060 — Melanie Helps Neuro-Spicy Entrepreneurs Overcome Imposter Syndrome & Be Their Best

In this episode, Christina talks with "Mindset" Melanie Branch about the unique challenges that ADHD or Autistic Entrepreneurs face when they're trying to scale their business, and what they can do to overcome it.

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hey busy business people I am here today with another entrepreneur taking action Melanie Branch she helps neurodivergent ADHD entrepreneurs overcome imposter syndrome and become their most successful cells and I'm getting the scoop today on how she does it so stay tuned

[Music] okay so Melanie what is imposter syndrome and who does it affect imposter syndrome affects at an adverse rate women well way more than men and it is your inability to attribute your successes and your abilities to yourself because you can only attribute it to an outside factor for example you get a promotion at work your first reaction is to say oh well it must just be because everybody else that was up for it is or it wasn't very good you know it couldn't the people that gave me the promotion must not know who I am or anything and it is the distinct feeling of not being deserving of what you have feeling like a fraud that makes a lot of sense and yeah I have seen that a lot with women especially

yeah absolutely oh okay so when we're you said you worked it was 88 students entrepreneurs

it affects the neurodivergent brain so much because we already have a tendency and a predisposition to rejection sensitivity dysphoria to uh cptsd to a hyper-independent trauma response because our needs were not met from the very beginning of our existence because most of us especially High achieving women are getting our neurodivergent diagnosis later in life so through your masking and your coping skills the Imposter syndrome is really the only means for survival

so it was first noticed in high achieving academic academic women in 1978. two psychiatrist women when you know what every time we ask these women in Academia you're talking professors you're talking uh women with phds every single one of them reported feeling as though their peers were going to discover that they actually didn't know what they were talking about that they were not inherently smart that they did not deserve any of their achievements so when I found that out that that is the original of the originality of imposter syndrome this is where they noticed it I said those women were probably very neurodivergent

because you can't think that the pool of academic women in 1978 was very large right it would probably take a very brave woman to be in that space which was inherently male and CIS white male at that if we're gonna be honest so it took somebody that was very strong and very powerful and very very capable to even run in those circles and then I see it every single day in my neurodivergent community of not taking a risk because what if I fail of not speaking up even though you know about the subject not being able to describe yourself as an expert in your field even though you're an expert in your field

yeah so I got frustrated I said I can't have that anymore I gotta help these women get through this because it's not gonna work

yeah I was talking with somebody the other day and it's like she's been really striving to get on some of the bigger stages and really expand herself as an expert and really start doing more with public speaking and she was just getting frustrated me and her both because it's like we see men primarily they're willing to advocate for themselves more they're willing to grab the microphone and some of them are really good friends of mine I am so happy that they got that opportunity but I'm also really pissed that at myself that I wasn't grabbing the mic I wasn't owning that expertise and they got picked and I didn't you know just because I wasn't putting that that energy out there and I think that was like that was one that really hit home coming into conference season right now because there's so many big business events going on so many big opportunities for public speaking and we were talking about it being several other women have been talking about it and it's like we've got to do better we're like recommitted over this next year or two we're gonna do more with video we're gonna make more asks we're gonna ask for those stages more and more and put ourselves out there because it's like that was the biggest difference that we saw was the guys are willing to make the ask and we're not

yes I find to I really feel so called to speak on the subject because I'm in a house full of men my husband my two sons who are 14 and 12 and my two male dogs which If we're honest they're all CIS white men passing okay they all have that they are all have that um working for them right so I said I really understand the patriarchy as a whole because I'm seeing it firsthand and I have to raise two of them to not be part of it I mean down to yes I work from home and everybody else leaves the house but I'm not the only one that sees the dog hair on the floor why am I the only one grabbing the vacuum

so you know when I do see an opportunity or I do um you know receive an award or somebody a man who kind of steps out a turn to you right I literally ask myself what would a white man do right now


