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The Divergent Conversations Podcast is hosted by Patrick Casale and Dr. Megan Anna Neff, two AuDHD mental health professionals and entrepreneurs, as well as features other well-known leaders in the mental health, neurodivergent, and neurodivergent-affirming community. Listeners know, like, and trust the content and professionals on this podcast, so when they hear a recommendation on the podcast, they take action.


Episode 60: Understanding ADHD Tax: Impact, Personal Stories, and Management Strategies

Jun 27, 2024
Divergent Conversations Podcast

Show Notes

It’s common for ADHDers to feel these waves of inspiration that may lead to a romanticized version of the future that would come by acting on them. However, if action is taken, it alternatively might be accompanied by the ADHD tax—financial burden, over-commitment, broken dreams and promises, feelings of guilt and regret, etc.

In this episode, Patrick Casale and Dr. Megan Anna Neff, two AuDHD mental health professionals, discuss the concept of the ADHD tax and its impact on various facets of life such as time, money, and relationships. Both hosts share their personal experiences and practical tips on how to better manage impulsivity, as well as explore the impact of standard marketing practices on impulsive action.

Top 3 reasons to listen to the entire episode:

  1. Gain valuable insights into how the ADHD tax manifests in everyday life, from impulsive travel bookings to forgotten groceries, and learn strategies to prevent and mitigate these financial and emotional costs.
  2. Hear about the intricate balance of excitement and capacity in neurodivergent collaborations. Dive into tips for managing overwhelming enthusiasm and the importance of slow productivity and setting boundaries.
  3. Learn ethical marketing practices that consider the needs of neurodivergent individuals, emphasizing the importance of building relationships over manipulative sales tactics and creating a consumer-friendly environment.

As you navigate the challenges of impulsivity and overstimulation, remember that understanding and implementing mindful strategies can help you lead a more balanced life. Take a moment to pause before making hasty decisions, and prioritize your well-being as you create a space where both your ideas and your downtime are respected.


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PATRICK CASALE: Hey, everyone. You are listening to the Divergent Conversations podcast. We are two neurodivergent mental health professionals in a neurotypical world. I'm Patrick Casale.

MEGAN NEFF: And I'm Dr. Neff.

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Hey, everyone. So, welcome back to Divergent Conversations. Today, Megan and I are going to talk about the ADHD tax, what that means, how it impacts, some strategies, and different ways to navigate as we continue to wrap up this ADHD collection that we've been doing.

And last week, we talked about interest-based nervous systems. If you have questions or comments about any of this stuff, always send it to our Gmail account or message us on Instagram and we won't respond less likely.

So, I have gotten so much better, Megan. And I want to thank you for this-

MEGAN NEFF: I'm so proud of you.

PATRICK CASALE: I hate this for some of you who are listening because you're probably like, "I messaged and I see that you looked at it, but you didn't respond." And that's my newfound boundary with a lot of this stuff.

MEGAN NEFF: I mean, I think it reaches a threshold where it's just literally impossible to respond unless it was your full-time job, and then, it forces you to… like the completionist is like screaming, but you're like, "Sorry."

PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, exactly, exactly. That's it in a nutshell, which is a good segue into what we're going to talk about today. And I think, like, the ADHD tax is something that we don't talk about enough. And I know for myself that I experience it quite often.

And, you know, last week, we talked about interest-based nervous systems and pursuing things that are exciting, or stimulating, or the novelty component. And I know for myself, that means a lot of over-commitment to things that I don't actually have the energy or capacity for. And I end up paying a massive price. And that can even be a financial price.

Like, there have been so many moments and instances in life where I've gotten so excited about an opportunity, a vacation, a trip, a plan I jump in headfirst, I book the Airbnb, I book the flight, I book the hotel that's non-refundable without looking at the details. All of a sudden, I can no longer go for whatever reason because maybe the small details fell through the cracks and I miss something. Maybe I booked the wrong dates, maybe I booked the wrong times. All of a sudden there's a massive shame component and it spirals.

