We Find Our Path By Walking It

We Find Our Path By Walking It

At the end of the day from all the mentorship you get, from all the books you read about how to achieve your goals, from all the conferences you go to, the networking events, the tutorials that you watch…at the end of the day, with all this information coming at you, you only find your path by walking it.

You have to commit yourself to being tenacious, being committed, and being consistent to whatever plan you have outlined by which you are going to build your career. There is no other way around this. You have to walk your path.

We live in a world where everybody is looking for the shortcut. We want the growth hack to a million customers, the 30 day Kickstarter short cut to fundraising, the outsourced short cut to app development.

Everybody tries to find the short cut to wherever it is they think they’re trying to go, but often times when find the shortest way to getting there, we’re not even happy when we arrive anyways. And we get there, we realize it actually means less when we have cheated our way or taken the short cut to getting there.

The point is that there’s no alternative to doing the work. You have to bite the bullet and do the work. And doing the work means you have to walk the path if you’re truly going to get where you want to go.


5 Benefits of Insatiable Curiosity

5 Benefits of Insatiable Curiosity

A couple years ago, I met this guy Tony, a close friend of mine now. Tony nicknames all of his friends. Within 5 minutes of meeting me, he nicknamed me Google. I’ve literally never heard him say “Kaeya” ever since.

I asked him why he decided to call me “Google,” and how he came up with a nickname so fast. And he told me it’s because I asked him a million questions, Googled a few things during our conversation, and shared a lot of random facts. I grinned. So accurate.

I am insatiably curious and it didn’t actually occur to me until Tony pointed it out and then it made me curious about curiosity!!! I found a great article on ExperienceLife.com outlining 5 benefits of curiosity and I wanted to share them below:


In a 1996 study published in Psychology and Aging, more than 1,000 older adults aged 60 to 86 were carefully observed over a five-year period, and researchers found that those who were rated as being more curious at the beginning of the study were more likely to be alive at its conclusion, even after taking into account age, whether they smoked, the presence of cancer or cardiovascular disease, and so on.

It is possible that declining curiosity is an initial sign of neurological illness and declining health. Nonetheless, there are promising signs that enhancing curiosity reduces the risk for these diseases and may even reverse some of the natural degeneration that occurs in older adults.

In his book, The Power of Premonitions (Dutton, 2009), Larry Dossey, MD, cites studies that have shown women “who regularly engage in mini-mysteries … taking on novel experiences that get them out of familiar routines (better) preserve their mental faculties later in life.” In short, a regular dose of the unexpected helps keep your brain healthy.

A 2005 report in the journal Health Psychology described a two-year study involving more than 1,000 patients that found higher levels of curiosity were also associated with a decreased likelihood of developing hypertension and diabetes. While correlation does not imply causation, these relationships suggest that curiosity may have a variety of positive connections with health that deserve further study.


Studies have shown that curiosity positively correlates with intelligence. In one study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology in 2002, researchers correctly predicted that high novelty-seeking (or highly curious) toddlers would have higher IQs as older children than toddlers with lower levels of curiosity. Researchers measured the degree of novelty-seeking behavior in 1,795 3-year-olds and then measured their cognitive ability at age 11. As predicted, the 11-year-olds who had been highly curious 3-year-olds later scored 12 points higher on total IQ compared with low stimulation seekers. They also had superior scholastic and reading ability.

Other studies have shown that high levels of curiosity in adults are connected to greater analytic ability, problem-solving skills and overall intelligence. All of which suggests that cultivating more curiosity in your daily life is likely to make you smarter.


It is far easier to form and maintain satisfying, significant relationships when you demonstrate an attitude of openness and genuine interest. One of the top reasons why couples seek counseling or therapy is because they’ve become bored with each other. This often sparks resentment, hostility, communication breakdowns and a lack of interest in spending time together (only adding to the initial problem). Curious people report more satisfying relationships and marriages. Happy couples describe their partners as interested and responsive.

Curious people are inclined to act in ways that allow relationships to develop more easily. In one of my studies, participants spent five minutes getting acquainted with a stranger of the opposite sex, and each person made judgments about his or her partner’s personality. We also interviewed their closest friends and parents to gain added insight into the qualities that curious people bring to relationships. Each of these groups — acquaintances of a mere five minutes, close friends and parents — characterized curious people as highly enthusiastic and energetic, talkative, interesting in what they say and do, displaying a wide range of interests, confident, humorous, less likely to express insecurities, and lacking in timidity and anxiety compared with less curious people.

