The highlight of my CIAA experience occurred on Sunday, March 2nd, when the majority of CIAA participants were probably asleep or traveling home. Anyone who did not make their way to Johnson C. Smith University for the Living Life for a Living Tour hosted by Lifestyle Specialist, Kenny Burns and the Heart Healer, Rob Hill Sr. did themselves a disservice.
I was introduced to Kenny and Rob at separate times via Instagram. I remember Angela Simmons reposted one of Rob’s heart felt Instagram messages and I thought to myself “Who is this guy and how is reading my mind?” He is a prolific speaker that can deliver one mind-blowing quote after another. Rob has the strong innate ability to breathe life into our feelings, which I’m sure contributes to his career as a successful author, selling over 23,000 books without a publisher.
I can’t remember why I watched Kenny Burns Presents: Le Voyage-France so many months ago, but I do remember thinking to myself, this guy is AMAZING. It was apparent that Kenny was a creator of optimal experiences that promoted more than just a product but a lifestyle. Kenny has made a career out of “Selling fantasy for a living”, he says. The word fantasy is often referred to as a figment of our imagination, but just like the title of his book, The Dream is REAL, anything is possible.
Living life for a living is something we are all striving for. Continue reading and learn from two of the best in the game.
BRI: Who is responsible for this partnership between the two of you?
Rob: I was already familiar with Kenny’s brand, but He allowed Kenny to become familiar with mine. Once I figured out he was familiar, I reached out and asked him to go to lunch. Went to lunch and we had a connection and incredible conversation. I didn’t know he had a book coming out. He was like let’s take this on a tour. I said, “You know what, I’m glad I reached out to you.” So yea it worked out that way. I reached out like hey let’s just sit down and talk and him being the forward thinker that he is, it worked out.
BRI: When did you develop the concept “Living Life for a Living” and how do you define it?
Kenny: We kinda came up with it together. We both have said it in our own ways, a bunch of times on social media trying to inspire and uplift our followers. It just made sense to do it. You wake up every morning on your own accord, being able to do what you want to do, when you want to do it and there’s no better feeling. We thought we would take his specialty, him being The Heart Healer. He also has a whole life style acumen a lot of people don’t know about, from going to the navy to following his passion. So we just decided “Living Life for a Living” and it worked out.
BRI: What was your goal when you decided to start this tour?
Rob: We say inspire but also we just want to encourage and refresh people. A lot of people where I’m from aren’t as motivated or committed to the things they want in life as they once were. So somewhere down the line they let someone tell them it wasn’t realistic. For me to live life the way I do and he (Kenny) to live life the way he does, it is realistic. We’re not super star athletes, neither one of us are rappers. It’s unconventional in that light for us to have the flexibility or options our lives allow. We wanted people to be like hey I can do that too.
BRI: The both of you inspire people daily, especially on social media. Who in your life inspires you or who are you following that inspires you?
Kenny: I think people inspire us. Our whole effort in the inspiring department comes from people. What we feel is needed, what we feel is missing, the things we see and admire. We talk about it all the time. People from the audience asking a question, inspires a whole another conversation on the next leg of the tour. Chicago, we had a whole line up of what we wanted to talk about. By the time we got to LA, two sold out shows…
BRI: Were they different?
Kenny: It was similar but inspired by the previous conversations with the people in Chicago.
Rob: I think the things that make the people who think the way we do interesting is the fact that we can use everything. Whether it’s a bad experience, great experience, indifferent experience. What people may see as a waste, we take it and we use it. So if we get a certain type of question we take that and say alright how can we fill that void? If we get a certain type of response, we’re like maybe they need more of that. We just use everything that comes our way. That’s inspiration for me.
BRI: I was watching some of your Youtube videos, looked down in the comments and I saw that people are really deeply touched by the things that you say…spiritually touched. When you started this Heart Healer journey, did you know it would turn into a ministry?
Rob: Nah. My whole thing was I wanted to be significant. I wanted to be somebody that mattered to people. I knew it would be successful if I did that the right way. When I was hurting I didn’t really find a voice that related to me. I felt like our generation was facing some things that the older generation didn’t necessarily tap into. There’s a void there and I can fill that or who better than me, that’s how I think who better than me (laughs). I want that personal connection. I thrive off of that. When I’m out people feel like they know me. I like that. It lets you know you’re making a real impact on people.
BRI: What is your take on having non supporters who pose as “friends”? I was reading “The Dream is Real” and you talk about an instance where your car was taken because it was actually stolen. You get a new car and your friends say that’s nice but where is my car?
