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    I was driving down the road when I spotted an old man polishing his mailbox.

    (In case that seemed like a normal sentence or you’re skimming: polishing. His mailbox.)


    Like any kind and enlightened human being, I immediately judged him for having too much time on his hands and scoffed at his chosen activity. Really, dude? Really?

    Buuuuuuut then I came up with alternate reasons for his mailbox polishing. Maybe his daughter was getting married and he was supposed to be landscaping the backyard for the ceremony but then he saw the mailbox smudges and they were a symbol of his love for his baby girl. Or maybe he was supposed to be finishing his novel and sending it off to his editor, but then he caught a glimpse of the good-for-nothing mailbox dirt that had to be solved right that second.

    Maybe he was avoiding his big, important work.

    Maybe he knew what he was supposed to be doing and he also wanted to avoid it with a seemingly useful task.

    Polishing your mailbox and other business time wasters // Kristen Kalp

    My guess is that, when it comes to growing your business or shaking up your personal life in order to make yourself happier or peaceful-er or wealthier or freer than ever, you already know what you have to do.

    But you don’t do it.

    Because it’s hard.
    Because you’re tired.
    Because you have Shiny Thing Syndrome.
    Because you constantly second guess whether THIS thing is THE thing.
    Because you’d rather eat ice cream and watch Hulu than tackle your to-do list.

    Because there’s always a mailbox that needs polishing.

    We all need accountability to help fight through the inertia and mailbox dirt, into the realm of our deepest fears and doubts (which is, of course, where our most fulfilling work and joy comes from).

    Steer Your Ship is about doing the things you know you need to do with the support of someone who gives a shit about you and your work.  And that someone would be me.

    It’s not that I have a REVOLUTIONARY STEP-BY-STEP PROGRAM GUARANTEED TO CHANGE YOUR LIFE AND MAKE YOU SO VERY SKINNY, or that I’ll say anything new and shocking and [insert buzz word here] that you haven’t vaguely heard in other places, though of course I’ve got a killer curriculum all lined up to share with you.

    The trick of Steer Your Ship is that I help you figure out what’s right FOR YOU.

    I listen to the words coming out of your mouth, and I listen to what your heart seems to be saying, and when those two things are in alignment we pause. I help you see that alignment, acknowledge it, and we move forward together from that connected, totally aligned point.

    That means I’m capable of giving 100% completely different advice to two people facing a very similar issue because I’ve take the time to listen to what those peeps are actually saying, to what they need, to their life circumstances, and to who they way-deep-deep-down ARE before opening my mouth. (Often, you’ll be jealous of the advice other people in Steer Your Ship get because it seems so EASY to do that thing she gets to do and I’m making you do something HARD, lol.)

    I help you feel and know and experience the deep truth of who you are, and I help you bring your particular magic to light in every aspect of your life.

    That work isn’t easy,
    nor is it prescriptive.
    It certainly isn’t simple.

    But it is WORTH IT.

    Instead of buying another $49 or $249 or $2000 product or course or class or seminar and white-knuckling your way through, determined that THIS TIME YOU’LL MAKE IT WORK, DAMMIT, it might be time to invest in untangling the threads of your own heart.

    Dominatrixing with Kristen Kalp

    When you’re sure about what you want to do and why you want to do it;
    when your whats and whys are broken into small daily steps instead of swirling in a tornado of overwhelm;
    when you have a fellow human invested in holding you accountable;
    everything shifts.

    You move, you change, you find yourself more alive than ever before.

    It all starts with listening to yourself. Steer Your Ship will make it happen.

    Steer Your Ship // Kristen Kalp

    During our six months together we go on two retreats — one in San Diego, one in Philadelphia — and we hit up the 1-on-1 coaching, group accountability, and a series of activities that will knock your socks off. (READ: PRIVATE SWIM WITH OTTERS. Hot tub with ocean views. Whale watching. Fun camp. Homecooked meals. More ocean. Silly games and tears and laughter and probably hippie dippie practices that will astound you, too.)

    We live together for a few days, we meet online and in person as both a group and individually, and you grow into the next iteration of who you are over the course of six months together.

    We stop polishing the mailbox and do the big, important work. ;)

    Check out Steer Your Ship.


    Kristen Kalp 1-on-1 coaching // Brand Camp

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    The excruciating pain of asking for what you want // Kristen Kalp

    There’s an endless, always-growing stream of advice coming at you all the time when it comes to selling your products.

    There are even MORE endless strategies you can employ to move products, but those strategies often ignore the thing behind the thing: selling your thing is hard. WAY more difficult than making your thing, shipping your thing, or selling other people’s things.

