Ash and Cam Reflect on Five Years of Translating ADHD

Episode 219

Play episode

In this episode of “Translating ADHD,” Ash and Cam reflect on their journey over the past five years as they prepare for Cam’s departure from the podcast. They discuss how they’ve grown as individuals, coaches, and podcast hosts, sharing highlights from their 217 episodes. They emphasize the impact of their partnership, noting how their differing perspectives and support for each other have enriched the content and deepened their understanding of ADHD. They talk about the importance of their listeners and community, particularly the value of their Discord channel and group coaching sessions.

They also reflect on their coaching philosophies, such as the concepts of “understand, own, translate” and “pause, disrupt, pivot,” which have resonated with their audience. Cam and Ash express gratitude for the generosity of their clients, whose experiences have significantly contributed to the podcast. They also highlight the accelerated progress of listeners who become clients, noting that their podcast provides a foundational understanding that enhances the coaching process.

In conclusion, they read a heartfelt email from a listener, showcasing the profound impact their work has had on individuals. Cam and Ash express their commitment to continue their work in new directions, emphasizing their ongoing dedication to helping people understand and navigate ADHD.

Episode links + resources:

For more of the Translating ADHD podcast:

Episode Transcript:

[00:00:00] Ash: Hi, I’m Ash.

[00:00:04] Cam: And I’m Cam.

[00:00:04] Ash: And this is Translating ADHD. Cam, I think this episode is going to be really fun. You want to tell our listeners what we’re doing today?

[00:00:13] Cam: Sure, Ash. So I let it be known that I’m leaving the podcast last week. And so we thought that as we finish up here, this season two, which is spanned almost five years, the two seasons and 217 episodes. that we would reflect on a few things.

So next week, we’re going to be talking about what’s next for both of us. At least what we know is next for both of us. Asher and I are smiling at each other. We’re happy. And we’ve been discussing how this is actually a good move for both of us. And so next week is what’s next.

This week we’re going to really look back over the last four and a half years and think about sort of our greatest hits highlights. And I’m looking forward to it, too, Asher.

And I think where we start, we’re going to really focus on three areas. First of all, just the work that we’ve done with each other and how we’ve developed as humans and as coaches and also podcast hosts. We definitely have developed some skill set there. We go back and listen to the first ones that sitting in the chair Monday for over four years, you start to develop a skill set. And so that’s the first thing.

The second part would be around some of the highlights around the concepts and the format of the show that seemed to really resonate with our listeners. And then finally, we’ll finish up with talking about our community, because not only do we have listeners, but we have a Discord channel, and also all those group coaching classes we did together, which was pretty amazing. So where do you want to start, Asher, with respect to the team, the two of us and working with each other?

[00:02:04] Ash: This partnership has been a growth opportunity for both of us. We’ve both grown by virtue of doing this work together, first and foremost, sitting down and talking about ADHD and sharing our ideas with each other in this way. We think very similarly, but we use very different language. We have very different brains, and that combination has led to more language, more understanding, new concepts. I know that my understanding of ADHD and the threads I’m pulling on today around purpose and identity are things that I would not have been able to see five years ago. It is this work that has gotten me there.

[00:03:01] Cam: And I recall as you just brought up before we started recording as we were kicking this around, you had this idea, and I saw it as a great opportunity to kind of unlock these ideas that had been, I’ve been sharing in a blog and in other places. But it was just a fascinating idea of, yeah, let’s get together and try this out with this hunch that it would work, but we just didn’t know it was going to work so well.

And as you said, it’s that we have a similar philosophy of coaching, but we are not in lockstep. We provide enough of a different perspective that I might share something and then you tease it apart, and that nuance and distinction. And this is the thing that can be difficult with ADHD, especially if we are emotionally dysregulated. It’s so hard to tease apart something with nuance and distinction, distill it down to its essence of what is actually going on, right?

To get an accurate read of what is actually happening there so that, you know, my colorful metaphor stuff and someone saying, you know, you can’t put a lunch counter on a mountain. It’s not feasible, it’s not possible versus oh, I love that. You know, just the absurdity of this thing and placing these things to really illustrate this concept of what actually ADHD is and how it impacts us.