Curious people ask questions and take an interest in learning about partners, and they intentionally try to keep interactions interesting anaging d playful. This approach supports the development of good relationships.


The Gallup organization recently reported the results of a survey conducted with more than 130,000 people from some 130 nations, a sample designed to represent 96 percent of the world’s population. The poll identified two factors that had the strongest influence on how much enjoyment a person experienced in a given day: “being able to count on someone for help” and “learned something yesterday.”

What this poll confirms is that developing good relationships with other people (see above) and growing as a person are foundational components of a “happy” life. Both factors are supported by curiosity.

In fact, in one of the largest undertakings in the field of psychology, two pioneers in the field of positive psychology, Martin Seligman, PhD, and Chris Peterson, PhD, devised a scientific classification of the basic human strengths. This system was the end result of reading the works of ancient philosophers, religious texts and contemporary literature, then identifying patterns, and finally subjecting these ideas to rigorous scientific tests. Their research eventually recognized 24 basic strengths. And, of those 24 strengths that human beings can possess, curiosity was one of the five most highly associated with overall life fulfillment and happiness.

There are other important relationships between curiosity and happiness. In his book Stumbling on Happiness (Knopf, 2006), Harvard University psychology professor Daniel Gilbert, PhD, shows that, while we think we know what will make us happy in the future, we are actually less likely to find joy as a result of a planned pursuit than by simply stumbling upon it. It follows that by cultivating curiosity and remaining open to new experiences, we increase our likelihood of encountering those surprising and satisfying activities.


If we are going to find a meaningful purpose or calling in life, chances are good we will find it in something that unleashes our natural curiosity and fascination. Indeed, curiosity is the entry point to many of life’s greatest sources of meaning and satisfaction: our interests, hobbies and passions.

While being passionate about something naturally renders you curious to know as much as you can about it, it also works the other way around: The more curiosity you can muster for something, the more likely you are to notice and learn about it, and thus the more interesting and meaningful it will become for you over time.

This is true of people, books, sports, skills and conversations. Often, the more curiosity and energy we invest in exploring and understanding them, the more compelling they become.

This has important implications for how much meaning and passion we experience in life: The greater the range and depth of our curiosity, the more opportunities we have to experience things that inspire and excite us, from minute details to momentous occasions.

So here are some ways you can awaken your inner Google.

  1. Play 20 Questions at the next party you attend. Make it a goal to find out something new about your friends or new people you meet.
  2. Go to a place you’ve never been, whether that’s a town in the state you’re currently in, or flying to a new place. And go find your way by learning about the place you’re in. Look at maps, take public transportation, observe what people are doing.
  3. Walk to your destinations. I’ve made it a habit to walk to wherever it is I’m trying to go within a 2 mile radius. If I have meetings, or events etc. I make sure to leave early enough to walk there so I can really absorb what’s going on around me. Oh, and before you do this, go buy a pair of Timberlands if you’re a boot person and/or Allbirds if you’re a sneaker person. By far the best walking shoes ever.
  4. Spend some time on StumbleUpon. It will take you to random pages on the Internet. I used to get lost on StumbleUpon for hours in high school.
  5. Break things. I buy products for the sole purpose of destroying them quite often. I want to see what’s inside, how it works, and then I’ll also go Google everything about the products too. Look at all the product reviews too. I love reading about firsthand interactions with random products.
  6. ASK QUESTIONS: This is the biggest one but be careful with this. Don’t ask questions that you can find answers to on Google. People asking me questions that are “Googleable” is one of my biggest pet peeves because it shows me you didn’t do your homework, and that you’re just asking to ask and not really to learn something. Rather, ask about peoples’ experiences, what excites them, why they prefer one thing over another. Being mindful of the No Googleable Rule, there really are no stupid questions.

Young and Want To Start A Business? DON’T.

Young and Want To Start A Business? DON’T.

A lot of young college students, or recent graduates come to me asking for advice on starting their new companies. Every single time, I listen to their questions, pause, and instead advise them not to do it.