MEGAN NEFF: Yep, I can relate. I can relate. It's interesting, I typically think of ADHD tax, like the first thing that pops in my mind is money. But I also feel like, and I know you were talking money there, but there are some other things like time. And that would be interesting to think through the ADHD tax not just money but like time, sleep, relationships. Like, it's a big tax, a big tax.

PATRICK CASALE: And if you are also an autistic ADHDer like Megan and myself, there is a big tax emotionally and physiologically to the system. I know you and I have talked a lot on here about over-committing to things that we're excited about in the moment, and how our autistic parts are kind of screaming internally, like waving the white flag. You know, like I give up, I can't do much more of this.

And I know for myself when I've committed to anything by the time I get to that commitment, that meeting, that appointment, that collaboration, that event I'm like, "Why in the world would I have said yes to this?" And that can be so internally conflicting when it feels like your system is just like, "Why would you do this to me?"

MEGAN NEFF: Yeah, so it creates a lot of internal conflict as well, for sure, yeah.



PATRICK CASALE: I know, like, I just got back from all these retreats and all this travel. And last year, I think it felt like the smart decision to go to six different countries in six months and host four events and [INDISCERNIBLE 00:05:37] a keynote in between. And I mean, saying that out loud now sounds ludicrous. But last year, it felt really exciting. I romanticized the hell out of it, and pay the price of like, all of this impulsivity, all of this excitement, all this romanticizing that leads to this inevitable burnout, crash, completion experience that's going to take me months to recover from.

MEGAN NEFF: I really appreciate that. That idea of like the romanticizing that happens which like Post-it note, we should do an episode on like the romantification of-


MEGAN NEFF: …future self that happens in ADHD. I think both autism ADHD, but that feels really ADHD. Like, my future self was going to be on top of all these things. Because yeah, it's so easy to say yes to a romantificated, I think that's not actually a word, like, thing of a future self.

Like, so I'll share this. Feel free to scratch it if you're not comfortable. But since we did talk about it in the like, January intentions episode, you and I have been going back and forth. And like do we want to create a community for neurodivergent entrepreneurs?

And I've personally, like, had a lot of internal struggle around that because the romantified version of that in my head is so fun, and so creative, and so playful. And I had to do, like, we recently we were like, "No, we're not going to do that." I was mostly like, "I don't think that makes sense right now."

And I had to get out of the romantified version and be like, "Okay, day-to-day, this is what it's going to look like, these will be the tasks added to my list. Do I have capacity for that? What is it actually going to feel like?"

And once I could do that I could see a little bit more clearly. But it was really hard to release the romantified version I had in my head.

PATRICK CASALE: One, I want to find out if romantified or romantification is a word because we're going use this a lot.

MEGAN NEFF: I think we should make it a word if it's not.

PATRICK CASALE: Yeah. I was going to say it feels like it's going to come up a lot in this episode.

Two, I really appreciate that you just brought that up because I know you and I have talked about this offline about like, collaboration, partnership, creating this thing together. And at times, it did feel like, wow, this would be such an exciting thing to do.

And I think the more… so that's an interesting thing to circle back to last week's episode on interest-based nervous systems about like we were talking about, like, how do we pump the brakes sometimes off the car once it gets moving? Because I think we want to pursue the things that we romanticize. I think we want to pursue the things that feel like novelty and excitement in the moment to create that energy flow state creativity process that we've talked about so often on here, to feel more connected. But then in reality, you have to almost stop and say, like, does my neurology support this? Does my system and my capacity support this decision?

It's so challenging in the moment, though. Like, to take a step back and to sit here now in June, right? With that episode we did in like, December, whenever it was, I mean, I don't think either of us were in the place where that feels like it's a good decision for where we want to go or what we want to create. But in the moment, it felt really good.

