For many business owners, underneath a day’s decisions, tasks, and projects, there’s the ever-present challenge of when to say “no.”
Whether it’s a new product to offer, a speaking engagement to accept, a lead to pursue – the list is endless – it can be tough to feel like saying “no” is the right decision.
But what if the real problem wasn’t saying “no” but, instead, thinking about how we make that decision? What if, instead of “no,” the reality beneath that choice is saying “yes” to something that better aligns with our goals?
Here to talk about this is certified spiritual mentor and storytelling expert Karen Kenney.
With over 20 years of entrepreneurial experience, Karen is a certified hypnotist, writer, speaker, the host of The Karen Kenney Show Podcast, and the founder of the community, “THE NEST”.
Through her programs, she combines neurology, subconscious reprogramming, hypnosis, and spiritual mentorship to “help her clients remove their blocks, rewrite old stories, rewire in beliefs, and change their lives.”
As she puts it, “The short answer is ‘no’ and the long answer is ‘f*ck no'” and getting rid of self-limited beliefs starts with saying “yes” to the things that really matter to us – no further explanation needed.
Let’s get started!
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✅ Connect with Karen and learn more about her work: karenkenney.com
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Read the Transcription 🤓
Taylorr: Welcome to another episode of Technically Speaking, we’re your hosts, Taylorr and Austin, and in today’s episode, we’re talking about getting out of your own way. Now, there’s no denying the fact that as a business owner, sometimes we just face some huge resistance, or we get stuck. Maybe, we’re not even aware we’re in our own way, but we, certainly, are. And as much of a conflict as that tends to be with your personal and your professional and your business life, we, kind of, have to balance both as business owners.
And I think it’s important not only to talk about the hard, maybe, skills around business tactics and strategies, but also more of those soft skills about how we can become more self-aware and be the business owners that we want to be, so that we can show up every single day feeling like we’re in flow. And, as you know, here at Speaker Flow, we’re all about helping people create that optimal business experience and while we’ve tend to focus on the systems ends of things, there’s no denying the fact that there’s the personal component that allows us to be in flow in the first place.
And I think in other audiences, it’s, really, easy to see that it’s, really, heavy on one end of the spectrum, either, highly, personal development stuff or, highly, business development stuff. And there’s no denying that there’s a spectrum and we need to land somewhere in the middle. And so, today we brought on a very special guest, Karen Kenney; she’s a certified spiritual mentor, she’s a hypnotist. She studies neuroscience to help people get out their own way, become unstuck, become more self-aware so that they can show up for their fullest day in and day out.
She’s been running a business for over 20 years and has an incredible personal story that has, kind of, led her to the position where she is today, where she helps people get out of their own way, through her keynotes, her workshops, her podcasts, and her different programs that she offers at the one-to-one level. She’s an incredible human being with a, really, really, powerful story, as you’ll come to find out in this podcast episode. And I think there’s a lot of relatabilities coming up in this episode of what it, kind of, feels like to be stuck or how to become more aware that you’re stuck in the first place.
And Karen delivers some, really, awesome golden nuggets along the way of some practical advice to get out of our own ways, enter that state of flow and show up as the business owners and people that we want to show up as every single day. As always, stick around until the end for some awesome resources and we hope you enjoy this one.
Taylorr: Look at us.
Austin: Okay, we made it. Yay. Karen. Hi. Thank you so much for joining us today.
Karen: Oh my God, as you guys already know, I’m wicked excited to be here and thank you for inviting me on this show, I’m so excited to see where this whole conversation takes us.
Austin: Oh, us too. Yeah, us too, for sure. Also, we talked about this briefly before the show, but I just need our audience to appreciate the fact that Karen just used the word wicked in her sentence.
Taylorr: Wicked. Yeah, we’re going to get out of it.
Austin: And I think that’s a word that’s, it’s entirely underutilized in the English language today, so I encourage everybody to start you saying, wicked, way more often.
Karen: Yeah, I’m a Boston kid, so it’s, definitely, grew up in Lawrence, Mass. And so, that wicked, it’s like, Oh my God, that’s wicked funny. That’s wicked good. It’s wicked nice. Oh my God, that’s wicked. Whatever. And so, people try to use it and you can always tell if somebody who’s not from Massachusetts is trying to use it, because they often use it out of context in the way that we would use it. But if you start using wicked, people automatically say like, Oh, Massachusetts, you’re a New England kid or something, right? So, it’s, definitely, a geographical little [kiss sound] of a word, you know?
Taylorr: Heck, yeah.
Austin: The kiss, definitely, added to that, so thank you there.
Karen: You’re welcome.
