top of page

ep.15: “I Tried Shame, It Didn’t Work!”

What I love about what I do is I work with adults with ADHD and I work with them all over the world.

In today's episode, I'll be joined by my former client turned coach, Houda AzzaOui in a discussion about the often-misunderstood challenges of time management and calendaring for those with ADHD.

In this insightful conversation, we talk about self-judgement and the anxiety associated with task management. By the end of this episode, you will understand that you are not alone in your struggles and that there is power in shared experiences.

Coming soon, I'm rolling out The ADHD Academy! Click here to learn more!

What you'll learn:

  • How to deal with shame and judgment associated with procrastination

  • Tools to manage time and tasks effectively when dealing with ADHD

  • Overcoming procrastination by embracing your emotions

  • How to create a safe, compassionate space for transformation and acceptance

"We all, as humans, struggle mainly with the same things, just in different ways and at different intensities." - Houda AzzaOui

Useful links mentioned:

Houda AzzaOui's bio

Houda is an international Transformational Coach & Mentor who speaks four languages and has lived in 7 countries!

She teaches kind-hearted, ambitious women in business to navigate their emotional roller-coaster and transform confusion into clarity, overwhelm into focus, avoidance into action and inner critic into inner cheerleading so that they can create more flow, fun and joy in the journey towards their big goals.

Houda has an extensive toolset ranging from coaching the unconscious mind, to using energy psychology and energy medicine techniques as well as menstrual cycle awareness to help her clients in the easiest, fastest, most effective way.

She quit a successful career in the tech industry back in 2017 to follow her passion for personal development and her calling to create a meaningful impact in the world.

Listen to the Episode:

Click here to read the transcript:

Welcome to Learn to Thrive with ADHD. This is the podcast for adults with ADHD or ADHD-like symptoms. I'm your host, Coach Mande John. I'm here to make your life with ADHD easier. Let's get started.

Hello. Welcome back. We are here with Houda. And I've had, she's a former client of mine and I had so much fun working with her. And I think one of the really fun things was we have been talking for almost an hour already before recording this podcast.

And I now have a book I have to read. I have a class I'm taking. I have. Three different things I'm looking into. She's also a coach and we're coached in from different philosophies from different schools, but we have so much in common and Houda was born in Germany, and she grew up in Morocco and she lived in Australia and several other places.

Where are you currently?

Houda: In Lisbon, Portugal.

Mande: Lisbon, Portugal. And what I think is so fun, what I love about what I do and just, you can tell I'm excited about it is I work with adults with ADHD, and I work with them all over the world. And it's so fun to just. Realize we grew up in completely different ways and completely different places, but we have so much in common and you're like across the world from me and we're having this conversation.

And so that's just a lot of fun. But Houda came to me, she found me through the life coach school directory of coaches, and she came to me. Tell me, I think it would be better if you explained exactly what you, the problems you were presenting with.

Houda: Yeah, sure. So, I came to, I was like, my biggest problem was procrastination.

And at that time, when I came to you, I just wanted to like, be better at time management and calendaring. So yeah, I was listening to broadcast CEO spot, like podcasts. And I had the idea of calendaring and I had done the course before, but I wanted to be working with a coach one on one. So that's why I checked like in the LFC Directory, and I found you and I was like, oh my god, I could resonate with you.

I checked a couple of your YouTube videos and I love them. I was like, okay Because you were a handful, I think of coaches like specializing in ADHD and I wanted someone because it's so much easier for non ADHD people To just schedule and be organized and it seems so easy for everyone else and I’m like, oh my god I'm 36.

Why? It's like, why is it so hard for me? So, I wanted someone who understands it and understands the challenges that it's not just willpower and that's what most people reduce it to. Like, yeah, just, just get it done. Just sit and they just do it. Really. I worked with business coaches who couldn't understand it.

Yeah. And they. Take it for laziness or lack of willpower or motivation when it's like so much more and so more complex. So, I did want that structure like time management and be able to calendar and I wanted to have someone who understands where I come from.

Mande: And we were talking. Oh, sorry. I interrupted you.

What was that you said?

Houda: I just said that I found you, so happy I did.

