come alive Archives - ⚡️Kristen Kalp

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Lower the Bar

Since you’re one of my peeps, I can make a bunch of assumptions about you. Namely, that you’re an overachiever who does your absolute best each day. You might be grappling with mental illness or physical illness or battling asshole brain or measuring your worth by your work ( <– HAPPY FREEBIE TO HELP YOU DEAL WITH THAT HERE).  No matter what, you still give each day’s efforts everything you’ve got.

Trouble is, I’ve noticed that my clients and I are often holding ourselves to standards we created in The Before. Nothing about our lives functions the same way as it did in 2019, but we refuse to let ourselves lower the bar for what it takes to survive and thrive in 2022.

Psst!  This is an episode of my podcast, That’s What She Said!  The audio contains more asides and three of my poems, but here’s the quick version 👇🏻:

Here are 3 thoughts that might help you ease up on your expectations for yourself in these dumpster fire days:

1 – When you’re in the BRACE FOR IMPACT position, your clients probably are, too.

A coaching client of mine mentioned that inquiries for her business dropped significantly in the past 10 days. She was certain this was ALL HER FAULT.

“Did anything else happen in the past 10 days,” I asked.

“Yup, Russia invaded Ukraine. I’ve been off of social media and in the fetal position for a few days now.”

“Do you think your (potential) clients are ALSO in the fetal position, which explains the lack of inquiries?”

Holy shit…you’re probably right.”

When the world is destabilized at the global level by an insane dictator who provokes a war for no good reason, and who attacks a nuclear plant for funsies, it’s nigh impossible to continue business as usual. You might feel less like you care about your business, or you might pay less attention to other businesses, or both.

That’s because when you’re in the brace position, your clients probably are, too.

I’m not saying you have to stop working or marketing entirely, but please give yourself the grace of realizing that you’ll probably have to repeat yourself more as this conflict continues.

Acknowledging that current events effect your energy levels, mood, and will to work means you don’t have to beat yourself up for being human, or wonder WHY NO ONE CARES ABOUT YOUR SALE ON MUGS RIGHT NOW. You’re not doing anything wrong; we’re simply doomscrolling and panic breathing in an ever-more-distracted fashion at the moment.

2 – No one can tell the difference between your 90% and your 100%.

This is a fun principle to test out!

One of my coaching clients spent hours less time than usual on a writing project for her college class, shocked to find it returned by the professor with an A+ at the top. That’s because, for overachievers who are habitually aiming for perfection, no one can tell the difference between our 90% and our 100%.

You can easily spend hours tweaking font kerning or editing a draft for a fifth time. And NO ONE CAN TELL THE DIFFERENCE IN YOUR FINISHED PRODUCT.

This is a call not for lowering your standards, but for acknowledging where you are already meeting and exceeding others’ standards for your work.

You are not required to go above and beyond for each effort you make.

You do not have to CRUSH IT OUT OF THE PARK each time you step up to bat.

Your clients do not need to have their texts returned within 23 seconds.

You don’t need to show up on social media 23 times per day with your game face on.

Much of your success in the coming years (read: as systems continue to crumble and everything ever is in flux) lies in your ability to know which standards to maintain and which you can let go.

Showering? Still pretty awesome.

Responding to each email received within 15 minutes? Lower the bar.

Delivering client orders days ahead of schedule? Lower the bar.

Losing sleep to put the finishing touches on a low-paying project? Lower the bar.

Not letting yourself feel feelings even though Covid isn’t over and Putin is making moves that threaten the entire world? Lower the bar. (And let yourself have feelings.)

To my delight, one of my clients was like, “If I’m being honest, I don’t think people can tell the difference between my SIXTY perfect and my hundred percent.” Yes! Exactly!

We require SO MUCH of ourselves that lowering the bar feels like self betrayal – but it’s actually self care.

We simply CAN’T keep our 2019 standards for living or business completely intact and expect to stay sane.

Lowering the bar for ourselves is an act of unprecedented kindness for ourselves and our futures.

It’s also a wise acknowledgement that things have changed – at every level, in every part of the world – and that our futures lie in dealing with reality at this moment. In these times, with these very particular circumstances.

3 – Double down on meaning.

If social media feels like a hellscape of nothingness…good. Quit Facebook and do something you’ve always wanted to do. Take up the hobby you’ve never found time for. Cut your screen time in half and use those hours in ways you find delightful.

