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Ep. 124: Peter Shankman - Truly Faster than Normal

September 17, 2020 Sucheta Kamath Season 1 Episode 124
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Ep. 124: Peter Shankman - Truly Faster than Normal
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Full PreFrontal
Ep. 124: Peter Shankman - Truly Faster than Normal
Sep 17, 2020 Season 1 Episode 124
Sucheta Kamath

Napoleon Hill once said, “strength and growth comes from continuous struggle and effort,” but what about those who struggle to know how best to direct their effort during the ongoing struggle? Children and adults with ADHD suffer from this exact problem which makes it hard for them to find their voice, fit in, and fully flourish with all the gifts they have. A true loss for everyone is when the world castigates children and adults with ADHD as disposable assets and inadvertently ends up dismissing the true capability of brains that are simply wired differently. 

On this episode, our guest, Peter Shankman, successful entrepreneur, author of bestsellers, and the host of the #1 podcast on ADHD shares how embracing his ADHD and everything else that makes him different has proven advantageous to become a leader and lead a meaningful life. By better regulating one’s self-sabotaging inattention and accepting structure and processes that tame executive dysfunction, ADHD can truly be a gift that keeps on giving. 

About Peter Shankman
The New York Times has called Peter Shankman "a rockstar who knows everything about social media and then some." He is a 5x best selling author, entrepreneur and corporate keynote speaker, focusing on customer service and the new and emerging customer and neurotatypical economy.  With three startup launches and exits under his belt, (most notably Help a Reporter Out) Peter is recognized worldwide for radically new ways of thinking about the customer experience, social media, PR, marketing, advertising, and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and the new Neurodiverse and Remote economies.

Websites:

Books:

Articles:


About Host, Sucheta Kamath
Sucheta Kamath, is an award-winning speech-language pathologist, a TEDx speaker, a celebrated community leader, and the founder and CEO of ExQ®. As an EdTech entrepreneur, Sucheta has designed ExQ's personalized digital learning curriculum/tool that empowers middle and high school students to develop self-awareness and strategic thinking skills through the mastery of Executive Function and social-emotional competence.

Support the show (https://mailchi.mp/7c848462e96f/full-prefrontal-sign-up)

Show Notes Transcript

Napoleon Hill once said, “strength and growth comes from continuous struggle and effort,” but what about those who struggle to know how best to direct their effort during the ongoing struggle? Children and adults with ADHD suffer from this exact problem which makes it hard for them to find their voice, fit in, and fully flourish with all the gifts they have. A true loss for everyone is when the world castigates children and adults with ADHD as disposable assets and inadvertently ends up dismissing the true capability of brains that are simply wired differently. 

On this episode, our guest, Peter Shankman, successful entrepreneur, author of bestsellers, and the host of the #1 podcast on ADHD shares how embracing his ADHD and everything else that makes him different has proven advantageous to become a leader and lead a meaningful life. By better regulating one’s self-sabotaging inattention and accepting structure and processes that tame executive dysfunction, ADHD can truly be a gift that keeps on giving. 

About Peter Shankman
The New York Times has called Peter Shankman "a rockstar who knows everything about social media and then some." He is a 5x best selling author, entrepreneur and corporate keynote speaker, focusing on customer service and the new and emerging customer and neurotatypical economy.  With three startup launches and exits under his belt, (most notably Help a Reporter Out) Peter is recognized worldwide for radically new ways of thinking about the customer experience, social media, PR, marketing, advertising, and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and the new Neurodiverse and Remote economies.

Websites:

Books:

Articles:


About Host, Sucheta Kamath
Sucheta Kamath, is an award-winning speech-language pathologist, a TEDx speaker, a celebrated community leader, and the founder and CEO of ExQ®. As an EdTech entrepreneur, Sucheta has designed ExQ's personalized digital learning curriculum/tool that empowers middle and high school students to develop self-awareness and strategic thinking skills through the mastery of Executive Function and social-emotional competence.

Support the show (https://mailchi.mp/7c848462e96f/full-prefrontal-sign-up)

Sucheta Kamath: Welcome back to Full PreFrontal where executive function, self-advocacy, and learning to how to learn are the issues we tackle and I'm your host Sucheta Kamath. My hope is through these conversations, you will get to know more about self-management skills. And today is a special day because my guest is a man who has started, built and sold three companies, written five bestseller books. He's a CNN contributor, and a host of the number one podcast on ADHD, Faster Than Normal. If you can, you'll be able to tell as you hear his speech, he does speak fast, and all that in spite of his ADHD or more like because of it. And so, it's my pleasure to introduce Peter Shankman. Welcome Peter to the podcast here. 

