defeat asshole brain Archives - Page 2 of 4 - ⚡️Kristen Kalp

Posts in "defeat asshole brain" Category — Page 2

I’m fine. It’s fine. Everything is fine.

We both know that anyone who says they’re ‘fine’ is absolutely anything BUT fine.

That’s why I want to address the places you’re ‘fine’ and help you kick ’em to the curb.

This is an episode of That’s What She Said!  Listen in for the extended version, or keep reading if you’re pressed for time.

Here are 5 spots where ‘fine’ could be tripping you up.

Which of these sound like you?

1 – “I’ll take care of everyone else, it’s fine.”

You might have succumbed to martyrdom, which those born female are trained for since birth. In my life, this looked like showing up as a perfect angel of productivity (and vacumming and cleaning and cooking!) while resenting everyone for not noticing how much I was struggling and how little energy I had to spend.

Nevermind that I never or rarely VERBALIZED my needs or desires or stunning exhaustion: it’s everyone else’s fault! They don’t understand! REAL HOUSEWIVES ARE THE ANSWER, I KNOW IT!

My martyrdom pushed me further into numbing out and trying to recover from life by…avoiding life altogether. I shoved pesky things like needs and feelings as far down as possible, piling reality TV on top of more reality TV.

👉🏻When people asked if I needed a break or would like some help, I’d say “No.” Because I was FINE.

Season 8 Whatever GIF

2 – “I’ll work even harder, it’s fine.”

If not martyrdom, you might be taking workaholism for a spin!

That looks like…

Resting: no.

Time off: nope!

Taking a break from thinking about work: never.


Work will help you numb out in the name of capitalism, which makes it harder for those around you to address directly. Society says you should be working! And you are! Nonstop! What could be better?

Except…you burst into tears at seemingly random times. You can’t figure out exactly why, so you figure it’s ‘for no reason.’ You beat yourself up for having bursts of emotion and then keep working.

In my life, workaholism showed up when I was MANY YEARS into a marriage I first got the impulse to end at the 6-week mark. Did I face that reality with grace and aplomb? Heeeeeeeell no.

I did what any self-respecting, overachieving woman does: I worked even harder.

I sat at my computer faithfully for 8 to 12 hours a day, 5 days a week and sometimes on weekends. I posted, I tweeted, I blogged, I emailed, I coached, I wrote…ANYTHING to avoid the fact that I didn’t actually like my husband or want to be near him. My work was as much an escape from myself as a way to make money and help others grow.

In 2021, workaholism means you’re stressed from making an extra 3,000 pandemic-based decisions a day. From making and canceling plans. From rescheduling and trying to navigate all things WTF IS EVEN HAPPENING in an unstable global year. From navigating the rapidly changing economic/social/educational/political landscape. From being ‘on’ at all times. From Zoom school. From mask mandates or the lack thereof. From waking up and finding the courage to face another day.

AND from doing all the work you normally do.

You’re overwhelmed, exhausted, and holding on by a thread.

👉🏻…but when people ask how you are? You’re FINE.

Real Housewives Cry GIF by Slice

3 – “Just keep swimming. The status quo is fine.”

If you haven’t turned to workaholism, you might feel…unmoored. Adrift. Distant from your being and your work. You find yourself asking existential questions like, what is it all for? What does it all mean? Why does this work matter? What difference does it make?

Asshole brain is quick to assure you that none of this matters. It pipes up that there’s no way [that idea you just had] will work, so you just keep swimming. All of your efforts are tilted toward surviving today, which means maintaining the status quo.

One day, then the next. No need to dream or plan or strategize. And those longings you feel for something different, wild, expansive, or imaginative? You shove those into a tiny box and banish it to the back of your brain.

👉🏻You’re stagnant but surviving. You’re FINE.

love actually GIF

4 – “Everything I want can happen…later. I’m fine.”