[00:04:34] Ash: Cam, you mentioned how emotional dysregulation makes it so hard to have nuance and distinction. And there’s another thing that partnership provided for both of us. We both had our moments in this five year journey where we were frustrated, where we didn’t feel like we could get there with an idea, where imposter syndrome creeped in. And having a partner on the other side to help work through that has been just such a blessing and has led to some of our best content, right. When we can kind of grapple with it, right? What is this thing that we’re trying to do here? You know, those frustrating episodes where we just give up and we try again another day almost always lead to really compelling content.

[00:05:25] Cam: As I was thinking back on the highlight reel, there were those episodes that were easy, and it just clicked. But there were also the episodes that were not easy. As you said, it’s like, so listeners a little bit of the, you know, inside baseball here, like what it was like, we’d sit down every Monday and usually put the recording out the next week.

So we have a really short runway there to get it to our editors so they could get it back to us. And so if we didn’t get it going Monday, we just didn’t have it. We’d often then reschedule for Tuesday. And I remember a couple of Tuesdays where we’re sitting there and there’s the second, it’s the second sit down, and it’s still not there. It’s like, it just is not quite gelling. And so there were a few of them where, and I remember one where we had to really dig deep, and it just gave me this sense of, okay, we really have a high standard for our product.

But that this was another thing, Ash, is that our listeners are going to understand this. They’re going to understand that we are two humans with ADHD and that sometimes it just doesn’t come in gel and distill down to those salient nuggets that we could then articulate. And so there were a few that were pretty tough. And the fact that we were able to get through that and still put out something that made sense, I listened back to it. I’m like, that’s not that bad. That actually is not that bad. So it was the high points, but it was also those areas of challenge that it was really rewarding as I look back on it today.

[00:07:10] Ash: I’m speaking of areas of challenge. Another thing that just always kind of makes me laugh when I think about our partnership is how your life has been relatively steady throughout, right? No massive disruptions or changes. And my life has been nothing but a series of massive disruptions and changes

[00:07:34] Cam: Yeah. And you were still able to show up.

[00:07:37] Ash: Because I had a good partner. I had a good partner. I don’t, I know that this show would not have survived if it was just me. Through all of that, you know, accountability – that thing we do where we pick up each other’s slack when one of us just doesn’t have it. Like that’s been a really fortunate part of our dynamic is most of the time if one of us doesn’t have it, the other one does.

And Cam, more than anything, the growth that we both had: I came to this project looking to you as my mentor, still kind of sitting in that role of deferring to you. And it was pretty early on you brought that conversation to the table and you said, hey, this is your baby. If this was your idea, you have stuff to say, so don’t just defer to me. You have stuff to say too.

And that was, I think, an incredibly important moment in my career, number one, and in this show becoming what it became. And so, what was really cool for me, I know the growth I’ve had because I’ve gone from considering you my mentor to considering you my peer. And not that I don’t still seek you out for mentorship, but my coaching acumen is in such a wildly different place than it was five years ago.

So it was really cool for me at last year’s CHADD conference to really get to see how you’ve grown in this, because a lot of your early frustration was around articulation, being able to adequately put words to these big ideas in your head. That was a struggle. And the presentation you gave last year at CHADD was so good.

And not that your other ones in previous years weren’t also excellent. They were, but the speaking ability, the ease, the, there is just, you know, it was a subtle difference, but one that I could absolutely see based on my knowing of you. That was really powerful. This practice has done something for you there. And that was so cool to see.

[00:09:58] Cam: Well, thank you. That’s…and I’m letting that land.

[00:10:01] Ash: Taking your own advice. I see that’s something that you, Cam, has said to me so many times over the years is, and I think the time I finally got it, you were frustrated at me and you just go, ah, sure, just let it land. And I was like, oh, okay. Let me take a deep breath.

[00:10:19] Cam: Well, you’re right. Yeah. And you have been through a lot of this learning about yourself and growing and evolving, and that showing up regardless of hormonal shifts and how it impacted your executive functioning and this amazing awareness of that, but still showing up.

And the thing that I actually want to speak to is that how I’ve, what I’ve noticed over these five years is your level of confidence. And it’s, I think, and especially around your coaching. Because Asher’s has some instincts, some coaching instincts that I don’t see in other coaches. And so, but it’s that trusting and believing that they’re there and they’re real and right. It’s a skillset that you can lean on. That’s the real development that I’ve seen is sort of leaning into and believing in yourself as a coach. And that happened actually in our coaching because Asher had to coach…

[00:11:31] Ash: In front of Cam.