Sounds odd coming from someone who started her business while in college and continued on full time after graduating college but that’s exactly why…If I were to go back in time, I would have waited. I would have strapped myself to someone else’s rocket and watched how she handled the weight of a full blown business on her shoulders before taking on my own.

Just a heads up, if you’re one of those hard headed”BUT” people who sit there and point out the exceptions to all the rules then stop right here. This blog post isn’t for you. If you’re malleable, then please continue 🙂

Here’s why I advise to go get work experience first:

  1. YOU HAVE ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD: Yes, there are plenty of successful fetus entrepreneurs; don’t get me wrong. But if you’re entrepreneur minded, I’m guessing you’re not aiming to build a mom and pop shop. You’re aiming for the Lists. Ever notice the average age of the entrepreneurs who make THE LISTS….like the Forbes, Crains, Inc etc. lists? 40. The Kauffman Foundation did a study and found that the average age of successful entrepreneurs is 40. The average age of those who make the “Under 30” lists is 26…Go be a sponge and soak up as much knowledge and know how from someone else first. There is so much to see, so much to learn, so many people to meet. It is really hard keep your head up and absorb what’s going on in the entrepreneurial world if you also have your own business to get off the ground too. Go to conferences like SXSW, sign up for and attend an event every single day on Gary’s Guide or F6S. Get your fingers on the pulse of whatever industry you’re interested in tackling for at least a year before trying to build anything.
  2. IT’S A LOT OF RESPONSIBILITY: Are you ready to be a parent? Hell no. But your company and the people inside it are literally your children. Being responsible for salaries, handling investor money, and making sure every single day that you’re driving revenue to sustain the business is REALLY stressful. This is especially true when you have investor money. Spending other peoples’ money is a serious responsibility that should be taken with the utmost respect and only when you are certain that you are ready for it. I don’t know why or how the startup life became such a glamorous/sexy thing since Shark Tank started because it’s so far from the truth. It’s hard and quite frankly the day to day really sucks. Any entrepreneur who doesn’t admit that is either delusional, or doesn’t really have a substantial business.
  3. It’s hard to lead before you’ve been lead: This is the biggest one that resonates with me. I was the captain of sports teams all throughout my school years and I totally thought that would translate into the ability to lead my team in business…guess what. It doesn’t. Not even a little bit. The minute money comes into the equation, you’re in a whole different ballgame (no pun intended…except yes it was intended). Besides, the coach is the real MVP on any sports team. Why? Because she’s older, and seasoned, and she’s done this year after year. Go work under a coach. What’s even better is that there are so many startups at different stages in the game hiring. You can go work for a fledgeling startup on the ground floor, or a heavily funded startup that’s already a few years in…the most important part of your decision on where to work is the PEOPLE. This may sound surprising, but the product really doesn’t matter because most business models can be retrofitted to suit any type of product. Rather, you want people you can really learn with and from. Scope out the environment, talk to employees, talk to the CEO of you can and make sure you’re in a place that fosters creativity, collaborative work, and curiosity in its employees.
  4. INVESTORS WILL RESPECT YOU MORE: Entrepreneurial people tend to have know it all personalities. I definitely fell into that mentality when I first started. I didn’t want to listen to a word anyone told me and in fact, advisors telling me to change my game plan only fueled my fire to prove them wrong. That’s bad. It wasn’t until fairly recently that it dawned on me how little I know in comparison to the entrepreneurs I’ve met who have been at it for 10+ years, and that I should probably listen to them. Investors respect entrepreneurs who not only listen to critical feedback, but actually take it too. And now I understand why. Whatever product you start with will likely be worlds away from the product you exit with. If you go in with a malleable mindset, then you’ll be able to pivot a million times towards success. If you don’t you’ll spiral downwards and waste everyone’s time and money. Don’t be that hardhead that no one respects.

You have plenty of time to be a badass entrepreneur. Learn, and grow up a little first on someone else’s dime. And don’t forget to breathe every so often. That’s the advice I would give my younger self, so I’m posting it here just in case I can get through to another young me out there 🙂

How I Turn No’s Into Yeses

How I Turn No’s Into Yeses

As the saying goes, “don’t take no for an answer.” I don’t entirely agree with that because nobody likes a pest. However, I do believe that you should make sure a no is really a no because the rare occasion that it isn’t, you can actually turn it into a yes.

