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Finding Your Purpose as a Women With ADHD


Full Transcript from my conversation with Tracy Otsuka about her podcast and new book. So many great gems from this conversation. Watch the Full Conversation on Youtube

Amy Marie Hann (00:16.782)
Welcome. My name is Amy Marie Hann. I'm the creator of Master of the Mundane and I have a very special guest today. I am joined by Tracy Otsuka. If you do not know Tracy, you are missing out. She is an author. She is an attorney. She is a mother.

She is a podcast host. She is like so many of you. She was diagnosed with ADHD as an adult after her son went through the process and that then led her down a rabbit hole of understanding ADHD, becoming a certified coach, and then just unleashing her brilliance on the world to empower and encourage women with ADHD. Her podcast is called

ADHD for smart ass women. And she brings such a unique perspective as a very intelligent, educated, smart, ambitious woman that also has a very differently wired brain. She is now actually released a book of the same title, ADHD for Smart Ass Women. So today she's going to share with us a little bit about her story, share with us just some nuggets from her book and from her podcast.

to inspire and encourage us. So Tracy, I am so glad that you are here. Please, I know I just gave a very simplistic overview of you in your life and your story. So please just share a little bit for those who don't know you and don't know your background, kind of how you got here and whatever you'd like to share about your ADHD journey.

Tracy Otsuka (02:09.473)
I don't know how I got here. How did these things happen? Right? So it wasn't long ago that I had a 12 year old son who had been newly diagnosed with ADHD and I did not understand what ADHD was. So this was three years in the making. He had been through occupational therapy. He had been through, oh my gosh, visual processing therapy. They just couldn't figure it out and his teachers couldn't figure it out either.

Tracy Otsuka (02:39.329)
They would say things like, he is so bright, but he just doesn't seem motivated at times. They didn't understand. And neither did the clinicians that we were working with. They didn't get that it was ADHD. So lo and behold, he's 12 years old. We put him through this whole battery of, you know, neuropsych testing and he is diagnosed with ADHD. And I, I'm thinking ADHD means you're not very smart. You're all over the place and you are not destined for much success in life.

I didn't know what it meant and it made no sense to me. So we hired a local expert. She was supposedly, you know, knew everything about ADHD, a psychologist. And she met with us three times, the first time with just Marcus, the second time with the whole family and then with my husband and me. And she sat us down, thankfully he was not there. And she said to us,

your job as his parents is to reduce his expectations so he won't be disappointed in life. And I don't know why you would say that to any child. I don't care if your child has intellectual disabilities. You do not say that, right? If your goal is here, you're probably, maybe you're going to reach it. Maybe you're even going to surpass it, but you're more likely to be just under it. So if your goal is here, you're just, you know, it made no sense to me. So,

Tracy Otsuka (04:01.057)
For obvious reasons, we never went back. And I started to do the research on ADHD for myself. I had to understand it because my son was nothing if not ambitious. I mean, from the time he was a little kid, he was talking about his future and what he wanted to do. And we would catch him, you know, at eight in the morning on the computer researching, how do I get into Harvard? Like what nine -year -old child does that, right? When he was really interested in something, he didn't just know a little bit about it.

He knew everything about it. So one of his interests was World War II. He knew every single battle. He knew everything that happened. Another was baseball. And he was seven years old at the time. And he was with a friend of ours. And they were in the stands in LA somewhere. And there was an older gentleman sitting next to him at a baseball game. And he just started to talk baseball with this older man. And my friend who's really brilliant. He was shocked. He said he knows everything about every statistic. And it's not just the old timey. Yeah. I mean, it's not just the current baseball players. It's baseball from the start of time. And he was seven. So I knew this kid, he was bright and curious and, you know, interested and interesting. I, it just didn't square. So I started to do all the research and I started to figure out what the ADHD brain looks like. And lo and behold,

Tracy Otsuka (05:28.609)
Eight months later, it took me eight times and a second reading of Driven to Distraction to finally see myself in ADHD. Everything clicked and I'm like, oh my gosh, he got his ADHD from me. And then I started to look at my family, my siblings and my parents. And I was like, okay, this is exactly where he got it from. So I just started to do what many of us with ADHD do.

I started to go down this rabbit hole when we are interested. I wanted to learn more about ADHD. I wanted to put guardrails on my learning, meaning that I knew if even one person, for example, listened to my podcast or joined one of my Facebook groups and got value out of what I was learning, then I would keep going. So I started a Facebook group which, you know, blew up or close to 100 ,000 members.

And then right after that, I started a podcast. What I really wanted to do was the podcast, but it was safer to start the Facebook group first, right? But within a couple months, I realized that, because what I would do is I would run these little trainings about what I had learned about ADHD in the Facebook group. So I did the same thing with the podcast and then, oh, I don't know, it went for a couple of years and then COVID came and then everything blew up. And...

I learned so much about myself. I mean, I think the best self -development you can do bar none is do a podcast. And then the second best thing is probably to write a book or maybe they're, you know, they're inversed. I'm not really sure, but both of those things, they just really force you if it's something you're interested to just take everything to the next level because whereas I may disappoint myself,

I will never disappoint someone else. So if someone is relying on anything that I'm doing, I know that I'll keep doing it if it helps people because we all tend to be mission driven. And so if I'm in an area of interest, then my mission is to, you know, help anybody else who's in that area as well, ratchet up their knowledge. And, you know, I've always been about self development. That's just been my thing since I was a little kid.

Amy Marie Hann (07:49.08)
Well, and I think I found that too in my community and in content creation and because having that accountability of knowing like, okay, they're expecting me. I have to, I've said, especially in the beginning, at a certain point, I'm sure you have advertisers and other people that are beholden to even more people. But if people are expecting you, then you need to show up, which then also helps every area of your life because it helps you be more consistent and more structured.

Amy Marie Hann (08:18.735)
I imagine. So how long ago is that that you started the podcast?