You can subvert the entirety of the media complex on this planet by using your time to do anything but doomscroll.

If something has meaning for you, please let yourself take it up with abandon. Write the play, film the movie, record the album, release the book, have the baby, join the movement, organize the protest, adopt the animals, start the project, paint your living room with rainbow colors. (Or, most subversive of all: rest.)

The more society as we knew it goes flying off the rails, the more free you are to pursue that which gives your life meaning. We live on a burning planet, and it’s up to us to determine how we use our time here. Seek hope. Turn off your wifi. Plant a garden. Volunteer. Spend sumptuous hours learning to cook or knit or sew or organize effectively…whatever you like. ANYTHING beats doomscrolling on Insta.

If you don’t know what has meaning for you in this moment – if everything is simply a flat, barren wasteland of despair – rest.

Sleep is a legitimate hobby these days. Other legitimate hobbies for those lowering the bar include napping, daydreaming, resting your eyes, canceling plans, and going to bed early. We can’t reliably access hope in our bodies without having accessed sleep first. The world is simply too heavy, too insane, too wildly WTF IS EVEN HAPPENING to do much of anything effectively without first prioritizing rest.

P.S. You don’t have to earn your keep.

Marie Phillips talks creating your own midlife crisis.

Ever interviewed the author of a choose-your-own-adventure book? Turns out, IT’S REALLY FUN.

Marie Phillips is a writer whose latest book is called Create Your Own Midlife Crisis: The Best Way to Make the Worst Decisions.

You might take her book for a spin and end up texting photos of your boobs to Hot Russell (like I did), or you could end up buying a motorcycle before running away to Brazil. (If those don’t suit, maybe having a baby with your estranged husband will save the marriage?)

By turns funny, depressing, ridiculous, and truthful — Create Your Own Midlife Crisis takes an unprecedented approach to middle age.

In this interview, we talk about ALL THE THINGS. The joys of midlife, the pain of having made exactly the wrong decisions many years ago, the downside of meteoric success (having your first novel turned into a feature-length film starring Sharon Stone, anyone?), the upside of going through a midlife crisis early (and in Dutch!), and the ridiculous shit we encounter every step of the way. (Marie hates slugs, and she’ll tell you more in her spiffy, hilarious newsletter.)

Midlife is about “coming to terms with the fact that you cannot make your life perfect.” – Marie Phillips

Listen in, then take Create Your Own Midlife Crisis for a spin and see where you end up!  Buy Create Your Own Midlife Crisis here.

P.S. Want to hear another interview with a rad author you’ll love?  Beth Pickens talks Time, Fear, and Asking for artists.

Time is your friend.


As we re-enter the world in some fashion after being locked down or nearly locked down for more than a year, I wanted to talk about some of our most-basic-but-important relationships as humans.

Like it or not, you’ve got a relationship with time, with money, and with energy. We’re going to address each of those relationships with an eye toward improving each one in a tiny series of coaching podcasts, starting with time. Truth be told…

Time is your friend.

My saying ‘time is your friend’ might feel like a bunch of bullshit. Because you have 3 meetings, 4 car rides, and 72 emails to conquer today, and that even doesn’t include your ‘real’ work. You might feel as if time is scarce or as if time is your most hated enemy. You might feel as if you don’t have enough time, no matter what you do or how hard you try to find time for yourself and your interests. You might have experienced so MUCH time in pandemic that you’d like to skip a year or two in response. You might feel bored by time, stressed by time, or just plain pissed off that time is not within your control.

Let’s talk about simple ways to to help you feel less like you’re free falling through your days.

This podcast episode will help you enjoy the time you’ve got by being fully present with what is, rather than stressing about the 84 tasks you haven’t done and the fact that you haven’t yet watched Ted Lasso. (Spoiler alert: THAT SHOW IS AMAZING.)

When befriending time, remember: structure is not the enemy.  Unstructured free falls through time are the enemy.

If you’re anything like me, I know how hard you fight structure of ANY kind. I know you don’t want to do any activity every single day, let alone something USEFUL OR HELPFUL FOR YOUR LIFE every day.

