Helping High-Achieving Women Address Burnout and Authenticity in the Workplace with guest Emily Drake


About this Episode

Join Dr. Amy Moore and Sandy Zamalis for this conversation on the Brainy Moms podcast with inclusive change expert Emily Drake as we discuss some of the most common struggles that high-achieving women face in the workplace. Touching on topics surrounding disclosing vulnerabilities and asking for help when you’re overwhelmed. We talk about boosting connection to fight loneliness and what it means to be successful. And we get at the heart of what many women face in varying industries. Emily also shares her personal experiences coaching women (and men) to find peace through delegation, relationships, and understanding their values and strengths.

About Emily Drake

Emily is a mental health clinician and inclusive change expert who focuses on helping high-achieving women and teenage girls who are holding on by a thread. Through her podcast, “Who’s Missing?,” she explores meaningful stories and perspectives of people from diverse backgrounds and fields. Emily is also the CEO of The Collective Academy, a leadership development firm that works with organizations worldwide to help leaders and teams create cultures that foster community, purpose, and well-being. She produces and leads programs for clients such as Lexus, Crain Communications, and the George W. Bush Presidential Center.

Connect with Emily


LinkedIn: @EmilyDrake

Instagram: @EmDrake

The Collective Academy:

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Read the transcript for this episode:


DR. AMY:  Hi, smart moms and dads. Welcome to another episode of the Brainy Moms Podcast brought to you today by LearningRx Brain Training Centers. I’m your host, Dr. Amy Moore, and I am coming to you today from Colorado Springs, Colorado, and I am joined by my co-host, Sandy Zamalis, coming to us from Virginia. Sandy and I are really excited to welcome our guest today, Emily Drake. Emily is the owner and CEO of the Collective Academy, the host of the “Who’s Missing” podcast, and a licensed professional counselor. The Collective Academy produces and leads high-impact, transformative multi-session experiences for corporations and nonprofit organizations around the world that help leaders feel more satisfied, fulfilled, and purpose driven in their work. In the “Who’s Missing” podcast, Emily’s guests dive into how and why they chose their unique paths, personal and professional, and what they learned along the way. The results are uplifting and thought provoking, demonstrating that everyone has something to add to the conversation. Welcome, Emily.

EMILY: Oh, you know, I really, I don’t know if many people have this reaction, but it depends if someone has me introduce myself or I get to be introduced. I like being introduced.

DR. AMY: Right? Yeah?

EMILY: Yeah? I really do.

DR. AMY: There’s something really validating about hearing, like, what it is that you do from someone else.

EMILY: I know, I was like, uplifting? It is uplifting, the interviews that we do. But thank you for having me on. Thank you both of you. And thank you listeners for lending your ears. I know it’s precious time, if we want to talk about time. Oy. Anyway, I’m glad to be here.

SANDY: Emily, we’re going to have so much fun. I can tell today we’re already, we’re already laughing. And we have, so we like to start off each episode by having our guests tell us how they got involved in their area of expertise. Could you share with our listeners, your own personal story and how you got interested in working specifically with high-achieving women?

EMILY: Yeah, one of my podcasts that I love to listen to is “Confessions of a Wounded Healer,” hosted by my friend Sarah Buino, who is another therapist, and I love the title of that podcast because, you know, the wounded healer concept applies to me, I think a lot of us in this profession, and I bet if we did a quantitative data analysis of all of your guests who became helpers or in the helping profession, we have a story, right? I will say working with high-achieving women came to me. I didn’t go looking for that area of specialty. And I think my focus in graduate school evolved to be career counseling, and I saw a need for women, in particular, to be able to have a very therapeutic visionary and acknowledging-of-systems conversation about the world of work. And, you know, Sallie Krawcheck over at Ellevest was just, you know, saying how much women contributed to us not getting into a recession recently, though, who knows where we are now? Are we in one? When are we out of it? The pandemic? Are we in it? Are we out of it? But women have a huge role to play in economic growth and in stabilization in the home, et cetera, et cetera. I don’t have to convince anyone. But that’s what I did, was I saw a need to talk about career as a traumatic place for a lot of us, women in particular, and then I listened to the demand of the audience and started to see women specifically.  I see men as well. So, it was listening and it was also, I think it was listening that got me here. If I’m just, I’m just gonna punchline it with that, that’s how I got here was listening. The last, the other thing I just say is I’m noticing that there’s a real crisis of women in particular not trusting themselves, and there’s a whole host of reasons why that is. I mean, I could speak to my own experience there. But part of why I’m here is I think that that’s an epidemic of sorts, and we need to learn how to trust ourselves again. Or, I mean, if you’re anything like me, in my early 40s, I finally learned to trust myself. So this is an ongoing process. So that’s, that’s something else I would say, too, about why I’m here.