what would a white man do right now what would an entitled human being that is not raised in a society to care for others because that's what we're supposed to do as women in our society is take care of everybody other than ourselves as long as you take care of everybody else and you burn yourself out you're doing your job

for example I went to one of my favorite restaurants uh yesterday to really find some inspiration really stir up some stuff in my solar plexus right it's got a lot of action it's got all my favorite foods right I sit down at the bar it's a long L-shaped bar you got like 10 stools and then like four stools two dudes up here five open stools and then the other end of the bar I sat down in the middle of the stool so there would be two next to me and two next to me so other people could say I wouldn't bothering anybody I had my head my hot pink headphones on because why would they be in the other color and I'm just scrolling my phone a man comes and sits right next to me on my right right next to me not right next to the man over the other end of the bar not right next to the man at the other end of the bar right next to the pink hair girl that was minding her business and wouldn't you know me ignoring him was not gonna fly and he actually tapped me and I went I had a reaction I no longer mask too so I'm no longer I am going to manage other people's emotions right I don't I don't care so this guy Taps me and I went like you know like Jarred what's happening and he went and I didn't even say anything I just moved one ear out looked at him and he said I'm gonna go outside and vape and point to the backpack that he was about to ask me to watch for him the person who's not working not talking to anyone has headphones on but because I was the only female presenting person at that bar of course he felt entitled for that to be my responsibility so before he could even finish that statement again the ADHD brain moves real real fast I was 10 steps ahead of this guy right before he could even finish that statement and ask me to watch his stuff I said okay put my headphone back on and looked at my bartender who's also a friend of mine and also knows that I used to be in the restaurant industry for 10 plus years right and I looked at him and I gave him like the rage eyes and he comes running over and he goes oh watch your step foot don't worry I want your stuff yeah I was watching this whole thing go down it's not front mind you it's all glass he could have watched his stuff the whole time plus he was standing outside the only exit what are you gonna do just grab your stuff if they're stealing it just take it back on their way out whatever what could even happen here I understand completely that you felt entitled to interacting with me because I was existing in a space next to you and in all actuality he was existing in a space next to me because I was minding my own business and he sat down next to me so long story short he comes back in uh Victor and goes to tap me again to apologize for scaring me and I said

I didn't mean to I didn't mean to scare you and you know they do one of these all right because it's a crazy volatile woman I didn't mean to scare you and again I just okay I went back by my business here's the thing if my husband were sitting right next to me that guy would not have talked to me he would not have felt entitled to tap me and ask me to watch his [ __ ] the same thing sorry for custom but it happens same thing couple days before minding my own business jamming out in my headphones at the grocery store as a neurodiversionist want to do with sensory needs and everything I don't take my shades off and I have my headphones going real loud I don't even know where I am most of the time no can't do it there's too much going on man walked up to me while I was trying to figure out the spices I wanted to get and I went and again I don't say anything I don't engage is just remove one ear out and it looked at me goes where's the spaghetti sauce

I said I don't know I don't work here put my headphone back on left didn't even get my spices

here's the thing because of those interactions because we're raised in a society where one half of the species believes that they're entitled to interactions with everybody around them and the other half of the species female presenting people are expected to manage other people's emotions no not here for it anymore that's the reason why I wasn't taking any risks that's always the reason why I didn't believe in myself that's the reason why I couldn't call myself an expert no more done

um done man it's like I'm feeling called out now because like yeah 100 me and I've seen people doing that with the headphones and the stuff at the store I still haven't been able to make myself do it it's like I want to so bad now I just kind of like Zone in I think I'm gonna try that I will tell you because I do get just overwhelmed I end up just rushing through the stores and just grabbing whatever I need to grab

