I HAVE ADHD PODCAST
November 15, 2022
The ADHDers Guide to Achievable Goals with Michelle Carter
Big, impossible goals are sexy. That’s what the world wants us to think. We have to do all of the things and be great at each one. But unrealistic goals are a challenge for adults with ADHD, and they set us up for failure.
Michelle Carter is an American shot putter and three-time Olympic athlete who took home a gold medal in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. But more importantly, she’s an adult with ADHD who’s achieved some pretty amazing things by giving herself the space to choose what’s a priority to her and working on her goals one step at a time.
Michelle shares what she learned about ADHD that’s helped her identify and achieve her goals in a way that works for her — plus, we discuss the emotional moment she realized she’d won gold at the Olympics.
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE TOPICS DISCUSSED IN THIS EPISODE
PRINTABLE ADHD SYMPTOM LIST
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Kristen Carder 0:07
Welcome to the I have ADHD podcast, where it’s all about education, encouragement and coaching for adults with ADHD. I’m your host, Kristen Carter and I have ADHD. Let’s chat about the frustrations, humor and challenges of adulting relationships working and achieving with this neurodevelopmental disorder. I’ll help you understand your unique brain. Unlock your potential and move from point A to point B.
Hey, what’s up? This is Kristen Carter and you’re listening to the I have ADHD podcast episode number 185. I am medicated. I am caffeinated. And I’m ready to wrong. How are you? How are you? How are you? Come into the room get settled. I am so glad that you are here with me today. Thanks for pressing play on this podcast. It is going to be worth your time. I promise you, especially if you are someone who’s a little bit discouraged. If you feel like your ADHD holds you back in so many ways Today’s episode is going to light a fire in you. I know it did for me. My guest Michelle Carter talks about her journey as a student with both dyslexia and ADHD, and how she became an Olympic gold medalist. Michelle is a three time Olympian shot putter, who won gold medal in the shotput at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016, and became the first American woman to win gold in that event. Amazing. Of course, this is so inspiring. But for me, what was so so so inspiring about Michelle and my conversation with her is that she doesn’t hold back from acknowledging the struggles of life. But she is committed to reaching her goals in baby steps. And this part of our conversation, as you’ll hear, as we get into it, it was especially mind blowing for me, because Michelle never actually set out to be an Olympian, she just was trying to do the next thing a little bit better, and a little bit better and a little bit better. Just a tiny baby step forward. And I don’t know about you, but sometimes tiny baby steps forward seem a lot more doable and less daunting than big, huge goals. Imagine what you’d be able to accomplish. If you’re willing to take little steps forward, a tiny baby step forward today. So be inspired my friend, ADHD RS can do anything they want to do, and they have the right treatments and the right supports in place. I know you’re going to love this conversation. Please join me in welcoming my guest, Michelle Carter. Hi, Michelle, thank you so much for being here with me today. I am thrilled to have you on the podcast,
Michelle Carter 3:02
I am happy to be here.
Kristen Carder 3:06
It’s really fun. I’m so glad that we met. And we had a chance to talk a couple of weeks ago, and I just loved hearing your story. And after hearing it, I thought, listen, we need to share this with my listeners, because it’s so inspiring. Your energy is so incredible. And I know that what you have to share is going to be really, really encouraging. So would you just start by telling me just a little bit about yourself like a little bit about your ADHD story. When were you diagnosed with ADHD,
Michelle Carter 3:36
I was diagnosed pretty early, I think I was about five or six years old. When I was diagnosed number one, my mom put me in score early. So I’m like a year younger than everybody in the grade that I’m in. She just used to say like, you’re just so active, like you’re just so busy all the time. She’s sick you to school, and they took you even though they technically wasn’t supposed to. But some of the teachers thought that I should get tested. And so my mom’s hoping to get tested. And I ended up having ADHD dyslexia, and like a like a writing and speech issue. Something like I can’t remember the exact name of it. But there’s an issue there. And so it’ll mom’s like, okay, like cool, like we know what’s going on. Let’s see what we can do. I remember going into tutoring growing up, I especially when I was in elementary school, I went to a private school, and I will come out of class an hour a day to go see a specialist. And so we’re not gonna see the specialist we went over like reading and writing and map. And those are like, if I didn’t feel like doing it. It was a struggle for everybody. I don’t know how many times you made that woman cry. Because if I was if I didn’t want to do it, I’m just gonna sit there and not do it. And my mom had to pull me to the side have low conversation. She said you got to do your work. And so I had to get on it because I don’t like getting into Trouble. But also remember when I was in third grade, the teacher was like, well, she just won’t sit in her chair like properly, she just won’t sit in her chair. And so my mom was like, Well, is she bothering anybody else? And then the teacher said, No. She said, Well then move her desk. So she can sit however she needs to sit. Because if she’s doing her work, then what’s the problem? And so, you know, so the teacher did that she moved my desk. I didn’t have any problems with anybody. I didn’t have problems with her. I did my work. Even though I might be sitting in my chair with my head hanging off the side. The work got done.
Kristen Carder 5:37
Amazing. Your mom sounds amazing. Yes,
Michelle Carter 5:41
she is. She is she’s definitely was, I will say, my biggest cheerleader, and my biggest advocate, because my mom always told me that whatever you decide to do, you can do it. And now whatever, you didn’t do it, because you decided you didn’t want to do it.
Kristen Carder 5:59
Have you found that to be true for yourself? Yes, very much,
Michelle Carter 6:03
very much. So. Because even when things are hard, if I really want to get it done, I’ll do it. And I really do believe that for all humans, when there’s something in us, when we really want to get something done. There’s a quote that says, when there’s a will, there’s a way. And sometimes when we don’t get things done, we have to really look at ourselves and figure out, did we really want to do it in the first place?
