Are you struggling with perfectionism in your career? In this episode of the Maximum Lawyer Podcast, Jim and Tyson discuss the damaging effects of perfectionism on law firm owners.
In today’s podcast episode Jim and Tyson joined Marshall Litchy with JDHD. Marshall has practiced in medical malpractice defense, medical malpractice plaintiff, and generic "business lawyer." He has also worked for Lawyerist as the Editor in Chief and a law firm consultant, and now does law firm consulting, executive coaching, and ADHD coaching.
Watch the interview here.
2:54 the first struggle
5:49 starting a small firm
6:58 starting a consulting business
7:15 all organizations have adhd
9:33 a positive approach to adhd
13:45 working with someone with adhd
19:23 a superpower
21:00 it makes them creative
32:37 adhd and entrepreneurs
33:32 not wanting to look at it
37:12 life changing
39:18 remarkable stats
Jim’s Hack: Book: Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability by Steve Krug.
Marshall’s Tip: Book: Atomic Habits by Jame Clear. Lawyers 10x longer to build habits and 1/10th the time to lose them.
Tyson’s Tip: Pick one goal to hit by the end of the year and finish strong.
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Run your law firm the right way.
This is The Maximum Lawyer Podcast.
Your hosts, Jim Hacking and Tyson Mutrux.
Let's partner up and maximize your firm.
Welcome to the show.
Jim: Welcome back to The Maximum Lawyer Podcast. I'm Jim Hacking.
Tyson: And I'm Tyson Mutrux. What's up, Jimmy?
Jim: Oh, Tyson. I'm really excited about our guest today. He's someone that I've chatted with, off and on, over the years. I think he's a great lawyer and a great leader in the small firm space. I want to introduce him to you. His name is Marshall Lichty. And he is a consultant and lawyer. And he focuses on lawyers, small business owners, and law firms that are run by or populated by people with ADHD. He's got a great podcast on that topic called JDHD.
Marshall, welcome to the show.
Marshall: Hey, thanks, guys. It's really great to be here. And I feel, you know, I'm in the presence of greatness. You guys are the OG.
Tyson: I love it. I love it.
Well, I'm just excited to have you on. Honestly, this is really cool. Tell us about your story, though. Like, how did you get to where you are now? There's more to what you you're doing right now, so tell us how you got to where you are now?
Marshall: Yeah, I'll try to be brief because it's a little bit boring and it sounds in a lot of ways a lot like--
Tyson: [crosstalk] Tell us the full story. Let's hear it.
Marshall: I mean, so I'm a Minnesota kid, born and bred. And I went to school at a small liberal arts college in Minnesota. I was an athlete. And at first, I was a physics and comp sci major. And then, I wasn't because it just, all of a sudden, felt really scary and I became kind of a humanities guy. I was a religion and comm studies major. And I wasn't sure what I was going to do with myself. I didn't have any lawyers in the family. I didn't know anybody that had practiced law.
And all of a sudden, I got hair on my ass and decided I was going to go to law school, which I did, the University of Minnesota, and was immediately shocked and impressed by the caliber of people around me, and sort of like their brain power. And not just brain power, but also the way that they prepared for stuff, the way that they learned things, and sort of the way they approached to their lives, very different than mine. And so, I felt, all of a sudden, like I was in a very deep pool of talent. And so, you know, in response, of course, what I did was I started the bar review weekly which was a weekly publication to inspire people in the law school to come out to the bar and socialize every week. It had nothing to do with the bar exam and everything to do with meeting people, and networking, and forming relationships which I've done kind of throughout my life.
And so, for me, law school was a really interesting and enjoyable place. But it was also a place where I, for the first time in my life kind of struggled in terms of being good at the thing. I'd always been kind of good at the thing. And one story, in particular, strikes me. I was in the second week of con law and I had this professor. He's very old and well-known in the profession. He was Professor Morrison. Boy, it just droned on and I would stay up late writing this publication that I wrote and, you know, getting it printed and passing it around the school so everybody would go out to the bar that week. And I just remember falling asleep every single day in con law.
And this one day, I had my hand holding up my head and, I must have fallen asleep, my head slipped off of my hand and I smoked my head on the table. And I looked up, and nobody was looking at me. And I was like, “Oh, no. Oh, no. I've done this so much that it's not even interesting anymore.” And I started laughing out loud. And, of course, then everybody was looking at me. And I was so ashamed that I didn't go back to con law for the rest of the semester until the final. I was just ashamed. I was mortified of going back and-- anyway, so it didn't go very well. And it started to expose a number of things about me that proved to be patterns over my career that had a lot to do with my ability to focus on things and my ability to kind of do school the way that a lot of people do things.