    Selling boils down to the excruciating pain of asking for what you want.

    It’s the art of taking this careful, delicate creature you’ve birthed as part of your business and asking people if they want it. (Over and over and over until you’re sure your friends will abandon you and you’ve managed to annoy the entire tri-state region with your promotions.)

    Hearing the word “no” or being ignored is 100% guaranteed to be part of the selling equation.

    Thus, it’s painful. Not everyone on Earth will want to buy the thing you’re making, or will make, or could dream of making.

    The good news is, that’s true for everyone around you, too. No one human or company gets to have their work purchased and adored by all other humans. Everyone who’s selling anything hears “no” more than yes, faces the vulnerability of making things people won’t want, and keeps going. EVERYONE.

    The art of selling is getting comfortable with what you’re bringing to the world and then asking people to buy it, no matter how many times you’ll hear the word “no” as part of the process.

    Let’s dive deeper into this topic in this week’s episode of That’s What She Said. As always, I’ve got a few killer questions that just might help you do the important yet vulnerable, excruciating yet rewarding work of selling your wares to the world.

    P.S. How to hold a sale without breaking your brand.

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    Fuuuuuuuuck productivity.

    I’m all about making stuff.

    I make stuff for a living: books and classes and paintings and even a real-life meetup at Harry Potter World for entrepreneurs.

    I get shit done. Writing thousands of words per day, plus creating a weekly podcast, course materials, and the occasional ghostwriting project.

    But when I see headlines about ‘faster ways to create content’ or endless listicles full of hacks to be even MORE productive, my heels dig in and I want to hiss like a pissed-off goose who’s just spotted a vulnerable, food-carrying toddler across the parking lot.

    I want to run at the toddler that is the Productivity Police and steal that entire loaf of bread and nip at those heels until they run away, crying because that’s what angry geese do. AND THEY GET AWAY WITH IT EVERY TIME.

    First: ‘content creation’ isn’t even a thing.

    I make photos, I make sales pages, I make books, I make workshops.

    I don’t make ‘content:’ a nameless, faceless commodity that we can trade like coins.

    I’ll give you 1 photo contentitron for 2 word contentitrons, okay?

    I get paid to write.
    I get paid to make stuff.
    I even get paid to help others make stuff.

    But I never, ever try to make more stuff, faster, for the sake of hacking my productivity or boosting my content creation levels.

    If I’m scheduled for every minute of every day (i.e. following all the productivity hacks), I’m awake and showering with fucking butter in my coffee (BUTTER. IN MY COFFEE.) with the sunrise (no alarms allowed), working out within the hour, sipping warm lemon juice to make my kidneys happy even though the concoction tastes like ass, and getting to my computer to commence content creation at precisely the same time every single day.

    Which means that when I’m not showered and buttered by 7:02 a.m., as I scheduled so fastidiously only yesterday, I DEEM MYSELF A FAILURE FOR THE WHOLE DAY. Useless. Horrible. Why even be alive.

    Aside from the failure-if-you’re-not-on-schedule issue, the Productivity Police go off the rails when they pretend we can shove more and more and more and more into a day with no consequences.

    The ideal for human functioning, particularly of the creative variety, is to do less and less.

    We sit, we move, we read. We ponder, we think, we shower, we make.  We see the ocean.  The spaces and gaps are the most treasured, most valuable, and most significant parts of my life. I don’t write because I’m a machine who needs to produce fifteen hundred to two thousand words a day.

    I write because I’m NOT a machine and I need to process my life with those fifteen hundred daily words.

    Further: I don’t want to hire someone to clean my house and make my meals and walk my dog and answer my e-mail and source my blog photos and update my Instagram for me.

    I want to do all those things because I want to have the full human experience. My sitting at the computer to write for 12 hours because I am suddenly free of adult responsibilities that can be outsourced doesn’t mean I’ll have 12 hours’ worth of things to say. If anything, I’ll say less, because I haven’t had the down time our very-human, not-machine-like brains require to process the many things I’ve read, seen, witnessed, listened to, interacted with, or overheard on any given day.

    I can’t scale my writing efforts to produce 6,000 daily words simply because I give myself four times as much calendar space. I have a rhythm, I have a daily word count that’s been fairly consistent for the past 17 years and that has failed most every single time I’ve tried pushing past it with the guidance of the ‘wise’ productivity counsel.

    I’m not a machine.

    I am not a ‘content creator.’
    I do not pump out blog posts for the sake of blog posts, podcasts for the sake of podcasts, or classes for the sake of classes.