Austin: Yeah, we’re, really, excited for this one. So, as our listeners know, and as you may know, we do some research going into each episode that way we, kind of, roughly know what we want to talk about and we, certainly, do today. We found some awesome stuff. We just love your brand, you are unapologetically yourself, and I think that is such an important thing these days, so respect. Good on you there, for one thing.
Karen: Thank you.
Austin: We saw something specific, though, that made me laugh for one thing, and, by the way; listeners, if you have children in the car or something.
Austin: Now’s the time to cover their ears, just briefly, we have the explicit label, we’ve warned you. But we saw this Instagram post and I want to quote this exactly. So, it said, the short answer is no, the long answer is fuck no. And I laughed at that, partially, because it’s on the nose, so I like that.
Karen: Thank you.
Austin: But also, I, actually, think it strikes a chord because saying no is, really, difficult. I, personally, struggle with this. I know a lot of people that I talk to, regularly, are coaching clients, they also struggle with this.
Austin: So, I’m curious, from your perspective, why do you think that saying no can be so challenging for people? What is it about that post that made you post it?
Karen: Well, so, okay. So, for me, as a spiritual mentor and a certified hypnotist and somebody who, kind of, works in the realm of why do people do what they do, say what they say, speak what they speak, believe what they believe, why do they tell the stories that they tell? Get in their own way? What you’re, really, dealing with is humans, right? Human psychology, human behavior and saying no sometimes, especially, depending on how you were raised, the environment you were raised in or whatever. Sometimes saying no.
And a lot of times when we say no, what we’re, really, doing is taking a stand for something that matters to us, which is, I’m saying no to you, because I would rather be doing X, Y, and Z. Or I’m saying no to you or to this deal or this collaboration or this whatever, this speaking gig or whatever, because it’s not in alignment with me. So, there’s always that danger, right? Some of people’s greatest fears are fear of rejection, fear of abandonment, and fear of judgment. So, there’s a fear, a lot of times, which if I take a stand, even kindly, even compassionately and say no, that there’s going to be a consequence to that action. Especially, I can’t speak for dudes, but I know for a lot of women, we’re often taught to put other people’s needs first.
So, it can feel selfish to say no. And one of the phenomena that I have experienced over many years of dealing with both men and women, and I don’t mean dealing with in a negative way, I was talking about dealing with. But working with people is that most dudes, if you say to a guy, hey, do you want to go to the party? They’ll just say no. And there’s not a lot of follow-ups. But with women, we often feel the need to not just say no, now we have to go on this long diatribe of why and we have to, kind of, explain to you why.
No, I can’t, because I’m busy doing this, or I have to do this, and I have to do that. Because our desire to just say no often isn’t celebrated and it’s definitely not what we feel enough. So, we feel the need to over explain why we can’t do a thing. And I think the more, again, as a spiritual mentor, the more that we learn to love ourselves, accept ourselves, know we’re enough, have self-worth; we start to learn that our no is a complete sentence, and our no is enough. And it’s just no because it’s not good for me, it doesn’t work for me, It’s not in-alignment with me or whatever, so long answer to a short question.
And sometimes that fuck no is just like, that is so out of alignment for me, it’s like me as a vegan, right? I’ve been vegan for 20 plus years. So, if somebody invites me to a big birthday party, but there’s going to be a pig roast, that’s always like, oh, that’s a fuck no. No, we’re not going and watching that whole shebang, right? So, it’s just a very emphatic no, is that whole vibe.
Taylorr: Yeah, no, for sure.
Austin: I like it.
Taylorr: Yeah. You, really, summed it up too, because one of my follow-up questions to this just starting point of a conversation.
Austin: We’re, definitely, going to dive into some deep stuff here, I imagine. But how do you choose the right things to say, no, to? And I think you, kind of, answered that, right? If you’re feeling like it’s not in-alignment whatsoever, then that seems like reason enough to say no, is that right? Or are there any other circumstances where we can be more aware of why we want to say no?
Karen: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I think you hit it on the head. Definitely, it’s an alignment piece, so part of that is in order. So, first of all, let’s put a new spin on no. There’s a great quote by Hans Hoffman that says, basically, to simplify is to remove, I’m paraphrasing, but he, basically, says, to simplify is to remove the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak. So, for me, instead of thinking of it as I’m saying no to something, it’s I’m, actually, saying, yes, to something else. So, I, kind of, don’t think of no as a negative, I think of, well, by saying, no, to this, and sometimes our saying no to a project, to a speaking gig, to an opportunity, it allows a better fit to say yes.