DR. AMY: Well, I want to talk about that, then.

EMILY: Great. Yeah. Let’s get into it.

DR. AMY: So, so what does that mean? That women struggle to trust themselves? Why is that important? Why do we care? Let’s talk about that.

EMILY: Well, I think it’s by design and, you know, there’s no one puppet master of the design of the systems we live in and the world we live in, but I will say, you know, here’s a lot of people, the wellness industry, my industry, coaching and therapy, that have a lot of money on the line for us to take part, imbibe, engage in. Any variety of things that make big promises of fulfillment, right? And one of my other favorite podcasts is hosted by Jane Marie called “The Dream.” And she’s done a bunch of different series, but the most recent, one of her most recent series was, you know, sort of debunking the wellness industry. And I say all of that to say, like, look, I am also, I have a whole bookshelf, so do you, right? We have lots of resources, learning, education. We were conjuring up Oprah before the show, or before we started recording, and like, Brene Brown, all of these folks who are famous, and I don’t want anyone to follow “the way” that anyone says they should live, without the analysis of like, how’s that working for you? Right now in my coaching and training, I’m getting a certificate in ADHD and I know you’ve had great experts on the show about that. I’m not an expert. I’m learning. But I think, you know, really deciding where you’re going to focus and for whom and for what is a very internal process that no book can tell you how to do ultimately, right? Which kind of sucks. Cause I think all of us would be like, “Just tell me what to do and I’ll put money on the problem and then it’ll go away.” And it’s like, yeah, I want us to be able to know ourselves, trust ourselves. And by the way, that doesn’t mean getting it right every time. And when you get it wrong, you trust yourself enough to know like, “I got this. I’m resilient. I can bounce back.” Right? So I probably meandered a lot of my answer, but that’s what I think we’re talking about.

DR. AMY: So I think it’s fascinating, A, that you brought up ADHD, trusting yourself. So I, Sandy and I were just talking this morning, I’m an ADHD warrior and expert. That’s my area of concentration. But as an ADHD warrior, I struggle to read social cues. And so one of the things that I’ve been working on with my own therapist is how do I show up? How do I show up in a way that shows my heart and not in a way that makes me appear cold or that makes me appear too busy to be there to engage? Because I think as a high-achieving woman with ADHD particularly who can’t read social cues, I tend to come in like a whirlwind, right? Like, “This is what I have to do today. And this is how I’m going to do it. And this is how I’m going to prove to you that I did it the right way!” Right? And I go, “Whoa, was I supposed to engage with you at the same time?”

EMILY: Mm. Mm. And?

DR. AMY: Yeah, so that’s, like, that’s, I think, a struggle, a real struggle with women who are in leadership, who are in careers that require performance, right? That we are goal oriented and sometimes miss the mark on relationship at the same time. I don’t know. Speak a little bit about that. Cause you talk about some engagement challenges and …

EMILY: Relationship with self, if we can just stay on that for a second, you know, I was, so yes, relationship to others, but also what I hear and what you’re saying, Dr. Amy is like, you know, you’re very aware of kind of what is happening and who you are. And at the same time, you want what we all want, which is like connection, right? And how am I, how am I doing with that? Is really the question. Like, do you feel heard and seen? I love that you self-disclosed that I live with ADHD. So let’s start there, right? I’m curious also the choice of warrior, right? Like what does it mean to be an ADHD warrior? What does it, can you answer that? I’m just curious.

DR. AMY: Yeah, I think it means that I own it. That I’m willing to share the plight, the struggle and how I do overcome challenges with it. So that A) it shows some vulnerability in relationships with others, right? That I can be vulnerable and say, “Hey, this is something that I struggle with all day, every day and here’s how.” But also because I hope that it will. Like, I hope that it will help.

