make meaning Archives - Page 2 of 17 - ⚡️Kristen Kalp

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Simple + helpful ways to defeat asshole brain

After more than a decade of biz coaching work, I’ve noticed that solopreneurs struggle with asshole brain in VERY specific ways that often end in self sabotage.  So!

Let’s walk through six really friggin common ways asshole brain will mess with you and your work.

I’ve been living with depression and its kissing cousin, asshole brain, for more than 2 decades now. PLEASE let yourself learn from this work without shame or guilt! Each subset links to a podcast episode or article of mine that will help you explore each aspect of overcoming asshole brain a bit further.

Asshole Brain will tell you to give up.

It will tell you to abandon…everything. Absolutely everything.

The specifics may include: your career, your work, your marriage, your internal goals, your boundaries, your hopes, your friends, and your fiercest talents.

Asshole brain always has a word about what you’re doing, why it absolutely sucks, and why you should give up. ALWAYS.

What if you go all in instead?  <– This is the tale of losing many thousands of dollars on a business event, and why that was not the worst thing that ever happened to me.

More subtly, asshole brain will try to get you to walk away from the work you’re doing at this moment.

You sat down to work on that project or painting or piece of writing.

You’re finally answering those emails and DMs and voicemails and messages and texts.

You’re all set to begin tackling that organization project or those systems you need to set up or to create an email list to connect with your peeps.

But suddenly! The laundry! The phone! The need to doomscroll! The kids’ needs that aren’t at all urgent but WOW IT’S BETTER THAN DOING THIS!

Also you’re hungry! You’re tired! You need to ‘just check in on’ social media before you can begin! The toilet needs to be cleaned URGENTLY! And on and on it goes.

Asshole brain fights for control of your thoughts by letting you get to the knife’s edge of doing your work in the world — and then it pipes up about THE URGENT NEED TO BE DOING ANYTHING ELSE.

But. What if you get fierce about your priorities and identify the actions that actually move the needle of YOUR business forward?  Lemme show you how to get started.

Should you find ways to do your work consistently, asshole brain does NOT want you to be seen.

When you enter into doing work that’s public in some way — say, for example, you’re a business owner who puts anything at all on the internet 😉 — asshole brain will curl into the mental equivalent of an armadillo under threat.

All armor.

Nothing goes in or out.

Remain still and hope for the best.

You’re basically in vulnerability bunker mode.

This armadillo phase results in hiding, freaking out, procrastinating, and possibly buying other people’s tools/prompts/done-for-you kits so you can have something to say. It might also end with repeating what ‘works’ even if it doesn’t enrich your soul in any capacity.

::cough aggressive sales funnels and tripwires cough::

Unfortunately, being truly seen is the only sustainable way to feel as if we belong anywhere.

If vulnerability gives you the heebie jeebies, listen to or read Vulnerability 101.  I’ll walk you through ways to begin to be vulnerable online. (It’s something I’ve been doing for 11 years now!)

If your particular fear of being seen involves having an email list and sending zero communications per year, check out How to F*#*ing Communicate! This short class and workbook combo will help you figure out what to send, and when, with less stress and fewer freakouts.  Promise.

Oooh another one! Asshole brain remembers every bit of training that you’re veering from when you decide to try something new. It wants you to do everything ‘right.’

Those college classes that weren’t helpful but were ‘official’ in some way? It remembers.

The courses and coaches and teachers and mentors who have had an opinion about your work over the years? It remembers.

Asshole brain will beat you up about all the ways you’re veering from the path, even as it also declares the VERY SAME PATH stupid and useless and then concludes that you should just give up anyway. (SEE HOW SNEAKY THIS MOTHERFUCKER IS????)

You don’t have to do anything the way everyone else is doing it. You don’t have to whip up business offerings that look like what everyone else is making.

You don’t even give a fuck about what your past mentors have said. <– I once paid $20,000 to take part in a mastermind and, over the course of the years following, to UNlearn everything I had learned in that space. Unlearning has been a deeply difficult and ultimately satisfying pursuit, ’cause now I can help you Go Your Own Way in business.

Should you succeed in making a thing! Asshole brain will try to negate the work you’re doing because it isn’t ‘official’ in some way.

Maybe you’re trying something new.

Maybe you’ve recently taken up a hobby.

Maybe you finished creating your next business product and it’s ready for launch.

Maybe you have written nonfiction all your life and you’d just like to write a single poem.

This is when asshole brain will remind you that you’re a [JOB TITLE HERE], not a [MAKER OF THE THING YOU JUST MADE].

