Kenneth Kelly Joins Us On The Steve Jobs Inspired Join Up Dots Podcast
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Introducing Kenneth Kelly
Kenneth Kelly is our guest today on the Steve Jobs inspired Join Up Dots podcast.
If you listen to Join Up Dots on a daily basis then you will hear me wax lyrical when introducing a guest as I certainly like to do my research, but today’s show is different.
When my guest connected with us to request a place on the show, he hit me with this little tale and I didn’t think i could out do this little lot.
So in his own words “On the day I turned 30 years old I looked around me and I knew things had to change.
How The Dots Joined Up For Kenneth
During the show we discussed such weighty topics with Kenneth Kelly such as:
How he found the ability to perform magic in his early days was a great way of finding acceptance with his peer group, as he felt very isolated.
How me and Kenneth Kelly both have to deal with social anxiety on a daily basis. and the steps we need to take to handle the issue allowing us to perform to our highest level.
He shares with is the moment that his career was well and truly finished, standing at a window looking down on the pavement deciding to jump, and what stopped him.
Why his parents loved the idea of him becoming a magician at the age of seven, but told him to get a real job when he told them the same at eighteen…. is this a common occurrence across the globe?? Yeah of course it is!
Kenneth Kelly Books
How To Connect With Kenneth Kelly
You can also check our extensive podcast archive by clicking here – enjoy
Full Transcription of Kenneth Kelly Interview
When we’re young, we have an amazing positive outlook about how great life is going to be. But somewhere along the line we forget to dream and end up settling. Join Up Dots features amazing people who refuse to give up and chose to go after their dreams. This is your blueprint for greatness. So here’s your host live from the back of his garden in the UK. David Ralph.
David Ralph [0:35]
Yes, hello there everybody and welcome to Join Up Dots. You know the amount of emails that I get that say to me, David, do you know what we want more what we want more is to sexy UK guys in one place quick recording a show for us to listen to. Well, I’m going to deliver it today because I have got officially the second most sexy UK guy on purpose. Finally, I won’t say who the first one is because that would be wrong. I would leave it up to you to decide. But he is officially the second and he is a guy that I suppose he’s he’s allowed me to do things slightly easier than I normally do because on Join Up Dots on a daily basis, you’ll hear me wax lyrical when introducing a guest, as I certainly like to do my research, but today’s show is different. When my guests connected with us to request a place on the show. He hit me with this little towel. And well I didn’t think I could help do this a lot. So in his own words, on the day I turned 30 years old, I looked around me and I knew things had to change. I looked up at the barbed wire topped concrete walls of the maximum security prison. I’ve called home for the last two years, and I wondered where everything had gone so wrong. Only a few years earlier had been about fast cars, women and parties. Now I was born in England but schooled and grew up in Johannesburg in South Africa. I had a career in television and put me in people’s living rooms on a daily basis. I was a household name and people would ask me for my autograph when they saw me out and about and the choices I made led me to class a drug addiction and the results pulled the carpet from under my feet. Everything was gone within three months, and I found myself living as a homeless man in one of the most dangerous cities in the world, Johannesburg. Now drugs lead to crime and crime leads to prison. And after nine months awaiting trial, I escaped from prison. Two weeks later, I was re arrested buying drugs on the street. I was sentenced as a security risk prisoner and given three years without parole in a maximum security prison. Now today’s things look very different. And I live a happy and peaceful life with my wife Collette and my daughter, Kristen. I’ve run a number of successful online businesses and pay my bills. I’ve authored a book Jupiter released in June and I’m able to enjoy a balance in life through my work as a psychotherapist Wow, blood Yeah, what a story. But believe me there is so much more to this guy’s tell that we could literally go three or four episodes and still will not touch the surface. So looking back on his life as a famous TV magician did he find it easier to get to The top band he has since getting out of prison and changing direction, or was that just the starting point of what we would call his sweet spot, as he now found the path that he would say was truly he’s defined? Well, let’s find out as we bring onto the show to start joining up dots with the one and only the second sexiest UK guy living today, Mr. Kenneth Kelly. How are you today, sir?