EMILY: Yeah. Listeners, stay tuned for an upcoming episode of “Who’s Missing,” the podcast I host where I interview Dr. Amy Moore about everything she just said and more. So one of the reasons I asked the question was something I’m learning in my training and I too, am in conversation with a number of prospective clients who have reached out to me because I have a mental health background and training. And because they have a diagnosis of ADHD, which I again, I’m not advertising and, and frankly, like I’m not an expert in, but have, you know, the basic counseling skills and obviously the lived experience of being able to listen and think about bottom-up and top-down ways of, of managing things. But what you just answered for me, Amy was, you know, like, how did you get there? Like, how did you get to a place where that metacognition, right, of like, talking about yourself as an ADHD warrior? Which is different than, I think I’m, I didn’t ask you that, I think I asked why. Which is not as helpful. But I love knowing how women, who are in high-achieving roles, make decisions and especially when I start hearing people talk about “these are all the things I have to overcome, all the challenges that make it difficult to be around me, to work with me, to be in community with me.” I’m also listening for, how about the capabilities, right? So I have a very strengths-based approach to all the work that I do. But I’m listening for like, okay, no judgment, how did you get here? Like, how did you get there? And that metacognition I think is what women, you know, we’re thinking all the time about everything. It’s like the metacognition of like, where are my values in this? How did I show up here? How did I get here? This is scary stuff to ask. And it’s important because it’s like the window into the beauty that is you, right? ‘Cause you didn’t do it my way. I don’t know. You did it your way, but how did you do it? You know, yeah.

DR. AMY: Yeah. And so I think, can you talk a little bit about the importance of that vulnerability and disclosure? I mean, because I think that for high-achieving women, they want to hide all of their weaknesses. They don’t want any of the cracks in the armor to show because that might reveal that they can’t do the job as well as a man could, or they can’t do the job as well as a woman without cracks in the armor could, right? Which is clearly not true, right? We all have cracks in the armor. Why? But why is that vulnerability important?

EMILY: Yeah, I mean, look, it’s the number one thing we appreciate in other people. As, as evidenced in this conversation, I’m like, Dr. Amy, tell me more, like, you’ve just be, just shown me, now I want to know more, we’re leaning in, we want to talk, we want to, you know. And it’s the number one thing we withhold. And, you know, frankly, I think with good reason for women, it’s not safe. And this is all going to be, you know, parroting Dr. Brené Brown’s wisdom in putting it, you know, in writing for us to think about it in leadership. But the moment we feel that disclosure is a weakness is the moment we decide not to disclose. And I think not everybody deserves that disclosure. So you add on top of that, right? The filter of like, “Should I tell Emily this? Like, can I trust Emily?” For whatever reason you do, and you did, and I’m glad you did. But women are in a lot of spaces, particularly women of color, in particular people who live with disabilities. Particularly people who, you know, have gender fluidity, right, of like, whatever the vulnerability is. They’ve got a lot of data that says, “You know what, maybe I just will shut up about this, right? Maybe I won’t disclose, maybe I won’t share.” And I think, you know, we saw the advent of the chief wellness officer a couple of years ago, thank goodness, during the pandemic. Is it symbolic? Maybe. But it’s also important and I think having that sort of role in an organization where like wellness and mental health and who we are and that self-disclosure is kind of part and parcel for like the conversations were having like normalizing it. I love the surgeon general, whose name is escaping me right now, his morning meetings with his staff. He begins with one person on his staff showing a photo in their phone of the last week, like, “Here’s what’s going on in my life.” You know, as a measure of creating connection of addressing loneliness at work and all these things. And I think that’s vulnerability. So it’s not just, you know, I think there’s a lot of confusion and you said it yourself of like, “We’ve got to hide our weaknesses.” Who the hell said they were weaknesses? Like where is this, where is this even coming from, you know? And I can answer that question with, you know, a lot of systems are in place for us to be looking at weaknesses. When I got my first report card, I’m sure in first grade and I came home and I, my mom was like, “Your lack of focus and your performance in math.” But I don’t know what first grade math is these days was not great. That’s what we’re talking about versus like how great I was at like teamwork, collaboration, bringing people together on the playground. We don’t focus on that as much. So, you’re going to hear me probably say strengths-based stuff a lot while we’re talking.