do you know in Australia they have a quiet dim hour in their grocery stores it's like the first hour of the morning so they have like an old people hour like an elderly hour and then they have this sensory hour where the music is dim or the the lights are dimmer the music is lower it's incredibly easier to be in oh man that would be amazing like I have whole spaces I just cannot exist in comfortably like you know going to the grocery store is one of them when it's busy like I just literally I just can't or restaurants where you're seated too close to other people and the music is way too loud and it's like I just get frustrated and I just can't exist and I think that kind of it hampers us from a business standpoint as well because it's so draining to exist in some of the in-person networking environments it was like being able to do stuff more online has helped tremendously being able to do things like like we use gather town instead of zoom and gather Town puts you back in control of your interactions with other people a little bit more like being in person it's like in Zoom you're just you're on the whole time so there's 10 people in a call and you're kind of co-working together for a little bit or something like that you're just you're there the whole time with all 10 people same thing with like online events and stuff like that that just throw you into Zoom rooms with Rando people and you're just like I don't even know why I'm here I don't know what I'm supposed to be doing gather lets you walk up to somebody and it turns your camera microphone on and then you can walk away so like stuff like that has helped even just from a business standpoint but I know when we I went to Austin for the first like kind of in-person thing last year and then went again a few months ago and some of the other people some of the guys the neurotypicals they're just having a blast they're shaking hands they're getting to know each other They're laughing they're hanging out I'm sitting here like get off the couch get off the couch go shake hands go shake it so thankfully I have a couple really good friends that I went with and I was like I'm going out here so that I can Network and meet people and meet people that you know are going to help me with some of my objectives in business and things I want to do put me on more stages and things like that I was like when you guys are walking up and talking to those people will you please bring me with can I just Shadow you can I just follow you around can I do can we do that because like I cannot just walk up and start a conversation with somebody I don't know and so they did it was great and I got to make a lot of really good connections but I feel like we have some challenges even in those environments especially now that the world's starting to open back up a little bit more and there's more conferences coming up there's more in-person things coming up and it's like I think I've got three four five in-person things before the end of the year to go to which is just like woohoo

I'm gonna be in a neurospace coma an anti-peapling for like a whole three weeks I will encourage you to incorporate rest days into that because you know we we have to recover from interactions with people and to go into these spaces without fear of you know meeting new people and introducing yourself and whatnot I want to remind you and then everybody else listening that we have a little thing in our brain that says you're not smart enough you don't know what you're talking about prove it right but in all actuality I have over a hundred thousand followers on tick tock nobody has ever come on my page and commented uh you don't know what you're talking about ah the worst thing that happens is I have a video where I'm eating Doritos and talking because for some reason people really enjoy the pink haired girl eating and it's fine and the only thing that came on it was five

entitled men came on that video and said so funny you're talking about ADHD and you're eating red food dye here's the thing buddy I'm vegan I don't eat red Doritos and those are the ones that have red food diet I was eating purple Doritos so again the only person that overstepped and was audacious

it had nothing to do with me

so when we go into these spaces and we're like okay so I'm gonna talk these people I'm gonna have to meet these people oh my God nobody cares about you everybody's just there to build themselves up and to make themselves better so anybody that's gonna be like hey I'm Melanie it's so nice to meet you this is my business isn't what I do what do you do then they're just on to the next person

No One's Gonna over analyze the interaction more than you are and the only thing that you're over analyzing about the interaction and the things that you're replaying and you're harping on in your brain is what you said

so if we think about it logically then the only thing that everybody you interacted with is doing in their mind is what they said

let's see and I don't even think that's something working with a friend I'm like

yep I started working with a friend on some of the messages I was sending to people because I was like okay how do you think this is worded how do you think like did I word this right like what do you think before I hit send and they're like why are you I just hit send and I was like did you not pay this much attention to the words that you're typing and you're sending to people no no I just I want to tell them this I'm going to tell them this and I type it and I hit send did you do this every time you send an email

yes and that sounds exhausting and a Hangouts message and I like yes because it's words you have to craft the words [Laughter] so now I've started being like okay I give myself like one minute oh a lot all the time all the time all the time all the time like I started using my little remember to make me not like overthink I have my little timer dude now so I like turn it on and I'm like okay you have like two minutes to send this email go and forcing myself you want a secret for getting rid of just out of your vocabulary of course I like secrets

instead of saying I'm just checking in to see how you're feeling because that is going that word is designed to minimize you and make you more palatable and make sure that you're not bothering people when in all actuality what you mean is I'm simply checking in to make sure you're okay I don't want to bother you if you're tired I don't want to do anything really I'm simply doing this so instead of saying just replace it with the word simply because it is exactly what you mean I don't have a large request it doesn't it does it's not going to take a lot from you I simply would like to know

