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What’s tripping you up?

Over the years, I’ve admitted SO MANY scary things here on the podcast and in my writings. Some highlights: I’ve been battling depression since 2001. I once lost $43,000 on a massive business event, the $20,000 mastermind I signed up for hurt my spirit in ways I couldn’t even begin to articulate for years afterward, and long Covid wrecked my spirit in ways I can only just now begin to see, let alone articulate. I’ve studied breathwork (a free class for you is waiting here!), gotten divorced, fallen in love, written poems, shared advice, and seen the depths of the human spirit – all while sharing what I’m learning with you.

Psst! This is an episode of That’s What She Said, my podcast — there are hundreds more episodes right here.

Talking about what’s tripping you up doesn’t make you wrong, bad, a ‘loser,’ or whatever else asshole brain has to say about you. It makes you HUMAN.

You find being committed to nutrition, exercise, healthy sleep, self care, and/or taking time away from work to be a challenge? Me, too.

Your life looks nothing like it did before pandemic, or EXACTLY like it did before pandemic but with much harder circumstances surrounding your day-to-day existence? Me, too.

You failed to plan for a global pandemic starting in 2020 so now your 1-year, 3-year, or 5-year plan is ruined? WELP I never had a 5-year plan, but if I did I imagine mine would also be fucked.

Failing to acknowledge what’s true in this moment doesn’t make it any less true.

There’s nowhere on the planet you can go that gets you away from…yourself. So let’s turn inward and see what we find, okay?

Answering the following questions will help you find a way through the tangles of your own heart. You’re human, so please don’t beat yourself up about your answers. It’s year three of pandemic, so again – PLEASE DON’T BEAT YOURSELF UP ABOUT YOUR ANSWERS. What Kasia Urbaniak calls ‘self attack’ will only prevent you from moving toward health.

What keeps tripping you up?

Meaning, what do you find yourself struggling with again and again? I’ve had turns of the spiral with depression, with money habits and skills, with creating structure for myself in business, with isolating when connecting is the healthiest option, and lately, with pandemic itself. WHEN WILL IT END/WHY GOD WHY happens more frequently as time goes on.

Places where you routinely trip up are like red flags encouraging you to ask for help. (Related: how to ask for help.) These tripping-up places are not places for shame or despair to take hold! They’re simply places where you can seek help, because completing one more turn of the spiral on your own is unlikely to return an amazing result. (You’ve tried that already, ’cause you’re one of my people and OF COURSE YOU HAVE.)

Where do you routinely lose time, money, and/or energy?

Common time sucks: social media, doomscrolling, planning and re-planning and re-re-planning in lieu of taking action

Common money sucks: courses/books/programs/offerings that promise a silver bullet or a vague ‘More,’ particularly if they can promise that YOU WILL make SO MUCH more MONEY if you just A, B, C, D, E, F, and G according to our Very Foolproof System.

Common energy sucks: worrying about what’s going to happen three steps from now, or six months from now, or seven years from now, email in all its forms, contorting yourself into the version of you that people will ‘like.’  (Related: let out your meows.)

Simply identifying where you lose time, money, or energy is the first step toward reclaiming those things – even now, smack dab in the middle of Omicron having its way with the globe. This is NOT a way to beat yourself up, but to acknowledge that reclaiming some time, money, and/or energy is available to you starting right now.

What is quietly a dumpster fire that you hope goes away on its own?

Sources of dumpster fire-y ness that I’ve witnessed most often include: ignoring mounting debt, hanging on to unhealthy or dead relationships, overeating to avoid feeling feelings, pretending your current circumstances are ‘fine’ when internally you’re FREAKING OUT, or admitting that you’ve changed your mind about X but asshole brain convinces you to white-knuckle your way through your commitments. (See: that time I wanted to end my marriage in 2006 but hung in there til 2014.)

Which parts of your being or your work have you given up on or decided to ignore away?

If you’re an artist, making your art will save your life. Your creative impulses aren’t going to disappear just because you’ve decided to let them go dormant. Likewise, pretending that numbing your emotions means you’ll never have emotions again is a recipe for failure. Acting like you’re FINE THANK YOU VERY MUCH in the face of whatever your heart is telling you is also likely to go…poorly.  (Related: don’t you dare settle for ‘fine.‘)

A poem to highlight this particular issue:

Pen to Paper

I stopped writing.
It was the first to go.
I was too busy building walls
to record any words for posterity’s sake.

I stopped asking.
Because I didn’t care
what you were thinking,
or why, or whether I made you that way.

I stopped fucking.
Because what’s the point,
it will end in rejection. Quiet,
shame, tears. The bathroom floor.