Tracy Otsuka (08:23.177)
2019, January of 2019. So it really hasn't been that long and it feels even shorter. Sometimes I think back to 2019, what is that five years now? It doesn't feel like five years. Again, we generally have a sense of time, right? So it just like it just happened yesterday.

Amy Marie Hann (08:46.638)
Yeah. And your son, just because I think that is an important part, most of my watchers, followers are kind of 30s and 40s, moms of, you know, kind of toddlers to tweens and teens. And so you have two kids, is that right? You have two. And so you're older. So only Marcus is diagnosed. Is that correct? Okay.

Tracy Otsuka (09:02.721)
I do. I do. Yeah.

Tracy Otsuka (09:09.121)
No. So my daughter is the older one. My daughter was literally the model child. Like we would joke around that, I mean, this is child abuse. I know this now, but you know, we'd be in France and we'd take her to these, you know, restaurant, three hour, you know, big deal, you know, French restaurants. And you know how the French are, they sit around and eat all day.

Tracy Otsuka (09:32.661)
And they really know how to enjoy a meal. And she was three years old and she would be sitting right there in the seat and everybody would be walking by and, oh my gosh, what an amazing child. And she was like having fun. It wasn't like she was tortured, right? And she was holding court and she'd be talking to everybody. And we, you know, my husband and I really thought that, oh my gosh, this is because of our amazing parenting, you know? And then three and a half years later, we got Marcus and we did everything.

Tracy Otsuka (10:00.961)
tried to do everything we did for Attea with Marcus, but it did not work. It had nothing to do with our parenting. What it had to do with is she came out the way she was. That is how she was. And that is how my son was. So my son was diagnosed and my daughter is a lot like me. So did pretty, you know, did very well in school, you know, she would be the valedictorian. She was always striving, always working hard. It was really important for her.

to do well in the way that society believes doing well, you know, how that looks. And she is now in law school. Both my kids are in New York City. My son is now a, we can't believe it. He is graduating from NYU in May. He's had three majors in four years. We have no idea how he's gonna graduate, but he is still very ambitious and still very curious, you know, loves to travel, you know, all that kind of stuff.

Tracy Otsuka (10:57.505)
anything that's new. My daughter, however, you know, was kind of on the straight and narrow path. And, you I don't know how many internships she had in college, but I want to say like eight. I mean, she just was working all the time and ended up going to law school. She is a first year, a 1L, and it was just too much. And she finally, because I, you know, I would watch her and with with Taya, she's hyperactive, but a lot of it is in her head.

and I would see how she would process things that happened in her life and she'd get really upset. She's also, whereas my son is kind of emotionless, he's a little bit like me, where things don't really set him off, you know? Versus Atea, she can get very discombobulated and run around like a chicken without a head. And I remember observing this and thinking,

Tracy Otsuka (11:53.473)
I bet you there's ADHD. I just see it, you know? And this all started happening around puberty. And so she finally, you know, was complaining about, I don't understand why I study so much and I'm here with my peers. They can read so fast, they understand it all. And I'm still like on the first chapter, you know, trying to like diagram and make sure that, you know, I understand what I need to understand. And she finally said, okay, mom,

Tracy Otsuka (12:22.529)
I'm just going to go get diagnosed. And she was diagnosed and she actually, you know, has pretty substantial ADHD. So it's my whole family, you know, my husband does not.

Amy Marie Hann (12:35.31)
That's, I think, so my husband is diagnosed. I was diagnosed as a child, but he, which was very atypical, but I think I was more like, you know, Ateya, or probably more like you. I'm not convinced that I wouldn't have done well in school if I hadn't been diagnosed because I was motivated by it. And I liked getting those gold stars, but, you know, that were also different. So I think that,

Amy Marie Hann (13:03.424)
You know, one thing that I love is that you, and one of the things that I tell women all the time is I'm a firm believer that the best thing that we can do to help our kids, our neurodivergent kids is really understanding our own ADHD. Because I found for myself, it's grown the most compassion and it helped not only do our kids not want to be told what to do, but us modeling it.

Tracy Otsuka (13:17.089)

Amy Marie Hann (13:26.082)
Them learning strategies and my kids seeing me with my checklist and seeing me with my alarms and seeing my son, I don't have to say, set an alarm for this whole, see me, he learns these things and he then does them himself without being told anyways. So I love that that has been your mission and then I can see how that has empowered and helped your kids. So that said, well, one thing I wanted to say is just I think so many,

Tracy Otsuka (13:36.545)

Amy Marie Hann (13:56.138)
seeing your kids on the other side, because I think there's so much fear. I think making that switch and choosing to do the internal work and then because it feels like when your kids are neurodivergent and that there's, you know, so much information and feeling like you need to become a occupational therapist and a physical therapist, I think it's very empowering to see how you have focused on yourself, growth in your personal journey and in your mission. And then,

of this vision that you have had in writing your book and leading your podcast and pursuing this personal growth and then also how your kids are doing so great, how they have launched. So I think that is, I just want to recognize that because it's powerful.

Tracy Otsuka (14:41.185)
And let me tell you a little story. So in keeping with what you're saying, I've always been about challenging the status quo. That is my number one value. So whereas my kids, certainly in elementary school, for the most part, went to Catholic school, there's not a whole lot of challenging the status quo. However, I do believe that the Catholic school system is really good for a lot of kids with ADHD.

because of all the structure. And they set expectations. And if you don't meet those expectations, you kind of know what the consequences are. And when my son was younger, we just assumed that, oh, well, this is the wrong school for him. He's creative. He's always asking why. He needs to be in a school that's just like a country day school, right? Where he can just explore. And the truth of the matter is,

Tracy Otsuka (15:38.113)
He got himself a leadership scholarship to one of those schools for fifth and sixth grade. And by sixth grade, he came back to us and said, I want to go back to the Catholic school. And we're like, why? And he's like, it's a mess over there. I can't handle it. The way the kids come into class, it doesn't matter how they come in. They can come, you know, sliding in on the desk. They can come running in. You know, he's like, there's no organization. And so it stressed him out.