It will also get really hung up on titles and certifications and degrees and ways that you can’t possibly be qualified to do the thing you just friggin did.

What if you let your deep knowing drive the bus? What if you didn’t listen to the voices that say you’re not qualified or certified or capable of doing the things you’ve already done? We can work around being ‘official’ when we’re in touch with our intuition.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, in which you are basically frozen in place! Asshole brain wants you to THINK about your work more than it wants you to DO your work.

When you think about writing the book or painting the painting or building the website or helping the clients or opening the studio or renting the office, you’re fine. Pin 3,000 photos of your dream office to Pinterest and your brain is SO FUCKING HAPPY. You’re SAFE. You’re in Imagination Land, flitting from flatlay inspiration to new website template idea to paint colors to furniture choices to planning your perfect bookshelf.

But!

Action makes asshole brain freak out.

When you call to make an appointment for touring the office or write another 1,000 words for your novel or investigate website hosting or send out the invitations to the open house, asshole brain goes into full blown freakout mode.

Making and sharing your truest work is vulnerable. And asshole brain doesn’t want to be vulnerable. (See: vulnerability 101 — you can do this!)

If you’re the thinking-about-it-thinking-about-it-thinking-about-it type, what’s the smallest bit of action that needs to happen in order to move your work forward? You’re capable of taking those steps.

If overthinking is a HUGE problem for you… The M-School podcast series will help you place some structure around your daily work, as well as help you reframe your weekly schedule in a way that’s both enduring and flexible.  (M stands for Magic, and I’m fairly certin you’ll love everything about M-School!)

If procrastination, the need to go back to school or be ‘official,’ the constant critique of ‘you’re doing it wrong,’ amped up distractions, and the ever-present ‘just give up’ chant don’t take you out of the game, asshole brain gets more subtle.

In some cases, you’ll prioritize others’ work over your own. You’ll find no time for your ‘real’ work and let other people’s needs take over your schedule.

This is easy to do if you’ve got kids! You could take 30 minutes to work on that thing, or you could cut out early and go back to the ever-present needs of tiny beings. This becomes a habit, et voila! You’ve never got time to do YOUR work again.

Similarly, you might prioritize grant seeking or fundraising for your clients or beloved organizations, not yourself. You might convince yourself that you’re not that big a deal, and anyway the deadline for that grant is close at hand. You’ve got no time. You’ve got no chance. (AND there we are, back at ‘you should probably give up.’ Asshole brain is predictable that way!)

I used to spend HOURS ghostwriting for clients each day before I would work on my own blog or podcast or books or classes. It was only by consciously shifting my schedule to be mine first, others second that I shifted out of this mode of asshole brain.

In other cases, asshole brain might convince you that your career doesn’t allow for this — whether this is a promotion, a demotion, starting a business, stepping away from your business, or shifting gears into a new realm. Also it will say you should probably go back to school, thus delaying this shift for a number of years. It might even go on about how you should be at the next level (which doesn’t exist), and how your failure to be at the ‘next level’ means you should give up.

OH MY GOD IT’S SO CYCLICAL, ISN’T IT? WE’RE RIGHT BACK AT THE BEGINNING, WITH YOU GIVING UP.  ::facepalm::

Asshole brain’s ultimate goal is to keep you safe. This often means saying whatever it takes to keep you small, stuck, taking no risks, spinning in overwhelm (here’s how to stop the overwhelm), overthinking your every move, and generally freaking out.

This should be the part where I have an AMAZING OFFER that will SOLVE YOUR LIFE. Alas!  Asshole brain isn’t one of those things you can outrun or outmaneuver in a single move.

The work of overcoming your particular flavor of asshole brain is a lifelong endeavor. (Read: it’s a real pain in the ass.)

You can do this.

You can refuse to believe the worst things your brain says about you.

You can make shifts that help you get your work done with less static from your thoughts.

You can learn to be vulnerable with your work.

You can begin to communicate regularly about your business with your clients.

You can allow yourself to dream, to grow, and to expand without losing months to procrastination or overwhelm.

You. Can. Do. This.

If you’d like my help doing it, please check out KK on Tap. We’ll tackle your particular flavor of asshole brain while making strides toward creating your most profitable and meaningful business.

::high fives::

P.S. I love you, keep going.

An Invitation to Let Your Deep Knowing Drive the Bus

deep knowing

I lost the future for a bit, there. The past four years got me so tangled up in Trump’s antics and generally FREAKING OUT that when the pandemic hit, I burned my plans and sat down for A Very Long Time.