[00:11:33] Cam: In front of Cam.

[00:11:34] Ash: Which I haven’t done since I was a student. At that I hadn’t done since I was a student at that time

[00:11:40] Cam: Yeah. And so, and I had to do it in front of you, but I’m demoing, right. I teach. I train coaches. So I’m sort of demonstrating coaching all the time. I’m very comfortable with that concept.

[00:11:51] Ash: And you were my coach. So I know precisely what your coaching looks like, but you haven’t seen my coaching in quite some time at this moment. You’ve heard me talk about it. We’ve done many episodes where we’re talking about something that happened in my coaching, but you hadn’t seen me coach.

[00:12:08] Cam: Right. You know, so this is this sort of, this development as a coach and as a human being. I think that there are a lot of people who talk about coaching. Yeah. who put themselves out as coaches, and they don’t really get it. They don’t.

And I’m speaking to this broader group, and this is sort of one of my missions, Asher, going forward, because of the interest in ADHD, because of the interest in coaching, And how coaching and ADHD, when you bring those two, that Venn diagram together, there is so much interpretation and unfortunately misrepresentation. Because anyone can call themselves a coach, and ADHD is also something that people are always questioning. So that’s sort of one of my things I’ll be talking about next week, around, you know, really focusing on the skill development, what it is. It is a profession. It is not just something you hang next to your name and you just assume.

But anyway, I digress, and I’m going in that direction. But I come back to that two of us in doing this podcast, not only we develop a skillset of articulating the ADHD experience, we’ve also grown as individuals, but we’ve also grown as coaches.

[00:13:33] Ash: Absolutely.

[00:13:34] Cam: That’s the fun part, is this evolution and growth in a multifaceted way and that sitting down, you know, so interesting to listen to the episode the week before on Friday, walk my dog on Sunday and just think about, all right, that episode and to take pieces and then what can we create on Monday?

And that, I think it’s a natural segue into this second section today. And by the way, I’m talking about like how well we articulate, and I noticed I’m not articulating very well right now currently, Asher. Yeah. 

[00:14:13] Ash: That’s okay, Cam. We all have our moments.

[00:14:16] Cam: But sort of this concept of where we started with understand, own, translate. That’s what we started with. It was sort of like, what is the premise is to understand this acceptance or ownership piece and where this thing around translating and what that means to translate for yourself, to translate to others. And we’re still learning about that. And we’re still, it’s still being revealed to us of what the power of translation is. And it’s just never ending. And this is why the podcast will continue on with Asher.

Walking on Sundays and sort of thinking about how to organize because we would do these arcs. We would do arcs on relationships or arcs on needs, arcs on minor disruptions, have this theme that would go for five or six episodes. And then look at that theme and sort of pick it apart.

And that was fascinating. That creative process to take these ideas, these thoughts, and bring them and distill them into a 27-minute podcast with you every Monday.

[00:15:23] Ash: And Cam, speaking of taking a big idea and breaking it apart, that’s really what Mount Rainier gave to us, is this massive thing to start to pick apart. It’s a model that we moved away from, but not because it wasn’t valuable. Because putting it out there in its messy form, just kind of cooking, cooking in the kitchen week to week.

And listeners, I was a little lost in campus metaphors. Like Mount right here was a little tough for me at first. Right. But it ended up becoming this thing that helped us come up with things like pause, disrupt, pivot, right. Which is something that I use every day in my coaching, It’s such great language for describing what we’re trying to do in ADHD coaching.

There’s this unwanted behavior and you don’t know why you do it or you don’t know why you don’t do what you ought to do. That universal question. And so step one is to learn something new about why you do it. And then step two is, yes, being able to get to some kind of meaningful pause where there is an opportunity that didn’t exist before to have a new experience to recognize, Oh, this is this behavior that I now have a language for. That I now understand why I react in this way or why I freeze like this. And that’s where the opportunity is.

This work is so interesting. I mean this. Looking at this. And as we’ve decided to move in different directions, I’ve been thinking about what’s next. And it’s this – that lunch counter, that barrier between cause and effect, right? And sort of this idea of it’s hard for us to get from where we are in our experience to causation.

[00:17:26] Cam: And we talked about the three barriers of awareness, action, and learning and how coaching is so beautiful, such a beautiful model to address the three barriers of ADHD.