It might look like you’re functioning normally on the outside, but on the INSIDE. Your insides feel condensed and sometimes you don’t feel like you can breathe. You catch yourself holding your breath when you’re stressed.

You’re curled into a metaphorical ball and hoping this shit ends soon.

You’ll make up something new or get back to your business or career or art-making or idea-gathering…later. When pandemic ends. When your kids go to kindergarten/high school/college. When you lose 10 pounds. When you can hire way more childcare/an assistant/a manager/an accountant/a fully-staffed yacht.

👉🏻Your enthusiasm for life and for the future have experienced massive shrinkage — and that’s 100% OKAY BECAUSE YOU. ARE. FINE.

5 – “I can do it all by myself. I’m fine.”

Finally, and because we’ve faced social isolation like never before in the past few years, you might have slipped into I Can Do It All By Myself Syndrome. You don’t need child care or help taking care of your home or someone to help you process orders or send mail or respond to customers or build systems. You don’t need a sounding board or someone to support you as you take your next steps in business.

Your whole being is contracting in such a way that more and more responsibilities land on you — because you’re the only person you really trust to get the job done.

👉🏻You’re doing it all by yourself because YOU! ARE FINE.

Finding your ‘Fine’ life points will help you find spots where you’re lying to yourself, totally overwhelmed, or unable to handle facing some portion of your life directly.

We can’t talk solutions to these feelings without first identifying where ‘fine’ shows up in your life.

So…which sounds like you at the moment?

1 – I’ll keep taking care of everyone else, it’s fine.

2 – I’ll work even harder, it’s fine.

3 – Just keep swimming. The status quo is fine.

4 – Everything I want can happen…later. I’m fine.

5 – I can do it all by myself. I’m fine.

6 – All of these.

Let me know what you’re up against by shooting an email to with the corresponding number! I’d love to know how ‘fine’ is showing up for you.

I’ll use every response I receive anonymously to help make my next free live event even better. (Translation: talking to me helps everyone who listens to the podcast or reads these emails! Go, you!)

Once you’ve shot me an email, sign up for this magic 👇🏼


You’re invited to Don’t You Dare Settle for Fine, the next live podcast recording! (Why YES it IS inspired by Roy Kent’s famous lines from Ted Lasso, thanks for asking!)

Drink Drinking GIF by Apple TV

Don’t You Dare Settle for Fine goes down on September 15th at 11am ET.

⚽️If you’d like to talk about your version of ‘fine’ and get coached in real time, YES! Let’s do it! Talk to me and we’ll find a next step to start moving you out of ‘fine’ mode.

⚽️If you’d like to hear more about how to kick ‘fine’ to the curb and live a goddamn spectacular life in the midst of pandemic, yes! I’ll be talking about that! And you can play with me and ask questions in real time! (SPOILER ALERT: I WILL BE TALKING ABOUT SEEING BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN ON BROADWAY AND WHY WHAT I LEARNED FROM THE BOSS MATTERS TO YOU.)

⚽️If you’d like dibs on my live event in Philly this November, GET STOKED! I’ll give you details and a promo code at that time!

Pop your name in the magical form so I can send you details! 👇🏼



P.S. When you’re feeling ‘fine,’ you need simple and helpful ways to defeat asshole brain.

Energy is your friend.

Energy bio

Psst!  This is the final That’s What She Said episode about coming into right relationship with the things we spend: time, money, and energy.  Check out time is your friend and/or money is your friend

It’s Summer 2020, and I’m sitting on the back porch with my eyes leaking tears for minutes or perhaps hours at a time. When Bear asks what’s wrong, I say “I’m so tired.” This is the same thing I say every day, because this particular scene unfolds at the same time each afternoon.

For a lot of months when pandemic started, it felt like I was swiping my energetic credit card when I went to work in the morning: WELP you’ve no longer got actual energy, so we’ll pull from your reserves and see what happens. Future You will figure this out!

