Case Kenny is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of PRSUIT, and host of the renowned personal development podcast New Mindset, Who Dis? I’m clearly not the only one who has found it life changing; it’s ranked within Apple Podcasts’ top 100.
The show’s key differentiator is breaking down the abstract and often overwhelming concept of personal growth into bite-sized and achievable action items you can pragmatically integrate into your life.
In this episode of the One Away Podcast, Case tells me about two distinct One Away moments. These pivotal moments and human connections involve a fascinating mix of internet culture, storytelling, empathy, inspiration, and friendship.
“All it takes for you to change your life, in many circumstances, is one person’s perspective; a random sentence someone wrote online.”
Building a Digital Community With Intentionality
Case is also the creator of one of my favorite biweekly newsletters about mindfulness. I’ve been a PRSUIT subscriber since the early stages. If you’ve been along for the BW Missions ride since we launched you might remember it from one of our earliest longform articles, Building an Email List to 1 Million+ Subscribers, where we featured PRSUIT alongside the leading name in business newsletters, Morning Brew.
Igenuinely learn something insightful and new from every email they send out to a remarkably robust audience of 220,000+ readers. Sign up here to get on the list and read it for yourself every Monday and Friday.
These aren’t just vanity metrics, either; PRSUIT was built with the intention to serve as a community of people who want to enrich their lives. Below, Case speaks to his shift in perspective as he built this brand:
“[When my mentor asked me] “Why do you want 100,000 subscribers?” [my initial reaction was] “Well, it’s cool. I want a headline that says I have 100,000 subscribers.” He’s like, “You need to take that out of the equation. What are you trying to accomplish from a brand perspective? From an income perspective? Right now, your ego is talking. Take your ego out of the picture, and think clearly and logistically about what it actually takes to do this.”
How to Seek Perspective
In this episode, Case describes how he constantly seeks to expand his mindset through exposure to new perspectives, experiences, and points of view. In fact, this approach had been so formative to his growth that it inspired the tagline for PRSUIT: “Perspective that Inspires.” One of the biggest ways he goes about this is crowdsourcing new points of view online. Here are a few tactics he uses:
- Reading anonymous posts on forums like Reddit
- Finding new podcasts
- Watching YouTube videos and reading the comments
- Looking for stories from people he’s never met that can teach him something new
Case draws inspiration from consciously consuming real-life accounts told by people from all walks of life. He leverages the breadth of information the internet contains to learn about everything from relationships to entrepreneurism.
“Crowdsourced perspective is so cool. […] When you seek perspective in that format, it’s not ego driven. I think a lot of times it can be when people position themselves as mentors or advisors or experts; they have ulterior motives. I like the idea of people who are honestly just giving out free perspective because they’re nice dudes or women […] It’s unbiased. People are just sharing. I can learn a lot from that.”
A Friendship Forged Around Mindfulness
Case’s second One Away moment centers on his friendship with Adam Toren, a seasoned mindfulness entrepreneur with a focus on mindfulness that inspired Case to nurture a new passion of his own. Adam owns several publications and has excelled at a variety of ventures since he sold the website youngentrepreneur.com in the late 90s to Entrepreneur Media.
“[Adam] has had a big role in my life. I didn’t really start “building” businesses, or being an entrepreneur or even really a serious content creator until five years ago […]when I met him. He [turned] my world upside down [through] the perspective and advice he’s given me as a mentor.”
Adam became an inspiring and supportive friend that gave him insights on how to grow his brand by setting a series of small goals in the service of achieving the long-term outcomes that drive his passion and vision.
The pivotal life lesson he’s learned from Adam is how to imbue more meaning within the work we do every day. Even the most mundane tasks have so much more value when we reframe them as actionable steps to bring our core vision to life.
Top 5 Takeaways from Case Kenny
1. Share sparks of creativity that come to you in the moment with your friends, via voice or text message, to create an ongoing creative dialogue.
2. Read real stories written by people from all walks of life.
3. Crowdsource experiences that extend beyond your lived experience.
4. Leverage the power of the information age by seeking out fresh perspectives on every corner of the internet.
5. Listen – with your full attention and focus – to the stories people share with you. Like Case says, just one sentence can change your life.
Have you thought about the legacy you want to leave when everything is said and done? Check out my most recent article for how I’m thinking about what I call “The Tombstone Question.”
