Embrace Your One-of-a-Kind Mind with the viral Kim and Penn Holderness

May 8, 2024
Kim and Penn Holderness, talk about viewing ADHD as a superpower.
Embrace Your One-of-a-Kind Mind with the viral Kim and Penn Holderness
May 8, 2024
Kim and Penn Holderness, talk about viewing ADHD as a superpower.



You’ve likely encountered today’s special guests on YouTube: the popular duo Kim and Penn Holderness. Their family-oriented videos have garnered widespread attention for their consistent humor and relatability, dating back to their viral hit “Christmas Jammies” a decade ago.

They have recently unveiled their latest venture: a new book titled “ADHD is Awesome.” In the book, they dive into Penn’s experience with ADHD, shedding light on both the challenges and unique strengths associated with the condition.

Join us as we engage with Kim and Penn, gaining insight into how ADHD has posed obstacles and served as a catalyst for enhancing their speaking preparation process.


Kim and Penn Holderness

Penn and Kim Holderness, married for 18 years, are renowned online content creators. Their sketch comedy and music videos have amassed 2B+ views and 8M+ followers. In addition to being best-selling authors and podcast hosts, they won The Amazing Race. Originating from TV news, they now run Holderness Family Productions, crafting videos for international companies. Based in Raleigh, NC, they share their home with kids Lola and Penn Charles and dog Sunny.

FOLLOW Kim and Penn


You’ve probably seen today’s guests, Kim and Penn Holderness on YouTube. Their family videos have been consistently hilarious, starting with their rise to fame with Christmas Jammies 10 years ago.

They just released a new book, ADHD is Awesome, and are here to share their perspectives on the challenges and superpowers of Penn’s ADHD.

Listen and see how ADHD helps them with speaking prep instead of hindering it.

Amplify with Jess is produced by Earfluence, and brought to you by Mic Drop Workshop.


Penn Holderness – 00:00:01:

There have been times that my ADHD has hurt. Right. I’ve said, I’m sure I’ve said something in a podcast that made no sense. I still am struggling with listening.

Jess Ekstrom – 00:00:12:


Penn – 00:00:12:

But man, when your job is to make something funny that needs to hit in the first eight seconds, like call an ADHD person. I’ll bet you. Honestly. So we sent this book out to a bunch of creators, right? And the most frequent response is. Crap. I think I have ADHD.

Jess – 00:00:33:

Welcome to Amplify with Jess Ekstrom, a show designed to help women get out of their head and into their zone of influence. Today’s guests are Kim and Penn Holderness, who you’ve probably seen on YouTube many times before. Over 10 years ago, they rose to fame with their viral sensation, Christmas Jammies, which I watched probably a million times. And they’ve been making funny family videos ever since. I don’t even know how many millions of downloads they have, but they don’t stop there. They’re also speakers, authors, and they just released their new book called ADHD is Awesome. And I devoured it once I got an advanced copy. And when we were talking about where we should start this episode, I asked them if we should talk about ADHD in my household or in their speaking gigs. My husband, Jake, who I adore, definitely has ADHD. And literally, I mean, in the past 12 months, he finally got tested. He’s on some medication for it, which has been amazing. But it is hard sometimes to be around where there was a part in your book where it was like, I meant to do this. And instead I did this.

Penn – 00:01:48:


Jess – 00:01:49:

Story of our life.

Kim Holderness – 00:01:50:


Jess – 00:01:51:

And it’s hard because I’m like. I don’t want to be mad because I know he’s truly trying. But at the same time, I’m like-

Kim – 00:01:58:


Jess – 00:01:58:

Dude, asked you three times about the dishwasher. And every time you walked in, you like fixed the light bulb. Did, you know, picked up some Cheerios or did something else. So how do you all deal with that? Yeah.

Penn – 00:02:11:

Let me start with the reason we wrote this book.

Jess – 00:02:13:


Penn – 00:02:13:

Things start falling through the cracks when you go from being an adorable couple to having kids. That is where as a dad or a mom with ADHD, your executive functioning gets taxed. And so he’s always had it.

Jess – 00:02:28:


Penn – 00:02:29:

Right? But this is where it gets kind of tough. Like there’s, there’s more people that you can let down. There’s more shame that you feel if you’re doing something wrong, because you’ve got this perfect little kid and another one on the way. Right. Like, like it is with your family.

Jess – 00:02:40:


Penn – 00:02:40:

Um, so. The book is how you deal with it. It’s a, it’s a long book and there’s a very long answer, but let me ask you something about your husband. What was it that made you fall in love with them? Because it might also be a little bit of ADHD.

Jess – 00:02:54:

It is. So I don’t know. Have you all done the Enneagram test? Okay. So I’m a three, which you guys have known me for five minutes and probably could have guessed that. He’s a seven. So he is the, like, what is it? The enthusiast. He’s, yes. He is my like chief fun officer in my life. And so you’re totally spot on. Like the things that I love about him are also the things that probably are the reason why he forgets the milk and buys a sub instead when he goes out to the grocery store. Yeah.