I'm not saying that that wasn't a good way to learn. I'm just saying for him, it wasn't a good way to learn. So, okay, where was I going? You had asked me, I wanted to, oh, I wanted to, okay, so challenging the status quo is always my thing. And so even though we were in this Catholic school with a lot of parents who do not challenge the status quo, oh my gosh, if their children got a detention for, I don't know, throwing food or, you know.

Tracy Otsuka (16:31.713)
Any little thing, you know, or didn't get the best grades, they were up in arms, you know, just, it was like it was a reflection of them. And that's exactly how they felt, right? It made them look bad. And that's what they were upset about. And those are the kids then that just start pushing back. Whereas my theory has always been, okay, you need to be more of who you are. Let's figure out who that is, you know, together. And if...

Tracy Otsuka (17:00.801)
if something happens and maybe, you know, your judgment wasn't so good and you do something that, you know, you shouldn't do because we all need to get along in society. I'm not going to shame them for that. What we're going to do is talk about it. So my son decided that after going to pretty much very small schools, private schools, I mean, you know, we're privileged. I mean, my kids could do that, right? Or we could afford to do that.

Tracy Otsuka (17:29.419)
So what ultimately ended up happening was he wanted to go to this big public high school. So where his class sizes were normally 30, 40 kids, there were 2 ,500 kids in that school. And he was a drummer and he got into what they called the ArtQuest program. So it was for creatives. And the school was so impacted.

Tracy Otsuka (17:58.881)
That they ended up cutting funding. And what am I trying to say? So he was part of, there were 11 drummers in this class of, you know, ArtQuest. Yeah, and so what they ended up doing was they didn't have the funds, so they threw those 11 kids in with the sophomores, the juniors, and the seniors. My son is very socially, like that's his gift.

Amy Marie Hann (18:11.758)
The creatives, yeah.

Tracy Otsuka (18:26.081)
Like everybody likes him, you know, he's funny. He's, he's really good in that way. And so what ended up happening is he made friends with the seniors. Well, they took him off campus and I don't even know how to say this, like what the proper, you know, description is, but he basically smoked weed in a bong. Off campus, um, came back to campus. He was in math class.

Threw up in math, which is just, you know, and we weren't here. We were in Silicon Valley, which is like a two hour, you know, commute. We were on some business stuff. And so my sister had to go pick him up. And I remember the vice principal calling me and say, well, your son is really sick. He's in the nursing, nurse's station. I'm like, oh my God, what's wrong? He's like, he's stoned. I'm like, wait, what?

Tracy Otsuka (19:20.969)
My son, this doesn't happen in our family, you know, like, are you kidding me? And she said, and she, you know, once we met her, she was like struggling not to laugh too, because the whole situation was so ridiculous. And, you know, certainly I could have been asking, well, where the hell was the teacher? Why is he allowed to go off campus in a car with all these seniors? Cause they had snuck out of class and there were...

Tracy Otsuka (19:47.105)
You know, many of them, it wasn't just a few of them, but nobody was watching anyone. And so we get back and, you know, initially I was just like, you've got to be kidding Marcus. That was what I was going to say. I walk in the room, I look at his face and he was so humiliated and so upset at himself. There is nothing that I could have said that would have made anything better at all. And it wouldn't, like there was nothing more he needed to learn, right?

I didn't need to shame him further. And I remember I just walked up over to the couch and I just hugged him and he just started crying. And my kid, as I said, is very unemotional. Like he does not ever cry about anything. And that's when I realized that, you know, sometimes with ADHD, you're impulsive.

Tracy Otsuka (20:38.465)
You're looking for the dopamine, right? You're looking for that thing that is way more interesting than sitting in band class, because he really wasn't a band kid. He was a rapper. And ultimately he got himself into NYU as a rapper. He didn't get himself in because of his grades or his test scores. He was a social justice rapper, but he was a rapper. And so because, and he was a really good audio engineer, because he was so good at that, he was like hanging around kids that...

Tracy Otsuka (21:06.817)
you know, sadly, they didn't have the privilege that my son had. So it was much more likely that they were going to get themselves into trouble. And some of them, they're not alive anymore. Some of them are in prison. But it was those two pathways were so different just because of, you know, having two parents in a household, having, you know, more income, having, you know, parents who also had privilege because their parents, you know, put them through college, like all of that stuff, like it all connects.

Tracy Otsuka (21:36.897)
And so all we know with ADHD is in order to be successful, you need one adult that truly believes in you no matter what. And what I knew about my son is I knew how curious he was. I knew how bright he was. I knew how bored he was in the school system. I mean, school is all a social construct, right? Who decided that this is how we educate kids. This is how kids actually learn. They're not learning.

Tracy Otsuka (22:06.305)
What they're learning how to do is to follow along and stay on the good and narrow and follow the rules. And for a lot of kids with ADHD, they just want so much more than that. And because of that, they can be annoying because they don't follow the rules and they're always asking why. But I just want parents to know that if you've got a kid like that, you've got a really bright kid who, as long as they don't end up...

you know, struggling with all kinds of trauma because, you know, they're being beat up in the school system and then they're coming home and you're beating them up at home. They're going to be OK because they're going to get the confidence that they need to get out there and learn how to lead and learn how to stand out. Because my premise is people with ADHD. We are not meant to fit in. We don't fit in. We are meant to lead in an area that we're really interested and passionate about.

Tracy Otsuka (23:05.089)
And we know that we're also mission driven. So, you know, if there's even, you know, an inkling of interest in something that your child, you know, they're like, I mean, that's what we did consistently. Oh, you're interested in Taekwondo. Okay, let's try that. You know, I had parents who, Tiger mom and a Tiger dad. My mom is, was German and my dad's Japanese American. And so we were the kind of family where all of us played musical instruments and pretty much it was all classical.

Tracy Otsuka (23:34.657)
and pretty much strings. I tried the piano. I hated it so much that they let me do the cello, which I'm not sure I loved any. Now I love it, but it just wasn't my thing, right? But in our family, if you started something, even if your parents were the ones that chose it, you stuck with it the whole way through. Now, if my parents had given me voice lessons, oh my God, I would have loved that, but I didn't know enough to ask, you know? 