So, I don’t think of no’s as a bad thing. How do I know if I should say no or should say yes or what the right thing is? Part of that, and it’s one of the heart beats of the work that I do as a spiritual mentor, is to know thyself. To know what your core values are, to know what matters to you, to know what feels purposeful in intention and deserves your attention, right? If you don’t know yourself or if you don’t value yourself or value your value, you’ll take gigs or speaking gigs, or go on podcasts that have no alignment whatsoever out of, whether it’s desperation or scarcity or fear. But one of the quick ways is, just name a food or something that you, absolutely, hate. Would not eat it.
Karen: Mushrooms, okay.
Austin: That was fast.
Taylorr: Not surprising, Austin.
Austin: It was fast.
Karen: So, if I say to you, all right, I’m going to cook you this beautiful dinner and do you want mushrooms on that? You pick a definitive no. You know the feeling of mushrooms, correct?
Karen: In your body you’re mushrooms like, Mushrooms are a fuck no. No. Okay.
Austin: A hundred percent.
Karen: So, when you go to do other things, it’s that tuning in, it’s that going inward, and what’s the energy, the vibe, the resonance? How do I feel when I think about doing this thing? Is my body, enthusiastically, saying yes? Does it expand? Does it get excited and curious? Or does it contract and go, God, no, no. And you can just start by, that’s building your intuition, your connection to your inner knowing, your inner self. And you can do it with little things like, do I want to wear red or blue today? Do I want to drink the coffee or the Matcha? Or whatever.
You do it with simple things, you get little victories, you start to trust yourself more. And then, when it comes to bigger things, it’s like, is this in-alignment with my values? It might make me a shit ton of money, but will I hate myself tomorrow? So, if it’s not in-alignment, to me, there’s no amount of money that’s worth betraying myself.
Taylorr: Wow. That’s paradigm shifting.
Austin: And closing the potential doors. Yeah.
Taylorr: That’s right. Yeah. I’ve never thought about saying no like that, but I think even Austin, and I can, I’ll speak for both of us here, Austin, but you can put in your 2 cents. But we’ve, maybe, I think everyone has these learning experiences, but in the context of business, let’s say. Saying yes to things that you, really, regret saying yes to after you’ve said yes to them, and then, eventually, you say no, and then it might be uncomfortable for a little while, as you’re getting familiar with that new territory, but then the whole world opens up to what’s, actually, possible. And I’ve lived that experience, but up until now I don’t think I had a real label for it.
Karen: Yeah. And I think the thing is that we can always say no compassionately, right? It’s like, thank you so much for thinking of me, thank you so much for the opportunity. It’s just not a good time for me; it’s not a good fit right now. And we don’t make it always gratitude for the opportunity, but I always say, I have to love myself tomorrow. I have to be able to look at myself and say, well, what was that, am I making a decision out of love or am I making a decision out of fear?
And I’m just not interested in making decisions out of fear anymore. I just turned 54, I’m at an age where it’s like, I have less time ahead of me than I do behind me and I want to be most, fully, myself and in-alignment with what matters to me and where my values are and who I, really, am. Versus trying to Cirque du Soleil and twist and contort myself into getting anybody else’s approval, right? It’s like me with me, me with the divine or whatever people call that, source, God, higher power, I don’t care what anybody calls it, but me getting in-alignment with the reality of who and how I want to be in the world.
And I think that when we take gigs or we take on clients or who here has ever had a difficult client and it just wasn’t a fit, but you were like, I have to make rent or mortgage, so I’m going to say yes to this thing. And then you’re like, fuck. And It’s just a grind, man, and there’s no joy in it. Who wants to do that for coin.
Austin: Nobody. Nobody. For pieces of paper that we’ve randomly assigned value to.
Taylorr: Assigned value to. Yeah, for sure.
Austin: Yeah. Totally. Yeah. Perspective is challenging because there’s an emotional component, right? Logically, what you’re saying makes total sense. And then when the rubber meets the road and it comes down to it, your emotions matter a lot, but to your point, right? I can look back and every single time that I’ve made a decision where I, regret might be too strong of a word, but, certainly, think that it would’ve been better had I said no, instead of said yes to an opportunity. I knew. I knew in the moment that there was something off, right?
But I chose to let this emotion supersede this emotion and then that, obviously, did not work out down the road, so I think there’s something to be said about paying attention and I also have to, I think, point out the fact that, as you mentioned, you’re at a point in your life where you’re not going to let fear help you make decisions or be the reason that you make decisions anymore. And I think that there’s something to be said about the fact that it took years of experience to bring you to the point where you were there, and I’m, personally, somebody that beats myself up when I do something like that, where I say yes to the wrong thing.
But, yeah, it’s a growing process and, I think, sometimes you have to say yes to the wrong things to have the experience to know what the wrong thing is in the first place. So, if you’re listening to this with regrets, don’t beat yourself up about it, people.
