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For All Abilities

May 4, 2020

On this episode, I interview Marc Almodovar - ADHD Speaker, Wellness Coach and Advocate. On the podcast, Marc talks about his life and diagnosis of ADHD as a teenager. He talks about how ADHD impacted his career and educational choices . We discuss his virtual support group and the importance of support especially in relation to the stigma that some people with ADHD feel. To connect with Marc, please follow him on LinkedIn (Marc Almodovar), email him at and his Facebook Group for men with ADHD - ADHD Men’s Support Group. You can find the book he co-authored: Our Transformative Journey – A Gift of Healing to The World Go to our website for information on our software that enables employers to support their employees with ADHD, Dyslexia, Learning Differences and Autism. Thanks for listening! Betsy Thanks for listening to For All Abilities today!  Share the podcast with your friends, they’ll thank you for it! Get our newsletter and stay up to date! The newsletter link is on our website Follow me Twitter: @betsyfurler Instagram: @forallabilities Facebook: @forallabilites LinkedIn: @BetsyFurler Website: Full Transcription from Betsy Furler 0:08 Hi, everybody welcome back to for all abilities, the podcast. I'm so excited. You're all here to join me for another special guest. As you know for all abilities, the podcast is all about how our world works better with people with all kinds of brains that work differently and add more creativity, more ingenuity and more. And that's the way it's just the way that our world gets things done. If we all have the same brain it would be super boring. So for all abilities is dedicated to showing the world the wonderful things that people with ADHD, dyslexia, learning differences, autism, other forms and neuro diversity and disabilities are changing the world and making it a better place. So one of those People is Mark and Mark I'm gonna have you introduce yourself. Thank you so much for joining us today. Marc Almodovar 1:07 Hey, I'm super excited to be on and any opportunity I get to collaborate with anybody doing work in the mental health field means the world to me, so I'm pumped to be on your show. I am I am. What I do is i'm a speaker. I'm a coach and I'm a co author with an ADHD brain. And my work is dedicated to helping ADHD men with insecurities overcome them so that they can see their greatest strengths and the great leaders that they can be. I share a very similar philosophy that you have no we we are people that have a place in the world that we are people that can do amazing things. So for me, I get great fulfillment in helping men with ADHD realize that they have that to offer. Betsy Furler 1:55 Awesome well, and tell our audience and your your last night And also the name of your Facebook group. We're going to talk about it more at the end, but I want to just make sure to get that out there. So people hear that before we launch into your story. Marc Almodovar 2:10 Sure, um, my my, my mobile My full name is Mark Mundo var that can be about four weeks. Usually when people see that last name, they're like, oh, how do I say that? But I'm gonna go var is my last name. And the Facebook group that I run for ADHD men is is titled ADHD men support group were found on Instagram and Twitter for ADHD men support that's the handle. But yeah, ADHD men support group is the Facebook group that I run. Betsy Furler 2:36 Awesome. nice, easy name. Marc Almodovar 2:38 Yeah, super, super easy, super convenient. Um, I I have some familiarity with the ADHD audience and i what i what I've learned in the past year and a half is that, um, is the more simple the better. Unknown Speaker 2:52 Yeah, yeah. Unknown Speaker 2:54 Yeah. Well, Betsy Furler 2:56 so thanks again for being here. And I would love to hear little bit about what you were like growing up. So what were you like as a little boy in your family and in school? Marc Almodovar 3:07 Yeah. So um, I pretty much knew my entire life that I was somebody who was a little bit different. I mean, going all the way back to like being like three, four years old and and learning how to tie my shoes. I was somebody who I remember most kids like learning almost pretty much right away. But it was something for me that I kind of struggled to pick up on. And if you look back at my years and kindergarten early years, and like first grade, second grade, most of my teachers would actually report that I wasn't Contrary to popular belief that what we think of ADHD always is, I actually wasn't this kid who was super hyper hyperactive and impulsive and yelling in class and stuff. I was actually very quiet in class. My teachers would describe me as somebody who was there, but never really there. If that makes any sense. I was typically spending a lot of my time mind wandering on almost little to to no attention given to the class that was going on. And it's just clear like if even if you look at like a lot of the pictures that my, my dad had captured me as a child, I'm almost never looking directly into the camera and I'm always kind of found in my own world. So I'm somebody who was essentially the the mind wander. The interesting thing though, is that there was this there was a dichotomy there that whenever something did manage to capture my interest, I wasn't just focused, you know, it was an above and beyond hyper focus type of thing. I'm very, very passionate. So for example, like my childhood my interest was Batman. So I was I was pretty much the kid who not