Tracy Otsuka (24:02.689)
So I just, and that's kind of how parents raised kids in those days too. So we didn't do that. If we wouldn't make them stay long enough that they really, really could decide and they really hated it, then we would be like, okay, what do you want to try next? And you know, my son, he took the drums and we were just, this is the biggest waste of time. Oh my God, the drum guy came here and all they did was chat.

Tracy Otsuka (24:30.209)
And every once in a while we'd hear something, but we didn't know who it was. And something happened and he ended up in, there was a group of girls that were doing some sort of capstone for high school and they needed a drummer. I didn't even think he could play the drums. And I remember there was, they were going to do a, like a performance or they were going to, a gig. And I remember we showed up for a rehearsal and we're walking in and I'm like, God, that guy's really good. It was drumming.

Tracy Otsuka (24:59.009)
Who is that? That must be the instructor. And we walk in and it was like to ACDC, bad and black. And we walk in and I'm just like, my mouth dropped open and I'm like, that was my son. Like he never really practiced. We didn't even know he could play and he was so good, but it was because he was interested, right? So yeah.

Amy Marie Hann (25:19.918)
Well, one thing that you said that I want to pull out is, you know, especially having a parent that really sees them and believes in them. There's a couple of things. You know, one of the things that I believe and encourage moms to do is, you know, doing that self work matters because the way you talk to yourself is the way your kids learn to talk to themselves, too. So it's really hard to tell a help a kid love their brain if you don't first love to learn to love your brain. So being able to like see your gifts and understand the good parts of your ADHD brain are essential to help them do the same, which is something we all want to do. And I think a lot of us just want to do that part. Just want to help them without first learning to like do the do the me process. And so what was that journey like for you in terms of you say you came from a very, you know, this is success.

Tracy Otsuka (26:08.511)

Amy Marie Hann (26:18.094)
Family dynamic of, you know, sounds like, you know, get all the gold stars, do this, this and this, and you're going to be successful and prosperous. So it sounds like you were very successful before, you know, at least in terms of, you know, monetary, you'd had the career success, traditional, yeah. So what was kind of the shift for you in kind of unlocking, you know, the authentic Tracy that in this process?

Tracy Otsuka (26:33.761)
Traditionally, yeah.

Tracy Otsuka (26:46.337)
You know, it was probably entrepreneurialism. I have, so my number one value, as I said, is to challenge the status quo. And it's always been that, which can really make you a black sheep in a family where no, and I don't want to give the wrong impression. I mean, my parents were fantastic parents. Different, it's a generational thing, right?

And obviously they really loved us. And so they wanted us to be successful. And they thought that if you're successful, that means you're happy. And we know that's not true, right? I mean, some of the most successful people are so incredibly miserable because it's all about achieving rather than just really appreciating and loving who you are right now in this moment with all of your gifts. So I think I always had this bent of,

not being willing to go along and following along and never really feeling like I fit in because I was usually the person asking why. Now, I'm pretty good at the EQ. I've always been very good with that as far as reading other people. So I could tell when enough was enough, right? And I kind of had to temper it, but still it was...

Tracy Otsuka (28:10.593)
What I've noticed in my life is, for example, when I went to Catholic school too, and I went to Catholic school starting in junior high school, my elementary school years were extremely successful. And then I went to junior high school, wanted to wear nylons, which we don't wear anymore, really, nylons, makeup and go to dances. And my grades went from like A's all the way to B minuses, every single one of them. So my parents pulled me out of that.

Public junior high school and put me into Catholic school. I don't think the education was any better in that specific school. But there was so much structure that again, I did really well, right? But I never quite felt like I fit in because again, I'm always asking why. So I was challenging everything, you know, I remember getting kicked out of Bible study because in college because I was always at, well, why? Well, how do you know that for sure? Can you, you know, and a lot of it is faith and it's like, you can't really explain why. So I just remember in my, like when I felt really comfortable, like I was with my people and when I didn't. And so through college, pretty good. And then law school and as a lawyer, I felt totally like, okay, these are my people.

Many, I mean, and a lot of law too is very structured, right? You're talking about the law and that's what dictates what you can or cannot do or should or shouldn't do. But I still felt like with lawyers, they're second and third level thinking and they like to argue and debate and that's kind of who I was. So I felt, okay, I'm with my people. Then when my kids went back to school, it was so interesting.

Tracy Otsuka (30:02.085)
Again, Catholic school. And I really, I don't have anything against Catholic school. I think for the right kid, it's actually brilliant. And the school that my kids were at for elementary school, I really liked that school. And I really liked, for the most part, the teachers. And I adored the principal who had a son just like Marcus, which is probably why. So she understood. But once I got into that school,

Tracy Otsuka (30:29.665)
It was more of my struggle frankly with the parents because again, I was not the kind of parent that would get all upset about, you know, that my kid wasn't being a good reflection on me. Like I just didn't care about that. What I cared about is that they were really passionate about learning, would get out of the box and try different things. And there was less of that that was encouraged, not necessarily with the school.

but it was more the parents, you know, that it was really important that everybody just fits in and does what they're told. So this is a very long -winded way of coming around to, I've always been like this. But what really solidified it for me is so I practiced law for about five years and then I started a high -end women's wear company. 60 % of our business was Sax Niemans and Nordstrom.

Amy Marie Hann (30:57.614)
the kind of the culture, yeah.

Tracy Otsuka (31:21.985)
I knew nothing about fashion. I knew nothing about design, but because of my background, what I knew how to do is get a lot of press. And so I made a lot of mistakes and I had a lot of good things happen. And what I learned was that there is no such thing as a mistake, right? You either learn or the good stuff happens. You know, what you wanted to happen happens.

Amy Marie Hann (31:47.79)
Or you do nothing, you don't try. I mean, like, right, yeah.

