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Own Your Woo

Denying your power weakens it.

You have superpowers — i.e. woo, intuition, whatever you choose to call it — and if you’re one of my peeps those superpowers probably aren’t entirely mundane in nature.

So often, I see coaching clients with superpowers shrug off their magic like it’s no big deal.

I’ve watched my peeps bat down compliments about everything from their extraordinary singing voice to their artistry with a camera. They’ve fought me about how tripling their income through hard work and new practices is no big deal because they were going for quintupling their income, so their efforts don’t count. I’ve had a friend cure my fever by holding my hand for a few minutes and increasing my body temperature. Like, I shit you not — cure my fever.

The power we collectively possess within us is far more capable of creating better worlds than any single policy on earth, but we pretend it’s no big deal. We minimize ourselves and our talents at every turn.

Owning your woo means refusing to deny your power.

It means allowing yourself to see what you see, feel what you feel, and know what you know. What you see, feel, and know might be different from what others see, feel, and know, which is where courage is required.

Your power will always ask you to speak up. To tell us when you see a better way forward. To make art where there’s now a trash heap or an abandoned lot. To grow plants in the soil where I could only make dandelions grow. To steer us away from energetically volatile humans. To help us enter into peaceful transitions from one phase of our lives to the next. (Yes, doulas, I’m looking at you!)

Here are a few ways to tell if you’ve been denying your power all along.

When talking about anything spiritual, intuitive, or mysterious, do you:

+ offer the disclaimer of ‘this is woo woo’ before you begin?
+ write your power off as something ‘everyone can do?’
+ refuse to share your tenderest, most soulful and ‘weird’ bits with your partner(s) or friend(s)?
+ try to blend in and pretend you don’t know the things you know?
+ mold yourself to others’ societal standards because you’re afraid of using your own?
+ downplay the role of the spiritual in your life and the lives of others?
+ overcorrect for woo in the direction of the ‘logical’ and ‘practical’?
+ squash your intuition and then proceed to slowly die inside?

Let’s stop doing this shit.

“Despair dresses in the costume of reason. However, it forgets the miracles of healing that become available when we enter a broader story.” — Charles Eisenstein

Denying what you know empowers harmful societal systems that are more than happy to take your power away and then sell you the ‘solution.’

First up! Denying your woo benefits the patriarchy in a big way.

“The witch hunts in Europe coincided with the rise of Western medicine as a profit-based and exclusively male profession. The witch hunts coincided, too, with the expansion of European imperialism and the European slave trade in Africa. The more territory European colonists claimed, the more people they enslaved overseas, the more women they publicly murdered at home. Ironically, this whole era in European history is known as ‘The Renaissance.'” — Ariel Gore, We Were Witches

Women were healers and medicine carriers until men of old decided that medicine was their domain, and thus the persecution of witches and wise women was carried out throughout the ages. You will not be burned at the stake for learning plant medicine, for using tools of divination, for helping others heal, or for listening to the guides, spirits, and ancestors who have much to say when you learn to speak the language of energy.

Some part of you — probably the most ancient and wise part — has trouble believing this, but it’s true.

There is no upside to denying the parts of you that are gifted at healing, that know just what to do or say, or that make people feel safe, seen, comfortable, and loved.

It’s safe to know what you know, see what you see, and feel what you feel.

Next up! Denying your woo benefits capitalism in hugely profitable ways.

“There are no grades anymore…sometimes I think you forget that. There are never going to be grades for the rest of your life, so you just have to do what you want to do. Forget about how it looks. Think about what it is.” — Meg Wolitzer, The Female Persuasion

When you stifle your inner knowing, it’s much easier to market to you via authority figures who claim to have the solution to your very specific problem. How often have you purchased a product or system, particularly in business, that is being marketed as The Way? When really, there is no One Way. There is no next level. There is only where you are now, and you listening deeply to you, keeping an ear to the ground in order to discern your next right step.

The odds of your next right step being a multi-thousand dollar program that teaches you about Facebook ads — when you haven’t done the deep work of developing your voice, honing your talent, sharing your work, and asking for help — is precisely zero.

Please note that developing your voice, honing your talent, sharing your work, and asking for help are often free or cheap endeavors. Sure, you’ll have to use lots of clay to become a better sculptor, but you aren’t required to spend triple your supply budget on seminars, workshops, and online programs in the name of earning more made-up credentials or selling in ways that hurt your soul.

I’m not asking you to give up on education or to cease attendance at workshops! I’m only asking that you run firmly and quickly in the opposite direction of absolutely anyone who has a one-size-fits-all system that is being touted as The Way. Listen to the voice within you that shies away from an authority figure, even if everyone else is firmly in love with them.

Even when I’m at my most market-y and salesy, I’m happy to turn people away from my offerings because they aren’t a good fit for everyone. Honesty about others’ needs helps keep me fundamentally in alignment with my deepest values, one of which is listening to my inner cues about those who are interested in my work. Sometimes it’s time to work with me, sometimes it isn’t, and I’m happy to tell you when you ask.

Speaking of which, 6 year-long coaching spots open on January 16th for KK on Tap

You’ll have access to my program and book archives and get free admission to the upcoming Voice workshop this May, as well as have quarterly 1-on-1 and group coaching calls with me. Most peeps make their money back within a few months, and some clients go as far as to increase their income by 450% when working with me. (Yes, I shit you not, 450% increase in income.  I can’t promise you’ll have those results, but I can promise you’ll like your business more by the end of our time together than you do right now.) Hit up kristenkalp.com/tap to get details and to get on the waitlist!