only watched it Yeah. episodes been new all the behind the scenes directors and everything like that. So it was very interesting dichotomy with me. To make us make a long story short, I basically lived up until I was I was 16 without a name for my thing as we as we like to say. So at the age of 16, I was a junior in high school and I was somebody who was also struggling with severe depression, I had a very high amount of anxiety. And this year in school, my mother had received a phone call that no parent wants to receive from my guidance counselor at the time, basically letting her know that I was most likely not going to be able to make it to the next grade. And my mother as many parents reacted was was was devastated by this and, um, you know, she is she she felt very insecure about her own parenting, a lot of things that a lot of the struggles that parents are baby parents with ADHD kids go through. And that moment for me was a time where I kind of I talked to my mom I was like, hey, like there's something something a little bit different about me here. You know, like I'm I'm struggling I am struggling with my mental health socially. And I think that I need some help. And her being the amazing mother she is she went out and got me the support that I needed and I started seeing a psychiatrist and took all the different tests and voila, I was diagnosed with an inattentive ADHD well mostly inattentive, ADHD brain there is a little bit of hyperactivity and fidgeting and stuff like that going on. But I was diagnosed with a mostly inattentive ADHD brain and it was kind of like a, an amazing moment for me because it was first my first time I have a sense of self awareness, you know. So Betsy Furler 7:00 Do you How did you do academically in school when you were younger? Marc Almodovar 7:04 So academically yeah so my I was kind of just I'm just most like one my first and second grade I was like like a BC student and never really I can't recall a time or ever made straight A's I school was never something that came naturally for me I remember like poor I having poor handwriting. As I stated earlier like and attentiveness in class definitely disorganization I mean, my desk was typically the messiest of all Betsy Furler 7:39 right, right these Marc Almodovar 7:40 are these are some of the things that that stand out for me academically and then and then come High School. That's when I I did pretty pretty poorly in school I would say. Because again, my my, my my interest in and my my, my intention just was not was not there. You know, as I as I grew older, I started showing up and things like, time management was definitely an obstacle for me was not was not so good. But, um, yeah, these are some of the things that that really stand out in my own academic performance. Betsy Furler 8:17 Yeah, and I think teenagers they kind of have a lack of often have a lack of motivation about academics anyway, they don't see the point of learning and all of this that isn't relevant relevant to them. And then if you have that in attentiveness as well, I think it can really snowball. I'm on top of each other and make a huge problem. And did your family was in your family? Were you expected to go to college? What was the expectation around that around higher education? Marc Almodovar 8:50 Yeah, so so so college was definitely expected. Kind of like a like a typical thing where you know, you're you're only seen And in a positive light in your career path if you're going the route of either becoming a doctor or a lawyer or going to school like Harvard and things like that, so on Yeah, I mean, there was definitely some definitely a sense of, I guess, disappointment when people found out though that was that was not wrapped and I had interest in going and the people I looked up to were just a little bit different than what we, you know, what we consider as a successful person in our society. So, yeah, there was definitely a lot of, I guess, social pressure from a lot of different family members saying that I should, should go this route, but there was something intuitively there that I just knew that it just wasn't for me. Right. It wasn't for me and and I, I mean, I looked at the people that I grew up with, and that I have a friend that was friends with, I mean, they were people with different interests. To me, there were people with different strains. When I. So to me, it only makes sense that my path would be different as well. You know, and and that's one thing that I, I really try to push as an advocate, you know, is recognizing that individuality is a thing. It's, you know, Betsy Furler 10:17 we don't all need to go to college, and especially, we don't all need to get a college when we're 18 or 19. And, you know, most kids don't have any idea what they want to do really, at age even if they think they do. Um, I think there are a lot of people out there and careers that they don't even like because they chose that career basically, when they were a teenager, but I really, I'm really impressed with people who can kind of go against that kind of social pressure and say, You know what, this isn't for me, I need to do something. Something else I know it's I know, it's hard and I know it's hard on families when parents haven't expectation that they've had, you know, since the baby was born maybe even before, and it ends up being their friend, but I think it, it's good. Marc Almodovar 11:10 It takes it takes serious bravery and and also to me It takes perspective. You know, like when you're when you're 85 years old, like do