An anecdote:

When I invented my first product, BZbox, a collapsible storage box that doesn’t require assembly, I wanted to get it into retail. I Googled how I might go about doing it, and I found out that the most efficient way for me to do so at the time – I was a junior in college full time – was to hop in my car and drive to retailers door to door. So, I made a map of all the Ace Hardwares in my vicinity, and told myself I would go talk to 5 managers a day in between classes. And every day, I hauled a** to make that happen. But I kept getting no’s.

The pitch was perfect; at least I thought it was. I was pitching managers close to my campus so I focused on the dorm room use case of my product. For whatever reason, it wasn’t working and I’d be lucky to get one manager to buy maybe 5 units every day. Dismal.

Then it dawned on me that perhaps I was making it too easy to say no because I just looked like this young college girl with a backpack and a prototype…not compelling enough. So I tried something different.

Once I delivered product to the handful of stores that did purchase my boxes, I started hanging around the stores and paying people in those stores to go purchase my product. I also got a few people on Craigslist to do it. For the Craigslist people, I’d ask them to first go in the store and ask the staff if they had “those BZboxes,” to create the illusion of demand.

Low and behold, those few stores started repurchasing units, and when I went to deliver the product the second and third time, I asked the store managers if they could call up managers of other Ace Hardwares in the area for me. They gladly agreed to it, and helped me get into most of the stores that said no to me the first time.

That’s how I got into my first 20 stores.

Perhaps a better saying for advice in the face of a “no” is, “don’t do the same thing expecting different results.” If you got a no, try pitching differently and you just might get a yes! Oh, and don’t forget to smile and say please 🙂

ALL Successful Kickstarter Projects have this ONE thing in Common.

ALL Successful Kickstarter Projects have this ONE thing in Common.

Kickstarter is my muse. I spend a lot of my free time perusing it to check out the latest and greatest products. This morning, for example, I got home from the gym, and opened it up. The Gravity Blanket was on the top of my feed…over $3M raised with 17 days left to go….mind blown. So of course I clicked on it to see what it was: A weighted blanket to combat restless sleep.

Palm to forehead, “Doh!” as Homer Simpson would say. Weighted blankets have been used forever specifically to help reduce anxiety of special needs kids. Research backs it up too. Pressure over the body the form of a tight hug calms us down, hence why we hug our loved ones when they’re crying or upset. Weighted blankets were created to mimic a tight hug and are a common item in special needs households.

The Gravity Blanket is a phenomenal example of an existing product repackaged for a new, and rapidly growing industry: sleep. [Not too long ago, sleep was barely on the radar of concerns for the vast majority of businesses, neither in regards to employee wellness nor as a way to reach consumers. Typically, the issue of sleep was treated as an afterthought or inconvenience.

Americans are more sleep deprived than ever before. Between demanding schedules, longer work hours, all types of stress and perhaps due even to the rise of handheld electronics, millions of people are eking by on less than optimal levels of rest.

The prevalence of many sleep disorders is also on the rise. Up to 10 percent of the U.S. population experiences chronic insomnia, and around 30 percent experiences insomnia symptoms in any given year.] -Entrepreneur mag.

So what is the one common thing successful Kickstarter projects do? Drumrollllllll……they do not try to innovate something from scratch. Instead, they repackage existing technology to solve a problem in a different burgeoning industry. It is a common misconception is that innovating means creating something from scratch. Truth is just like you can’t invent a new color, you can’t invent a new thing. It already exists. I promise you. So stop trying to create new colors. You’re going to waste a lot of time and money. Instead, do what Gravity Blanket did.

Find a need you want to solve, and instead of trying to invent a product, find one that already exists somewhere that solves the need. Trying to meet a hunger pain point? Try looking in the Space Industry. Trying to solve a workplace struggle? Maybe look in the Education Industry. You get the point…

By puting your time and energy into the repackaging, the marketing, the messaging, and the branding of your product rather than the development of the product, you’ll be able to focus on the only thing that matters: sales. Aka that thing that gets Kickstarter projects to BLOW THE EFF UP.

Hats off to the Gravity team!