Tracy Otsuka (31:50.241)
Well, and then you're not really an entrepreneur, right? I mean, then don't even bother because then you're just gonna beat yourself and feel bad about yourself. But there's usually a reason why you're stuck in that learned helplessness. Like there are things that you want to do. And a lot of times it can be ADHD. It can be the trauma of having ADHD and being fearful of constantly having been told that, oh, you did this wrong. You should do it this way. Oh, you know, so you...

Tracy Otsuka (32:18.793)
Over time, what happens is you no longer trust yourself. You no longer believe in yourself. And if you don't trust yourself, nobody else is going to trust you, right? Then they're going to start telling you what to do. And so if you have ADHD, we know we do not like to be told what to do. And so I would rather learn what not to do by doing what not to do. I mean, the key is you just don't want to make that same mistake over and over again, right? So,

Tracy Otsuka (32:48.545)
I really feel like because my, you know, my primary value, my number one value was to challenge the status quo. I had this fearlessness. I am extremely hyperactive. And I had this fearless, I was more worried about not doing the thing, about saying stuck, about getting old and not having lived my life to the fullest. I don't know what the quote is, but I remember.

Tracy Otsuka (33:16.235)
reading a quote that, you know, I want to end life, you know, just sliding in at the last minute, you know, dirty and bloody and all of that stuff because I have experienced life to the fullest. And I think when you approach life from that vantage point, that is where the confidence comes from. You know, we're not born with confidence. People think, oh, well, you're either born with it or you're born without it. And that is so not true. Where the confidence comes from is consistently failing or learning and knowing that no matter what happens, you can handle it, right? It's the resilience, it's the grit. And when we're talking about ADHD, a lot of times the more hyperactive combined type, if we're talking to women, women, yeah, they're the ones that are much more fearless.

Amy Marie Hann (34:02.19)
That's what I am too. That's me too.

Tracy Otsuka (34:10.72)
About learning and maybe running into a problem and then just figuring it out versus the inattentive women, a lot of times they can be so in their head that they get so paralyzed around doing anything and then they're beating themselves up about the fact that, oh, well, even if I got this thing for free, I'm not doing it. Well, I think a lot of that is they don't know what they should be doing because they have so many ideas. It's not that...

We have a deficit of attention. We have a surplus of attention. And so you're trying all these ideas and then getting distracted by the next ideas. And then you're trying those.

Amy Marie Hann (34:47.182)
Well, and if you don't even, I mean, it comes back to the self -trust too, because I think it's like we have all these ideas, but if you don't have the self -trust, it makes it hard to even take any action because you don't trust your ideas. You know?

Tracy Otsuka (34:58.881)
But I think it's even more than self -trust. I think it's about self -knowledge, right? You have to know who are you, what's important to you, what are your strengths, what are your talents and skills that, what are talents that you built skills around that are now your superpowers, what are your passions, and which one of those passions should you attach a purpose to? So once you're kind of in the sweet spot of all of that, then it becomes very clear what you need to do next. And,

Tracy Otsuka (35:27.969)
I mean, this is what I do in my, your ADHD brain is a -okay program. But what I always tell women is, you know, they're so fearful about, oh my God, well, I don't want to do the program because then I'm going to know about myself and then I'm going to actually have to do the things and I'm too scared to do the things. So I'd rather sit here and just spin and pretend I don't know what I, you know, what I'm not supposed to do. And what I always say is, no, no, no, all you need to do is do the program. You don't need to do anything after that.

because you know what happens? It's like the frog who's sitting in the cold water and then you turn it up and this is actually not true, but it's a myth. All of a sudden the water gets hotter and hotter and they don't jump out because they don't even know that the water's hotter. Well, the exact same thing happens. Once you learn about who you are exactly and what's truly important to you, you're gonna start seeing it everywhere.

And so slowly without even knowing it, you're gonna start to make changes in your life that actually serve you. What ADHD women do a lot, we're people pleasers. And so our goal is to make everyone around us happy. And we think that if everyone else around us is happy, then we're gonna be happy. And in truth, what you're doing by living everyone else's values and what everyone else wants, you're living everyone else's life.

Tracy Otsuka (36:49.121)
And usually you can do that until about your mid forties and then the wheel kind of comes off the cart.

Amy Marie Hann (36:53.728)
Mm -hmm. Mm -hmm. Well, it's part of the, one of the things that I, in our community, we talk a lot about is, you know, stimulation and how it's something, it's not optional. You know, the need for the, you know, both mental and physical to be doing the thing that you're supposed to be doing. And I think for a lot of moms in particular need permission.

to pursue it. And one of things I say a lot is that, you know, there's a process, you have to give yourself room for trial and error. Because I think a lot of times they think if they don't have the business plan all figured out, or the monetization figured out, that they can't justify the pursuit or the trial and error because they don't value it for the process. You know, the understanding that you're not, sometimes you just, you have to start.

But it sounds like in your book you uncover some steps to really help guide people in that process of kind of finding their thing. What would you, can you give just a little overview or some insight into that for the person who's, who I think a lot of moms, I mean, I think it's,

There's the shame and then there's the ADHD shame part, which I think is the first part of being able to really see the good and know that you aren't all the struggles that you have to see the good, but then also really understanding the importance of finding your thing. I mean, I truly believe that ADHD brains are creative geniuses and that we have so much to bring the world and if we each uncovered our unique purpose and really intentionally pursued it that the world would be a better place because we bring so much good to the world. So.

Tracy Otsuka (38:58.465)
Oh my gosh, we should run everything. And I think that is, and I say that I'm serious, like the best politicians that I've met, I swear they're women and they have ADHD, right? Because they don't care about challenging the status quo. They don't care about breaking what isn't working. And we are so mission driven.

