On not being a martyr of life.

 

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It’s funny. Everyone is encouraging us “LIVE WHILE YOU’RE YOUNG!” or “FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS!” and then when you do, you feel something you wouldn’t expect. Guilt.

And for a long time, I would feel guilty any time I decided to go out get some fresh air. As if actually living my life to the fullest was something I needed to apologize for or justify. That if I purposely carved time out of my schedule to refuel, I was getting behind. Being lazy. Being foolish.

But taking time away has actually been the biggest blessing in my personal AND professional life.

1. You connect with people. REALLY connect. 

When you have your phone in your hand, the stories of another human’s life have a 4 second shelf life, until you scroll down and double tap the next. And when you travel, you get to hear the real stories. On my last Tribe trip, we all joked that car rides are for the “long stories”. You have a captive audience for hours and hours, and you get to share the tales that would be too long for a typical lunch meet or quick phone call. And these are the words that matter. The ones that really connect you to other people. And leisure time facilities that more than anything else I’ve found.

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2. You’re filled up. 

Ok. You’re burnt out. Don’t lie. The maze of adulthood is long and hard and if you have to make ONE more U-turn, you’re going to lose it. But any time I get out in the world, I am refilling my tank. Taking in new ideas. Being inspired by things I hadn’t ever taken the time not notice. Feeling healthier.

And this is huge for me. Maybe the biggest part. Because I am someone, that once burnt out, is actually less productive when I just push through and keep working. I’m no longer creative, passionate, or… well.. pleasant to be around.

So when I travel or explore, I am purposely allowing myself to fill up. And all those ideas and connections pour over into my work, relationships, and lifestyle. And I can see this domino effect so clearly in my work that I try to get out as often as possible.

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3. You don’t have to be a martyr in life.

My friend Sarah wrote to me that “It takes so much courage to live free and trust that there’s truly no need to be a martyr in life. We are allowed to receive and live in abundance!”

And it’s such truth. We shouldn’t feel guilty for living this one, precious life.

So work hard. Work so very hard. But then take time to experience the world. Love people. And put that damn iPhone down.

Oh, but before you put it down… watch this video.  While in Colorado, Clint and I met with our best friend Cameron and he took us on adventure where we totally climbed to the top of a mountain in snow shoes.

XO, K.

 

OH! Big P.S.!

Kensfolk just launched it’s Instagram! @kensfolk_blog

There are big, big things in the works, and I would love if you’d like to follow the journey beside me!

That one time we went to New Mexico.

Clint and I have always had an itch for adventure. We’re always falling in love with the idea of the next somewhere. A sunset over a different landscape. Converting the next stranger into a friend.

I’ve been admiring White Sands for a while. The long, rolling hills of seemingly untouched earth. It looked like the feeling of freedom.

A couple of weeks ago, I had a short 3 day break from shooting and Clint helped my visual and adventuring dreams come true. We drove 14 hours into beautiful nothingness, stopping in Marfa, TX on the way.

Marfa provided a night we will never forget- a sleep under the stars, a land of tee pees, a surprise concert, chats over wine… and a freezing outdoor shower.

Then it was off to New Mexico.
We made it to the gorgeous White Sands- and experience that exceeded even my high expectations. We slept in a tent tucked in the mountains, found a random petting zoo in the snow, and ate our weight in road snacks.

Not everyone likes the rough (sleeping on the ground/brushing your teeth in a McDonalds) type of travel. And night number two in 25 degree weather? Neither did I.
But it’s these moments where Clint and I leave comfort behind and connect in a special kind of way.

So here’s a little glimpse into our adventure. Hope you enjoy the ride.

Let’s talk about something awkward.

I just spent an hour on the phone talking to one of the most amazing people I know.

Deeply encouraging. Loyal. Beautiful. Like. Turn your head beautiful. And creative as all get out.

Towards the end of the conversation, she brought up a business venture that she was interested in. I encouraged her, just saying “Offer a time to come meet with them. And then talk yourself up.”

Her response really hit me.

 

“Talking yourself up and knowing your worth as a woman is probably the hardest thing. Like, what do I say about myself that is so great, you know?”

 

I wanted to argue. I mean, COME ON. You’re amazing. Give me the resume and I’ll write it myself- just chalk full of all the reasons you would rock this job.

But if I’m honest, it’s absolutely true. It’s hard to see your own value sometimes [lots and lots of times].

You’re so stuck in your own life, your own imperfect skin, surrounded by your own baggage that you truly forget what you have to offer the world. And your best friend can see it. Your family can see it. Hell, you know your dog sees it. But you can’t.

I remember a friend had me do an exercise once that radically changed how I viewed Kendall.

She had me write a letter to myself as if I were writing it to my best friend. 