On a personal level, the life-changing friendship he forged with Adam also yields positive growth in the short term. In this episode, Case speaks to how everything he’s learned from this deep bond had sparked revelations that help fortify his confidence and self-esteem every day.
I really appreciate Case’s approach to strategy. It makes so much sense to do your due diligence and bring a wide range of perspectives into consideration, but I never would have thought to look on forums like Reddit. We all can learn so much by opening our minds to other peoples’ points of view, especially outside of our social circles and professional networks.
People are inherently drawn together in brick-and-mortar communities like a company’s workplace or social organization, but these spaces can easily become echo chambers full of “yes men.”
Diving into the unknown and exploring unfamiliar digital communities where anyone can have a voice means broadening our perspective in an entirely new way. We have so much to gain from making this a conscious endeavor; everything from enhanced creativity to stronger relational bonds.
After my conversation with Case, I felt like my creativity and motivation were supercharged. Add some of his spark to your own feed by following him on Instagram @case.kenny and on Twitter @thecasekenny. His latest product is a new mindfulness journal, available on his website! Check out this episode on YouTube at the top, on Apple Podcasts, or on Spotify, and follow along with the transcript below!
BRYAN WISH: Case Kenny is the host of Apple Podcast’s top 100, New Mindset, Who Dis? A podcast dedicated to unique, realistic approach to self-development and the creator of the weekly mindfulness email, PRSUIT, which goes out to over 220,000 subscribers every Monday and Friday. He also lives in Chicago, Illinois and is a big Notre Dame fan. How would you describe your One Away moment? Who’s the person in your life who has really made a big difference?
CASE KENNY: I definitely have one person in mind, and I’ll get to that, but in general, I’m very inspired by the masses. I always joke on the podcast and in my writing that I spend a lot of time on Reddit. I get so inspired and moved and gain a lot of perspective from places like that. The internet is so crazy.
All it takes for you to change your life, in many circumstances, is one person’s perspective; a random sentence someone wrote online. I’m a big advocate for that. I’ve had so many a-ha moments in my life just from reading. Someone shared an experience about a trip they did to Europe or someone shared their experience about becoming a writer.
I don’t even know these people. I don’t know what they look like. I don’t know anything about them. Those kinds of things are really moving for me. I always talk about the show and even the tagline for PRSUIT is “Perspective that Inspires.”
Perspective is everything. You don’t always need one really talented, wise individual and their perspective. We could all benefit massively from widespread perspective. I’m a big advocate for, call it crowdsource perspective. Reddit, YouTube, podcasters, people you don’t know necessarily, but there’s so much value there.
BRYAN WISH: Why don’t we got into some of these random perspectives? Talk about some insightful things you’ve read on Reddit or posts you read that changed how you did something. Do any moments speak to you that you can identify?
CASE KENNY: Even my dating life, I don’t remember specifics, but I definitely remember being really moved by some posts on Reddit. There’s a sub-Reddit for men, a sub-Reddit for women. I remember there was one on the men’s sub-Reddit. I was like, “I don’t know what to do in my relationship. I feel it’s neither here nor there. It’s not moving anywhere.” Seeing the perspective of what other guys said from that, I remember that specifically; that mentality of getting out of the gray area in relationships, ambiguous relationships.
I was like, “Wow, all these guys have very similar experiences and mindsets.” That really encouraged me. Now I’m all about this idea of I’m either in, or I’m out. I’m never in the gray area. I’m not ambiguous. It wasn’t that all of a sudden I just developed it. It affirmed and validated these feelings that I was having just because I was like, “Wow, look at all these guys who have these similar experiences. That really inspires me.”
Off the top of my head, it’s that. There are so many cool areas on Reddit like entrepreneurship and I’ve learned so many different things a click away. It all came from that. Crowdsourced perspective is so cool. The cool thing about that is generally when you seek perspective in that format, it’s not ego driven.
I think a lot of times it can be when people position themselves as mentors or advisors or experts; they have ulterior motives. I like the idea of people are honestly just giving out free perspective because they’re just nice dudes or women. There’s always different things at play. I like this idea. It’s unbiased. People are just sharing. I can learn a lot from that. I’ve leaned heavily into that over the years.
BRYAN WISH: If you don’t follow Case on Instagram, check him out. There’s a lot of people who influence his clothing perspectives and he’s always asking for feedback. I find it quite insightful to learn about how he chooses his close options and wardrobe.