Kenneth Kelly [3:25]
Oh, I that is the build up of buildups absolutely first class. And the reason I’m feeling so good, I know that you do this from your backyard, David because it tells me so right in the intro. And I just know that the weather today in the UK is just one of those days. It is beautiful outside, just the right temperature not too hot. And I can actually see a little bit of blue in the sky. pretty rare for where I am. I think I’m slightly north of you. I’m in Warrington in the United Kingdom, which is if you’re listening, you’re wondering where that is slap bang in the middle of Manchester and Liverpool. So I get to, I guess, support both teams, Manchester United and Liverpool Football Club and just cheer Come on the winners, which makes it nice and easy. Yeah. Great. And thank you so much for having me on the show.
David Ralph [4:11]
It is lovely to have you on the show. And I’ll be honest, at the moment, I’m looking out my window as you was waxing lyrical. I wouldn’t say my weather is like that at all. I it’s, it’s clear. It’s muggy. I am semi unstressed, if that excites anyone out there, and I’m ready to rock But no, no blue sky in my life. But as somebody once said to me, Kenneth and I love this. But airline pilots only see blue sky. So above those clouds, it’s still happy and sunny. And that’s the way to think about things, isn’t it?
Kenneth Kelly [4:42]
I do like that. I like that. And it just shows that I got the sun shining on me today and I’m very grateful for that. So
David Ralph [4:48]
what do you think about being voted a second most sexy UK person living today?
Kenneth Kelly [4:54]
I’m feeling like an imposter and I’ll tell you why I feel like
is I get it. I so totally get it because we have have our outdoor regice accent. Now that’s a bit French, isn’t it? I don’t know where I’m going with that one. And I was born in the UK in Warrington. And I had a very Northern accent because my parents immigrated to South Africa when I was seven years old. So they took me along. So I was speaking in the northern accent at the time like that. But I very quickly found that in South Africa, nobody could understand a single word I was saying so to fit in and not get bullied quite as much as I was getting bullied. I kind of needed to adapt the South African accent but there was always the twin, always the twin of the UK behind that and people would say you’re not really from this company is Roy Nick. Roy, Nick is an Afrikaans word and it means red neck, and it’s kind of a slang to describe people who are not from South Africa because my skin was slightly fairer than I guess the the genetic disposition is not a predisposition, the genetic makeup of most South Africans because I hadn’t seen much sun, my early years. So really Neck I did have so I struggled to fit in because I was always the wrong neck. And then coming back to the UK, just 10 years ago, I now come with a slightly South African twin. So yes, I get the sexiness but I don’t know where it’s from Really? Is it South Africa? Am I more South African? I lived there for 30 years, but glad to be back in the UK. But yeah, okay, I’m gonna take it. Thank you, you know, taken sexy.
David Ralph [6:23]
Yeah, he’s you, you take it, I will send a trophy to you. And we’re sharing. We’re sharing it on a daily basis. Now, what interests me about you is, there’s certain guests that come through to me, and they say, Can we come on the show? And you go, yeah, and they sort of pitch an interesting story, which yours was, but when I started doing research on it, you’re like an onion, that I was thinking, Oh, this is interesting. Oh, my God, this is even more interesting. And it all ties down to this one thing. So I’m going to start with a Whammy of a question. But you’re obviously very talented. You’re very good at being a magician. It was a young passion. But was it a passion to To kind of gain acceptance from being a stranger in a foreign land is it like how people try to make people laugh when they go to a new school or they try to do impressions with being a magician, a way of sort of joining in somehow
Kenneth Kelly [7:17]
without a doubt, and in my later life, I had the chance to go on to do further studies and study psychotherapy. And part of that training is really looking at who you are, and looking at the truth of life. And part of that was looking back to those early years. So for me, I got a magic set when I was six years old, so early magic said it kind of fitted with me, but I also grew up in in a difficult family. You know, my, my parents worked specifically on my dad’s side was there was a lot of alcohol. alcoholism, got to say really slowly so early in the morning in the UK, and in the family, so that related to that went into a lot of fighting in the home and if I will They’re in between my mom and dad, kind of being the centre of attention. They weren’t fighting. They were kind of they were focusing on me. So I definitely used at trying to gain attention onto me as a tool, then going into school. It was difficult. It was a difficult childhood for me. And I recognise that looking back, I’m and I would like to go back and give myself a big hug. For the for the difficult road that I will do that