Kristen Carder 6:29
I resonate with that so deeply, because I think that what I noticed in a lot of my clients and in myself is that we are not really telling ourselves the truth about what we want. Yeah. And so we kind of put things on our list, and we obligate ourselves to certain goals that we don’t actually want to achieve. But then we beat ourselves up for not achieving the goal that we didn’t even want in the first place.
Michelle Carter 6:55
Exactly. That’s why I think self reflecting is so important. Because we have to decipher what are dreams and goals that are put on us by society, our culture, our parents, and all of those things. But then once you put all that aside, and really get down to who you are, and what’s important to you, then you can make goals that are attainable for you, and that you actually don’t mind going after. Even when they’re hard when they’re hard because we know something, like there’s so many things that people actually do. And they do it and they figure it out, because that’s what they want. And so when you look at your goals, and you’re going after something, and it’s not quite clicking for you, I go back and look like do I really want this? Or do I want it because it looks good. Because it sounds good. It’s not a bad choice. You know, I could probably make a lot of money from it. But it’s not really something I want to do. And if it’s something that I really don’t want to do that I’m wasting my time trying to do something that I really have absolutely no interest in doing, because clearly I’m not doing it.
Kristen Carder 8:01
Yes, I resonate with that so much. I’m curious, what does self reflection look like for you? How do you do that?
Michelle Carter 8:09
So for me, I just to be honest, I look at what’s going on, and see where I feel like I’m falling short. And if I feel like I’m falling short, then why? Why do I feel this way about this particular thing? What’s happening that’s making me feel like this in this area? And then I have to look at it and reflect like, is it me? Or is it some other out external situations or something else? And once I kind of go through my little checklist, and I’m like, okay, Michelle, like you really are just being lazy, right? Or I will realize this, too, that maybe my desire to change that isn’t as strong as it should be right now. So it may not be ready for me to pursue that. Yes. So like, for example, with that, I will say losing weight, right. So losing weight, also has I had autoimmune disease, which has caused me to gain over 100 pounds. And so losing weight is not impossible. Losing weight for me, it’s really hard. Yeah. And so what I realized that my movements and my exercises can’t be as extreme and as heavy because if I am under too much stress, I’ll have a flare up and my body don’t recover well. So there’s like a sweet spot to where I need to be for the workout part, and then allow my body to heal from the workout and recover from the workout. But the biggest thing that I need to focus on that I do not focus on is the diet. What I eat, like not eating as much processed foods, eating more whole foods really being more nutrition based in my choices, going gluten free because gluten can look like the hormone and confused the body and people who have autoimmune diseases, and then sugar doesn’t help my ADHD, number one, but then number two sugar can be very toxic to the body, especially when we consume it in large amounts. So now knowing this information, knowing that this is the missing key, I delayed it, because it’s going to be the hardest thing that I have to do. And I had to come to the realization that you know what, I really don’t want to lose weight that bad because I’m not willing to give up these foods. And so I’m willing to put the time in
Kristen Carder 10:29
totally. And then what do you do when you realize that? Is there? Shame, blame judgment? Or is it just like, this is where we’re at?
Michelle Carter 10:37
Sometimes, because it can start with a little shame, because I feel bad. Like, why don’t you want it? Like, you should want this, this is better for you. But then I have to realize, like what’s going on in my life, and this season right now, I have to prioritize which one’s going to be more important for me to do? Yeah, so I have chosen not to eat the best way that I can. Because Georgia, especially while I was training, I was traveling so much, you don’t know where you’re going to be. In. Sometimes you have to eat what you recognize, and what you know. And, you know, I had a lot of situations, so I had to realize, okay, right now, I can’t focus on this, because this is going to be too all over the place. And it’s going to cause me more stress, trying to figure that out, versus just accepting that, okay, Michelle, you’re just heavier, let’s adjust life to where you are right now. Until you actually really are going to sit down and have the discipline to really change it. I say, because clearly, I don’t mind being this heavy. And typically, I don’t, I love myself, I love my body, I understand where I’m at. But then now I feel like I’m getting to the point where, okay, now I’m ready to make some changes. And I know that’s going to require a change of lifestyle, not just for the moment, but for the rest of my life. And I could feel myself getting closer to that, because now I’m starting to make better choices for myself, like just going for a walk, or eating whole foods and like, Oh, if I eat dessert, I’ll share a dessert, I won’t eat the whole thing. And I’m just unconsciously making these decisions, because I’m still getting the information so I can make the right choices. But now I’m in the place where I’m starting to make those those choices, because now I want it more than I don’t want it.
Kristen Carder 12:17
And it seems like you’ve given yourself space. And you’re not forcing it on yourself, and you’re giving yourself the option to choose. And I think that that is so impactful. Because what my expectation is, is that a listener is going to be like this is an Olympic athlete, she is going to be like, all sorry, the only phrases coming to mind is like balls to the wall with like, every single goal that you set. And I love that you are saying like, No, I’m prioritizing certain goals. And then I’m giving myself space with other goals. And I love that I think that’s so helpful. Because we’re not robots, we can’t just function at top. Peak Performance in every single area of our lives, we have to prioritize. So you are prioritizing, like, Okay, I’m training I’m traveling, I’m, I’m like putting my body through a lot of stress. And so that is the goal right now is to like train and travel, it can’t also be and I’m going to lose weight. Like it’s not even possible to do both at the same time.