And then, maybe my energy sparks your energy, or vice versa. And then, all of a sudden, it's like, "Oh, my God, let's…" Like, you're off to the races.

And I think about how many times in life where that's been a thing for me. And very shortly after, maybe it's an hour, maybe it's a week, maybe it's a day, maybe it's a month, it's quickly, like, you realize this is not the right decision for me for whatever reason. But I know in the past, when you commit that much energy or intention to something, and then, you realize it's not a good decision that can feel really internally conflicting, too, and kind of confusing of like, "Well, why did that feel so good at the time?"

MEGAN NEFF: Why was I so excited about it and now not? And then, I think adding in a relationship component complicates it further. Like, I'm trying to do better at caveating this, especially, when I enter friendship, or any kind of collaboration with people of like, hey, I'm someone who throws a lot of ideas out there. It's never an expectation. A lot of them don't stick.

Because one thing I'm realizing, and I'm working really hard to get better about this is if I'm really engaged in a conversation and excited, I'll impulsively be like, "We should write an article on this. We should do a course together. Like, we should write a book together."

Like, I've said that to a lot of people. And I realize, especially, now as my platform has grown, like when I say that, if I'm not willing to follow through with that, like those are words I need to be more cautious with.

And so, I'm trying to get better about that, but that is… because I will ideate with people, and then, feel like I've committed to someone in the ideation, and that feels really… Like, I felt really bad because I think you're more in the entrepreneur space than I am. So, I think you had a bit more energy around that. And like, it's like, I feel like I'm letting… I don't know if you felt that. But I was like, "I feel like I'm letting Patrick down in it." That felt really shitty.

PATRICK CASALE: I never felt and I appreciate you saying that. And this is kind of cool to processes as we're talking about all this stuff. But I never felt that way. But I can understand what you're saying because I know what it's like when I get excited about something, how I can be quite persuasive if I'm excited about something. I can sell a lot of stuff to people if I'm like, "This is a good idea."

And if someone comes on board to that idea, and then, it's like, "Ooh, where can this go? Like, I'm excited to see where the journey takes us."

And I think that is a really unique skill set to try to refine about how do I step back from this? Because I know so often we're leading with sometimes impulsivity, excitement, dopamine seeking, stimulation, whatever it is, the desire for connectedness. And ultimately, it's just not what our systems need.

And I think a lot of ADHDers really struggle with the whole concept of like, I have all these ideas, I've wrote them all down, I'm going to pursue them. But then, you commit some energy, some time, it's not the right moment in your life, and you cross it off the list, that can feel kind of shitty. And almost, like, the whole narrative of like, "See, I never follow through." Or like, "I can never finish things or complete things or everything's like half done."

And I I'm trying to get better at being like, maybe it's just not the right chapter or the right season of life for this idea right now. But that doesn't mean it has to be completely removed from the playing field for eternity. And I think I have tried really hard to get better about that mentality, too.

MEGAN NEFF: Yeah, yeah. One thing when you were talking about, like, how many ideas we have that came to mind, like, I think that makes it feel like we're doing less than we even are because it's like, in our mind, it's like, well, there's like 100 trails I want to go down.

So, even if we go down two of them, we're still seeing the 98 we didn't go down. And so, I think that also creates a sort of, like, perception bias of doing less because our mind is like, "Well, I want to do this, this, this, and this." And we're like, "Yeah, no, we can't do all that."

One book I read this spring that has, I'm like, slowly letting it shape my planning is Slow Productivity. And it's a lot about like, okay, limiting, you talk about how many projects you have. And because what people often don't realize is the overhead of everything you say yes to. That's what really sucks time. And so, limiting, like your yeses, not because of the project itself, but the overhead of maintaining it. And then, like, actually defining what those are. So, maybe it's four, maybe it's five.

But that has really been reshaping my approach to, like, my business, my life of taking that step back and be like, "I'm I thinking about the maintenance and the overhead of starting another thing?" And that's hard for us because we like to be starting new things.