Peter Shankman: Thanks for having me. 

Sucheta Kamath: So, let's start with this. I asked my guests, particularly those who are researchers and scientists who are about their own childhood but because you are we are going to do it a little bit in a flipped way I will start asking you about your childhood and we will jump into ADHD slowly and surely. But tell me a little bit, where you are delightful child or a facetious one or rambunctious one or all of it and how did your ADHD manifest in early years particularly before you entered school? 

Peter Shankman: I suppose depends on who you ask. I you know wasn't, I didn't play well with others that was pretty much put on my report card a lot as was needs to settle down in class was a big one. It's you know, for me it was tough because not really knowing what ADHD was at the time I just sort of survived anyway I could, right? I didn't really know what was going on or what I was doing I just, you know, I couldn't figure out why I was constantly you know, making jokes in class. All of a sudden, I realized it was everything I was doing was tied to trying to create dopamine. I didn't know it at the time ADHD didn't exist when I was a kid what existed was sit down, your disrupting the class. So, all I knew how to do was, whatever I could, you know, and it wasn't easy, and it was actually quite hard. But I figured out that over time I could use that to my advantage if I were able to play it right. And so, it took a while. It took a long while, but over time, I was able to get it. 

Sucheta Kamath: So, what was the culture of your household? What kind of temperament did your parents possess? And did that aid or deter your ADHD coping? And I often ask people, 

Peter Shankman: My parents were wonderful. They still are, you know, they were very, they cared a lot about what I was going through and they were very kind to me, and they let me sort of experience, experiment and learn and, you know, do whatever I could. It couldn't have been easy for them. No question about it. It could not have been easy for them. It was. It was difficult. You know, it was it was hard to be a different kid in New York City public schools, but I survived. 

Sucheta Kamath: What made you so different? What were you doing that made it difficult for them?  

Peter Shankman: Well, you know, again, I didn't play well with others. I didn't fit into any of the cliques. I didn't, I didn't. I didn't do those things that that most kids did. You know, when you're a kid in New York City, in any public school, your job basically is to make friends and be popular, and I just wasn't really good at that. You know, I didn't, it took me a long time to realize that I, my social acuity wasn't on point. Um, and over time, it got better. But it took a lot. It took many, many years, probably took it to my primarily, early to mid 30s, before I really came into my own. 

Sucheta Kamath: You know, it's so striking as you tell your stories, through your podcast and in your book. And in the interviews that I've heard you speak that there's a definite awareness that you bring to the listener, so much of social relationship was where you ADHD kind of was sore point for you and in the academic context so many people are focused on child doing well being organized turning something in and then missing the point of that acceptability relationship building and acceptance of that being different and somehow that gets kind of sidelined a little bit so were you when did you personally become aware that you were different and what did actually, can you give us some examples of what was it about you showing up and not fitting in? What did that mean actually in the in the classroom on the playground on a playdate? What did that mean to you?

Peter Shankman: I knew right away that I had you know that I was different. For me it was you know, I had a really hard time making friends. I was always trying to dominate the conversation. I was always trying to, you know, make a joke or try to be funny if trying to get people to notice me, you know, I didn't really fit in and it was difficult to sort of figure out how to fix that. So that made it tough, you know, it made it difficult for, it made it difficult for me to be normal, quote unquote, right? And I just remember I tried really hard, but over time again, and this came way too late, probably in my early 30s, I realized that it didn't really matter what other people thought of me, I stopped caring, more or less what other people thought of me what mattered is what I thought of myself. You know, that's the only thing that really mattered after a while sort of what I was doing and was I making myself happy, right. And that, to me, was the most important, most important thing. 

Sucheta Kamath: It's really hard though, you know, and that's what I feel the compassion in my heart because that kind of insight takes a while to, and lots of running, like bumping against the walls before that kicks in. And sounds like you had incredible support of your parents. But that alone was not adequate. So, let's talk a little bit about a transition to middle school and high school where executive function is dysfunction rather, kind of starts emerging. So, and it's not limited to making relationships but also making a relationship to your learning, kind of producing and, you know, working on projects and meeting deadlines and planning and organizing systematizing yourself. How were your middle school and high school years and why do you think they're such hard years for ADHD kid? 