Michelle Carter 13:33
Yeah, in general, I kind of think society lies to us. And we believe the lie that you have to do all these things at 100%, in order to be successful, and then they talk about like, well, you have to have balance, and balance me that everything is equal. And that’s not true. Balance means at this point in your life, you might be a little bit heavy on this side and lighter on this side. But then now you’re heavier on this side with this golden you are on that goal. And you have to prioritize what really needs to get done right now. So for most of my life, check has been the number one priority. Performing has been the number one priority. So therefore I can’t have like a great social life and be this elite athlete is is not the best choice if I really want to be the best in this area. So for me to be the best over here, it’s going to require way more energy. And so that social life part is going to drop because yeah, one has to be better or greater. You can’t be equal 100% Both is pretty much humanly impossible, but
Kristen Carder 14:42
I just appreciate that so much. Okay, let’s go back to grade school or maybe high school. When did you start? I don’t even know the right words because I am so not an athlete. Because I know that I don’t say playing track Like you would say, playing basketball. When did you start competing in track? Is that the right way to say?
Michelle Carter 15:08
Oh, now you’re all good. I started competing in track and field when I was in seventh grade. Okay. Yeah.
Kristen Carder 15:15
And were you immediately amazing?
Michelle Carter 15:19
Um, some people will say that, yes. But for me, no, tell me. Of course, I was good for my area. And for my age, I remember going to my very first Junior Olympics after my first year of throwing, and I was still what we call the ascending throw, which is a very basic beginners technique. And that’s what I was doing. And I did that all through seventh grade, I get to do the Junior Olympics, I don’t know what’s going to happen. I’m super nervous. And these girls are doing the spin and they doing other stuff. And I’m like, wait a minute, like, we ain’t there yet. I’m not comfortable with that. And even I went to that check me and I did the basics and got like, fifth or sixth or something like that. I was still like, Oh, I got so much, like, so much more to go. Like, I’m not even like on their level yet. But everybody else was looking at me. Like, she just got fourth and fifth. And she did a statement though, like, Who is she, where she come from? And you know, I didn’t see it that way. And so I didn’t really realize like, okay, Michelle, you actually pretty good at this thing until about 10th grade, and I’m traveling overseas for my first international competition. And I’m like, Well, you know why, Michelle, you might be good at this.
Kristen Carder 16:33
It took traveling overseas to an international competition for your brain to even consider like, oh, I, I think I might be good. Hello, I
Michelle Carter 16:42
won state as a freshman in the state of Texas. And in my mind, okay, that happened my freshman year. But will it happen again, my sophomore year, you know, because I look at it like, Okay, this because I want and as a freshman, it’s not guaranteed. Any other time after that anybody can have a good year, somebody’s becoming a senior, you know, like, you just don’t know what’s going to happen. So I never, ever quite looked at myself, thinking, whatever I did was guaranteed like is going to happen. I feel like all those spots in competition and teams that I’ve made and championships that I won, those are earned. And you don’t know who’s going to get it until that day. So I don’t look at anything as Oh, that’s a guarantee I earn, everything that I get are worked for everything that I get. So therefore, I don’t take those moments for granted.
Kristen Carder 17:33
Okay, let’s talk a little bit about the work. What is it like to train as a shot putter? And how did your ADHD play into that?
Michelle Carter 17:46
It’s repetitive number one, you’re doing the same thing over and over and over again. But I think what helped me was that I was able to really break down the technique and focus on little things within the technique. So even though someone may see me throwing, and it may look the same to them over and over and over again, there’s probably about 10 Different things I thought about and worked on during those throws. Wow. Wow. And I think that helps because even though I’m focusing on this one thing, there’s 10 things for me to focus on within that one thing. And so it kind of allows me to figure out how to zone in, because now, instead of being out of my body looking outwards, I have to now look inward in my body and figure out what’s going on. And so paying attention, like your attention may have to start at the foot and now has to go to the knee help. And I’m thinking that all the way through. And so for me, it helped, it helped. Because now not only am I just looking on focusing with my eyes, and with my mind, I’m focusing with my body. And so it gives me somewhere to put some energy to because I’m like, Okay, I need this part to work on my body versus I’m thinking about it. I’m actually putting the energy inside my body.
Kristen Carder 19:06
Things like procrastination, and avoidance, and inconsistency are kind of Hallmark traits of someone with ADHD. Did you find that that played a part in like your training or in academics? How? Tell me about the parts that were hard for you?
Michelle Carter 19:30
Well, the academic part was hard. That’s the hard part. Because I really do believe like when especially people with ADHD when we have an interest Yeah, we’re good. That’s so true. And a lot of things we’re not that interested in and we just have to be honest about ourselves about the things that we’re not that interested in. And that’s what we have to try to develop ourselves discipline to get it done because we really don’t want to do it but says some of these things need to be done like school. I didn’t want Do it, but it needed to be done. And so for me, having like, especially in sports, having a coach somebody else to be accountable to, and that helps, because I could procrastinate on myself all day. But I feel like another level of responsibility when there’s someone else counting on me to show up to, for sure. In college after your freshman year, you don’t have to go to study hall. Like they like, Okay, if you’re on the right track, your grades are good. You don’t have to go to study hall. I said, Well, Michelle Carter needs to stay in study hall because she has DNA. If I go home, I’m not doing any homework. And I’m not studying. Yeah. So I created that boundary for myself. So here I am, like a sophomore, junior and senior still in study hall with all the freshmen. And everybody is like, Well, Michelle, you know, you don’t have to be here. I was like, I know, I don’t have to be here. But Michelle has to be here. And Michelle wants to graduate from college and be eligible. And, and I was okay with that. Because I was like, in order for me to be successful. I can’t do what everybody else do. I have to do what works for me. So I stayed in study hall, I stayed if I really was confused with the professors, and making sure that I wasn’t trying to get a I’m gonna be honest. And I remember my freshman year, I actually was like, on the little list and, and for academics, I was like, but then over time, I was like, I’m struggling. And I failed my first college class, it was chemistry. And there was like over 400 kids in this class and how he taught it just wasn’t working for me. And I remember walking past a sign one day on campus that says C’s and DS get degrees. I set up, I am free, right? I don’t have to have a to graduate. I don’t. And and quite frankly, I know I’m not a student, because I really don’t want to be
Kristen Carder 21:56
yes, that goes back to the conversation on like, what you want to prioritize? And like where you want to be putting most of your energy and your time. It’s like, do I want to be putting that in track and field? Or do I want to be putting that into my academics?