SANDY: And the brain’s not really wired that way, right? Our brain is wired for survival. So, it’s definitely going to hone in on those negative feedback loops that we end up in, versus the positive ones. So, you know, I love what you’re, you’re both saying. You know, Amy, you to ask—she calls me out all the time on my imposter syndrome problem. Because I, you know, whereas Amy would identify herself as a warrior, I’m not sure what my word would be if I could like pick my word. I’m definitely one of those … Well, it’s funny. This is a funny story. So last year we were at our convention and a very dear friend of mine was reading, “The Tao of Pooh.” Have either of you read the book? And so she was sharing quick snippets of what that was. And, and she was, um, kind of identifying who she thought everybody was in this “Tao of Pooh.” And she, so I said, well, who would I be? And she said, “Oh, you’re Piglet.” And I was like, what? What does that mean? And she’s like, you know, you are that warm, cozy place. Everybody, you know, they can talk to you. They can rely on you. You know, you’re anxious about everything, but you know, she’s kind of like, and I was like, I thought about it. I read about it afterwards. And I was like, “Oh, Yeah. Yeah. I guess that’s me.” But it’s that, you know, you know, as a high achieving person, myself, like I know for me, I’m, it’s not so much that I’m afraid of sharing my weakness. I’m pretty open and honest and present and not, you know, trying to show everybody I’ve got all these balls in the air and I’m juggling really well. I think my hiccup is that I’m …  “Well, I think the saying goes, ‘The more,you know, the more you know about what you don’t know.’ And so I, you know, there, that’s my like threshold of like, “Okay, I need to just listen because there are smarter people in the room. I assume everybody in the room is smarter than me.” So I kind of come at it from that perspective. But I love that you’ve said. I listened to a podcast that you did. And you said, “You can’t know yourself by yourself.” Can you expound on that a little bit? What do you mean by that?

EMILY: Yeah, I’m going to demonstrate it right now. What would you say your strengths are, Sandy?

SANDY: My strengths? That’s always hard to hate being put on the spot.

EMILY: That’s why you can’t do it by yourself.

SANDY: I know. I’m a good listener. I am highly empathetic as a strength, not necessarily someone who gets tied up, right, but definitely can see the big picture and how I need to go in and help or not help or adjust as needed, I would say.

EMILY: Yeah, very intentional. Yes. Yeah, and I’m sure that Amy appreciates that about you. Yeah, so you can’t know yourself by yourself. That’s exactly it. I mean, I had this question asked to me in a pool, at a pool party five years ago by a hedge fund manager who was a friend of the host. Like, it wasn’t like a business pool party. Although, I don’t know. Maybe those are happening now. And he, we were getting to know each other in this very casual setting, right, friends, barbecue, swimsuits, music, you know, and he comes out of, out of like, my periphery and says, “So how would you describe what you’re great at?” And I was like, “What? Like, I’m not ready for this.” And I’ve also, you know, like, I’m trying to have a good time, but it put me on my heels in a good way. Because it was like, okay, I need to be asked this question, I need to know the answer. And that began truly—I don’t even remember his name, I should say thank you to him—a process of being like, you know, emerging from a space of, you know,  I’m good at whatever the litany of like practical things is to like who I am, how I know myself to be. And I’ve verified that a number of times. I claim myself as … I ask great questions. I’m a great person to put on a job that requires a lot of context because I’m always listening, man. My internal Rolodex is like, ticking things off. And so, knowing myself happened as a result of being in community, right? Like that, I got to get the feedback when you could do a whole episode about giving and receiving feedback. I got the feedback. I got the confirmation and I doubled down on those things that are inherent to who I am. I can do a lot. All three of us can. I can do probably whatever you put in front of me. And I want to live a life where I get to do more of who I am, and outsource a lot of stuff. And so the courage to do that, and I say it’s courageous because I work with a lot of women and men, I had a client this morning, a chief operating officer, who are holding on to so many things, right? And all they want is time, and to think about strategy, and the unexpected, and being great, and there’s no time. And the way to get to that other side is other people. Like, you need help. You cannot. The answer when you’re overwhelmed and suffering is not like, “What more can I do?” It’s never. It’s always, “Who can help? How do I ask for help?”

SANDY: There’s actually a book. It’s one of my favorite books. It’s called, “Who Not How.”

EMILY: I knew I’d get recommendations.

SANDY: Yeah, I get, I’m going to have to reread that one. You got that back in my brain. And that was exactly what the book is about. It’s high-achieving people. People who are doing it well and know themselves well, think who, not how. Not “How can I do it?” And I think women tend to be on the “how” side. They’ve got to just add that ball or add that plate to the spin.