I just wrote that on my dry erase board because I'm going to use that that is powerful because I hate it when I'm doing that like hey I'm just checking it I hate that sentence and I'm like constantly overthink it and retype it like five or six different ways and I end up just being like I don't have a better way to say this and just go right back to it and like send and being done with it I like that I'm simply checking it that is such a simple little powerful move another good one instead of saying I'm think I think and this will help you get out of your overthinking mode too my thoughts are

I'm writing that one down too

so that way you know when you're stuck in um what people don't really understand about ADHD a lot um what they should understand is that it's very similar to OCD in the ruminating thoughts and getting into a negative thought pattern and which is overthinking right just your brain moves real fast when it runs out when not if when it runs out of positive aspect seeking things it goes negative first first that's the easiest place to go our brain wants to go easy easy easy easy that's all our brain wants because we're so smart why would we try and why would you think we don't want anything to be hard that's another reason why we have executive dysfunction brain is not going to give you the Go-Go juice the dopamine the norepinephrine it's not going to give you that if it perceives that task is uninteresting and difficult

why would it yep you're not an idiot that doesn't look fun that doesn't seem like this any reason I wanted I wouldn't know so not gonna do thank you

so if we really Master you know this ruminating thought oh my God I'm so worried about this oh my God I'm so worried my thoughts are you know I'm you're worried about something that could or may or may not happen because we get worried about what's going to happen in the future we want to control everything in the future right but you have no control over what's gonna happen right like you're gonna get in the car and you're gonna take the kids to school don't worry about if you're gonna hit traffic because is that going to control whether or not you hit traffic no not at all so when we get into a ruminating negative thought Loop say what are my thoughts really like what are my thoughts

and then it just gets easier

I love that I love that so much I think we've talked about like a ton of challenges for neurospice versus neurotypical I love all of it and I know what you do specifically is business coaching so I want to Pivot over into that for a moment because I think we've talked about how hard this kind of stuff is for entrepreneurs and the challenges that we face is a neurospice entrepreneur versus our neurotypical counterparts so why does business coaching need to be different from neurospicy I'm so glad you asked so my approach to managing negative ADHD and neurospicey symptoms is very energetic in nature right we have a cycle of high energy and low energy days and although it's a cycle they are unpredictable so when you want to start a business improve a business or scale a business we must factor in your energetic Cycles right you're not going to be able to knock out 15 pieces of content on a low energy day because what we've been doing our whole lives while masking and trying to you know accommodate everybody in our life and lie about our needs and not be ourself is just have an energy drink right you're exhausted just drink it just have more coffee just have some more caffeine just just go just push through right just push through and then we're all stuck in Burnout now now we're all going wait for years I didn't listen to my body I I didn't listen to my brain I didn't honor my energy or my needs and so what I help people do is endless systems and energy optimate the optimization and um anything and incorporate anything that feels good into your life and business so that you're not you know swimming against the current all the time so you're not doing it you know all these other business marketers are out here all these other business coaches are out here they're talking about hustle hustle work hard you know DM people when do you want me to do that I'm tired when do you want me to do that can I do that from the couch no do I get a nap when I do that no do I have to work really really because I don't know about you I started my business so I didn't have to work 30 hours a week anymore in a restaurant around people that I didn't like and I started my business so I could work 10 to 15 hours a week tops and so that I could be around people and involved with people who are part of my community and who's energy and personality I really enjoy because we've I spent 35 some odd years surrounded by people who I didn't enjoy so you know if I if I'm in charge of my well-being and that lies in the success of my business and the success of other people's businesses we have to do it differently

and it doesn't have to make sense to anybody else that's a big thing I'll tell you why I work with people with all sorts of businesses all sorts of businesses and the one common thread is that they are neurodivergent they are nerve spicy and they are doubting themselves

so we figure out how to accommodate and embrace your needs and work that into your business strategy