Mande: Oh, thank you. And we've had so much fun in the time we were working together, and we've caught up a few times since. And so, it's always fun. I have like five more tabs open. You put our two brains together and you come up with about 50 things that we're interested in, or that I should read this book, or have you seen this podcast?

And actually, we were, we were like. Here, ready to get started. And I wrote down another podcast I have to go check out because who'd have recommended it. And so, it's just, it's fun to understand each other the way we do. And so, it's been good, but when we were working together in coaching, what was. A tool that helped you.

Do you remember any, any tools that were helpful to you?

Houda: So I remember at the time, so that way we're in August now and at the time of recording and it was back in, I think, end of November or December when I come to you and I came to you and I was so overwhelmed at the time, like from the personal side as well, and I had so many things I needed to do and I just couldn't get myself like work from home.

I didn't have any. So, I had a lot of free time actually and staying at home and just not doing anything that was so frustrating. And I was so overwhelmed with all this admin stuff that I needed to do. And it was getting really, really urgent and some things like I was getting in trouble with admin stuff, with the tax.

So, I came to you with that, and I wanted a system to put them in place. And one of the tools that really, really helped me was FocusMate that you recommended to me. I had never heard of it, and I still use it. I still like, I know I went off for, you know, it's not about, like the constant reminder it's not about doing that perfectly.

Just like I feel like I fell off the wagon for a couple of months and I just came back to it I know it's there and yesterday I used this was like, okay I'm just going to schedule it and I know when it's scheduled. I just like do it and I remember there was this Particular task that I had to do, and it felt horrible and had been procrastinating for I think two years And I remember like so well of that morning.

I think it was like Five or six months ago now, but I remember like sitting there, it was either 8 30 or 9 AM. So, morning and allowing myself to feel the anxiety. I was reassuring myself. Okay. It's just an emotion. What is it? It's exciting. It's just, I'm just telling those things to myself. It's just a sensation in my body.

It's not going to kill me. It's fine. Let it be here and do it anyway. And then I did the thing, which took. Less than 20 minutes. I think. And I remember I actually wrote it down just after I did a hard thing, and I didn't die. Love that.

Mande: I wanted to point out to our listeners something that you did right there that they might not be familiar with, but what she did is just accepted the emotion that she was feeling anxiety and she felt it in her body and she named it and she just allowed it to be there.

And what happens is when we get in trouble with our emotions, we Push them away. Like we resist them, or we react to them. Something that she could have done instead was just like shut the whole thing down because she didn't want to feel anxiety or went and did something else or like feeling into that emotion is what she did.

And I think that's something I wanted to highlight because I don't think a lot of people understand that.

Houda: Yeah. And you actually have YouTube video on that, on processing. Was it called processing emotion? I remember, I think it's the first video, even the first or second video of you that I watched. And that's a tool that I use all the time.

Like it's my favorite one to use with my own clients. So, when I saw you like presenting it, I was like, oh, I like her. So obviously, you know, we're humans as coaches and we still need reminders to use our own tools. So that kind of was helpful to have you there and like, okay, it's just an emotion is there.

It's just a sensation in the body. I can feel it, like I'm not going to die. And afterwards, like that sentence, I did a hard thing. I didn't die. Like, wow. I think it's, it would sound so, so good. Ridiculous for so many, like, none, what is it called? Non neurodivergent, neuro typical people. Yeah. And you got it, right?

And I think that's, that's the amazing thing about working with you is that you got me. You got the challenges. at not only because before with other coaches I worked with like I could still although they were compassionate and heart centered and all the things I could still feel a part of judgment or not understanding at least that when you're already shaming yourself and judging yourself like the slightest Thing like hurts even more so having that understanding from you and I could like it's not even worse that you said I could feel it like in you in your eyes in the way you were listening in that, you know, it just made sense to you because you've been through it and you know, and that alone was like, wow, that was mind blowing you know, like a sanctuary for me.

I'm going to go back to that word. Like, it really was such a relief. And I think that in itself gave me so many permissions and helped me to stop judging myself and shaming myself, despite, you know, all the work I had already done on myself. Like, there's still that, like, why, like, I'm a coach.

I coach other people. Why am I not? I don't know if I'm allowed to say that, but I'm sure we can just bleep it if it's a problem.

