Embracing Intensity

Use your fire without getting burned.
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Embracing Intensity








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Apr 12, 2021

Have you ever felt like you were taking up too much space? My guest today shares how he moved from talking up space wherever he went to channeling his own unique powers to bring out the best in others. Join us!

Landon Young is someone I met on TikTok, which is unique as a social media platform that allows people to connect across social groups that might not normally interact. Landon describes himself as a “regular guy” who enjoys what he does as a North American Digital Brand Manager at Nike.

Show Highlights:

  • Why Landon is intensely passionate about sneakers, storytelling, his dream job at Nike, playing guitar, and spending time with his wife and daughter
  • How Landon’s personal brand of intensity includes empathy and passion as someone who is relentless and focused on the process
  • Growing up, Landon was always labeled as gifted and was supported by his parents
  • How Landon overcompensated for his issues with giftedness before medication helped him find balance
  • How cultural factors affected Landon as he grew up in a Mormon home;
  • He had a strong desire to excel but didn’t know how to process and regulate emotions
  • How Landon finds joy in discovering connections with others
  • How Landon has to tone himself down frequently--something he didn’t know how to do when he was younger: “I took up too much space and didn’t know how to channel my superpowers.”
  • How Landon learned to recognize the moments when he tends to get out of control
  • How Landon uses his fire for good as an “energy giver,” which he feels is his calling in life
  • How Landon loves helping others at Nike as he teaches retail employees about new products and innovations and creates campaigns for product launches
  • Habits that help Landon harness the power of his intensity include meditation, lots of water, and healthy supplements
  • How Landon benefitted from the book, Essentialism by Greg McKeown
  • How Landon helps others with true leadership, which is recognizing their potential, tapping into it, and finding what they are good at
  • Landon’s parting advice: “Learn to acknowledge and leverage your ADHD in ways that build up your life with a superpower for balance and happiness.”

Where to Find Landon:

 Instagram: @HeyitsLando

 Tik-Tok - @heyitslando90


Apr 6, 2021

This week is a bit late and short again, but it's for a great reason! I hyper focused on a project the last two days that's ready to share as a collaborative effort!

The 2E Hub!

A place for gifted, creative and twice exceptional folks to share, learn and explore!


2E Hub

Free Workbook on Harnessing the Power of Your Intensity


Mar 29, 2021

My guest today shares the keen awareness he’s developed of his ADHD diagnosis and how it impacts his life. Join us to hear the story of the good he’s doing in the world.

Ross Watt hosts the International ADHD Party on Twitter and is one of the ADHD-Hub co-creators. He’s working hard to make a difference for kids and adults with ADHD.

Show Highlights:

  • Why Ross is intensely passionate about ADHD, writing poems, and encouraging others
  • How Ross’ personal brand of intensity means being hyper-focused with a chip on his shoulder and always investigating things in deeper ways
  • How Ross grew up being strong-willed, determined (especially when told he couldn’t do something), opinionated, and argumentative
  • How Ross’ parents nicknamed him “Half-a-job,” which was a dig that led him to compare himself to others and find that he didn’t measure up
  • How Ross’ adolescent years were a big contradiction
  • How Ross has had to tone himself down and tune himself out when he knows he shouldn’t say something but feels like he will explode
  • How Ross has had to learn when to speak up and when to be quiet
  • How Ross’ intensity got out of control when he left his parents’ house at age 16, determined to prove everybody wrong
  • How Ross uses his fire for good, helping others with diplomacy and patience
  • How Ross helps others develop their ideas and disprove their opinions of themselves
  • How Ross formed the habit of not telling others what he will do--just in case he doesn’t follow through
  • Why Ross is very set in daily routines
  • How Ross helps others by being honest and giving them belief in themselves
  • How to figure out if you’re a “carrot” or “stick” person


Connect with Ross:

Twitter: ADHD



Mar 22, 2021

This week I get to share the talk from our March guest call is on Honoring Your Sensitivity with Leah Walsh. You can find the full discussion and video in the Embracing Intensity Community!

In Sanskrit there are 96 words for love. I seriously wish we had that many words in English for the word sensitivity! A word whose origins mean "capable of feeling and sensation," what does being sensitive mean in today's culture?

Join us for this creative exploration of sensitivity, how sensitivity is a shared trait across neurodivergent experiences, and how curiosity and community can help in honoring your own sensitivity.