PATRICK CASALE: It is hard. So, I think you almost have to also give yourself permission to have this, like, gray area or this bucket over here that's like, "This is where new ideas are allowed to, like, be birthed, and to just exist."

Because I know for myself if I say like, no more new ideas, no more new projects for like X amount of time, it feels really constricting, like the walls are closing in. And I really struggle with, like, feeling unbelievably anxious in those situations.

So, I've tried really hard to do what you're saying, to be intentional about my yeses, to set better boundaries in regards to my time, my energy, my capacity, while also allowing for a little bit of like that dreaming, romantificationing creativity process to just continuously cultivate because I never know when an idea from over here becomes front and center, and then, the priority because that can shift so quickly for me. I think most of my best creative ventures have come from situations that I didn't really expect to happen. But anyway, I don't want to get off track too much.

But I'm thinking about, like, an example, right now is a friend of mine hosts a lot of summits for group practice owners, and she reached out. I'm speaking at one this week, which I don't know why I committed to it aside from the fact that it's in my hometown. But she said, "Hey, next year, do you want to come to one in Austin, Texas at the end of March?"

And I was thinking, I was like, you know, I think at first, I was about to say yes. And I was like, "Wait, you're going to Ireland to host your retreat in March. There's no way you're getting on a plane two weeks after that and doing this thing."

And I said that, and she came back with like, "What if we push it back two weeks into April so that you have more time to rest?" And again, I was like, almost said yes, and like impulsively.

And I was like, "You know what, I've committed to only doing speaking engagements, and retreats, and events in odd-numbered months next year, and I'm going to do as much as I possibly can to honor this. Because otherwise, that ADHD tax is so significant that it is almost debilitating for the rest of the year. And I just don't want to consistently play catch up anymore. I just don't think I can constantly try to play catch up with the energy reserves that I actually don't have."

MEGAN NEFF: The way you're describing it almost sounds more like the autistic tax but like energy. I mean, not that these things can be fully separated, but the, like, energy expenditure, socializing, and travel, and…

PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, that's true. That's very true, yeah.

MEGAN NEFF: I don't really hear people talking about the autistic tax, that'd be an interesting thing to differentiate, again, these things within our tangle.

When I think about, yeah, I actually feel like we haven't really talked about the classic ADHD tax, maybe we can pivot here. When I think about ADHD tax, I think about things, you know, like, tons of financial stuff. So, like, starting a subscription, and then, forgetting about it, and forgetting to unsubscribe. Or like starting a two-week free trial on an app, and then, forgetting about it, forgetting to unsubscribe. What's the word? Spontaneous shopping, that's not the word. There's a word around it, impulse shopping. And I know that can be like, really hard for a lot of us, again, because like, it's like, "Oh, I see that, that gives me instant dopamine. I want to buy it." I don't think through like does that fit in my budget. So, a lot of impulse purchases.

For me, like, I've moved a few times in the last few years. And it's like, the echolalia phrase in my head as I was moving is like my cabinets are filled with good intentions. Like, I throw away so many expensive vitamins, food. And like I do this thing where I'm like, I'm really into a food, and it might be like really into baking sourdough bread. I'm going to go buy 50 pounds of sourdough flour, or like I'm going to go buy 50 versions of this, like, you know, I'm trying to like low carb thing to see if that helps with like, inflammation. And then, I buy a ton of it. And then, it expires.

And so, those kind of classic, like, financial ADHD taxes or like losing AirPods. I feel like I would not want to add it up throughout my life.

PATRICK CASALE: No, no, definitely not. I think so much about like, for me, a lot of it comes from, like, travel-related expenses. And it is literally like jumping into booking hotels, cars, flights, whatever's, that cannot be amended, tours, experiences, excursions, and then, not looking at the fine print, not looking at the details of like, oh, there's no cancellation policy. This is not refundable, oh, you actually can't go on those dates because of whatever, oh, you overlooked this thing in your calendar because you're so excited about this thing and you completely forgot your friends coming to town to visit. No, you can't go across the country at this time.