Next, we move on to a consequence of denying your woo that you might not have considered.

Denying your woo — i.e. your intuition — denies not only your power, but my power and the collective power we humans wield when we are honest about the workings of the universe.

Denying your superpowers makes those around you question their own, while refusing to accept compliments teaches everyone around you to either stop complimenting you or to deflect praise as well.

To claim our woo is to claim the possibility of a more fulfilling life, starting right now.

When we tap into and fully own our woo — the mystery, the unknowable, and the grace within it — we regain power at a fundamental level.

Power to heal our own bodies. (See: tiny annoying progress.)

Power to tell our doctors that no, they actually don’t know what’s best for us, and fuck you for shaming me about my weight.

Power to claim dominion over all of our emotions, our too-muchness, and our not enough-ness.

Power to be vulnerable and to be deeply human, even when being alive feels like a shit show.

Power to undo our old patterns and beliefs in the name of healing.

Power to be fulfilled by our work when it isn’t making 6 or 7 or 8 or 9 figures — and especially if it never will. By design.

Power to be filled up by music, by shared conversation, by nourishing food, by making love, by books, by learning, and/or by most everything the world has on offer at little cost or within the context of community gifts freely given.

When we fully claim our intuitive nature and our knowing,
we have the power to create a world in which libraries are better funded than prisons,
and in which our fellow humans value kindness to the earth and to others
more deeply than they value buying more cheap shit at Target and then going home to play with it,
alone.

The first step toward owning your woo is to acknowledge that it exists. And it’s accurate.

For example. Bear and I had lots of fights about Louis C.K. at the start of our relationship. I would contend that he was a bad person, I could feel it, and Bear would say Louis gave lots of money to charity and that he was dedicated to progressive causes. I know, but he’s gross, I would contend. Bear would grow frustrated that I couldn’t back up my feelings with facts or evidence, and that was that.

Years later, when it was revealed that Louis C.K. was and is a sexual predator, Bear apologized. Lots. There was no way I was going to follow the dude around with a video camera to catch him doing nefarious deeds, but there was also no way I was going to deny my knowing just because dude gives money to charity. I knew he wasn’t to be trusted, even when the facts needed to justify my feelings weren’t obvious to those around me.

You have those powers, too. You know that dude is to be avoided from a thousand yards away, or that woman is going to leave you a 1-star Yelp review no matter what you do, or that teacher isn’t in alignment with what they’re teaching even if they have Oprah’s approval and have sold 43.9 million books this year.

Your instincts are real, and your knowing is real, and the only reason that’s weird is because capitalism and science haven’t yet found ways to make your knowing tangible — and therefore sale-able — to the general public.

You’re drawn to people and programs for ‘no good reason,’ while others leave you with a case of the heebie-jeebies. If we simply stopped buying shit from people who give us the heebie jeebies, we’d be 20% further along as a society than we are right now. Like, if everyone stopped listening to R. Kelly because he’s a serial rapist. If we stopped buying Trump stuff and supporting him in any way because he’s a man without a moral compass. If we stopped investing in big oil because sure, it’s profitable for stock holders, but it’s also killing the planet and all of our lives depend on stopping its reign.

Your overriding your instincts is harmful to you, yes, but also to society in general.

Your instincts whisper things like, ‘Hold people accountable for their actions. Give less funding to shitty corporations wherever you can. Delete the Amazon Prime app from your phone and buy locally more often.’

These are small changes that really do matter. Asshole brain will say they don’t matter, or they’re no big deal, or Amazon is unstoppable, but those things aren’t true when we collectively imagine better futures.

Honor. Your. Knowing.

Is there anything you know is true, but don’t yet have the facts to prove?

When scientists did extensive studies of blue mind and found that humans are happier and healthier when they’re in the presence of large bodies of water like the ocean, we all smacked our foreheads and said, “Of course!” Our inner knowing is often far, far ahead of science.

Do you have any experiences that defy explanation or sound absolutely unbelievable?

During the last breathwork training I attended, I was tending to a woman breathing in front of me. The spirit of her father approached, looked at me, and said, “Isn’t she great!???” with all the love in the world. I nodded, crying, because yes of course she’s great! The fact that I was communicating with a spirit and not a human in this reality was strange to me, but no less true because of its strangeness.

Further, I’ve experienced moments of timelessness, of deep knowing, and of connection while doing breathwork. I’ve met lines of my ancestors stretching back through time. I’ve convened with animal spirits. I’ve been healed by an ancient oracle who lives in another realm. I’ve breathed out anger and hurt and pain and societal installations meant to silence me. I’ve been healed of illness. I’ve seen paths forward through seemingly impossible situations.

Breathwork has helped me to cure both my thyroid and my depression, and to connect more deeply to my inner knowing.

If you’re curious and would like a breathwork 101 class to try out my favorite spiritual practice, The Softness Sessions start soon!

We’ll take six weeks to ease you into the breathwork through the lenses of my biggest life lessons so far. One participant, Joanna, said, “I just love this course. I feel like it should be a prerequisite for adulthood. This isn’t the sort of thing that usually blows up and goes viral, but it should. I can’t think of very many people I know who wouldn’t benefit from your wisdom and this process. Your stories and heart and experiences are so beautiful. The realness is rare and refreshing.” Check it out at thesoft.space now!

Have you ever known you were meant to take a class, attend a workshop, or learn from a person, even though it made no logical sense at the time?