Peter Shankman: They're difficult because we are being asked to do a lot in one specific way. You know, it's, I think it's the premise that we are being told to do something. This is the way you have to do it. There's no wiggle room here. At least it was like that when I was in school. I didn't necessarily do things that way well, you know, it was tough. For me it was a you know, I liked I did my homework, I remember I had to commute in high school, I had to take the Staten Island Ferry every day and I would usually do my homework on the ferry, there was something about the about the hustle and bustle of the commute that actually soothed me and allowed me to focus and work and everyone thought I was crazy. Oh my god, how can you do anything and everything wrong. It turns out that I did really well, when I was on that, on that ferry, um, but again, you know, school is by design. And I'm not saying it's the right or the wrong way of doing things, but by design school is very much about here's how you have to do it and any other way you do it even if you get the right answer is wrong. And so doing things in a different way, you know, never seem to work well for me because I always get called on it by teachers, by administrators, by parents, whatever, you know, I remember my parents they were very much against my listening to music while I did my homework. But it turns out that, you know, countless studies now have shown that listen to music can actually help tremendously. It encourages centers of the brain to react when you're working. Um, but again, these are just things we didn't know. You know, these things we didn't know as a kid and I didn't know them and, and so here I am trying to try to you know, try to do a little better now, I guess. 

Sucheta Kamath: And it's so funny. You mentioned that we didn't know any better Peter, you know, things have changed but they're still old fashion, conventional wisdom type of thinking that is so anti-ADHD brain that parents are still wanting them to turn the music off or be completely quiet and still and none of that works. So, tell me a little bit about this concept of embracing ADHD versus disowning that your ADHD and a lot of times I feel a lack of educational proper guidance regarding the nature and the scope of ADHD. If you don't empower the child with that knowledge that can be really hard for the kid to understand and become that full embracing adult, but you did this work on your own sounds like or came to that conclusion at least. So, what were the things you were trying to distill in? And when did you lean into it and take, own it, own your ADHD? 

Peter Shankman: I said probably my late 30s. Um, when I realized, okay, here's what I have. And here's what I got. I don't have a choice. I can either benefit from this or I can let it consume and destroy me. Which one do I want? Right. And so, faced with that, you know, when you boil things down, makes life a little easier, I guess. And so, I sort of realized what was up. And I realized that I could, you know, you control the things you can control. Yeah, right. And I realized that that was something I can control. I can control my ADHD by putting rules into place that would allow me to do that. And that's what I've been doing. You know, it wasn't so much that I wanted to embrace ADHD. That came later. Originally, it was just Hey, I've had some amazing success and some incredible failures. What can I learn from both of them? And one of the things I wound up learning is they all seem to come back to my doing certain things in certain ways, positive when I did them one way, negative when I did them another, and that taught me I guess where I am now. And that, you know, when I finally realized that, almost everything about that had to do with my ADHD, it made life a little easier to understand. 

Sucheta Kamath: Great, so what was happening at age 30, or around age 30 in your life? What were the successes that you had encountered by then and what were the failures that taught you a lot? And how would you part that with our listener, what kind of if you can give us examples of that, that'd be great. 

Peter Shankman: So, I think that you know, I remember very specifically being in college and having a couple of friends and then one day I made a joke or something. I doubled down on the joke and I try to make another joke and on the first joke didn't land and normal people would say, Wow, that was that was a really, you know, you tried to make a joke it really it failed miserably, don't make a second one, but I didn't get that. I made a second was like, Oh, I have to fix it, you know? And made it really tough. There are people who lived on my floor and it made it really tough and I wound up not being their friends, and um you know, I just remember learning. You know, I call them cringe moments, right? These moments they're like, Oh my god, that was the worst thing. How could I have done that? Oh my god. You know some moments when you're about to go to sleep. You remember them be like ah crap, I'll be up all night. But I'm on the flip side. I've learned how my brain works in such a way I've learned there are certain things I can do to improve my focus my motivation my whatever my drive. I'm It's no coincidence that I became a licensed skydiver. You know?  

Sucheta Kamath: High risk, great speed, thrill, challenge. 

Peter Shankman: Well, yeah, but it's more about the dopamine. Right? When you save your own life and you land, you're very happy, your chocked full of dopamine. I'll bring my laptop to the drop zone, I'll do a jump and I'll sit down in the corner, right after it's over, I'll throw my gear in the corner, I'll sit down, and I'll write 10,000 words. You know, it's, again, it's understanding how your brain works and understanding how or it works differently from other people and not caring. That's the things you do to make your brain function might be looked at as strange. You know, a great example is United Airlines. I think runs about 10% of their fleet on biofuels. And when they first started thinking about doing that, everyone said oh that's crazy. You'll never do you can't make any money out well, they found a way make money at it and do it well. And They didn't care what other people thought or other airlines thought or whatever, they just did their thing. And now it's working with them very, very well. You know, so that's sort of what I what I learned that you know, I'm going to do what works for me, whether it's skydiving or exercising and triathlon or mountain climbing is sitting in a forest whatever it is, I'm going to do what works for me because it works for me and I don't really care what other people think if it if these other people don't help me pay my mortgage, what why should I care? 