DR. AMY: Right because it’s it might show a weakness if you can’t do it all by yourself. And, and I think, you know, I’m an Enneagram 3, which is the Achiever.

SANDY: I’m a 9. And anybody shocked?

DR. AMY: Nobody is shocked that Sandy is a peacekeeper. But as an Achiever, like I wake up in the morning, thinking, “What will I achieve today?” Right? And if, if there’s something that I can’t get to, then that is Kryptonite to an achiever, right? “Oh my gosh, there is no way that I can finish that and finish that well today. Therefore, I’m a failure.” It would not occur to me, “Who might be willing to do this instead?”

EMILY: Yeah, and I’m a two.

DR. AMY: So I have a wing two, right?

EMILY: Oh, I have a wing three!

DR. AMY: Oh, look at that! So yeah, so we have that helping, achieving, right? And so I think when you, when you’re an achiever who wants to help, then not being able to do that one thing, right, then says, “Oh my gosh, I won’t be able to help this person and I won’t be able to help this person perfectly,” right? It just snowballs. What say you?

EMILY: The client I was working with this morning, let’s put him as like mid-40S, in a relationship, has stepkids, was in a big family growing up, and has had a very successful career, we talked about this very thing. So I’m just gonna, you know, kind of make this a human, a shared humanity response. So not just for women, but shared humanity. So I believe everything begins with your values and your strengths. And that’s just the approach that I take. So we were talking about his value of connection and collaboration and delegation as a result. Like he’s trying to build this skill of delegation. We all struggle with it. You know, I mean, if we had more time, I’d be like, you know, with you, Amy is like, “Well, what’s that about? Like, what’s at stake if you let that go, blah, blah, blah.” But what it came down to was, you know, his real desire in life, all of us desire, this is like a deeper connection with ourselves. You know, that true expression to be heard and to be seen. And on the other, like to get to that place, I think we just have to let go of the idea that that happens all on our own, you know. And so we were talking about connection, collaboration, and multitasking and delegation and how misaligned it actually was for him from a values perspective to not ask for help. Asking for help is the number one thing an employee, employer, leader can do to build trust. And when you have trust, then you can delegate, right? Then you can share about your vulnerability. Then you can, you know, sort of say, “I can’t do all this stuff. Like, I only have so much time in the day.” So if, I will tell you, every organization I work in, the most conservative organizations, the most high-achieving organizations, the richest organizations, they all want more trust. And I can come in and I can talk to you about how to build trust in quick ways, how to build trust in meaningful ways, long-term ways. But people are trying to get trust without vulnerability, and I’m like, good luck. So, you know, when I say conservative companies, I also think about just like culturally what we’re dealing with in various organizations, depending on ownership, depending on, you know, the headquarters where the, where the, the company is. I mean, there’s so much factored into our inability to say, “I need help.” And so I really want to say to piggyback off of something you shared, Sandy, like, there’s a lot working against us to not be want or not wanting to be like put on the spot to ask about our strengths. There’s just a lot working against us to know what those are, to be able to articulate them, and then to be able to live in them. You know, there’s a lot, there’s a lot we’re up against. It’s not impossible, certainly if we’re doing it together, but I think it’s very difficult, you know. So don’t do it by yourself. You can’t know yourself by yourself.

DR. AMY: So what are those barriers to success, to being able to articulate those strengths?