I stopped touching.
It’s easier to give it all up
than to hug everyone you adore
before going home to your husband.

I stopped trying.
Because if love is all work, it’s no longer love
but something darker. Obligation,
retaliation. Endless compromise. Domestic warfare.

I stopped singing.
In the car, in the shower, in line. I didn’t even notice
until that day, months and months after,
when my voice returned. It startled me.

But, really. Really.
I’d give just about anything
to read those poems I never wrote.

Last question, and it’s a fill-in-the-blank!

If I wasn’t censoring or sabotaging myself, I would…

This is not the time to be sensible, reasonable, or responsible! If your first answer is ‘write a novel,’ please let that answer stand. If it’s delete social media or double down on social media, great!

Whatever it is that you routinely do to censor or sabotage yourself…please identify the pattern. You’re capable of changing that pattern, and of doing so without it costing eleventy-billion dollars or taking the rest of your life.

You’re capable of making changes in your life starting right now, and it’s possible for those changes to bear fruit in the coming months, even if pandemic goes absolutely nowhere or a new variant emerges. To put it another way…

Enter into the dance.

The dance of the universe,
this endless world looking at, observing,
and interacting with itself —
only itself in endless forms —
every single day.

Your job is to be you.

Your job is to evolve
your consciousness by entering in,
every single day.

Even when you’re tired.
Even when you’re scared.
Even when you’re sure it’s useless,
or there are bigger fish to fry,
or your tiny scraps of goodness
add up to nothing at all.

Your job is to enter in and become more of yourself,
to find out more of what you already know,
to dance with everything both as the universe
and as your own, separate, self.

The error comes in thinking there’s a ‘there’ there:
believing it will all be solved when
all better when
all work out when
all be ideal when
all be painless when

The dance is good and hard and painful and messy, always.

Enter in.

Don’t sit at the gate and charge for tickets
or claim to know what’s going on inside because you visited yesterday
or stand along the sides and watch others dancing.

Rest when you need, of course,
but enter in.

It’s the only way to know what is and isn’t true, today,
and what you might do to aid the universe
in its unfolding at this very moment.

You are freer than you know, now.

Just enter in.

Telling the truth about where you are and what’s going on – without shame, guilt, or judgment — is the whole point of my latest in-person workshop, The Imaginarium.

I’ll see you just as you are in this moment – paused, unpaused, freaking out, super calm, trying not to feel, or feeling every damn thing.

We’ll identify places where you’re committed to making progress.
We’ll put structures in place to hold you accountable for doing what you say you’re doing to do.
We’ll work together to find the more hopeful and alive version of you that’s been hiding away during pandemic, and we’ll bring her to the forefront with more joy and ease than you thought possible.

Says Laura, an Imaginarium attendee: “I tried to explain to my mom what it was like to be held so gently and with so much support and non-judgment. I said it was like putting a spotlight on my heart and soul, but it wasn’t scary; it was healing and filled with encouragement. I felt very safe.”

To talk with me about whether or not The Imaginarium is right for you, book a free tiny call or shoot an email to k@kristenkalp.com and I’ll hook you up.

Again – book a tiny call to see if working together might be just what you need in 2022.

P.S. I dare you to shoot me an email with your answers to the questions in this podcast! I’m 0% going to judge you and 100% proud that you took the time to sort out an internal tangle or two. Send a note to k@kristenkalp.com!

You don’t have to earn your keep.

Welcome to Microdose #2 in our 2022 podcast series!  You can start with Pandemic, Year Three, or dive in below for the most-relevant-to-this-moment wisdom I’ve got:

We begin with a poem.

When people ask how I am, I don’t want my first response to be “Tired.”

And so I am undoing
unlearning
rerouting
my life’s ley lines
around wonder and silence
stillness and depth

I am deleting apps,
banishing the phone to the furthest corners
of the house.

I am tossing big plastic rings
at the dog, who chases them
and chews them
and likes to see if he can dangle from them
by his teeth for just a second
before his grip fails.

I am learning not-tired the same way:
dangling, just barely
by my teeth

But I am learning, nonetheless.

There’s a portion of asshole brain that I call Resting Bitch Voice. It’s like Resting Bitch Face, only this doesn’t just make you look like you’re pissed when you’re in the latest edition of People magazine.

Resting Bitch Voice keeps you tired, overworked, stressed, steeped in martyrdom, and unable to articulate exactly why you feel like a bag of old turds. (This is covered in far greater detail in That’s What She Said episode #251, which you can find at https://kristenkalp.com/resting-bitch-voice/)

First, Resting Bitch Voice makes you EARN rest.

Resting Bitch Voice will also pipe up about how you’re doing rest WRONG.

It says things like…

Why can’t you do all these tasks on this very long list and THEN rest?