About Leah:

Leah Walsh (she/her) is motivated by one desire: to support conscious and creative people to uncover their unique potential and bring that light into the world. Leah sees every human as a beautiful and unique flower in life’s garden, but being your own flower can be hard work! It means cultivating a strong mind, deep roots, and a clear heart to allow your flower to grow, adapt, & bloom. Leah’s work as a Life Coach supports people to do just this. Her signature coaching programs support highly sensitive, neurodivergent, and introverted leaders to ground their confidence, cultivate deep-rooted belonging and awaken their unique impact. To learn more about Leah’s work, visit


Embracing Intensity Community

Free Workbook on Harnessing the Power of Your Intensity

Leah's Website

Future Embracing Intensity Events

Mar 15, 2021

Today’s show focuses on support for highly sensitive and introverted leaders. Join us to learn more!

Leah Walsh is a speaker and life coach who is motivated by the desire to support conscious and creative people in uncovering their potential and bringing their light into the world. Leah sees every human as a beautiful and unique flower in life’s garden, but she knows that being your own flower can be hard work. It means cultivating a strong mind, deep roots, and a clear heart to allow your flower to grow, adapt, and bloom. Leah’s work as a life coach supports people in these ways. Her signature coaching programs support highly sensitive, neuro-divergent, and introverted leaders to ground their confidence, cultivate deep-rooted belonging, and awaken their unique impact.

Show Highlights:

  • Why Leah is intensely passionate about staying grounded, exploring belonging, and speaking truth with honesty and love
  • How Leah grew up in a very neurodivergent family where her parents were supportive of the differences in the way their kids were wired
  • How the culture of service in Leah’s family gave her a profound capacity to feel empathy for others and have a strong bond and connection to the land where she lives
  • How Leah feels and connects through relationships
  • How Leah had to tone herself down when she didn’t have the language to describe what she was going through
  • Why she found ways to give herself permission to be real and authentic
  • How journaling helps Leah identify what she is feeling
  • Why it’s important to tune into your body
  • How Leah uses her fire for good in her life coaching practice
  • Why self-compassion is essential in Leah’s practice as a life coach
  • How Leah works as a “shame extractor”
  • How Leah helps others use their own fire by using the acronym DOES
  • How COVID has cracked open new possibilities
  • How Leah resonates with neurodiversity and how we embrace our beauty and intensity


Leah K. Walsh 

Visit Leah’s website for more information on her seasonal meetup, The Brave Intender Club.


Mar 9, 2021

This week's episode is a fairly quick one as I got inspired for a new project this week and went down a hyper focus rabbit hole for days! 

In this episode:

  • Update on my latest project & upcoming course.
  • Do it yourself mentality. 
  • Being a maker, not a marketer.


Free Harness Your Power Workbook

Adult Learning Assessment

Embracing Intensity Community

Community Events Calendar

Mar 1, 2021

Today’s guest launched into the world of twice-exceptionality because of the unique strengths and challenges that came with parenting her two sons, now teenagers. Her work now meets the needs of kids like her sons, along with helping other parents and educators through her therapy practice, support groups, and parenting programs. Join us to learn more!

Debbie Steinberg Kuntz is the founder of the Bright & Quirky Summit, which features fantastic guest speakers and leading experts on “everything twice-exceptional” for parents and educators. Debbie is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who specializes in twice-exceptional (2E) kids and families.  Her annual Bright & Quirky Child Online Summit attracts over 15,000 people from 95 countries, and the 2021 version is coming up in just a few days. It’s a free resource, and you can sign up now by using the link in our Resources section below.

Show Highlights:

  • Why Debbie is intensely passionate about unlocking the world of twice-exceptionality
  • Why Debbie’s relationship with intensity borders on workaholism and being “tenacious to the point of imbalance”
  • How intensity affected her family as she grew up, and why she readily recognizes the strengths and challenges of twice-exceptionality in parenting her two children
  • As a parent, Debbie looks for teachers who have raised boys before
  • How Debbie wants to empower parents in the way they view their child against our cookie-cutter educational system
  • How Debbie learned to embrace uniquely wired people as a Jew growing up in America
  • How parents can talk to their kids about being 2E
  • What Debbie has discovered about the line between asynchronous development and twice-exceptionality
  • Why Debbie is a huge fan of neuropsychological assessments
  • Her advice for parents about finding professional help
  • How Debbie harnesses the power of her intensity through the polyvagal theory and asks, “Why?” and “Why now?”
  • Debbie’s best advice about parenting comes from Kristin Neff, who says, “Talk to yourself like you would talk to a best friend.”
  • How Debbie helps others use their fire by teaching them to pursue the intersection of what they are good at and what they enjoy
  • The Bright & Quirky Summit 2021, coming in a few days; it features 29 experts tackling the timely theme of “Taming the Overwhelm”


Debbie’s website:  Bright And Quirky 

Sign up for the March 8-12, 2021 summit

Find out about last year’s summit:  Bright And Quirky 


Feb 23, 2021

I’m excited to share our first guest call for the 2021 season in the Embracing Intensity Community with Brendan Mahan, of ADHD Essentials, on the Wall of Awful!