Kim – 00:03:28:

And it’s so funny. We were very flattered. We were interviewed by People Magazine. And I’m sure I said this because she was a very good reporter.

Penn – 00:03:36:

Oh, this is really funny.

Kim – 00:03:36:

But the end quote was, you know, you don’t get the fun dad at dinner without him forgetting to pick you up at school occasionally.

Jess – 00:03:42:


Kim – 00:03:42:

And I was like, I’m sure I said that. I’m sure I said it like that. But what I meant was, you know, all of the total. You have to take the total package.

Jess – 00:03:52:


Kim – 00:03:53:

And he is the reason we laugh at dinner time. The reason we take fun, crazy, spontaneous trips. Like all the things that I fell in love with are his ADHD.

Jess – 00:04:03:


Kim – 00:04:04:

But also, we’re having company over and he’s… Decided that he needs to pressure wash the driveway, and he’s all of a sudden pressure washing, like, shapes into the driveway. It’s like, look, a penis. And I’m like, dude, okay, come on. Like, we have people coming over. So it is – as I’m sitting here, I can say, oh, you have to accept the total package and the whole thing. But in real life, it is very frustrating.

Jess – 00:04:28:


Penn – 00:04:29:

And that’s it, right? I think a big part of the book is, and I’m going to take a page, we’re chasing the bright side of ADHD.

Jess – 00:04:36:

Oh, I love it.

Penn – 00:04:37:

You know, there are, there are some downsides and they caught up with him, right? They caught up with me too.

Jess – 00:04:43:


Penn – 00:04:43:

As like when, when we went from being just a couple to having kids to running our own business, I was, my executive functioning was red line, red lining. I was actively aware that I was letting people down and I’d realized that I needed to get some behavioral interventions in place. There’s two ways to treat ADHD. One’s medication. One are these systems that you put in place. You really should have those systems, whether or not you’re on medication. And what those systems do is allow you to minimize those downsides, the pressure washing of the penis or, um-

Kim – 00:05:16:

That of it, you would create.

Jess – 00:05:18:

Oh, consider that an upside. Yeah. Yeah.

Penn – 00:05:20:

That would be painful. You know, the pressure washing, the difficulty listening, the things that you leave on, literally endangering your family by leaving stoves on, like minimizing that while also being able. To maximize the stuff that you fell in love with, with your husband.

Jess – 00:05:38:

And I think that there’s, we listened to this podcast by Esther Perel one time and it was like. Back in the day, marriage was just like a agreement that he will work, you will reproduce, and you guys come together. And then now marriage has come to, well, one person has to check everything for me, which is a lot of times just no one in the world can do that. And so you’re right. It’s like, what are the things that make us great? And then sometimes just knowing that he’s not going to be the guy that’s running through all the things that the kids need before we leave. It’s just that’s not where his brain is best used. But he is going to be the one that is like. With the water gun and, you know, chasing them around the yard. And that’s also what I love. Yeah.

Kim – 00:06:37:

Right. Right. And it’s, and I think it’s a balance. And I think that doing all of this research, the reason this book happened is we did all this work with marriage counseling, and we even wrote a book about that. And part of that, we uncovered that a lot of the, a lot of our hangups and a lot of our fights were caused by just things he could not help.

Jess – 00:06:57:


Kim – 00:06:58:

And the more I understood that, and the more work he did to put those systems in place, I can see that he’s trying.

Jess – 00:07:07:


Kim – 00:07:07:

It is, it definitely has helped our relationship.

Penn – 00:07:11:

And I will say, like, I heard you say something, which was, it’s just not, that’s not his thing that he does. Okay. And, and I think if, if you accept the fact that he is a different type of person, that’s great. And you’re giving him grace good on him, but he can make a commitment to work on these things. And that’s great. Like one at a time really is kind of the way to do it. And I bet he is. And it’s going to get to a point where you might look at him and say, who is this person? Like he, he has figured all of these things out. He’s, he’s put these systems in place. It takes a lot of time to put the systems in place, but really it’s very important that the first thing that happens is that you get diagnosed. You realize, okay, this is who I am. And you learn how your brain works.

Jess – 00:07:59:

That’s interesting because you all talked about, you know, first you dated, got together, you’re this relationship, then you have kids and it’s that relationship. And then you started a business. It’s another relationship, same series over here. And what I was seeing recently, you know, now that we have our daughter, another one on the way, he started working for my business like three years ago and he’s really been working on a lot of these systems. He was stressed the other day. And I was like… You’re like, you’re not the stressed one. That’s my job.