Sucheta Kamath: So, you, you actually say this, this is your quote. You're actually much more free when you're neuro diverse. And so, I think you're talking about that you're recognizing your neuro diversity. So, in your day, can you walk us through how does your day look like and how have you shaped it? So that which kind of ties in with this your mega success, and to me your mega success is really because you have successfully harnessed to ADHD and that has transposed itself in the productivity that you're able to accomplish. So, what are what are you doing in your day that we can learn from? 

Peter Shankman: I have four sort of life rules that I put in place and I find that when those life rules work, I have a good day when they don't work. I have a bad day. I have to get up early and exercise. Sometimes in order to do that and exercise before my daughter wakes up, sometimes I have to get up as early as 3am. But it's worth it. Because I'm a better person. When I exercise, I have a better day everything just works. 

Sucheta Kamath: And you do that in your New York apartment and with kettlebells I heard. 

Peter Shankman: Kettlebells, My New York apartment, and I occasionally get outside sometimes and I'm able to do it you know, on the days that I have my daughter I'm able to go outside and ride or, or run, as well. So that's mandatory. Getting enough sleep is mandatory. I try for eight hours a night. Sometimes I make it, sometimes I don't. I try to eat healthy foods, you know, you'll find that if you eat like crap, you tend to feel like crap. So, I try to avoid you know, processed foods, things like that. I don't always succeed. I mean, I'm, I will eat pizza till I die. But you know, I try to do other things. And then I minimize choice as much as possible.  

Sucheta Kamath: I love that.  

Peter Shankman: I have you know, I have a closet that has two sides to it, and they're labeled one says office/traveling and its t-shirt and jeans. The other side says speaking/tv and its button-down shirt, jacket, and jeans. That's it. Right? I All my suits, my sweater vests, things like that those sit in my daughter's closet because if I don't wake up every day and look into the well what should I wear? I wonder? I remember that vest, Laura gave me that vest, I wonder how she's doing I should look her up. Three hours later, I'm naked living room on Facebook, I haven't left the house. So, it's just it's better. And when you do those things, life gets easier. 

Sucheta Kamath: I think that's remarkable. And I think to me, what's so interesting, it's so applicable to everybody's life if they want to improve their productivity, just because you don't have ADHD or distractibility and kind of scattered, intense desire to pursue many goals doesn't mean you will be productive. So that's really, really reassuring to me. And, you know, the other thing that as I had been thinking about you and your work, why do you think it's so hard for people to understand ADHD and why are people with ADHD not received well, or don't get the support or tolerance, they deserve. Their high energy but it can be intimidating or overwhelming. They crack jokes all the time and it can be fun and funny but and leaves a little sour taste sometimes. So there's that, that tricky balance and I feel like particularly the adult clients that I've worked with, I often tell them kind of, you know, bring your partners, your listening partners along so that they know this is what you do and if they can nudge you, but average person may not know that. Is that your experience as well? 

Peter Shankman: Yeah, I mean, again, you know, a lot of people don't understand why I do the things I do. They think I'm crazy for getting up as early as I do. Um, but it works for me. And again, it doesn't. So many great ideas that have that could have easily changed the world never made it because people didn't pursue them because they were afraid whether people would think if they failed. I just stopped caring. Once you stop caring what other people think you really are free. You know, people do things differently. It's just it's just life. It's what we do. And your way might be totally different than mine, but it's okay if neither of us are hurting each other or hurting anyone else doing it the way we do it, who cares? Let us do it. You know, it's funny, it's a very simple view and a very basic view. Um but it's the same view on that I have like on things like racism and things like that guy over there having brown skin or being gay, or whatever, doesn't affect my life. So why am I going to waste time hating on someone for absolutely no reason that affects me. You know, I don't care who that man marries, and he marries a girl great, if he marries a guy great. It doesn't affect my life. And I think more people need to think about that, you know, there's this whole trend of the Karen's of the world as it were. And if you look at these women all these women are caught on video being Karen's they're complaining about something that really doesn't have any bearing on them. And its sort of the same way I look at it with ADHD. I heard a great quote, once, life is too short to care about what people in a free app that lives on my phone, that lives in my pocket, think about me. Right? And so, look, I'm not perfect, but I tried a little better build a little bit better every day, and I'm having fun. That's all that matters, I think. 

Sucheta Kamath: So, talk to us a little bit about how does in ADHD show up in intimacy or intimate relationships, whether that's with your lover, your partner, your, you know, married spouse or your children. Do you see that interfering and do you have some thoughts about how to conquer that? 