And then, there's so much shamefulness of like, how did I overlook that? How did I not see the fine print? How did I not realize I couldn't get a refund? Like, and then you eat the cost. And the financial cost is huge.

And this just happened with me booking a flight in Greece. I booked a flight that I thought was at 4:00 PM, give me plenty of time to get to where I was going. I booked 4:00 AM because I overlooked the fact that like we're not using the same time system in Europe. And I'm like, "Now I can't get a refund for this." Like, that's several $100 that just go out the window. Stuff like that happens all the time.

MEGAN NEFF: For sure, yeah. And that's where that, like, inattentiveness which we talked about in our diagnostic series like, especially, with fine print. I think that gets a lot of us. I would say inattentiveness and impulsivity, these two traits, like stack up a lot of cost in the ADHD tax.

PATRICK CASALE: And it's interesting because I don't think of myself as someone who struggles with inattentiveness very often until it's something that, it's almost like there's these blinders when the impulsivity comes over me. And I can no longer think clearly about my decision-making. And then, ultimately, you come out of it. It's almost, like, this fugue state or fog. And I'm like, "What did I just do? What did I just commit to? How did that just happen?"

MEGAN NEFF: Yeah, yeah. For me, like fine print, I get really inattentive and restless. And I'll just be like, I'll skip when I shouldn't. And that's my impatience. And so, I'll miss a lot of things. Or maybe I do read it and I still miss it, or I don't understand it. But that does get me quite a bit.

Oh, and object permanence. That would be another one I'd throw in. Like, out of sight out of mind. So, like, buying vegetables, and then, totally forgetting about them unless you like, put them in a very specific way. Or, like I had a bucket of shirts that I, again, this was in moving and I like had a pile in my closet. And last summer I was like, "I don't have any short-sleeved shirts. This is weird." So, then I bought more. And then, I like found the bucket of shirts. I was like, "Oh, yeah, it was just a pile." Out of sight out of mind.

PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, yeah. My wife does a lot of that, what you're talking about right now. Like, she'll buy produce. It'll go missing. It'll go bad. I'm like, "Were you planning on using these cucumbers." And she's like, "What cucumbers?" I'm like, "I guess they're going in the garbage." Like…

MEGAN NEFF: That's Luke to me all the time. He's like, "Were you going to use this?" And again, it's like I bought it with good intentions. But then I forgot about it.

PATRICK CASALE: Yeah. And you're right. I don't even want to think about the number because adding it all up, I think is almost impossible. But in reality, like, it would just be mentally crippling in some ways. So, I don't want to think about it in that way. But I do try to think about, like, how can I circumvent this? Or how can I at least prevent some of this from happening? And I don't know if you have any strategies, or tips, or suggestions, but I haven't really found it yet.

MEGAN NEFF: I mean, I think it depends on like, figuring out what the driver is. So, if it's impulsivity, you know, and if it's like impulse shopping there's going to be different practices for that. If it's out of sight out of mind, then it's like, how do I create visual systems?

So, I've seen a lot of great systems for like, ridges, especially for ADHDers, being aware of like, okay, out of sight out of mind, or, I mean, there's a lot of ways to make a more visual system. Like, I know, I don't use it, personally, but I've heard great things from Timo. It's an app that creates like a visual schedule. So, you could put visual reminders on there, if it's the inattentiveness.

I think partly, it's the more we make these mistakes, we're more aware of like, okay, this is the thing I need to check next time I do this. Like, you're probably not going to make the mistake of a 4:00 AM booking in Greece anymore. I'm probably not going to forget to make sure I have two tickets, one for me and my child next time I book an airplane ticket for a trip. Like, so there's the learning that happens, which is just painful. But I think knowing what our vulnerability is, and then building systems around that is one of the main. So, like, it starts with self-insight of like, what's the thing that makes me vulnerable here?

PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, for sure. For me, with the impulsivity piece, it's about, like, slowing myself down when I get overly excited about and want to like dive into it. And really being mindful of like, how am I navigating what I'm about to pursue? Or how I'm about to implement this?

MEGAN NEFF: For sure. Like, the power of pause, the power of a pause. And then, I love nonviolent communication theory. It's kind of indirect, but like because they do such a good job of anchoring language and needs. But I just love that approach for everything of like, okay, pause. What is it I'm needing here? So, if like I'm about to make an impulsive purchase, or buy 50 pounds of flour, if I can figure out like, what is it I'm actually needing here or going after? And if I can identify that need, that can help me through that moment.

PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, that's a great suggestion. Because you're right, in the moment it feels like the best decision in the world. Like, of course, I'm going to use all this flour. And then, in reality, you're like, "This hobby doesn't even really interest me anymore. So, we're moving on from this very quickly. What do I do with all this flour? Do I throw it out? Do I give it away?" Like, there's so many things that happen after the fact.

MEGAN NEFF: Exactly, exactly. The future self-tests, like I often will, like, kind of talk to my future self or like, think about like, okay, how is my future self-going to feel about present self-decision. That doesn't mean future self always wins. I think present self, for me, still wins most of the time. But even just having that dialogue in my head of like, is future self really going to be excited about this? Or again, am I romantifying? And is it because I'm maybe trying to escape an uncomfortable feeling right now? Or because I'm like, like, what's going on here?

PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, that romantification piece, it's huge. So, trying to do that check and balance internally to like, pump the brakes a little bit and be like, "All right, future self, like, what are we looking to get out of this? What are we seeking?" And I think that's a good strategy to try really hard to incorporate.

I like to have, like, Post-it notes or like reminders all over the place. I need those things in order to keep track of most of my life. So, I might start incorporating like, the future self one, two, as a reminder about decision-making in a lot of my day-to-day.

MEGAN NEFF: Yeah, that'd be a good Post-it. How does future Patrick feel about this decision?

PATRICK CASALE: What does future Patrick feel about saying yes to this opportunity here? I think that's a good one. And I think it's just a good reminder to just, like, check in with yourself too, and get a sense of why am I saying yes to this? What's the driving force? What's the motivation? I guess if they all feel like green checkboxes, then it feels like okay to pursue. And if there's some red or some yellow maybe tread cautiously or like approach trepidatiously.

MEGAN NEFF: And also, like, if the decision can wait, that's something I'm practicing is let me not make this decision right now. Let me sit on it for 24 hours. I've also heard that as a practice for ADHDers, especially, if impulse shopping is something of like, put it in the cart, come back tomorrow. Like, do you feel the same about it? So, have everything in your car, like, sit for 24 hours.

Oh, one of the most, speaking of like, identifying what the underlying need is, one of the most helpful things that I thought about this because we talked about the Goldilocks sensory last episode, I realized a lot of the time it is like I'm stimulus seeking. And so, okay, what I need, or I'm tired, and I'm trying to, like, pull out of my tiredness. And so, a lot of the time what I need is like, okay, maybe what I really need is a nap. Or maybe I need some stimulating music, and to like move my body.

But identifying when I'm seeking stimulus because I'm understimulated, like intellectually, or that creates so much agitation that has been such a helpful framework because for most of my life, I didn't have this lens of like, I'm understimulated, and I'm just looking for something to stimulate my mind.

PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, that's really well said. I think that is such a motivating factor for me. So, being able to have that insight into what am I seeking? Am I understimulated? Am I overstimulated? I love that.

I've really liked the idea of like the 24-hour pause. I think that's really great because if you come back to it in 24 hours, and it no longer creates the same excitement or stimulation, is it going to create that excitement for you six months down the road? Probably not. Good way to delete something out of your cart too, when you're impulse shopping.

