’s show brings inspiration and joy from my guest and her story. She’s doing great things in the world of gifted adults, bringing them together by highlighting their unique qualities. Join us to learn more!

Nadja Cereghetti is the host of the Unleash Monday podcast for gifted adults. Based in Switzerland, Nadja has a passion for learning new things, talking to people, science, and all things Marie Kondo. I’m thrilled to have discovered her podcast and to introduce her to you today!

Show Highlights:

  • Why Nadja is intensely passionate about gifted adults and empowering women
  • How Nadja’s personal brand of intensity always involved her being “too much” and “too loud”
  • How Nadja learned in school and went through times of failure and times of success
  • The cultural factors that affected Nadja growing up in Switzerland in being white and not being limited by gender
  • Why traditional education isn’t necessary in Switzerland to get a good job or make a good living
  • Why Nadja tones herself down by avoiding alcohol, mainly because no one can handle her uninhibited self
  • How Nadja is able to control her intensity by practicing karate
  • Why Nadja created her podcast to touch people, meet new people, and highlight unidentified gifted adults
  • How the language around giftedness has evolved and developed
  • How Nadja uses coping mechanisms to hide her dyslexia and gain confidence to reject other people’s opinions
  • How Nadja received advice from her stepdad about not fitting in and having your own way of doing things, and why that’s perfectly acceptable
  • How others’ perceptions of you change according to how you dress
  • Books that have influenced Nadja: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, Joyful by Ingrid Fetell Lee, and The Book of Joy by the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu
  • How Nadja helps others by creating a community and leading by example to show that a bubbly person can still achieve things in life
  • How Nadja suffered from imposter syndrome but has finally discovered who she is and how she can help others


Connect with Nadja and find her podcast

Find out more about our EI community and events  

 The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

 Joyful by Ingrid Fetell Lee

The Book of Joy by the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu


Nov 2, 2020

I wasn’t sure what to talk about for today’s podcast when I happened upon Paula Prober’s newest blog post, Can Gifted Kids Become Ungifted Adults? Hint: No but, read the full post for her take.

This got me thinking how I’ve observed as I’ve followed more neurodiverse folks on social media that people will often refer to their own giftedness in past tense and in quotes like “I was a ‘gifted’ kid,” as if giftedness was not something that still affected them now as an adult. I got to speak with Nadja Cereghetti, host of a new podcast for gifted adults called Unleash Monday, and we talked a lot about how a lot of gifted adults either don’t know they are gifted or no longer think they are.

In this episode:

  • We often confuse giftedness with achievement, or executive functioning skills.

  • Highly gifted folks don’t always fit the standard achievement picture because their thinking is outside the typical box.

  • Acknowledging our giftedness allows us to connect with our strengths and values to figure out what achievement really looks like for us.

  • Finding ways to support us in our executive functioning and self regulation skills can help us harness our energy in a positive direction.


Your Rainforest Mind Blog

Unleash Monday Podcast

Embracing Intensity Community

Free Harnessing the Power of Your Intensity Workbook

Oct 26, 2020

In today’s show, I introduce you to a good friend who has been an anchor for me in creating a community over the last ten years, both in-person and online. Join us!

Lana Quackenbush has been part of my Ignite Your Power program for several years, and she frequently joined the monthly Embracing Intensity guest calls last year. I’ve seen from the beginning of our relationship what an amazing person she is and how she’s learning to own the uniqueness of who she is. Lana and I both love helping people find connections in the common experiences of intensity, giftedness, twice-exceptionality, and creativity.

Show Highlights:

  • Why Lana identifies as a mixed-race, newlywed, preschool teacher who loves peacemaking and doing the right thing
  • How Lana’s personal brand of intensity revolves around her qualities of being intensely intellectual, perfectionistic, and judgmental
  • Why as a Virgo, Lana has to work on finding balance in many ways
  • Growing up, Lana’s mom told her she was “exhausting,” and she had a hard time sleeping as a sickly child who learned to tune out her body’s signals
  • The cultural factors that added to the “tornado of chaos” in Lana’s biracial, highly social family; it was always stressed to her the importance of “presenting” herself well
  • How Lana learned to tune herself out or tone herself down in light of her mother’s postpartum depression and the realization that her needs weren’t always going to be met
  • How Lana’s intensity gets out of control at times when she is wronged, and her self-righteous indignation kicks in
  • The shift for Lana in finding a relationship that uplifts her intensity in a positive way
  • How Lana uses her fire for good as she spends her days teaching two-year-olds and shows interest in families, children, and their parents
  • Why Lana loves to see the emotional model of raising children reign over the intellectual model
  • How Lana harnesses the power of her intensity by doing yoga and studying Buddhism
  • How Lana follows her varied interests in phases, organizes spaces in her home to meet her needs, and imposes rules for herself about cleaning up one area before moving on
  • Lana’s inspirational to-do list hack: she writes her list on business cards so the list is manageable, and she can feel the satisfaction of checking off each item
  • Why Lana is ever-so-grateful that she followed the best advice she ever received: “Don’t make any permanent life choices before age 25.”
  • Books that Lana recommends: Ishmael by Daniel Quinn and The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield
  • How Lana helps others use their fire by kid-wrangling, making spaces for them, and meeting their needs
  • Why Lana is learning to identify proudly as a person of color


 Ishmael by Daniel Quinn

The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield

Find Lana on Instagram: ThatLanaLady

Oct 19, 2020

We are celebrating our 4th anniversary, 101K downloads! At this rate, I’ll make 200K in ½ the time! Keep sharing and listening so the message of Embracing Intensity can spread to those who need it! 

For this week’s special episode, I asked audience and community members to share “What does Embracing Intensity mean to me?” I left it deliberately open ended, and got a wonderful variety of answers ranging from the meaning of the phrase, to the importance of the community.

In this episode:

  • Celebrating intensity, and harnessing its power.
  • Tuning in to the messages of our intense feelings. 
  • Finding community that not only accepts, but appreciates your differences. 


Embracing Intensity Community

Leah K Walsh Coaching

Jeff's Peer Support Page

Tiffany's Lucy in the Sky: Therapy with a Pen

Mezclados Studio

Get your free Harnessing the Power of Your Intensity Workbook!

Oct 12, 2020

As this show airs, we’re reaching two important milestones. We hit the 100K downloads mark, which is thrilling in itself. We also are approaching the fourth anniversary of the Embracing Intensity podcast, which means we’ve been at this for quite a while now! Reach out to me at Aurora Remember and let me know what “embracing intensity” means to you. We will feature these in our upcoming anniversary show next week! For now, enjoy another informative show with my inspiring guest who I've been a fan of for quite some time.

Seth Perler’s life’s work has been dedicated to helping kids overcome executive functioning challenges so they can have great futures despite our outdated educational systems. Seth’s mission is to help compassionate and proactive parents, educators, and others who care about kids. He wants to give honest, practical, and unconventional approaches to helping complicated, struggling students without BS or misinformation. He wants to teach the world about executive function, which is at the root of student struggles. Seth’s vision is a day when we don’t need executive functioning coaches because education is wildly successful at empowering all students with everything they need to have happy, healthy, and successful lives.

Show Highlights:

  • Why Seth is intensely passionate about helping struggling students and changing educators to understand these kids better

  • How Seth grew up as a curious, free-spirited kid who loved animals and nature but never fit into “the box” in school

  • How Seth was labeled as a lazy, irresponsible failure--and his “fire was squelched”

  • How Seth became a teacher of gifted kids but soon became frustrated with the system

  • How Seth’s personal brand of intensity loves nature and the environment and feels the suffering of other people, animals, and plants

  • Why Seth hates to see kids struggle to be understood

  • How Seth is intense with his sensory experiences and emotions

  • How kids’ feelings are invalidated by cultural factors that teach them that acknowledging their feelings is not OK

  • Why Seth had a hopeless and cynical attitude as a kid, knowing he was “not like the other kids”

  • How Seth learned to escape by going into social settings to avoid being alone

  • Why Seth felt trapped by his “darkness”

  • How Seth lived in his problem until he found the tools to step into the solution

  • How Seth uses his fire for good by teaching what he most needs to learn and using what he has struggled with to help others

  • How Seth harnesses the power of his intensity through meditation, the #1 way he understands himself

  • Seth’s advice to those who don’t think they can meditate

  • How Seth helps kids learn to shine through new mindsets, systems, and routines

  • Seth’s advice:

    • Focus on helping others with a heart and spirit of service

    • Meditate and have times of stillness

    • Learn to journal

    • Get in touch with your story to know what is BS and what is truth


Connect with Seth:   Seth Perler  and Executive Function Summit  

Find Seth on YouTube and his podcast, Learn Smarter.



