When Ned Hallowell was trying to learn to read and couldn’t do it, growing up in the 1950’s, he could have been labeled as stupid and told to try harder. But Mrs. Eldridge, Ned’s First Grade teacher, knew there was more to kids not being able to read than being stupid. What she did, didn’t turn Ned into a better reader but it did something more that contributed to Ned majoring in English from Harvard College and graduating with high honors. Listen to Dr. Ned Hallowell tell his story of how he got over the hump and helps others do the same.
Dr. Ned Hallowell has ADHD and dyslexia. He sees them not as disorders but rather as traits that can bestow enormous benefit. When those traits are managed well, they can help you get over the hump faster. But if they are managed poorly or not recognized at all, they can lead to disaster.
Dr. Ned is a graduate of Harvard College, Tulane Medical School, and a Harvard residency and fellowship in adult and child psychiatry, Dr. Hallowell served on the faculty of the Harvard Medical School for 20 years until he retired from academia to devote his full professional time to seeing patients, writing books, and giving lectures and seminars.
He has written numerous books including his ground-breaking New York Times best-seller on ADD called Driven to Distraction which initially brought attention deficit disorder to the general public.
His books have sold over 2 million copies. He has appeared on every major TV show including Oprah, Good Morning America, The Today Show, CBS Morning Show, The View, Dr. Oz, Dr. Phil, 60 Minutes and CNN, and now the Fast Leader Show. Woot Woot!
Dr. Ned is the founder of the Hallowell Centers with offices in:
- Sudbury, MA
- New York City
- San Francisco
These centers specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of learning differences, especially ADHD and dyslexia, using a strength-based approach.
Currently Dr. Ned resides in Arlington, MA with his wife Sue and dog Ziggy. He also has three grown kids, Lucy, Jack and Tucker.
Tweetable Quotes and Mentions
“If you have ADHD it’s sort of like you have a Ferrari engine for a brain…but bicycle brakes.” -Ned Hallowell Click to Tweet
“ADHD untrained and unchained gets into all kinds of trouble.” -Ned Hallowell Click to Tweet
“I am in the business of promoting love.” -Ned Hallowell Click to Tweet
“I was a very enthusiastic reader, thanks to that hug.” -Ned Hallowell Click to Tweet
“When you worry with someone you start solving problems.” -Ned Hallowell Click to Tweet
“When you worry alone you often get depressed.” -Ned Hallowell Click to Tweet
“Understanding these goes beyond a sound bite, that is why I write a book.” -Ned Hallowell Click to Tweet
“(ADHD) It’s not a deficit…it’s not a disorder, but rather a trait.“ -Ned Hallowell Click to Tweet
“We live in an age that pushes superficial thinking.” -Ned Hallowell Click to Tweet
“If you’re going fast you can’t go deep.” -Ned Hallowell Click to Tweet
“We live in an age of distraction.” -Ned Hallowell Click to Tweet
“Hire people who are smarter than you are.”-Ned Hallowell Click to Tweet
“Never be threatened by people that are more talented than you are.” -Ned Hallowell Click to Tweet
“The great leader is the leader who gives credit to others.” -Ned Hallowell Click to Tweet
“We live in a paradoxical world where we’re super connected electronically, but under connected inter-personally.” -Ned Hallowell Click to Tweet
“A lot of people are suffering from a vitamin connect deficiency.” -Ned Hallowell Click to Tweet
“The most powerful wisdom is the most ancient wisdom.” -Ned Hallowell Click to Tweet
Hump to Get Over
Ned Hallowell has ADHD and dyslexia. When he was trying to learn to read and couldn’t do it, growing up in the 1950’s, he could have been labeled as stupid and told to try harder. But Mrs. Eldridge helped to inspire Ned go on to Harvard College, Tulane Medical School, and a Harvard residency and fellowship in adult and child psychiatry. He has written over twenty books selling over 2 million copies. Listen to Dr. Ned’s story so you can learn to move onward and upward faster.
Advice for others
Never worry alone. You will encounter obstacles and you may be inclined to hunker down and take care of it, but don’t do that. Talk to somebody.
Holding him back from being an even better leader
I need more knowledge.
Best Leadership Advice Received
Hire people that are smart than you are. Promote others and not yourself.
Secret to Success
My ability to connect with others.
Contacting Ned Hallowell
Free Introduction to Driven to Distraction at Work Intro Download.
Show Transcript:Click to access edited transcript
Intro: Welcome to the Fast Leader Podcast, where we uncover the leadership like hat that help you to experience, break out performance faster and rocket to success. And now here’s your host, customer and employee engagement expert and certified emotional intelligent practitioner, Jim Rembach.