David Ralph [8:25]
later on in the show. Yeah, no,
Kenneth Kelly [8:26]
I’ve got that I’ve got the hands ready to go. Because Because by the time I went into my first year of high school, I’d been in seven different schools. So I was always that new kid that was being walked in and holding the teachers hand and the teacher would say, class, well, this is Kenneth, and we’re all going to be really nice to him because he’s new, and he’s just joining our school because there was a lot of instability in our family. So we moved around a lot. And that meant leaving behind all the friends that I’d made. So I actually got to a point where I learned that I was just better off relying on me that I shouldn’t Make friends because I was only going to have the pain of the separation of having to leave the many way. I couldn’t trust anybody. I could only trust myself. And my way of getting by was short births, bursts of playing a part and that part was a magician because it bought me popularity. I was weedy. I was I was kind of the kid I remember hanging from the gym rings. In my early years in high school. That was the only one out of the boys because you had to wear the vest and the shorts. I was the only boy that didn’t have hairs under my arms. So that’s not sexy at all. Is it? So it was a bully magnet
David Ralph [9:32]
on your head now
Kenneth Kelly [9:32]
Kenny, thank you
we’ve got the bid at the bottom and nothing on the top to compensate, of course, and and I guess Yes, you hit the nail on the head, you know where the bullies would come to beat me up I’d say hey, do you want to see a magic trick and it kind of changed the topic of the conversation and and I guess got people to like the character that I played but I was very lonely, very lonely.
David Ralph [9:57]
But But does it does that give you skinny You know, I was listening to Tom Hanks the other day and Tom Hanks, his dad was a salesman or he was in the military or something I can’t remember. But he basically had to go into a new town literally every six weeks it was like reinventing himself and he learned the ability to play characters, which obviously was training but he’s acting career later on. Now, of course, that’s Tom Hanks and we can all look at that and go oh, that’s the way forward that’s the way you do it. But with your own sort of experience, do you think that there’s there’s truth in that story that by practising on a daily basis you actually fine tune those things that are naturally in you It gives you a chance to become good before your time
Kenneth Kelly [10:39]
it’s a really interesting question and and for me know for Tom Hanks, I’m not sure I guess you’d need to look at that from his perspective from me know, for me it was playing a part and in in congruent parts. In other words, what I was feeling inside me was fear. I what I like about reading your site and your story of yours. backstory is you, you kind of speak about when you were younger and looking around and you felt like you didn’t fit in. Yeah. And I remember I remember that too. I used to look out through my eyes. And it was a little different for me because it wasn’t because of motivation and passion. Mine was out of fear. I looked around I thought, you know, I just don’t fit in here. I can’t relate. I always felt outside of the group and I do today as an adult, I carry that little boy inside me today. It’s part of who I am. And, and my way of, I guess, pretending to fit in was to play the part. So it was always an incongruence. There, what I was feeling inside was maybe fear and dis ease. But outwardly, I was playing this part that appeared to be really confident and being able to relate to multiple people. I’m a great networker. I’m great in short bursts. But if you look around now, I’m now 48 years old, and if you look around, I have very few friends, because I don’t make friends easily. And understandably, you know, I was taught at a very young age that you don’t trust and you have to rely on yourself and all Although I’ve gone through personal development, self development, it’s not easy to rewrite those very strong scripts. So for me, no, it was playing a part and it’s a part I try to play less off today. And just try to be my, I guess fearful self when I meet people and hope that they will accept me for who I truly am, which is a damaged man. That’s the truth. I’m a damaged man. But I guess we all carry some damage from our life.