So it's not enough. I mean, it can be like what I always say is, you know what, if you want to just go do passions, you know, in your 20s and 30s, that's fine. But once you get to your 40s, you start to really, you need more than that. And that is part of the reason that you're jumping from one thing to another, because there's no really mission behind it. So we all need to be connected to mission and mission doesn't have to be

Tracy Otsuka (39:51.713)
Oh, I'm gonna save this specific category of person. It can be anything. It can be the environment. It can be animals. It can be, but we need something greater than ourselves. And everybody gets all wigged out about purpose. How am I gonna, how do I know it's my purpose and it's not her purpose and I think it's my purpose and I spend 10 years on it and blah, blah, blah. No, it's not that hard. Purpose is just one of your many passions.

that you can attach a side of service to, meaning who can you help work through one of your many passions? So it's something you love to do and you're gonna help someone else using that thing that you love to do. So for us, well, actually, I don't know what yours is, although clearly we're both really interested in ADHD. But for me, my purpose is to show people who they are and inspire them to be it. And I can trace that back to when I was a little kid. I was the kid whenever like, you know, friends, parents would be going through a divorce or they're struggling in school or kids were mean to them. I was the one on the rocks in the playground, like basically, you know, playing coach, you know? Like what are the things they could do? Like I couldn't handle just talking about it. It had to be, we could talk about it, but then, okay, what are we gonna do next?

Tracy Otsuka (41:19.873)
And I was literally like that in second grade. So I really believe that we trace our purpose all the way back. It's always been there and it needs to involve something, some sort of a mission.

Amy Marie Hann (41:36.172)
Mm -hmm. Well, I love that. I mean, because like we mentioned earlier, just even with the podcast, how when there's that service element, it brings the accountability as well, too. And it keeps us doing it. And I found that 100 % in creating that it's like it has to be about I tell this my husband all the time. Whenever I get into a rut, it's always because I'm trying to focus on selling instead of serving whenever it's there's always joy. And then when I'm thinking about how can I help other people?

It's so much more joyful. It's so much easier to be consistent. And I'm so much more creative. I mean, it's just, it's how it works that when we focus on serving, and I truly believe that too, that the ADHD community from the women that I've worked with are very values driven, very purpose driven, which is why I love them. I think part of my purpose.

Tracy Otsuka (42:26.515)
Thank you.

Amy Marie Hann (42:31.15)
As is I had this conversation the other day and someone was asking me about like why I do what I do. And I'm like, I really I love the women. I love truly love helping them and empowering them. And because I believe I love being the cheerleader, believing that they have unique purpose, you know.

Tracy Otsuka (42:46.625)
Well, you can see their brilliance before they can see it themselves. And I think that is the beauty of community. At this point, I've met thousands of women with ADHD and I will tell you bar none, every single one of them has been truly brilliant at something, not just, oh, she's good at it. I mean, brilliant.

Tracy Otsuka (43:12.289)
And so when I hear about all the pathology, all of the weaknesses, all the things that we should not be able to do, and yeah, I mean, I will always suck at time. I have no sense of time whatsoever. I could be on this talking to you for three hours and it would feel like half an hour. You know how that is when there's a connection, but I can't even remember where I was going. Sorry, word hole.

Amy Marie Hann (43:39.214)
We're talking about women and how you've met so many women and we're talking about service.

Tracy Otsuka (43:42.625)
But why? Why was I talking about that?

I guess my point was just that to focus specifically and only on the pathology, I just don't get it. There's a study that I, as far as I know, I'm the only one who's ever talked about it. There's a study out of Canada that came out in last year, in 2022, that showed that 43 % of all people with ADHD are in excellent mental health. Okay, and it was a big study. Why is no one talking about this? You know? 

Tracy Otsuka (44:16.129)
All we hear about is all the negatives, all the weaknesses. And honestly, for every weakness, okay, maybe we're, some of us are more emotional or sensitive. And I wouldn't say I'm emotional, but I would say I can be very sensitive. And it's, we're such creatures of specificity too. So it'll be something like, I will see something on, I don't know, television.

Tracy Otsuka (44:44.225)
about a child and something that happened to a child. That's why I can't see any Oscar winning movies. And I will feel absolutely devastated by it. And someone can say, oh, well, you're just being sensitive. So, like my family will wanna go see a movie and I'm like, no, I can't see that one. Can't see that one. I'm a pain in the, you know what? But whereas some people can say, oh, she's so sensitive. I would say, actually, I'm so empathetic.

And why isn't that a strength? You know? So I just think for every weakness that's been pointed out to you, there is no way that I can't flip it and find an opposing strength. Because that's just how it works. It's a yin and a yang, right? So yeah, I agree.

Amy Marie Hann (45:31.854)
And at the end of the day, we are people. Like I think, you know, one of the things we deal with a lot is, you know, helping moms, giving them permission to find their unique way to do life, their unique rhythm. And, you know, I think there's a lot of shame in that they're feeling, you know, feeling like they're supposed to do it a certain way and, you know, challenging the status quo of what their lives are supposed to look like because we're all unique and we all have kids with unique needs. And now I can't remember exactly where I was going with that.

Tracy Otsuka (46:00.161)
Well, they all have systems too. You may not realize you have a system because your system is different than the neurotypical system, but you already have a system. You already have a way that you've made things work. So why not just expand and grow on that system that you've created for yourself? Well, yeah, because you know, it's all those typical productivity tips and tricks. I'm sorry, 99 % of them do not work for me. And...

Amy Marie Hann (46:17.644)
And letting it be enough and let it being confident that you were doing what you're supposed to be doing. Yeah.

Tracy Otsuka (46:29.139)
you know, if I hear one more time about atomic habits, I'm just like, no, can't do it. Or habit stacking or what's the other one? No, habit stacking I can do. Time blocking. That's the one. You know, where what? The week before I'm supposed to set up all, yeah, no, I don't want to do that. And so I can't do it. You know, I won't do it.

Amy Marie Hann (46:52.078)
Yes, I totally understand. The one thing that you said, one of the things that you said that I want to pull out that I really appreciate is you were talking about passions, because I think a lot of people that, and I think something I have learned to accept about myself is that I have many passions. I will always have many passions because I'm a creative and curious person, which is a great thing, but I not trying to build a business off of every single one of my passions. So I think that not everyone can be, that I'll still always have things that are fun. I think people, can you just speak any wisdom? You talked about kind of picking one. I think people struggle with that. Like, how do I pick the one when they have so many different passions? Yeah.