I once got on a plane to attend a workshop for a teacher I’d only seen once in a magazine. Turns out, that workshop and its setting put glorious forces in motion! I fell in love with Laguna Beach, had some of the best days of my life, grew closer to my best friend, reacquainted myself with childhood beliefs I’d left for dead, and cradled myself around my dying spark of aliveness for long enough to take the next step in my life within a few months. (The next step was getting a divorce.)

Did you ever override your instincts about a person, place, or event, only to sorely regret it later?

Which superpower do you regularly deny, ignore, or pretend is no big deal?

Which of your superpowers are you ready to claim as your own, even though it’s scary to do so?

Have you ever passed up an opportunity that others called you crazy for missing, only to find out that you avoided a disaster of epic proportions?

Have you ever received knowing visually or aurally without knowing where it came from?

Do you ever have premonitions that come true?

Each of those questions points to a way of knowing. They aren’t the strictly capitalist, ultra-productive ways that you can download an app and begin using immediately, but they’re no less valid because they aren’t available in the Apple store.

Honor. Your. Knowing.

In the coming weeks, you can consciously:

+ stop offering a disclaimer of ‘this is woo woo’ before you speak about spiritual matters.
+ stop writing your superpowers off as ‘something everyone can do.’
+ share a tender, soulful bit of knowing with someone you love.
+ know the things you know without pretending otherwise.
+ use your own standards of measurement for reaching success, fulfillment, and joy.
+ center the role of the spiritual in your life instead of relegating it to the edges of your existence.
+ give credence to the woo instead of deferring to the ‘logical’ and ‘practical,’ particularly when they lead you in opposite directions.
+ acknowledge and voice your intuitive hits instead of slowly dying inside.

When you speak about your intuition plainly, avoiding the eye darts or hushed tones that often turn up when people talk about spiritual matters, you do each and every one of us a favor.

You honor the ancestors — yours and mine — who knew so much without speaking, and who honored their knowing by caring for the earth and each other with varying degrees of tenderness.

You also honor those who gleaned spiritual meaning from their everyday lives through intuitive means when capitalism, the patriarchy, and a host of other oppressive societal systems kept them from being free. (A short list of the evils that thrive when we override our inner compasses at a societal level: genocide, ecocide, slavery, discrimination, hatred, warfare, and ever-inflating, unstoppable military spending for nuclear proliferation so extensive that is has the ability to wipe our existence from the planet in a matter of seconds.)

Finally, you honor yourself, your interiors, and your truest work when you move in the direction of your inner knowing. The world doesn’t need one more person who’s quieted their knowing and taken up a life of extracting resources from the earth or from one another.

We need those who know, and who honor their knowing.

Who listen, and who act accordingly.

Please listen. And act accordingly.

P.S. The next step from here?  Sensing the sparkle.

Structure That Doesn’t Suck, Part V (The end is here!)

This is part five, the final part of the Structure That Doesn’t Suck series! Please take time to enjoy episodes one, two, three, and four before you proceed.

You’ll want to grab a notebook and writing implement, ’cause we’re about to scribble. This is one of those more-questions-than-answers episodes to help you wade through the murk of overwhelm and into tangible answers and parameters. (It’s also meant to make you feel hopeful about your future! If at any point you find your asshole brain shouting hateful commentary at you, come back to the place where you are well, your next steps are entirely doable, and you’re capable of completing the task before you.)

Once you know what your Next Most Important Thing is (that’s Structure That Doesn’t Suck, part 4!), it’s your job to bring it to life.

Mostly that feels overwhelming, though, so you figure you’ll buy a class or seventeen to help you learn to do the thing better before you start doing it for real. Or you decide to finish up alllll those pressing tasks like organizing your pencils and learning to knit before you add any part of this project to the calendar.

You will be tempted to push your Next Most Important Thing to a vague but ever-present ‘later.’

This, the final episode of the Structure That Doesn’t Suck series, is all about bringing your important work into the right now of your life.

I’m going to use the example of The Softness Sessions, a course I made this year that opens again in March of 2020, but you can use this framework to support any of your important work. Classes, workshops, photo shoots, books, magazines, videos, coaching packages, therapies, you name it!

Let’s actively create a container for your work.

Lunas are plagued by nebulous, undefined, unclear, ever-shifting and broadening work.

For Luna, this is about pinning down details and choosing a way forward from a web of infinite possibilities. Yes, it can be tricky. No, it’s not impossible. This exercise is about aligning what you can see in your mind’s eye with what you can produce in the physical world.

Hermiones are plagued by safe, sturdy, reliable, secretly-bores-you-to-tears work.

For Hermione, this is about taking risks and trying on new ways of being in the world. It’s about aligning what you feel with what you do every day, not trying to separate the two and then paper over the disparities with busyness.

Questions and answers form the most basic level of your Next Most Important Thing’s structure.

When I was making The Softness Sessions, I knew I wanted to combine breathwork with the hardest life lessons I’ve ever learned in an approachable way. I knew I wanted the course to include audio lessons that are completely portable and reusable, and I wanted to actively dance between using words and wordlessness throughout the program. It was important to me that those who take the class walk away with an increased knowledge of their own interiors, not merely listen to blah blah blah on my end.

I didn’t have ANY idea how the physical world form of The Softness Sessions would take shape.

So, I started asking questions.

How long would the course last? Six weeks felt good.

Where would I host it? I looked into a new publishing system that would include creating new infrastructure, but I decided to use a system I already had in place. (Teachable, if you’re curious.)

How would it be delivered? Via weekly email, sent on Thursday.