Peter Shankman: I wrote a piece about this actually. It's difficult sometimes. It's difficult to date someone with ADHD. It's difficult to love someone with ADHD because several things you know, number one, they think a lot faster than you do. So, you know, if I have a fight with you, in my mind, we've already dated, gone out, got into a fight, broken up, moved on with our lives, like in my head that's happened in like 15 seconds. It takes a lot of time to slow down and realize that You know, a perfect example. I'll have a great day at work, I'll get a win or something like that and, and I'll go to call my girlfriend, I'll be like, Hey, I just did this thing. And she's not there. Right. And so, I've called her cell phone, and she's not there. And you know, I think obviously she doesn't care about me. And she doesn't care I just got this major win. God I can't believe I'm so stupid for dating someone so terrible. You know, and I'll write an email. I'm breaking up with you. That's terrible. You don't care. And then three minutes later, I said, I'll get it. I'll get a call from her. Hey, honey, I just sent an impromptu meeting with my boss. How's everything going? What's up? You know, but in my mind, we're already divorced. Right? So, it's like, it's funny when you think about it like that. But it's kind of random. You know. That's, that's it. We don't when you're ADHD, your brain moves a lot faster. And if you're not aware of that you're not working on it, you're not constantly working on it. It can get difficult, um, the thing about ADHD, I can absolutely positively 100% intend to do something and I was free to do it. On the flip side, if you're dating me, you're going to wind up with flowers on some random Tuesday and the cards going to say because it's Tuesday. 

Sucheta Kamath: Great spontaneity.  

Peter Shankman: It is great spontaneity, but you might tell me something 400 times that I need to do and I'm going to forget, even though I 100% absolutely intended to do it, you know, it's difficult it It's never easy. 

Sucheta Kamath: I really like the way you broke it down for us because I think have worked with many, many clients whose marriages have broken up because of that. I'll give you an example when my client came in, who had a daughter and she was going to turn one. And wife gave him one job. And she said, Your job is to just create a montage of photographs and videos that go over the one year. That's it, nothing else. I'll manage the party, I'll manage the guest list. I'll manage everything even like, and it was weekend, week before and so he had forgotten that the party was next week. So, he had not even started the process of gathering the pictures. And then he started asked his wife, where are the pictures? And she was so blown away because she said, She's turning one like this child was not in our life before. And then he comes back after one week after the baby's birthday and he says to me My wife, the party was great, but my wife wants a divorce. And he was so taken aback by her response. Because he said, but I'm such a good person. And I said, well, the birthday was a combination of many, many things that have happened over the whole period of time you've been together. So sometimes I feel that that missing of the forest big and just paying attention to the trees can really be a costly affair in the intimate relationship. 

Peter Shankman: It's true. It's not easy you know, it is a situation that is hard for someone without ADHD to understand because in their mind, it's a to b to c. Find the pictures, build the montage, submit it. In our head it's okay, we got to do this thing. Here we go and look at those pictures. Oh, interesting. I wonder if there's a way to make that picture sharper. Let me go into Photoshop. Let's learn how to use Photoshop. Okay, I'm going to use Photoshop. Interesting. I can make I can make all these pictures sharp. I'm going to start making pictures, when I was eight years old sharper, it's just a process. And it's, it's, it's not easy. 

Sucheta Kamath: And it's so insidious. It's so hidden and it's so pervasive, constantly happening, but it's completely and not available for an average observer to know. 

Peter Shankman: No, they don't get it. And so, you know, they even think you're incredibly strange or just incredibly annoying. And so, when you got to start doing these things, you got to find someone who understands you and understands that the things you're doing that are different, you know, are actually to prevent these sorts of things from happening. 

Sucheta Kamath: That's the best solution. Yes. But I'll tell you, Peter, here's my struggle with my clients, okay, whether they're in elementary school, middle school, high school, college, married, about to get divorced. They are fundamentally resistant and I'm talking about those who are resist resisting this. There's some concept of sense of autonomy. They want to exercise where they feel, it has to be my idea, but then they don't arrive to this conclusion until they have bounced around a little bit, failed a little bit. But then that can be extremely costly and psychologically off putting or, you know, can create a great disadvantage. So how do you think people in my position who are helpers and counselors and great mentors’ kind of get the buy in that they want to change but they feel it has to be my way, but they can't figure out my way? Yet.  