You know that having a precise calendar with scheduled work tasks and clear boundaries around your work time would be useful. But you can’t seem to change your days. You wake up, get to your desk at some point, and then wonder what to do…so you check your email, get overwhelmed by the amount of communication ahead of you…and start scrolling. Or reading emails without answering. Or bouncing from tab to tab, vaguely ‘working’ but without any real sense of direction.

Another day lost to overwhelm.

For the full monty on time and structure, I’ve got you covered. The Structure That Doesn’t Suck podcast series will help you create structure from the ground up in your life, whether you hate structure with the fire of a thousand suns or, at the opposite end of the spectrum, know exactly what you’ll be doing at 3pm on Tuesday six months from now.

Part One helps you figure out which of two time types you fall into and recognize your most basic patterns.  Part Two helps you sort your priorities and get shit DONE.  Part Three loads you up with tips to help maximize your time, while in Part Four you’ll dream big and nail down some concrete plans to help you move forward with structure AND priorities in place. Part Five wraps up with making parameters for your Next Big Thing to unfold, this time with structure in place from the beginning!

Not ready for the five part undertaking of Structure That Doesn’t Suck?

Here are three ways to befriend time right this instant.

TIME HABIT OF MAGNIFICENCE #1: Schedule hard tasks of all kinds.

Much of what doesn’t get done by peeps who own their own businesses is truly boring shit.

For my coaching peeps, those hard tasks tend to be accounting, bookkeeping, invoicing, and most anything related to money. (Sales, marketing, and pricing can also fall into this category!) Because they avoid the tasks, each one grows in size, making them EVEN MORE FANTASTIC TO AVOID.

If you hate bookkeeping and you’re a month behind, it’s a task you dread. Make that six months of no bookkeeping and FUCK IT I’LL START A NEW BUSINESS INSTEAD OF DOING THIS WORK.

You can avoid that FUCK IT I HATE THIS reaction by scheduling regular time to do any and every dreaded business task.

Schedule regularly designated days or times each month to do hard things.

In KK on Tap, we have Get Shit Done Days to help with this! We meet at 10am to tell each other what we’ll be working on, then go at the bullshit tasks we’d rather not do until 2pm, when we meet again to talk about what we’ve accomplished. (And fling confetti. Obviously.)

The ‘we’re in this together’ momentum makes even the most mundane of tasks celebration worthy: we didn’t want to do things! We rallied and did them anyway! Hooray! (To be clear: we clear *four* hours to work. *Four.* So much of what we dread doing as business owners takes up headspace for months, but takes minutes to complete!)

Schedule recurring hard tasks so you don’t have to think about ’em.

Rather than running out of time to work on your social media posts and doing them in front of the TV on Wednesday nights, set up a recurring event that gives you time to do your marketing during regular work hours. Same goes for writing your newsletter, holding a sale, or meeting with your accountant!

Schedule it, schedule it, schedule it.

The more willing you are to schedule at least some of your work time, the freer you become to enjoy the rest of your work life!

No more dread and freaking out about all that shit you’re not doing.
No more guilt about avoiding your accountant.
No more vague sense of nausea about the paperwork you haven’t filled out.
No more wondering whether your clients are mad at you because you haven’t done what you promised.

Put it on the calendar, then do the work when the time comes. You got this.

Need help with this topic? Check out That’s What She Said episode 204, The Quietly Subversive Three-Hour Work Day.

Next up: the constant hustle. One of the traps of owning your own business is getting to a point where you’re working ALL THE TIME. You’re always working or thinking about working. When you do have time off, it tends to focus around holidays, other peoples’ needs, or both. In the interest of breaking that pattern, let’s talk about our second habit…

TIME HABIT OF MAGNIFICENCE #2: Schedule things to look forward to all over the place.

Begin by taking days off for no good reason.

Of course you’ll be at the family Christmas this year, complete with the gift buying and cooking and prepping and cleaning that entails! But what about taking off a random Thursday in October for no good reason?

We often think we have to have a Very Good Reason for taking time off, when in actuality we can enjoy days off without any ‘real’ reason at any time.

We’re adults, aren’t we?

To schedule random days off, simply take a look at your calendar of choice and mark three full work days in the coming six months as OFF. Then honor them. I did this by sprinkling some Wednesdays and Thursdays OFF in the next six months, and I can guarantee that Future Me will be happy AF. (Also: if you haven’t yet watched Ted Lasso, this is a perfect place to binge watch! FOR NO GOOD REASON!)