Tracy Otsuka (47:44.289)
Yeah, well, and I think the one is connected to your purpose. So you go back to your childhood. What were the things? Okay, so this is an exercise that I give out all the time. I want you to go through your childhood and start to do an inventory of the times in your life that you felt connected, on fire, lit up, and like everything was right in that particular moment.

Tracy Otsuka (48:11.873)
Okay, so you're going to make a list of that and you're going to go through and what I normally do is we separate it in like periods of life. So your teenage years, your high school years, you know, your early 20s or your 20s, you know, before kids and then after kids and just separate it all out like that all the times and you don't even have to be doing anything that's like, oh, I won this award or I, you know, you could literally have been on a playground and the sun was setting and you're sitting there with your child and you're talking to a friend, like whatever it is where we just have these moments where it couldn't get more perfect. And then what I want you to do is so you've gotten them all, you have them all written down, then you want to circle what they all have in common. And usually you can form a thread from that and know what you need in your life to really feel fulfilled, connected, and as if you're living,

the life you should be living. And so then you've got that part. And then the task is, okay, how do you attach a site of service to it? How do you create a purpose around it? And typically our best purposes give meaning to our past. So it's not a surprise that you and I are here and we are talking about ADHD, right? We probably, I don't know your,

Tracy Otsuka (49:39.809)
But I'm assuming you were diagnosed with ADHD and then you had a child who also has ADHD. And so it was like navigating that and you struggled with it. So we only need to be a little bit ahead of who it is that we're leading, right? If we can provide the inspiration and the, ADHD people don't do motivation, we do inspiration. So if we can provide the inspiration so that they can see, oh, well, she's ahead of me.

Tracy Otsuka (50:10.113)
and she seems to be doing better than I was doing. So maybe I will follow and see what she has to say.

Amy Marie Hann (50:17.774)
And I also think I've 100 % found that. And then, and I think the how we kind of try different things, because you have to kind of like it and enjoy it. You know, I've tried different things, like, you know, I still offer when I'm on coaching, but I found, you know, I did a few times I'm like, I don't enjoy it as much. I mean, I like helping people, but I there's this, you know, I get off a group call and I'm like, love it. I'm so energized and that there's a different, you know, we do, we try different things, you know, I've

Tracy Otsuka (50:41.793)
You're energized. Yeah. Yeah.

Amy Marie Hann (50:47.374)
Tried jobs that I'm like, you know, and then I'm like, oh, that is not a good fit, you know, that the, the how, but it gives you a clear path. The ones you have, like what your, your guidance and insight gives up a path of pursuit to kind of work that out.

Tracy Otsuka (51:05.537)
And that leads us to the second. So interest is the most important thing. Like what are you truly interested in? And sadly, our education system goes wide instead of deep. And so many of us have had to go through school. And if we struggled in school, we just start to think, well, I mean, if you have this one very clear path, this very clear interest, and you're forced to do all these other things, you start to think that, oh, I must not be very smart because look at all the things I can't do. And that is so not true.

Tracy Otsuka (51:35.713)
So the area of interest that, you know, something that you really love. The second one is a positive emotion. It's what you were saying just now. When we feel well, we do well. So when you are in positive emotion, and that's exactly, you know, when we were talking about doing that strategy of trying to figure out, okay, what should I do next? Which of the many things should I choose? During those times where you were lit up and everything was right with the world, you were in positive emotion. You are the only one who has control of that rudder inside yourself and can basically say, oh, when I was doing this, I felt really good. And that feeling really good, that being in positive emotion, that is an indicator of what you should do more of. When you feel the negative emotion, when you don't feel good, when you're beating yourself up, that is an indicator. Of doing less of what creates that negative emotion. You've got that rudder, you need to follow it. And that doesn't just mean in what you're doing, it also means in your environment. Who are you around? Whether we're talking career, whether we're talking friendships, whether we're talking your intimate relationships. And a lot of women discover before they have ADHD, they're willing to put up with a lot more.

Tracy Otsuka (53:01.793)
And it's just all negative emotion. And then they're finally diagnosed. They understand themselves. They understand how their brain works. They understand how bright they really are. And it's like, no, I'm not putting up with that anymore. And so, you know, if you're finally willing to stand up and lead and, you know, not just fit in and try to make other people happy, that can really rock the boat. And I know in my programs, I've had a lot of women who have ended up not in the same relationship that they came in, that they started out coming in because what we need more than anything, we know it with the kids, right? We already talked about that, but in our intimate partner is someone who loves and appreciates us exactly the way we are. And once we get that ADHD diagnosis, oftentimes,

There will be this relief that, oh my gosh, she wasn't just doing this to irritate me. This is just a different brain. And so there's an understanding, but sometimes we're in a relationship where your partner will not be willing to acknowledge that it's ADHD and continually wants to shame you about, no, it's a character flaw. It's a moral failing. And you can see over time how number one, that's not healthy to be around that. And ultimately we can't do anything about them.


Tracy Otsuka (54:23.489)
We can only do something about ourselves, right? And change what is in our environment to start feeling more positive emotion. And that is when the sky's the limit.

Amy Marie Hann (54:33.612)
Mm hmm. Well, I think also part of that unmasking journey is masking takes a lot of energy. So if you're just trying to please and fit in and, you know, OK, well, what's everyone else doing? I'm going to do that. Then instead of like, oh, I had this crazy idea that, you know, when do you believe like, oh, I have that crazy idea because I'm an out of the box thinker and the world's going to benefit from hearing my my crazy idea, even though no one else is thinking that way, because.

Tracy Otsuka (54:40.321)

Tracy Otsuka (54:56.481)

Amy Marie Hann (55:01.262)
I have something to value to share. Once you start believing that and really living it and stop just trying to turn your volume down and pretend and hide, you have the energy to pursue your thing because it takes a lot of energy to pretend and hide.

Tracy Otsuka (55:16.257)
Yeah. I was just, I was just talking to someone for this conference on diversity, equity and inclusion. And so the whole idea was to bring more neurodivergent people into the company. And what he told me was that they had an employee that was really good at seeing patterns. He was neurodivergent and.