Every human interaction outside of the people I live with: canceled.
Every workshop or class or retreat I wanted to make or attend or hold this year: canceled.
My sense of knowing what tomorrow might hold: ABSOLUTELY GONE.

If you’ve lost the ability to plan for or sense the future: hi, hello, welcome. Me, too.

Between American politics and the pandemic, I’ve never had more trouble connecting to my own depths, desires, and needs.

In fact, I’m tempted to spend every waking moment flailing like Kermit and/or freaking out like Moira Rose.

pop tv omg GIF by Schitt's Creek

This podcast episode is here to help you connect with your interior continent, ask deep-ass questions, and maybe even make some plans for your life and business in the coming months.

Before we dive in! One of the things that might help to keep you from drowning in your own life is actively creating structure, which is something I’ve taught extensively about on the podcast. Structure, rhythms, and routines are something we creative peeps fight against AND ALSO DESPERATELY NEED. These five podcast episodes are a highly condensed version of most everything I know about creating gorgeous, stable structures for your time and attention.

Listen to the Structure That Doesn’t Suck series now. 

Now, let’s talk money fruits!

If you suspect that you’d like to do something in your business differently in a year or two, start planting the seeds for the new thing now.

Take the class, get the certification, scope out the cost of renting a studio; write down the workshop curriculum, start a wait list, ask past clients to do a dry run with you; schedule time to write the sales page, shoot the video, make the course, or get the images you’ll need to accompany the project.

I read somewhere that we overestimate what we can do in a single year and underestimate what we can do in five. Go with that, holding everything that may happen as loosely as possible.

What would you like to have made, in five years?

Who would you like to have worked with, interacted with, or made something with?

What would you be heartbroken to tell people you HAVEN’T done in five years?

To reach the ripening of the money fruits, plan for constant experimentation. Adjust accordingly.

Most people treat plans and planning as a once-and-done activity best suited for the start of the new year, not an exercise in continuous canceling, crossing out, and readjusting the sails.

That promotion didn’t work? Adjust.

You thought you’d be having a glorious day of sex, but instead you ended up holding your best friend in the vet’s ‘comfort room’ while a vet named Dr. Stark put her cat to sleep? Adjust.

You figured you’d have budgets, credit cards, and all things financial figured out by now? Adjust.

There’s no shame in adjusting.

If and when you really, truly believe that, you’ll move through your life far more swiftly and with much less guilt than ever before.

As you get used to both looking forward and adjusting the sails for today’s weather, you get more of a sense of spirit, intuition, deep knowing, or whatever you choose to call this phenomena.

You beat yourself up less for being human or for letting life happen to you.

You also let the reins go a bit more, since you’ll never be in charge of things like whether today is rainy, whether a pet is sick, whether your client will show up to that meeting, or whether you’re going to get food poisoning from that new restaurant.

As you adjust, with ever more subtle listening and precision, you’ll find the way through life that is distinctly yours.

Here’s a diary entry from 18 months ago, and it’s profoundly vulnerable to help you see the wrestling as it happens:

“It feels like the river is flowing in a different direction and that direction is away from California, at least for now. It feels fuzzy to think about — no longer OBVIOUSLY CALIFORNIA YES — since I looked at Portland and discovered that Philly has had both the same amount of rainy days and more rain than Portland in 2018. So, myth that I cannot live there: busted.

Also Portland is the same price as here, and 90 minutes from the ocean like here, and otherwise my people’s home, since you can drop shrooms and smoke weed and read books and make art and have fantastic food and go outside every minute that it’s not raining, minus the Philly attitude and general East-Coast go go go go go-ness.

That decision also feels a bit logical, though, like: how easy and relieving is it to give up on California, when clearly it’s something I’ve wanted since the moment I visited? But when I consider bigger things, like will I like the people of Laguna/Orange County? No. Do I like the traffic? No. Is there public transport? No. Does it cost 3-5 times more than here? Yes. BUT WILL I HAVE THE OCEAN? Yes.

We could very easily live in the most magical place on earth but spend every minute trying to earn enough to live there, which would defeat the purpose.

It feels like it’s all up in the air right now. And that’s hard. Like, weeping hard. Giving up on a dream is hard. Switching dreams is hard. Not knowing is hard.”

Letting your deep knowing drive the bus often boils down to paying constant attention to your energetic and emotional weather.