Oct 6, 2020

As I approach the 4th anniversary of the Embracing Intensity Podcast, I find myself and the podcast approaching a bunch of milestones in a short time! The biggest one being that I'm rapidly approaching the 100K download mark! 

In this episode:

  • Help us reach 100K and enter to win an Embracing Intensity T-shirt!
  • Exciting milestones for the podcast. 
  • Updates on the Embracing Intensity Community for this year and next!
  • Overview of my coaching and assessment process. 
  • Other creative projects.
  • Stay tuned next week for a great interview!


Contact me to send a recording for our anniversary episode by answering "What does Embracing Intensity mean to me?" 

Embracing Intensity Community

Harnessing the Power of Your Intensity Workbook

Sep 28, 2020

For many people, discovering their giftedness can open many doors, but when it becomes the center of our identity it can close many as well. In this episode, I share my observations over the years in gifted communities on the journey to self-understanding.

In this episode:

  • Stories of gifted discovery.
  • Types of gifted communities I've observed.
  • Times when focusing on gifted identity can be helpful, and when it can get in the way. 
  • My assessment philosophy.
  • Knowing the limitations of our assessment tools.
  • Upcoming book announcement!


Free Harness the Power of Your Intensity Workbook

Embracing Intensity Community

My Year in Mensa Podcast

Sep 21, 2020

It’s always great to have a good friend visit with me on the show. Join me as I introduce you to my friend, Erika. She’s a ball of energy who focuses on positivity, generosity, and finding workable solutions to everyday problems. Join us!

Erika Laws is a recovering networker, positive thinker, and sales enthusiast. She loves people, self-development, and manifesting. Her goal is to be happy no matter what the circumstances and to put her own “oxygen mask” on before helping others. She has lots of life lived and lessons learned.

Show Highlights:

  • Why Erika is intensely passionate about helping people, sales, and her unique form of “matchmaking”
  • Why Erika is not too concerned about being diplomatic anymore, asking the tough questions, and being a “say it how I feel it” person
  • Why Erika is a positive manipulator to help people to become better
  • How Erika’s intensity kicked in when she became a single mom and had to channel her intensity toward getting things done and leading confidently
  • How cultural factors influenced Erika growing up because she lived in a world without much diversity but found herself drawn to African-American friends, which isolated her from others
  • How Erika’s acceptance of everyone helped her later in her sales career
  • How Erika had to suppress her gender and act “more male” by holding back her emotion to succeed in her career
  • How Erika’s intensity gets out of control often as she tries to underpromise and overdeliver to customers, which comes across as aggressive and hostile at times
  • How Erika will go above and beyond to make sure people are taken care of; she’s an observant, forward-thinking, and solutions-based listener
  • How emotional awareness helps Erika harness the power of her intensity
  • How Erika follows a process using the acronym SELL in every interaction: show up, engage, listen, and lead
  • The best advice Erika ever received came from Jack Canfield: “There are only two things you can change about a situation. Change how you feel about it or change the situation.”
  • How Erika helps others see that they are valued, leads by example, and loves connecting people as a matchmaker to help them
  • How Erika is committed to holding the line with her boundaries and how she expects to be treated
  • Parting words from Erika: “Intensity can be good, but your greatest strength can be your biggest weakness. You have to channel that intensity for good and know when to dial it back. Choose wisely about who you surround yourself with, and choose those who appreciate and don’t just tolerate.”


Find Erika on Facebook: Erika Laws or Impactful Sales Solutions

If you’re in the Vancouver, WA, area, go see Erika at Mattress Firm on Mill Plain Boulevard!