As evidenced by the daily tired cry, this strategy failed to work a few months into the crisis. My energy reserves were non-existent. I hit rock bottom energetically, day after day, unable to store up any scrap of energy to make tomorrow easier to survive.

If this has been happening to you, too: YUP I get it.

We humans are meant to have crises that last a few days or weeks, not global crises that unfold over the course of years, as pandemic is doing right now. (More about this from Brene Brown here! It’s genius!)

Pandemic life means our relationship with energy — how much of it we have, use, and need in any given day — has to change.

What was a-okay behavior for 2019-Me didn’t help me through pandemic. I was tired, I was lonely, I was recovering from having had Covid before it had a name, and I was in a new place entirely, having moved from Philly to Portland just before the virus was unleashed.

To build up energy, I had to get still and really listen to my body.

My body said it needed more sleep. And more time outside. And to do yoga every single day, no exceptions. I started doing those things, and in time I found that I was no longer hitting energetic rock bottom day after day. Three times a week, maybe. Four times, tops. OKAY FIVE TIMES A WEEK, MAX.

After moving back to Philly, body started asking to meditate. To which I reacted positively while screaming WHY GOD WHY internally. I’ve actively avoided having a meditation practice for a couple of decades, ’cause wow do I hate sitting still and watching my mind. I want to AVOID my mind most of the time, and now you want me to sit still and BE WITH IT?


Fine, I’ll do that, too.

Finding ways to produce and enjoy having enough energy often comes back to incredibly basic building blocks that we like to pretend don’t matter.

We like to think we’ve got shit figured out and we’re FINE GODDAMMIT, so why try improving anything at all? For me, the long journey to the body has meant that I’ve had to learn how to be in my body; ask my body what it needs; and stay tuned into my body while working out or even having sex.


How much energy have you got in your tanks right now?

I dare you to be honest about that information with yourself. And then with others.

To tell on myself, here: a lot of the reason that I broke down crying every day in Portland had nothing to do with being tired. I was often crying because I expected myself to be GREAT and I wasn’t feeling at all great. I conveniently ignored the fact that I was thousands of miles from all loved ones except Bear, trapped in the house during a pandemic without a vaccination, living in a city experiencing visits from the Proud Boys domestic terrorism organization, and acting as the breadwinner while a global crisis unfolded.

The expectation that I would be FANTASTIC EVEN THOUGH THE WORLD IS ON FIRE was actually more harmful than having very little energy.

I would beat myself up about how I SHOULD BE FEELING SO MUCH BETTER THAN I AM, which resulted in wasting energy on self attack instead of using that energy to…sleep. Or eat some vegetables.

That’s part of why this simple question — how much energy have you got in your tanks right now? — is so profound. We’re trained to ignore our bodies and pretend everything is okay, so being honest with yourself about how much energy you ACTUALLY POSSESS AT THIS MOMENT might feel incredibly vulnerable.

You might admit that you haven’t felt like yourself in weeks or months or years. You might be absolutely freaked out by how little energy you’ve got in the tank when you stop to check. Your asshole brain might have convinced you that there’s no use checking, ’cause it will always be this way. (And ‘this way’ is sleep-deprived, nutritionally deficient, overwhelmed, dehydrated, and/or stagnant.)

This is data. Just as an empty gas tank doesn’t mean the car has to be scrapped, an empty energy tank doesn’t mean you’re broken. It’s COMPLETELY AND TOTALLY UNDERSTANDABLE that you’re exhausted in this moment.

You are surviving an unprecedented global event that has left no one on the planet untouched.

That’s the good news: being tired is perfectly normal and there’s nothing wrong with you.

The bad news? Your exhaustion isn’t going to go away on its own.


Being with and caring for our bodies often means being with what our mind wants to write off as basic — and therefore unnecessary — needs. Our asshole brain scoffs as we throw back mountains of sugar and pretend there are no consequences. Asshole brain has NO interest in hydrating, spending time in nature, meditating, ending work at a reasonable hour, getting enough sleep, moving the body, or even having days off.