I was a pretty obnoxious relentless kid. I don’t exactly know why or where I got it from but I’d always set these crazy goals and then barreled into them at whatever cost… I remember in middle school, my art teacher literally wrote on my report card: “Kaeya sets goals that are too high and is often unable to achieve them.” I remember her using the term “ludicrous” to describe me once, and looking back it made me cry when I first read it, but now I take that as a badge of honor, Mrs. K.

Because, why wouldn’t I? Setting goals too high? I mean how is that even a thing. Anyhow, every time I’d set a goal, and I started this habit when I was like 8 or 9, I’d ask myself, “What would be the ULTIMATE result of this goal where it really couldn’t get better than that.”

The goals in elementary school were simple, like convincing my mom to take me to the ice cream store after dinner. The ULTIMATE in that scenario would be something like getting her to not just buy me ice cream, but buy me a double scoop dipped in chocolate and then take me to the park to eat it.

When I started high school, I set the goal of getting straight A’s, and the ULTIMATE result was convincing my parents to get me a convertible if I pulled off the grades…First of all, I’m totally embarrassed for my obnoxious high school self…a convertible? Really, young K…? And secondly that plan fizzled quickly after my first semester…

Well after that, I decided that I wanted to be the Vice President of the student council because my friend, at the time, was the current VP and her job seemed kinda cool because she basically ruled the school. So, naturally, I wanted to rule the school too…like literally, rule the whole school, be president of every club, captain of every sports team. Everything except valedictorian. That I ruined early on, remember.

And, I ended up doing just that, at least in my head. I was in charge of almost every single club from being Model UN Head Delegate & Editor of the newspaper to Co-Captain of the varsity soccer team even though I couldn’t play for shit.

One of my extra-curricular activities in high school was playing the violin. I started when I was about 8 and my dad, aunt and sister, were all phenomenal violinists. Unfortunately, the musical gene got missed on me but I nevertheless set this goal to play in the Merit School of Music’s Symphony Orchestra in high school. And the ULTIMATE goal was that I wanted to go on tour with the Symphony to NYC. Every other year, the orchestra did this big tour in NYC and it was the highlight of all the musicians’ time with Merit so naturally, I wanted that too. But the problem was that I sucked…like, really sucked.

I bombed all my auditions, barely even being able to play a single note but somehow got in by the skin of my teeth…and by the skin of my teeth I mean that my violin teacher convinced them to put me in. My seat was Second Violin, 5th Stand, aka the hind legs of my chair were backstage. But I was in, and I got to tour with the orchestra in NYC, and it was epic.

Now to be fair, it wouldn’t be right if I didn’t include my failures, right. The reality of the situation was that my failure right was much higher than my success rate in my crazy endeavors. In high school, I also had my eyes on getting into the National Honors Society. Now, the thing with that organization, at least at my school, was that the decision was up to a voting committee. And, I had gained this questionable reputation because the byproduct of my ambition was somewhat disruptive and destructive behavior… So that one didn’t work out so well. The reason for that rejection, I was told after the fact, was due to a “character flaw.” I didn’t let that one go for a longgggg time, and I’d be lying if I told you I’m over it 10 years later. But hey, you win some you lose some.

Today, as an entrepreneur, when I set out to build a product, I’ll construct a written plan. And at the very bottom of that written plan, I write whatever my ultimate goal would be if I had no limits to what I could achieve with said product.

That goal is never related to money; that’s too basic. It’s typically something like “I want a picture of Beyoncé using my product to appear on her website…hasn’t happened yet but stay tuned. to  The point is that “bottom line” on all my plans has been the force behind all my crazy experiences from Shark Tank and Steve Harvey Show, to collaborating with celebrities, to TMZ and Project Runway, and everything in between.

It all just comes down to my 5 year old self figuring out how I’m going to convince my mom to get me a double scoop chocolate dipped ice cream cone and take me to the park to eat it.

  • Eat all my dinner
  • Help do the dishes
  • Butter Mummy up
  • And say pretty please

19 years later and the steps towards any goal are all renditions of that same thing, but we get jaded and skeptical and that hinders us. We don’t lose our ambition in fear of getting rejected, or judged, or called “ludicrous,” but at the end of the day no one cares and the only person who loses out is you. So just go for it! 🙂

Why I Start my Mornings with 10 Vomit-Inducing Sprints.

Why I Start my Mornings with 10 Vomit-Inducing Sprints.

Two words: Mental Toughness.