Sep 14, 2020

For many years I thought I needed more self control to help develop health habits that would help my chronic pain and fatigue, but I eventually came to realize that I was focusing on the wrong thing. Instead of self control, I needed to focus on self-regulation. Self control is about forcing yourself, while self-regulation is about helping yourself. 

In this episode:

  • The difference between self control and self-regulation.
  • With self control, the focus is often on deprivation and forcing yourself to do something.
  • Willpower is a limited resource. 
  • With self-regulation, the focus is on setting up tools, environment etc. to help facilitate behaviors you want to change.


Embracing Intensity Community

Upcoming Group Calls

Embracing Intensity Store

Free Workbook on Harnessing the Power of Your Intensity

Sep 6, 2020

Today’s show is about swimming against the current and going against the flow. Listen to learn more about focusing on what feels good at the gut level. 

Matt Zinman is a personal success trainer whose varied experiences as an entrepreneur, athlete, single parent, caretaker, consultant, and nonprofit founder drive him to be a difference-maker. His insights about self-discovery, relationships, mindfulness, and life enrichment led him to write Z-Isms: Insights to Live By and fulfill his goal to positively impact as many people as possible. In addition, Matt is CEO of The Internship Institute, which he established in 2007 to bridge the gap between education, active duty, and employment.


Show Highlights:

  • As a Philly area native, Matt is passionate about ice hockey, entrepreneurship, internships, his nonprofit, and his book
  • Matt’s inspiration for writing Z-Isms, which contains pearls of wisdom, wit, and insights
  • Matt’s personal brand of intensity is channeled through ice hockey and his “relentlessly positive optimism”
  • The relevance of earned confidence from what you’ve endured
  • Since Matt contended with depression since his early teens, he had to learn how to take care of himself and notice his “mood scale”
  • How he became the caretaker for his mom, who contracted HIV through a tainted blood transfusion, and he learned to convert intensity into gratitude
  • The cultural factors that affected Matt, who was a Jewish kid in a Catholic high school
  • How Matt learned to be an even-keeled person through years of staying in control
  • How Matt felt his intensity get out of control as he lost his mom over time to HIV and dementia
  • How Matt used his fire for good by pushing through in his career and swimming against the current
  • How Matt harnessed the power of his intensity by paying attention to his anchors, like ice hockey, spontaneous connection to others, and positivity
  • How Matt created rituals around mindfulness and gratitude
  • The best advice Matt ever received was to trust himself and not overthink everything
  • A book that helped Matt was Blink by Malcolm Gladwell
  • How Matt helps others trust themselves and earn confidence, teaching them to take pride in yielding vs. always trying to win the fight
  • Final words from Matt: “Have a positive impact on as many people as possible. Be proactive. Stay upbeat, and take care of yourself.”


Find Matt and his tools and resources:  

Find Z-Isms on

Blink by Malcolm Gladwell  


Aug 31, 2020

We suffer not from lack, but from paralyzing abundance. Our vast array of interests make it difficult to choose just one thing and give it the attention to detail our idealistic standards feel it deserves. But Kazimierz Dabrowski says that dissatisfaction with oneself is actually a crucial step toward positive personality development. It is only useful though if it can be directed toward achieving your personal ideal through conscious action.

In this episode of Embracing Intensity, we’ll explore ways simplify your life so you have time to channel your energy in a positive direction.

In this episode:

  • 4 ways to simplify your life. 
  • Putting systems in place to make your life easier. 
  • Focusing your energy on your own "zone of genius"


Embracing Intensity Community

Embracing Intensity Store

Aug 17, 2020

"Disruption in your life is an opportunity to play and it's helping you disrupt yourself on purpose as a way to bring out that curiosity and wonder when you're in a rut."

We wrapped up our Summer Camp Scavenger Hunt in the Embracing Intensity Community with a talk from Gary Ware on Finding Your Way Back to the Playground. 

In this episode:

  • The importance of play.
  • 7 paths to bring more play into your life. 
  • The difference between childlike and childish.
  • Facing your gremlins that tell you you can't do things. 
  • Living life with childlike wonder, curiosity and enthusiasm.