Asshole brain will whisper that you should be doing MORE, not less, and do you really need nine hours of sleep, lazy?

Uh…yes, you do.

When your energy levels are in the toilet, it’s your job to take care of your body in ways that might have seemed indulgent or silly or ‘unproductive’ in The Before.

You might need more sleep, more greens, more time outside, more time offline, and more white space in your mind. (I have yet to meet a human who doesn’t need more of these things at this moment in time!)

Asshole brain will say sleep, greens, nature, offline time, and white space are basic. THAT DOESN’T MAKE THEM UNIMPORTANT.

Sure, these are basic needs, but they’re also the answer to filling your wells again: making sure the basics aren’t leaking energy. (Show me a person who is hyper-productive but doesn’t sleep, and I’ll show you a person I’d rather avoid.)

Which actions help to fill your tank in the most basic (and therefore reliable) of ways?

To put this another way: what are you committed to?

At some points in my life, my commitments were to take a shower, brush my teeth, and leave the house before 10am. Your commitments don’t have to be enormous in order to count!

Which actions or habits can you commit to on a daily basis in the name of having more energy for the long term?

Again, telling on myself: when my beloved health care provider asked me what I was committed to, I’m pretty sure I swore and scoffed. Then came the whining: I DON’T WANT TO BE COMMITTED TO ANYTHING DURING A PANDEMIC! Then the eye rolling: COMMITMENT IS SO STUPID ANYWAY, I DON’T EVEN LIKE COMMITMENTS. (See asshole brain doing its thing?)

I finally settled on being committed to doing yoga, meditating, and having 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. UGH I HATED SAYING IT OUT LOUD. And I’ve resisted doing it even more! But the truth is, those three commitments have helped me SURVIVE. Yoga makes me dip into my body before my mind gets going, meditation makes sure I’ve had silence and stillness in my mind before my work starts, and we both know there’s no substitution for eating actual foods that grew in the earth.

What are you committed to, even if you have to announce your commitment whilst kicking and screaming internally?

Please don’t judge yourself for the basics that have lapsed in the past 18 months. It’s not helpful to beat yourself up for not getting sleep or for stress-eating muffins until you developed a muffin top. You did what you had to do in order to survive. And now, you’re free to make new choices.

TOTAL ASIDE THAT DIDN’T FIT ANYWHERE BUT FEELS LIKE IT NEEDS TO BE SAID: sometimes you’re committed to the exact wrong thing. I know this because, like always, I’m speaking from personal experience. 😉

When I thought I was getting ‘too big’ for my life — when I was so clearly outgrowing my marriage and some parts of my work — I thought it would be better to get smaller. Just…try and keep this shit under wraps, Kalp. (Notice that ‘thinking’ about a thing and ‘knowing’ a thing are actual literal worlds apart. My mind OWNED MY ASS for the first 3 decades of life.) Don’t swear too much or say too much and FOR GOD’S SAKE DON’T TELL YOUR HUSBAND’S ABUSIVE FATHER HE’S AN ASSHOLE. I failed on ALL COUNTS at getting smaller — I was just me-sized, but now angsty about being ‘too much.’ At some point I realized that my shrinking only made my husband shrink farther so as to not be bigger than me, thus making me angry, tired, frustrated, and downright mean to him. Internally screaming GET BIGGER MOTHERFUCKER at him didn’t work. Divorce did.

This is not about divorce so much as refusing to alter your DNA for anyone or anything — instead, growing bigger and accessing more energy to deal with the repercussions of being who you are, instead of wasting any energy at all on repression and refusing to feel what you feel.

Sure, some people will say shit about you, and some will roll their eyes, and OTHERS WILL GIVE YOU MANY DOLLARS FOR BEING EXACTLY WHO YOU ARE.

If you’re committed to getting or to being smaller, please please please knock that shit off.

Okay? Okay.


Yah, I know, talking about nurturing is even worse than handling the basics.