    I do not spill my most boring, productive-ly productive work onto the internet just for the sake of hitting a word count, an image count, a post count, or an episode count.

    I bring my best to the table.

    My best cannot be hacked. It cannot be commodified.
    And it most definitely doesn’t require butter in my coffee.

    P.S.  Don’t let the Adultopus win.

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    6 ways to keep going (and 1 way to quit) // Brand Camp

    In this week’s episode of That’s What She Said, I hit a reader question hard, and it’s a really freaking good one:

    …when you do hit those business funks/blues/frustrations.. the SERIOUSLY am I shit? or am I good? and want to keep moving forward, what/where or how inspires you to keep moving forward without giving it all away? — Lorraine

    I’m sharing six ways to keep going (and one way to quit) in this week’s episode of That’s What She Said.

    To get all bullet-pointed on you, I’ll explain:

    + why asking the wrong questions could be sabotaging your every effort
    + when and how to make space for a pause in your business
    + why taking your business to Tokyo (metaphorically) is a really, really bad idea
    + simple changes to the scope of your projects that might make all the difference
    + two questions to ask when you feel overwhelmed by all your ideas
    + getting out of the ‘how do I move forward AGH’ mental quagmire
    + my favorite way to quit, as well as my top reminders to help you keep going

    BOOM go listen.


    P.S. It’s difficult because it matters.

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    100 ways I

    I routinely scoff at books I know I need to read,
    like The Ultimate Guide to Making Your Retirement Make Sense
    or Master Your Cravings 4 Life (4 Real This Time)
    or How to Adult Like You Care About Adulting.

    I love sugar even though it makes me weepy
    and dairy even though it gives me zits
    and Facebook even though it gives me zombie-screen-face.

    I want to save the world and blow it up. (Sometimes in the same breath.)
    I don’t watch the news because it hurts
    and care more about homeless dogs than homeless adults.
    I’m not sure my efforts to save the world have made any difference,
    just like I’m not sure my art means anything or my life has an ultimate
    deep-down-for-real-for-real purpose other than the one I give it.

    I can’t extrovert for more than an hour at a time
    and would take last place in the Small Talk Olympics.
    “So um…yah…um…”

    I’ve got a soft spot for baby animals on the internet
    and “Eeep!” loudly at dogs in public
    and wish I could hug the porcupines at the zoo.

    I routinely eat too much bacon.
    I wear tights as pants sometimes.
    My I.Q. is embarrassingly high when compared with my credit score.

    I suffer from seasonal affective disorder
    and depression and abibliophobia —
    the fear of running out of reading materials —
    so I packed twelve books for my last trip
    and my suitcase was almost too heavy to fly.

    I routinely shrink clothing in the dryer and
    would rather travel than spend money on just about anything else.

    I am, officially, ‘obese’ on the medical terminology scale
    and am better at marketing other people’s work than I am my own.

    I cried when I watched a movie about ethical fashion
    because I didn’t know I was causing so much harm with my clothing choices.
    (I hope my pre-knowing-about-ethical clothing sparkly gold sneakers last a long time.)

    I don’t let myself go to Target alone
    because I need that haphazard $150 for other things.

    I still don’t know how to do contour makeup.
    That one time I tried to do eyebrow stencils I had a crooked eyebrow
    and looked exceptionally skeptical all afternoon.

    I would rather live in a shoebox by the water than anywhere else
    but I live a landlocked life. Missing the ocean hurts every day.

    I want to say I’m wise and above try to fix myself
    but really, I suspect the broken
    is where the magic seeps in,

    and so when I make extended eye contact with kids
    and we break into dance at the restaurant
    I can call it ‘broken’ or ‘magic’
    and either label will fit, depending.

    When we gather and don’t talk about the weather
    or exchange recipes but discuss souls and light and dark
    and you show me who you are
    we can call it ‘broken’ or ‘magic’
    and either will be true

    and when we agree that having to feed yourself three times a day,
    every day,
    is really the worst,

    One and the same.

    So let’s be magic, forever and ever,
    which means broken, forever and ever,
    and let’s enjoy the way the sunshine hits your forgotten to-do list,
    the way you failed at meal planning again,
    and all the other ways magic has found
    to weasel its way into your existence,
    today and every single day.

    (But really: you’re not allowed to go to Target alone.)

    Once we establish that you are, in fact, magic — listen to Magic vs. Muggle: the struggle is real and do a little something about it.

    P.S.  M-School is for bringing your particular brand of magic to life.  Check it out.

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