Executive Functioning Summit - Affiliate Link

Gwen Gordon Plays

Dr. Stuart Brown - Playcore

Jane McGonigal

The Nerdist Way

Harnessing the Power of Your Intensity Workbook

Embracing Intensity Community

Aug 10, 2020

Today’s show features a guest who approaches every day with creativity and humor. She’s a financial expert who embraces her intensity and has the answer to your money questions.

Lisa Brumm and I met a few years ago when she spoke at an event. She is an active member of my online community, so we regularly connect and meet at local networking events around the Portland area. Lisa’s company, My Financial Girlfriend, has offices in Portland and Los Angeles. Lisa offers a shame-free zone to help women with all areas of their finances and leave them with a newfound sense of hope and relief about money and life.

Show Highlights:

  • Lisa’s intense passion around travel, the Pacific Northwest, family, and her business that educates and empowers women with financial literacy
  • How Lisa’s personal brand of intensity stems from a bent toward humor and a voice that doesn’t hold back; her inner drive to make things better leads her to ask questions to bring perspective to a male-dominated profession
  • How Lisa learned as a kid to use humor to deflect bullying
  • Culturally, Lisa as a kid was “a rare bird,” a girl who loved math and science
  • How Lisa’s parents encouraged her to use unique personal expression, but she learned to tone down her opinions and control her emotions to preserve friendships
  • How Lisa uses her fire to lobby for consensus
  • How parenting challenges with her two kids sometimes prompted her intensity to get out of control
  • How Lisa dealt with the learning diversity in her family with creativity and acceptance
  • How Lisa harnesses the power of her intensity by being persistent and tenacious and taking things at face value
  • Why the division of work in Lisa’s household is a little unconventional
  • The best advice Lisa ever received relates to raising kids; she learned to “Let them be” as far as exploring and figuring out the world
  • A book to recommend: Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult
  • How Lisa helps others by giving people a safe, non-judgmental space to see what they haven’t seen before, especially as it relates to financial literacy
  • Final words from Lisa: “Own your intensity, whatever it might be. There is room for everyone in this world.”


My Financial Girlfriend

Find My Financial Girlfriend on Facebook and LinkedIn



Aug 3, 2020

I've been thinking a lot about play lately, but also feeling bad talking about play when there's so much going on in the world right now. In my interview last week with Jeff Harry, he reminded us that "there's nothing wrong with having multiple emotions at the same time," and that play can be used to help deal with challenging things and conversations. 

In this episode:

  • The difference between play and toxic positivity.
  • Play as a form of self-care.
  • Why play isn't just something for kids.


Summer Camp Scavenger Hunt

Embracing Intensity Community

Harnessing the Power of Your Intensity Workbook

Jul 27, 2020

In the global pandemic, and everything else going on in the world today, there is every reason to be unhappy. Who decided that we grownups have to act our age and put playtime behind us? There are many benefits of playing like a kid, even through hard times--maybe especially in difficult times. So, when is the last time you played like a kid?

Jeff Harry shows individuals and companies how to tap into their true selves to feel their happiest and most fulfilled--all by playing. Jeff has worked with Google, Microsoft, Southwest Airlines, Adobe, the NFL, Amazon, and Facebook, helping their staff infuse more play into the day-to-day.

Show Highlights:

  • How Jeff is intensely passionate about utilizing play to help people figure out who they are and how happy and joyful they were as kids
  • How Jeff brings his passion to everything he does and loves to “nerd out” about any topic--along with his “fancy” bowtie that says he’s just there to have fun
  • How Jeff didn’t always fit into his father’s box of “a time and a place for everything”
  • Cultural factors that affected Jeff growing up as the child of first-generation immigrants include how he had to learn not to take things seriously and make play his armor
  • How adults try to follow the correct way of living that ends up not being correct for them
  • Why Jeff never felt like being “more” was a bad thing, and he actually regrets not being enough of himself because of fear and playing it safe
  • How we allow our inner critic to control us and why we need to address it head-on
  • How the flaws in our educational system tamp down and destroy genius in the classroom
  • How Jeff uses play as a superpower to attack evil, disconnection, and shame
  • How Jeff had to go through his own bullshit and identify his limiting beliefs
  • Why Jeff doesn’t take things too seriously, practices being present in the moment, and uses his “play” lens to figure things out
  • How Jeff helps others “come alive” and take a leap of faith and curiosity to reconnect with their “kidself”
  • Final words from Jeff: “You’re alive for a reason. You have a variety of superpowers, and when you liberate yourself, you help others liberate themselves.”