Yes. I know. You’re busy and you’re doing the best you can. You’re taking care of yourself and you’ve got responsibilities.

I know. And.

This crisis isn’t going anywhere.

We’ve got to find new ways to support ourselves and our resiliency as we move through the coming months and years.

Pretending that you aren’t tired, exhausted, wiped out, overwhelmed, or freaking out won’t make your exhaustion disappear.

A few questions to help you find what your body or being needs:

Is there anything your being or body has been asking for repeatedly? And can you give yourself the gift of that thing?

Is there any person, activity, event, or practice that you keep being drawn to? And can you let yourself explore that thing?

Do you keep finding links or books or videos or articles about a topic that makes you feel inexplicable joy or curiosity? And can you let yourself move toward that thing?

This is the big energetic secret: we’re nurtured by what we’re nurtured by. It’s not the same for everyone.

Move toward any and everything that nurtures your body, brain, or being. Without judgement.

Bear can listen to music for 12 hours a day. I shine in silence.
I paint to fill myself up with color and form and movement. Bear has never painted a thing.
Bear can work his body for hours a day and enjoy it. He’s hiked the Appalachian Trail just for fun. I can hike for about two miles before I hate everything and everyone in existence.

Let yourself embrace whatever it is that nurtures you most deeply.

Asshole brain will pipe up that you shouldn’t give a fuck about [thing you care about] because [arbitrary thing] is more important.

It will say that [thing you care about] is stupid, or that [thing you’d like to try] is impossible.

When you kill your curiosity, you kill off your life force. Let yourself try out painting and fly fishing and turning your phone off and camping and clubbing and WHATEVER THE FUCK IT IS THAT CONTAINS ENERGY, FOR YOU.

Move toward that which is alive, and you’ll get more alive — i.e. have more energy — yourself.

🔥If you’d like my help tracking your basics, staying committed to your aliveness, and nurturing habits so that you’ve actually got enough energy to enjoy your business, take a look at KK on Tap Biz Coaching.

I’ll help you end I Can Do It All By Myself Syndrome so that you can stop stressing about doing ALL THE THINGS and actually ENJOY having a soulful, profitable business. Details here.


🌈Be honest about your energy levels with those closest to you. Ask for help as needed.

🌈Cover the basics without shame or judgement: are you hydrating? Sleeping enough? Having nutrition? Moving your body in some way on the regular? Getting time offline and without screens? Having sex?

🌈Embrace whatever it is that nurtures you most deeply. (You need to go to a knitting retreat and get your yarn on for a week? Okay! Judging what you want is a fantastic way to make yourself miserable. Let’s skip it. 😉



P.S. Asshole brain came up a lot in this episode, here’s some more about it!

Coaching Quickie: Start a No Collection.

Are you afraid of hearing the word NO?

Do you avoid asking for help — or asking for anything that could lead to hearing a NO from another human being?

If yes, first and foremost, YOU’RE NOT ALONE.

Most of my biz coaching clients come to me so avoidant of the word ‘no’ that they never ask questions or make offers that could lead to hearing that word.

This coaching quickie episode of That’s What She Said will help you a.) stop fearing the word ‘no,’ and b.) actively celebrate every last rejection you receive.


Start a No Collection.

Your goal is to make SO MANY asks of your fellow humans in the coming week that you collect 3 to 5 no’s along the way.

Starting a No Collection is an easy way of turning a word we tend to fear — ‘no’ — into a celebration of having asked in the first place. (Either you get a yes — WHICH IS FANTASTIC — or a no — which gets added to your collection! See how you win either way, with this one trick?)

Creating a No Collection allows you to assess your needs, ask for support with your most pressing concerns, and collect some help along the way.

By tracking and celebrating each one of the no’s you receive, you become less afraid of hearing no, less afraid of asking for help in general, and less afraid of making offers in your business. (Not everyone will want everything you offer! That’s par for owning and operating an enterprise.)