Karen: Yeah. I, actually, did a whole podcast, so I have my own podcast, right? And so, I did a podcast, literally, called, On Regret. And one of the heart beats of that episode was, is a brilliant quote and nobody can figure out who first said it, because I always give credit. But the quote says, is that regret is paying too much attention on the mistakes that you made while you were still learning, or the choices that you made while you were still learning. So, to me, when I look back and look at the stupid shit that I’ve done, right?
The fact that I’m still alive is a miracle, okay, let’s just. And when I look back and I think, what were you thinking? And it’s like I wasn’t thinking, because when I’m in fear, the front of your brain where you, actually, make decisions, good decisions, shuts down and you go into that old reptilian part of your subconscious. So, if you’re in, I have to pay my bills, I have to feed my kids, I have to X, Y, and Z, everybody has a different story of scarcity or lack or fear, right? So, when I’m in that space, I’m, actually, not online with the part of my myself that’s not insane, right? I’m not online with the part of myself that makes better choices.
So, forgiveness and self-compassion goes a wicked long way because this is how we learn and grow. And God knows, look it. One of my old business coaches, my business mentor at the time, Bill Baren, he’s called the business oracle, he’s brilliant. And one of the things he always used to say, he goes, If you want to know yourself, start a business. Because all of your fears, all of your strengths, all of your weaknesses, all of your bullshit, it’s just going to come bubbling up to the surface to be dealt with.
But what a gift to get to know ourselves and to know the places where we procrastinate, where we get in our own way, where we don’t follow good strategies or systems or we resist success and take ourselves out at the knees, and business is going to reveal all of that to us. And we do have to pay attention, as you said; you have to, really, pay attention and notice. Looking back, it’s not what the fuck is wrong with you? Why did you do that? It’s what was going on inside of me where that seemed like a good idea.
Austin: Yeah. Totally. I feel that right here, Karen.
Taylorr: Yeah, that’s right. Yeah.
Karen: But without judgment. Without judgment. Meet yourself with curiosity.
Taylorr: That’s right.
Karen: Hey, were you just going through a breakup? Were you feeling down and out? I’m just making sure. I just gained 50 pounds. I had just gotten betrayed by a friend. My dad just died. What was going on in my world where I was willing to compromise myself, my values or ignore; you said, I knew, I ignored that little, call it intuition, call it gut instinct, call it in a teacher, call it a red flag, whatever you want to call it. But some part of you knew and we still trudged ahead anyway, because that other driving force of fear. And I always say to people, you have to let your love of the thing be greater than your fear. And that’s what will help you to always make choices from a systematic and strategic way.
See, I think there’s a blend between spirituality and strategy in business. they’re not mutually exclusive, I think they can support each other. Because we always think of like, oh, I have a business. But all a business is, is a person or groups of people and ego personalities and history and traumas and dramas that are running those businesses. So, if the people who are running the show have issues, have stuff that’s not been dealt with, it is going to show up in their decision making and, in their profit, in their bottom line, in all of the connections that they make, the way that their brand shows up, the way that they impact the work that they’re doing in the world.
Taylorr: Yeah. It’s super easy to create a separation. Yeah. I forget who were having a conversation with about this. Maybe, Austin, this will ring a bell, but you should remember a conversation where it’s, really, easy for all of us to create a black and white line between things. It’s either this or it’s that, it’s either white or it’s black, you know what I mean? It’s all either-or scenarios, and we forget about this, kind of, blended approach. It’s all spectrums, there’s a middle ground for, basically, everything.
Karen: Taste the rainbow, I always say, taste the rainbow. It’s like Skittle town in here, because it’s like, yeah, there is a spectrum and depending on who you’re being that day and how you’re feeling that day, you might, and this is why we have to have what I call internal. My meditation teacher, Easwaran, talks about installing internal stabilizers, so that when everything else is getting rough out there on the sea of life, we can stay steady to who we know ourselves to be, how we want to be.
And that’s why knowing your principles, knowing your core values, knowing what you stand for, because your core values are going to be the things that guide you in your decision making in both your personal and your professional life. But if you don’t take time to spend time with yourself and to contemplate and have a spiritual practice and to get quiet enough in here, the chatter gets a little loud upstairs, right? The chatter gets a little loud in there.
Other people’s opinions, what your parents said, the kids who bullied you, all of that stuff is floating around in there, and if we don’t create this place within us, where we come to know ourselves and trust ourselves, it’s, really, easy to get tossed about by the ups and downs financially, the ups and downs of whatever. And you just see it, you see it on social media, people getting swayed by, you want this many followers, do this, get the blue check, get all of that external validation, but external validation doesn’t mean shit. I’m like, if you like yourself, then social media likes don’t matter.
Austin: Ooh, that’s a great quote. That was a quotable quote right there, Karen. So, there’s been some already amazing conversation happening here. What led you here? Why are you who you are right now, Karen?