I could have pretended that California was still the dream — “Yah, we’re saving, just a few more years!” — and used it as a reason to stay in Pennsylvania for a lot longer. But instead, Bear and I had conversation after conversation about what it might mean to move to Portland, including how that would look on the job front, the mental health front, the friend front, the financial front, and the business front. We had lots and lots of discussions, and lots and lots of enjoying of the current home we’ve made together. Portland might not be the most magical thing that’s ever happened to us, or it might; all we know is that it’s the next step, and we’re taking it together.

Letting your deep knowing drive the bus means noticing when energy for a person, place, or project drops significantly, as well as noticing when you can’t wait to work on something new.

Sitting here 18 months in the future, I can assure you that Portland was NOT the best thing that ever happened to us.

Making the decision to move away from Portland was predicated upon a number of factors. These included the daily sightings of police drones, military transport, and police helicopters over our home; the increased presence of Proud Boys and other alt-right groups in the city; increasing isolation due to extended lockdown and my own fear of walking alone in the city for any reason; and mounting costs to remain in an overpriced, under-resourced shoebox of a home thousands of miles from those we held dear. (TL; DR, it fucking sucked.)

AND being in Portland helped us trust each other more deeply, rely on each other more heavily, see ourselves more clearly, and take in the scope of the personal and political work before us with absolutely outstanding clarity.

Sometimes you make two cross-country moves in a year, ’cause you’re following the deep knowing where it leads. Bear and I can both see that with the way 2020 went, we wouldn’t have survived the outside forces pressing on us in Philadelphia. His job would have crushed him, and I would have spiraled out of control because there wasn’t a money-making imperative to keep my feet on the earth.

In some ways Portland completely crushed us;
and in other ways it completely saved us.

That’s the bullshit of following your deep knowing:
It might crush you.
It might save you.

And it might do both simultaneously,
just so you remember you’re alive.

Some questions to help you follow your deep knowing:

Does that dream apply like it did yesterday?

Am I actively letting myself dream a different life than the one I imagined at age 8 (I drew a Kmart in my house so I’d never have to leave it for silly things like groceries or sunscreen), the one I imagined at 18 (I shall be a poet — in a houseboat — who lives on sunshine), or the one I imagined at 28 (I will be married…to this one dude…forever…and life will always suck…)?

Are there any places where my attitude has shifted, my energy has dropped, or my emotional landscape has changed dramatically? What might that mean?

Is there anywhere that my reality conflicts with that of my family, parents, partner, or peers? Am I willing to step into the wilderness that our differing beliefs will cause?

Are there any plans that should be put on hold for the sake of preserving my own health or maintaining my inner landscape?

Is there anywhere that I just have to be patient? (THIS IS THE WORST. WHY THE PATIENCE? WHYYYYYYY?)

If I would let spirit/intuition/deep knowing drive the bus — truly, all the way — what would I stop doing immediately?

Likewise, what would I start doing immediately?

I don’t have any easy answers, which is mostly why I try and help you listen — by asking good questions, by pushing breathwork on you at every turn (a free class awaits you here, give it a try!), and by reflecting your truest desires back to you when I see them dart past, like a bright fish flashing past in murky water.

You’re perfectly capable of listening closely, adjusting accordingly, and then giving up the control of your life’s big picture to what wants to be made.

The life you’ll end up with is probably not precisely what you planned at age 8, but I’ll wager that it’s a damn sight more fulfilling than having a Kmart in your basement. 😉

P.S. Nourishing or numbing? A simple question to shift it all.

Urgent Joy

CONFESSION: I have never been more scared of an election outcome than I am of the one happening next Tuesday.

ADDITIONAL CONFESSION: No matter what happens, my response will be based in joy.

Not because I’m a Little Miss Happy Karen Living In Oblivion, but because I’ve learned to orient my life around what keeps my soul alive.  (Slowly and painstakingly, as a result of 18+ years of living with chronic depression, lest you think what follows is flippant or frivilous.)

Urgent Joy will help keep your soul alive.  Please listen sooner rather than later.

Asshole brain will naturally say ‘life is over, why even try,’ and encourage you to give up in countless ways when you face a challenging situation — for example, the further grip of Trump’s fascism descending on the U.S..

Urgent Joy will help you center your life around all that is truly life-giving so that you have access to maximum human functioning — heart, mind, body, and spirit.

Asshole brain will suggest that the solution to any problem is Netflix, a can of Pringles, and doomscrolling until 2 a.m.

Urgent Joy will help you remember the practices, supports, allies, humans, and trusted guides who can help you cope with WHATEVER happens next.