So, long story short, I did a clerkship in Alaska for a year, went up and clerked in the trial courts of state of Alaska which was an absolutely amazing experience. No law schools in Alaska. And so, all of their clerks up there are imports and they're all of a certain breed, right? They're kind of people who would say, “Hey, it would be cool to live in Alaska for a year.” So, we showed up and there were 45 like-minded people. And I went on two hikes, the first day I was there, with a whole bunch of really interesting people and had an amazing year.
And then, I came back to what is I think a relatively normal-ish path. So, I worked for a mid-size firm in Minneapolis which, in Minneapolis, means about 80 lawyers. We did insurance defense work. And I was a med mal lawyer. I did a lot of med mal defense work. I thought it was fine. Sometimes I would hyperfocus and, you know, really pound it out. Sometimes I had a hard time getting started on projects or finishing projects. But, for the most part, I was pretty good at this stuff, I would get accolades for writing and, you know, billable hours, and things like that.
I was drinking a fair amount, and burning out, and not having a great time. Took a little break. Back to that firm. I took a little break to go work for a nonprofit that I was affiliated with, the Boy Scouts of America. I came back, worked there for another several years. Switched sides. Went to go work for a plaintiff's PI firm, doing med mal [inaudible 00:05:28], right? There's Tyson just pumping. I love it. Plaintiff’s med Mal. So, did a total 180. And I did that for three years and found it differently annoying, right. I worked for a great firm, a great man. Had great clients. And there were still parts of it that really, you know, led to some-- just, I think, overall dissatisfaction, sort of a subtle sense that I wasn't really doing things at my best.
So I, with a friend of mine, started a firm. And that's where I got into the small and solo world. That's where we took over a firm that was sort of being shuttered by someone. Rebranded. Relaunched the whole thing. We called it EntrePartner. And we represented small businesses. My partner was a great real estate lawyer, still is. And we represented small businesses, and startups, and franchises. And so, we ran that firm together for five years.
And then, I went to lawyersist.com where I was the editor in chief. And we wrote a book together. And we did a whole bunch of coaching and consulting for small firm and solo lawyers. I got to meet most of like the folks who are changing the world for small and solo lawyers from a technology perspective, from an efficiency and productivity perspective. And so, that's when I really started to appreciate sort of the small and solo world. And I still do some work with the team at Lawyerist.
Then, I went out and launched my own consultancy. So, my consultancy now is helping lawyers run their firms. And I generally help two kinds of people in firms. The people I help are lawyers with ADHD. There are lots of us. And the firms that I help are firms run by or populated by people with ADHD. And I also have a working philosophy that all businesses, all organizations, actually have ADHD themselves. And so, a lot of the problems that we see in the way that small and solo businesses struggle actually looks a lot like what it looks like to struggle with ADHD. So, that's what I do.
I have a podcast. I have a website. I do a fair amount of speaking and CLE work. And I do one-on-one executive coaching and consulting for firms and lawyers in the ADHD productivity management of the things space. So, that's my story-ish.
Jim: Tyson, I can tell Marshall has his own podcast because, you know, the hardest thing to do as a podcast host is when you have a guest who you ask a question and they give a yes or a no and are going to be quiet. Marshall clearly doesn't have that problem and that's great.
So, Marshall, I have been through the experience twice now with two of my sons, of having them assessed and ultimately diagnosed with ADHD. And with my first son, it was extremely obvious. He would drive his kindergarten teacher crazy because all the other kids would be taking a nap and he'd be playing the drums or throwing his shoe up in the air to see how many times he could catch it without dropping it.
Jim: My second son-- and, interestingly, both of them weren’t diagnosed until they were both freshman in high school, like they're different times.
Jim: And it was when they came up-- sort of like that law school moment, when you're talking about comm law. It was when they came up against academic rigor that they were not used to. They are both extremely bright. And their intelligence masked the ADHD.
It was a lot harder with the second son to see it. But, man, when I-- and I actually went to the testing. I didn't see them at testing, but I was much more involved the second time than I was the first time.
And with my second son, it's almost like when you find out, it's like a decoder ring. It's like, “Oh, now, things make sense.” And it's really just been a tremendous experience, so I thought maybe you could talk a little bit about that.
Marshall: Well, I think it's-- yes. So, I actually have goosebumps on my arm, from hearing you say it, for a variety of reasons. One of them is your experience resonates. That's how my son was diagnosed in a very similar way.