Karen: Yeah, so I always say, the cliff notes version is, I grew up in Lawrence, Mass, which is a tough little city, 30 miles north of Boston, it’s an immigrant city, right on the Mary Mack River. And it was just like, was it just a tough place to grow up? I say even the language of our childhood was violent, right? That’s what I always say. It was like suck it up and stuff it down mentality. There was no room, really, for a lot of weakness, because your weakness, your sensitivity would cost you. And so, my mother and biological father got divorced when I was two.
My stepfather came on the scene when I was three. And then he and my mother, they were young, they were beautiful. I always say they were brilliant and stupid at the same time, and they fought constantly. I grew up in a war zone. my mother had my sister at 18, me at 20. So, babies having babies. No, poor, poor blue-collar, working-class people. And during one of the times that my parents were separated, they would get separated all of the time. My mother went out one night and we woke up the next morning and she wasn’t there.
So, it was my sister who was 13, about to turn 14 and I was 12. And my mother was just missing. She was gone all day, I went to school, my sister stayed home and when I got home nobody had heard from her or whatever. And then, basically, my stepfather, who we hadn’t seen in many months, because they were separated, showed up on the scene and, basically, just said to us, your mother is dead. That’s what he said. I’m just going to tell you; your mother is dead. And it was already in the paper that day and come to find out that my mother had been murdered, she had been beaten to death and her body was found by some cemetery workers.
So, it was brutal, it was tragic; she was gone overnight. My family didn’t talk about her, it was like, there’s no manual on what do you do when somebody you love is murdered? So, everybody just, it was, literally, like the sun to my universe was put out overnight and I had to go live with an aunt and uncle that I didn’t, really, know, so my life was never the same. So, really, from 12 on, I was emotionally, kind of, on my own, and then 17 on, I was, literally, on my own trying to figure out. I got into college, went to Boston University, put myself through school, slept on somebody’s floor for the last two years of school because I ran out of money, you know? So, it’s just like all of this, I’m trying to put into context that I just suffered a lot.
Karen: There was a lot of suffering, there was a lot of fear, there was a lot of not feeling like I belonged, not fitting in. And over time, because I was always a reader, I always loved words and books and stories, so books saved my ass. I, literally, have a whole chapter in my memoir that I’m writing. It’s a love letter to Stephen King, because Stephen King saved me with his books. And I had the opportunity to meet him once, that’s a story for another day. But books saved me. And so, before there were coaches, there were books before, there were coaches, there were cassette tapes, and CDs.
So, that’s how I learned. And I just was so fucking unhappy in my own skin. And I knew somehow there had to be a better way. And it’s a whole long story, but at the bottom line is over the years I found books, I found practices, I found things that helped me to heal and shift my perspective. And when I started to understand that I was responsible for my own happiness and my own suffering, that was wicked good news for me, because I was already a control freak. Because when your life feels out of control, you will try to start to control things. So, when I understood that I was in control of my happiness, my suffering, my perspective, that I could change my mind and change my story and change my life, that was like holy shit.
So, over time, I became a yoga teacher, I’ve been a yoga teacher over 22 years, I’ve been a certified spiritual mentor for 11 years, I’m a certified hypnotist. I’ve always had a love of helping animals and helping people. So, I took my own, kind of, growth and these skills that I’ve learned and these tools that I’ve learned, I call it the spiritual toolkit. And I just started turning it around and I was my own first client and I’ve gathered a lot of, again, tools, practices, whatever. And then, I just started applying it to helping others and inviting other people, kind of, into the process because they have to play a proactive role in their own healing.
I’m not a healer. People always say to me, you’re a healer. I say, no, no, no, no. I create, maybe, an environment or a place where people can start to understand that they have within them the ability to heal themselves with the help of something greater than them, perhaps, if that’s what they call it, if they want that aspect. But we all have self-source and spirit and however you define those things is none of my business, but I can help people with that. And so, it was, really, my own suffering that inspired the work that I do now to help men and women get out of their way, and I love helping entrepreneurs and people who have influence, because if you help somebody who has a community, the exponential ripple effect of that is huge.
So, I love working with smarty-pants entrepreneurs, I love working with athletes, I love working with speakers, I love working with all kinds of people. People who want to make a difference in the world and live intentionally.
Taylorr: Oh, wow.
Austin: Man, Karen. Holy crap.
Taylorr: That gave me chills.