Get the Urgent Joy Worksheet!

YUP that worksheet is handmade and slightly janky — AND it’s effective AF. 😉

P.S. If you’d like to feel more deeply connected to other humans and make space for healing through live breathwork classes each month, check out Together.

How to build everyday fundraising into your business

This is an episode of That’s What She Said, and you can listen to all podcast episodes here! Read a close-to-transcript version below, or listen in for the full monty.

THE QUESTION:

“I’m really feeling like it’s inappropriate to promote my business at the moment, and honestly I’ve just lost momentum/motivation. It just seems like my/our collective attention needs to be on the BLM movement and the pandemic. I don’t feel good about self-promotion right now. Do you have any thoughts on how to either regain your business mojo OR how to better honor the collective ‘pause’ and not feel guilty for pulling energy away from your own work? My heart hurts. And I want to give all the love I have right now to the collective, not my own work.” — one of the peeps in Together, a year-long soul care program (think monthly breathwork and live unrecorded gatherings) which you can join for $22 a month right here!

THE ANSWER:

First: I feel you.

Continuing with ‘business as usual’ right now seems absolutely absurd. Do I need to save 40% on fast fashion offers, or buy a stockpile of ever-more-fashionable masks, or buy some guns to outfit my dope-ass bunker full of canned beans? No, no, and we both know I don’t have a bunker.

I wish I had the answer to the capitalism conundrum, like, “Okay burn this system down like in figure A, then in figure B, we’re all free! SO EASY!!!”

I don’t know of a way to dismantle any massive system of oppression that’s been operating for hundreds of years in one fell swoop, so we’re gonna do the second best thing.

We can work within the confines of the shitty capitalist system to subvert it at every turn.

Let’s stop as many bullshit systems of oppression as we can from continuing to flourish. One of the ways we can do that is by raising and donating as much money as we business owners can generate, as steadily as possible over the long term.

A few caveats before we go any further! I am not a teacher of or an authority regarding race or racial justice in America. My job is to keep learning, to listen harder, and to point you toward the gorgeous beings who are and who have been teaching me over the years.

I am a business coach with access to many people who own businesses. Sharing the following information is a direct route to getting money into the hands of the organizers, activists, leaders, movements, and teachers who have been doing justice and liberation work for a long, long time. (If you’d like more info or to join the biz coaching wait list, shoot me an email: k@kristenkalp.com.)

Finally, I’m only sharing experiments in giving that I’ve completed over the past 11 years of being in business. Sharing lived experiences is the only way I can assure you that variations on these starting points are effective ways to get money to the movements, nonprofits, and causes you most want to champion. I’m asking you to interpret this NOT as some sort of Polyanna-holier-than-thou-showing-off shit — but as ‘Here’s some stuff Kristen has done that worked, and some that didn’t, and now I feel freer to go try some giving experiments of my own.’

Let’s walk through a few ways to actively build fundraising into your business starting right now, bit by bit and experiment by experiment.

If you’re a white person spinning in the land of “WHERE DO I EVEN START????” regarding the reality of seeing white supremacy enacted again and again through outrageous levels of U.S. police brutality — and now, the President’s refusal to denounce white supremacy — you can always start with money. You can fundraise, donate, and repeat.

You have a business — which generates money — and money can always be redistributed to champion the people, organizations, movements, and ways of being you wish to see in the world.

First up: you can create and sell a one-time, limited edition product to fund a project, cause, or nonprofit.

You know this is an option, but your mind probably gets complicated by the details: which organization? Which products? For how long? What if I don’t sell any of the items for fundraising and I look like an idiot?

Don’t panic, ’cause we’re gonna walk through some options and handle that asshole brain flare-up of questions, too.

If you’ve got (or know of) a worthy project with a set budget, you can set up a business offering to cover all or part of that budget!

For example. I created a limited edition course called Becoming to fundraise for a volunteering trip to India with two other people circa 2011. I sold a bunch of seats in a class to raise about $9,000 for all expenses associated with traveling to and staying in India for three weeks. (You remember, when flying was a thing we did?) Sales of this class were particularly effective because I was transparent with my intentions and shared the project budget openly from day one. Those who purchased the class knew they were helping me complete a multi-week volunteering project near to my heart.

So long as you’ve got a clear budget — yours or that of a nonprofit — and a product or service to pair it with, you’re good to go.

You can offer your product or service at no charge or at a reduced fee to those who donate $x to the organization of your choice.