David Ralph [12:27]
He’s fascinating because I hear this kind of story time and time again and sitting doing this show. It is like therapy in many ways. I sit here quietly listening to people reflecting on my own situation. And I’ve realised recently that I have social anxiety. I don’t like going into parties. I don’t like small talk. I’m very good at deep talk. As I’ve said, in other episodes, I can do this kind of thing. I could talk to you for four or five hours on a subject, but actually going into a situation and being just naturally me. I find it very difficult but Get me on stage. I’m all right. I can, you know, really do that. And I was doing that for years and years and years, but just being me. So how do you develop something that as we hear time and time again, people say, if you’re authentic, if your your honest self, there’s more power. If certain skills play to you being authentic and certain things don’t on the mic, I’m totally authentic. up on stage. I’m totally authentic. But in a social environment, I kind of revert to interviewing techniques to get through it. What do you reckon?
Kenneth Kelly [13:32]
Yeah, I hear it. It’s a paradox. It’s a paradox in that here you are, you’re an entirely internationally renowned voice. You come across with with the authority and you come across with great confidence and you’re speaking about social anxiety and it doesn’t match but I get it, I get it, because I feel the same way. And, you know, you speak about two things. Then the other side you’re saying is about being authentic, being congruent, being truly yourself. For me. I like the word of Carl Rogers, where he said, I just I’m quoting this and I may quote it slightly off because I don’t have it in front of me, but it was along the lines of It is only when I truly accept myself for who I am, that I have any ability to change anything. And it’s acceptance, which is the big word for me. And that was, that was tough, you know, acceptance without wanting to change yourself, me accepting me for the broken, fragile, fearful individual that I am and then having courage, you know, there’s another massive word short in letters but massive in weight, the courage to stand up and and say, you know, this is me, it’s that vulnerability. I’m not gonna play a part to get you to like me to get you to love me to get you to buy in to my agenda. I’m just gonna be me, because me I am good enough and the evidence of standing up show that I am good enough just the way I am. It’s it is just good enough. Hey, I still play that part on a stage. I still love it. Of course. It’s part of my personality, but it’s not my true being. It’s a part that I play. When I’m standing there, I guess.
David Ralph [15:07]
So did this kind of cause the sort of the demise of your career was it? You know, you could easily say it was ego based the parties and the the drugs and the ladies, but was it the case that actually you was in an environment that wasn’t congruent to yourself and ultimately, you were finding a way once again, of acceptance?
Kenneth Kelly [15:28]
It was I found my solution because from those earliest years looking out, feeling fearful feeling like I didn’t fit in, I found a solution. And my solution started off as alcohol. It was the greatest solution, I would take this magical liquid, and I would drink it and all of a sudden, I didn’t feel that fear anymore. All of a sudden, I felt that I fit it in and I could laugh and be with people and I could speak to girls. I remember that being a biggie. I could actually go over to girls. Hey, hey,
Unknown Speaker [15:57]
how are you?
Kenneth Kelly [15:58]
I’m cannon. And that’s start a conversation with them. So I found my solution. It was alcohol. And it was really manageable. Life was just great. My ego was massive. And the reason that my ego was so massive is because I started buying into my own publicity. And what I mean by that is I won the South African championships of magic when I was 16 years old. So all of a sudden, I started thinking, wow, I’m better than those other magicians. I was all of a sudden I was starting to separate myself out and it was a way of me kind of, I guess, bluffing myself into, I was okay. Instead of me really, truly believing I was saying I’m okay because they’re telling me I’m okay, look at this. I got a trophy and it’s on a plinth and it’s got my name on and everything so I must be okay. My ego just got bigger and bigger the age of 18 on the senior championships of magic, which just made me think Here we go. By the time they put me onto television and gave me a show there or was writing television shows being on television pretty much on a daily basis Monday to Friday. It that was it you know, it was all ego based. The alcohol was used as a great tool to make me feel okay. And then I found drugs. And that made me feel even better for a very, very short period of time. But as anybody that has walked the road of drugs and alcohol knows that it stops working and when it stops working, it leaves the anxiety it leaves the leaves the fear and it leaves the vulnerability wide open. It just stops working and and that was when my life crumbled and everything that I thought I was dissolved in front of me because it was false. It was a false belief.