you? Do you really want to look back at your life and say that you followed someone else's dream for you? Or do you want to look back through your life saying that I did what was true to my heart, and I stood for what I believed in, and I at least I know, in my case, it's definitely the ladder. Betsy Furler 11:38 Right, right. And there's always you know, I think the other thing is that you don't have to go off to college. I am a person who did go off to college at 18. And I've loved my college experience, and for the academics kind of but more for the social life really, if I'm honest, and you know, I kind of grew up. I grew up there. That's where I became And adults because I kind of slowly had to take care of myself. But, you know, for people who for many people, you know, even if they want to pursue a higher ed degree, they can do it later. It's not It's not something that has to be done at 18. As we mature, our brains are different and sometimes we can we can attend at a later age to something that's completely not interesting when we were younger. So what did you do right after high school so I guess you you ended up getting diagnosed, and he said, that was a huge relief, and you could finally understand yourself. So talk a little bit about how the diagnosis made a difference at the end of high school and then what you went on onto after that? Marc Almodovar 12:50 Yeah, so the diagnosis made it made a big difference. Largely because it really gave me a sense of hope and kind of through a lot of the self shame I was carrying out the window. And I learned for the first time about like how my brain operated and basically the fact that I knew that there was a name for my thing basically led me to say like, okay, like there are some things that I can do about this and there are there are ways that I can get to the other side. So to make a long story short, so I was actually able to graduate high school on time. It was kind of like a barely type of thing. I just barely made it and I'm having treatment for my ADHD at the time was was definitely very helpful. But I will say that as soon as I graduated high school I was I was ready to to get out. I was Yeah, I was I was not somebody who was thinking about college right away. I was I was what I was thinking about is like, how can I what can What can I do to to really learn about myself and and and To figure out what it means to I guess to prioritize my own well being so I had gotten a retail job right after high school and spent a lot of time there I grew within that company. I dedicated a lot of my own time to investing and my personal well being starting attending, like mindfulness classes, studied meditation, I'm looking into my own health and well being with diet and exercise and really changed a lot about my own lifestyle, learn about myself, and then about I would say, maybe like four years after that, I wanted to look at how can I help other people with similar issues as what I had in the past so I went to the the Institute for integrative nutrition I studied coaching skills, holistic health, and I really learned a lot about how I can reach other people with similar brains. And yeah, I really went my own path here and looking back, no regrets whatsoever, you know? Because I it's something that I get great fulfillment isn't an easy path to take. I don't I wouldn't say so. But I think it's it's the path worth taking and and the path that allows me to to wake up with, again, a sense of fulfillment, a sense of knowing that I'm doing what is true to my heart, for lack of a better term, so Unknown Speaker 15:38 dang. Right. So Betsy Furler 15:40 tell us a little bit about your Facebook group for men. Marc Almodovar 15:45 Yeah, so so about a year and a half ago, I started dedicating all of my social media work which is which is kind of just like positivity and motivation, just general stuff like that. Dedicated all of my work to speaking to adults with ADHD and it changed my life forever. I mean, I I was connecting with a lot of people who relate a lot to me. Some people started messaging me saying that they felt very alone. And they had discovered my work. And there was a sense of community for the first time. So I got a really great filament from doing that. And what I started to notice is that a lot of men with ADHD were messaging me saying that they really, really struggled to and they relate to a lot of the different obstacles that I had growing up that I talked about earlier. So I started seeing that trend and noticing that, um, while there were a lot of men diagnosed with ADHD, so few of them were willing to talk about their own personal struggles publicly. So I went on and I created a free support group for ADHD men It started off as a Facebook thing and now it's gotten to a point point where I now co host a a bi weekly zoom meetup. I'm online with my with my good friend john Hazelwood who's known as at St. john john on Instagram. But yeah, it's it's basically a thing where we are eliminating judgment and we are allowing for space for connection and the motivation and what I think is a gift not to be underestimated. Listen, you know, a lot of men with ADHD are struggling during this time of social distancing and everything. I'm feeling understood. This is something that is a really, really great gift and something that we try to offer offer free within this ADHD support group. So Betsy Furler 17:49 what do you what do you think the biggest issues are that men with ADHD have a like both at work and then in relationships? Unknown Speaker 17:59 