You talked about a decoder ring which I think is just a beautiful segue not just to the conversation we had before we hit record, which was that, you know, Lego Batman the Movie is extraordinary. But also, that I try to take an approach to ADHD that is almost relentlessly positive. I think the cliche that X thing is a superpower is a thing is a little bit overcooked.
But, broadly speaking, I believe that ADHD brings with it an extraordinary set of strengths that will serve lawyers, in particular, really, really well. And when you talk about a decoder ring, that has been my experience with being diagnosed as ADHD. So, I was diagnosed when I was an adult, a grown ass man. And it was after my son had been diagnosed. And for me, it really was a decoder ring. And for my son, it was really a decoder ring.
One of the things that you touched on though, Jim, is there's a really important distinction between what our perception of someone with ADHD is and the way that it actually shows up in the world. It's particularly acute with women. Very often, our perception of ADHD is a seven-year-old boy in kindergarten, driving his kindergarten or first grade teacher crazy, bouncing off the walls, trying to throw shoes up in the air as many times as he can and counting them. And that kid, very often, gets diagnosed, right. Eventually, that drives a teacher to the point of insanity and somebody is like, we have to do something. And those folks tend to get help. And, usually, that's what we call the hyperactive variant of ADHD.
Some people say there are seven variants of ADHD. The DSM, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual that psychologists rely on for such things, says that there are really two, maybe three. Hyperactive is where we get the H in ADHD. But also, there's a type called inattentive ADHD which actually doesn't look at all like a seven-year-old boy bouncing off the walls. And there is very rarely a hyperactive component to it. And it's an inattention. And this is the idea of a young girl sitting in that same class and she's kind of a daydreamer. She's looking out the window. She's maybe not paying attention. Still very bright. Still doing very well in school. And she's still struggling and we can't see it. So that diagnosis gets a lot harder to make.
Add to it, the fact that lawyers are trained in a way that executive function becomes really, really important. We need to do certain things in certain ways and be very good at it. And that can help us pass. And our IQs can help us pass, too. And so, there are a whole bunch of reasons why lawyers, in particular, as a cohort, very often don't get diagnosed with ADHD.
And so, when you talk about superpowers, and decoder rings, and the ability to find this thing, and the power that it can unleash that that is literally what gave me the goosebumps. It's the idea that we can start to raise a little bit of awareness and help lawyers understand that this is a thing. And it's not just a little thing. So, the best data that we have says that 170,000 lawyers in the United States of America have it. That's as many lawyers as are actively practicing in the state of California. If the entire state of California's lawyers had the same thing. That's what we're talking about. So, it is a big thing. So, if we're talking about starting to handout decoder rings, like let's do it. How do we do that?
Tyson: So, I'm going to ask you sort of the flip of all that since it is so prevalent, since there are so many people with ADHD. And let's say that you're on the other side, let's say you're communicating with someone with ADHD. Let's say it's one of your employees or let's say it's opposing counsel, something like that, what's your advice to, I guess-- it's so it's sort of weird asking this. I don't know the exact question but how do you manage those relationships? How do you manage those conversations? What's your advice when it comes to that?
Marshall: Yeah. So, I think there's certainly just a part of this that is tactical day-to-day how do you work best with someone? If they're on your team? If they're opposing counsel? And oftentimes, you're not going to know, right? Partly because we are terrified to come out, right? This is not something that we want to tell people partly because--
I was talking to a woman just yesterday, she said, I came out to my employers, and all of the love for white dudes, there are three of them on this call, all of the senior white dudes in her office like started like, essentially, you know, figuratively patting her on the head and being like, “Oh, should we write a letter to your executive coach and tell them what we do as lawyers and how you can get better at it?” And she's like, “That's not what I need. What I need is a few things.”
Generally, what lawyers with ADHD struggle with, it is almost universal that they struggle with billing, right? So, it is like the single most - and we all do, but it's one of the single most difficult things for these lawyers. And there are a whole bunch of reasons that we probably don't have time to get into, but it has to do with what my wife likes to call time optimism. Time is really difficult for us. And so, it's hard to be both focusing and billing actual time that we can sell to clients and also tracking that time in a cadence that makes sense.
And so, very often, lawyers with ADHD find themselves at the end of the month like going back with a whole bunch of emotional dysregulation that makes them feel really terrible about not having done it. And so, they try and mash it all in at the end. And they probably write down their own time 20% or 30%.