David Ralph [17:31]
And looking back on that, are you kind of glad that you found out because you sound extremely natural. I can’t imagine the person that I’m speaking to now. Being the South African Paul Daniels rest in peace. Oh, you’re a legend. And we we miss you. But I can’t I can’t get the two together. You just sound who you should be. So was it a relief that it kind of changed so dramatically? Not at the time? No, no, I can imagine
Kenneth Kelly [18:00]
Definitely not at the time now. today. I’m the man I want to be. Yeah and and life is how I want life to be. I don’t want to change a single thing today. I don’t want more money. I don’t want less money. I don’t want I don’t want a bigger car a bigger house. I just everything right now here today speaking to you, man. What’s this? What could be better than this? I’m being interviewed for a podcast that’s gonna be listened to by how many people I don’t know. But it’s just wow, it doesn’t get better than this. So today I’m very grateful man. At the time. No, it was just saw and painful and bruising. And there was time. I remember standing in a car this story. So I’m working for television working for a company called m net in South Africa, which is kind of like sky TV here now and net multichoice. At the time, we were doing kids television. So it was it was a kid’s magic I was doing and there was a programme director I had a taste for the old drugs and I spoke to this programme director said hey there’s some great drugs in in town. Give me some money I’ll get you some and they gave me their bank card and I took the bank card and went and kind of on a bender and and just kept on drawing and drawing money and drawing money and drawing money until the machine swallowed the the card. And when the machine swallowed the card, it was probably, I don’t know. 24 hours later call it everything was gone. Everything was gone. I knew my television career was gone. I knew that that was it. Now I was in big trouble. I was in a hotel I paid for myself to go into a hotel. And I remember standing at the window of the hotel and opening the window and thinking this is it. I’m just gonna have to jump out of this window now. And there’s a great line in a Pink Floyd song. I think it’s from the final curtain and it says through the fisheye lens of tear stained eyes That’s the that’s the word. And that was what it was like my eyes were full of tears. And I was looking down, just knowing that this was it and that I was going to be dead within just a few minutes looking down at the ground. And the only reason I didn’t jump out of that window was was because I was a coward. So I’m here today because I was a coward. I’m grateful that I am a coward and that, that we have this preservation of life built inside us because I’d given up I’d given up so it was, it was painful to the point of I don’t want to be here anymore.
David Ralph [20:34]
The strange thing about that story, though, I can understand it to one degree, I can understand you standing there, absolutely at rock bottom knowing it was all taken away. But if I was looking at that window and thinking right, I’m gonna jump this is gonna hurt, then yes, I think I would be a coward. But knowing what you would like for taking drugs, why didn’t you just keep them taking drugs and ended?
Kenneth Kelly [20:57]
They’d ended that I’d run out of drugs at that time, whereas I was standing there so for drugs you need a supply of money so the time you stop taking drugs is if you get put in prison or if you die or if the money runs out that’s it there’s there’s kind of no other option or if you go through some kind of I guess rehabilitation and get off it that way as well. But stopping taking drugs or taking the are you saying why didn’t I just use the drugs to kill myself?
David Ralph [21:25]
Yeah, well why didn’t you go out and get a load of aspirin or something and lay on a bed and just finish yourself off?
Kenneth Kelly [21:31]
You know what I never thought about it. It was that was just a moment. A moment of standing there and it just it’s a moment I kind of guessed that that really stands out for me. And it was so real I can go back there now can almost taste it. I know that that’s a strange sense to have with it but I can almost taste what it was like standing there looking down and I remember what it looked like with the with the blurred vision and everything and remember the feeling of Neil total hopelessness, total worthlessness that there was nothing, no light at the end of the tunnel, absolutely nothing that everybody would be better off if I was dead. Just didn’t go through with it and the moment passed, the moment passed and I then went to my parents and I said, You know what, I need some serious help now. Please help me. So I guess there was a spark there that there was still something in me there was still some fight left in me, but at that moment, it didn’t feel like there was.
David Ralph [22:27]
But let’s play some words. Now. Then we’re gonna move you on this stage because this show isn’t all about darkness. But there’s the truth. But the true lessons in life are found in the dark dots. This is Rocky.
Rocky Balboa [22:39]
Nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But eight about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take it keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done.