EMILY: Yeah, I think, I was just facilitating with a construction company, a big one here in Chicago, a superintendent managing a 900 million job site, who said, he identifies as male, he said, “Look, all of a sudden people are talking back a lot. I’m not sure what’s up with this.” Here we go, right? The generalizations, this generation. Okay. And we paused and we talked about it. What gets in the way? To answer your question, Amy. You know, I think it’s old ideas about what is a weakness? What is a strength? It’s old ideas around like, not everyone here is showing up to work to be productive. It’s old ideas around like speaking up, being seen as like talking back, and the insecurity that I think a lot of male leaders have in receiving feedback and speaking up. And look, there is such a thing as complaining and nobody wants to hear people complain. So there’s a lot going against us with just, I think, how power is structured in organizations. There’s a great flattening that’s happening more and more, where there’s more equity, there’s more people at the table, there’s different voices at the table, and there’s inherent discomfort in that, right? And so any sort of peep is talking back, right? Versus like, “No, this is, this is a good thing. We’re hearing from people. If we’re hearing from people, then we’re not waiting until a performance review to know that someone needs help or, you know, needs intervention.” And so there’s that. There’s also just like the internalized capitalism that we all live with, when none of us ask for it, to be productive. And productive means making money. And I see that shifting. It’s not shifting fast enough, but I think we have, you know, particularly our colleagues who are female and particularly black females talking a lot about rest, restoration, relaxing, healing from working all the time. And there’s a lot that I’m not an expert in to go into there, but I will say, I think re-evaluating like what it means to be productive for yourself versus what it means for I mean, in my case, it wasn’t my parents, but it was sort of society at large, like, make more money, get the next thing. We know this. This is just baked into us. And then, you know, before you know it, what I, another thing I love to say is you’ve climbed the rungs of this ladder, this internalized capitalism, sort of like, you know, structured ladder of success and you sort of get to this place and this is with high-achieving women where you look around and you’re like, “Whoa, whoa, whoa. I don’t even know if I’m on the right wall anymore. Like, I could keep going and I can and I will, right? I don’t quit.” I’ve said this to myself before and I did quit. But it’s a very unfamiliar feeling to be like, “Wait, I get to audit this, I get to think about this, because the systems that I’ve mentioned have made it so you actually don’t have to, if you don’t want to, you know?”

DR. AMY: Yeah. So, so Max, Max Planck, the German physicist, said that science advances one funeral at a time. And, you know, as a clinical researcher, I’ve seen that, like, I’ve watched that, you know, really-hard-to-change views, you know, of what we believed about the brain in the ‘80s and ‘90s, right? Like the brain is set, it’s not plastic or changeable, right? And so it was one of those things where I really had to fight against for the first five years, you know, of my clinical research career. And so I kind of leaned on that idea, right? That it’s all about changing paradigms. It’s all about changing those entrenched beliefs. That this is what it means to be successful. This is what it means to achieve. This is what it means to be a leader as a woman, right? Like we can’t hold on to the 1950s and 1960s view forever, right? Eventually that paradigm has to shift. And if we continue to show up in compliance with a 50-year-old view, right, then we just perpetuate the view that we think is wrong in the first place.

EMILY: Mhm. Mhm. Yeah, and I actually, you know, I think it’s this view, the one that we’re talking about here just for this moment of like worth being derived from something outside of yourself and sort of the striving is like centuries old, you know? So if you look at it that way, I hope you’re still listening, listener. If you look at it that way, here’s what I want listeners to take away is like, so don’t be so hard on yourself. That’s the message, right? Like, it’s a lot. You know, Amy’s doing the work. Sandy’s doing the work. I’m doing the work. I had someone ask me the other day, like, “What can women do to be more brave at work?” And I was like, more brave? What more do you want from us? Like, how about you be brave, CEO? How about you be brave, you know, the S& P 500? Like, how about you guys go be brave? Because we are out here every day being brave. So it’s a lot. And I think that the invitation, that’s why I always, always come back to strengths, values, trusting yourself, having community. Because these are like agnostic of however quickly or slowly our culture moves, we have. Like it’s the only, right? It’s, it’s the roots. It’s the roots.

SANDY: I loved your picture of that climbing the ladder and looking around and trying to figure out, Oh, where am I? Where I thought I was? I want to talk about loneliness. I’m a small business owner, but this is true in corporate America too. I think there’s just this epidemic of loneliness right now and disconnect. Talk about that a little bit. What are you seeing?