And so, one of the things that you can do, if you start to see some of these patterns, didn’t really talk very much about them, but patterns of ADHD, is to help brainstorm with your employees how to make billing much less of a weakness, right. It's literally just let's talk through how to make this easy for you. Even if it's having some of your administrative staff or support staff helping them, or technology, or reminders, or buzzers, or whatever, starting to what we call externalize that executive function. Finding ways where people who have neurotypical brains do things a certain way, helping ADHD lawyers do it externally.
The same is true for project management. So, again, because of the strangeness with how we view time, it is often very difficult to get started on something, and to wrap something up, and to do it in a cadence that makes sense. And so, very often, these are people who could really benefit from help in project management.
So, in my view, lawyering is just project management. This is an expertise that people in all parts of the economy have. There are companies that have just project management experts. When lawyers get interested in project management and they really learn it as a skill, as an expertise, there are so many skills in there that help lawyers with ADHD to plan tasks, project the amount of time it's going to take, and then block time to do those tasks in a timely way. Those are two things that really help.
So, if you are assigning something to someone with ADHD, try to be as clear as you can about not just let's do the Johnson memo but we have the Johnson hearing. In order for us to do the Johnson hearing, let's walk it back - what needs to happen from here, to here, to here, to here. And not in a, you know, patriarchal way but literally just a, let's think through what the timing of this is going to be. I need to see it from you two days before we're going to send it to the client for their approval, so that we can get it back, so we can file it with the court, so we can be prepared for the hearing. Helping with that timeline and that project management is a really big thing that you can do. So, those are two tips, but I have lots of thoughts on it.
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Tyson: Hey, Jimbo.
Tyson: I just caught something. I've read this read before. I've heard you say it numerous times now. I guess, I just tune you up. But I caught the part about the Facebook message, like Facebook Messenger. Have you ever dealt with that? That seems--
Jim: Oh, yeah, it's all built out. Yeah, for sure.
Tyson: That's nice. That's pretty--
Jim: [inaudible 00:19:00], yeah.
Tyson: I was on Messenger these days. Okay, cool. All right.
Jim: All right, Marshall. So, the first time I really thought about adults having ADHD like, I guess, I thought that for kids, it went away or, you know, it went away when kids hit puberty or something. I don't know.
Jim: I was at a mastermind experience with John Fisher and he had Peter Shankman on. I remember Peter talking about ADHD sort of as a superpower. Can you talk a little bit about that?
Marshall: I can.
Peter's a fascinating guy. I'm actually in ShankMinds. I'm in the ShankMinds Mastermind Group. So, I talk to Peter. I've been to Peter's breakout sessions in New York. We are in his slack group. And Peter is a really, really interesting and spectacular guy. He does not take medication. And part of the reason he doesn't take medication is because he wants his superpowers on full display.
And so, Peter’s particular brand of superpower is that guy can connect with anybody in the room. He is a creative beyond creative, right? When he hears about a problem, the way his brain works is to take a view of it that not very many people take that same view. He generates ideas. He is truly a visionary. And if you're S-type. He's a visionary. And he loves to put that on display because he has a record of creating some amazing things.
What we know about ADHD is that-- so, most of the literature now is starting to look at these strengths. What we know is that the peer-reviewed literature seems to support mainly one superpower and it's creativity, right? So, most people with ADHD, lawyers included, have a particular world view that makes them creative. Meaning, the way that they view problems is unique.
Now, I'm saying a bunch of words about research and things. Lawyers’ jobs are to solve problems. There is someone on the other side of that problem that is trying to win it for their client or solve it their way. And these are problems that get reviewed, and considered, and practiced, and thought about. And, in a lot of ways, our business is very conservative in that way. We do it over and over again. We rely on precedent. We think about the way that that problem has been handled before. We think about the way that the business has been run before.
What lawyers with ADHD do, this is where the medical literature makes it clear, is we think about it in a different way. That is why entrepreneurs are very, very often associated with ADHD. There's a world-famous doctor named Ned Hallowell, who I was very fortunate to interview on my podcast.
And Dr. Hallowell, for a long time, was advocating rather like aggressively within the psychiatric community to not call it ADHD, which is a horrible misnomer, but instead to call it the entrepreneur’s trait. Literally, to try to call this, instead of a disorder, the entrepreneur’s trait. It is a trait that, when you think about some of the best and brightest minds that our humanity has ever known, this trait shows up and the things that make it awesome show up - the way that we review problems, the way that we consider problems, our enthusiasm, our empathy, our ability to perceive problems from someone else's perspective. This is what lawyering is about.