David Ralph [22:55]
Nobody says a truth we all take hits in the face we all have to get up is the stumble balls. Nobody’s got an easy life. But when you kind of done it to yourself, is it doubly difficult to sort of get over. I have self sabotage in my life and I look back on certain times where I have kind of destroyed my career. I was in the City of London in the West End of London doing a job I didn’t like. And I went out one day and I might have shared this story if I have I do apologise, but I went out one day and had a few two X. Too many drinks at lunchtime, which you do in the City of London you drink at lunchtime is bizarre. And this guy kind of riled me up, oh, why don’t you tell them to screw themselves? Why don’t you tell him to go off and do something? And I did. I went back and sort of sent this email out to everyone. And literally, as soon as I sent it, I realised, oh my God, I’ve killed my career. Now, as I was on the train coming home, in a sort of really dark moment of my life, there was a kind of relief. I felt the relief in me. I felt that actually I don’t Know what the future is gonna happen now, but thank god I’ve got out of this situation now when I got home and I opened my door, my answer machine in those days you ever sort of answer machine it was off the hook, you know it was lawyers and legal people and god knows what going everywhere. So I just went undercover and sort of disappeared for about six weeks thinking they forget about me and leave me and of course I didn’t. So I had to go up and sort of face to music and say I’m very sorry I had too much to drink have been having a bad time. I’m stressed whatever. Now, I look back on that. And I think it was a good time because I did that and I kind of freed myself from a situation I don’t think I would have been able to. But when you have had you know more than that you’ve had fame you’ve had adulation, and you’re ending up homeless. How do you get over that? How do you get over that when most demons must be running around pointing at you constantly going, Ken if you had everything you had everything can look at you now how do you shake that off and start moving forward? Like rocky says
Kenneth Kelly [24:58]
yeah, oh, fantastic story, I can really relate to what you’re saying. And I love how you’ve used the word demons pointing at you, because it feels that way. And for me, it was it was less about me and what I’d lost. Of course there was that but by that time, I felt so worthless in myself. It was like that fear that I’d carried ever since I was a young boy was just justified and I was nothing, I was absolutely nothing. The the feelings within me with the remorse. Now you speak about the standing there and saying, sorry, I mean, I went from that hotel to go and say sorry, and I said sorry, for many years after that. I went, I said sorry, through five rehabilitations with my parents taking the money that they had to try and get me sorted out. And I would say sorry, but found that I must have just going back there again, just going back there coming out, being cleaning and going back going back to that are the two that darkness It was really strange so when you say self sabotage Yeah, I got it it was like this big button and I was just whacking it time and time again the same that’s it. Let’s burn this all down. But it was about guilt It was about remorse. It was about self loathing that’s where I was I really didn’t care what happened to me I felt that they would be better off without me. So how do you get out of that? Well, the people around me in Hill brow which is where I was one side, become homeless and and at the rock bottom, and the people got out by dying they either from an overdose as you suggested before, or through aids, the AIDS epidemic was absolutely ran rampant, and I was sharing needles. I wasn’t sexually active at the time because it was all about drugs. But definitely sharing needles and I escaped those. There was a lot of gang activity on the sites on the streets and I had a lot of I guess, run into I’ve had guns held to my head, I’ve had knives to my throat, it could have gone that way. And, and I was lucky, I was so lucky that I got caught and went to prison because I got into prison. And it was a different environment. And I guess, although my behaviours didn’t change when I got into prison, I went into prison and continued the kind of behaviours that I had been doing while I was on the streets. It was just a it wasn’t a class a drug anymore. It was marijuana. It was glue from the factory where they made the shoes within within the prison it was hospital medication that was stolen. So I was still bent on self destruction. And that went on for for some time until somebody showed an interest in me somebody cared somebody’s little spark, I guess, you could say and his name was Captain, Mani Thomas and I still known today we’re friends on Facebook. We catch up every now and then. And he was a captain because the the prison service in South Africa was militant. I couldn’t have The job in the prison because I’d escaped after he said in the introduction take him back in so I was now maximum security prison which means you cannot work you’re just gonna be in your cell and walk around in the exercise yard and go back in yourself so that that was I spent a lot of time in solitary confinement because I was taking drugs and getting in fights and I joined the gang and just burning it down burning it down. And Captain Mani Thomas cold cold for me and he was in the school. So I the school, the prison had a school which was outside the maximum security walls of the prison, still in the walls of the prison but just outside the maximum security section. So I went and met with him. And it turned out that he had been in the entertainment unit in the South African Defence Force now in South Africa during those early years. You had to go do three years conscription, you had to go and do your bit, and I found myself in the entertainment unit because I was a magician. I spent three years entertaining which a lot. Mani Thomas was in the air. So he heard that I was I was They’re too cold for me. And we had a chat. And I showed him some magic tricks and he loved them. And he said, Hey, Ken, how would you like to teach at the school as a comp, some maximum security, prison flight risk? And he said, I’ll write a letter to the head of the prison, and he wrote a letter to the head of the prison, and I got permission. And that was, that was the change that that was it. Somebody cared. Somebody cared about me, somebody gave me a chance somebody put their neck out for this worthless wretch that I believed myself to be. And that was that was standing up. But I didn’t stand up on my own. There was somebody that told me,
David Ralph [29:39]
I’ll tell you what can I if you don’t say yes to this, I am going to be a very disappointed man. But when you escaped from prison, did you climb into a box and then suddenly the box opened up and you weren’t there anymore? Was that was that how you did it?