Asher, I am now, I’m envisioning another, I’m not going to share it here, but it’s like, there’s this expanse between awareness and change. And that is sort of unique to ADHD. It’s like, you’ve got this new awareness and it’s like, how do I make change occur? And it’s like, I know you’re going to keep doing that with Translating ADHD. And that’s the thread that I’m going to be pulling on.

And it’s, this is an ever-giving topic because the need is there. The struggle is there. And people are, there are people wanting more than just knowing they have ADHD. They want to be able to leave their mark. They want to be able to create change. They are wanting to have some kind of an impact or as like a purpose, sense of who they are and why they’re here.

And so when you bring the human desire and then this ADHD dilemma, there’s so many different areas to pull on. And you know, it’s really interesting, Asher. I was kind of like jumping in big idea generator starts like, and I’m like, you know, got to go. And I’m like, whoa, easy does it. Just like, just all right, you just take a break, buddy. Relax.

So yes, Mount Rainier. It did give us a lot, but it also it really resonated with people. And I think the other thing that resonated with people was how we modeled talking about our own ADHD experience, how our clients would talk about their own ADHD experiences. With permission from our clients, we would share their situation and then their own process of understand, own, translate or pause, disrupt, pivot or moving through from cause through the lunch counter to effect. And the valley through the lunch counter to causation and getting clarity and ultimate translation was fascinating. And the power of story. We have so many emails from people saying this resonates with me, this clicks where other sources do not.

[00:19:53] Ash: I’d be remiss not to give a shout out to each and every one of those clients for their generosity. That was, I wasn’t sure how my clients were going to feel about it. When we started the show, I had a conversation with each client individually and was expecting some amount of trepidation, understandably. Coaching is an incredibly vulnerable space.

And so the integrity of the coaching relationship comes first. And if it’s out of integrity for that client to be talked about on this platform, then okay. Right. But what I didn’t expect is how enthusiastic my clients were. Like, yes, please talk about our stuff. Like if there’s something useful there for you and how much they loved hearing when it was them, Oh, you talked about me this week. That was so cool.

And because they’re listening to me articulating their experience, and you and I are playing around and kick, you know, playing around with it, kicking it around, it also often became a coaching opportunity – shook something loose for that client, grew their awareness or their learning, validated the hard work that they’ve done and the change that they’ve created.

So that was something I absolutely, we talk about journey thinking and how sometimes you can’t see what you can’t see until you’re on the right stepping stone. I would have never guessed that’s how it was going to go. My guess was it was going to be a struggle to have enough clients that were okay with me talking about our work together on the show to keep it fresh, and the exact opposite was true.

So to my clients and to Cam’s that we’ve talked about over the years on the show, thank you for allowing us to use our work together to do the show.

[00:21:45] Cam: Just to piggyback on that, I remember clients, when I asked clients, they’d say, you know, if this helps someone else.

[00:21:53] Ash: Yes. By all. So much enthusiasm for paying it forward. Absolutely. Absolutely.

[00:21:57] Cam: And that’s where that sense of community comes in around the greater ADHD community of this desire to, we’re working our struggle and kind of working our process and moving through and navigating the three barriers of ADHD. And it’s that, if this sort of throws a line back to someone else and helps them come forward and expedites the process for them, they’re able to shake something loose, as you said, for them, so they can move forward. It is, it’s paying it forward .

[00:22:31] Ash: Cam, you talk about expediting the process for someone else. And there’s something that was surprising to both of us in this in our group coaching, in our private coaching, when we’re working with podcast listeners, is those clients show up in a very different place than a client who knows what an ADHD coach is vaguely, but is walking into the process not knowing anything about what it’s like.

Like it really is an accelerant to the coaching work. And in fact, so much so, that’s a huge part of the reason I decided to keep doing the show when I took a step back and thought about what’s next for me.

Do I want to pivot into something else? I’m not going anywhere, people. I’ll be doing something, right? But am I going to pivot into something new? Am I going to just take a break for content creation for a while?

And I was thinking first from the, you know, the scarcity destination perspective of all of my clients come from this show. What am I going to do? Right. But then the journey thinking side of that is I only take clients that come from this show because I love being able to dive in and get to meaty, deep, bigger coaching work. Right.