Michelle Carter 22:12
Yes. Right. And I didn’t want to put in academics, I knew that about myself. And I was okay, I didn’t, I wasn’t really settling for a season DC is the minimum that I will do. But then I always aim for like a beat like a good solid be like, That was always my goal. Because I’m like, Okay, I know, this is really attainable. For me. It’s not one of those goals that are so far out of reach that I will have to really struggle to get, but it was just right there enough to push me to do better and not put in the bare minimum.
Kristen Carder 22:45
Right. Right. Right. And if you had held yourself to the standard of getting A’s, what do you think that would have been like for you?
Michelle Carter 22:53
I would have lost all my hair. I’ll be bald headed. Because there was just some subjects and some things that I just struggle with. And it doesn’t mean that I couldn’t learn it. I can learn it. But sometimes how the teacher wants it doesn’t work with how I work totally. And so I was okay with that. So like I remember one time, I had an algebra class, and I took it in the summertime. And I was like, I don’t know what I was thinking because I already don’t really care for math. And then now you’re like, accelerated because it’s a summer class. But then halfway through the class, a teacher gave us an equation. And he said, If you figure out this equation, he gave us the the equation and the answer. He says, Show me how you get this answer. He said, If you do you automatically get 100 in this class, you don’t have to do any more homework or nothing. Oh, my
Kristen Carder 23:54
Michelle Carter 23:55
I wrote down that equation. I worked at work, they work that got a tutor me and my tutor worked. It worked. It worked it I was one out of two students who got it correct. Yes. Yeah. Because I was like, oh, I want this a I said, this is what I have to do to get a I have three weeks to figure this out. I’m gonna figure it out. And I did. And so for me, like, things like that. It was like kind of, it helped me a lot like not doing all the details with all the work and the homework and having I that was too tedious for me. But that, you know, that was the hardest thing. I go focus on that one particular thing and get that thing done.
Kristen Carder 24:34
I have a question for you. And that is do you think that your mom’s influence of just allowing you to show up differently and advocating for you with teachers? Do you think that that really helps you to just allow yourself to be a different kind of learner as you went into college because I wish that I had had that ability to just know myself well enough to say like, Hey, in this class, I’m going to go for an A, because I totally think that like, while it’s going to be hard, it’s still attainable. But in this class, like in chemistry, we’re just going for a solid beat, like, let’s just let’s even get a solid C and not worry so much. And for me, because of my upbringing, and because of just like the black and white thinking of ADHD, it was like, all A’s, or nothing is the all or nothing thinking. Right? So I don’t know, I think it just hearing your story about your mom, that must have played a part into just knowing like, I know who I am. I know how I learn. And I’m just going to pick and choose my battles, essentially.
Michelle Carter 25:46
Yeah, I think having my mom saying those things to me definitely helped a lot. Because my mom always told me, she was like, nothing is impossible. You can do it, you have to work for it, you have to figure it out, how you’re going to do things is going to be different than how everybody else do things. And I’m just going to be all the way on this here. Because with that, and also growing up being black in America, there is certain expectations and a different pressure there. And so therefore, all those things kind of forced me to be like, okay, Michelle, I get if I want to be good at something or I want to be great, then I have to accept what is and work with what I have. And I give you as my mom, I was definitely mature for my age, you will think I have been here like five times before my time, right. But I saw things differently. And I feel like that is definitely a superpower of ADHD, you when you’re able to see and understand things that people are not showing you. I can see past what you’re showing me and I can figure it out. So like my mom always said, I have the artists friends I have like, I always say like you have little friends like a misfit group, I can see you pass what everybody else sees and see the good or the bad in something or someone always had that. And so just seeing life differently and being able to accept it because my mom was like, you know, growing up in a majority white school as a kid that’s labeled, can cause problems. And they wanted to put me in remedial classes and saying, well, she’s not going to be able to do this, she can’t do this, like look at her test scores, like her ADHD is so bad. But my mom was like, but she’s a genius. Like she actually can do this. But how you’re going to tell her she can’t do this, because you never had nobody who can understand you a specialist. But I see her every day you only seen her for a couple of hours. Yeah. And so my mom had that mindset, well, they don’t get to tell me or my child what she can and cannot do, I’m gonna let her decide that by telling her whatever you want to do, you can do it. You just have to work for it, you have to figure it out. It’s going to be hard. But if you want to go get it. And that’s always been like from both of my parents, like if you want it, go get it. You want to you want to go to college for free, go get it, you want to go do this, go get it, you want to go hang with your friends, go do your chores, go get it, you know, like, there’s this, give and take. And so that’s why I say everything that I’ve done is earned because I realize you don’t get anything for free. I’m not handed these things. I’m not giving these championships, I realized I am born with a great genetics because of my dad, right? He has these genetics. My mom is tall. I’m 510 I have these great genes that was handed to me. But how many people are handed a gift, a set of gifts and don’t use it? So many. So so we just figured out how to use it and me being who I am being in an environment that I was in has shown me Okay, Michelle, this is what you want in life. And this is what you’re going to have to do to get it.