So So Betsy Furler 18:00 like on your, from your group of people like what do you see as being the common the common issues, Marc Almodovar 18:07 I would say ownership and pride of their, their brain and the way that they operate. I think that within the workplace, we have great fears of doing things like seeking accommodations or talking about our symptoms and saying that something is a little bit uneasy for us. I think due to the fact that there's a lot of stigma that goes on with men growing up that we're, we're kind of taught that we're supposed to be, um, this very, like, tough all the time individual like has no problems whatsoever is on top of everything. And I think that we struggle a lot with admitting that we struggle, you know, that that is that is really the big thing here. So I'm kind of like Learning to to talk about that is is is one of the best things that we can we can give ourselves here, you know, and it's a serious issue we should we should work with managed properly. You know, we feel that we feel the shame, talking about our own personal personal obstacles and it's something that I'm looking to really put an on to. As far as Betsy Furler 19:30 as far as I think, I think that understanding of how other people think and that other people think differently. Yeah. It's It's vital for both personal success and productivity as well as working with other people, whether it's in the workplace or in a personal relationship. Marc Almodovar 19:50 Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. And then in personal relationships, yeah. Some common obstacles with men with ADHD are often Well, well, disorganization. Can can be something that that can really annoy our partners. There are there's research out there suggesting that adults with ADHD tend to unfortunately have higher divorce rates when they live with their brain, I guess on navigated, but higher divorce rates then what we call the neurotypical person. And this largely has to do with things like disorganization, impulsivity, a lot of men with ADHD struggle with saying things that they don't exactly mean. Right. Right. You definitely. And definitely, I noticed a certain tone there with the writing. But but but maintaining a career is a struggle, and these are all things that that do have an effect on relationships. And the good news is too is that we don't have to let that be our lives. You know that that this can be something Right. these are these are things that we can learn to tackle and learn to get on the other side of and it's an easy journey. Absolutely. But it's the journey we're taking. And as you have mentioned to me when we talk to you know, there are so many success examples of people with ADHD and there's no reason why we men with ADHD can't be that as well. Betsy Furler 21:23 Right and really use it as a superpower because there's so many things about ADHD that make people very successful. And we also talked earlier about how it's so common for an entrepreneur or someone who's an investor. Yeah, CEOs of companies are very frequently have ADHD. So it can also be the traits of ADHD can be so positive. If you can learn how to manage the negativity of it as as well Marc Almodovar 21:56 100% I mean, I was somebody who Like I talked about, like how I had gotten a job early earlier and and I had grown to a manager position and I was somebody who within the meetings, like was always able to offer like to bring, bring new ideas to the table and kind of like just just really, really switched things things up for the better with innovative thinking and speed and all these things. So what a lot of people fail to realize is that there there are places where people really thrive, you know, we work really well when we're under we're under pressure. You know, just just bringing a lot of, I find in my experience, we're really good at bringing a lot of new to the table and that's not a that's not a value that's to be underestimated. Betsy Furler 22:47 Right. I also you know, the other thing I think, is because people with ADHD do frequently just blurt out what they're thinking and rather than But filter of like, oh, should I really be saying this? Well, that can get you in a ton of trouble. It also can make the person you're speaking with really think about, you know, do we need to do it this way? Or is there another option for how to do this and why, you know, maybe this really is a stupid idea, you know? Where were there other others of us who would not speak that honestly. Mm hmm. And and therefore not communicate well because you're, you're managing someone else's emotions rather than speaking from your heart. Marc Almodovar 23:40 When I would add to that is that impulsivity is also and this might come off a little bit, a little bit weird. But I would say that impulsivity is not always a bad thing as well. I personally decided that I wanted to work with the ADHD audience, I impulsively decided that I wanted to study coaching and that I wanted Learn public speaking skills and speak in front of people. I'm posted, we tweeted something motivational this morning. You know, it's all about I'm really, I guess, perspective here. And then. And then as far as the downsides is recognizing that it's something that we can get on top of, you know, I'm a big fan of having a mindfulness practice in place. That has helped me quite a lot. Right. And the big thing here, too, is speak to your emotions. Just nothing. There's nothing wrong with it. You know, like, I'm a big believer that, that we should, we should have therapists and we