Which, by the way, always includes, and I tell my clients this, we will talk about your email or your to do list or your whatever else as part of this process. But the way that I coach now is it starts with the who, right? Even if we’re talking about, you know, inability to answer text messages, we are talking about the who. And we know something about this person’s who because we’ve laid a foundation there. And I’m able to do that type of coaching work because spending some time with this show prepares my clients to show up and partner with me that strongly right out of the gate.

[00:24:37] Cam: Asher, I think that right there it’s one of the things that we get to point to is of educating or providing this service to individuals, where when they come to the group coaching, when they come to our coaching, when they go to another coach, they have this appreciation of a coaching dynamic because we’re, you know, we’re talking about it. We’re modeling it. And by the way, we’re not training people to be coaches. What we’re doing though, is we are talking like coaches where we are partnering and demonstrating and discussing.

And like you said, I love what you said earlier about I choose to work with people that listen to the podcast because they come in, they’re informed. they know who I am. They understand the process, and we can kind of jump right in, versus starting at basically step zero of to educate them about coaching and change and accountability and support and what are we gonna work on, et cetera, et cetera.

So that right there, that was fascinating to see, especially the people that kept coming back to our group coaching classes. They’re like, I want more of this. And they were coming in and just watching someone else be coached, they could comment on it. And then as you said earlier, they could take a bit with them. They could take a piece with them and apply it into their week and come back and share.

And that’s the interesting piece about coaching is this, it’s experiential. It’s experiential process of discovery, action, and insight, and allowing for our experience to inform how we move forward and navigate those three barriers.

Ash, I really have enjoyed this, and I’d love to have some parting thoughts, but I want to, I wanted to pull up, we’ve gotten a lot of emails, and there was one here in particular that just speaks to the experience, but also this appreciation of the podcast.

And I’m sort of going to pick it up in the middle of someone who was they’re in their forties, recently diagnosed with ADHD. And so I’m just going to jump in here:

“One strength of ADHD has been stubbornness, fortitude, exhausting all possible resources – MDs, psychological health practitioners, treatment modalities, 23 medications. I also thought of my life like a game of snakes and ladders, not cognizant of how I entered or could leave, like Dante’s Inferno. The trap door, the darkness, the wall, living in the boat’s wake…”

That was something that we talked about, is that you’re in the wake of the boat.

“…disappearing, shutting down, terror, hypervigilance – your translations helped immensely. If my nephew hadn’t been diagnosed, I would never have thought of ADHD as a possible cause.”

“Thank you, Asher and Cam, for providing such a positive, affirming forum. I’m appreciative of the courage, honesty, insight, humor, grace, and compassion that you convey. Information and research were my means of escaping. But with a psychologist and a coach, I’ve accepted the process and understand the work that needs to be done.”

[00:28:01] Ash: Wow.

[00:28:02] Cam: Yeah.

[00:28:03] Ash: That was my first time hearing that email and I’ve got goosebumps. So thank you to that listener for those words. And wow. What a cool thing we’ve put out into the world.

[00:28:14] Cam: It is. It’s really touched some folks and, you know, that this chapter, as I said last week, this chapter is closing, of Cam and Asher together in the Translating ADHD podcast. But we’re here, we’re still going to be doing our work and pulling on our threads and contributing.

[00:28:34] Ash: Absolutely. And Cam, once you have a clearer sense of where you’re going next, let me know. I’ll let our listeners know so that they can keep following along.

[00:28:44] Cam: Absolutely.

[00:28:45] Ash: Right. One more. We’ve got one more. That, wow, that feels final, but also feels kind of good. I’m appreciating the place that we’re in. I’m appreciating I can, I’m the person that can get stuck on a stepping stone for a really long time. I do love to be comfortable, Cam. I often say strength and challenge are two sides of the same coin. And for me, comfort, ease can be strength, can be challenge.

So this initially terrifying news because it was going to plummet me out of my comfort zone one way or another, I’m appreciating it for the opportunity. It really is for both of us. And I am really enthusiastic about where the show is going next, which we’ll talk about next week.

So for today, listeners, once again, if you have ideas, things that you’d like to see me cover in the future on the show, I’m listening.

Drop me a line. Now is the time to explore. So if you have that idea that you’ve been hoping we would do, toss it out there. I’d love to hear it. And until next week, I’m Ash.

[00:29:56] Cam: And I’m Cam.

[00:29:57] Ash: This was the Translating ADHD podcast. Thanks for listening.

More from this show


Episode 219