Why can’t you rest MORE PRODUCTIVELY?

Why aren’t you working ahead when you know you have [ENORMOUS LIST OF THINGS] to do next week?

Why is the pandemic STILL making you tired?

Why can’t you just HANDLE YOUR SHIT without having to sleep, chill, ask for help, or unplug?

Ultimately, Resting Bitch Voice continuously conveys that it is NOT OKAY to be human.

It NEVER stops questioning your Very Human Limitations.

I’m not telling you about Resting Bitch Voice because this is easy work.

Rather, I’m talking about the mechanics of rest because it’s hard for me. My natural tendency is to WAKE UP AND DO SHIT UNTIL I DROP.

I had to learn that Resting Bitch Voice a.) exists and b.) can singlehandedly ruin my health when I listen to it.

How many hours of sleep and/or downtime would you get if you allowed yourself to be fully human?

What would regular rest and downtime look like if you let yourself be fully human?

What would you put down, leave behind, stop doing, or start prioritizing from an allowed-to-be-fully-human space?

If all you do in 2022 is learn to rest with less guilt and more joy, YOU’RE FUCKING WINNING.

If you’d like to be supported as you learn to rest, slow down, do less, and generally un-capitalism yourself as much as possible, I invite you to join me at The Imaginarium!

During these live, in-person workshops for the fully vaccinated in Philadelphia, we’ll take a look at every aspect of your life during pandemic. Then, we’ll vote many of the things that keep you burned out and stretched thin off the table so that you have more space for occupying and enjoying your life. Bonus: you’ll have three months after the workshop to form new habits and to explore the world of whatever comes after hustling yourself into the ground. You’ll do this work in the company of myself and up to 6 other rad humans.

To talk with me about attending, hit up bit.ly/talkwithkk and book a call! If you’d like to do this work privately – just me and you in Philly on the dates of your choosing – book a call and ask about Solo.

P.S. Related to learning to rest and find the sweetness even here, in the midst of pandemic: it doesn’t count if you don’t enjoy it.

Pandemic, Year 3.

Hello and welcome to…pandemic, year 3.

Pop Tv Dammit GIF by Schitt's Creek

Let’s prepare for this glorious chaos, shall we?

This is an episode of That’s What She Said meant to help you do the work of keeping your 2022 MEANS MORE GOALS MORE HUSTLE AND MORE ACHIEVING bits in check.

Because SO MUCH of life is outside your control…what are you going to get from this year, no matter what?

Let’s get clear on your Scope of Work. This is covered in greater detail in That’s What She Said episode 236, found at https://kristenkalp.com/scope-of-work/ – if you want to dive deeper.

The short version: Capitalism skews toward goals being simple and MORE-based. I’ve seen this play out for clients who are looking for ‘more’ clients or ‘more’ sales. When they fail to define what ‘more’ is, it quickly becomes infinite and unreachable. You will NEVER feel like you’ve successfully gotten ‘more’ clients, ’cause the answer to getting more clients is…getting MORE clients.

Based on your physical, mental, and emotional energy — as well as the time you’ve got — what can you realistically handle creating, offering, and marketing in 2022?

THAT is your scope of work for 2022.

My scope of work this year is to hold Imaginarium workshops here in Philly to help people recover their sense of connection to themselves and to one another right here in the midst of pandemic. Hit up Bit.ly/talkwithkk to book a call and talk with me about attending! I’ll also be working one-on-one with about 15 business coaching clients in KK on Tap (again — talk to me if you’d like work in and on your business together!) and writing poems like a mofo.

Knowing exactly how much you can do before overwhelm wins or the wheels come off will help you move through overwhelm and whatever the year holds with greater ease.

Doing the work of defining what you can do means you won’t go insane by chasing some stronger, lighter, better, more ideal or perfect version of yourself.

It’s okay if your scope of work today is not the same as it was in The Before.

Five years ago, my current scope of work would have been the START of a much longer set of tasks that also included ghostwriting a book or two, launching a class or two, and hopping on a plane to travel to workshops and speaking gigs at least four times. But Then is not Now.

It’s okay if you have less capacity for work today than you did at some point in the past. (Due to long Covid, my brain takes about twice as long to write and to shape teaching materials as it did in 2019.)

It’s okay if today’s version of you is overwhelmed more easily by thinking about your scope of work than you would have been at age 19, or 24, or whatever age you’ve mentally tabbed as your glory days.

The pandemic has shaped and is shaping each of us as it moves through.

Your scope of work is a function of time, money, and energy. It’s about working toward a place where you’ve hit ‘enough’ with all three – without tipping into burnout or despair.

So, what are you gonna do this year, no matter what?

