One of the things I get asked by my coaching clients (3 year-long spots open in April, get on the wait list here!) is how to begin something new or different. They want a road map or plan that will mitigate all the risk involved in trying a brand new thing (of course), and I assure them that risk is built into the whole thing (of course).
The good news is, we can absolutely figure out a way for you to move forward that doesn’t lead to fear-puking on your shoes every morning.
‘How to experiment’ is an extremely flexible framework that can help you enter into a new project, idea, concept, collaboration, or phase of your work at the deepest levels.
Psst! This is a podcast episode! Listen in below, or just keep reading if you like to go fast.
First, let’s talk about Wim Hof. He’s fascinating because if you listen to an interview without knowing his story, he sounds absolutely insane.
He holds many Guinness World Records for bodily feats and generally defies all that we thought we knew about the limits of the human body.
But his refrain when teaching is often: “Don’t think about it, just do it!”
How do you keep your body temperature steady while taking an ice bath?
How do you run a marathon in the desert without water?
How do you climb Mount Everest in your underwear?
“Don’t think about it, just do it!” (Also YES he has a method, but that method is so simple that we naturally ask 3,427 questions with no solid answers when presented with his achievements. I have been there and very much done that.)
Frustrating as his sentiment is, I don’t think he’s being condescending when he says, ‘Don’t think about it, just do it!’ I think he’s tapping into the primal bits of ourselves that simply know what to do, and that are perfectly fine to function without letting the limitations of the mind stop us.
So, when we dive into a topic like ‘How to experiment,’ we just do it.
First, we give ourselves permission to change the way it’s always been done.
The podcast has been me talking to you for the past five years. (Yup, five!) That has been absolutely lovely, and there are hundreds of episodes to enjoy at kristenkalp.com/podcast. In order to shake things up a bit, I have to give myself permission to change and grow.
You’ll have to do the same before you make shifts in your work.
If you’ve got a thing you’ve been doing a single way for some time, it’s okay to make space for that thing to change. It’s okay to try a new drawing style or close a shop or start a shop or give up on that process or withdraw from that partnership that hasn’t been working. It’s okay to stop working for free, to draw boundaries around your time and energy (see: Structure That Doesn’t Suck), and generally to make room for your own growth.
I’m going to illustrate the ‘how to experiment’ process in four steps for the sake of ease, but of course the real life process is rarely this obvious and straightforward.
We don’t have the kind of time it takes to acknowledge every single way that your particular path through life can swerve and curve. Your job is to try and figure out which step you’re currently in so that you’ll have a better idea of what to do next.
Step One: Listen for your little knowings.
Little knowings, meaning: feelings, thoughts, images, ideas, or ways of being that appear suddenly and that you know to be true. No data or science or other mind tools required.
All I knew for weeks and weeks was that something about the podcast needed to change. I would sit down to write or to record and get a shrug from the universe in return. That’s never happened.
Because I am wise and trusting of all that is, I freaked out and completely panicked. OH MY GOD AM I DONE WITH THE PODCAST, I DIDN’T KNOW, HOW COULD I NOT KNOWWWWWWWWWWW????
Some part of me knew that this energy would shift if I could sit with it and allow myself to be open to change. (Again, that sounds so simple, and is actually excruciating. Patience in the space of not knowing is difficult for me 100% of the time.)
Step Two: Record your little knowings.
In the case of the podcast, I wrote down ‘KK and the Rainbows’ weeks and weeks ago with no idea what it meant. It just kept coming up, flitting into my brain on repeat, so I grew frustrated enough to put it in my calendar.
‘KK and The Rainbows! There, you get an hour on Thursday, okay!?’ Please note that I gave this concept that clearly wanted my attention a block of time without knowing what would happen when I reached that space on my calendar.
Making space is where the free podcast series, Structure That Doesn’t Suck, really shines! If you put a concept or idea on your schedule for next Tuesday at 10am, you don’t have to worry about it until next Tuesday at 10am. The brain-swirling stops when you give a little knowing the space to exist.