From Brendan’s website:

“Everyone fails. Some, like those with executive function challenges, fail more than others.

Each failure brings negative emotions – guilt, disappointment. These smaller emotions become stronger feelings of anxiety, shame and even loneliness if one is repeatedly rejected because of their errors. Each time these negative emotions are experienced, another brick is placed into that person’s Wall of Awful.

The Wall of Awful is the emotional barrier that prevents us from initiating tasks and taking the risks necessary to make reach our goals. It is the emotional consequence of having ADHD and it must be understood to be overcome.

Let me help you climb your Wall of Awful™.

Get the free e-book “5 Ways to Overcome The Wall of Awful” here!”

In this episode:

  • Who is Brendan?
  • What is the Wall of Awful?
  • How do we get past the Wall of Awful?
  • Brendan's perspective on ADHD
  • Being a leader and creating your own narratives around neurodiversity.


Brendan's Website

Embracing Intensity Community

Free Harnessing the Power of Your Intensity Workbook

Feb 15, 2021

I found today’s guest in a most unusual place! It was on TikTok that I first noticed her work with gifted and twice-exceptional people, and I knew I had to get her on the show.

Dr. Kimberly Douglass is president and CEO of Remote Learning Solutions. She coaches neurodivergent PhDs/EdDs on the personal, social, and technical aspects of career and entrepreneurship. In addition to moving clients from deficit-based to strengths-based thinking, she helps PhDs/EdDs develop content across a range of subjects. She helps clients deliver content in the form of ebooks, online courses, workbooks, journals, workshops, and more. Dr. Douglass bases her coaching practice on five values: empathy, justice, love, neurodiversity, and purpose. She worked in higher education for over 17 years in various roles and earned a PhD in political science in 2009 and tenured in Information Sciences in 2016 at the University of Tennessee Knoxville. Her teaching and scholarship have developed at the intersection of information science and political behavior.

Show Highlights:

  • Why Kimberly is intensely passionate about coaching and mentoring neurodivergent adults
  • How the same issues in our schools with kids are showing up for adults in the workplace
  • Why people are taught to believe in a fake meritocracy
  • How giftedness means different things for different people
  • How Kimberly’s personal brand of intensity is thinking about things in different ways, deep thoughts and issues that can turn into depression, and loving information and data
  • Growing up, Kimberly felt her intensity through acting goofy and humorous and always being presentable to white culture
  • The distinction between management and leadership
  • Cultural factors that affected Kimberly as she grew up in a black Baptist church, being told that she “shouldn’t speak up for herself,” and seeing Christianity as a tool of enslavement
  • How Kimberly had to tune herself out and tone herself down when she worked at a university with mean, accusatory people
  • Why she feels her intensity getting out of control when she feels dismissed or undervalued
  • What made Kimberly take a different look at herself and her son regarding giftedness
  • How she uses her fire for good in believing people
  • Habits that help Kimberly harness the power of her intensity are tools that organize her thoughts and life
  • How she helps others use their fire for good by trying to be neutral and helping people look for affirmation, values, principles, mission, and goals
  • Kimberly’s advice: “Take the risk. Find someone who will help you take the risk. Realize that not moving and standing still is also risky; it’s just risky in a different way.”


Website:  Dr. Kimberly Douglass 

Facebook: Kimberly Douglass

TikTok: Dr. Kimberly Douglass


Feb 9, 2021

I've been hearing a lot more comments lately along the lines of "I relate to your work, but I'm not really gifted." In this episode of Embracing Intensity, I discuss why gifted folks might not recognize their own gifts and some resources to explore if you suspect you might be gifted. 

In this episode:

  • 5 Reasons gifted folks might not think they are really gifted.
  • My own experience and why I actually believed it despite underachievement.
  • 3 of my favorite books & resources to explore potential giftedness.