Rediscover Your Play

Find JeffHarryPlays on Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter

The Power Manual by Cyndi Suarez


Jul 21, 2020

This week I had planned to talk about gifted kid burnout and how many of them may actually be twice-exceptional, but it was hot today and my brain was kind of mush so I decided to share part of my lesson on positive coping skills instead!

In this episode:

  • Types of unproductive skills. 
  • Having empathy for our coping skills, and understanding what needs they are trying to meet.
  • Common elements in productive coping skills. 


Summer Camp Scavenger Hunt

Embracing Intensity Community

Embracing Intensity Store

Jul 13, 2020

Cosette “CoCo” Leary loves to live out loud. She’s a jubilant speaker, professional coach, author, and educator. CoCo has overcome a childhood of poverty and abuse, raised four children through hard work and painful decisions, and has gone from surviving on welfare benefits to earning her university degree in Public Administration, graduating with highest honors and serving as a staff member in both a senatorial and congressional office. Ms. Leary pulled herself out of poverty to show others how to do the same. She exists to breathe life back into improving communities, rekindling relationships across economic class lines, and empowering women.

Show Highlights:

  • Why CoCo is intensely passionate about not accepting society’s rules for her and being empowered to challenge the status quo; her passion comes from growing up as a foster child who was pregnant with her first child at age 14, and had to go against the court system to keep her child and not be forced to terminate
  • How CoCo determined to have a life worth living for her and her baby
  • CoCo’s personal brand of intensity is absolute determination and a never-give-up attitude in going up against economic class systems
  • Why CoCo knew she had to start with education to advance herself to help others
  • How CoCo’s children watched her at work to better herself despite living in Section 8 housing and shopping at Goodwill
  • How CoCo’s intensity was affected as she grew up by her loving father who gave her the gift of imagination but died when she was 12; a few years before his death, her parents divorced, and her mom remarried an abusive man
  • How CoCo was beaten regularly and repeatedly ran away from home but was carried through those hard times by the self-love instilled into her by her father
  • Why CoCo had difficulty expressing herself with language other than that of the “hood” where she grew up--until she found the local library
  • How I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou changed CoCo’s life at age 12 when she lived in an orphanage
  • After working in DC and then returning to Washington state, CoCo went through two years of homelessness even though she had a degree in Public Administration; no one would hire her
  • How she started building her brand even while homeless and working as a CNA, living in a motel for several months
  • Now, CoCo helps other low-income women build their brand and helps women entrepreneurs fall in love with themselves
  • Why CoCo’s intensity never got out of control because her drive was mandatory for survival
  • How her health suffered from diabetes, high blood pressure, and a stroke in 2018
  • How CoCo uses her fire for good by encouraging others to use their fire and giving others permission to really see who they are
  • Habits that helped CoCo harness the power of her intensity: “Being honest with myself, telling myself the truth, and realizing I need a good support system, and I need to be a support system for others.”
  • Last words from CoCo: “Love yourself. Tell yourself, YES. Whatever you want to do for you, find a way to do it.”


From Welfare to The White House

Find CoCo on Instagram: @welfare2whitehouse

From Welfare to the White House by Cosette Leary


Jul 7, 2020

I've seen some conversations recently about how being a Highly Sensitive Person can overlap with characteristics of specific disabilities & neurodiversities such as ADHD or Autism. There was some discussion of whether identifying as HSP might prevent or delay seeking a deeper underlying diagnosis and it got me thinking about how other traits such as multi potentiality and giftedness might also interfere with getting diagnosis and treatment.

In this episode:

  • How in our attempt to avoid labels or pathologizing we might miss important treatment and supports.
  • The impact of late or no diagnosis on self esteem. 
  • Why we should look deeper if we feel a trait is having a negative impact on our lives. 


Embracing Intensity Community

Free Harnessing the Power of Your Intensity Workbook

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