How long would each session last? The teaching portion would last for under thirty minutes so that each session would be under an hour. Time was really important to me, because without that parameter I could easily have made seventeen 3-hour classes that no one had the fortitude to finish.

Finally, when did the course take place? We start on March 19th, 2020! You can sign up at thesoft.space!

With a few questions, we went from a nebulous ‘beginner course for breathwork’ to a 6-week class with 1-hour sessions (hosted on my teaching platform and) delivered on Thursdays via email.

Physical world decisions make a container in which your creativity can flourish.

Infinite possibilities are overwhelming! If you’ve ever been to a bakery and stared at the display case in gooey-eyed wonder, unable to pick a single thing, you know the overwhelm is real. Physical world parameters create a way forward when you can see only choices, choices, and more choices.

Let’s draw out some physical world characteristics and use your instincts to answer the questions. (There are no right or wrong answers here, only answered and unanswered questions.)

When in doubt, make it smaller instead of larger to prevent scope creep.

Read: three people instead of three thousand people. Five paintings in an art show instead of fifty. Ten new clients instead of two hundred.

First, remind yourself of your Next Most Important Thing. Take a moment to feel it within you. (Whether you like it or not, this project lives within you right now! How does it want to FEEL?)

How will this project be defined? Weeks, months, modules, hours, pieces? Other?

How many of the defining unit will be used? i.e. 6 weeks, 3 modules, 2 hours, 8 pieces?

How many people can participate in the first project? 3 people, 30 people, 300 people?

What is the single most important daily activity you’ll have to complete to make this happen?

What is the smallest, simplest feasible version of the thing? (i.e. the living room tour, not the multi-continent arena tour)

What is the cheapest, most fun way this could come to light?

Which resources already at your disposal could be used to make this happen?

When will the Next Most Important Thing take place?

Now, write a single paragraph that sums up what you’re making, and by when.

Let’s get even more specific.

Keep in mind that it’s okay to not know! Scribble the first answer that comes to mind. Your asshole brain is NOT welcome here.

What is the tippy-top most general thing that has to happen in order for this project to take place? (i.e. writing if you’re making a book)

Which people can you ask for help, guidance, assistance, or advice about this project?

Which people can you ask for help, guidance, assistance, or advice so you can clear your most dreaded physical world obligations for long enough to complete this project?

What is a very, very low price for this thing? What is a very, very high price for this thing?

What, in your estimation, is a fair price for this thing?

Which person or group of people will help keep you from getting caught up in perfectionism, procrastination, or both?

When will this be completed? Date and time on the calendar.

When will this be released to the general public, if applicable? Date and time on the calendar.

Write another paragraph that summarizes what you’re making and what you’ve learned before you continue.

Okay, that was the easy part! Now we’re going to tackle your beliefs.

You’ll want to skip this part. It will seem silly and hippy woo bullshit to consider these possibilities.

DO NOT SKIP THIS PART. We are making a roadmap for your future self to refer to when the going gets rough, tough, or impossible.

Where are your beliefs about scalability likely to trip you up? (i.e. This isn’t big enough, I’ll just add _________ and ________ and _________ and instead of offering it to 4 people I’ll try and get 4 THOUSAND people interested!)

Where are your beliefs about passive income likely to mess with you? (i.e. I could do this course I’ve never done live ONLINE and make the BIG bucks with NO effort because WHITE CIS HET MALE PODCAST GURUS say it’s the best way!)

Where are your beliefs about what’s possible likely to take you down? (i.e. I could never get paid for that.)

Which parts of this project are you likely to overthink or overcomplicate?

Which parts are you likely to ignore because they’re uncomfortable or difficult?

Where are you likely to get hung up in perfectionism or procrastination?

Those are the MOST important questions you can ask about a project. You’ve outlined the demons you’ll be facing as you bring it to light.

Your Future Self thanks you for making this list!

Finally, take time to add pertinent basics to the calendar.

Add the daily task you’ve got to complete for this to happen to the calendar. This is a Bare Minimum type task, like writing 200 words, or editing for 20 minutes, or asking one more person to participate.

Use your self knowledge to create a doable make-it-happen calendar that allows for making, marketing, and completing the project with the help of your Bare Minimum task(s).

If you’re a Luna, your job is to complete the daily task that moves the ball forward without fail. There’s generally one small, simple task — writing, painting, sewing — that gets you the most bang for your buck. DO THAT THING. Every day.

If you’re a Hermione, your job is to let the making — not the marketing and selling and fixing and perfecting and scaling — take center stage. Stick to that deadline you’ve created, because you could easily take the next seventeen years to make this thing more and more perfect before you release it.

Structure That Doesn’t Suck supports your whole self by creating and then maintaining a Hermione or Luna Hour, then helps you bring your Next Most Important Thing to light by giving it parameters in the real world. I hope this series has helped you sort through the overwhelming number of options available for everything — including your own work — in order to do the next right thing in the coming months.

If the Structure That Doesn’t Suck series has you feeling confused or frustrated or like, OH GOD THIS ONLY MADE IT WORSE I NEED HELP — or you now have an outline but you know you need help bringing it to life! — you’re a good candidate for business coaching. KK on Tap means you’ll work with me for a full year, and we’ll get this structure thing under control.

KK on Tap biz coaching spots open in January, so get on the waitlist now!

Also! There are 35 new podcast episodes in 2019! If I helped you make more than $35 in your biz this year — support this ongoing work with a payment of $35 at kristenkalp.com/podcast.

The Softness Sessions start in March, and you can pick ’em up at the Early Bird Price of $88 right now!