For example. At one point, my goal was to see how much giving I could get to happen by encouraging direct giving to a nonprofit. I handed out 1,000 free copies of my then-new book, Go Your Own Way, when peeps forwarded their donation receipts for Flying Kites to my inbox. In this way, we raised over $10,000 for that nonprofit within a few weeks. (Go Your Own Way: free yourself from business as usual is pay what you can priced here!)

You can also make a one-time, limited edition service to fund those same movements and nonprofits.

Just as you would in the case of products, you can create business services to fund raise for the cause of your choice.

Both used and unused talents apply here! Fundraising is the perfect spot to break out of your ‘niche’ and embrace the full spectrum of your talents.

If you’ve got a yoga teacher training certification you never use, hosting a pop-up fundraising class online might be a welcome treat for those who love you. Reiki trained? Donating a portion of the proceeds from this-month-only remote reiki sessions is an option.

The point here is not for me to list every single thing you might possibly do! It’s to ask where you’ve got unused talents or untapped resources that can be leveraged to raise some money for cash-strapped movements and nonprofits. So…

Where do you have unused talents or untapped resources that can be leveraged to raise money for rad people, movements, and nonprofits?

You can build a set donation percentage into the sale of existing products and services.

For example. I donate 25% of breathwork class proceeds to Together Rising and/or Flying Kites, which means I’m making monthly donations based on any breathwork classes I’ve sold each month. Some months yield just a few dollars in donations, while others yield hundreds. The point is not to hit a Very Specific Funding Goal, it’s to deliberately donate money after month.

You might be feeling shame about how ‘little’ you can do right now. I get it! AND. Donation shame isn’t a worthy use of your energies. Whether you sell one item with a donation promised or thousands of items with a donation promised, you agree to donate the proceeds and try again.

Acting as if donating $____ isn’t ‘enough’ will only make you feel more frustrated with fundraising as time goes on.  Unless you’re regularly donating billions, there will never be ‘enough’ money to solve the world’s problems once and for all.

When you want to change it up, you can also change it up! I’ve got an ongoing Breathwork for Coping with 2020 fundraiser that’s donating 50% of proceeds to Black Lives Matter. As of this moment, that class has raised $561 and counting for the movement.

We are all being asked to do what we can, with what we have, where we are. We’ve got businesses, and we can use them to bring positive change into being.

You can pay everyone for the work they do, with extra cash considerations given if you’re benefiting from the work of a member of a marginalized community.

Remember that time I lost $43,000 from hosting Brand Camp in 2014?

When asking around later, I learned that I had WILDLY overpaid everyone who spoke at the event. Turns out, most people who speak at large conferences (and are not the headliner) do so for free. Or for a nominal fee that covers room and board. Exploiting people’s labor is both accepted and encouraged when it comes to the enormous events and conferences circuit.

The same working-for-free mentality is also true for online ‘summits,’ for those who offer ‘exposure’ as a means of payment, and for those who assume that all those with smaller followings than their own should be thrilled to work for free on behalf of the empire. <– This is an example of capitalism gone wild, which exploits free labor in any way possible, at all times, for any reason, with the promise of a later benefit that generally fails to materialize, particularly for those who are already marginalized by societal systems of oppression.

Those invited onto my podcast are offered a fixed interview fee, which they can choose to receive or to have donated to Together Rising. Paying people is one of the really simple ways we can all help to build a culture of paying for the emotional labor and sharing of lived experience needed to create life-giving interviews.

You can add coaching, mentorship, and/or learning resources offered by members of marginalized communities to your monthly business expenses.

Many artists and scholars I admire offer ongoing support opportunities through their websites or through platforms like Patreon. Please find and use these means to pay those living humans you admire for doing the ongoing work of making the world a better place.

Which peeps does my business pay each month?

adrienne maree brown‘s work never ceases to touch me. She’s written two timely books — Emergent Strategy and Pleasure Activism — and her most recent poetry series, written during Covid-19, is fucking breathtaking. Support her monthly here.

Do you know Samantha Irby? If not, please stop everything ever and go read her books of essays, which are legit laugh-out-loud-and-worry-about-your-bladder-strength-because-you’re-trying-not-to-pee-yourself funny. Grab a copy of We Are Never Meeting in Real Life. (Thank me later.)

Sonya Renee Taylor‘s voice is unmistakable, powerful, and wise. Her book, The Body is Not An Apology, is stunning and brilliant, you can order it directly from the author to minimize Amazon’s profit-taking here. She also has the particular gift of making me feel called on my bullshit without triggering massive defensiveness and eruptions of white fragility. Support her monthly.

