Pursue Closure and Clarity Through Mindfulness with Case Kenny
By Mary Maxey
October 24, 2019
In today’s episode, our guest is Case Kenny. He is a Chicago-based writer, podcaster, and recording artist behind the New Mindset Journal. His drive and passion for growth inspired him to start the New Mindset, Who Dis podcast in the summer of 2018.
[1:10] Why should I listen to you?
I think for me, I’ve always lived by a prove-it mentality. If I gave you any advice, it would be backed up by my story, which I take pride in.
[4:50] What was the thing that gave you the drive to go down the rabbit hole that many people would never go down?
Honestly, it just felt good to do something different because I think I was just stuck in this turnstile of the key to being happy and fulfilled. I was always under the assumption that to get those things life is about more and better. I had to work harder to get better. I had to work harder to create better, larger outcomes in life. From how I’ve been taught to think, from what sales had taught me, from what relationships have taught me and it was just very freeing. I was like, this is just so different from how I’ve felt in the past. And maybe that’s something to continue to explore. And then of course, through doing, I was like, this is therapeutic. This is my therapy. I was just giving myself the catalyst to do it. Mindfulness is a muscle. The more you practice it, the better you get at it.
[6:40] What was that place of comfort? And did you have those areas where you had a little apprehension to lose those things?
I built an entire character and brand around being successful in sales. I started at this company, as an account executive worked my way up to the regional vice president, and did very well for myself financially. It was very great and it’s very easy to delude ourselves with money. Like I’m making good money so I don’t need to worry about these little things like happiness or fulfillment. But to answer your question, what I had to let go of was an identity around that thing. But then you know the term of start over, we’re very averse to it. Because when we think about starting over or reinventing ourselves, a lot of the time we think about how we’ve messed up and how we are going to start back from zero. And what I’ve realized is in a sense, maybe, but you’re never starting from zero. You’re never ever, ever starting from zero. You’re bringing all these things with you. And I learned a ton about myself in sales. I learned a ton about myself in my 20s through, quotes, and failed relationships, and I was bringing all that with me. And that gave me a little bit of wind in my sales.
[8:53] How did you handle that?
I work in sales and people count on me for sure. I remember my parents and I love them. They love me to the moon and back. Of course, we do anything for each other, but I remember a comment that my mom made. She’s like, you’re gonna throw that all away. And she didn’t mean it like that, but just that word, and just like really? So of course, I had massive doubts from time to time but I had to stay very rooted in the fact. In my life, I’ve always proven that anything worth having is on the other side of fear, failure, rejection, or some type of friction. It’s always been true. I think impostor syndrome is what everyone struggles with so it’s not a linear line. I’m constantly up and down, for sure.
[11:08] Do you mind in your own words, expressing what mindfulness is and how you used it to get to the position of even just starting before you get to the point right now?
I’m very passionate about the topic of mindfulness. I was always very cynical towards the self-development industry. I thought it was for people who go on silent retreats and have crystals in their houses. But what I came to realize, maybe through growth or just maturity is that mindfulness is the most simple practical thing you could do in life when you break it down. Mindfulness is self-awareness. Mindfulness is radical self-honesty in the form of why. That’s how I’ve defined it for myself. When I sit down and I talk about mindfulness, all it is is the application of asking yourself why and challenging yourself to answer the best you can now with a permanent blueprint for your life. The more you practice why the better you get at it, and I always say that if you practice why you practice mindfulness. It gives you two things in life that I think if you’re constantly in the pursuit of these things, you’re going to have very few things to regret. Those two things are closure and clarity. It’s like when you practice why you get a sense of closure from your past, maybe not closure, but more like peaceful acceptance. And in the present, you get clarity. You can say yes or no.
[18;48] So tell me about the podcast and how it came to be?