Jim Rembach: Thanks Kimberly. Okay Fast Leader legion, this show is one that’s very, very special to me because I think we have a chance to meet with somebody who’s really impacted the world with his work. He was born and raised in Ayer, Massachusetts but grown up in boarding schools in a couple different places throughout the country his name is Edward Hallowell. He has ADHD and dyslexia but Dr. Ned Hallowell sees them not as disorders rather straits that can bestow enormous benefit. When those straits are manage well they can help you get over the hump faster but their managed poorly or not recognize that—Oh, they can lead to disaster.
Dr. Ned is a graduate of Harvard College, Tulane Medical School and a Harvard Residency and Fellowship in Adult and Child Psychology. Dr. Hallowell served on the faculty of the Harvard Medical School for 20 years until he retired from academic to devote his full profession time to seeing patients, writing books and giving lectures and seminars. Dr. Ned has written numerous books including his ground breaking, New York Times bestseller on ADD called Driven to Distraction which initially brought Attention Deficit Disorder to the general public. Dr. Ned’s books have sold over 2 million copies. He’s appeared on every major TV show including Oprah, Good Morning America, the Today Show, CBS Morning Show, the View, Dr. Oz, Dr. Phil, 60 min. in CNN and now the Fast Leader show. Woot Woot!
Dr. Ned is the founder of the Hallowell centers with offices in Sudbury, Massachusetts, New York City, San Francisco and Seattle. These centres specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of learning differences especially ADHD and dyslexia using a strength-based approach. Currently Dr. Ned resides in Arlington, Massachusetts with his wife Sue and his dog Ziggy but he also has three kids Lucy, Jack and Tucker. Dr. Ned are you ready to help us get over the hump?
Ned Hallowell: Absolutely.
Jim Rembach: That’s awesome. So, I’ve given our listeners a brief introduction but can you please tell us what your current passion is so that we get to know you better?
Ned Hallowell: I love bringing ADHD and dyslexia to the world as strengths. People who have these traits are there people who’ve made this country great. If you have ADHD, sort of like, you’ve got a Ferrari engine for a brain, you’ve got this way powerful creative mind but you have bicycle brakes. So, I tell people I’m a brake specialists, I’ll help you strengthen your breaks and if you strengthen your breaks you’re going to become an absolute winner you’re going to go right to the top. Unfortunately if you don’t, well, that’s prison population. That’s what’s so interesting, cause, you know, a Ferrari with no breaks, precious. Well, ADHD, unchained, untrained gets into all kinds of trouble. I love my work, there’s almost messianic about it because it’s very high stakes, it’s making or breaking people at any age. My oldest patient is 96 and the treatment allowed him to write the book he’d wanted to write his entire life long.
Jim Rembach: That’s awesome. I had the opportunity to speak with somebody who had a two sets of twins and both sets have problems with Attention Deficit as well as no some other varying things that may oftentimes go with that disorder, she was actually paediatrician, she found herself really struggling with a lot of the information to help her own kids and so she decided to leave her practice as a pediatrician and go back and retrain herself so that she can help her kids do better. Because what she found that many use the disorder to crutch and the medication being provided to those people is being used as coping mechanisms instead of, like you had mentioned strengths. So what would be the key differences between the crutch and the strength and the movement?
Ned Hallowell: I don’t have any idea what this crutch model means, it’s ridiculous. You have this condition and it’s a matter of learning to tap in to your strengths and minimize the damage done by your weaknesses. I have no idea what she meant saying using it as a crutch, I don’t know what that means.
Jim Rembach: I think that’s really a part of the difference and the impact that you’ve made, is that, you don’t see it that way at all. You’re like you’re…
Ned Hallowell: I don’t know what it would mean. How does that manifest? How do you use it as a crutch? It makes no sense. She got to sit down and explain to me what she means by that.
Jim Rembach: No, I think that’s also—thanks for the focus. Thanks for the focus on the strengths, that’s an important piece. Now, without a doubt, we all have to seek inspiration especially when we have that strength base focus and oftentimes we lead to quotes and passages and things like that to help give us that inspiration, is there something for you that stands out as a favorite quote that helps you continue to move forward, can you share that with us please?
Ned Hallowell: Oh, so many. I happen to believe in God, I’m an Episcopalian and so, you know, God is love and that’s the way I look at it and so I’m really in the business of promoting love, promoting….people understanding each other, seeing each other’s side instead of each other’s worse side, drawing out the loving side of people, that’s basically what I do as a doctor, not to mention as a person. I suppose my absolute core, I’m in the business of finding and promoting love, and for me that’s God and it saved my life and it saved many people’s lives.