P.S. Please enjoy the happiest of every holiday ever!!!! 

I’ll release a new podcast on 1/1/20.  The whole regular-podcasting-and-checking-of-email-enterprise will resume in earnest on January 14th.

Between now and then, I’m moving from Philly to Portland (a few thousand miles, for those who aren’t up on U.S. geography).  Hugs and hope and all good things to you between now and then!

Structure That Doesn’t Suck, Part 4

Structure That Doesn't Suck, Part Four

This is part four of the Structure That Doesn’t Suck podcast series!  Listen to parts one, two, and three before proceeding, okay?

Now that you know whether you use time like a Luna or a Hermione, we’re ready to talk about priorities.

Priorities are easier to spot from a bird’s eye view. Think looking down on an enormous crowd from a balcony, or flying over a scene while riding a winged creature. HELL YES I BUILT BUCKBEAK INTO STRUCTURE THAT DOESN’T SUCK!

For the not-Harry-Potter fans, Buckbeak is a magical creature who Hagrid cares for within the Forbidden Forest. You must present yourself to him and bow before you are granted any further interaction. He sizes you up. If he bows back, you are free to pet his enormous beak and ride him as you would a horse, only with wings.

Buckbeak is saved during a pivotal point of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and he’s my favorite not-human character in Harry Potter. Favorite like, when I met Buckbeak at Harry Potter World, I squealed and bowed to him. From my spot on a roller coaster. I was shrieking with joy as we continued the Hagrid ride, overwhelmed with my love for Buckbeak.

Because Buckbeak is capable of taking in the entirety of both a human being and a scene at once, he’s a master of helping you to spot priorities.

The flying high, framing Buckbeak question: what is the Next Most Important Thing to be made?

Not the next 17 Most Important Things to be made.
Not what you’ll work on after the laundry and the donations and the shopping and the cleaning.

The next. Most Important Thing.

For Lunas, it’s generally been living in you for months, if not years. It’s time to bring that to light.

For Hermiones, it’s generally been the thing you’ll get to ‘later.’ Like when you’re old, retired, or on vacation. Preferably all three.

Everyone fears that the Next Most Important Thing is simultaneously not important enough to take up so much of your time and too important to do imperfectly.

Some part of you wants to protect the Next Most Important Thing because it will require something of your soul.

Yes! What’s that thing?

The vision that keeps you up at night?
The weird dream you keep on revisiting?
The class that’s been calling to you at 3 a.m.?
The book that’s only a few scribbles so far?
The project that’s plans, plans, and more plans at the moment?
The piece everyone is sick of hearing about because they wish you would do it already?

This isn’t the thing your grandma approves of or your partner most wants. It’s the annoying, irascible thing inside of you that won’t take no for an answer.

Let’s start there. The whole point of creating structure that doesn’t suck is to bring that thing into the world.

Your work deserves better than to continually be pushed to ‘later’ or ignored for the sake of scrolling on your phone or returning emails in the timeliest fashion humanly possible.

Which project would it hurt you to leave by the wayside, undone?
Which project calls to your soul in a really annoying, won’t-give-up way?
Which phase of your work is next, but you’ve been putting it off for days, weeks, or years?

For many of my coaching clients, teaching is the next step. For others, producing more work instead of teaching is the next step. I’m not trying to steer you in any direction except toward your own desires and your greatest potential.

Whichever project makes you both scared and excited — Glennon Doyle calls it ‘scited,’ a combination of both feelings — is exactly right.

If you have utterly no idea which project I’m talking about right now, imagine that I called your best friend and asked ’em what you’ve been talking about but not doing for a while now.

YUP THAT’S THE ONE.

Your best friend has kindly and lovingly listened to details of this unmade project for months, if not years, and it’s time to show them that you’ve got the followthrough necessary to make it happen.

This project will generally be wildly impractical and/or utterly terrifying.

Buckbeak wants to remind you that he spent time in friggin wizard prison as an innocent being, so figuring out your taxes and then creating a savings plan in order to afford the next thing is totally doable.

Whether you’ll need a bigger budget, a little more time, a little more energy, or simply a plan, you’ve got this.

Write it down! Scribble as much of the how and who and what and where of your vision as you have down right now.

…no really, write now. Before your asshole brain can bat you down and get you to push this off for another three to five years.

The next right thing is generally obvious and simple.

If you want a gallery exhibition of your paintings, you’ve got to paint. That’s step one, and you can schedule it as such. (I’m not saying to stop dreaming! I’m only asking you to balance that dreaming with actual work in the physical world, on this plane of reality.)

Likewise, if you want to write a book, write.
Want to teach? Start working on your curriculum.
Want to coach? Get yourself a test client.

If your Next Most Important Thing requires schooling, it’ll never be earlier than it is right now. Get the brochures, the loan forms, the applications, the meetings, the whatever-is-necessary in motion, even if you’re certain that I’m a delusional maniac and this thing you want can NEVER happen.

We are living in apocalyptic times and the earth is quite literally dying. We’re running out of time to make a more gorgeous, loving, and creative world.

Please don’t tell me your email is more important right now, or your 401(k) just needs a few more thousand dollars before you can summon the courage to do X.

Start.
Begin.
Go go go go go!

Further: let the next right thing be enough.

If you tend toward Luna, you might spend lots of time dreaming of something bigger, more ‘important,’ and more awesome than what you’re doing right now. A single painting isn’t enough; you’ve got to create a show. A show isn’t enough; you’ve got to create an art crawl. And on, and on, while a single painting fails to get made for months on end. Buckbeak is here to remind you that one wing flap at a time gets you from here to there.