First and foremost: ask for help with invisible labor.

Any and everywhere that you complete tasks no one sees or acknowledges, take time to write those tasks down. Particularly tasks that make you seethe with resentment, that make you feel like you’re wasting your time or send you into despair, or that are in your business but do not require your particular gifts to complete. (For example: an acupuncturist client of mine recently hired an assistant to sterilize instruments, clean session rooms, and launder blankets and towels between appointments. Necessary work? Yes. Necessary work for the person who owns the business to complete? Not at all.)

If you’re seething with resentment about any tasks on your list, start there with asking for help! It can be paid help, bartered help, free help, family help, or friend help! The point is to ASK FOR HELP.


Anything at all. Might I recommend support of some kind?

You can ask your friend to look over your new business product/service sales page and provide feedback about it.

Ask a colleague to hire you.

Ask to hire a colleague!

Ask for help with an area of business you find sticky or tricky: accounting, bookkeeping, graphic design, social media management, and/or consistent communication with your audience are places I’ve found that most business owners need support.

Ask for accountability around completing ________ [a task you’ve been avoiding for weeks/months/years/since Obama was in office].

As a business owner, I can 100% guarantee that you need help with something (or many somethings) at this moment.

I can also guarantee that specific requests for the support you need are the only way to get what you need, ’cause a money fairy or accounting fairy or structured time fairy is not going to drop out of the sky and makeover your life this afternoon.

👉🏻Should you need ALL THE HELP — hop on my KK on Tap biz coaching waitlist! When biz coaching spots open, you’ll be the first to know, and you’ll have me in your court for one full year. All the magic goes down online, so you can work with me from anywhere in the world!

Pro tip: specificity in your ask makes it easier for peeps to say yes or no.

Asking for an hour-long exploratory conversation is better than asking someone to ‘collaborate’ on an unspecified project that hasn’t yet been created.

Asking a colleague to text you on Tuesday mornings and ask whether you’ve completed the week’s bookkeeping duty beats asking someone to simply ‘be an accountability buddy.’ (For what? And how long? On which platform? Regarding which activities?)

Asking your partner to cook dinner on Wednesday and Friday beats asking for them to cook dinner ‘more.’ (I mean, they cooked that one time last week, which is technically ‘more’ than the weeks prior…)

Specific asks give a person an idea of what is expected, and when, and how much time it will take to complete the task. Because the other person understands the level of time, money, and/or energy needed to complete the task, they’re better equipped to give an honest answer and to be genuinely helpful when the time comes.

And if they say no, remember: you’re building a No Collection! Add it to the collection and keep on trucking!


There are an infinite number of ways to ask and I’ll roll through a few of ’em, but first: make peace with the asking itself.

Asking for help doesn’t make you weak, bad, wrong, or any other words your asshole brain throws around to keep you from completing this activity.

Asking for help makes you A HUMAN. We aren’t meant to meet 100% of our needs all by ourselves, but somehow the world makes it seem like being ‘self-made’ is the goal. We’re trained to need no one, ever, for any reason.

When you start a No Collection, you make it more likely that you’ll get the help you need to thrive at this moment.

If phrasing trips you up, here are 10 ways to frame the way you ask for help. The more specificity you can weave into these questions, the better:

Would you be willing to ____________?
Can you teach me how to ____________?
I have ____________ and you have ___________, can we trade?
Can you take a look at this [project/email/sales page/product] and let me know what you think about X?
Is it okay to call you/text you this afternoon about ___________?
I could use some help with _______________ this week. I estimate it will take X minutes.
Remember how [last week/month/year] you offered to _____________? I’d like to take you up on that offer.
I’ll give you ten bucks and a high five if you know the answer to this question. _____?
You asked if you could help and this is how. Here’s what I need: __________________.


Which clients or potential clients do you need to ask about hiring you, rehiring you, making a deposit, or pressing the buy button?