Jim Rembach: I think that’s awesome, that’s for sharing that with us. Now, with you and yourself having ADHD and dyslexia, let’s not even look at that we all have humps to get over and it doesn’t matter if we have those things or not, is there a time where you can remember that you’ve had to get over a hump and that really helped shape you into who you are today? Can you share that story with us?
Ned Hallowell: So many times—going back to the first grade when I’m sitting at a roundtable with other kids trying to learn read and I couldn’t do it. It came to be my turn and I couldn’t sound out the words. Back then, in the 1950s, they didn’t have learning specialist. If you couldn’t learn to read your diagnosis was you’re stupid and you’re supposed to try harder. I had this wonderful first-grade teacher by the name of Mrs. Eldridge and she knew there was more to kids who couldn’t learn to read than being stupid. And what would she do? During reading she’d simply come down and sit down next to me. And she put she put her arm around me, she was a [inaudible 7:11] woman so it was a big hug that she would give me. And she would hug me and next to her and as I would stammer and stutter none of the other kids would laugh at me because I had the mafia sitting next to me. And as a result I look forward to reading even though I was the worst reader in the class. By the end of the year I was still the worst reader in the class but I was a very enthusiastic student to reading, that’s to that hug. To this day I’m a painfully slow reader, that’s what dyslexia does but I did learn to read and I in fact, majored in English at Harvard College and graduated with high honors and now I make part of my living writing books so that would never had happened had it not been for that marvelous first grade teacher who is sort of an angel from heaven.
Jim Rembach: Without a doubt, so I want make a shout out to all of the Miss Eldridge’s in the world because we need you and more of you.
Ned Hallowell: Do we ever, do we ever.
Jim Rembach: Absolutely. Thanks for sharing that with us. Is there for you—like you were saying is that you were still the slow reader when you were young and you had shared with me that you’ve spent a lot of time in boarding schools and we all know that that can also be a difficult place because many boarding schools have a higher requirement regards to education and their standards are concerned, going through all of that and being able to continue to move forward and having so much success you had is there a piece of advice that you would give to our listeners?
Ned Hallowell: One of the most important ones is never worry alone. You’ll encounter obstacles and you’ll be inclined to hunker down and try to take care of it, don’t do that talk to somebody. Obviously you want to pick that person carefully but when you worry with someone you start solving problems. When you worry alone you often get depressed. So never worry alone is really good advice.
Jim Rembach: That is good advice. I think a lot of times we do sit in isolation and that will most makes the worry more intensive. I know you had the initial book and then you have written several others since then.
Ned Hallowell: Twenty others.
Jim Rembach: Twenty others, thanks, I hope that keeps coming. And I know we’re going to have a gift for our Fast Leader legion her in a minute, but first before we do that I would like and see if you could share with me what is your current passion with the work that you’re doing and how that really drives you?
Ned Hallowell: My passion is to bring these conditions, ADHD and dyslexia to the public in a way where they understand the strengths inherent in them and not just look at the downside. If you manage these conditions properly they become major assets that can drive you to tremendous success.
Jim Rembach: And you shared that with us earlier and I appreciate that. Is there like one or two things that you see as pretty common that folks can be able to be aware of or be able to take advantage of to help them do just that?
Ned Hallowell: [Laugh] Mostly just to understand that the condition—it need not hold you back. Then you need to learn about it. It’s not a soundbite thing, Jim, I know you want me to give you some soundbite and one or two things. But really understanding, these goes beyond the soundbite and that’s why write a book instead of writing a sentence. But go to my book, Delivered from Distraction or Driven to Distraction and you’ll learn a lot about the kind of mind that we call so misleading the ADHD. It’s not a deficit and it’s really, in my opinion, not a disorder but rather a trait. But I can’t boil it into a soundbite. It sort of annoys me the way people want to do that. If I could I’d write a sentence, I wouldn’t write a book. We live in an age that really pushes superficial thinking. Really pushes bullets and soundbites and really resists going into the depths that you need to go into. If you’re going to understand anything in any degree of subtlety and it’s something that I resist.
Jim Rembach: No and I appreciate that. You have the experience and that’s what we want to tap into. I think that’s important because you bring out one key factor about the Fast Leader show. Oftentimes, we do talk about the soundbites and pieces like that as far as that’s what it means to go fast but that is not true, in fact, to go faster you need to do things correctly. So, I do want to get down to what’s correct and your response definitely help us a ton. So that also leaves a…
Ned Hallowell: Remember that if you’re going fast you can’t go deep and you have to pick one or the other, speed or depth. Going fast you can’t go deep. We live in an age that puts such a premium on speed that we often sacrifice depth.
Jim Rembach: That’s a great point. For myself, I have found that when I do go deep with time it allows me to go faster because I won’t repeat…
Ned Hallowell: No, no, once you deep you gain the knowledge that can speed your progress tremendously, absolutely.