Kristen Carder 29:09
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At what point did you start dreaming about the Olympics? At what point did you decide this is what I want?
Michelle Carter 30:51
After I pretty much made the Olympic team
Kristen Carder 30:54
Michelle Carter 30:56
I’m for Rogue RM. So for real, I always went for what’s the next best thing? What do you do next? Like once you go to high school, you go to college, you go to college, you went conference, then regionals, then the Nationals. And then you go like Okay, so after college, what’s next? I might call this like, well, the Olympics is right there. I could try out for it. Who knows if I’m gonna make it or not? I don’t know. Like, again, I’m not putting myself there. I’m not there until I actually get there. And so once I made the team, and I had my first Olympic experience, I was like, Oh, we coming back? Like this? Is it? Okay, is that as bad as I thought was gonna be? Oh, I’ll be back. So then that’s when it changed. Everything changed for me. Okay. I mean, I just remembered a moment. Go on why 2004. I remember, I had the option to go to the Olympic team, like Olympic Charles. And I was a sophomore in college. And I opted out. I went for the world junior team. And I didn’t go to the Olympics, Charles, because I felt that not take that back. I was a freshman in college. Oh, man, going into my sophomore years that summer. And I opted not to go because I felt like I wasn’t ready to handle all the things that’s gonna come with going on Olympic team, because it’s emotional. Like it’s a lot. A lot of emotions go into that. And so I opted out. And I went to World Juniors, because I had a rough freshman year. I wasn’t getting along with my dad that well at that time. And I was like, Well, let me go to this team and prove that I actually have what it takes me to prove to tell myself that I actually can do this. So I get to the competition. And I throw like two feet further than I did all year long. And I was like, okay, so I can’t do this. Like, this is actually something I can do. And I remember looking at the results of the Olympic Games. And what I threw at this world championship meet, I would have been in the finals at the Olympics. Ah, oh,
Kristen Carder 33:07
I gotta cheer. I know,
Michelle Carter 33:09
crazy. And then I was like, Okay, well, okay, maybe I do have what it takes. But I still didn’t put my mind like, that’s what I’m going to do. But I remember watching the 2004 Olympic games with my dad, you know, we had VHS back in the day, you had to record it on tape to watch it again. We didn’t have DVR just yet. And I’m sitting there watching the videos, and I’m watching these women compete and I am crying. Tears are just coming down my face. And I don’t know why. And then over time, I get to 2008. And then once I got through 2012 Olympic Games, every time I saw people on podiums, and watch highlight videos and films, I was crying, tears immediately becomes in my face. And then I remember going to an athlete retreat in 2015. And when they showed the highlight reel of what happened at World Championships, and they showed all the athletes on the podiums, and who got medals, and I was one of those athletes. And as I’m watching this video, I just started boohoo crying, and I couldn’t help it. I was so overwhelmed with this emotion coming from the inside out. And I’m like, What are you telling me that I’m gonna win the Olympics because I don’t understand what’s happening here. Like, I felt like I was getting I saw this flash of me being on the podium. And I was like, that can’t be it. Like, that can’t be it.
Kristen Carder 34:31
I’m covered in goosebumps right now, by the way.
Michelle Carter 34:34
Yes. So over time, I was like, oh, maybe this is it for me. Maybe this is my opportunity. And I just kind of played into the fact like, why not have the faith to believe that it actually can be me. And so when I when I took that approach, and really just zoned in in such a way how things played out after that was just crazy. But I’ve really always went for the next best thing, and always tried to do my best at whatever level I was at, and then just go a little bit beyond that every time. And 25 years later, you know is like, hey, like, that’s crazy. I actually did all of that.
Kristen Carder 35:19
Yeah. Okay, so I’m noticing a couple things about what you were saying. There seems to be a theme where you set very realistic goals for yourself. And I think that that’s actually, for me, it’s a surprise for me. Because my expectation of this conversation is like, you know, I was this little girl in school learning how to throw shotput. And I was dreaming of the Olympics as like an eight year old. That’s that was my expectation. And what you are saying is like, no, no, no, I always wanted just like a step above where I was at the time, and then the next best step. And then the next best step, instead of setting a goal that was so far out, that felt unattainable. And it’s the same with your academics, it seems like the same approach where it was like, I know myself, I know what I can handle, I’m going to set a goal that is a challenge, but doable. And I just think that we just need to pause because listener, I know that setting huge, huge goals is very sexy. But I also know that it usually becomes just a fantasy that we can really never achieve. And if we would just allow ourselves to set small goals, and not try to escape the life that we have, with our big huge goals, but just set a small goal of just small goal. What you just said, Michelle, is that you looked back after 25 years and you’re like, I can’t believe how far I’ve come. I can’t believe what I’ve been able to achieve. That is just so beautiful. It’s so beautiful.
Michelle Carter 37:00
Well, thank you. I think it’s always just that little bit of curiosity of, Can I do a little bit more? i Okay, let’s see, what’s the next step? Okay, I did that. So, okay, what’s beyond this? Like, what else can I do? If I can, if I threw like 60 P, can I throw 61 B? Okay, back there was 62 feet, and maybe I can do 64 feet. You know, it’s just like this, like Curiosity, okay, Weston, this a little bit more. And I think that’s really what kept me going. I was just really curious. And I didn’t need a lot to fulfill my curiosity. I just needed to know a little bit. Also, my dad, he always taught me into my interest in cinch, yard by yard is hard. I love it. Oh, anything that I do, you may have a really big goal. And with that goal, you may think you might need to get it done in five years. But really, what you have is a 20 year goal. Yeah. And you have to take it little by little inch by inch and break it down. And I think when we think of it that way, some of these really big goals can be attainable. Maybe just not in the timeline you would like.