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If your best friend came to you with the same concerns of self-worth that you do, what would you tell her? 

See, there are two types of people in this world.

People who write letters. And people who don’t.
And I am so far to the left of those two types of people that I would gladly have everyone throw their iPhones in a big bonfire and dance around it. And then I would go home and write a letter about it.

I pour my feelings out in postage, scribbles, and notes. I keep a physical planner. I was totally up for this challenge.

But then pen got to paper and I was blank. Wow. I would be 3 pages deep if this were my best friend. But about me? I ain’t got nothin’.

Eventually I wrote. Telling me that yes. Yes, I had something big to offer the world. And why yes, I am wasting time by throwing myself a big surprise pity party. Because guess what? It’s time to get to crackin’ with these talents I was given.
DO YOU KNOW AWKWARD IT IS TO TALK GOOD ABOUT YOURSELF?

I mean, even writing about this makes me all damp in the pits.

But writing a letter to myself with the kindness of a best friend really helped me realize that all those self-worth issues were just in my head.

And you. Yes, you. Reading this. I may know you. I might not. But you are so fantastic. And I know we ALL think we’re not at times. And I know I’m not just being all “feely girl” over here.  I struggle. You struggle. We’re all here.

So please, write yourself a letter as your best friend.

It isn’t conceited. It’s acceptance, kindness, and respect for yourself. It also isn’t perfection. I hate to break it to the two of us, but we aren’t flawless.

But write it. As your biggest fan. And I hope it helps you see yourself the way you are, you amazing human, you.

XO, K.

 

 

 

** I stole this image off of Pintrest.

 

 

 

Courage.

In August, I went to Yellow Conference, in Las Angeles, CA- where I was introduced to the spunky, ball of energy Caitlin Crosby (the bomb shell below). Aside from her charm and superior execution of sarcasm, she founded a company called The Giving Keys, where she sells keys embossed with different words and phrases. Theses keys eventually help homeless people get into their own apartments, and off the streets.

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You pick a key that in inscribed with a word you want to internalize, and you wear it until you feel like you have fully possessed the word. At that point, you pass your piece of jewelry on to someone else who you feel needs that word for themselves.

Well, I am a lover of words and believe in the power of them. (I mean HELLO, I write a blog for pete’s sake.) So I gave myself a few days to think about what word I most needed in my life.
Throughout Yellow, I was pushed to write down my “big crazy dreams”. And in that moment, I could hardly even put pen to paper. If I was honest with myself, I felt that my dreams were so much bigger than anything I could truly accomplish. These “big scary dreams” were desires of my heart that crept into my thoughts over and over, only to have me snuff them out, knowing that I couldn’t pull them off. That was for other people. The people that had a “K” after their Instagram followers, had famous fathers, or washed their hair more than once a week.

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As Yellow went on, I recognized that all of the women speaking were these real, beautifully raw, normal people. And the only difference between me and them was that they believed in their dreams enough to actually make them happen. And BOY were these women makin’ it happen.

So I picked the word “Courage”. I selected it so that I could wear it around my neck to remind myself that it’s the only word I need to make my “big crazy dreams” into “been there, and did that”.

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Everyone has a different story, different goals, and a different outlook. But we need to know that our dreams were placed on our hearts for a reason.

So no matter how awkward you might feel, I encourage you to write down your “big crazy dreams”. Don’t water them down. Don’t be scared of your pen. Just write.

And then pick a word that will help you get there. And wear that word (physically or mentally) until you own it.

XO, K.
P.S. I was ridiculously flattered by your responses to my last blog. Thank you for taking time out of your busy, busy day to read this little publication of mine, and even more so- for contributing. Keep being awesome.

 

 

**thank you capturing my key, Hannah Hagaman!

** Yellow Conference snaps by yours truly.

 

 

 

Just begin.

I don’t consider myself a very organized or particularly talented individual. Yet I’ve been asked several times (to my genuine surprise) how I “get so much done”. And while I would love to take this as a compliment, it certainly wouldn’t be true to tell you that I “can do it all”. It almost seems laughable to write that, because it blows my mind that people would get the notion of something so removed from my reality.

So this is all I have to say on the subject: Just begin.

Whatever it is that you want to do, just start it. You don’t have to announce it to the world. You don’t even have to finish it. You just need to freaking start it. Right now. Stop reading this blog post this very minute and take 5 minutes towards what you want to do.

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Now, for all of you who are still reading, I understand this is not an epiphany. But sometimes you just need to hear it. Someone had to tell me to “just begin” to get my bum into action, and now I hope that I can be that person for you.