Because you can do that shit like BOOM. Make a list of about five people who have been circling your business and make a time-sensitive offer to each one. (More about making an offer that gets money in your bank account here.)

Maybe you include a 72-hour promo code with a ‘hire me!’ email. Maybe you offer a dozen roses or a massive discount or a huge bonus for buying within 24 hours. Maybe you extend an offer that hasn’t been doing all that well by making another pitch or two for your peeps to hire you.

So long as you’re asking your peeps to give you money in business, you’re doing the hard work of selling AND building your No Collection along the way.

Again, your goal is to gather 3-5 no’s for your No Collection in the coming week. Lemme know how it goes by shooting an email to!

P.S. Need help selling when you’re sick of saying the same thing over and over (and fucking OVER)…?  I FEEL YOU!  And also… Stay on it.

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.


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.


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.

Let’s talk Bunker Mode.

inauguration painting by Kristen Kalp

Now that the threat of Trumpism has been beaten back enough for science to once again matter in these United States, I have enough energy to talk to you about 2021! Hello, hi, we did it! We made it!

In some ways, it feels like the year of 2021 didn’t start until January 20th — when we saw a new President safely and peacefully installed in the United States government.

I wept when Kamala Harris was sworn in.
I wept when Joe Biden was sworn in.
I wept for the duration of Amanda Gorman’s poem. Her words are a living reminder that poetry can help us reach for and name our deepest struggles, as well as frame hope in such a way that we can feel it returning to us after being hidden for a loooooong time.

Today, I want to share a metaphor that helped me to weather the past year. A metaphor is a small thing — just a string of words — but also an enormous thing.

Naming what we’re feeling has tremendous power.
Feeling less alone has tremendous power.
Being able to articulate an experience has tremendous power.

So, let’s get into some tremendous power.

Psst! This is an episode of my podcast, That’s What She Said! You can find all 260+ episodes here.

Let’s talk Bunker Mode.

I first heard this term at a workshop with Rob Bell and Liz Gilbert. An attendee said that she wrote a script for Hollywood and sold the rights to it! A film was made! The thrill of having her work made into a feature length film was amazing! And then, the reviews. The reviews were so bad — so mocking, so derisive, and so lacking in positive critique — that this woman stopped writing. For years. She wanted to know how to start writing again. (If I read the room correctly, she also wanted to know if she could start writing again.)

That’s when Rob introduced this concept.

Bunker mode is exactly as it sounds: some vital and essential part of you goes into a bunker of the soul and refuses to come out.

Circa 2021, most people I see are in some form of bunker mode.

You’re wildly disoriented (WHUT THE FUCK IS GOING ON???? times ALL THE THINGS).
You’re exhausted from trying to live up to new challenges.
You cringe at the word ‘unprecedented.’
You’re trying to adapt to new policies and norms.
At a fundamental level, you’re scared. Your sense of security in the world has been threatened.

You retreat internally to that place where no other human can reach you, then hunker down and hang out, hoping no one will notice that you’re gone.

In bunker mode, we’re surviving. Not dreaming, not planning, not processing our experiences, not dealing with what is happening at any level.

Just. Surviving.

The trouble is, our society doesn’t allow for bunker mode. We point to those we perceive to be less fortunate and say THOSE people are allowed to be upset. THOSE people are allowed to be freaking out. THOSE people are given permission to shut down.


We expect ourselves to Just Keep Swimming — no matter what.

So what if we’re facing a global pandemic and economic collapse, heightened calls for a white supremacist uprising, an ACTUAL FUCKING INSURRECTION, and a few million lives lost around the planet?

‘Just BE NORMAL,’ our asshole brain says.

‘Stop having FEELINGS. DEAL WITH IT,’ our asshole brain chides.

So we push it down. We do our best to stop having feelings. We wring our hands in private. We want to talk about ANYTHING but reality. We eat to stop having feelings. We refresh the news with increasing regularity. We doomscroll. (Or at least, I did!)