Kenny: I think that life is the best teacher. A lot of times when you are young you’re moving on gut and heart. Our feelings aren’t always honest with us, we react, we over react, so forth and so on. We you come up and you define your whole movement around family and friends, which I did with my friends, it’s just disappointing when things happen that you don’t think would happen. I always talk to Rob and my wife about it. If we didn’t like all the people who did wrong by us or did wrong to us we’d have no friends, we’d have no family, we’d have nothing. So you know, lessons learned. I wrote that from an honest place because that’s what happened at that moment. I think a lot of people go through that. The whole book is about that. It’s not about my successes, it’s more about my failures and how I learned from them.
“More than anything I want to get it right with somebody, who’s just as tired of getting it wrong as I am.” – Rob Hill Sr.
BRI: A lot of young adults feel they can’t reach their full potential and maintain a relationship at the same time. What advice can you provide on having love and success at the same time?
Rob: That’s something I’m still trying to figure out. I have a quote that says, “More than anything I want to get it right with somebody, who’s just as tired of getting it wrong as I am.” And I say that because, I’ve got it wrong a lot. You find people who you think you’re compatible with but you may think a little bigger or differently than they do and that starts creating a divide. I feel like we get what we work for with who’s willing to work with us. You just have to find someone who is committed to the same type of work you are. Some people like easy work. They want the short cut. Then some people want the process. I’m somebody who’s very fond of the process. I’m not impatient in that regard. You just have to find somebody who wants to build that same way. Some people want it instant, and then they’re miserable with someone like me because I’m patient. I want it to last.
“Never let your expectations exceed your effort.” - Kenny Burns
BRI: In your book when Free World Entertainment shut down, you went to visit your future wife and you asked her, “What am I going to do?” You both made it work when you were still in transition trying to find yourself and your place in the world. How did she support you to get where you are now?
Kenny: I grew up with a lot of love. I had all women in my life but I had no father figure. Those women loved me to death, but it was more of a nurturing love. I was looking for that in a partner. To find it and then to also be told, “Your Kenny M***F*** Burns”; I hadn’t had anyone tell me that. Although my aunts and my mom loved me to death, no one ever told me you that…. you know. I have a saying, “Never let your expectations exceed your effort.” We’re in this process of life and life is the best teacher. If you manage it properly the right people will come into your life as far as relationships, business and personal. I just think that we all have lofty expectations and we don’t let ourselves be vulnerable enough times to connect. And at that time I was vulnerable as a M***F*** and now 15 years later.
BRI: In The Dream is Real you quote, “Social Currency will take you places money can’t”. Can you explain how contracts can get you checks, but networking keeps you in the game? As soon as you lost an opportunity you were always able to gain another one.
Kenny: I think that it all had to do with integrity. You can work for Ford Motor Company, you can work for Popeye’s, but if you’re the star sales man they will come because of you, no matter how good the product is. I think for the better part of my career, people were buying into me and what I was selling versus the company. So I would just say you have to become the brand. To promote a brand and to be great and successful in business you have to become that. Right now I’m the Vice President of Marketing for Revolt Television and I am Revolt. No pun intended. I live and breathe it. I get a tour bus and go across the country. I talk about the messaging and I get across the point and that what’s it’s all about. A lot of people have these lofty and grand ideas of who they want to be and don’t really assert themselves to the process. You just have to do it.
BRI: I’m glad you spoke about Revolt. When can we can an interactive showing of the tour on Revolt TV?
Kenny: If we showed this tour we wouldn’t be able to sell it like we do. We’ve had sold out shows the first three shows. We’ve been pitched on a few things while we’re slowing down.
Rob: We want to set the foundation and grow stronger. We’re in it for the long haul. Some people play short ball but we’re not.
Kenny: And if you saw it on TV, you wouldn’t have to come to Johnson C. Smith.
Rob: We love the intimacy of smaller crowds, actually getting the chance to engage with people. If it was on TV we wouldn’t be doing this interview. It gives us the opportunity to touch people and that’s what we both like.
Kenny and Rob definitely touched everyone who attended Living Life for a Living in Charlotte. Kenny even jumped off the stage to console a young woman who got emotional sharing her story. We discussed failure, success, taking risks, and of course relationships. The experience was very inspirational and at times pure comedy. It is true what they say, “Laughter is good medicine.” The way Kenny and Rob interact with one another is phenomenal. They are truly a dynamic duo. I promise, if you attend Living Life for a Living you will come in one way and leave another. Thank you so much Kenny and Rob for being so generous and sharing your gifts with us. -BRI
Learn more about “The Dream is Real” by Kenny Burns here and “I Got You: Restoring Confidence in Love and Relationships”, “For Single People Who Still Understand the Value of Relationships”, and the audio book “The Audacity of a Good Heart” all by Rob Hill Sr. here.