Penn – 00:08:35:


Jess – 00:08:36:

And he was, I feel like, working so hard on remembering details and balancing, you know, with the baby coming and work stuff going on. And it was one of the reasons why I remembered, like, I don’t want to marry or be with someone or even be in business with someone who has my same brain.

Kim – 00:09:00:

That’d be awful.

Jess – 00:09:01:

Be awful. We don’t need another me.

Penn – 00:09:03:

Yeah. You probably don’t want, you don’t want him to turn into like a super organized person who gets stressed out. You still want him to be crazy.

Jess – 00:09:10:


Penn – 00:09:11:


Jess – 00:09:11:

That’s what I love about him. I was like, what?

Penn – 00:09:13:

You don’t want to lose that. You don’t want to lose that.

Jess – 00:09:15:

Yeah. And when I asked him about it, it was like, he’s like, I just, just have these, these feelings. Like, and it was just like, let me, let me walk you through, like, welcome to, welcome to step into my office over here. But it has just been, uh, you’re right. It’s like, don’t wish for someone to do things. I think one of the like main reasons of just disappointment in general is we expect everyone to be living with the same handbook, the same brain chemistry, the same upbringing, the same privilege or whatever that we do. And then we get disappointed when they wouldn’t do something like we would do it. And it’s important to remember, whether it’s your spouse, your kids, your business partner, it’s like, no, you should be surrounding yourself with people who would think or do something differently. And so maybe loosen the expectations instead of thinking copy paste in every scenario.

Kim – 00:10:06:

No, I love that. And I wish the world were more open to that line of thinking. I mean, we- it, I have one. ADHD kid and one who’s very not. And it was interesting when I would volunteer in my daughter’s classroom when she was, you know, kindergarten, first grade, and you could tell who the ADHD kids were, especially when they’re super young. And these teachers are trying their best, they’re doing their best. But a lot of times it comes out as behavior problems. And I think there was a part of me who said, oh, those poor kids are expected to sit and do this structure of a classroom. Maybe there should be like a separate classroom for our ADHD kids, right? But then I was like, no, no, no, no, no. That would be, the regular kids would have a lot less fun if the ADHD kids weren’t there. Like we’re all better together.

Jess – 00:10:52:


Penn – 00:10:54:

I also think… I’m going to tell you my personal experience and I got to really, really say this is my personal experience. This does not apply to everybody.

Jess – 00:11:02:


Penn – 00:11:03:

But when I was diagnosed, I went on medication. It was the medical model of diagnosing. It’s like a cold. Something’s wrong with you.

Jess – 00:11:11:

Here you go.

Penn – 00:11:12:

Here’s some medicine. No behavioral interventions, just like here’s, here’s your drugs. Got me through college. Man, my grades were so much better my senior year. So much better. I remember having some moments that you were describing right there where I felt anxious.

Jess – 00:11:28:


Penn – 00:11:28:

But I was feeling anxious because I didn’t feel like myself.

Jess – 00:11:31:


Penn – 00:11:33:

And that was probably because I was taking the wrong medication. It was, it doesn’t, I don’t even think they use it anymore. It’s like meth. They basically gave me meth. Yeah. It was called Dexedrine. I don’t, yeah, whatever it was, it definitely made me easier to be around for my roommates. But my roommates were also like. You’re not you.

Kim – 00:11:51:

You’re not as fun.

Penn – 00:11:51:

You’re different. That’s not what medication is supposed to do. But I do think that for me, it stymied my creativity and it made me think at least that was, it was controlling my ADHD, but did I want it to?

Jess – 00:12:05:


Penn – 00:12:05:

And so. I ended up finding a job that was very conducive to ADHD. It was a news reporter where you have to get a bunch of information out in eight seconds and you have to, you have deadlines all over the place, right? And then I married a woman who was super forgiving and awesome and was attracted to my creativity. And then it redlined once I had kids. So I had to like really triple down on the behavioral interventions to not have to go back on medication. It’s different for everybody.

Jess – 00:12:39:

When did you know or when did someone tell you what was that intervention like growing up?

Penn – 00:12:45:

When I say interventions, it’s not, it’s not, uh, that’s not like alcohol. It’s not like you have a problem. It’s a behavioral intervention is a system that you put in place. It’s, it’s, uh, peeing with the toilet seat down. Or, you know, like having a person sit down with you and say, let’s make a plan, like a teacher saying, let’s, let’s do this. A wife who says, let’s, you need to start making some lists. You should start making some lists. Um, for, no, for me, I found out I had ADHD. Um, probably pretty early on when I was like chewing on my shirts and I was unable to get through my dad’s sermons at church. And there’s a bit in the book where I was chewing on a used fly swatter one time while someone was trying to talk because I was fixated on something else. It was just, I wasn’t there.

Jess – 00:13:32:

Yeah. And what did you find that growing up, there were things that you were inherently good at because of your ADHD and then things that just did not work. Yeah.