When I say ‘record’ your little knowings, I mean type or talk or text or write or print or draw or paint or sing or whatever you would like. Recording what you know, as information becomes available, means that you won’t forget each fragment as it comes. It often arrives in jumbled order and with scattered pieces in play. The pattern is only obvious if you have the discipline required to record everything you know as it reveals itself to you. When you have enough information to see the next step, you can move forward.
Most people don’t bother to record their ‘little’ ideas or ‘funny’ knowings or the ‘strange’ phrases that pop into their heads. That refusal to write stuff down slows the experimentation process considerably. If you get 15 pieces of intuitive data per day and don’t record any of them, you won’t progress as quickly as the person who records everything they know as it becomes available to them.
To put it a different way: you can be the wisest, most intuitive being on earth who records nothing and eventually get surpassed at every level by the person dedicated to recording and tracking the patterns in their little knowings.
To record your intuitive knowing is to be a good steward of your gifts.
(See also: own your woo.)
Step Three: Follow your little knowings.
Following your knowing means you a.) keep an ear to the ground of your own heart and b.) try not to be frustrated when you only know the next right thing.
If you’re walking your own edges, you will never, ever get your next 57 steps delivered in a PDF manual from someone else’s class or program.
You’ll get the next right step. Just one. (My thanks to future friend Rob Bell for delivering this message to me so many times over the past six years!)
Turns out, ‘KK and the Rainbows’ is actually the framework for a new way of doing the podcast!
You are now a Rainbow. That’s the most inclusive word I can think of — I don’t even care that you be a human in order to enjoy! — and it’s also indicative of the magical nature at the core of your being.
We rainbows need affirmation that we’re not alone. We also need tools to address the challenging nature of being a sensitive, feeling creature in a world wired to shut us down and push us toward productivity and profitability at all costs.
The podcast experiment works like this: you’ll call in live on alternating Tuesdays, and we’ll record the podcast together for an hour. I’ll talk for twenty-ish minutes, you’ll ask questions via video or chat box (because introverts), and we’ll all turn on video chat at the end for a chance to see each others’ pets and wave and giggle. Why yes, I *am* in this for seeing as many animals as possible!
Step Four: See what happens.
Please note that ‘see what happens’ is a neutral phrase. It could go either way.
This could be the greatest advancement the podcast has ever seen, or it could be the worst ever due to lack of attendance or unknown technical difficulties or the trigger for a zombie apocalypse.
The same uncertain nature will be true of your experiments. If they’re truly experiments — not safe bets — they could just as easily slip into disaster as glory. Glennon Doyle mixes the words ‘scary’ and ‘excited’ to call it ‘scited,’ which is precisely how it feels.
I’m committing to six live KK and The Rainbows episodes to start.
To be invited to all 6 live podcast recordings, you just have to be on my email list and I’ll take care of the rest.
I’ll still tell you what’s going on in my business and how you can get on board with things like The Softness Sessions (i.e. Breathwork 101, we start soon!) and the live-in-May-in-Portland Voice Workshop, but the tools I’m presenting won’t be continuous pitches.
We’ll record together on alternating Tuesdays at 10am Pacific, and the following week the recording will be available to everyone who couldn’t attend in real time. The overall pace of the podcast slows down, but the time we get to spend together goes up!
This experiment is completely dependent on your showing up.
KK and The Rainbows, minus any questions or participation from others, is just KK.
My great fear is that absolutely no one will show up. But I’m doing it anyway.
I hope you’ll do the same, no matter which experiment is on your docket.
P.S. ‘But Kristen! I don’t HAVE little knowings. I can’t hear my intuition…at ALL.’ <– That’s a fantastic sign that The Softness Sessions will be so so good for you.
We’ll build your inner listening muscles and intuition muscles, slowly over the course of six weeks, so that you’ll get better at listening to you. We can absolutely put down the tools of your mind so that we can ‘not think about it, just dooo it!’ 😉