If you tend toward Hermione, you’ve already listed 83.9 internal reasons why the Next Most Important Thing won’t work. You don’t have time, you’ll need 20% more income, you’re out of energy, the holidays are approaching, the slow/busy season is coming, you need 1 to 5 weeks of utter silence in order to begin, you’re not sure your people will approve.

Buckbeak was rescued by a bunch of teenagers using time travel, so he really doesn’t care about your excuses.

Everyone fears that the Next Most Important Thing is simultaneously not important enough to take up so much of your time and too important to do imperfectly.

Please don’t let perfectionism ruin you.

Start.
Begin.
Go go go go go!

If you’d like to share your Next Most Important Thing with me, please do so! Email k@kristenkalp.com and tell me what you’re going to do!

P.S. If you’d like my help bringing your Next Most Important Thing to light, 6 coaching spots open for KK on Tap in January. Get on the waitlist at kristenkalp.com/tap!

Finally, if you’ve enjoyed the podcast this year, a quick funding note! I’ve created 35 episodes for you this year, so ponying up $35 to help me continue doing this work on a completely-free level seems fair. If I’ve helped you make more than $35 this year, please pay your dues so That’s What She Said can continue into 2020 and beyond.

The first 10 people to chip in $35 get a secret prize (NOPE I won’t tell you, it’s a SECRET!), so pitch in now!

Structure That Doesn’t Suck, Part 3

structure that doesn't suck // a series by kristen kalp

This is part of the Structure That Doesn’t Suck podcast series.  Please listen to part one and part two, or this will make absolutely no sense!

There are 35 new podcast episodes in 2019!  If I helped you make more than $35 in your biz this year — support this ongoing work with a payment of $35.

We’re so inundated with advice and good ideas that of course you didn’t start setting up a Luna or Hermione Hour as a result of listening to last week’s podcast! Most likely, you listened, thought it was a good idea, and then went about your life with no changes whatsoever.

That’s a perfectly normal response to free advice, as well as to modern life, so I’m not shaming you in any way. But I am slowing this series down in order for you to get what you need from it.

For the first time in That’s What She Said podcast history, we’re going to pull the brakes and talk about why this structural change is so important. We’ll use this episode to wrap our minds around the change to your daily schedule and to talk about what is and isn’t a good use of your dedicated Hermione or Luna Hour.  (Again: start with Structure That Doesn’t Suck part one or this won’t make sense!)

Also!  ::pulls email to screeching halt awkwardly in the name of being the example of how to do this shit in the real world::

First up, Lunas, ways to use your Hermione Hour effectively:

You may be tempted to use your this hour to go further down your secret rabbit holes. That means you may use your time to look for part-time jobs, or to play Fantasy Job League (YES I COULD BE A BACKUP DANCER FOR TAYLOR SWIFT THANK YOU VERY MUCH), or to go hunting for a different house/career/partner/life. This is not a recommended use of your Hermione Hour.

Likewise, using this hour to withdraw from reality in any way is not the intent. This isn’t the time to focus on learning new methods for your art or craft, or even to go into Do Not Disturb mode.

Use this time to be focused on being in communication with people about your work.

That means responding to phone calls, photographing and sharing your work, talking about your work on social media, publishing your podcast/blog post/story/article/essay/photographs/product launch, clearing your inbox of inquiries, and generally doing the hard work of selling what you’ve made with the world at large.

Other tasks you’ll learn to enjoy include: sending invoices, bookkeeping, setting up new products within your cart system, filing business paperwork, meeting with your accountant, and updating your business systems.

You can also go from zero to e-mail list in fifteen minutes; get paid, dammit; and find your enough number.

If it involves numbers, data, money, and/or the physical world, it’s the perfect focus for your Hermione hour.

It’s also a great idea to meet with friends, coworkers, colleagues, or professionals who can make this transition to addressing the left-brained part of your business a bit easier.

Many Lunas come to me because their business is doing ‘okay,’ but they’d rather not rely on financial support from their partner any longer. That often means sorting out pricing, systems, marketing, and selling in short order. If you need help with these tasks in the form of a business coach, KK on Tap is a great idea! I’d be happy to help.

Hermiones, here’s how to use your Luna Hour effectively:

Let’s talk about all the things you can’t do during this hour. You can’t get caught up on your business reading, your CRM, your SEO, or any other acronyms, okay? We’re working on the tasks that are hardest for you to handle, which are some form of risk-taking, silence, stillness, and space.

It’s easy to get caught in the loop of being extremely tired, bordering on the edge of burnout or apathy at all times. Society will reinforce those feelings with the idea that you should work toward increasing productivity forever, as if at some magical future point the demands you’ve placed on yourself will suddenly disappear and you’ll feel fucking GREAT.

If you don’t feel great right now, adding more tasks and productivity to your plate won’t make you feel better.

Your job during Luna Hour is to live like a thirteenth century king or queen. You have (completely unrelated to your work) books to read! Films to watch! Music to enjoy! You have clean water, nutrition, and a shower or bath tub!

You’re also free to use Luna Hour to do the things you enjoy but don’t ‘let’ yourself do. For you, that might be painting, sewing, song-making, or writing. (If you get paid to do any of those things, they are NOT for this time. We’re talking not-for-sale, creative-for-the-sake-of-being-creative activities.)

If you’re absolutely stumped about what you might enjoy, think of what you did as a kid. (Cliche? Yes. Truest formula possible for finding the part of you that’s been betrayed by work work work work work? Also yes.)