Penn – 00:13:45:

I think I was always pretty creative. I was a performer. Um, and, um, I could memorize, like if I really cared about something, I could memorize all of the words to a song pretty quickly. I could hear a song and musically be able to, um, translate it onto a, onto a piano. Like there was a, um, when, when there was something that I really cared about and I could really focus on, I, I just could do it.

Jess – 00:14:07:

Yeah. It’s interesting to me. Okay, so this is going to be different, but I had my daughter a year and a half ago, definitely had postpartum depression and anxiety, got some help, went on medication. And there was a fear that I had that I no longer have, but I was like, is that my anxiety, if it’s lessened, is that going to make me a worse creator? Like, the thoughts that I have that I use to write, to speak and all those things sometimes come from worry. And if I’m just like, hey guys, let’s chill in, windows down and my convertible and not a care in the world, can I still have the same kind of perspective that I do? It seems like you’re-

Kim – 00:14:58:

Well, I’m nodding because I also had some postpartum depression and anxiety. That was fun. I also got on medication and thank God. I mean, the clouds parted. I mean, so I had postpartum, it was actually postpartum anxiety and OCD. So I had like really intrusive, obsessive thoughts, which were super fun. And I also was worried about that because I thought if I’m numbing what makes me so creative, what will, and that was totally unwarranted worry. I found it to be, we were totally fine. We had some very productive years and I was on them for a while. And the only reason I got off is because I was like, I was like tired all the time and stuff like that. Just, but I thought they were, thank God for medicine.

Jess – 00:15:49:

It’s totally. A hundred percent.

Kim – 00:15:51:

Yeah. Yeah. Like 10 out of 10 would do it again.

Jess – 00:15:54:


Penn – 00:15:55:

I feel like it’s a very tough balancing act, right? And any doctor will tell you that. Like finding a place where you’re not overdosing and you’re not underdosing and sometimes maybe even making sure you need it.

Jess – 00:16:09:


Penn – 00:16:09:

In your case, you needed it. In your case, I’m sure you needed it. Postpartum depression is pretty serious.

Jess – 00:16:14:


Kim – 00:16:14:

It was crazy.

Penn – 00:16:15:

And it’s always way more serious than the subject thinks.

Jess – 00:16:18:

Oh, for sure.

Kim – 00:16:19:

Oh, I know.

Jess – 00:16:19:

And it hasn’t really been studied like until recently. Like there’s just so much about women’s health that has been.

Kim – 00:16:26:

I know. And nobody is. So my daughter is 17 now. My son’s 14. So, you know, rewind however many years that was. You know, social media wasn’t as big and certainly nobody was talking about it. So I felt the shame of that. And I felt the shame of, you know, I’m nursing and I’m on this medicine that they think is okay. Like all of that added to what you were already going through. But I remember the day when it like kicked in. I was like, oh.

Jess – 00:16:52:


Kim – 00:16:53:

Okay. I like it here.

Jess – 00:16:54:

I’m still a badass. I can do this.

Kim – 00:16:55:

Yeah. I can do this.

Jess – 00:16:56:

You know what? Yeah. Yeah.

Kim – 00:16:58:

Watch me.

Jess – 00:16:58:

I literally remember the day that I woke up. I was like, oh, wow. Like-

Kim – 00:17:02:

The birds are chirping.

Jess – 00:17:02:

Yeah, exactly. Like from Finding Nemo. Like, Son of Shining. The tank is clean. Like, wow.

Penn – 00:17:07:

The tank is clean.

Kim – 00:17:08:

And I was like, is this what you feel like every day? That’s so unfair.

Jess – 00:17:12:

Yeah. I’m like, I can literally push my baby without thinking I’m going to get hit by a car.

Kim – 00:17:15:

Oh, my gosh.

Jess – 00:17:16:

Like it was just. Yeah. But to say that, you know, Penn, I’m interested in your take because. Being, you know, a lot of people who listen to this podcast, speakers, thought leaders, and creators, you all have created this insane journey of one day being like, let’s put videos on the internet and see what happens. You have to be bold and daring and kind of all over the place.

Penn – 00:17:40:


Jess – 00:17:41:

Uncomfortable in order to do that. And so, you know, has ADHD been your superpower in the success of your business?

Penn – 00:17:49:

I think it’s helped more than hurt.

Jess – 00:17:50:


Penn – 00:17:51:

There’s definitely, look, it’s a balancing act. There is, there have been times that my ADHD has hurt.

Jess – 00:17:56:


Penn – 00:17:57:

I’ve said, um, I’m sure I’ve said something in a podcast that made no sense. Uh, I, I still am struggling with listening.

Jess – 00:18:04:


Penn – 00:18:05:

So like in this interview, I’m going to try to make it through, but I, and by the way, you’re being very engaging and so far I’m not bored even remotely. So that’s great.