And it is what lawyering, particularly in a small or solo firm is about. If you were going to differentiate yourself as a small or solo lawyer and you're going to try and do it the exact same way that everybody else is doing it, you are going to have a fine business. If you are going to think about the way that your business can provide services in a way that meets your client's needs better, more efficiently, more effectively, you are going to win. And what ADHD lawyers have is the ability to think about what that would look like.
Now, do they have potential to stumble when it comes to implementing those ideas? Sure. Right? There are a whole bunch of reasons that we all stumble on things like that. ADHD lawyers, in particular, sometimes need help implementing.
But if you are a law firm, and you happen to be sitting on this goldmine of an ADHD lawyer on your team, whether it's in the CEO seat, or in some brand new associate seat, or even among your staff, these are people who, when you bring them a problem, the answers that you get, the energy that you find, the willingness to do research, the willingness to consider different perspectives is going to knock your socks off. And if you are trying to make incremental change in your business, these are great people to be helping you think about that.
The other thing that we know is that people with ADHD tend to have what I call grit, right? So, there's a-- I don't even really know what it means. It's something like perseverance. It's something like the ability to get back up after you get knocked down. It’s something like that. And I really do think that there is a perseverance and a marching toward a goal that folks with ADHD tend to demonstrate which makes them extraordinary employees and business partners when it comes to moving toward a thing in the future. They will help you get there over, and over, and over again. And they won't stop. And I think that is--
You know, I have a long, long list but those are a couple of big ones that I love and that I really want to bring out in our profession because, I think, what we need desperately right now as a profession is innovation. Not crazy innovation. I don't need lawyers who code. I need lawyers who think about what it looks like to be just a little bit better at making sure our clients are getting what they need, understand what they need, and we understand how they are going to get it. That is the kind of stuff that lawyers with ADHD do really, really well.
Tyson: It's a perfect transition to my next question. But before I get to that, I looked it up really quick on Google. Grit is defined as courage and resolve, strength of character, just so you know. Anybody wanting to know, there you go. That’s what it is. You did a good job of summarizing it.
All right. So, I guess, how did you identify this niche, right, for your consultancy? Like, how did you identify it? And then why did you like, ultimately, pull the trigger to leave practicing law, for the most part, to go into consulting?
Marshall: So, that part about taking an eternally optimistic perspective on ADHD, that is a bit disingenuous, is that this thing, when it is undiagnosed, is crippling. It can gut you. And, for me--
Wait. Let me back up. I interviewed a guy, Gary Johnson is his name. Brilliant psychologist. Based in Minnesota. He's my psychologist. My kid’s psychologist. And he's also well-known in sort of the ADHD world.
I interviewed him. And one of the things that he said that resonated with me is he said, “If you come to me, as an adult, looking for a diagnosis of ADHD, and you have not had significant impacts from depression, or anxiety, or both in your life, that is almost guaranteed that you don't have ADHD.” In other words, if you have undiagnosed ADHD as an adult person, you are almost certain to have struggled with, at various points of your life, either anxiety or depression, or both.
That's why. That is not the answer. In short, is I have had a long sense that it just wasn't delivering. I was a good lawyer. I was a good lawyer to my clients. I was a good business partner. I was a good associate. I made a lot of money for law firms that I worked for. I got good results for my clients. And I still had this awareness that I wasn't delivering. And for a long time, I thought it was just anxiety, or I thought it was just depression and I don't mean that in sort of a pejorative sense, like those are real things. But I would go treat for those and I would maybe take medication, or I would try talk therapy, or I would do X, Y, or Z and it wouldn't really help.
And so, then, I would feel like, “Okay. Well, if it's not those things, what is it?” And part of ADHD is what they call emotional dysregulation. But, for me, it's an extraordinary impostor syndrome. It's like imposter syndrome on steroids plus the sensitivity to the idea of doing something wrong. And so, for my whole career, I was just always anxious that I was an impostor, that I was goofing it up. They were going to find out and I was going to-- like it was all going to go away.
And when my son was diagnosed, I was in a particularly difficult spot with my anxiety because I'd gone to the therapist and I said, you know, “What, if my anxiety is a function of my inattention and not my inattention as a function of my anxiety because I couldn't focus on stuff?” And he thought it was anxiety.
And so, once you go down the hall to my friend, Roberta, who is an ADHD expert, so-called ADHD expert. And she sat down with me and we did some brief social history stuff. And she said, “Well-- you know, she got kind of all of it. Hold on, I’ve got to get clear on this. So you-- you graduated from college?” “Yep.” “You went to law school?” “Yeah.” “You went to a top 20 law school?” “Yeah.” “You graduated from a top 20--?” “Yeah.” “You took the bar exam?” “Yeah.” “You passed the bar exam?” “Yep.” “You practiced as a lawyer?” “Yep.” “For 15 years?” “Yep.” “You don't have ADHD.” That's what a medical professional who claim to be an ADHD expert looked me in the eye and said, “You don't have ADHD.”