MEGAN NEFF: Yeah. Well, this is a little bit of a rabbit trail. But I think this also gets into like, ADHD-friendly business practices. So, I don't know if you've ever used this. Back when I was learning, like, early email marketing, you know, a lot of the marketing stuff that like you learn in the business stuff, like a lot of it I never even tried because I just internally had a cringe response.

But I went to this training about like trip wires after someone signs up for your email. I was like, "That's a cool idea. I'll try that." And I set one up, and I actually forgot about it, which I thought I had taken it down. But I hadn't until someone emailed me and I'm so glad they did because it was basically you sign up, you get a free PDF of one of my workbooks. It was The Spoon Theory workbook. And then, you get offered the workbook at 50% off, that was the trip wire of like that trips because it like that trips that activates receiving that.

And someone emailed me and they were like, "You know, this isn't an ADHD-friendly business practice." And I was mortified because first of all, like, as soon as I did it, it felt cringy. But it was one of the things I had forgotten I kept up.

But that's something I'm thinking a lot more about as someone who does make my living selling products. I don't want to create a sense of urgency. I don't want to create a sense of immediacy that's taking advantage of the ADHD system. But so much, if you're at all in like digital space, it's like have timers, like this is a sale and it's going to go away in 24 hours. Or like sales funnel. Like, there's funnels people buy that have timers attached to it. Or the trip wires. Like, they think on urgency to sell things.

And we know from psychology that makes people buy things is creating a sense of urgency. But it's not ADHD-friendly. So, it's like, well, what do you do as a business owner? Do you do the like, here's best practices in marketing, or here's ADHD-friendly.

So, I'm embarrassed by some of it, and a lot of it I've never tried because a lot of it was cringy from the start. But some of the stuff I've tried I'm like, "I'm embarrassed about that. And I wouldn't do that now.

PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, I'm glad you name that. I think that makes so much sense. And I think about that a lot when I'm doing, like, retreat launches because so much of that, unfortunately, hinges on that urgency because other people are signing up simultaneously.

And I don't like the feeling of like Black Friday selling, almost, of like, "Look at this thing, it's going live in two days, and there's only X amount of spots." I don't like creating that pressure because I think it often leads to buyer's remorse or significant ADHD tax where someone, you know, commits to something because it feels really exciting, but then quickly realizes, "I can't afford this." Like, I can't afford getting myself into this situation.

And that doesn't feel good as a business owner to then have to, like, stick to a policy because of, you know, deadlines or you're getting closer to dates for things, especially, because I deal with a lot of vendors, hotels, like, you know, some of that stuff, unfortunately, gets set in stone. And I don't feel good about having conversations when someone maybe made that purchase impulsively, but really it's not a good decision for them for whatever reason, financially, . emotionally, you know, whatever the case may be. And that doesn't feel good for me as the business owner on that side of things, either.

PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, like, instead of like all the flashy sales thing, what if there's like a pause sign on the sale? Like, the Checkout page like, Pause? Is this really going to benefit your life? How will you feel at this purchase 24 hours after now?

I love it. Because, I mean, it'd be so counterintuitive business-wise. A lot of my business marketing is counterintuitive. Like, I do the opposite of what people say you should do. But I also find that, like, so many of, in the neurodivergent community see right through that marketing stuff, that like, I also think that's how you authentically connect with your people. Like, I think a lot of us don't, like, feel like we're being manipulated.

Sometimes the urgency is real, though. Like, in your retreats. It's like you can't have 100 people retreat. In my community, I open up 20 seats a month. And it's like, I can't expand on that. So, sometimes the urgency is real. But then I think there's definitely ways of like, how that's messaged that's either more friendly or just more honest of like, yeah, it's limited. People typically sign up. So, like, yeah, but it's [CROSSTALK 00:36:03]-

PATRICK CASALE: It's tricky to balance, you know? But I think if you're doing some of this intentionally with the desire to build relationships, and to put out quality content, and to put out quality resources, you can navigate a lot of the, like, do this now, buy this now, if you don't act now, you're going to miss out. Like, you can really eliminate a lot of the like, "suggested business practices" that don't work well for a lot of neurodivergent humans because like you said, seeing right through a lot of the sales tactics, and it just doesn't feel good on either side. I don't want to feel like a used car salesperson when I'm doing something.