And can the whole thing fit on a napkin or post-it note?

THAT’s a doable scope of work.

Which emotions and experiences will you cultivate no matter what happens?

…and this year, more than ever, maybe we can leave room for imagination. For not knowing. For what if. For riding the waves and rolling with the punches.

January 4, 2022

The headlines say civil war is on the way
and while this may not be the biggest news to hit planet earth,
it really does fuck with my goal-setting.

Is surviving enough?

How are we to catch the systems as they crumble…?

What is the right way to go about rectifying reality —
and what if the other side has most of the guns?

I hear a quiet voice say, “Ask better questions.”

What if Pentagon funding could be turned into free childcare,
fair pay for teachers, and art absolutely
everywhere?

What if tanks could be turned into trumpets?

What if corporations no longer had rights?

What if we learned to stop
buying more bullshit things
from our scroll machines?

What if we learned to put it all down
and look each other
in the eyes?

What if we learned
to put it all
down.

And look.

If you’d like to be held accountable for actually sticking to that scope of work you’ve just made, please lemme tell you about The Imaginarium. It’s a live, in-person event in Philly for the fully vaccinated in which we help you figure out where you are at this point in pandemic – and where you’d like to go. Then, we use group coaching via monthly check-ins and weekly meetups to get you there. You’ll make straightforward progress in the direction of your choosing while being connected to other absolutely phenomenal humans.

As Kelsi texted me yesterday, “I treasure this group so much. For me, I’m getting better at articulating what I’m feeling and needing, and asking for I want in my life because of this space. And I just cherish these women and celebrate the magnificent growth they’ve all experienced in such a short amount of time.”

Your fellow workshop goers are amazing. And the work we do together is a big fat gorgeous heaping bonus. Again, hit up bit.ly/talkwithkk to talk with me about attending The Imaginarium in 2022!

P.S.  Need another coaching quickie?  Start a no collection.

Connie Vanderzanden & all the SCARY BUSINESS NUMBERS

Connie Vanderzanden

Did you ever want to meet someone who defies most every stereotype of the accounting industry in an effortless and extremely human way?  Because…meet Connie Vanderzanden. 

YES I KNOW YOU DO NOT ENJOY NUMBERS.

NO CONNIE IS NOT OFFENDED.

This is a super chill, no-pitch interview meant to help you both a.) look at and b.) start taking control of your business numbers starting NOW.  I’ve been the human who watched credit card bills pile up, too scared to open them, and the entrepreneur whose expenses are ??? per month but IT’S FINE I’M MAKING PLENTY.  Given Connie’s wisdom and elegant money systems, I could have skipped those debt-y years of WHY GOD WHY and gotten to the point of engaging with and managing my business numbers muuuuch more quickly.

In this That’s What She Said podcast interview, we talk about:

🔥The 19 years Connie has been in business — including the *six* years she put into it without pay
🔥The ways debt leads to deadened creativity — and how to get out of the ‘but I have no ideas or motivation’ cycle
🔥Steps to start dealing with, looking at, and taking control of your business finances, even if you HATE numbers or are afraid of what you’ll find
🔥Guidelines for both natural savers (not me) and natural spenders (::waves hello::) to use money in service of our (business) lives
🔥EXTREMELY practical, immediately useful suggestions for putting your money to work from the moment you listen to the podcast
🔥The sneaky ways RECEIVING has everything thing to do with the health and wealth of your business
🔥Connie’s insightful stories about her relationships with food, debt, and power — and how she had to reckon with all three to run a truly sustainable business.

If you’d like to find out more about working with Connie to get your business out of OH GOD I’M AFRAID OF THE NUMBERS LET ME AVOID THEM FOR ANOTHER ONE TO SEVEN MORE YEARS, head to profitwithconnie.com.

If you’d like to start diving into your business finances with Connie’s free resources, check this out.

P.S. Use this podcast episode to figure out exactly how much money your business needs to make each month in order to have Enough.  Or, if you’ve got Enough on lock, check out Bear Hebert’s take on being anti-capitalist…within the confines of capitalism. 😉

The Other Side

We get up every day
and do the work.
There is drama, pain,
resistance, play,
noise. Sometimes
the deafening silence.

We get up every day and do the work.
No one anywhere says a word because
they do not see and cannot know
what’s required to enter the chambers of the heart,
day after day, week after week, year after year.

They cannot know what it’s like to crawl along your belly
through the tears-snot-pain-awful for what seems like miles
in order to find that reliable feast set in a room of rock:
peace, persistence,
pleasure.

We tell them but they do not believe:
the other side of the tunnel opens
in all directions to pure
blinding
light.

P.S. My book of poetry is pay-what-you-can priced.