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That’s just the way it is, internal oppression, and smashing the patriarchy.

This is an episode of my podcast, That’s What She Said!  You can listen in or read the condensed version below.

Patriarchy is, as defined by the Google in simple language, “a system of society or government in which men hold the power and women are largely excluded from it.”

You might agree that patriarchy is a thing, or you might be like, ‘But wait!  I have power!  I own a business/write books/say what I want/do what I want!”  And yes, that’s true.  I’m not talking about empowerment of a single human, but of systems of power tipped in favor of males.

To draw the outline of this issue in everyday, relatable terms: I grew up attending the Roman Catholic church, which influences — by Google’s stats as of today — 1.2 BILLION people.  A lot of people, a lot of influence, yes?  Not a single woman at the local, regional, state, national, or global level can be ordained, which means not a single woman is in power in the church.

I also grew up in the United States, where, at the national level, 20%ish of politicians are female.  The majority of people holding political power are male.

Those are simply facts, and I don’t have the time or energy for man-bashing.  Nor am I ‘racist against white men,’ which is one of the most hilarious things to ever have been flung in my direction as criticism.

Even if no power gap or pay gap existed, there would be shit-tons of *internal* work for women to do before we’d be truly equal.

That’s because internal oppression is a thing.

Internal oppression occurs when you begin to adopt and act like an external oppressor inside your own head.

In women, that looks like continually defaulting to patterns and norms that keep you small (physically, spiritually, emotionally, and financially).

Here’s a quiz for sussing out your internal oppressor.

Do you:

+ deeply believe you’re not worth it?

What I mean is, your internal fulfillment comes after the needs and desires of your partner, your children, your pets, your extended family members, and/or world peace. Once all suffering has been eliminated in the 435 people closest to you, YOUR needs can take center stage. (Read: you will never be fulfilled and that’s somehow okay because REASONS.)

+ routinely shove your opinions down and/or trying to talk yourself out of having those opinions?

You most definitely have feelings about the current political climate. You have subjects that make you feel like you’ll implode with rage, patterns that you ache to avoid repeating, and people who make you batshit with their antics. You don’t have to go from failing to express yourself to launching tirades to anyone who will listen, but you’re allowed to have opinions. And express them.

See: very white dudes who said *they’ve* never seen how women are treated differently than men, and they’re pretty certain those stats about women making 40% less than men are false. That happened, for the Ballsy class! Dudes express doubt about ACTUAL FACTS that women are sharing, and discounting their experiences as females (which is what we’re talking about) while they are…males. That, my friends, is the definition of misogyny patriarchy in action.

If guys can discount facts and call everything they don’t like as fake news, like they did today, you most certainly have the right to express your love of a TV show or a poem or tacos, or stand up for injustice wherever you see it.

And make no mistake: discounting women’s accounts of their own experiences is injustice. Every damn time.

+ speak in question marks more often than periods?

+ routinely override strong instincts about a person, place, project, or venture?

That can mean good instincts, like ‘I should take that class!’ or protective instincts, like ‘I should avoid this street today.’ Those tiny nudges and intuitive hits are vital to your aliveness, and they grow with time and attention.

When you ignore your instincts, you deaden your truest self, which makes reaching fulfillment at any level more difficult.

When you honor them, your connection to yourself — and therefore the world around you — grows. As Brian Andreas says, “The first intimacy is with yourself.”

+ delay pursuits, projects and ideas until later, which often becomes never?

The unwritten books, the untaught classes, the unmade art, the forgotten hobbies or abandoned tools — these things are dying to be made.

We actually care about what you have to say.

It’s easy to believe that isn’t true, and doesn’t the world have enough of whatever you offer? No, no it fucking doesn’t. It doesn’t have your voice — and so long as you’re not another hate group extremist selling out tours of hate — SPEAK UP.

Maybe you’ll never have worldwide fame. Maybe you’re not making the next Titanic or Black Panther or Harry Potter or other blockbuster that beats all sales records and goes on to net billions. That doesn’t mean your work isn’t worth making. Have only blockbusters touched your heart? Have only the biggest, most popular works of art moved you at a human level? Have only people with a minimum following of 1 million people shifted your ways of being in the world? No, of course not.

You can be the one who moves people. But you have to start.

As Rob Bell says, “Make a crappy version of the thing.” Not the perfect version with an unlimited budget and an unlimited amount of time and 14 espresso-fueled interns working nonstop. Make the version that has wheels and can move, even if it’s not a sports car. You’ll naturally iterate on the first version, and from that tweaking you’ll make a better, less crappy version of the thing.

+ get caught in perfectionism with projects that are ‘almost’ done?

Perfectionism is another form of fear and feeling less than — like, if you could just find THE PERFECT FONT, you’d be bulletproof and no one would think or say or feel anything even slightly negative about you ever again. Only that’s now how it works, and you know it and I know it and can we just acknowledge that taste is relative, so keeping your work from the world is only hurting you? Because what if it’s amazing?