My goal in exercising is not to strengthen my body so I look better. My goal is to strengthen my brain so I can think, and act better. The body can actually endure some serious discomfort, a lot more than the average person lets it. Why? Because people make the mistake of listening to their brain screaming it wants to rest right when that lactic acid starts to build up. So, you get into this perpetual cycle where you allow your weak brain to convince your strong body to give up with three quarters of a tank still full. You can work out everyday, and live a healthy lifestyle that way, and that’s great, but I challenge you to push harder.

If you want to sharpen your brain through exercise, it has to be grueling, something far out of your comfort zone, and you gotta hold it there long as you possibly can before you pass out or, well, vomit (I’ve done both and I’m still standing)…and then repeat. 10x.

The moment I feel like my body is about to collapse on me is when I kick it into high gear, because I know that’s really just my brain telling my body to give up because it’s beginning to sweat. And nothing brings out that brain strain quite like balls to the wall sprinting…if you’ve ever tried it, you know what I mean, and if you haven’t yet, you’re in for a treat 😉

9 sprints. at 9.5mph. 1 minute on, 1 minute off. Then one last sprint at 10mph. That’s my threshold right now and do or die, it’s part of my morning routine. It’s painful, but it’s quick. I know I’m only going to spend about 30 minutes in the gym…how’s that for a bonus? As soon as I’m finished with those, I feel infinitely stronger and more capable of tackling anything that’s thrown at me for the rest of the day. Those sprints are my brain’s armor. 

Here’s why mental toughness matters (excerpt from Entrepreneur.com):

1. It creates a winning mindset.  

Although mental toughness is primarily linked to the psychological concept behind peak performance (i.e. mental training for competitive edge in sports), it’s really about embracing the mindset of top performers, which goes far beyond the bounds of the athleticism. Thinking is the primary filter for every experience that you have. Mediocre thinking promotes an equally low standard of performance and results. A winning mindset (i.e. the thinking, habits and philosophies of elite performers) however, transforms the landscape. It unlocks the unlimited potential to create, influence and generate outcomes that activate success.

In his Harvard Business Review article “How the Best of the Best Get Better,” sports psychologist Dr. Graham Jones (also former consultant to Olympic and world champions in at least seven games) says, “Obviously, star athletes must have some innate, natural ability — coordination, physical flexibility, anatomical capacities — just as successful senior executives need to be able to think strategically and relate to people. But the real key to excellence in both sports and business is not the ability to swim fast or do quantitative analyses quickly in your head. Rather, it is [mindset] mental toughness.”

Make no mistake: Leadership success depends on the non-negotiable ability to seize a profoundly powerful mindset — the mindset of a champion.

2. It builds character and promotes stick-ability.

Leadership is not fundamentally focused on winning and celebrating success. Leaders know that tough times come with the territory. Delving deeply into the trenches, grappling with hardships and doing whatever it takes to succeed is par for the course. They welcome obstacles and uncertainty for their potential to make them smarter, more agile and resilient.

Psychologist Angela Duckworth refers to the ability to thrive during adversity as grit. Her research has demonstrated that it’s a true predictor of success, even more than cognitive and technical skill sets.Touché.

One of the exceptional hallmarks of mental toughness is that it helps leaders to reach for their “why.” This is especially important during difficult times — when commitment may wax and wane. The internal drive to achieve goals despite setbacks is what distinguishes the world class from average performers.

3. It provides the courage to challenge the status quo.

Next practices (vs. best practices) are all about innovation. Elementary to the exercise of leadership, they signal forward movement and progress, rather than a wanton commitment to archaic principles and practices of the past. Because the whole premise of mental toughness is built on the willingness to face fear, take action and thrive in the midst of adversity, courage is a leadership imperative. It would be difficult, perhaps even impossible to lead without the willingness to encounter turbulence and face the unknown.

Courage allows leaders to flourish in environments that constantly change. It also emboldens them to take on new opportunities for learning and growth. A catalyst for healthy self-esteem, it also helps leaders to effectively navigate stress, conflict and crises. Simply put: Mental toughness is an unmatched mechanism for growth. Conjure it up. Grab the fortitude to explore uncharted territories personally and professionally.

Are you a leader? If so, do you have the mindset of a champion? If not, reach for the courage of your convictions and strive to become mentally tough. After all, your success depends on it…