Jess – 00:18:12:


Penn – 00:18:13:

So I want to acknowledge that there’s still those shortcomings. But man, when your job is to make something funny that needs to hit in the first eight seconds, like call an ADHD person. I’ll bet you. Honestly, so we sent this book out to a bunch of creators, right?

Jess – 00:18:29:


Penn – 00:18:29:

And the most frequent response is… Crap. I think I have ADHD and I’m not surprised. I think that this is a really good business. Not that I’m saying kids go on the internet, but maybe like it’s, it is a good place for people who, well, first of all, the focusing part is great, but also to have a brain that really is receptive to literally everything. That’s, that’s the, that’s really what inspiration is, is something comes to you and we feel and see everything. It’s not a lack of attention. It is an abundance of attention that we have that allows us to be creative. We just have to figure out how to focus it.

Jess – 00:19:05:


Penn – 00:19:06:

Sometimes that leads to the stuff.

Jess – 00:19:09:

Sometimes that leads to the thing, selling stuff, games and target, all the things y’all have done. So when do you know that that’s it? Like, I’m sure, I mean, if we piled up your ideas versus the things that you all create, whether that’s videos, books, products, how do you all get on the same page as like, let’s do this.

Penn – 00:19:28:

It’s good that there’s two of us.

Kim – 00:19:29:

It is good that there’s two of us. It is interesting being married to your business partner.

Jess – 00:19:35:


Kim – 00:19:35:

That gets super spicy. But if you look at what we have built, and by the way, we have help. We have Sam and Anne-Marie and Desmond who work with us who kind of keep all this plate spinning. But our business model is very ADHD. It’s books, games, podcasts, videos.

Penn – 00:19:57:

We’re the Yamaha of creators.

Kim – 00:19:59:

You know, Yamaha has like a keyboard, but also like a boat.

Penn – 00:20:03:

Motorcycle and a boat and trumpets.

Jess – 00:20:05:


Penn – 00:20:06:

We’re the Yamaha.

Kim – 00:20:07:

We’re the Yamaha of creators. So I think I love that the sort of the abundance of attention has allowed us to create so many different little things. Because if it was just videos or if it was just a podcast, I think we both would have been really bored by now.

Jess – 00:20:23:

Right. Yeah. I spoke at Magnolia a couple of years ago. And I don’t know if Chip Gaines, I’m making a leap here, but probably has some ADHD tendencies.

Penn – 00:20:35:

Sorry, I diagnosed him in the pilot episode.

Jess – 00:20:36:

In the best possible way.

Penn – 00:20:37:

Oh, yeah, for sure.

Jess – 00:20:38:

He was incredible. He was there. And I was talking to him about Magnolia because I was seeing like all the things that they were doing from, you know, they have their shows, the app, but then they have, you know, books. And then all of a sudden he just put a soccer field in the middle of, you know, Waco. And then all of a sudden, let’s just put a church there. And then let’s do this. And I’m like, you all have just been following those ideas and they’re working because they’re all in the same. It might seem crazy on paper, but when they’re all in the same spirit, like I’ve never looked at your business and what you all are doing and saying, oh, I really need to focus in. It’s like, it’s crazy, but you are the only one who would have that kind of roadmap.

Kim – 00:21:18:

It is interesting. We were told early on by somebody who, we never went to the business seminar, but it was like some of those workshops. There are weekend workshops and you pay a lot of money to be a part of a mastermind type of thing. And it was a person trying to, who wanted us to attend. And this is probably six or seven years ago. And this person told us, you really need to just pick one thing. You’re not going to be, you’re not going to really hit it financially unless you do just one thing. And I was like, well, I’m okay with that. Like I’m-

Penn – 00:21:51:

Okay with not doing that?

Kim – 00:21:53:

I’m okay with like not hitting it financially. We’re fine. How much money do you need? You know, so we’re fine. I think we just, we’re just going to do this. And so far we’re still paying the mortgage, so.

Penn – 00:22:04:

The one main through line is that we really are just kind of chasing the bright side of everything that we do.

Jess – 00:22:11:

I love it.

Penn – 00:22:12:

We are though.

Kim – 00:22:12:

We are.

Penn – 00:22:13:

I’m just going to steal that.

Jess – 00:22:14:

Yeah. Please. I would love it. Chasing the bright side of ADHD.

Kim – 00:22:18:

Chasing the bright side of ADHD.

Penn – 00:22:19:

I will say I have enjoyed waking up to like random texts from you. Like, um-

Jess – 00:22:25:

You do? That makes my-

Penn – 00:22:27:

It took a second. I was like, why is Jess keep? Oh.

Kim – 00:22:30:

I did this.

Penn – 00:22:31:

This isn’t just for me.

Jess – 00:22:34:

It’s funny.

Penn – 00:22:34:

Sometimes it feels like it is like, Oh, Jess thought about me this. No.

Jess – 00:22:37:

I did. It was specifically crafted just for you.