And it's because ADHD is what I call a performance gap, right? The diagnosis is a performance gap. If you are somebody who is performing normally, in a law firm, that might be because you are a normal performer, an average performer, or it might be that you are someone who has extraordinary talents that aren't being realized. And so, you look to be perfectly adequate but, if we could unlock something, maybe there's something greater that could happen.
For the person with ADHD, they always feel like the performance is lagging their potential. And so, for me, that's how it felt very much throughout my career. And so, when my son was diagnosed, he personally looked at my son in the eye and he said, “You and I, Everett, we don't do bored very well.” That was how he summed it up to my then seven-year-old son. “We don't do bored very well.” Okay. I heard him talking more about it and talking more about it.
And, later, to my wife and I, he said, “Listen, we know that about 88% of ADHD diagnoses come from a genetic foundation. The odds are that one of you has ADHD. And he looks at my wife and he goes, “I don't think it's you. But does it resonate with anybody in this room, anything that I've been talking about?” And we're both like looking and nodding. And so, anyway, I got diagnosed.
And as I was diagnosed as an adult who had struggled throughout my career as a lawyer, the first thing that I did was I went out and I looked for support, a community for people like me. That's what I love about Maximum Lawyer, right. Like there is a certain person who finds Maximum Lawyer brilliant. And they are your crew. And they land there. And they look around and they say, “This is what I need. They look at the world the way I do. They struggle the way I do. They solve problems the way I do.” And when we are together as a group, we all find an extraordinary amount of support in that and it's only good things.
So, I looked around for that as a lawyer with ADHD and it literally did not exist. It was not out there. There was one woman on the East Coast who I love. Her name is Casey Dixon. She is not a lawyer but she's a coach. She's a trained and like all the way certified coach. She's brilliant. And part of her business is to support professors, and doctors, and lawyers with ADHD. But apart from Casey Dixon, there is not a person on the planet who helps lawyers with ADHD be better at being lawyers with ADHD or being lawyers, period.
And so, for me, that sense of gap, that opening in the marketplace, it wasn't to be an opportunist so much as I felt this desperate need to just talk with some people about my shit. And when I started to find it-- I mean, you guys know this. When people meet you for the first time or find Maximum Lawyer for the first time like, ”Oh, my God, I've been looking for you guys forever. I didn't know you were a thing.” And when people--
Like I have had tearful phone calls from people all over the world that will just like-- because I put my cell phone everywhere. Like everybody has my cell phone. If you just do [inaudible 00:31:30] like if you’re medium adequate at using a Bing search, you can find my cell phone. And so, like they'll call me. And like I, literally, had a woman from Guam call me and she was like a mess, like “I have literally never felt like I have been talked to until I read your about page.” I was like, “Okay. I hear you. Like, I see you.” So that's why.
And for whatever reason, that sense that I had was spot on because now, when people find it, they know. They've had this ambient awareness for a long time that something was cooking back there. And when they find out and can put words to it, it's hugely powerful.
Jim: So, I appreciate everything that you're saying. And I think you're doing the Lord's work in many, many ways and you're giving relief to a lot of people. And I respect and honor that.
So, I was interested in the connection that you made between ADHD and entrepreneurs because I've been in Strategic Coach for three years and they use this personality test called the Kolbe Index. And on the on the Kolbe Index, I'm a 10 quick start and a 3 follow through, right. And so, when I got to Strategic Coach and I was around these other people-- like Dan Sullivan, the founder of strategic coach, is at 10 quick start. It's very rare to be at 10 quick start, so everyone was like, “Ooh, you’re a 10 quick start.” But just having a place to be where I could just be myself and didn't feel like I had to explain myself or “work on my weaknesses.” I mean, that was just a great thing. So, I really appreciate what you said.
Now, I'm also in a curious place where two of my sons, as I mentioned, have been diagnosed with ADHD. And I just turned 50. And part of me thinks that I've had ADHD because, interestingly, I hit the exact same wall that they did freshman year of high school. We've all hit it the exact same year but there's this reluctance that I have, Marshall, to actually look at it, right? To actually, “Nah, you know, I'm 50. I'm heading toward the end of my career. I don't really need to dig in that deeply.” And I'm a pretty introspective guy. But part of me has this resistance that just doesn't want to look at it. So, what advice would you have for me or anyone who's listening who feels the same way?