Peter Shankman: Good question. I don't, you know, it's a tough position to be in. I know that for me, I know that I failed a lot. And I'm happy I have because failure has helped me you know, failing is, is one of those great things that allows me to succeed. I learned from it, there are people who you know, won't necessarily be happy until they've failed, and they have to prove that they can do it. So, you know, think that people who have to deal with clients like that have to understand that there, they can suggest everything. It's the whole concept of leading a horse to water type thing, right? Yes, you could suggest as much as you want at some point. You know, it's like, it's like, I've always known that if I want to get faster, I have to do weightlifting, as well as my bike riding on my cardio. Um, I've always known that basic science, right? I'm not stupid, but it's also not something I love to do. So, until I learned that until I tried doing enforcement's of doing and saw the gains that I made and my next race, then I realized, holy crap, this is huge. And so, nothing will change until someone decides they're ready to change. So, when you decide you're ready to change You know, somehow the therapist has to know that know when that moment is and then they swoop in. 

Sucheta Kamath: Beautiful. You're right and I think what's so interesting, I love in your work, and I quote you all the time and send my clients your podcast way is you have managed to discover the power of body-brain relationship. You bring your ADHD back into your body, you have focused on training this body, getting control over your body because a lot of people particularly the smart, really kick smart ADHD folks that I work with, they're so cerebral that they don't do the hard work with that requires cooperation from their body. So, if you're feeling lazy, it's the body that can get you going. Talk to me about that. 

Peter Shankman: I heard a great quote from a football coach once he said something like there's no right moment that the body wants to exercise. Exercise has to start in the brain. It has to be the brain saying to the body, it's time to go to work. And you can't just say, Okay, I'm going to go work out now and assume that your body wants to do it. You know you it's painful to lift weights, it hurts really is why would you want to why would you want to voluntarily do something hurts you because you know the results are going to be worth it. But your body doesn't know that your body's like shit, this hurts. I don't want to do it. So, you do it once and then your body says I'm not doing it again. And then when you get up to go to the gym again, your body says I don't want to do this, you understand? And it's at that point that becomes a mental game that your brain has to go in and say, Okay, I know you don't want to do this, but it's for your own good. Shut up, do it. What's the quote from Homer Simpson? He's talking to his brain, he has to take a test or something and he says, okay, Brain, I don't like you and you don't like me, let's just get this done and I can go back to killing you with alcohol. You know, it's probably true, you know, you got to sort of accept the fact that it's going to happen. I'm going to get through it, here's how we're going to do it, then we'll go back to normal, but you have to do it. 

Sucheta Kamath: I love that. So now let's talk about your entrepreneurship. Not only you you're very bright, full of ideas, you suddenly have a very unique and creative ways of problem solving, which is where you're able to channel that energy and creativity tell us how do you define entrepreneurship and how did you like how did you come into your first idea, which is the help a reporter out? 

Peter Shankman: Help a reporter out. Yeah. So again, it you know, help a reporter started because I wasn't smart enough to think that it would fail. You know I came up with idea like I let's see what happens and I launched it. Most people do research, they do case studies. I was like nah, let's just see what happens right, um but I love that because it wound up selling for several million dollars. You know it's the kind of thing that that that I had this idea I'm like let's see what happens if I do this. 

Sucheta Kamath: But tell go back a little bit how did you even come up with that idea?  

Peter Shankman: When you have ADHD you talk to everyone, right? If you're on a plane next to me unless you fake your own death, I'm going to know everything about you by the time we land. I'm  naturally curious. People with ADHD are naturally curious and so. So to sit there and say okay, I wonder what happens if every great idea in the world started with I wonder what happens if Um, and so I just had this huge Rolodex and reporters who I knew from working as a PR guy, and all that would call me. Peter, hey, I'm working on a story, who you know? I'm like call this guy, call that guy. And over time, it took too much out of my day and like, there's got to be a better way to do this. I wonder if other people would want to help these reporters, not just me. And so, I launched a Facebook group. At that time, there was a 1500-person limit in the group. We hit that in like three weeks. Oh, my goodness. I'm like, I wonder if I can move this over to the web? Well, I don't know how to code but I know a kid who for 100 bucks and like a case of beer probably do it for me. I call them from the lounge at LAX, told him I wanted to do, got a plane connected in Houston, Called them again, he had like two questions and I answered those. I landed back at Newark from Houston. Had a website done. And from that launch the company and from there, it blew up. And so, it's one of those things where it's one of those things where there was a bigger player in the space already. But I had an idea about how to do it better. And one of the great things about ADHD is that while you might get hung up on stupid shit, like, there could be 5000 reviews in my book that are all positive and one negative and I look at the negative like, Oh my God, that's horrible. You know, that's the only one I see. Right. But on the flip side, there's also you tend to not let the small stuff, or the big stuff sweat you either. Yeah, I'm going to start this, if it fails, I'll do something else. You know, my attention span is shorter. If it fails, if we get rid of it. Well, it's succeeded and succeeded beyond  my wildest dream. So, I got very lucky in that regard. But, you know, at the end of the day, it just comes down to doing things that you enjoy. And you know, there's that stupid book that Do what you love, and the money will follow. It sounds cheesy, but it kind of works. 