Jessamyn Stanley teaches yoga for every body on her Underbelly Yoga platform, and I love her classes. PLEASE ALLOW ME TO HYPE HER FOR A MOMENT: Jessamyn’s classes are funny, swear-y, honest, and real. She gets yoga for not-tiny-stick-bodies because she doesn’t live in a tiny stick body, and I’ve never before had the pleasure of learning yoga from a person with a body that looks like my own. Get the yoga.

Ron Finley’s Masterclass is a.) highly informative if you’re new to gardening and b.) entertaining as fuck. HOLY SHIT Watch it! You can also support The Ron Finley Project to help green up and garden up the food deserts of Los Angeles. HE IS A GODDAMNED WIZARD AND I AM WRITING IN ALL CAPS TO CONVEY HIS MAGIC TO YOU.

You may or may not resonate with these people and their projects! The point is not to agree with me about how awesome and life-changing these people are…

The point is to find AND THEN PAY people who are doing the work you want to see in the world.

Particularly people of color. Particularly members of marginalized communities. Particularly women. Particularly work that is often overlooked or undervalued (read: emotional labor, education, and managing the droves of people who are quick to criticize others’ efforts but aren’t doing a goddamned thing to help make a better world themselves).

There are ENDLESS ways to explore the places where donations and your business meet.

Rather than spinning in overwhelm for the next few weeks or months, consider that the hardest work in the world — that of liberation, of undoing bullshit systems of oppression, and of making the world a more livable place for every last being already in it — isn’t going anywhere.

In addition to donating X% of proceeds from a specific product or service, you might pledge to donate $Y per month as a recurring business expense. Monthly giving enables those responsible for managing nonprofit funds to better plan their budgets and effect change for the long haul. Further, monthly donations for a set amount are a magnificent entry point if you’re new to using your business for fundraising.

For example.  Recently, one of my coaching clients realized she no longer wanted to pay to participate in Toastmasters, so instead she’s donating that monthly fee to a local nonprofit fighting food deserts in St. Louis.  You can do that, too!  Cancel a $9.99 recurring fee for a service you don’t use, then redirect it the funds to a cause of your choosing!

Another example.  My business currently sponsors a child’s schooling and care through Flying Kites each month without being tied to the sale of a specific product or program. <– This isn’t some sort of performative OOH LOOK AT ME shit! This is me putting my money where my telling-you-how-it-might-be-useful-to-proceed mouth is.

Built-in giving comes in an endless number of forms, so let’s play with how your fundraising might work in everyday life.

The point here is to play with the places where your talents and your generosity can overlap. There’s no one ‘right’ way to do this and no gold stars will be rewarded, so check in with your intuition to determine which option you can implement in the coming weeks.

THE RECAP OF OPTIONS YOU’VE GOT AT THIS MOMENT

+ You can donate X% of specific product or service sales to your fundraising efforts for a set period of time.

For every [product or service] purchased by [date], I’ll donate $____ to [your chosen nonprofit]!

+ You can donate 50% of all business proceeds for a few days via a flash sale.

Hey, I’m splitting profits with ______ until ____ [date]! Buy now, everyone wins!

+ You can donate up to 100% of profits for a single class or event.

The class on [date] is donation-based, and X% of donations will be sent to _____________.

+ You can set up a recurring payment to a nonprofit that comes directly from your business funds.

These setups automatically provide people with a feel-good factor just for purchasing what they would normally be buying anyway. It also builds giving into your business in a short-term way, so you can experiment with different forms of fundraising before making any long-term commitments.

The point here is not perfection, but to get out there and raise some money for the people, organizations, movements, and nonprofits who so desperately need it right now.

We can use our businesses to perpetuate worthy projects, no matter their size.

Love,
K

P.S. Fundraising regularly through your business is inherently anti-capitalist, since capitalism dictates that you’re supposed to take every penny you make and turn it into MORE pennies.

If you’d like to hear more about how to incorporate anti-capitalist practices into your business, you’ll love this interview with Bear Hebert. They are fucking phenomenal!

Put it down.

Here in the United States, the ongoing pandemic is a long haul that’s basically straight uphill and entirely unknown. That means we urgently need to learn how to take breaks and rest, ’cause no amount of sprinting today can get time to move so quickly that it fast forwards to 2022.

Here are some asshole brain maneuvers to watch out for as we enter another season of As the World Burns:

Put down the binary.