I love that I love that yeah I mean it's so hard to find advice or to find people who get it and it's like a lot of the advice is all the same thing I can't tell you how many times I have Googled like how to focus as an adult with ADHD so that you can get things done and it's the same it's like these things that aren't going to help you anytime soon it's like manage your caffeine intake and you know use timers and like I use focusmate.com where you have another human that is co-working with you to body double and you know there's stuff like that and sometimes what

Focus mate works for a while and then stops working because I'll forget it exists or I'll realize they can't actually see what I'm doing so they don't know if I spin off

now the people that say that we have a focus problem

that's not the case because you can hyper focus on something that's real interesting right um

we can get stuck down a rabbit hole on our computer for nine hours and go oh God I haven't eaten oh man I gotta pee holy crap what time is it right oh yeah yeah yeah yeah we don't have an attention problem we have a interest problem if you're not interested in it your brain doesn't want to do it

yep and don't you start interested in it and don't finish

now are you not finishing it or is it no longer providing the dopamine hit so that it originally was because you got good at it because you mastered it

yep or I'll get the idea out of my head so like I'll be starting on a project like hey I'm gonna do this webinar and I get the cool part of the webinar done and then there's the boring Parts like I have to actually go set up the emails and I have to create the social posts and I have to do the bill what I was really excited about was the material that I could present in the webinar and I hyper focused on that and got all the slides done and I'm like escort and then it just sits in my computer and it never actually becomes a webinar [Laughter] what if you took it on the other way and you started posting about it and marketing it and building it as you do that so that's an accountability feature of people being like Oh my God I'm so excited when's it come out you're like oh wait you're right here comes yeah I've done that a few times and then I can like hyper focus and get it done like the night before so I've tried that hack a couple of times I don't think I like remember to use that hack as frequently as I probably should like I have a whole watch party thing coming on uh Monday that it's like I've had available being a business Made Simple certified coach we have all these like trainings from Donald Miller that we can host watch parties around so I don't even have to I just have to like invite people and I can just play it and then answer quite like it's so stupid simple that I just didn't really do it and I was like I'm just gonna do one and I just put it like two weeks it's happening tomorrow or happening Monday

it's like just attacking myself and being like I'm just gonna give it a date and we're just gonna do a thing and so that's been working a little bit better I've tried that a few times that's a great hack is it a hack or is it an accommodation for what your brain and your and the way your brain works needs

that's a good way to think of it

that's a good way to think of it I like that so you were like if we know it's easy it seems

yeah come up with a way to make it easy I think that's why people think I'm able to get so much done because I'm constantly launching so many new little things that they're like oh man one week you're doing this next week you're doing this next day you're doing this you're doing this you're doing this you're doing this and it's like well yeah because I just felt like it so I did

like it's not hard because I just wanted to so I did like we hosted a whole uh virtual event and I put the whole thing on and like four weeks creating the space and gather town and everything and like lining up like 16 speakers and just poofing it and it was fun and we're gonna do it again every quarter now so I've already got the next date so that I I move

you're killing it

trying to take a moment and pat yourself on the back and celebrate all the successes and all the amazing things that are happening and that are on their way to you right now no I just run do the next thing

because here's the thing why we keep doing stuff if we're not gonna be like [Music] if we can't celebrate