Sucheta Kamath: And I think you also are pointing out something very, very true is if you're in this space, where your true passion shows up, then your motivation doesn't need any motivation. Sure, don't need an external push.  

Peter Shankman: My perfect day is a day where I go to sleep. And I don't know whether or not I was at work or having fun. 

Sucheta Kamath: I love that. Yeah, that's the best day. That's how I'm feeling right now being with you, Peter. Thank you. Love, love talking with you. So, tell me a little bit about working with folks who have ADHD. So, you know if not careful the impulsivity and the need to be quick witty and funny can come across as rudeness or insensitivity. And that can ruin the relationship. But now that you sit on the other side, and if you are dealing with folks with ADHD, how are you finding interacting with them if they work for you or they're for your partners? 

Peter Shankman: One of the keys is that you have to understand that faster brains doesn't necessarily mean everyone's like you. They could have a faster brain and manifest it in different ways. So, one of the things that I've learned is that it's very important to sort of understand the way people think and let them think the way they think. You can work with them and help them improve things, but you can't judge them because they think differently than you do. You know, ADHD is a weird, a weird gift in the respect that it doesn't. It doesn't allow for sort of one way of thinking or multiple ways. And so I find that some of the best things I could do are let people be people let them think the way they want you to do whatever you don't offer ideas and suggestions that have helped me but if they choose to implement them differently or whatever, that's fine. Let people be people. 

Sucheta Kamath: So, you're very accommodating and very generous with the stylistic approach to things. 

Peter Shankman: Yes, the only thing I'm not generous about is time, if I give you my time or offer my time, you know, I don't care if you're ADHD or any sort of neurodiversity. It doesn't take that much to be on time. And that sort of key, right? Because my thing is, if you're not on time, it's going to screw up. I'm not going to allow your inability to be on time to screw up my day. Right? If you can't be on time, that doesn't mean that my schedule should then be screwed up. So, if you show up 15 minutes late, and we only have a 20-minute meeting. Well, guess what? You only have five minutes to me. Sorry. Cuz I'm not going to throw up the rest of my day because you couldn't get your ass out of bed. 

Sucheta Kamath: So true. So, let's talk about now parenting. You're a single dad. And you have a seven-year-old.  

Peter Shankman: I do. 

Sucheta Kamath: Oh, wow. So, one of the gifts of being a parent, which I'm sure it's a rhetorical question, but and what are the challenges that may be become a special challenge now that you're on the other side of parenting a child and does she struggle with ADHD? Or is that your worry or tell us about that. 

Peter Shankman: It's not to worry, per se Um, and I see I definitely see signs of it in her. I think that she's a wonderful kid. I really enjoy being a dad. It's funny, this whole COVID situation has given me this chance to be home with her all the time. You know, I used to be on the road a lot. And um, it's, it's tough sometimes. You know, it's not easy. Sometimes it's so  

Sucheta Kamath: What parts are tough?  

Peter Shankman: Well, you know, when I tell her not to do something and five mins later, she's doing it anyway. Right? I know that it's not, I'm not sitting there thinking, Okay, you don't it's this concept of why aren't you listening? But it's rather like cuz you're seven. I you have to you can't look at a seven-year-old and say we live in a 45-year-old right? And so, you sort of have to understand that they're going to be different and that's fine. Life goes on. But you know, on the flip side, I've had to learn how to be more aware. Um, and slow down and chill a bit and, you know, enjoy the time with her. You know, I mean, her school, her schooling, this whole COVID situation has been brutal, right? You know, every single one of her teachers have lied to me. She's not a pleasure to have in class. And um, you know, it's difficult and so, you know, I'm trying to do the best that I can and, but at the end of the day, I'm very fortunate that I have the opportunity to work from home and, and work the way I want to work. And so, we, it's a lot of fun, we're having a really good relationship, but I really enjoy it. It's just like I said, it's not the easiest thing in the world to do. And, um, but then again, most worthwhile things are not. Right, yeah. And I'm very few worthwhile things that are very few things that are worth doing, um, that are not hard to do. And the thrill is, is in doing them and getting them done. 