Things you need to know about beginning (that you probably already know):

1. It’s painful. The first 5 minutes of forward moving are so scary. You’ll let all those demons in your head give you all the excuses in the world not to just make ONE step. But you can pick one finger (of your choice) to raise to those thoughts and just start. 5 minutes people. FIVE. And then the worst part is done.

2. Brainstorming is not ‘doing’. Jotting down notes and scribbling potential futures is amazing. Powerful and amazing. But they aren’t “doing”. They aren’t action- they are ideas. You could be reading this with a notebook of insanely genius post it notes, and I still won’t know unless you did something with them.

3. Focus. Just because you have something you want to do doesn’t mean it’s a priority. We only have so many hours in our day. (Unless you’re Beyonce. She just HAS to have found a glitch in the revolving of the globe and squeezed more hours into her day some how.) So pick something that you know you want to have done in your life- professionally or personally. I’ve been pretty inspired by some street dancers- but it would only take about 5 minutes of ‘starting’ to realize… well… just pick the important actions.

4. Just don’t get too tied up in options that you do nothing. Sometimes you just need to fire. I can often think up so many different things I’d love to do that I spend all my time trying to sort through options. Or I become so overwhelmed that I do nothing and go watch netflix instead.

So sometimes you just have to pick an idea and go for it.

5. On that note- Stop watching Netflix. Or whatever you do to try to escape from the weight of your dreams. Maybe you sleep too much. Or go out to a bar. Or scan Instagram until your eyes burn out. You are wasting valuable time to actually put something out in the world. Use. Your. Talents.

* I feel like I am being a bit vague, so let me pair down a bit.

While this is a fairly unexciting example, it is something current. Today, my planner was busting with scribbles of things I wanted to do today from designing new business cards to writing this blog. There were about 20 non- paid items that I wanted to accomplish today and the sheer mass of ideas almost had me deciding it was time to take a nap instead of doing anything at all. But I told myself to just pick one and BEGIN. My blog has been on my mind for a while- wondering what I should write about. And something as simple as cranking out blog content can seem overwhelming when faced with so many to-dos. So I told myself I would just blog for 5 minutes. If I didn’t want to continue after that, I didn’t have to.

Well, here we are.

And, DUH. There are tons of people who accomplish WORLDS more than I do, but I am always thankful for when people share their tips and tricks to me, and so it’s only right to pass them on to you.

So, whether it’s something as small as responding to an email or as big as writing a book- just give yourself 5 minutes to start.

You’ll accomplish a whole lot more than you thought you could.

XO,

Ken

P.S. I would love to hear your advice on what you do that helps you make inspiration into action. Please comment and help out myself and the rest of the reader community!

You guys rock.

 

 

 

 

DV.

This song has been buzzing in my ears this week. I like little ditties that make you stop and feel something.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qoWRs7lXtYE&feature=kp

Something else I’ve been enjoying this week:

Diana Vreeland’s book: Memos.

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It’s no secret how deep my girl crush goes for this woman. Not so much for her contribution to fashion (which is significant and undeniable), but for her energy for revolution. To change what was before with such a force that the world followed after.

[If you haven’t found yourself in acquaintance with who DV was, watch ‘The Eye Has To Travel’ on Netflix.]

Diana had this unique relationship with the human language that made everything around her fit into a new box. And Memos are just that: memos she sent out to the magazine everyday. And what would normally be a strictly informative note everyday was this quirky (sometimes even slightly poetic) insight into her creative process. She has inspired me to see every little thing as an invitation to be creative or intentional- and it does make like quite a bit more interesting, no?

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Happy first day of school. And to every one else in the real world, I raise my second cup of coffee.

XO, Ken

The one with the crunchy post.

This is going to make me sound so crunchy, but at the end of my yoga class yesterday, my instructor said something that stuck with me:

“Take a second to think about the things that make you feel alive. What brings vitality to your life? What makes you feel so full that you want to be the best person you can be?

Now take these things and make room for them in your life. Carve away time to do them: because the world needs more people are are actually alive.”

 

Two things I thought of were: (there are many more- but pretending to be on So You Think You Can Dance alone in my apartment didn’t seem quite as inspiring.)

*Creating for the sake of creating- without payment or instruction.

*Riding my bike for miles with a damn good playlist.

 

So this morning, when I had business emails to answer, I decided to put them to the side for a minute and create- draw. write. take a few pictures.

So here is my “this is what makes me feel alive” creation: a photo I took of an adventure and some hand lettering I drew this morning. These are just my scribbles- but it makes me feel alive to create to just create.

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And for those of you who love biking- or just listening to good music- I’m cooking up a play list for you.

Now, just do something today that makes you feel full and inspired. Don’t down play it. Don’t feel guilty for it. Just do it: because we need more people to actually be alive.

XO, K