yep that's something I gotta get better at all the little wins I do with the big wins but I don't necessarily think about it with the little ones so I've got a couple friends and it's like I've started being a lot more transparent about like what's going on in my head and what's holding me back and where I'm at and like they've started helping me out that way and being like okay hang on slow down stop right here for a second you need to recognize the good thing that just happened and like I've got one friend in particular tuba who's amazing he calls me out and that kind of stuff all the time he's like come back to me for a minute like you need to understand what just happened and how good it was do you understand I'm like yeah sure and he's like no no no no no no no no come on and he's like this happened and this happened and this happened and this happened and I'm like damn I'm amazing [Laughter] come back and it's like are you talking about me is that me is there another person you're talking about are you what and yeah it's it's a whole thing that I didn't even realize I wasn't doing until he started pulling me back and being like hang on and you just don't it doesn't even sound like they're talking about you when somebody does that like they're talking about a whole different other person it's not me

hmm as a fellow brightly Hue haired girl woman person have you found and this is something you can apply to that area of your life of just gratitude and celebration of you know achievements and awesomeness I have now learned how to so easily take a compliment because when you're walking down the street and somebody Drives By and goes I love your head all you can say is thank you that's it yep sometimes too if I'm a little loose I'll go me too


because why because we know we're so we get so used to if this happens and this is what I have to do right so for you if I if I achieve this then I gotta do the next thing because I it's done we gotta do gotta do the next thing but again if we're not gonna celebrate and acknowledge and enjoy the fruits of these of this labor it's all just labor


I don't want that I want ease I want fun

yep oh man that was so good you have got so much amazing knowledge in your head so I know I've kept you talking for like so so long and I am learning so much and so grateful if somebody wants to like have this fun interaction with you and work with you where can they go what do you do how do you work with people I'm so happy that you asked so you can go to my website you can go to my Instagram but the best place to go and connect with me is on Tick Tock it is my favorite most it's my favorite platform it's my happy place it is whereas neurodivergence find so much knowledge and Solace and community and it's really been my favorite if you want to know anything about me just go to tick tock so on Tick Tock I'm Mel The Imposter syndrome coach uh my website is mindsetmelony.com on Instagram I'm mindset Melanie that was my original name on Tick Tock too but my first account got banned at 45 000 followers last September so we're coming up on the one year trauma response anyways it's fine um these things in social media can be fickle uh so if you want to work with me you can apply for my three or six month coaching program it's intensive it's not for the faint of heart it's for those of you that are really ready to hold yourself accountable and scale your business into a brand or scale your brand into an Empire I'm your girl I am here for it you can also if you're feeling stuck or stagnant and you want to know what your next steps are in your business whether you're creating improving or scaling and you are not ready for a very large uh time investment uh then you want to go to my website and book what I call an intuitive strategy session it's 30 minutes or one hour you pick and we're really gonna go in quick hard and fast on what is holding you back it's usually in Foster syndrome and create the framework and the steps moving forward to remove those blocks to your success so that you can be happy and fulfilled as quickly and easily as possible

ah that is amazing I will make sure we have all those links to tick tock Instagram I say I will my assistant will because she's way better at getting that kind of stuff done than I am we'll make sure we have all of the links and everything wherever this video is posted because we put it out all over the place thank you so much for coming on this has been like insanely enlightening and I'm feeling really motivated going into the weekend so thank you so much this is great no thank you thank you so much for having me I'm so happy that we were able to connect uh awesome guys you can head over to ETA today.zone to watch Melanie as well as lots of other experts are going to teach you how to build a business that enables your life instead of taking over it until next time guys bye


Christina Hooper

Christina's on a mission to make business FUN while empowering you to shape thriving ventures. Over the past 16 years, she's had the privilege of helping hundreds of visionaries achieve remarkable transformations.

She bring a unique approach that combines strategic clarity with a touch of creativity. You have the opportunity to leverage her extensive experience in business design to unlock new levels of success and fulfillment. It's time to embark on this adventure and conquer challenges, unlock your potential, and make your entrepreneurial journey a fulfilling and enjoyable one.


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