Sucheta Kamath: So, you know, in this ADHD business, we never talked about your own experience with emotional regulation, you know, shortness of temper, or quickness to frustration, lack of concern for other people's condition. How, how do you think there is a little bit of a less empathy with people with ADHD if they're not careful and you talk a lot about slowing down. And that slowing down can really be hard if you're really irritated, you know, or just upset. Do you notice that? Or is that your experience? 

Peter Shankman: Yeah, you have to be aware of that. Definitely no doubt you have to, you know, one of the things with ADHD is that if we're having an argument, I need to know that you hear me, I can tell that you listen to what I'm saying here that you're hearing me and when I'm, if I feel like you're not, I feel I can't get my point across. I can't move on to the next topic. And so, I'm probably going to wind up raising my voice. Because I need you hear me, you know, even if you disagree with what I'm saying, Just tell me that you've heard me. And that'll go a long way. On the flip side, I've had to work on again, not raising my voice and staying calm and staying focused and on topic and on point. 

Sucheta Kamath: And hearing the other person too 

Peter Shankman: Yeah, I've worked been working on that for years to try to improve that question. 

Sucheta Kamath: Who is not actually? 

Peter Shankman: yeah 

Sucheta Kamath: We are so busy making a point that we hardly have time to listen to other person's point.  

Peter Shankman: Yeah, debate never would have been my favorite subject in school. 

Sucheta Kamath: So now tell me this idea of social media and you're the guru of social media or navigating or solving problems. I am so struggling with you know, all the research researcher, Jean Twenge, for example, who has talked about this incredible way of depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, and criminal behaviors in children because of when the cell phones became a handheld tool available to every child in 2011. And I'm just curious, you as a father probably are going to have to deal with this. Your daughter wanting social media accounts. Oh, yeah. So um, what are your thoughts about here you are consulting and getting people to think about things about sticky ways of getting people's attention and then ADHD people struggling to unglue their attention from those things that sparkle.  

Peter Shankman: So, the key is you have to set rules. You own your cell phone, your cell phone does not own you, 

Sucheta Kamath: Darling. It's so easy to say. How do you do it? Tell people 

Peter Shankman: My phone. When I go to sleep, my phone is off, not silent. Off. Because an iPhone takes approximately 45 seconds to a minute to boot up. If I wake up at two in the morning, you go to the bathroom. And I come back. If my phone is on, even if it's silent, I'm going to look at it. But I'm not going to stay up 45 extra seconds to wait for it to boot up before look. I'm going to go back to sleep. So, the key is setting these rules. Right now, during our talk, my computer has been on Do Not Disturb mode. 

Sucheta Kamath: Me too. 

Peter Shankman: So, nothing has come through. I haven't seen any pop ups. I rarely have pop ups because pop ups I think I don't use Slack. Slack is, is responsible for the downfall of society. Every time we get a notification, it takes 24 minutes for somebody to get back into their deep work. So, if you get two notifications now or you've just ruined your day so again, it's about having those rules and putting into place. My daughter, like she has her own iPad. But she knows that if she wants to play a game, she has to ask me first, the only thing she doesn't have to ask me about her educational games. Of course, she rarely plays them, you know. So, it's about setting limits and setting these rules so that you are you are again, so you own the communication device, it doesn't own you. 

Sucheta Kamath: Well, what I'm hearing you say also is you kind of have discovered the value of your time and you are unwilling to be victim of these things that interrupt your own flow  That's incredible insight. You know what I mean 

Peter Shankman: I had a someone of my life, who I'm still very good friends with she used to seem that I worked out super early Oh my god, I can't believe you worked so well. It's amazing. How do you get up so early? I wish I could do that I'm like, I see that you're on Facebook at one of the morning liking a photo of a car owned by a kid you went to grade school with. If you went to bed early, you could do this too. You know, it comes down to the fact that we have a certain number of hours in the day and we have to decide what our priorities are for those things. And if this person likes being on Facebook at one in the morning like then that's fine, but every action has an equal and opposite reaction. So, it's going to come at the expense of something else. You have to decide what the priority is and the story. 

Sucheta Kamath: Well, you, you are so incredibly on target and your clarity is extremely inspiring. Thank you, Peter, for being here with us on this Full PreFrontal podcast. You I, I really find having, you know, done this work for 20 years working with people who are struggling and are not able to discover this for themselves. You are such a ray of hope and in the sunshine and gives me incredible confidence that they too can discover this truth about themselves. So, thank you for doing the work that you do. And thank you for everyone who joined us today. Please keep spreading the word if you like the podcast that you're listening to and know that executive functions matter and knowing how to manage your focus, attention, time, prioritizing your life by paying attention to your relationship is the meaning of life. So please stay well be safe. Have fun.