MEGAN NEFF: It doesn't feel good, or like the one that I hear the most is like, find people's pain points, and talk about their pain point, and how you're going to take them on a transformation journey. I don't want to be centering ADHD and autistic people's pain points.


MEGAN NEFF: Like, that's not that interesting to me. And also, like, I don't want to guarantee like, you know, do this thing and in 90 days you will like, like, I don't know. I just can't get behind that kind of marketing messaging.

PATRICK CASALE: Agreed, 100%. Same page.

MEGAN NEFF: Well, I guess, like, it feels divergent. But it kind of makes sense that we went from like ADHD tax to ADHD-friendly business practices. And I think that that, actually, I think is a helpful thing to be aware of as an ADHDer is a lot of the marketing tactics out there, like this is what is taught of like, you want to create a sense of urgency.

The other marketing tactic is you want to create FOMO, you want to create romantification. Buy this perfume, and you're going to look like a goddess, buy this thing and your life's going to be organized.

And so, knowing that like, okay, these are, like, psychological principles that, you know, businesses have learned and that they are purposefully using, and are more vulnerable to, I think just that awareness in and of itself can help us with the pause of like, okay, there's a strategy behind their marketing right now. And my brain is really like, more vulnerable to getting pulled into that.

PATRICK CASALE: That's a great point. I mean, billions of dollars get pumped into marketing, and billions of dollars get pumped into marketing with an understanding of psychology.

So, I think it's important to acknowledge that, like, when you're seeing something it's being created and sold in a specific way for a reason. And like you said, FOMO, you know, the fear of missing out, this bright, shiny new object, whatever it is, that's all done for a reason. It's the same thing with casinos, putting slot machines at the exits and entrance ways of casinos, where it's loud, it's flashy, there's lights, people are winning, people are pulling the lever over and over again. Like, that stuff is organizationally done very strategically and psychologically to create a response. So, really just acknowledging that and increasing that pause factor when you're maybe purchasing something or getting really excited about something, too.

MEGAN NEFF: And then it can feel like a win-win. It's like, "Ah, I didn't fall for you." Like, I see what you're trying to do, and I didn't fall for it.


MEGAN NEFF:I don't know if you ever watched Madmen, but I loved that show for many reasons. But like I really liked when they'd get come together and they'd talk about like Don Draper as the main character is like, what do you want the person to long for and feel when they see this advertisement? What's the like human longing that you're wanting to tap into? And I think having that lens of like, okay, what longing are they trying to pull from me? And can I sidestep it and then feel like proud of myself for that?

PATRICK CASALE: I like that. It's a good way to look at it, for sure.

MEGAN NEFF: Mm-hmm (affirmative).


MEGAN NEFF: Are we at the point?

PATRICK CASALE: I think we're at the point. I also, just being honest, just saw our contractor pull into our driveway. So, I know what's about to happen in my house. So, I don't want to cause chaos while people are listening to us speaking, which is like dogs barking, people knocking on the door. But I do think that a lot of these reframes and strategies are helpful. And hell, I'm going to start using some of them myself. So, hope this conversation was helpful for everyone else listening too. And I always look at you, and then, you nod, and I'm like [CROSSTALK 00:40:24]-

MEGAN NEFF: Like I have nothing to add. If I try to add anything I'll ruin it.


MEGAN NEFF: Just keep going.

PATRICK CASALE: New episodes of Divergent Conversations are out on Fridays on all major platforms and YouTube. Like, download, subscribe, and share. And we'll see you next week. Bye.

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