You can climb a tree, stare into space, meditate, bake, bathe, dance, sing, or take a walk. It’s also a great idea to meet a friend for coffee or through Skype to talk about not-work.

Finally, you can meditate, chant, pray, do breathwork, or practice yoga during this time. Tending to your interior continent and your spiritual needs is 100% awesome for this hour.

During my Luna time, I do breathwork, scope out new library book orders, and catch up on whichever Kim Anami class I’m working through at the moment. (Right now, it’s Vaginal Kung Fu.)

Finally, a note for everyone, no matter your deepest tendencies: this is not an hour for your aspirational self.

Lemme explain. I was going through photos from about eight years ago and found a Fuji instant photo of me wearing a thick black belt with a ruffly top. I was in Paris, and I had put together this outfit with so much pride that I demanded my travel partner take the photo.

My aspirational self wears belts. In real life, I hate belts with all my heart.

My aspirational self also speaks many languages (the reason my 4.0 in college was ruined? French.) and runs marathons (I’ve tried and I hate running THE VERY MOST).

Adding structure to your life doesn’t mean stoking the fires of your aspirational self. It’s not about completely remodeling your existence.

Structure is about engaging in the discipline of bringing your work to the world as a whole, fully engaged human.

For Lunas, that means taking care of physical world realities that tend to be ignored.

For Hermiones, that means taking care of the desires, musings, feelings, and intuitive nudges that tend to be ignored for something ‘practical.’ (Podcast episode to help you sort these out: nourishing or numbing?)

In both cases, structure rounds out your natural tendencies with complementary practices that strengthen your whole self — because bringing your best, highest self to the table is the name of the game.

Once again this week, I’m asking you to add a single hour of either Luna or Hermione time to your calendar for each work day.

Try to be as specific as possible with what you’ll be doing during the hour, and please give yourself more time than you think you need to accomplish your tasks.

Lunas, it may take 2 to 3 hours to get an email list up and running to your liking. That’s okay.

Hermiones, scheduling 15 minutes of breathwork, 15 minutes of yoga, 15 minutes of reading, and 15 minutes of meditation is NOT the idea.

Give yourself the gift of s p a c e. And remember, it doesn’t count if you don’t enjoy it.

P.S. This might take a while.

Structure That Doesn’t Suck, Part 2

priority practice

This is part two of the Structure That Doesn’t Suck podcast series! Visit part one — Structure That Doesn’t Suck — and listen in before the following will make sense.

I promised we would talk about priorities. How do you decide what’s vital on any given day, and how do you make room for what’s most important?

Let’s make it really simple, starting with Step Zero.

Your priority is to engage with your opposite for one hour per work day.

Part of our measurement of growth as humans is moving beyond the settings we’re born with here on earth. If you’re an introvert like me, that means you’ve had to learn how to engage with people. You’ve had to learn protocols like, when someone says, “How are you,” you have to say, “I’m fine thanks, how are you?” For the first seventeen years of my life, I just said, “I’m fine” and walked away. I had to LEARN how to engage with people. Likewise, introverts, you’ve walked away from interactions with people completely wiped out, and you’ve walked away from gatherings of humans completely filled up and absolutely wonderful. (Looking at you, best concert I’ve ever attended.)

Your asshole brain said you were gonna hate every minute of that party, workshop, or concert, but actually it was lovely and you learned a lot. That’s because you grew.

This Priority Practice is similar: you’re gonna push your own edges in the name of growing as a human.

Eventually, you’ll be able to switch between your Hermione and Luna bits seamlessly.

I can say this only because I used to Luna so hard that I didn’t know how much money my business was making per month. I was a photographer at the time, and I trusted my business partner to handle things. Likewise, at some point in the past ten years, I didn’t know how to operate WordPress, email lists, SEO, Google Analytics, or social media platforms. I didn’t know how to follow up on a sale, nor did I know how to hold a profitable workshop. (I was so excited to hold a workshop that WHO CARED about making any money at it!!????)

My learning to Hermione has been a process. Now, I can tell you how much my business has made this month down to the dollar. I operate all the online things all by myself with no trouble. I follow up on sales like a champ, hold profitable workshops, and coach others to do the same.

Which is to say: you can do this.

You can absolutely learn to be a bit of your opposite by engaging with it every single work day.

This is deceptively simple: if you’re a Luna, block off one hour per work day to handle all the Hermione-like tasks you normally avoid.

Use Hermione time to tend to the physical world tasks that bring your work into reality.

These are the tasks that keep you from living out the ‘starving artist’ stereotype, and that, counterintuitively, give you more time to be your fully Luna self.

If you own a business, that means using your Hermione hour to do things like: sharing your work with others, packaging orders, communicating with clients and potential clients, following up with those who have expressed interest in your work but haven’t yet purchased anything, processing emails (meaning send and archive, not keeping emails in your inbox to remind you of to-do’s), sending invoices, bookkeeping, applying for grants or gallery showings, and otherwise doing all the boring, tedious, and/or difficult tasks that you normally avoid like a flaming spider.

If you’re like, ‘That’s overwhelming, I don’t know where to start:’ which undone projects or tasks make you feel guilty or shameful at this moment? Start there. Those are the tasks to add to your calendar right now. (Also: your shame is not interesting.)

The point is not to judge the tasks that make you feel guilty or shameful. The point is to add them to the list and then work through them during your Hermione Hour.