EMILY: I’m curious, you brought up small business owner, you know then that in that space this, we talk about this, like small business owners are sort of accustomed, I think, to being like, “Yo, it is wild out here, kind of lonely.” Right? Like we have a community. So I just want to point that out as like normalizing that it can be lonely. I think lonely, you know, if I ask nine out of ten people, like, do you feel lonely sometimes? They’d be like, “No, I’m around people all the time.” Or like, no, I like to be by myself. So I want to be really clear when talking and I’m, you know, there’s so many smart people who write about this and talk about this when it comes to loneliness, right? It’s, it’s like the antithesis of what’s happening with the three of us right now. I feel very seen, very heard. I actually feel like I see and hear both of you. I feel like if you were like, look, close your laptop, let’s go get a cup of coffee, like we would do it. Why is that? Like, what is the magic of that? And I think that the loneliness epidemic that we’re talking about is like getting really clear on like, what made that possible for the three of us? I don’t know. I mean, there’s so many factors. Like, if people are looking for a recipe of ending an epidemic, of ending loneliness, like, I think the answer’s on a podcast like this. It’s like, well, what happened? How did we, again, how did we get to this place where we’re laughing and smiling and sort of like, minding the time and being like, really? It’s going to be over in 13 minutes? So yeah, loneliness is not being seen or heard, witnessed, appreciated. It is, you know, as you both know, like, you can be in a room and feel lonely anytime. And I really, whenever someone’s like, “I never feel lonely.” I’m like, here we go with the superlatives, right? Like, never, always. Like, of course you feel lonely. Like, stop trying to make yourself exceptional in the world of emotions, because you definitely feel it. So that’s sort of, like, what I notice it too. I notice it even in my own home with the people I love, like, a desire to have this, what’s happening between the three of us, and just a really not knowing what’s going on. How to get there. And I’m going to come back to it again. I’m going to, if you’re talking to me, I’m going to say, “What are you great at? What do you value? You know, who are you?” These are all good things. Let’s start with strengths and starts with values. And then, you know, the rest comes from there. Confidence isn’t mysterious, you know. But it’s not easy either. So that’s what I would say about it.

SANDY: I would probably start with, “How are you? How are you? What’s going on in your world?” You would, I mean, I’m always shocked by how many people don’t lead off with that. They’ll share about themselves and never ask. They’ll never, they’ll never get the same information back.

EMILY: Mm hmm. Mm hmm. And then there’s people in the world who will say “Fine” and really don’t want to go any further than that. And that’s okay. Because I feel like part of the punchline of our conversation today is like, you know, we’re going to, it starts and ends with you. But at least in my work, I can only go to the extent that you want to go, you know? So for a listener who’s like “Vulnerability, yeah, we get it. I know. I follow Brené Brown too.” I’m sure a lot of your listeners do. It’s like, you get to decide what it even means to be vulnerable, like what it means to be courageous. I have no idea what that is for either of you. And so who am I to sort of sit over here and say, “Be more brave”? It’s like, maybe this is brave for you. I don’t know. So anyway, your point is taken, Sandy, about like the, “how are you” of things. Like, I would love it if whenever I ask them, just know this, listener, when I ask, I really do want to know, like, how are you? Some people ask and they don’t actually want to know, and sometimes the person asked doesn’t want to talk about it. All of those are fine, you know? But at least let’s try, “How are you?” You know?

DR. AMY: Yeah, my response is always. Well, not always, but you know, I struggle with multiple chronic illnesses. And so, you know, I used to answer that question, “Uh, I’m all right,” but now my answer is, “I’m good enough.” I literally feel like my feet are on the floor, I’m upright and I’m engaged, so I’m good enough. And so it allows me to be honest without saying, “All right, here’s what hurts today, here’s what’s not functioning properly today,” you know? But then it’s interesting because that’s a lonely place to be as well. When you, when you do shut it down by just saying, “I’m good enough” and then for an A DHD Warrior, you talked about loneliness being unseen or unheard, but because we show up awkwardly many times, we’re misheard or mis-seen. And so that is a lonely place to be, right? When you say something and that’s not how you meant it, or you know how you meant it, but it’s perceived in a different way, and then you get this domino effect of that fallout. I mean, it’s that fallout of saying something wrong or showing up wrong, in quotes, right? You know, for those of us who are neurodiverse.