Kristen Carder 38:10
And now a word from our sponsor. Hey, Kristen here, I’m the host of this podcast, an ADHD expert and a certified life coach who’s helped hundreds of adults with ADHD understand their unique brains and make real changes in their lives. If you’re not sure what a life coaches, let me tell you, a life coach is someone who helps you achieve your goals like a personal trainer for your life. A life coach is a guide who holds your hand along the way as you take baby step after baby step to accomplish the things that you want to accomplish. A good life coach is a trained expert, who knows how to look at situations or situations with non judgmental neutrality, and offer you solutions that you’ve probably never even considered before. If you’re being treated for your ADHD, and maybe even you’ve done some work in therapy, and you want to add to your scaffolding of support, you’ve got to join my group coaching program focused. Focused is where functional adults with ADHD surround each other with encouragement and support. And I lead the way with innovative and creative solutions to help you fully accept yourself, understand your ADHD and create the life that you’ve always wanted to create, even with ADHD. Go to I have adhd.com/focused to join. And I hope to see you in our community today. Take me to 2016 You’re in Rio. What are you thinking about those games? Are you just thinking like the next throw? Or the next event? Like what is it that gets you to the point where it’s like okay, and now I’m standing on the podium him.
Michelle Carter 40:00
Yes. So how it works at that time we’ve been shot put, we throw all on one day. So we came at 10 o’clock in the morning for prelims. And then you come back at 10 o’clock at night for finals. And so because you got to work with the time change for the whole world, right? Oh, my word is, so I get there at 10 o’clock in the morning. And the goal is to make it to the finals. So there’s a qualifying mark, there’s a line, when you go out there, there’s a distance you have to throw to automatically make it to the finals. So my goal is one and done. One good throw over that line. So I can go back to the room and rest. And so that’s it. That’s all I’m worried about. Let me just throw to make it to the next step. And so I get there, I throw, make it to the next step. Can I leave, thank you get out there, get on the bus, I’m back in my hotel, wash my face, take a shower, put my pajamas back on, and I’m in the bed nice. And I’m starting all the way back over. Like okay, like I’m gonna take a nap. And I’m act like I woke up on a new day. For the competition, I’m gonna redo my hair. I’m gonna redo my makeup. I’m gonna get redress go through the whole ritual all over again. Wow. And so I remember getting there to the stadium. And the competition starts, though. Number one, not bad. All right, we have five, well, you get three more, maybe two more, you get three. In the finals, you have the opportunity for six, but we have like will be called prelims. Because 12 make it to the finals. And then you get everybody gets those three throws, and then they break it down to where the top eight, get another three throws. So um, first throw. All right, still here. Waiting to see what everybody else throw. Okay, cool that I throw again. At this point. I’m in second place. You wait for everybody else to throw. I’m like, Okay, I’m still in second place. Cool, though again, still in second place. Valerie Adams from New Zealand’s in first place. And I’m like, Alright, cool. I mean, everybody else throw still in second. Good. All right, we get to the finals, they eliminate the rest of the other girls. Then we have our top eight. I throw still in second place. I’m like, Alright, this is getting old. Like, okay, I’m in second place. All right, I still have two more throws. Let’s see what happens on this next throw, throw again. And I’m like, Michelle, you are still in second place. Like you didn’t move up enough. Like, my thoughts are getting better, but not enough. And I’m like, okay, Michelle, what do you need to do? Like what’s going on, and I’m going through my technique, but my dad was giving me cues. But between that fifth and sixth throw, I didn’t need anybody else’s voice. I didn’t even look at my dad in between those rounds. Because I’m like, I got it. I know exactly what I need to do. And what I needed to do was to be more patient to allow my lower body to work a quarter of a second faster than my upper body. And I said to myself, my shell, if you can just get this separation from your upper body and lower body, let your legs work first, and then your arms. I’m like, you caught this. That’s gonna be a big throw. So we come up is thrown number six, and I’m thinking to myself, alright, Michelle, you got this. Go do what you know to do. So I’ll go into rain. I throw. You can see me going like yes, not because yes, because I knew I want I will say yes. Because the thing that I wanted to do on my technique, I did it. Yes. It showed up for me. So I knew automatically, it was a good throw. Now, was it good enough? For first I didn’t know that. But I knew that whatever I worked on and been working on all year, it showed up for me. Yes. And I was happy with that. And so after I saw that, it went pretty far. I don’t Okay, like we’ll see. I don’t know. And so when I’m waiting, waiting, waiting, and then finally my name goes up. And then I saw my distance. And then I saw a number one by my name. And everybody else is like, oh, and I’m sitting there like, like, okay, yeah, I knew that was gonna happen, right? Because I didn’t want to give the girl that was still in first place in the energy because because she was in first place. She had the last throw. So she still had one more throw after me. So I didn’t win yet, because the competition is not over till it’s over. And so she gets in the ring. And she throws and I automatically knew that it wasn’t going to be enough because she rushed it. She was she was a little too fast. Even though it was still was a far throw. It wasn’t good enough. But then at the same time you just like let me just double check. So we’re waiting to see the results like she’s looking at I’m looking at everybody’s looking at me looking at her and looking at me looking at her. And they say you know her name goes up. And then there’s a number two by her name. And everybody turns around looking at me and they’re like, Oh my God, and I’m thinking to myself sad really? Like, really like, this is how this plays out. Because prior to that three months ago, I could barely walk, I was hurt, I had a back injury. And then for all this to play out the way that it played out, I was just like in shock. Like, I knew I couldn’t do it. And I didn’t question. But it was just how it happened. And I think a lot of times in life, we envision life a certain kind of way, we want things to go this way, in order to be successful, it has to look like this, it has to be like this. And I tell people all the time, I am standing on that podium, about 65%. Healthy, wow. And everybody thinks that you have to be 100% of something to be great. And to be number one, no, you just have to be willing to be 100% and use what you have, you don’t always have to be 100%, I use 100% of my 65%. So that’s all I needed to win. And so like those little things matter, and I just had the confidence to believe that it’s possible. And I worked what I’ve been working on all year until I couldn’t do it anymore. Meaning after the last throw, the competition is over. But I could have been defeated a long time ago in a sub second place. Because second place isn’t bad. It’s still a medal I didn’t, I don’t have an Olympic medal. I’ve been to three and walked away with nothing. So walking away with a silver still would have been a great accomplishment. But I thought to myself, like Michelle, we don’t want silver, my daddy has silver. And so I worked it until the very end. And I think a lot of times we give up on ourselves way too soon. And we give other people way too much credit. But we all are so different. And we have to figure out how do we maximize what we have. Because I don’t have to be 100% to be the best in the world. You don’t have to be 100% to be the best in the world. You just have to be willing to give 100% of what you have.