Marshall: Yeah. I mean, I think, first of all, that is so common. It is exactly how you feel. Of course, that's how you feel. And that's how we all feel.
Particularly, Jim, as somebody who has a track record of being really good at stuff, right? Like, at this point, at least to an outside observer, I don't need you to hit another gear. I don't need need to find Jim Hacking like 10X’d because God only knows what would happen then, right? And I'm not saying that you are struggling from a performance gap, like we had talked about earlier.
What I think is even more important about this is, for many people, they're also afraid of what it would mean if they were, right? So, for an associate in a law firm to discover that he or she has ADHD. Now what? Now, do I disclose? Do I not disclose? Does this change everything? Do I take medications? Am I going to look like a drug seeker if I go to my general practitioner and say, “I think I have ADHD. I need Ritalin.” You know, like there are a whole bunch of reasons that people resist that kind of thing.
For me, what I think about people who would benefit from exploring this more deeply, are people who feel like they have another level that they want to explore. They feel like with one more thing under control. One more thing that they can hold on to that they could level up, in some way, whether that's being a better spouse, or being a better parent, or being a better employee, or being a better boss, or being more creative, or starting that side hustle, or doing that thing that you've talked about or thought about for a very long time, or finally writing your book, or like slaying that one thing that always gets to you like, I love reading, but I can't read, I can't focus on it, or, you know, any of those other things. If there's something out there that is nagging you and you can't seem to find an answer, but you have an ambient awareness that there's a thing, there are a lot of ways to explore it in a very risk-free way.
So, for example, I'm not one for internet tests but there are several internet tests out there that are actually based on the research that we know about indicators for ADHD. So, for example, if you go to ADDitude Magazine - A-D-D-itude magazine. And, you know, just look for an adult ADHD assessment or test or whatever. They have several. And they’ll kind of run you through an 18-question thing, right? Like, does this sound like you? Does this sound like you? Does this sound like you? The cost of that is zero. You don't even have to give them your email address, right? You just get a result at the end and you're like, “Oh. Okay. That's interesting.”
And if your score is interesting, in any meaningful way, then go pick up a book by Ned Hallowell, or Edward Hallowell, MD, called Driven to Distraction and read Driven To Distraction. If you can't read Driven to Distraction, because you are distracted all the time, then listen to it on audiobook. You could pick up Shankman’s book, Faster Than Normal. Peter Shankman, Faster than Normal. All of those are super low barrier to entry.
And for many people-- I got an email yesterday from a lawyer. She said, “I can't believe you got to interview Ned Hallowell. I've read all of his books. When I read Driven to Distraction, as an adult lawyer, it changed my life. Right?
You start reading those pages and he starts describing a person. And you say, “Well, that's me. I didn't know that that was a thing. I didn't know that was a thing that you could diagnose.” And if all of that resonates, absolutely explore it. Here's why. First of all, the downsides. People with ADHD are 10 times more likely to have substance abuse issues, 10 times more likely than gen pop. That's astronomical. And if you are undiagnosed, it is-- I mean, it's not a certainty, but it is awfully more likely. And so, that is a that is a reason to avoid it.
Even as you, you know, grow into your golden years, Jim, like all of a sudden, you decide that you'd prefer the bottle over writing books, and doing podcasts and stuff, that would be a very common path. That might be one reason to look into it.
We are much more prone to depression, to anxiety. We have comorbidities with dyslexia and with autism spectrum disorder. We have a whole bunch of things that kind of come in, the friends and neighbors of ADHD that are worthwhile to explore.
There is also a single truth and that is that ADHD is treatable. We do not have to suffer. And we know, for example, that about 90% of people will respond very favorably, and almost immediately to one of the two first-line medications for ADHD. They're both stimulants. One’s in the Adderall class. One’s in the Ritalin class.
And for about 90% of the people, it makes an immediate and positive impact. You start slapping on a couple of other things like a little bit of nutrition, a little bit of rest, a little bit of exercise, and you are now talking about a whole new machine that functions in a whole different way. And like we can project those results.
And so, if you're curious about it, I would say, in very low barrier, private ways that have nothing to do with licensure, or the board of ethics, or anything like that, you can explore this and see if there's anything there that resonates with you because the other thing that is true is that about 80% of people with ADHD, 80% have never been diagnosed and are not being treated - 80%. It’s a massive number.
Jim: Thanks, brother.
Tyson: I find this fascinating. I really do.