EMILY: Yeah, yeah, that’s why, so again, listening back to what we started with, listening to my clients, listening to the people coming into my orbit, that’s why I’m getting this certification in ADHD, you know, coaching and treatment, I don’t plan, clinician at the moment, though someday I will be again. That’s definitely my retirement plan. But precisely because I think this nerve talking about neurodivergence, I see it as another measure of diversity in an organization. That requires the attention that all measures of diversity do. And I talk about diversity all the way from like, what’s your Enneagram style—There’s a lot of diversity here, ladies—All the way to, you know, how do you think? And I have a client right now who’s a black woman who lives with ADHD and very high levels at a banking institution. And, you know, there’s a lot to talk about with diversity there, but she is in an experience right now of feeling like nobody wants her to be there. Nobody gets it. Nobody gets her. You want to talk about loneliness? Holy wow. So, you know, it’s a process, but I, I always see, you know, I appreciate you’re an ADHD warrior, Amy, as someone who lives with ADHD. I want to be an ADHD warrior too. And I don’t live with ADHD, right? Like what are we all kind of leveling up and making seen not for like what it takes from us. I’m just sort of an abundance person. What can I say? Like what it adds. You know, and I think that one of the final things that I would say is like, you have to choose your heart. And I feel like, I send out a valentine every year. I’m just, I can’t resist. I’m a two, I’m a cancer. Empathy is my top strength. I mean, I am who I am. My message this year was the “what” is gonna happen, right? And, and this goes back to this book too, Sandy, like, the what is gonna happen. All day, every day. Someone said to me once, or recently, and I’ve heard this a thousand times, right, this too shall pass. Yes, and until the next thing. I mean, there’s always going to be something. Always, always, always. So, that’s a fact, and that’s why it makes the who in my life. That’s the most important thing in my life. And so I think like, we all need to be, I don’t have like a super cogent way to wrap this up, but like really thinking about the who and focusing on the who more than the how potentially, but also more than the what. And I think finding our who helps us with so many things we talked about here today, you know, not feeling lonely. I can see and hear you. I mean, I know Sandy, you have the strength with someone as high empathy of like, I don’t live how you live but I see you. Beautiful stuff.

DR. AMY: All right, so we need to take a quick break. Sandy’s gonna read a success story from our sponsor and when we come back, if we can just talk about, where listeners can find more of you. And the one thing you want to leave them with when we come back.

SANDY: Being pulled out of class for reading help in third through sixth grade really hurt Joshua’s confidence. He regularly referred to himself as dumb or stupid and he often rushed through work just to get it done. His parents took him to a LearningRx Center for cognitive skills training, something they refer to as a computer, a complete game changer. At the 7th grade parent teacher conferences, Joshua’s teachers were so impressed with the improvements that they asked what intervention had created such drastic changes. Now, entering eighth grade, Joshua has not only been thriving academically, but also enjoying learning and even reading for pleasure. His parents are proud to report that Joshua is feeling so much more confident that he even performed in the school musical. While your child may or may not achieve these same results, LearningRx would be happy to work with you to get answers about your child’s struggles with learning. Get started at or head to our show notes for links to more helpful resources.

DR. AMY: And we are back wrapping up our talk today with the amazing Emily Drake. Emily, what would you leave our listeners with? What’s the one thing that you want them to take away?

EMILY: Yeah, I think, if you find yourself changing who you are, change where you are. And be really intentional about that. That would be one thing that I would leave folks with. How folks can find me. If you want to kind of get in this conversation about leadership development, organizational change, culture, all that, you can find me on LinkedIn. That’s a really good place for the smart brainy side. If you want to follow me on Instagram, you can get to know who I am a little bit more, more facets of me. I’m at emdrake, E-M-Drake. And everything, everything stems from there. I have an open account. I don’t post photos that not everyone can like, it’s a public thing. So join me. I’d love for you to join me anywhere. I’m easy to find.

DR. AMY: Awesome. So your podcast is “Who’s missing?” And so that’s

EMILY: Thank you, Amy. Yes.

DR. AMY: Yes. And on LinkedIn as Emily Drake.

EMILY: That’s it. Awesome.

DR. AMY: Thank you so much for being with us today.

EMILY: Oh, thank you.

DR. AMY: This was such a great conversation.

EMILY:  It was so fun. What’s next for both of you? Are you recording more?

DR. AMY: No, we are headed into our third recording.

EMILY: Oh my gosh.

DR. AMY: As soon as we let you go. All right.

EMILY: Well, take a pee break. And thank you for having me.

DR. AMY: Thank you for being here. Listeners. Thank you so much for being with us today. If you liked our show, we would love it. If you would follow us on social media at the brainy moms, you can find Sandy on tic tac tic tac. Let me try that again. You can find Sandy on Tik Tok at the brain trainer lady. She is full of some amazing tips and stories on that account. So don’t miss her. All right. Do all that now, before you forget, if you liked our show, we would love it. If you would leave us a five-star rating and review on Apple podcasts.

If you would rather see our faces, you can find us on YouTube at the brainy moms. So look, that is all the smart stuff that we have for you guys today. Catch you next time. Have a great week.