should have coaches and people like that, that we can talk to you. And my own experience. This is this is a very helpful tool and kind of like opening up that bottle of emotions and reducing the likelihood of it just popping out of nowhere. But just having somebody where you know that you can take off that perfection mask that we think that we need to have that sort of nonsense, and rain yourselves and that's That That, to me is probably the most helpful thing and my own experience of managing impulsivity, you know, um, Betsy Furler 25:08 but you're right. And I think I think that piece is so important that being able to speak your emotions and taking off that mask of perfectionism. I know it took me as a I'm officially neuro typical person. But as I was telling you earlier, as I was 10 minutes late to our call, that I have some traits of a DD and some traits of dyslexia, they usually don't impact my life very much. And my one of the things that those traits didn't serve me in is really like being able to put up that front of being working in the norm and being the norm person. And, and I had I've had to learn later in life, too. You know, it was blocking my ability to to really think big and and move my company forward, because I was always, you know, worried about what somebody's going to think, am I going to say exactly the right thing? You know, it was really socialized to do that. And I had to really unlearn all of those skills that made me a really good student, and a really good employee. Yeah, I had to unlearn that later in life. And, you know, I think it's such a blessing for people to learn that early in life and being able to live their full life, go into a career that they truly love. Instead of kind of having to, you know, relearn what society has taught you for better lack of a better way to say that Marc Almodovar 26:48 100% and, and the big thing that I would mention here too, is to look back at it from like, like the example that I gave, like during my in my childhood, having little to no tension in class whatsoever and being the kid that was always distracted to my my interest in Batman and how, how almost like above and beyond I was often that subject, the same thing can apply to our interests and our passions, you know? For me, it's it's incredibly easy to be attentive and a call like this, you know, we're we're talking about something that that is both of our interest in and a passion of the two of ours, you know, it's it's, for me it's it's a it's a great idea to to invest in and a career path of some sort that you feel is true to you. And were you allowed to be a little bit closer to yourself because it's a really a win win. It's a win for your own fulfillment, and it's a win for the services that you'll be providing. Betsy Furler 27:54 Right. And I think that I think we could I think we could put out a challenge to my little listeners to really keep that in mind, whether it's their own career or what their children want to do, and in allowing their children to really truly embrace their passions, and when they allowing themselves to truly embrace their own passions. Yeah, this has been awesome. And I would love for you to share how people can get in touch with you and learn more about you and maybe join your group. Marc Almodovar 28:28 Sure, so you can connect with me on all social media platforms, I am at wellness with Mark and that's mark with the sea not with the K. And for any men with ADHD or if you know somebody who is a male with ADHD that wants a little bit more connection community and a sense of understanding and their lives. Me and my brother john Hazelwood, we host the ADHD men support group on Facebook and we're doing things like bi weekly zoom meetups, and we're just having a blast over here. So what apps We'd love to have you and if anybody's interested in learning about my own personal journey because I probably say this, because ADHD people can do awesome things. I one of the things that I did in my own personal life is co authored a book, I co authored a book titled our transformative journey. And I have a chapter in there where I talk about all about I go in detail as far as what my relationship was like with ADHD, the changes that I made in my own life and share a lot of my own tips that I find helpful for myself and the clients and the people that I work with. So I'm getting Betsy Furler 29:39 people get that on Amazon. Marc Almodovar 29:41 Yeah, it's on. It's on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, many or any website, you prefer to buy your books, but our transformative journey, a gift, a feeling to the book, destiny. Betsy Furler 29:51 Okay, awesome. Well, thank you so much for joining me today. This is great, and I know it's gonna be very helpful to so many of our listeners. Marc Almodovar 30:00 I'm, I'm pumped to have the opportunity and I think that someone like you should look back at the work that you do and look back at it with great pride. It's work that's needed and, and have learned about it. Betsy Furler 30:15 Awesome. Well, thank you so much, and listeners, thank you so much for joining us today. Please subscribe to for all abilities, the podcast rate and review it on whatever podcast platform you're listening to me on now. And if you want to find out more about me, you can find me on LinkedIn, Betsy Furler. Frank, you are le AR. You can also go to my website for all abilities to find out more about the workplace accommodations work that I do in my software. So thanks for joining us today and I will talk to you all soon.