Penn – 00:22:40:

I am hoping everyone who’s on this podcast knows that she’ll just randomly text you in the morning. If you sign up for her thing.

Jess – 00:22:46:

Every Monday, 11 AM. Sign up. Uh, that is so funny. You’re like, this is coming from me. Um, I do want to ask y’all, uh, to wrap. A lot of people who listen to this, and this could have an ADHD focus or not. Have the desire to show up on stages, create videos. A lot of them are already doing it. But there is that fear of just like being seen. What will people think? Like what if there are bad comments, which there will be.

Kim – 00:23:17:


Jess – 00:23:18:

What advice do you have for people who have something to say that they want to share, but maybe there’s just that pause or that hesitation before?

Kim – 00:23:28:

We have done our best when we have shown up as our real authentic selves. And I think that people can see that. And I think the world needs that. Like we need voices, different voices. We need people who look different, act different, you know. And we need maybe where I get in my head is, oh, well, people have done that. Like people have written books about ADHD. Well, nobody has written a book like this. Nobody has written a book in this voice. Nobody has written it. So I think that the world needs to hear from all different sorts of people who can show up in the most authentic ways.

Penn – 00:24:11:

I also think that it’s okay if people say dissenting opinions. I think they’re important. I think that if we were the, we don’t read the comments, we’re just keeping it real. That’s not keeping it real. You should read the comments, right? Like find out what people think about you. Get different perspectives. We’ve gotten different perspectives on this book already. I think there’s some sentiments and I understand them. What are you talking about? ADHD is not awesome. ADHD sucks. What are you doing? What is up with this toxic positivity? Which, by the way, if you read the book, it’s not toxic positivity. There’s a lot of tough stuff that we go through. For us, this book is an opportunity to motivate people who have had a rough go at it because they’ve lived with this thing that’s been misunderstood for a long time. You go in the Peloton and the Peloton works because you have someone telling you you can do it. It’s just a bike, but there’s someone telling you you’re motivational in this sense. That’s not toxic positivity. That’s encouragement.

Jess – 00:25:07:


Penn – 00:25:07:

So. Anyway, sorry, that was diversing a bit, but. I do appreciate anything anyone ever has to say about me because they’re also showing a lot of courage by saying that, I feel like.

Kim – 00:25:21:

So it has to just show up.

Penn – 00:25:22:


Jess – 00:25:23:

Yeah. How do you develop a filter, though? Like, what do you choose to take with you? Because it can be noisy.

Kim – 00:25:30:

Yeah. If somebody is bold enough to have their profile picture and their username. And has an opinion they want to share. I’m willing to hear it.

Jess – 00:25:43:


Kim – 00:25:43:

When it’s like user 17627, whatever, I’m like, hmm.

Jess – 00:25:47:

Who’s never posted anything.

Kim – 00:25:49:

I don’t, yeah, who’s never posted anything. Who’s never jumped into the arena. I am not super interested.

Jess – 00:25:56:


Kim – 00:25:57:

But I would be lying to say that… First of all, I will say the comments on our videos are 98% positive. It’s when things go super-duper-duper viral and they get posted other places where that gets – and people are like, who are these idiots? You know, that’s when that happens. I would be lying to say it doesn’t hurt. I mean, it does. It’s, I still, it still stings a little bit.

Jess – 00:26:22:


Kim – 00:26:22:

You know.

Penn – 00:26:23:

Sometimes they’re right though.

Kim – 00:26:25:

We are pretty. Douchey.

Penn – 00:26:26:

Yeah. We can be cringy.

Kim – 00:26:28:

We are cringy.

Jess – 00:26:30:

But you have to, there’s an episode that we talked about this. It’s like, in order to create or do anything, you have to embrace the cringe.

Kim – 00:26:38:

Yeah. And I will also say, so I have a girlfriend and she runs a recruiting business for like medical supply sales or something. And she wants to create more videos on LinkedIn just to say, they just, because the LinkedIn, I guess, is prioritizing video. So she was to do 30 second videos of just whatever the positions are. And she’s like, how do you do it? I was like, get over yourself, girl. Nobody really cares. Just do it. And the more you do it, we’re still learning. We’ve been doing this now for many years. And I think our videos, when I watch our videos from 10 years ago, I cringe.

Jess – 00:27:14:

Oh, same.

Kim – 00:27:14:

Yeah. You just have to practice it and prepare to suck a little bit. And also, everybody’s heads are up.

Jess – 00:27:21:

Yeah. Nobody’s thinking about you.

Kim – 00:27:23:

Nobody thinks about you. And I hate to say that.

Jess – 00:27:25:

Nobody’s sending you a text thinking about you in the morning, every Monday at 11 AM.