Your Rainforest Mind, Paula Prober

The Gifted Adult, Mary-Elaine Jacobsen PsyD

Searching For Meaning, James Webb

Embracing Intensity Community

Free Workbook on Harnessing the Power of Your Intensity

Feb 1, 2021

I’m excited to share today’s show with you. My guest has an interesting perspective as an obviously gifted person who has dyslexia. Her experience is fascinating, but there is so much more to her story and work. Join us!

Brenda Bryan is a kickass inspirational speaker and The Diviner of Human Potential. As a transformational coach and Mastermind facilitator, she supports women to unmask and nurture their genius, empowering them to live in the strength of their passion. Teaching through the Raise Your Voice Speaker’s Club, one-on-one workshops, and stages around the country, Brenda demonstrates authentic, warm-hearted humor with a deep wealth of knowledge of the importance of communication in feminine power. Brenda began working in her passion of building community and supporting women in the early 70s. Graduating with a degree in communications, she became active in the women’s movement. Through her activism, she acquired lasting skills in group processing, facilitation, and leadership. She facilitates ritual and teaches sacred art through drum-making and other creative works. For the past 45 years, Brenda has continued to build her toolkit to support women’s empowerment. Most recently, she was inspired to be the founder and CEO of It Must Be Said Productions, which is a platform for stories that need telling, a venue for social change. She believes the weaving together of creativity, innovation, and invention invites future visioning. 

Show Highlights:

  • Why Brenda is intensely passionate about feminism, helping women claim their place at the table, communication, ritual, and loving and nurturing ourselves
  • Why Brenda’s personal brand of intensity involves anger over injustices and inequalities in our social order and environment, along with radical self-care and a questioning of authority
  • Why Brenda wasn’t well-liked as she grew up because she would speak up and call people out
  • Her learning challenges included trouble with reading, spelling, and writing due to dyslexia and being told she wasn’t “smart enough”
  • How Brenda has seen positive outcomes from her journey with new possibilities as a  creative thinking problem solver
  • How bigotry and prejudice against gay relationships set a tone for how and where she expressed herself
  • How Brenda had to reinvent how she shows up and expresses herself in a “conscious becoming”
  • How her intensity gets out of control when it’s heightened in relationships when boundaries are violated, but she has learned to manage and direct her passion and anger
  • How Brenda uses her fire to help other women who are looking to become more
  • How Brenda harnesses the power of her intensity with consistency of thought as she evolves as a human who adventures and takes risks in becoming
  • How the personal habits of meditation, drumming, ritual, and spending time in nature help Brenda
  • The best advice she ever received is two-part: “Stand up when you fall down,” and “There are no mistakes, only opportunities to learn.”
  • Books that have influenced Brenda: Learning to Heal Yourself by Louise Hay, The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, and Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
  • How Brenda helps others by loving people where they are and helping them go where they want to go
  • Parting words from Brenda: “Embrace your intensity. There is an infinite purpose in who you are and what you bring to the table.”


Connect with Brenda:


Phone: 503-728-8700

Jan 26, 2021

A couple of weeks ago I participated in an event called Camp ADHD, where folks around the world shared talks and discussion on topics related to ADHD. I spoke about twice-exceptionality, specifically as it relates to ADHD, and the topic seemed to resonate with a lot of folks, so I decided ot share it on the podcast as well! 

In this episode:

  • Why the topic of twice exceptionality is important to me. 
  • Why it’s important to talk about twice exceptionality.
  • Why it often goes overlooked.
  • How to recognize when you might be both gifted and ADHD.
  • Common themes from assessing 2E ADHD students.
  • Strategies that might help if you fit this profile. 


Camp ADHD on YouTube

Embracing Intensity Community

Free Workbook on Harnessing the Power of Your Intensity

Jan 18, 2021

My guest today is twice exceptional and was recently diagnosed with ADHD. She’s super vocal about many things, including social justice, dressing up as Elsa for storytime, and showcasing her great style. Fortunately for me, she lives in my area, so I hope to meet her in person very soon!

Dusti Arab is an entrepreneur and writer who leads the reinvention co., a boutique marketing agency specializing in building platforms and courses for mission-driven women. Dusti is currently writing a book, Braver Than Before: A Roadmap for Investigating Big Life Changes.