Austin: Yeah. That’s a wild ride that you’ve been on, holy crap. One of the things that we talk about internally at Speaker Flow that’s important to us is that we take our own medicine. I, really, believe that if you’re going to teach the world to do something, you better be the best example of doing that, that you can find, right? And you’re the model of that in so many ways. There’s that story of the twin brothers that their parents are alcoholics or whatever, right? And 20 years down the road they interview them, one’s super successful, the other one is homeless or whatever. And they asked them why. And both of them say, well, my parents were alcoholics. Yeah.
So, you had every reason to let the world kick you down and you made the intentional decision not to. You pushed through and you found resources and tools and ways to help yourself and now that you’ve translated that into helping other people, I’m sure that fuels your own personal development even further, right? We teach what we need to know most ourselves.
Austin: It’s very inspiring. Not only have you already given a bunch of practical information about how to think differently about the world today, but I genuinely feel inspired by you. So, thank you for that.
Karen: How sweet. That’s so sweet, thank you so much. It’s my greatest joy and I always say to people, when I’m talking to a one-to-one client or in my group, The Nest, I always say to them, you guys, I’m not finger wagging. Everything that I’m saying to you is for my ears first, it’s for me first, it’s also a reminder, it’s because repetition we know, repetition is the mother of all learning. I just did a podcast episode called, there’s no one and done. In this journey, right? There’s no one and done. We have to have maintenance, just like you would do maintenance, I’m like, you’re not going to take your car in for one oil change in the whole life of the car and say, oh, we’re good. That’s it, I only needed one.
So, this work that I do for myself, first and foremost, and then with others; I always benefit from that. All of the spiritual traditions say some version of; it’s in giving that we receive. And I, really, believe that. So, I get to benefit every time I get to have the privilege and the honor of working with somebody, I get to benefit, because I’m always a student too. Even talking to you guys, I’ll walk away, and when I was first talking with Taylorr and I was like, so tell me what you guys do exactly. And I’m like, cool.
And so, every time that I interact with another human being, I try to also show up as somebody who can listen and who can learn and to show up with enough humility, because as soon as you say I’m the expert and as soon as you say these two words are the two words that get people in so much trouble when you say, I know. Because as soon as you say, I know, there’s no room to learn to change and to grow.
Karen: And we’re all so hung up on being like, what’s the expert, niche down? You’re the expert, I’m like, the only thing I’m the expert at is being myself, that’s the only thing I’m, really, the expert on. Everything else is open to growth. And, in fact, when I do my podcast, I always say, hey, let’s keep in mind, this is what I think and believe today. I might think and believe something different 20 minutes from now because I got smarter, because I learned something new.
So, I don’t have to look back on my earliest episodes with regret and go, oh God, I can’t believe I said that. It’s like, well, that’s what I knew at the time. I did the best that I could. Now I know different, I’m going to do better. So, I try to just give earlier and younger versions of myself, just cut me some slack and give me a break because I was doing the best that I could, you know?
Taylorr: Yeah. What a valuable lesson. And the whole, kind of, I think, theme throughout this is, really, how do you get unstuck, right? And I feel like, for me, at least, I’ll speak personally. Part of some of the reasons why I feel stuck sometimes, I’m just beating myself up over my past decisions, I feel like this frame of thinking, really, allows you to rewrite the story and say, no, I made this decision then, I was still learning. It’s, totally, okay. And now, we’re cruising, it’s fine. And you can, kind of, give yourself that permission to let go and be better and not just revel in the shit.
Karen: Yeah. Taylorr, you just said a couple of things that I love, and number one is you can rewrite the story. So, my process that I use with people is, literally, called, Your Story to Your Glory. And that’s one of the steps is rewriting the story, rewriting the stories that we tell about ourselves each other in the world. Okay. But the other thing that you said is that I sat to beat myself up, I get stuck in that. So, a, really, powerful question you can ask yourself is not like, right? Whose inner voice, who’s inner critic says things nicely? Not mine, right?
So, normally, the language is like, what the fuck is wrong with you? Why would you do that? Da da da da da da da. So, instead, of saying, why did you do that? Or What’s wrong with you, again, you can say, what did I learn from this? Because you know that saying, right? It’s not failure, it’s feedback.
Karen: And even that has a little bit of coolness to it, it’s a little bit of emotional distance to it, but it’s like, okay, I can’t. So, in 12 step programs, I have many friends in recovery, and they have said, there’s a saying in AA, I guess, that says you can’t build a better past. And you can’t; there’s no point sitting there berating yourself for what younger you did. But I can now, going forward with that information. But the missing piece is, did I stay stuck in the ego of shame, blame, judgment, attack? Or did I ask myself, oh, what did that experience teach me? Well, number one, I never want to do that again, I don’t want to feel that again.