You’ll be tempted to take the days back, to make them super productive or project-oriented, or to schedule work tasks *only in the morning* because you feel guilty about having time off.

Please don’t do those things.

Give yourself the gift of a full, glorious, 100% responsibility-free day off.  JUST BECAUSE.

TIME HABIT OF MAGNIFICENCE #3: Turn your goddamn phone off.

Your phone does not love you. It cannot hold you and will not attend your funeral. It is a machine that stimulates our brains but severs us from our bodies — to our detriment.

Turning your phone off during the work day can help you focus. Turning it off when you’re not working can help you be present with all that is happening in your life. Either way, turning your phone off for sixty minutes a day will create freedom from the constant checking-picking-up-replying-scrolling patterns we’ve made during pandemic!

👉🏻If you’d like to cut your phone usage by 50% or more each day, check out Space. Space is a 21-day email class that will help you take back your time and attention with small, action-oriented daily activities.

A recent student of Space, Laura, said: “The internal space is DEEP AND WIDE! I feel like a huge, sprawling, muddy energy disease has been removed from my system. There is so much more space to feel potential and to take action. I have space to have slow mornings, take naps, play some video games, sit outside and enjoy the sun and flowers and STILL GET MORE WORK DONE than I ever did before because I’m not on my phone.”

If the thought of having random days off, time without your phone for an hour each day, and scheduling tasks can’t even BEGIN to touch the time issues you’ve got going on in your business, please consider working with me through KK on Tap biz coaching.

I’m actually what they call time affluent — meaning that I don’t view time as a scarce beast coming to eat my life and soul. When we work together, I can help you find, create, and enjoy time in ways you can’t even imagine at this very moment.

Join the waitlist for coaching here — or shoot me an email and I’ll add you to the waitlist.


🔥Schedule time to complete at least 3 tasks you’ve been avoiding.
🔥Schedule 3 random, you didn’t earn them days off in the next six months.
🔥Turn your phone off for an hour as often as possible.
🔥Check out Space if you’d like to cut your phone time by 50% or more.  (The average person gets back FOURTEEN hours per week!)
🔥Listen to the Structure That Doesn’t Suck series if you’d like to go deeper into befriending time!



P.S.  Ever feel like you’re doing it wrong, where it = everything?  Read this next.

Interrupt the pattern.

Interrupt the pattern

Psst!  This is episode #225 of That’s What She Said, my podcast! Listen in below, or read on for a transcript-ish version of the goods. (The actual podcast involves raptors and fences and far more swearing and laughter!)

Like bajillions of people around the globe, I picked up a yoga practice during the pandemic.  I started practicing yoga with Jessamyn Stanley over at Underbelly Yoga, and WOW is she amazing.

Why is she so amazing? She’s good at teaching because she had to learn every part of each sequence in her body, and it wasn’t easy. She didn’t wake up in a teeny tiny, ultra-athletic body, good at every sport imaginable. In class, she talks about how for the first year of doing the pose she’s now modeling, she fell down. She makes no issue of needing to rest, of needing support, of needing modifications, or of otherwise listening to your body, because the whole point of class is to learn to listen to your body and push it to its own edges.

Here’s the great thing about having been chronically depressed (i.e. mentally ill) for most of my adult life: I CAN TEACH YOU SO MUCH ABOUT MANAGING YOUR BRAIN WHEN BULLSHIT NONSENSE FROM YOUR OWN INTERIORS TRIES TO TAKE YOU OUT OF LIFE ITSELF. 

Because I had to learn it.  Every bit of it.  I fell down, I got rest, I got supported, I learned stuff, and it was absolutely fucking miserable…until it wasn’t. Until I learned.  If I can save you even three minutes of the nonsense my brain has thrown at me for the past two decades, I’ll count it as time. well. spent.  For both of us.

Here’s the first tool: interrupt the pattern.

Your brain is an asshole, as we’ve talked about and talked about. But you might not know that yet, or you’ve forgotten after being locked down for months on end.  You might believe everything your brain has to say, and that’s precisely the place where we begin.

Interrupting the pattern means that you catch your asshole brain in action without believing a word it says.