I’ve only got two options: A or B.”

A biz coaching client was outlining her options and said she could do A — which is the same thing she’s been doing that’s not working — or B, which is part-time for someone who’s treating her like shit. Both options were awful, but in her mind they were the ONLY options available.

In truth, you rarely have only two options. There’s always an option C.

Option C might be ridiculous or funny or awful or weird, but it’s still there! When I said I would rather my client take up a hobby of masturbating wildly than work at near-free prices for task-driven bros who in no way value her talent or her time, she laughed and shrugged me off. BUT I’M SERIOUS.

When it’s not ridiculous or funny, Option C is generally uncomfortable. It might seem like the impossible option, but Option C generally promises to pay dividends in the long term: quit the job. Move. End the marriage. Stop taking that work. Fire the client. Eat more greens. Ask for help. Hire the coach.

Put down your work.

Instead of being vaguely ‘on’ at all times — meaning you’re open to incoming needs from anyone at any point about any aspect of your business — choose times to be on. And times to most definitely be OFF.

Practice the muscles associated with picking work up at the times you specify, and then practice putting your work down at the appointed time as well. (Related: podcast #204, the quietly subversive 3-hour work day.)

As you learn to put your work down, you’ll also learn to draw internal boundaries that say, ‘now is not the time to worry about that problem,’ or, ‘I’m off and it’s not time to think about that client.’ There are many ways to gently remind yourself: now is the time for rest.

This hard off, hard on (heh) rhythm means that you clearly delineate and communicate times you’re working from all the times you’re not working.

A Hard Off means handling zero messages, communications, or work plans when it’s not work time. Personally, if you need me to do something after 4:20 p.m., it’s going to get pushed to tomorrow, ’cause I’ve got cannabis to smoke and an afternoon to enjoy. (Related: podcast #192, The Cannabis Episode.)

A Hard On (in this case) means messages, communications, work, and work planning are handled between the times of your choosing each day.

For more on how to work from home without losing your mind, check out podcasts 211-215, the Structure That Doesn’t Suck series! HOLY SHIT IT’S HELPFUL.

Put down your superhuman strivings.

The scope of work you can complete in this lifetime is human in size. ALAS.

We are each a tiny human part of all that exists, and when we operate from that human place we’re able to accept our true scope of work.

Asshole brain will continuously ramp up what we ‘should’ be capable of doing until deeming us absolutely useless for being unable to raise 17 children while organically farming almonds while running a multi-million dollar charity while holding a powerful government position while being so EASY BREEZY FUN about it all. (Sidenote: how does AOC’s lipstick always look so perfect!?)

As a bonus, asshole brain might blame you for every. single. problem. that exists in the world today!

Plastics in the ocean? WHY HAVEN’T YOU FIXED THIS.

Fascism continues to descend upon America? THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT.

Racism has been a problem through the generations long before you were born? STILL YOUR FAULT.

Of course, asshole brain is lying!

Systemic oppression and the manufacturing of millions upon millions of single-use plastics are NOT the fault of you and you alone! (This may seem obvious to you, dear reader, and yet my asshole brain kept me quiet and small for years by somehow making Me, Personally Responsible for everything that is and has ever been wrong with the world.)

Collective problems require collective solutions.

No human can solve any global problem alone.

Do your part, and help others do their part, and we’ll call it a win.

Finally: put down your pace.

Many of my clients finish up their work for the day and then feel horrifically guilty that they should be doing more.

Shouldn’t they be making ‘content’ calendars or ‘pivoting’ or ‘hustling’ or ‘leveling up’ or ‘CRUSHING IT’ or using every bit of time to be ever more ‘productive?’

Shouldn’t they be seated at a desk from precisely 9 to 5 each day, because that makes their job ‘legit’ in some way?

NO.

It’s okay to be done with your work when you’re done.
It’s okay to stop moving, communicating, and acting so quickly.
It’s okay to opt out of social media for a bit, for a month, or forever.

(Related, podcast #196: it doesn’t count if you don’t enjoy it.)

Please stop expecting yourself to write a book in a week or conquer your money problems within the next three days or to untie your work from your worth with a single flash of clarity. (Related, podcast #180: your work is not your worth.)

You are not a machine.

You are one human doing one lifetime of work.

The sooner you put down the vast and unreasonable expectations you have for yourself and for your power to make change, the better.

With you —

K

P.S. Breathwork is MAGIC for helping you put down the shit that’s no longer serving you.

Your first class is free, get it!