Show Highlights:


  • How Dusti is intensely passionate about--everything she believes in! She loves to make sure people have access to what they need, including music and art
  • Her personal brand of intensity includes being opinionated, drawing the right people closer, and setting boundaries
  • How Dusti’s late ADHD diagnosis and twice-exceptionality manifested themselves in her drive to be an overachiever
  • Why Dusti’s company is called the reinvention co.
  • How Dusti grew up in Oregon, in a very white, very backwoods family in which race issues weren’t acceptable to talk about
  • How Dusti loved to escape into another person through musical theater
  • How she looked for other role models other than her mother and even tried a conservative Baptist church that resulted in her atheistic views
  • How her intensity was out of control in her erratic job history and string of unfinished business projects
  • How she went through postpartum depression, which resulted in the most intensity in her life
  • How Dusti uses her fire for good in working with people and firms who help women and minorities get elected, along with bridging gaps caused by systematic injustice
  • How Dusti learned to manage herself through a productivity system
  • How Dusti is busy finishing the first draft of her book
  • Personal habits that help with her intensity are getting enough exercise and time-blocking
  • Regarding advice, Dusti admits that she was told a lot of things over the years that weren’t true--and she realizes it now
  • Books that were helpful for Dusti: The Awakening by Kate Chopin and Everything in its Place by Dan Charnas
  • How Dusti works as an amplifier and connector to build a platform to help women spread their big ideas
  • Dusti’s upcoming event on January 22


Find out more about Dusti and her work:   The Reinvention

Course Mentioned on this Friday: Course Created Live



Jan 12, 2021

This week I wanted to take a moment to share about the upcoming plans I have for the year to help gifted, creative and outside the box thinkers connect and realize their potential. 

In this episode:

  • Upcoming topics and speakers for the Embracing Intensity Community.
  • Refreshing my website Adult Learning Assessment and Coaching information. 
  • Creating lots of fun and hopefully useful content.


My first Comic!

Embracing Intensity Community


Free Harnessing the Power of Your Intensity Workbook

Jan 4, 2021

Today’s show focuses on highly sensitive people. My guest loves helping HSPs uncover the layers of conditioning put on them by society and bloom in their uniqueness. Join us to learn more.

Julia R. Wild is a bestselling author, spiritual teacher, and trauma educator with a Master’s degree in psychology. She’s also a writing, creativity, and life coach. Her first self-help book for sensitives became an Amazon #1 bestseller, and she’s a TEDxMileHigh Blogger. Julia loves helping highly sensitive and empath children and women find their soulful, powerful voice. Part of her work also helps parents of highly sensitive children better relate to their kids. Julia enjoys disrupting conformity and subverting the dominant paradigms so people can express their unique, sovereign creativity and live extraordinary lives. She is a big believer in writing for healing and embracing the shadow as much as the light. She has two projects slated for publication soon, including her Master’s thesis on autism from a spiritual perspective.

Show Highlights:

  • Why is Julia intensely passionate about her creativity, being an “old soul,” helping people find their voice, social justice, equality, and animals
  • How Julia grew up in a household with extreme abuse and dysfunction in Manhattan but attended an all-girls private school
  • How Julia’s personal brand of intensity involves being direct and blunt with a heightened sensory perception of sounds and smells
  • Growing up, Julia’s intensity made everything more pressurized and challenging because of her toxic home and stuffy school
  • How Julia’s cultural factors involved growing up in the rich environment of NYC, which gave her perspective and helped her be open-minded
  • Why Julia has to water down what she says and writes
  • How her intensity gets out of control with things she finds too stimulating
  • How Julia uses her fire for good to help sensitives set boundaries and self-advocate
  • Julia’s Master’s thesis, which gives a new, more balanced perspective to autism
  • How Julia harnesses the power of her intensity with self-care, valuing her capacity for depth, and using her intensity in service to others
  • Personal habits that help Julia are writing, channeling energy, and finding an appropriate use of humor
  • The best advice Julia ever received:
    • From Maya Angelou: “When someone shows you who they are, pay attention the first time.”
    • From the Buddha: “Don’t believe anything because you heard it. Find out for yourself.”
    • “You’ve gotta risk it to get the biscuit.”
  • Books that Julia recommends: Proof of Heaven by Eben Alexander, Walden, by Henry David Thoreau, Citizen by Claudia Rankine, and The Highly Sensitive Person by Elaine Aron
  • How Julia helps others use their fire by “unconditioning” people and undoing the layers of conditioning that have been put on them by society
  • Parting words from Julia: “Honor your sensitivity. If you’re weird or different, stay weird or different. It’s healing to tell your story, so value it.”


Find Julia and her work:  Julia Rose Wild 


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

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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

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