This is step zero — as in, before step one, there’s step zero.  That means this tool isn’t particularly exciting and will feel completely inadequate. (A little like learning to do down dog properly in your late 30’s, and WOW you’ve been doing it wrong for 20 years.)

When your brain is being an asshole, it’s generally following a well-trodden road. That road is littered with phrases like, ‘Who are you to _____?’ and ‘You can’t possibly ______,’ and the old standards, ‘You’re TOO MUCH’ and ‘You’re NOT ENOUGH.’ Both/and, at the same time, because brains are awesome like that.

Again: interrupting the pattern means that you catch your asshole brain in action without believing a word it says.

That simple activity — catching your asshole brain in action — will start to remove its power over you. Your inner bully likes to run around, given free range inside your head, and when you stop it from moving about as it chooses, you begin to regain control over your mental health.

It’s not going to go down without a fight, though.

Asshole brain will kick up reminders of all the times you’ve failed to listen to your intuition in the past, reminding you that you’re a horrible degenerate fuck-up who won’t ever learn.

You’re not capable of changing. You’re useless. You’ll never learn. You should give up. Remember that time you were warned and did that stupid thing anyway??????

Asshole brain will present you with tremendously helpful stories of the past, like cataloging your failures one by one, over and over, while also providing endless reasons to give up in the present.

You’ve never done this before, why start now? You should be further along by now. You’re not qualified to do this. You’re not ready. You’re going to lose everything you love if you keep going.

Most commonly, asshole brain will take the worst case scenario all the way to its (illogical) end: you’re going to end up homeless, loveless, and penniless if you _______ [insert incredibly small task here].

Examples of that small task include: sending that email, talking to that person, failing to talk to that person, or asking for help.

Asshole brain also has a catalog of stories about what other people think of you or will think of you.

She’s jealous. He’s going to leave you. They’re spearheading a campaign against you. She’ll think you’re weak. He’ll think you’re too cocky. They’ll send you hate mail and you’ll never recover. You’ll die via mail bomb because your work is so controversial. Most recently: THE KARENS ARE COMING!!!!

Asshole brain is also really, really into asking you Uninteresting Questions.

‘What do they think of me?’ or ‘How do I compare to them?’ won’t take you anywhere interesting. ‘What’s wrong with this?’ will yield 3,427 unhelpful responses. ‘Why even try to [insert task here] during a pandemic…’ will only help you find all the ways you are useless, inept, inadequate, and otherwise unable to help at this moment.

What does asshole brain repeat to you, over and over again?
Where does it trip you up or convince you that you’re utterly broken?

Record the most common phrases your asshole brain uses so you can interrupt the pattern in the coming months.

When you can call out asshole brain — OH THERE YOU ARE I SEE YOU — you are then free to reorient your brain to a new pattern.

That pattern might be taking a few deep breaths
or refusing to believe that you are a useless piece of shit
or putting your phone away
or even, possibly, at some point…believing in your own abilities and power.

But first, it will be unpleasant bullshit that you hate doing, and you’ll see no point in it, because it’s easier to sink into the mud of nihilism and despair than to keep your soul alive. Particularly at this moment. Particularly when you can spend 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, tuned into the headlines, and the headlines are 1% good news and 99% END TIMES DEATH DOOM GIVE UP WHY EVEN BOTHER.

When you interrupt the pattern, you’re making progress. Even if it doesn’t feel like it.

Please go and practice interrupting the pattern.

When you are spiraling, when you are endlessly scrolling, when you are completely overwhelmed, when you are freaked the fuck out and sure you’re completely ineffective as a human because you haven’t managed to single-handedly stop rampant police brutality, systemic racism, and Covid-19…interrupt the pattern.


You don’t have to believe everything your asshole brain says.

And you can be of far greater service to the world when you learn to tame the beast within your own mind.

P.S. My business exists because of supporters and coaching clients.  If you benefit from my work and want to help me have exist in the world, you can become a supporter here.

If you’d like to learn more about year-long business coaching with me, email me — — and we’ll talk!

The fine art of saying No.

I spend most of my time working with people who identify as female, so the fine art of saying “no” is a big deal. It’s one of the things we tackle early on in business coaching (waitlist for January is here), since building boundaries and defining what you will and will NOT tolerate will always bring you closer to your higher self and your truest work.

Let’s find some places where you can push things off your plate by saying “no,” and therefore make room for your most important work to come to light.