So, now I’m going to be more intentional, I’m going to pay more attention. I’m going to pause in-between stimulus and response, right? Right in that middle magical place, I’m going to pause and I’m going to get right with myself and I’m going to ask myself some questions. Is this something I, really, want to do? Am I doing this out of fear or love? Is this going to benefit me? Is it in line with my values? And we’re such in a society where we expect everything to happen so fast, so immediately, let’s go. I texted you, why didn’t you text me back? I sent you a DM. I’m like, hey, I got a life to live, I don’t live with my phone attached to my face, it’s not the oxygen that I breathe. So, I’ll get back to you when it feels good to my nervous system.
Karen: I’m not being bullied by your urgency.
Taylorr: I’m putting that in my email line.
Karen: Yeah. I’m not being bullied by your made-up urgency, you know what I mean? That’s not interesting to me, living life that way, so here’s my whole point. We don’t have to get stuck in beating ourselves up unless we want to.
Karen: I’d rather, part of my whole thing is I want to be free, man. I want to be in the flow. I always say, I call it hashtag F three, fun, flow and freedom. If it’s not fun, if it’s not lighting me up, I’m, really, not that interested. And fun can still be hard work, because I enjoy overcoming things, you know? But, man, I don’t want to have a business or a life that I just perpetually beat myself up and it sucks all the fun and the joy out of it.
Taylorr: Heck, yeah. Amen.
Austin: This is so true. The thing that is, really, standing out to me about, at least this is how I’m receiving this, so steer me from the rocks here, if need be, Karen. But you, really, have this sense of self-power. Intentionality is, certainly, a part of this, but what you’re saying is that we have the power to choose how we are going to react to things and what we’re going to do about that. I think that it’s so easy to give up our power to external things, right? You just mentioned the DMs, right? For me it’s email. I get 150 emails a day of people wanting something for me. And I find myself in a lot of guilt and anxiety sometimes about not matching their level of urgency.
Karen: But, to your point, we have to ask ourselves the question whether or not that’s something that we want to do and that we feel good about doing and whether that’s in-alignment, because regardless of what other people want or think or feel. It, really, is our power to choose how we’re going to react to things and what we’re going to do about it and whether or not we’re going to allow it in the first place, and I, personally, don’t remind myself that I have that power enough. So, I appreciate the reminder and I hope other people do too.
Karen: Yeah. And I think we have to take it a step farther, right? Because sometimes we think, well, if I just had more willpower, if I could just have that, the self-power that you’re talking about, yes, it is, definitely, a piece. But we have to, well, we don’t have to do anything, I have to be mindful about using that word. I encourage people to consider the fact that 90% of what we’re doing is we’re operating from our subconscious. And we all have been, deeply, programmed from the time that we were little kids to how we’re supposed to be.
So, I think it was Aristotle, it was either Aristotle or Plato, one of those smarty pants said, give me the boy, we’ll just use boy in this example. Give me the boy until he is eight and I will show you the man. Give me the boy until he is eight and I will show you the man. And what he means by that is, we have different brainwave states in our mind. So, in hypnosis, I always say I’m using hypnosis to de hypnotize people from these patterns that were, deeply, programmed into them when they were little kids. So, you know how a minute ago when I mentioned nervous system and I saw your hands come to your body like, oh, that resonates with me.
So, even your nervous systems were determined, they were programmed from a young age based on what was it like to be in your mother’s womb for nine months? What was she feeling? What was her nervous system, stress level, anxiety level like? Then what, kind of, a world environment was I born into? Who were my earliest caretakers? Because we will regulate to the nervous systems around us. So, if you’re hypersensitive, which I can just say, take it or leave it, my sense of the both of you, right? Burley, you have the beard, you have the beanies, you’re wicked smart, your intellectual head space. I have a sense of the both of you that you are deeply sensitive and feeling people. I could be, totally, wrong, but I don’t think I am.
Taylorr: Oh, no, big teddy bears. Yeah, big teddy bears.
Karen: I don’t think I am, right?
Taylorr: Yeah. For sure.
Karen: So, you have these sensitive young boys, who are in environments, I don’t know what your home life was like. Taylorr and I talked briefly about a little bit, I didn’t get specifics, but I know there was some stuff growing up.
Taylorr: Yeah, of course.
Karen: So, a lot of us are, kind of, regulated around these traumas, these dramas, these events, these things. And sometimes it only takes one cruel thing. People are like, well, I don’t have some big dramatic story like a murdered mother like you do. And I’m like, Yeah, but were you bullied? Did you not get the love that you needed? Did your wants and needs not matter? And I’m going someplace with this, okay? So, yes, we want to have that self-awareness in all of these things, but from the time between zero and eight years old, little kids, when we think about brainwave, states, mostly, exist in a state where what we would call, they’re, highly, suggestible.