Mande: I love hearing that because that's what I hope to present is that I don't want any of my clients to feel any more shame than they're already feeling. They do not need that from me. I, I don't believe in that with my children.

I definitely don't believe that with my clients, they're adults and we're already beating ourselves up enough. So, it's, and it's really not a shameful thing. It's not a shameful thing that we're having a hard time doing the things on our list. It's not a shameful thing that we're having a hard time managing our time.

And, you know, sometimes it gets into really simple things. It's not a shameful thing that we're having a hard time doing the dishes or the laundry. It's just that our brains are just wired different, and we don't have the tools we need in order to get it done. And that's why we're here. That's what we're doing is we're learning, right?

If they're listening to this podcast, they're here to learn what kind of tools will help with those things. And none of it is shameful. I think I have so many clients come to me and go; I don't know if anybody else does this. And I'm like, just everybody else and me. All right. But what I really want to do with these interviews with my former clients and current clients is to have listeners hear them and resonate and go, okay, like, not only who is talking about how, like, I got her, but like.

You also get them, and they get you and they're understanding, you know, exactly what you're going through. What do you think would be helpful to people listening to this?

Houda: I'm just thinking that in that story, I just told on like how overwhelmed I was with that to do list and how I was judging myself for not doing it.

And that was not for lack of time because I had all the time, all the time that I needed. And in working with you, like finding that safe, compassionate space and starting to implement little by little. And I think like something that can be helpful is I know it's easier said than done, but like, it's okay.

It's okay that you cannot do this. It's okay that you're struggling with this. You're still worthy. You're still lovable, whatever it is that you're struggling with, whether we've talked about it or not, you're not alone. Like there are at least a hundred or thousands of other people struggling with the same thing.

And going back, yeah, I had so much shame with procrastination when I started, when I first started my business, I literally, it was until I became aware of it that I realized. That unconsciously, I was thinking and assuming that I was the only entrepreneur on earth that was procrastinating. Now it but I was seriously thinking that I was so ashamed of it that it took me time to name it to my coach back then.

That I was paying to work with one on one, to actually say that I spend my days Netflixing and not doing anything that I'm supposed to be doing.

And it was when I started getting into entrepreneur groups and business-like coaching groups that I realized. Everyone struggles with it, even the people that to us ADHDers, like from the outside look like they're all organized and have all their things together, like when you talk to them, they are procrastinating a ton of other things.

And we all as humans struggle mainly with the same things, just in different ways and at different like intensities. And we always tend to look at other people's lives, like we're looking on Instagram, right? Everything looks polished and photoshopped and filtered. And everyone looks happy, and everyone is always on vacation, and everyone is always in luxury, in luxury hotels, and has luxury cars, etc.

And it's like, is it just me who hasn't traveled for the past year? I haven't been in a five-star hotel in a while, like, forever, you know? But it's not like that. We get to see snippets. Of people's lives, and we don't know, like, what's going on in their minds, and I think that, like, that's one of the gifts, actually, of being a coach, of getting into people's minds and hearts, and hearing, and for me, like, group coaching as well helped a lot.

But the first, like, the first time I got awareness of this, when I did group therapy, All the way back in 2016 it was, that I realized, oh my god, like, this person has a completely different story, it's a completely different context, and yet, like, we struggle with the same thing, whether it's perfectionism, feeling lonely, shame, like, we all struggle, like, there's It's a piece of the story of everyone that we all resonate with at Semlove.

Yeah. So, just remember, you are not alone. And I think it's that feeling of being alone, being the only person who struggles with that, that brings, like, that huge shame and judgment and from that place of shame and judgment, like we cannot, we cannot change. It's not like shaming ourselves. I tried, believe me.

It didn't work. Shaming ourselves to change. It didn't work.

Mande: I love hearing what you're saying because I've told this story a few times to several of my clients, but when I was doing just group coaching, not just group coaching, but when I was doing group coaching, along with my one on one coaching, this was probably early last year or something like that.

I did some group coaching. ADHD group coaching for several months. And we would come up with a new course, just like if you're interested in something like that, stay to the end and hear about the membership that's coming out. It's the ADHD Academy that hopefully I'll have out in August doing my best, but in that group coaching, just like you described, I saw this.