I’ve been writing online and with some variety for a couple of years but I wanted to do something a bit more vulnerable. There’s something more vulnerable than writing, which I think is spoken words. There’s more emotion to it and that’s literally how I started the podcast. So like my whole journey is kind of meta in that I started the podcast as a means to help myself and then it changed my life. It gave me some authority. It’s always like the podcast has always been for me. It was always my form of therapy and then I started releasing those episodes and they started to do well and I was like, wow, it’s helping other people which is pretty interesting. I’ve done 40 and 50 episodes and a branch into music now and it just gets more and more rewarding the more I practice. I’m very passionate about fusing mindfulness with different mediums. So obviously, on the podcast and spoken word, and books and writing the written word, I run a business of creating different journals, and so those that’s journaling and mindfulness I have a candle line that’s sent to mindfulness. Music and mindfulness I think is the most powerful form of mindfulness in the world. I’ve always been drawn to house music and dance music and I started doing these things that I called dance music, guided meditations, where I would DJ and put together these mixes and those started to get pretty big that I started to reach out to different producers and DJs. And like now I’ve done these collabs with Martin Garrix.
[22:17] How did you get to the point of taking these next steps?
I remember pretty vividly that I was an employee in a company when I started the podcast. I did the classic side which is the hustle thing. I’ve networked pretty well over the years and I know some people who are great examples. I remember having a call one day with this guy. He’s the founder of a very large media company and he was like, So what are you gonna do? I was like, Well, I don’t know. I told him I was thinking about building something for my audience, building a product that they need instead of going out and doing sponsors and trying to leave the corporate world that way. He’s like, No, but I was like, I was thinking on maybe a journal because journaling is one of those things that bring my iPhone to life. But I was like, I don’t want to do that everyone has a journal, and I’m over here. I forget exactly what he said. But he was like, just because everyone has created a journal doesn’t mean you can’t create a new one a different one. So I ended up creating this journal and I released it in January 2020. And then obviously COVID team is really out there and they just became this huge demand for mental health wellness products and, I went from making no money to the journals crossing mid-seven figures in 18 months, and a lot went into that, of course, a lot of hard work in the years prior and then the timing and then the creation of it. Of course, I can’t owe it all to luck. But, you know, that was a moment that just taught me one thing. Stop assuming things like just because you want to create something that already exists is such a defeatist mentality.
[31:00] What are your thoughts when you look at the world of like social media at this moment in time?
Yeah, it’s such a passionate point for me. I’ll keep it short. I don’t like advice like social media is not real. Everyone’s lying. That sounds so negative to me. But what I have realized is that we need to realize the commonality of the human experience and the most practical way I can describe is with this experience of mine. I posted a question and asked What is one thing that’s missing from your life? And I’ve got 100,000 followers, so I got a ton of answers. And I looked at all the answers and they were big-time life things fulfillment, love, financial security, depth, optimism. But I didn’t want to just like get the answers. I wanted to see who submitted the answers and people didn’t realize I was doing that. So then I would click their profile to see who submitted it. And then if there are public I would scroll through, and it was so eye-opening, for example, I got one that’s like, I want true friends that I can rely on and I click her profile, and she’d have tons of pics with friends smiling pics going out. I think that’s my heartfelt way to encourage people to be inspired by other people. Be inspired by their example, listen to their story, adopt something that they said that was valuable, but always come back to the fact that you know, your truth is your truth based on what you’ve experienced and proven in your life. And until you’ve done that, just be wary of what you hear. Stay curious, and stay inspired!
[35:19] Is that a practice that people can implement that can help clear that out?
Absolutely! I think any form of mindfulness and course yoga, meditation, journaling sound baths, and silent walks. There are things you can do to get your head in an honest headspace. That’s honest for you, not honest in the sense of what you think you should be feeling but how you’re feeling. And I think from that headspace, then you can start to make these decisions about closure about clarity about what you want. I used to think that there was a right way and it’s so limiting. But I think we could all prove not only in 2022 and 2023 that you can literally make a living from anything. That’s one thing, too. There is no right way to be single. There is no right way to be married, divorced, be a parent so on and so forth. I really do believe that and I like that I have proven it so often with people.
[45:12] What promise did God make to the world when he created you?
I think that my empathy is always well served that I was designed with that in mind. No matter where it leads me if it leads me to awkward embarrassing rejection or whatever it is the promise that’s been made to me is that it’s worth it. That practicing is worth it. The tapping into it is worth it. If anything, it’s my life skill. I think the promise I’ve been given is that I’ve been given a skill.
[11:50-11:52] Mindfulness is the most simple practical thing you could do in life when you break it down.
[27:16-27:19] Everything changes when you redefine what is possible for yourself.
How to connect with Case Kenny