Kristen Carder 47:08
I mean, that’s just I have no words. You are such a good storyteller. I could sit here and listen to all of the stories all day long. Absolutely amazing. It’s not even a story. It’s your life like this is this is real life. You have to give 100% of what you have. Tell me about the moment. i There was such a huge shift to it was like I’m in second. I’m in second. I’m in second. I’m in second. I’m kind of bored with second. Now. This kind of boring. What was that? Like? Are you surprised? That second became boring? It was like it was such an amazing challenge to get to second and then you’re like, this isn’t really a challenge anymore. Because I keep getting second it was like you had to it was like your mind went to that place where it’s gone your whole life, which is just like, what’s the next best thing? What’s the next step? Like okay, I can I have proven that I can do second that I can throw for second place. You prove that? How many times three, four, several times. And then it was like, Okay, what’s that next step? And the next step just happened to be Olympic gold gold.
Michelle Carter 48:22
I realized I didn’t want silver. Yep. I didn’t want it. Yeah, I sort of settled for it. Yeah, but I was like, okay, like, if anything at this moment, like walking me into this last throw, I’m guaranteed silver guarantee guaranteed a silver. And it because I was guaranteed it. It wasn’t what I wanted. And that was a different I went for what I wanted versus settling for what was handed to me. So good.
Kristen Carder 48:50
Incredible. Tell me what it was like to stand on that podium? Did the emotions come back the emotions that you had experienced through, you know, watching the replays of other people on their podiums? Did those same emotions come back when you were standing on the podium for Olympic gold? Or was it different?
Michelle Carter 49:10
It was totally different. Like I had some emotions, like right after I threw. And I’m sitting there thinking to myself, like, really, like, Wait, like, really, like I had like a split moment where I had like, one tear came out. And then I was like, snap out of it. Like I take these pictures. So I didn’t have those emotions then. But then on that podium, it was just like, I was so grateful to be there. Because the story could have been different. Yeah. Somebody else national anthem could have been playing. Yeah. But in that moment, I was just grateful that what I saw could be possible what’s actually happening. And the tool of visualization is so important because when you can see yourself doing something in your mind, your body experience CES as if you’re actually doing it. And so I have visualized myself being on top of the podium so much, that it was comfortable to be there, like, I already knew that I was gonna be there. And I’ve seen it so many times I know how this goes, you’re gonna be in the back, they’re gonna line this up, and I’m gonna be in the middle, because that’s what the goal plays, you know, first place goes is in the middle, we’re going to walk out, you’re gonna walk out the tunnel, we’re gonna walk around to the back of the podium, and then we’re gonna go third place, and we’re gonna go second place, and it’s going to be my turn, I’m gonna step on the podium, I’m a wave to the people, and then I’m gonna lean over, they’re gonna put my metal on my head, hand me, my flowers, give me a hug and a kiss. And then I’m gonna wave again, and then it’s gonna be time to play the national anthem. And so it was just like, in the moment, I’m living in a dream I already saw before. Wow. So it was like, I was I was able to really just take in the moment and see the people that showed up to watch me get my medal. There were coaches on Team USA that was there. There were women that I’ve competed against all these years who were in the same event, but they came back to the stadium to watch me get my metal. There were celebrities that flew in to Rio to see the Olympics. And they came early to see me getting my metal like Floyd Mayweather was there. Lesley, I can’t think of the comedian. She’s a black comedian. Leslie, I can’t think of her last name. She was there. And she was screaming at the top. I don’t know her. I got to know her. But she showed up. My dad is sitting there. The head coach of the Olympic Games, her name is Connie price Smith, she was pretty much one of our top US throwers for me. And she was the head of Olympic coach. And she’s normally the shotput coach, and she was there to watch me get my medal. And she’s been watching me my whole career. People who have been on my team USA team who’ve been on teams with me when I made my first USA team when I was young and 10th grade was there to watch me my team. And I had to take in that moment. I was just so grateful that this happened, but not for me. But for everybody else who watched me in that moment. Because I knew that that moment was bigger than me. I was just being used in that moment.