What if it’s more fulfilling than you could have imagined? What if you could help people or touch people or move people or love people with whatever you’ve got in ‘almost’ phase right now?

+ ask for permission to complete a normal human task or justify a business expense?

(i.e. Can I take this class, person who is not involved in my business? Can I go to this workshop, friend who has no idea of whether that workshop is worth it?)

My partner actually guffawed when I said, “Would it ever even *occur* to you to ask me about buying new speakers, if you needed them?” His work as a DJ needs certain tools, and purchasing those tools in order for him to make a living is not up for debate. Please allow yourself the same grace. If you need it, buy it.

If your instincts keep moving you toward a thing — a topic, a project, a film, a class, a program, a place — honor them without asking anyone else what they think you should do.

+ go out of your way to remove hurdles to your partner to atone for your absence?

i.e. I’m going out of town and must stock the fridge with meals (Been there, done that, came back to dudes who just ordered pizza every day anyway.)

You are not required to take care of your partner as if he or she is a child. Assume anyone over the age of 18 can feed and bathe themselves without destroying the house.

+ keep your daily work invisible?

‘Wait,’ you say! ‘My partner doesn’t know where the kids get picked up after school! I’ve never sent them grocery shopping and they don’t know what brands we like! I’ve never shared my meal plans or secret morning routines that keep everything moving smoothly, and I put the kids to bed at precisely 7:15 but they’re not home until 7:30 and have never seen the way I do bedtime with the secret bedtime song and the exact global positioning of the bedroom door that allows the life-preserving, boogieman-thwarting light from the hall inside!’

They don’t know because you haven’t shown them.

That’s keeping your work invisible, which ensures that only you can do it. If you never write down the routine, share the meal plans, record the tasks, update the schedule, or shove off some everyday tasks that you’ve decided ‘take too much work to explain,’ you will never get out of the current predicament. Take notes, write it down, and share what you do whenever possible. The moan of ‘I just can’t do it like you do’ is often bullshit that keeps you shackled with unrelenting amounts of invisible work.

+ routinely give your work away for free?

If you’ve acquired skills by expending time, energy, and/or money, you’re justified in charging money for them. That yoga training cost hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars. Those ‘self-taught’ camera skills ate up years’ worth of weekends and thousands of dollars’ worth of workshops. You’re still paying for your degree in that field. Your work is worth money. Always.

Even if you can’t believe your SKILLS are worth money, your time alone is justification for charging dollars in exchange for your work. Okay? Okay.

+ refer to your “little” project or say it’s “just” your business or “only” a recital/premiere/showing/event that you’re actually really proud of?

If you don’t respect your work — and by respect, I mean refusing to minimize it — no one else will. When you minimize your work, you’re minimizing your very BEING on this planet. You don’t have to do that in order to be liked, make money, or gain an inkling of success. In fact, we’re more likely to give you money when YOU trust you.

+ treat your business as a hobby because it doesn’t make X dollars, where X is 20 to 200 percent more than you currently make?

Those ‘less than’ patterns will stick around no matter how much money you make.

The legitimacy of your business is first a function of your attitude, not your income.

Your business becomes serious the minute you take it seriously. So, you made $300 last month? AWESOME. You’re gonna make $3,000/30,000/300,000 this year? Rad. Financial success is not the only success: have you found more internal freedom? A creative outlet? A way to pay for a magical trip to a tiny island? Have you found others who wrap you in community and thus, make you feel less alone in this being-human thing? Those are all forms of not-money success, and they’re made when you respect your work regardless of its current financial earning.

+ pretend you don’t know what you already know, at some deep level?

The project lost its spark. The deadline for that grant passed and you didn’t apply. The relationship is over. Facing the truth of a situation, no matter how hard, prevents the pain of avoiding it. (Which is arguably worse, and can go on for the rest of your life if you let it.)

That’s NOT just the way it is.

These are patterns you can change, with a bit of pattern recognition and focused attention. Ballsy brings attention to these particular patterns and helps you move through them in a healthy, vigorous way. You don’t have to shrink yourself to be well-liked, and you sure as shit don’t have to deny your deepest knowing and fiercest instincts to survive as a women in the world.

Quiz time!

Here are the questions one more time, so you can see ’em quickly and answer honestly.  An answer of ‘yes’ is a point.

Do you:

+ deeply believe you’re not worth it?

+ routinely shove your opinions down and/or try to talk yourself out of having those opinions, even in not-life-or-death matters like where to eat dinner or what to do on Saturday afternoon?

+ speak in question marks more often than periods?

+ routinely override strong instincts about a person, place, project, or venture?

+ delay pursuits, projects and ideas until later, which often becomes never?

+ get caught in perfectionism with projects that are ‘almost’ done?

+ ask for permission to complete a normal human task or justify a business expense?

+ go out of your way to remove hurdles to your partner to atone for your absence?

+ routinely give your work away for free?

+ refer to your “little” project or say it’s “just” your business or “only” a recital/premiere/showing/event that you’re actually really proud of?

+ treat your business as a hobby because it doesn’t make X dollars, where X is 20 to 200 percent more than you currently make?