Not only did I see so many examples of people coming from different walks of life. Understanding each other. My best day was on Wednesday when I had that Brady Bunch of you, of all these people. One's from Ireland, one's from Finland, one's from, I can't remember all the places that they were from. Bunch of places in the US.

And I'm watching this Brady Bunch view, and this person is talking, and all the other heads are shaking yes. They're agreeing and there was this one situation where there was this mom. She was brand new. I think she had a very little, little one. And then she was pregnant. She was going to have another baby really soon.

And she was from Finland. That's when I was describing, and she was staying home taking care of her kids and she was describing this problem. And I have this other client who's an engineer somewhere. I don't know if it was in the Midwest or in the East and you know, a man. And I don't know if he had any children or not, but she was describing what she was dealing with.

And I just was watching him shake his head. And I was like, wow, they are from completely different ends of the spectrum, and they understand each other. And so, for those of you out there, if you don't, if you get an opportunity to experience that, like it really does air out the shame. It really does help you realize, gosh, I'm not the only one.

And I always described shame It's always something we're hiding. It's like in the dark. And I think I mentioned it in a different episode where I like to envision it as when we're airing out our shame, we're taking out like a white sheet and we're shaking it out. And, you know, it's just been freshly laundered and we're hanging it out on the line and the air gets to run through it and the sun is shining on it and everybody can see it.

And then. It takes away all the shame. That's just, I don't know why that resonates for me. That description, hopefully it does for you guys as well, but we're coming to the end of our time. Houda is there anything else that you wanted to share before we want to, we want to know all the places that people can get in touch with you.

But before that, is there anything else that you wanted to say?

Houda: Well really just how grateful I am for having found you and if like our listeners are having any doubt like to just stop doubting and go work with you because you're really amazing that's what you do and you provide such a safe compassionate understanding space that allows for transformation for starting to shift things and changing things and accepting ourselves.

It's really invaluable. And I think it's like your natural gift. It's just part of you. It's not even something you're doing, you know, it's not like you have the tools and stuff, but it's not only about that. It's from that compassion that we can feel from you. And I could feel that. And I think that's.

That's really, really amazing. That's really important to have as a support. So yeah, thank you for like, I still remember, you know, our sessions and things we've discussed, and I still use them, you know, and they're still useful for me. Our, you know, it's those things, like you learn tools and. Like have changes that will last a lifetime.

It's not just like, you know, during that coaching session, it's things that stay with you and you can keep using again and again and again. And you know that you can get back to it's not about being perfect. It's changing or implementing perfectly. One of your recent episodes actually was a great reminder for me of that, about more about progress than being perfect at doing it the first time.

So, yeah. Thank you.

Mande: That is, couldn't have a better endorsement. And I had such a great time working with you and hopefully we'll work together in the future again. But let's tell people about all the things that you have coming.

Houda: Okay. So, I have come to a podcast. That I'm pretty sure I'm going to name a soul, the soul sanctuary for kindhearted and ambitious women.

And yeah, I'm really, really, really excited about it. So, I'll be talking about everything. Emotions, energy, psychology, energy work as well, which I'm really passionate about. And also, that, you know, a lot of the feminine and masculine energy and that conflicts and how to make them work together and accepting different sides of ourselves.

So yeah, that's really the main thing that I have coming up. It would be available on podcast. I think I'm planning to launch it in August. So, by the time this episode airs, I think it should be live. And then other place that you can find me is my website,

Mande: All right. Very good. Well, thank you for being with me today. I know that things like this can make us all a little nervous to get on and talk about these things, but I really appreciate you doing that. And I know people hearing your story and your experiences are going to help a lot of people. So, thank you.

Houda: Thank you.

Mande: All right.

Thank you for your time, and especially for your attention today. If you haven't looked into the ADHD Academy, you'll want to do that. This is my membership, with binge-able courses, weekly life coaching, new courses every month, a community of like-minded people and more.

Be sure to head over to to get the details.

See you next week.

Enjoying the show?

Subscribe via App

le Podcasts, Stitcher, or RSS

Leave a 5-star rating and review in Apple Podcasts


Post: Blog2_Post
bottom of page