CASE KENNY: The one time I did a post on there a year ago, I was like, “Please roast me.” Three hundred people just destroyed me. Most of them were fun. They were about what I wore. I’m always asking for feedback.
BRYAN WISH: You mentioned someone named Adam Toren. Adam seems to have played a role in your life that is different than many. Who is he and how has he helped you in your own life?
CASE KENNY: Adam Toren also has a brother named Matthew Toren. I’ve worked with both of them. I’ve definitely grown closer with Adam over the years. I met him about four or five years ago when I first started PRSUIT, the email newsletter. I met him via a friend online. I didn’t know this guy at all. We were connected similar to how you and I were connected online, Facebook Group or just a referral or something like that.
Adam is a very seasoned entrepreneur. He started youngentrepreneur.com in the late 90s, then sold it to Entrepreneur Media. He owns a variety of media publications and invests in a variety of businesses. He’s just a stud in that respect. He’s also really into mindfulness. He’s a mindful entrepreneur which I was really drawn to. He’s had a big role in my life.
I didn’t really start “building” businesses or being an entrepreneur or really even a serious content creator until five years ago. It was literally when I met him. He kind of threw my world upside down as far as the perspective and advice and the status as a mentor in my life, in that respect.
Being a wide-eyed entrepreneur, I literally didn’t know anything. How do I set a goal for myself? How do I actually go about achieving it? He flipped everything upside for me. Anytime I would be like, “I’d love to do this. I’d love to get a feature in Forbes, but why would Forbes consider featuring me?” Adam would be like, “Show them. Why wouldn’t they?” He really pushed me to be confident in what I have to offer and to break everything down into baby steps to achieve that. He’s played a big role.
I was literally just texting with him right now. All my entrepreneur friends, especially me and Adam, are always sending each other voice messages via text. I’ll send him a 2-minute one. He’ll send me back a 2-minute one. I’ll send him a 3 and so on. We go back and forth. He’s a big force in my life just from an advisor standpoint. They’re also very involved in my businesses as well from a resource standpoint.
BRYAN WISH: When this show comes out, you’re going to send him a voice message and tell him you talked to him for 20 minutes, right?
CASE KENNY: That’s right.
BRYAN WISH: You mentioned how Adam has been a huge influence in your life. You talk about goals and how he said no goal is too big if you break it into smaller pieces. Do you mind going into that and how that’s ebbed into your own life?
CASE KENNY: Right now, I’m working on the launch of a product that is very closely associated with the podcast and what I represent with New Mindset, Who Dis? We’re launching it on Kickstarter in the coming months. Initially, I hoped to get $100,000. He said, “Why not a million?” I was like, “I don’t know if I could get a million. I have a big following, an engaged following, but I don’t think I could do a million. I’d have to sell 20,000 of these. That’s insane.” He was like, “Alright, let’s take a step back into what it would take.”
Basically, over the last three months, with him, it’s crazy how you can set a big goal and then back into it with so many smaller goals. From everything from the logistics of manufacturing this to countless months that go into marketing something like this and the science behind doing prelaunch marketing for a Kickstarter campaign. All of that, he helped me break everything down along the way, introduced me to people who could help break it down even further.
Like building out a presales funnel; all those kinds of things are what he’s shown me. We haven’t executed on this yet, but the same process was in effect when he helped advise me when I was building PRSUIT. PRSUIT went from nothing to over 220,000 subscribers on it. That was done in the same way. Break everything down.
If you want to make $10,000 a month, how many subscribers do you need? Okay, you need 100,000 subscribers, then…
- How do you get 100,000 subscribers? One at a time
- What does it take to get one subscriber? X, Y, and Z
- Okay, well then how do you get X, Y, and Z?
- Break that down further and further
When you do it that way as a young entrepreneur, everything is certainly less overwhelming.
I give Adam a lot of props here – a lot of the times we get in our own way from an ego perspective. He was like, “Why do you want 100,000 subscribers?” “Well, it’s cool. I want a headline that says I have 100,000 subscribers.” He’s like, “You need to take that out of the equation. What are you trying to accomplish from a brand perspective? From an income perspective? Right now, your ego is talking. Take your ego out of the picture and we’re going to think a lot more clearly and logistically about what it actually takes to do this.”
That’s definitely his mindfulness, experience there. Finding someone like that who has the technical know-how, the resources, in the network, but also has that level settling mindfulness approach to things – that’s what you need to succeed as an entrepreneur, as a content creator, as a business person. You need that balance. I’m very grateful to have met him and his brother. Adam and I work very closely and I’m super grateful for him.