Kristen Carder 52:27
Beautiful. We have listeners all over the world, varying circumstances, varying socio economic standings, levels of education, all the things. So we have listeners who are listening who are thinking, I can’t relate to an Olympic athlete, I have nothing to offer the worlds. And I hear from so many people that they’re discouraged in their lives that they feel like ADHD is really holding them back and to have somebody like yourself, come on and say like, yeah, it’s a whole thing. ADHD is a whole thing. And you can go for what you want. And you can accomplish the next best goal for yourself. And you can look back over decades and say like, Oh, my word, look at all of the things I’ve been able to accomplish. I’m curious what encouragement you have, for somebody who is maybe feeling like they’re just not taking steps or they don’t know how to how to move forward in their lives? What What might you have to say, for somebody who’s struggling,
Michelle Carter 53:34
I would say that you having ADHD is not a mistake. It wasn’t an accident, is not a curse. Some of the most brilliant people in the world have learning issues, or differences. And the reason why they’re still brilliant, is because somebody needs to be able to see the world differently in order to figure this out for everybody else. Was it Albert Einstein, Beethoven, there’s so many people in history that are like you. And because they didn’t allow a label that people don’t understand the find them, you get to define you for you too. And when I do some speaking engagements I talk about, like having this champion mindset. And what I’d say all the time is champions, set they own standards, they validate themselves. And with that, you get to tell people who you are and what you can do, they don’t get to tell you what you can and cannot do. So you take that power that you’ve given to others, and you give it back to yourself. And just because you’re a different it just allows you to see the world differently, and you get the opportunity to come up with solutions that others can think of because they don’t have the same brain that you have. And that’s how I choose to look at my life and myself is that I was made like this on purpose. So that I can have a different view on life to impact the world in a way that others can’t, because they don’t get to see the life the way that I see. And so, when you look at it, that way, you take the limitations off yourself, because what you have is not limitations, you just have a creative way of thinking, you have a different way of learning, like you may be really sitting on the next biggest thing that can change human life for the rest of the life. But you have to take those limitations off of yourself. Don’t allow others tell you what you can and cannot do. That’s your job. Yes, you get to tell yourself what you can and cannot do. And there’s going to be people who are not going to believe you, and they’re not going to understand you. And that’s okay. But you have people like Kristen and this community and this podcast of people who you can surround yourself with positivity. Yeah. And figure out new tips and tools that help support you, while you’re being the best you that you can be. Yeah, and so I would say definitely find your people that even though they may not believe 100% of everything, but they’re supportive, and everything that you do, that’s what you want, you want to have that kind of community, and surround yourself with that. And then go back and really think about who you are today and who you believe you can be. And you work on that difference. And you set those standards and expectations for yourself. And then you allow everybody else to adjust to who you are,
Kristen Carder 56:52
oh, I just really resonated with that last part about allowing other people to adjust to who you are, especially when you’re making changes, and you’re becoming someone new and different that other people might not recognize. And it’s sometimes very inconvenient for the people in our lives when we make positive changes for ourselves.
Michelle Carter 57:14
Yes, because people are selfish, unfortunately, people are very selfish. Sometimes you realize that there are some relationships around you that the only reason why they’re in relationship with you is because what they can get from you. And or they’re around you, because for some reason, they think very highly of themselves and think very little of you, and being around you makes them feel really good about themselves. Yeah. And so you want to really look at those relationships and decide who really deserves to be in your place in your space, because being around you is an honor. You know, like, these people don’t have to be in your space, you don’t have to shine your light on them, especially if they’re not shining any light back on you. And this is something I’ve learned recently, and something that I actually am working on currently, is to be in mutual relationships with people that when we’re in this relationship, even if romantic or platonic, I think I said that word, right? You did. Okay. And, and it has to be a win win for both of us. Like I’m able to give, and they can take and they’re able to give and I can take. And we both can see that how us being friends, is going to make us both better, and put us in a better direction in life, either if it’s just because we are able to speak positively to each other. Or we may have connections, there’s something when you’re intentional about really getting to know who you are being intentional about who you allow in your space and who you allow to be in relationship with. And add a family into that because there are some family we can be related to. But you can change who you spend time with. And there’s some family members who are very negative and very draining. And when you around those type of family members, you don’t have to be there. You can limit the time that you spend with them. And even if you live in the same house with them, you can limit how you interact with them and change how you interact with us. Yes, if it’s not conducive to where you’re trying to go and who you are, and it’s draining you. And I think when you start paying attention, like who’s draining me, then you start to make the changes. And when you get those leeches out your life. The energy you get the clarity you receive and the confidence you get is unmet.
Kristen Carder 59:42
And then you can use that extra energy to pursue the goals that you want to pursue. You are suddenly untethered to toxicity and you’re suddenly untethered to this like anchor that’s holding you down, weighing you down, so to speak, and There’s so much more energy and emotional and mental reserve that you’re just like, Oh my goodness. And now I have space to pursue goals. Some of you are not pursuing goals because you’re surrounded by toxic relationships. And they you’re just depleted. You have no, you have no emotional and mental reserve. There’s no capacity leftover for what you want, what you want to do. Oh my goodness, can we talk all day long? I think we could. Can we just keep going and going and going and going, I will have to have you back. Because we really didn’t even get into your champion mindset work. And I think that that is just another amazing contribution that you’re making to the world. I’m curious if my listeners want more of Michelle Carter in their lives, how can they find you? Where’s the best place for people to connect with you, Michelle?
Michelle Carter 1:00:53
Yes, the best place you can go to shot diva.com and you can definitely connect with me there. I’m also on Instagram, tick tock Facebook, all the things are you talking shot diva. Your girl is everywhere shot diva.
Kristen Carder 1:01:09
I love it. Thank you so much for being here with me today.
Michelle Carter 1:01:13
Thank you for having me.
Kristen Carder 1:01:16
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