As always, these points are not about judging you or making you feel small, but about pointing a flashlight to areas of your own interiors that you might not have considered in a while. (Also as always, I only know about these because I’ve been there and unboxed shit-tons of gross debris while getting clear of each one.)

Psst!  This is an episode of That’s What She Said, my weekly podcast!  You can listen in below, catch up on all the episodes here, or keep reading for a transcript(ish).

Let’s start with 15 things to quit that you might not have considered:

+ e-mail lists you ‘should’ like or care about
+ perfection porn across all social media platforms (think flat lays, styled shoots, and product + photography so good that you want to buy $400 artisanal butter knives RIGHT NOW)
+ that one person you’re insanely jealous of and want to BE
+ Facebook, Twitter, or any social media platform that steals your life force
+ any committees, boards, groups, or clubs that give you a sense of dread or loathing when you think about them
+ any client who causes your solar plexus to contract when you see an e-mail from ’em in your inbox
+ unrealistic challenges that set you up for failure (i.e. 90 days of P90X in a row, what happens on day 91?)
+ the safety of doing the thing you’ve always done
+ going it alone
+ those services you bought but no longer use and now they just take $9.99 a month, every month
+ the news in forms that cause harm (video and text are VERY different animals)
+ sports
+ fashion
+ your bathroom scale (Related: I weigh 198+ pounds and 0% care.)

Further out, you can unfollow, unsubscribe, ignore, quit, and give up.

I’ve quit: following a mentor I paid $20k to work with; paying attention to a person I want to BE; Facebook; trying to buy clothes online; gluten, dairy, sugar, and garbage food in general at certain points when my health desperately needed attention. I’ve quit the Catholic church, and Christianity in general (related: coming out of the spiritual closet). I’ve even quit trying to explain my job to my mom.

I need to unfollow these people:


I need to unsubscribe from these people:


I don’t have to listen to this voice in my head any longer:


It’s okay to quit paying attention to:

With quitting, you’ll naturally come up against making sure that you reaaaaaaaally need to quit. I’ve tried buying clothes online again recently, and failed. That means I’ve returned hundreds of dollars’ worth of clothing in the past few weeks because sometimes, we need to be sure the rules we’ve made are still true. This is a normal and healthy part of human behavior, not a reason to flog yourself for any reason. (Related: your shame is not interesting.)

Give up. On purpose.

I’ve given up on having an empire, building a team, making 7 figures, being on Oprah’s radar, doing more than 2 speaking gigs a year, creating big huge expensive scalable programs, and trying to connect with the masses instead of 1-on-1, which is my unique area of bliss and expertise.

Mostly I learned about what I needed to give up on by trying to do each of those things and then wondering why I resented my work so much at every turn.

Seething resentment is generally a sign that you’re on the wrong path.

Your turn! I need to give up on:


No more ____________ is a way of saying no.

We all have habits and patterns that repeat, usually unconsciously, until we bring them to light. Let’s drag some of those patterns into the open so you can choose to keep them — or not.

+ No more downloading freebies you never read.
+ No more signing up for services you ‘should’ use.
+ No more trying to make your dreams bigger or smaller in order to fit in.
+ No more toning it down to please _________ (whether that’s a real person or a voice in your head, still applies).
+ No more censoring yourself to avoid being not-liked.
+ No more sticking to rules you’ve had since you were small that no longer make sense or serve you.
+ No more reading books all the way to the end just because you started them.
+ No more numbing out with food/alcohol/drugs/reality TV/other. (Related: is it nourishing or numbing?)
+ No more pretending ________ doesn’t matter, because it does. (In most business-related things, your SOUL is the thing you’re pretending doesn’t matter, which is particularly painful.)
+ No more doing things the way you’ve been doing them because that’s the way they’ve always been done.

Your turn!  I’m declaring NO MORE to:

Finally, there’s the big one. The one person, place, or thing that comes to mind when I say there’s a thing you need to quit, stop doing, or start saying no to.

You don’t have to tell me or anyone else, for that matter, but it is helpful to admit it to yourself.

The big thing I need to admit is:

May you give up, quit, unfollow, unsubscribe, and cancel whatever no longer serves you.
May you find ways to bring your truest work to light.
And may you master the fine art of saying “no,” starting right now.

P.S. Reclaim your energy, become a quitter.