If you’re going to set a goal, how are you setting it and why are you setting it? It’s like if you’re an entrepreneur trying to make money and you’re like, “I want $10,000/month,” that’s awesome and a great goal, but why don’t you make it a little more tangible? I saw a video the other day where when he was starting off he said he wanted to blog and get enough money to cover a cup of coffee. Then he hit that goal. Then he said he wanted to blog to be able to make enough money to cover a cup of coffee and the rent for my apartment. Then cup of coffee, rent, car payment; cup of coffee, rent, car payment, new stereo system, and so on and so forth.
Set little goals like that that actually mean something in your life versus setting goals that have no tie-in with what you’re trying to accomplish. That kind of approach to setting goals and breaking it down makes things so much clearer. It takes a lot of the frustration out of the picture. I’m all for setting huge goals, but if you’re right out of the gate and you’re like, “I want a million dollars this year,” it’s like why don’t we work up to that?
Break it down into smaller pieces, not just from a to-do list but from a goal perspective. Break it down into something that is more approachable and you can relate to it.
A million dollars is a big, crazy goal. For me, a million downloads on my podcast. Let’s break it down and set a why behind it. I’ve found that perspective to be super valuable. It puts me at ease. It takes the pressure off my shoulders that I tend to put on myself. I’ve learned a lot from that respect of the power of breaking things down.
BRYAN WISH: Tell everyone what the product is that you’re about to launch. What has gone into the planning process in the small steps process that Adam has taught you?
CASE KENNY: The product is a mindfulness journal. It’s pretty unique in the market. It’s not a planner. It’s not a goal setting journal. It’s not a vision board planner kind of thing. It’s all focused on self-awareness. It’s a journal if you want to put a label on it, but it’s a self-awareness journal. It’s pretty unique. A lot has gone into it. You set a goal like that, you need to not only consider how you’re going to produce the product, how you’re going to keep prices low, how you’re going to fulfill the product, but also how you’re going to sell that number to hit that goal.
To my point earlier, Kickstarter is all about presales. On day one, when you launch your product and your page is live, you already have 10,000-20,000 people who raised their hand and said they’re interested in your product. That’s what Adam told me. How do you get 20,000 people to say they’re interested? That’s where there’s a lot that goes into it from building a presales funnel to getting press, promotions.
I have all my assets, my podcasts, email lists, social, and running paid ads to funnel people into a funnel that gets their attention and gets their buy-in to commit to buying it and doing that repetitively over basically 60 days and then warming and nurturing them up until the day. Then when you hit go, you’re fulfilled within the first hour. That’s how you’re successful on Kickstarter and I learned all this from Adam, from introductions that Adam gave me.
Basically took this big enormous pressure goal of a million dollars, half a million dollars off my shoulders and broke it down into smaller pieces where I was like, “Wow, that certainly is a lot of work, but now I actually see the vision for it” as opposed to just feeling overwhelmed by that big goal and being like, “We’re going to hit go, make a lot of noise, and hope for the best.” You can go into it with a pretty good indication of how well you’re going to do. It takes a long time. We started developing this in May. Here we are in November.
BRYAN WISH: When does it launch?
CASE KENNY: In January.
BRYAN WISH: I’m glad you’re not competing with all the Christmas craze.
CASE KENNY: Holiday craze and plus New Years’ Resolutions, as much as I hate that phrase, that’s when everyone is in the mindset.
BRYAN WISH: Why don’t you give people a snippet about PRSUIT and tell people where to find you.
CASE KENNY: PRSUIT, I do it twice a week, Mondays and Fridays. It’s a weekly email that I write short form content, like 800 words, of my perspective. All things mindfulness, self-help, in a realistic way. I call myself a dude-bro guy; like a sensitive dude-bro guy. That’s kind of my style of writing. It’s not preachy. I’m definitely not an expert. I definitely don’t have everything figured out. I’m just giving my perspective. The podcast is New Mindset, Who Dis? That’s pretty much everywhere. You can find that and that’s every Monday and Thursday. I’m on Instagram, @case.kenny. I’m on Twitter, @thecasekenny. I’m everywhere.
BRYAN WISH: I think you’re the deepest, most self-aware dude-bro out there I’ve ever met. Keep staying the course along the journey.