All right, I could actually probably talk to you for hours, but we do have to wrap things up. Before I do, I want to remind everyone to go to the Facebook group. Join the group there. There's a lot of great people sharing a lot of great information. Also, if you want to join us in The Guild, go to maximumlawyer.com and check us out there. Prices do go up soon. Actually, by the time this drops, prices have probably already gone up. So, sorry you missed the boat. But we did announce it before.
So, Jimbo, what is your hack of the week?
Jim: So, I am making my way through this book. It's called Don't make Me Think. It's about user experience. And Steve Krug is sort of the godfather-- this book's been revised three times, on making your website usable and user-friendly. And the title, Don't make Me Think, comes from his basic premise which is that most websites have way too much going on and, speaking of distraction, that you're not leading your prospective clients or viewers of the website, or visitors to the website, you're not leading them on the path that you want them to, and you're just throwing way too much at them. So, Don't make Me Think by Steve Krug.
Marshall: I like that.
Tyson: I like it.
All right. Marshall, you know the drill. So, what is your tip or hack of the week?
Marshall: All right. So, I'll go with an ADHD-friendly one. They say that lawyers with ADHD take 10 times as long to build habits and one-tenth as long to lose them. That'll blow your socks off.
There's a book called Atomic Habits. I suspect that people have talked about it in Maximum Lawr. I kind of looked, but I couldn't I find it. Atomic Habits by a guy named James Clear. This is true if you are a business that acts like you have ADHD, if you are a lawyer with ADHD, if you are a lawyer running a firm with someone in it who has ADHD.
Building habits is a challenging and critical part of doing the things, of becoming the kind of person that you want to be. If you want to be the kind of person that makes a sales call or two every week, build a habit. You want to be the kind of person that goes to the gym, build a habit. You want to be the kind of person who meditates, build a habit.
Atomic Habits is a very contemporary work by a brilliant writer and he wraps up most of the brain research that has come before him in a very beautiful way. I couldn't recommend it highly enough to people with ADHD and to lawyers, in general, that are trying to run firms in a certain way.
Tyson: I love it. I absolutely love it.
All right. So, Becca has graciously sent me our content calendar and I'm looking at it now. So, this episode drops on November 3rd of this year.
So, I'm going to ask Marshall, you first, what is one thing that you want to accomplish by the end of the year, just one thing?
Marshall: By the end of the year, I will have built out six more resource pages on my website with the most common questions that I get about ADHD. So, a good, you know, probably 2000-word exploration of a thing that I hear all the time because right now people feel like they get to the website and it's good but they don't get the answer that they want to see themselves or find themselves. And so, I would like to build six more good resource type pages on my website that explains some of the most common ADHD things that I hear from ADHD lawyers around the country and around the world.
Tyson: Love it. Jim, same question to you, man.
Jim: So, I told you yesterday that I'm working on a secret project and I will have launched my secret project. It will be available to the public by December 31, 2020.
Tyson: Very cool. I like it.
Marshall: Ooh, ooh. Wooh.
Tyson: I like it. I like it.
All right. So, my one thing is to-- it’s actually 100 things. I'm going to record a hundred more videos by the end of the year. So, that is my one thing.
And so, my tip is, whenever this drops, you've got two months, okay, pick one thing, pick a goal and hit that by the end of year. Finish strong because sometimes what happens during the holidays is we start to slow things down. We stop focusing on our business. So, focus, focus, focus and hit your goals.
Marshall, thanks so much, man, for coming on. This has been a lot of fun. It's great. I’ve got to get to know you better, honestly, because you’re a lot of fun. So, nice to meet you. And thanks for sharing your journey and all this great information.
Marshall: Hey, I can't thank you guys enough. And even though Jim and Maddie haven't signed their contracts yet, I am actually going to throw in a pitch for Smith.ai because there are very, very well-known ways for us to make ADHD easier, right? Law is hard enough. We're going to make ADHD easier. And Smith does a great job of that by helping us block things out that we can't focus on.
And I just want to thank you guys for the work that you're doing, for the kinds of people that you have in your group, for the vendors that you talk to and, really, for the work that you're doing to unleash a lot of potential in a really important group of people.
And so, thanks to Maximum Lawyer. Thanks to you guys. And thanks to your whole community of people who make me super confident that that the law is going to be healthier and in better hands at the end of the year.
Jim: Thanks, brother. Great having you.
Tyson: Thanks, man.
Marshall: Great to be here.
Tyson: Love it. See you later.
Marshall: Take care, guys.
Jim: Bye, guys.
Thanks for listening to The Maximum Lawyer Podcast.
To stay in contact with your hosts and to access more content, go to maximumlawyer.com.
Have a great week and catch you next time.
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