Kim – 00:27:30:

But you know, so somebody gave me the example and it’s… This is. Not mine, but somebody wrote this or I heard it somewhere. You know when you’re getting out of a pool and you assume everybody is looking at you because you’re like in your bathing suit? Nobody is looking at you. Nobody is looking at you. So I have to also proceed like that on the internet.

Penn – 00:27:49:

I’m looking at you.

Kim – 00:27:51:

You better be looking at me.

Jess – 00:27:52:

I would expect nothing less.

Kim – 00:27:53:

But we put out some things. I’m like, oh, my God, this is so cringy. But nobody – if they don’t like it, they just scroll. Nobody cares.

Jess – 00:27:59:


Kim – 00:27:59:

So just put it out there. And we have – a lot of people ask us this question. Oh, I want to start a podcast or I want to start a YouTube channel. It is so hard to get people to listen to your podcast. It is so hard to get your mom to listen to a podcast. So just start doing it.

Jess – 00:28:15:

Just start doing it.

Kim – 00:28:15:

Just start doing it and then –

Penn – 00:28:17:

And back to your first thing, be as authentic as possible. Be you, right? That was a great thing to start with.

Kim – 00:28:23:


Jess – 00:28:25:

It’s so hard not to be like, well, what do people want to hear? Or what do people – no, you have to do what’s coming from you. Because you just tried to emulate everyone else, which is also the spirit of ADHD is awesome.

Penn – 00:28:40:

Yeah. You know, you answered that question way better than me. I think that you’ve been sort of my guardrail on a lot of this stuff. Like the big picture, like when to do something and when to not do something. You’re just very, you have a better filter than me when it comes to that. But you also have a better grasp on like why, when, and how to do it. So thank you. I’m thanking my wife for this.

Kim – 00:29:00:

You’re welcome.

Jess – 00:29:00:

I love that. And that’s, I mean, it goes back to what we were talking to at the beginning. It’s like you don’t want to be with someone or have a world of clones. We need people who think differently. We need to partner with them. We need to marry them.

Kim – 00:29:14:


Jess – 00:29:14:

You know, reproduce with them, all the things that you’ve all done. Yeah. And one of the things I love about also ADHD is awesome is that it is not just for people who have ADHD. It is for people who, like me, who I have a husband that I want to understand better. Or can you speak a little bit about who the book is for?

Penn – 00:29:33:


Jess – 00:29:34:


Penn – 00:29:34:

It is for parents of people who have ADHD. It’s for friends, roommates, you know, other types of family members. It is for adults who may just now be realizing that they have it or have lived with it for a while. Adults who have lived with it since childhood. It’s for kids. If they want to read it with their parents. There is a lot of color and post-it notes. Actually, fake post-it notes in the middle of the book from the post-it notes that I wrote while editing the book.

Jess – 00:30:06:

The interior. I was telling Penn before this. Like, it is amazing.

Kim – 00:30:11:

Isn’t it great?

Jess – 00:30:11:

For anyone watching on YouTube right now. It is awesome.

Penn – 00:30:15:

I think it’s also for teachers. We had a custodian at a school who wanted to learn more about it who reached out to us. Here’s the thing. The whole world doesn’t know what this is.

Jess – 00:30:25:


Penn – 00:30:26:

So literally the whole world could read it. That’d be great for us.

Kim – 00:30:30:

That’d be great for us.

Jess – 00:30:30:

No doubt, yeah.

Penn – 00:30:30:

But just because everybody knows someone who has it, right?

Kim – 00:30:35:

If you have ADHD, this book is for you. If you know somebody who has ADHD and you want to better understand their brain, this book is for you.

Penn – 00:30:42:

Yeah. And if you want to get to know me better.

Kim – 00:30:44:

Do you want to know pen holderness?

Penn – 00:30:45:

Just randomly, this book is for you.

Jess – 00:30:47:

That is probably majority of people. That is.

Kim – 00:30:49:

That’s the whole world.

Jess – 00:30:50:

Yeah, that’s your target audience.

Penn – 00:30:51:

You’re going to learn a lot about pen in this book.

Jess – 00:30:52:

No, I love it.

Penn – 00:30:53:

Weird, weird crap.

Jess – 00:30:54:

So at Mic Drop Workshop, we train women to become professional speakers.

Penn – 00:30:58:


Jess – 00:30:58:

Getting on stage in that process of delivering a keynote when you have ADHD, you do that. Is that difficult for you? Any suggestions for people?

Penn – 00:31:09:

It’s still a work in progress. I think my delivery is different from my wife’s. I think that the best piece of advice I could give for me, and again, ADHD is like snowflakes, right? There’s no two that are alike. But for me, I want some of my spontaneity and creativity to be accessible to me. And for that reason, I prepare in an outline form. Right? I make sure that the, that whatever I’m doing is a story that has a through line, because you gotta be careful. If you’re, if you got this type of brain, you may just go off on a tangent that nobody else knows what you’re doing. So I don’t think it’s necessarily bad to occasionally do that, but, um, I also think that a person with ADHD who writes a verbatim speech and then goes out and delivers it is not leveraging their greatest talents. So what I would do is really focus on an outline that gets you from one point to the other and then practice it with that outline. Be slightly extemporaneous if you want to. Do it in front of someone and make sure that they followed you. It could even be another person with ADHD because they’re great judges of whether or not you’re going to make it through a speech. If you can make it through a speech with an ADHD person, you got a great speech.