They’re, easily, hypnotized. You’re, easily, impressionable. And your impressions will, eventually, become expressions. So, it’s easy to say to an adult, well, you should just choose to not do that, right? You should just choose the thing, it’s easy, we’re in control, we have the power. But if you don’t know yourself, and if you don’t know your mind and you’re not aware of what your subconscious is up to you, you’re doing things automatically. They put people in MRI machines, they zone up their head, they put all of the things on the different parts of their brain, so all the brain stuff is lighting up on the screen and they hand them a menu and they say, consciously choose what you want to eat.
And before the front of their brain where they think the decision is happening lights up, the subconscious has already chosen. We are 90% or more acting from our subconscious all of the time. So, if we have these deep-seated feelings of lack of self-worth, lack of self-love, not being good enough, not fitting in, not belonging, the thousand ways that we’re traumatized as children, right? It’s, really, hard to choose things sometimes in our favor, to tell stories in our favor. And you said, well, we can choose how we react. I would say we can’t, necessarily, choose how we react, that first reaction. But we can learn to pause, recognize we’re reacting from fear and, instead, choose to respond from love.
Austin: Whoa. Oh my God.
Taylorr: What a show. Holy crap. Austin.
Austin: I feel like I need to go lock myself in a room for the next six hours and just listen to this over again.
Taylorr: That’s pretty much it. Holy crap. Karen, what an episode. Holy crap.
Karen: Can I tie it into what you guys do and why I was talking about?
Karen: So, we have systems and strategies, right? You guys create these incredible systems for speakers to, I would say, be in their flow, right? Hence, Speaker Flow, whatever. But you can give people, businesspeople are always like, Yeah, I’m going to pay this business coach for $20,000 to get all of the strategies and the templates and the da da da da da da da. You can have all of the fucking strategy in the world, but if you are not spiritually aligned, you will not take action. You will not do the things that the strategy is asking you to do if you do not feel worthy of the success, if you do not feel like you’re good enough, if you don’t love yourself enough.
People throw the word love around like it’s some woo woo. I’m like, love is serious business. When you get into the alignment of your true self and add that spiritual component with kickass strategy, woo, that’s when you become unstoppable.
Taylorr: Magic. Heck, yeah.
Karen: That’s the secret sauce, that’s the magic.
Taylorr: It’s a blend.
Karen: But we can’t just rush into strategy and systems if we’re not doing some of this other personal development, spiritual work.
Taylorr: That’s right.
Taylorr: Yeah, it’s a balance.
Austin: You have to know what you want. Even at the most basic level, if people aren’t clear about what they want and who they are and where they want to go and.
Karen: And what success means to them.
Austin: Yeah, you can set up as much as you want and it’s never going to do anything for you. So, I don’t think I’m qualified, necessarily, to help people do that, but for God’s sake, people that are listening here, if this is resonating with you, go talk to Karen, I’m going to.
Taylorr: Yeah. This is why we do this. Exactly. Wow, man. Karen, what a show.
Karen: Thank you, guys. Thank you so much for having me, you’ve been so sweet and just, really, welcoming and warm, and you seem like you’re genuinely interested, you’re not just being polite and that’s what also makes it fun. So, just thank you for your kindness and your generosity of time and all of it.
Taylorr: Yeah, totally.
Austin: It’s, seriously, our honor.
Taylorr: That’s right. So, Karen, if folks want to learn more, what’s the best place for them to reach out to you at?
Karen: Sure. So, they can find me on my website, It’s just Karen Kenney, k e n n e y.com. You can find me on Instagram at Karen Kenny live, l i v e. Same thing with Facebook, same thing with Twitter. I have a podcast, The Karen Kenney Show. You can find it where everything is just streaming, Spotify, Apple, everywhere. I work one-to-one with people in spiritual mentoring, also doing subconscious reprogramming, brain science, healing hypnotherapy and spiritual mentoring in a program that’s called The Quest. And then I also have a group membership, it’s a spiritual community and membership, and that’s called The Nest.
So, there are a bunch of different ways and if you dig this and you’re like, who’s this chick, I want to know more? Just go check stuff out, send me a DM, talk to me, whatever. And I always say, I work with people who are, really, serious and ready to make change. And I just want to say, ready doesn’t mean that you’re not still a little nervous and scared. Because this is big stuff, right? So, I’m just so happy to have the opportunity to have some of your listeners get to know me, for me to get to know you and it’s just been a happy honor and a delight. So, thank you again for having me on Speaker Flow.
Taylorr: Of course, it has been an absolute pleasure. Guys, if you like this episode, don’t forget to rate it, like it, subscribe to it. If you want more awesome resources like this, go to speakerflow.com/resources.
Austin: Bye, everybody.
Outro: Thanks for tuning in today. Check the show notes for more info and see you next time. Latah.