Objectively speaking, any one of the events of the past year is enough to trigger bunker mode. We go down deep into ourselves and/or our screens, and we don’t come out until the threat is perceived to be over.

Personally, bunker mode was cemented when I saw a police drone the size of my VW Beetle hovering above the house in Portland last June. I shook for days. D-A-Y-S. I couldn’t concentrate. I had obsessive thoughts about living in a dystopian novel. I panicked. I cried. I withdrew and did breathwork as much as possible. I started doing yoga to be able to cope with being alive. Which brings me to the big question…

Are you in bunker mode at the moment?

If yes, you’re in good company. Most every one of my clients is dealing with some form of bunker mode or another! Some industries no longer exist. Other industries are on their knees, barely surviving. Not one client has reported that homeschooling children in addition to owning a business is The Most Fun Ever.

Bunker. Mode. Is. Normal.

Since part of my job is to share my deeply personal experiences and shine a light on the ‘hey this is a universal human experience!’ parts of my life, please allow me to share what I currently know about this phenomenon.

When you find yourself in bunker mode, LOWER YOUR STANDARDS.

Maybe in 2019 you could bang out some portion of your work in 23 minutes, but now that same task takes more like an hour and a half. That’s normal. That’s everyone. Most people I talk to say they feel like they worked twice as hard to get half as much done in 2020.

It’s hard to concentrate.
It’s hard to plan for the future.
It’s hard to know what’s going to happen, at any level, in the coming year.

Instead of trying to hustle like it’s 2019, beating yourself up for being unable to weather a global catastrophe unscathed…what if you acknowledge that 2021 is different?

What if you don’t hold yourself to unattainable standards of perfection — just for this year?

What if you don’t decide to quintuple your income by working 3x harder — just for this year?

What if you let yourself rest and take breaks instead of doubling down on time at your desk — just for this year?

Screaming TRY HARDER at yourself in bunker mode doesn’t help.

I can confirm for you that screaming TRY HARDER at myself internally each day didn’t help much. Neither did forcing myself to sit at my desk and work. Dreaming about holding workshops at various event locales around the world when travel is banned made it worse. Beating myself up for failing to bang out podcasts and other forms of communication at my standard 2019 rate made me feel like I had even less to say.

What if you could be kind to your being and your body for weathering this ‘unprecedented’ storm by going into bunker mode?

What if you could find ways to be kind to your spirit and your body each day?

What if you’re not WRONG for being freaked out?

What if it’s okay to feel overwhelmed and anxious, grief-stricken and hopeful — all in the course of a few minutes?

What if your thriving in 2021 could be measured by ANYTHING but the traditional trappings of success — minutes meditated versus dollars made, paintings painted versus followers gained, words written versus sales created?

What if you set your own standards for your time in bunker mode — and you let those standards be entirely joy-based?

Regardless of where you’re existing at this moment, I hope this podcast helps you frame your experiences within the context of normalcy.

You’re behind on email? Obviously.
You’re overwhelmed by all the changes to the world as you knew it? Of course.
Afraid of contracting Corona but unable to stay inside for every moment of every day or you’ll lose your sanity? ME FRIGGIN TOO.

You’re not alone.
You’re not broken.
And you are, whether you like it or not, deeply loved.

If you’d like my support for weathering 2021 in your business — bunker mode or not — KK on Tap coaching spots are open!

You’ll work with me and about 20 fellow Tappers for a full year. If you’d like to make more money and meaning in your business, keep yourself accountable for doing your work, or deepen your experience of being alive on this planet, I’m ready to help! Head to and check it out, or shoot me an email by filling out the form below!

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May you find the resources you need to survive in bunker mode. May you be kind to yourself when you’re unable to do what was easy for you in The Before. May you rest when you need to rest; eat when you need to eat; and work when you need to work. May you feel 47% less alone when you hear these words. And may you know that bunker mode can’t and won’t last forever, even when asshole brain says it will.