Tracy Otsuka (55:44.257)
I don't know exactly what he caught, but whatever he caught saved the company $40 million over time. Just by making that one change that he could see would work and neurotypical employees didn't see it. So, I mean, I think it's, you know, our kinds of brains are needed everywhere. Of course, that means that there has to be a lot of change around what's happening in corporations currently, but also the shame.

right, around this particular group, it was lawyers. And he was saying he couldn't find any lawyer to appear on a panel that could talk about being neurodivergent in law, because people were just, oh my gosh, if anybody finds out that I have ADHD, I'm never going to be hired again, right?

Amy Marie Hann (56:37.166)
And it feels like that, I would say the culture is really, you know, just the hours and the expectations of like what it looks like. But OK, so you have the the second was there another part of the process that you wanted to touch base on? We've covered so much, we've covered so much. Yeah.

Tracy Otsuka (56:41.505)
Yeah. Yeah. Mm -hmm.

Tracy Otsuka (56:56.065)
So I'm not even sure. I'm not even sure if I gave you the process. I think we need to focus on our strengths. So there is a fantastic quiz that's free called, and you may have talked about it with your audience already, but it's called the Viya Character Strengths Survey. And what I hear a lot is, okay.

Tracy Otsuka (57:23.089)
values. Now I know exactly who I am. I know what I value, but I'm not living those values. And so I kind of feel like I'm a fraud. How do I get from what I know now are my values to actually

Tracy Otsuka (57:39.037)
Living them. Well, the bridge that I always use is the via character strengths. And so there are 24 character strengths. They are exactly who you are in the world right now, how you move in the world. I'll tell you what mine are. I have them on my little intelligence report here. Mine are number one, creativity, number two, humor, three zest, social intelligence and hope. So the way you use this is I know that in order for me, to really have any kind of relationship with anyone, to be happy in what I'm doing, I need humor. And this was one of the problems at my kid's Catholic school. It was the humorlessness. Like everything was so serious. It's like, do you people ever laugh at yourself? Like, are you ever just like inappropriate? You know? And then I would be, and I'm sure, like I always felt like I was respected, but it was like, oh my God, she's intense, you know?

Of course, when they needed anything, I was the one that would come in and do the teacher luncheons and anything that required really good aesthetics. But the way I use that is, for example, if I am having to work on a team to put together some sort of a presentation and I realize I'm really struggling, I hate being on Zoom anyway.

Tracy Otsuka (58:59.169)
But I really struggle because I just don't like Zoom meetings, right? They take forever. It's like, let's get to the point. What do I need to do? And let's move on. And I don't like being scheduled. Certainly not highly scheduled. And so the way I would use it is I would look and see if I am struggling so much, what is going on? I'll pull out my Viya character strengths. And usually, usually, because I can handle everything else, it is that the people, the con, other people that are putting the conference on,

Tracy Otsuka (59:27.969)
they have no sense of humor. Like they, you know, it's not fun. If people can't laugh at themselves, if they can't kind of laugh at each other in a playful way, for me, it becomes work and drudgery and no fun. And so what I know is the way that I move through life is with humor. When like, you know, when my son got, you know, suspended from school. I mean, it was like, I literally looked down and I said, Marcus,

Tracy Otsuka (59:58.017)
One day, we're all gonna laugh about this because I knew that that's exactly what would happen, right? And it's become, you know, this, I talk about the story all the time. It's like a great teaching story. It doesn't matter what you're going through. At some point in time, as long as you're not continually making that same mistake over and over again, it is gonna be something that you joke about. It just is. So that is how you would use your signature character strengths. You would make sure, that whatever environment you're in, you're able to practice those signature character strengths because they're as natural to you as breathing. And so if I can't provide hope to someone, if I'm in an environment where it's just all about pathology, it's all about negativity, all about weaknesses, I just can't even be there, right? And so I know that about myself. And so if I am struggling, I will look and see, okay, where can I integrate humor? Where can I integrate creativity?

Tracy Otsuka (01:00:55.283)

Where can I integrate zest and hope and social intelligence? And the minute I do that, then everything gets better. So I would say really knowing what your character strengths are, because it's not something you aspire to, it is who you are. And we're all different. They're all different.

Amy Marie Hann (01:01:14.126)
I love it. That is so helpful. So I'll get that link from you. Can you say it one more time?

Tracy Otsuka (01:01:20.001)
It's the Via Character Strength Survey. And I believe the person who started all of this was, it's Martin Seligman, who's kind of like the godfather of positive psychology. He runs the program at the University of Pennsylvania, that it's a positive psychology program.

Amy Marie Hann (01:01:41.582)
Wonderful. Okay, well, I will link all of that. And for those who are inside Master of the Mundane, we are going to be hosting our book club. I host a book club every month within our community. But even if you aren't inside the community, you can read along with us. We are going to be reading Tracy's book during the month of April. So I can't wait to dig in and see what I glean. I'll have the link to the book as well as to following Tracy on social media, her podcast. her courses, all of the great, great intel and info and resources that she has created. But Tracy, this was so delightful. I loved getting to know you and talk with you. Is there anything that else you'd add as we wrap up?


You know, the only other thing I can add is if you are struggling with your ADHD brain, if you don't understand it, if you're not sure what to do next, I am going to be running for the first time in almost two years, my three days to fall in love with your ADHD program. It's a master series, it's entirely free and it starts on April 15th and they can find it at spyhappy .me forward slash.


Amy Marie Hann (01:03:07.918)
Cool, I'll find the link and post that here too. But thank you, Tracy, this was wonderful. Thank you so much for watching. If you are new here, please subscribe, please like this, please write a comment with a takeaway so we can learn from you and hear how this impacted you. Thank you so much and have a great day. Bye, Tracy.

Tracy Otsuka (01:03:10.175)
Thank you.

Tracy Otsuka (01:03:29.313)
Thank you, Amy. It was a pleasure.



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