You’re naturally not going to want to do this, and it’s going to sound impossible. BUT. The Hermione Hour is only an hour. If you try and batch your life — i.e. buy 3 pounds of mung beans when you decide to convert to an all ayurvedic diet after reading a single book about it — you know how it goes. Those mung beans are still staring at you from the back of the cupboard seven years later.

We’re actively undoing the tendency to batch life and SOLVE IT ONCE AND FOR ALL. We’re slotting your most dreaded business tasks into simple, straightforward blocks of time that help you rise up from your own self doubt and self loathing to get shit done.

Ways to get the most out of your Hermione Hour:

Hire a pro. It’s okay to use Hermione time to hire a professional! I have a bookkeeper and accountant because if left to my own devices, I would keep zero records and then owe 20% of my total income at the end of the year to the tax man. (Been there, done that, cried hysterically. 2010 sucked HARD.)

You might need the help of a graphic designer, a coach, an event planner, an editor, or another pro to get your work into the world. It’s okay to give up on DiY-ing every last portion of your work and actually hire help. Hire a Hermione! It’s so much easier than trying to become a Hermione!

You don’t have to do it all at once. Part of the reason you’ve avoided doing these tasks for so long is because they seem overwhelming. Please refuse to be overwhelmed. You put one task, and then another, on the calendar until you’re caught up.

It might take days or weeks or months or years, but you’re starting now — which is better than starting later. (Starting last year is not an option, so please don’t beat yourself up about any missed opportunities.)

Ask for help. You’re most likely to need accountability not for individual tasks, but for making the time to function as your opposite. It’s a great idea to ask a friend, colleague, or coach for help with forming this new habit. (Preferably a fellow Luna, so you both do it and share your experiences.)

Have a plan. If you just put Hermione Hour into your calendar with no plan, it’s not going to happen. Make a list of alllllll the tasks that you avoid doing. (It’s okay if the task list is infinitely long! Keep writing and get it all out. Your job is not to beat yourself up, it’s to make a list. That’s your Hermione work for the foreseeable future.)

Add up to 3 tasks per day to the calendar, keeping in mind that most tasks take far longer than we’d like to imagine when we schedule them.

If you’re a Hermione, block off one Luna Hour per work day to do all the things you ‘never let yourself’ do.

That might include: meditating, reading, writing, journaling, dreaming, imagining, playing, wondering, visioning, and generally not being ‘productive’ in the strictest, most capitalist sense of the word. The Luna Hour is also perfect for breathwork, yoga, or any other spiritual practice that normally gets shoved to the early morning or to a single half-hour on the weekend because you ‘don’t have time for it.’

You’re gonna use Luna time to tend to your interiors.

There is nothing more productive than doing this work for future you, but for the long term it may seem like ‘nothing is happening’ and you’re ‘wasting time.’ To that I say: keep going. Asshole brain and capitalist society desperately need you to measure your human worth in terms of output, but you also require input.

Use this time to feed yourself spiritually, emotionally, intellectually, and/or physically in any way you see fit.

Luna Hour hacks that make doing this work a bit easier:

Schedule it. Leaving the Luna space completely blank will backfire. Yes, we’re attempting to add silence, stillness, and space into your routine, but if you go from being busy for every minute of every day to an hour of nothingness, you’ll abandon this entire process immediately.

If you’ve scheduled an acupuncture appointment for yourself, downloaded a playlist, set up a friend date, or otherwise prepared for this time in some way, you’re far more likely to both enjoy it and to reap the benefits. Take a few minutes to order library books, gather workout videos, cultivate a playlist, gather art-making supplies, or otherwise ‘trick’ yourself into some down time.

Make this time non-negotiable. I know you could be using this time to answer emails even faster, or make more money or more connections or more projects. I know.

The discipline here is to teach yourself to hold a space sacred.

To reinforce the idea that you’re not the planet to do laundry and respond to emails. You’re a whole-hearted, full-bodied being, and Luna Hour honors that truth. You’re also teaching yourself to separate your work from your worth while giving your nervous system a reset.

This is important work; it’s just not your usual work. (It will feel quite different for that reason.)

Find an accountability buddy. Hold each other accountable for keeping this space free of work. Your natural pattern will be to completely ignore the life-giving hour I’m asking you to create. Find a friend to help you make space for silence and stillness in some small capacity. As you go through it, you’ll both be feeling lighter and freer within a few weeks.

THIS IS TOO SIMPLE, KRISTEN.

IT WILL NEVER WORK.

At first, no. It won’t.

You will fight this like you have never fought anything else in your life.

You will kick. You will scream. You will barrel through the allotted time with 43,000 excuses.

Keep coming back to the Priority Practice. Keep scheduling time to give this a try.

When you start to sink into the rhythm of it, I guarantee your life will get easier.

If you’re a Luna, you will have actually looked at your business numbers. You’ll know your enough number, know what you have to do to maintain a profitable practice, and you’ll be able to bring your steady and experimental income into play.

If you’re a Hermione, you’ll have created breathing room for your soul. You’ll be less stressed, less dependent on time travel to be in two places at once, and less likely to ignore the whispers your intuition has been giving you all along.

No matter what, the Priority Practice gives you a sense of accomplishment and growth, which equals fulfillment.

Your only step right now is to schedule one Luna or Hermione hour per work day for the coming month.

You can absolutely change your habits, make new patterns, and thrive, no matter how hopelessly devoted you’ve been to those Hermione or Luna tendencies.

But first, you’ve got to make space in your calendar for that change to happen.

Go on, take the time now to schedule your Priority Practice as specifically as possible.

P.S. 10 ways to beat overwhelm as a biz owner — fast.