Jim Rembach: That’s exactly what we try to point out here in the Fast Leader show, is that, you got to get the depth, you’ve got to get the understanding, you can learn from experiences from others and that in itself will help you move onward and upward faster is to leverage those things. And you have given us the opportunity to learn a little bit more, like you talk about why you don’t do bites you do books, and I love that, I’m going to use that that is a soundbite . You’ve given us the opportunity to download the introduction to your brand-new book Driven to Distraction At Work. Now, what was the inspiration behind that particular title?
Ned Hallowell: We live in a major distraction, so this book is not about ADHD per se but it’s about the highly distracting environment that most people work in and I talk about different patterns of distraction, of different ways in which people allow themselves to lose focus and then I gave remedies as to what to do about it based on each pattern.
Jim Rembach: I’m forward get that myself because I definitely need it. Alright, here we go listeners, it’s time for the rapid part of our show and that’s the—Hump Day Hoedown. Okay, Dr. Ned Hallowell: the Hump Day Hoedown is the part of our show where you give us good insights fast. I’m going ask you several questions and your job is to give us robust yet rapid responses that are going to help us move onward and upward faster, Dr. Ned are you ready to hoedown?
Ned Hallowell: I’m ready.
Jim Rembach: What do you think is holding you back from being a better leader today?
Ned Hallowell: I need more knowledge. I’m always needing more knowledge and as much as I know when I’m 65 years old and I like to think I know a lot, I always need more knowledge the question is where to find it? And which knowledge to trust. I’m endlessly curious, always seeking for that additional insight that will allow me to be more effective.
Jim Rembach: So, what is the best leadership advice you have ever received?
Ned Hallowell: To hire people who are smarter than you are. In other words, not be threatened by people who are more talented than you are. I think the great leader is the leader who gives credit to others, who doesn’t insist upon being the shiniest star but rather sees that his or her role is to promote the talents of other people, that’s the best advice I ever got—to promote others not promote yourself.
Jim Rembach: What is one of your secrets that you believe contributes to your success?
Ned Hallowell: My ability to connect with other people. I think connection is what folks are starved for. They don’t even know it but we live in a paradoxical world where we’re super connected electronically but under connected interpersonally. And I think a lot of folks in the workplaces are starved for that interpersonal connection, I call that ‘human moment’ instead of series of electronic moments. And when they get that, their productivity just soars. When they don’t have it it’s like a vitamin deficiency, I call it ‘vitamin connect’ the other vitamin C and a lot of people are suffering from a ‘vitamin connect’ deficiency.
Jim Rembach: That’s so true. Now, I know, with all your knowledge and skill that you have and yet to obtain on your quest, is there a particular book or two that kind of stands out, that kind of a go to book you would recommend for our listeners?
Ned Hallowell: [Laugh] The Bible. I say that, it’s a great go-to-book and if you just have one book that’s a good one. The collected works of Shakespeare that would be another one. I know these are not on the business bestseller list but I think the most powerful wisdom is the most ancient wisdom and we need to remind ourselves of it. Whether it’s the power love or the power of connection or the power of knowledge, the Bible, Shakespeare those are good sources to turn to.
Jim Rembach: I think that’s awesome. What we’ll do is we’ll put links to that and other pieces of information including the link to Dr. Ned’s download on our show notes page, which you’re going to find by going to fast leader.net/Ned Hallowell. Okay, Dr. Hallowell, this is my last Hump Day Hoedown question: Imagine you were given the opportunity to go back to the age of 25 and you have been given the opportunity to take your knowledge and skill back with you but you can’t take everything you can only choose one thing, what would you take back with you? And why?
Ned Hallowell: My ability to connect, that would be the thing that I would take because that to me is what people need most in terms of motivating them and bringing out their best. So, I would go back with that ability to connect and also bring back my knowledge that’s what matters most because a lot of 25-year-olds don’t get that. They think they’ve going to be the smartest person in the room and often they are the smartest person in the room but they make everyone dislike them because they’re so bad connect at connecting.
Jim Rembach: I think that’s great advice. I was an honor to spend time with you today. Can you please share with the Fast Leader listeners how they can connect with you?
Ned Hallowell: Sure. Just go to my website Dr. Hollowell.com and you’re doing a great service with the show, I love the energy you bring to it, I love the passion you bring to it, it’s very clear you’re passionate about this and this world needs more passionate people like you.
Jim Rembach: I appreciate that. Dr. Ned, thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom, the Fast Leader legion honors you and thanks you for helping us get over the hump. Woot Woot!
Thank you for joining me on the Fast Leader show today. For recaps, links from every show , special offers and access to download and subscribe, if you haven’t already, head on over the fastleader.net, so we can help you move onward and upward faster.
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