Jess – 00:32:26:


Penn – 00:32:27:

So I think that’s my best piece of advice. Bullet points, outlines.

Kim – 00:32:31:

It’s hard though, I will say, because we often get hired to speak together. And I think we are at our best when we’re together and we can play off each other on a stage and we have a lot of fun. There’s music, there’s videos. It’s super fun. I do want to have something very structured where he’s like, we’re just going to go do this, this, this. I’m like, and so that gets a little.

Penn – 00:32:54:

You do a great job with me to get that outline together though.

Kim – 00:32:57:

Yeah. Because if it were not for me and my need for like, pretty buttoned up outline of like, when, when is the video going to play? When does the guitar come out? Um, without that, my anxiety brain would short circuit.

Jess – 00:33:10:


Kim – 00:33:11:

But he would, if you hired him to come talk to your group tomorrow for 45 minutes on, he knows, I think it’s the ADHD, he knows so much about so many things because his ADHD brain has taken him down so many rabbit holes. He could talk about like the seven moons of Jupiter probably tomorrow in 45.

Penn – 00:33:28:

There’s over 60.

Kim – 00:33:29:

Exactly. So he could talk and he really. I think getting him to be a little more buttoned up has been great.

Jess – 00:33:36:

Can I give you a tip from Mic Drop that might help with your organization, but also the way that you think?

Penn – 00:33:43:

Yes, please.

Jess – 00:33:44:

We call it bump set spike. And you do it like five times in a talk. So it’s the way that you can achieve like one outcome or one transformation. You have like five different bump set spikes. The bump is like telling people why they should listen. You’re like setting them up for what this lesson is. The set is a story. So set the scene. What’s the story that you learned this lesson? And then the spike is the headline. Like what’s the one thing that you want them to remember? And what’s the takeaway? And then that leads into the next bump set spike. And so you really like come up on stage with more of a set list rather than a script. Because I think anyone, even people who don’t have ADHD, scripts and word for word pressure is like the easiest way to get tripped up. And so coming in with like five bump set spikes is just a, way like it still kind of keeps you on track.

Penn – 00:34:36:

It’s home base for you.

Jess – 00:34:37:

Exactly. And you can come back. Well, what was the set for this one? And then, okay, this is my spike.

Penn – 00:34:41:

I’ve never thought of it that way. That’s great.

Jess – 00:34:43:

Yeah. Well, welcome to my office. This is what I love to do.

Penn – 00:34:47:

Yes. I, maybe you could go to this thing. You can go to. No, I’m not a woman.

Kim – 00:34:52:

I think we know a person.

Jess – 00:34:54:

Yeah, I could help with that. I can pull some strings. I know. I know the boss. Yeah.

Penn – 00:34:58:

That’s awesome. No, I look, we are. That’s the. People ask us what’s next sometimes that might be our next journey is like figuring out how to take our message away from, you know, podcasts and digital platforms and actually being able to get out and help people and entertain people face to face.

Jess – 00:35:16:

Live events. Yeah.

Penn – 00:35:17:

And there is some anxiety around that because we’re so used to doing things. You know, 25 seconds at a time. So we’ve got to figure that out. And yeah, like it’s all ears.

Jess – 00:35:30:

You’ve come to the right place. Let’s talk. Penn, Kim, thank you all so much. I really appreciate, I mean, just your transparency in all of this. And like I said, I think I said this when I was on your podcast, I remember taking like CrossFit classes with you at Raleigh CrossFit. You were an anchor, you all did, and then you did a video. And I was like, I just. Love watching people, one, not take life too seriously, and two, realize that you have permission to pivot at any time. And you all are living, breathing examples of that and have impacted me a lot. So.

Kim – 00:36:05:

Thank you. Well, thank you. And thanks for having us. This is so fun.

Jess – 00:36:08:

Thanks. I appreciate it.

Kim – 00:36:09:

Let’s go chase the bright side.

Penn – 00:36:10:

Let’s chase it.

Jess – 00:36:11:

Chasing the bright side. ADHD is awesome. Love it. Thanks for listening to Amplify. If you are a fan of the show, show us some podcast love by giving us a rating and review. And give us a follow @micdropworkshop and @jessekstrom. This episode was edited and produced by Earfluence and I’m Jess Ekstrom, your host. Remember that you deserve the biggest stage. So let’s find out how to get you there. I’ll see you again soon.


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