+ pretend you don’t know what you already know, at some deep level?

If you answered yes to two or more of these questions, the Ballsy course will help you tremendously, whether you own a business or not. 

It’s a four-week class designed to help you take up space as a woman in the world — in your home, your work, your business and/or your life — while undoing habits that have kept you frustrated and dissatisfied for a long-ass time.  I co-teach it with Nick McArthur, a dear friend who used to be female (birthed 4 kids, wore nail polish even though it felt wrong, etc…) and transitioned to male about two years ago.  He has the unique life experience of living as both a male and a female, and his perspective is wise, touching, funny, and helpful.

Last chance to register for Ballsy is Monday, July 23rd!  Check it out

Then join.

P.S.  Pick up the first Ballsy audio session and workbook.

Get. Bigger. (That’s what she said.)

In this interview with Nick McArthur, we talk all about the ways we make ourselves small (and smaller still) in order to fit in with the world, and how to begin reversing that pattern.

“We know what the world wants from us. We know we must decide whether to stay small, quiet, and uncomplicated or allow ourselves to grow as big, loud, and complex as we were made to be. Every girl must decide whether to be true to herself or true to the world. Every girl must decide whether to settle for adoration or fight for love.” — Glennon Doyle

I could give you a bullet-pointed list of the things we cover, or you could just trust me and listen ’cause Nick is brilliant, witty, wise, and sure to get you ballsier every time you lend him your ear.

We’re sick of seeing women play small, put themselves last, and get passed over for mediocre white men all over the damn place.

We want to live in a world where women a.) don’t hesitate to sell their work at a fair price and b.) advocate for their own time and well being without apologizing.

Ballsy helps you do reverse the patterns that keep you small, exhausted, underpaid, and stressed the fuck out.

Go download the Ballsy Session One audio and workbook!

P.S.  You’re not crazy.

Wanna sell more work? Get Ballsy.

YOU’RE AMAZING!!! For the month of June, we donated $819 to Together Rising through the big book and breathwork sale! I just cried in a coffee shop while typing in the credit card info.

YOU. INSPIRE. ME. (Also you’ve given me a reason to use a Chris Pratt GIF, so thank you/you’re welcome.)

chris pratt GIFYou’re helping to reunite families at the border, and you can *keep* doing it through this Friday — sale details live here. A student who just finished the Space e-mail class reported, “I was using my phone 5-6 hours on average at the beginning of the class and now I average 1-2 hours a day. Huge drop! I feel like I have so much more internal space.”

Wanna use your phone 66% less? Pick up Space here.

Second: can we talk about making a better world?

I want to live in a world where women a.) don’t hesitate to sell their work at a fair price and b.) advocate for their own time and well-being without apologizing.

(Key words: without. apologizing.)

It frustrates me when I see women putting in endless hours on their businesses to end up with no real return on that investment. (I’m talking spiritual, emotional, or financial returns — nothing. Nadda. Zip.)

Further, I’m all too familiar with stories of women fighting for scraps of business time after they’ve taken care of household chores, partners, pets, coworkers, kids, ailing family members, employees, and/or the next door neighbor’s house plants while they’re on vacation. (Not even Flight of the Conchords ‘business time’ — actual real world business-y business time.)

I want you to have a profitable, life-giving business — and the clear boundaries that come with it.

That’s why I’ve created Ballsy with my friend/colleague/raddest human Nick McArthur!

Ballsy is an online course to help you sell more work with less frustration (and hesitation!).

Nick and I will help you do the inner work required to sell more products and services. Inner work, like dig around in your own beliefs and habits, identify what’s holding you back, and then toss out whatever no longer serves you. This isn’t just RAISE YOUR PRICES AND THEN GO CRUSH IT advice.

In the words of Ballsy student Lauren Van Mullem:

“Ballsy takes a very different perspective on business – it’s not ‘how to run business like a dude;’ it’s more like how to get past the bullshit we’ve been brought up thinking is normal so we can do business like the brilliant women we are. And that message is very. Much. Needed.”

Listen in on Ballsy session one, titled You’re Not Crazy:

You can absolutely-positively-I-freaking-promise learn to sell your work without apology or hesitation. You don’t have to give your work away, undercharge for it, or make up discounts on the spot.

BUT you’ll have to be Ballsy to get there.

It all begins July 16th!

👉🏻 Alllll the details here.

Buy your spot in the Ballsy online course right here for 3 monthly payments of $133.

See you on the other side, where we’ll start the Make Your Money Back Challenge! YUP we want you to start by making your money back before we even get started.



TL;DR In the first session of Ballsy, we’ll cover how the course came to be, as well as:

+ Male privilege: it’s a thing. Let’s talk about what that means for those who identify as female.

+ Differences between being male and female in the world (from Nick, who’s lived as both)

+ Differences between selling as a male and female in the world (from Kristen, who’s ghostwritten and subsequently sold millions as both)

+ 3 ways to get ballsier right this instant

chris pratt GIF #2Read more about it. Then join us.