Kenneth Kelly [29:54]
I didn’t quit using misdirection so when you think escaped from prison, you think this daring You can almost hear the music playing in the background of of the movie that they will make off my device. Yeah. But sadly, it’s not moving material. It was Miss direction at the time I was in a waiting trial. So I was I was still waiting for my trials. I was in a, I guess a medium security prison. And the it was a long weekend and South Africa was playing Australia crickets. We have a television because you have a television and you saw we had a television in our cell and the acting head of the prison because the head of the prison had left said can I use your television because I really want to watch cricket. We said Yeah. Television and he said Hey, would you guys like to work outside the the prison you’re still in, fenced in. But outside the prison in the gardens? We said Yeah. went out for one day and thought, hey, that’s not such a high fence. And then the next day we said, Hey, do you want the television again to watch the next day of this of the cricket? He said yeah, we put some clothes on under our prison clothes, went out and kind of took them off. jumped over the fence that was as simple as misdirection making somebody look in one place while you’re doing something else. Classic tool of magic
David Ralph [31:08]
That’s rubbish that story that really has disappointed me. I just had this image yeah you you climbed into a box it opened up and there was a tiger in there that ran around a prison attacking people or something dramatic
Unknown Speaker [31:21]
David Ralph [31:23]
that’s why Yeah, one in life don’t Yeah, but when you look back at that, because to me it I I’ve dabbled in drink. Not terribly. I’m not a good drinker. And now I hardly drink at all. I have one kind of Heineken. And that’s me done for the night. But when you’re up in the City of London, it was a drinking culture. And every lunchtime it was where you’re going for lunch in in the evening. So I used to deal with hangovers every single day. So I was never very, very good at it. And I was like clinging clinging on. Now. I’ve never taken drugs. I’ve never smoked. I’ve never done anything really you’ve just you know, the old hangover every now and again. But I put this video in me, but I like to break rules. I like to look at ways of if somebody says to me, you know, don’t do something, I think to myself, I want to do it in a different way just to prove you. But I think if I was in prison, I think I would just go, Okay, get it over and done with I’m going to be a good boy because I know that ultimately, it’s it’s going to end badly, you know, just tell me what I need to do and I will do it. I will bend over well, not literally, but I will, you know, just be totally totally totally compliant to you. Because you know, I want to get out here as soon as possible. Does that not cross your mind when you’re in prison? Do not think to yourself, okay, I can do two years I can do five years I’m just gonna be as good as possible to get out here early.
Kenneth Kelly [32:40]
Because most most people do. And that’s that’s the whole process of prison. You find yourself in a situation where you go, okay, that didn’t work. Let’s be on best behaviour and get out as quickly as I can. So awaiting trial. I escaped just a few days off the sentence. I waited trial for nine months. So when I stood for sentence the magistrate I thought the magistrate was going to say, Oh, you know what, you’ve got a problem with the old drugs, you know, we’re going to send you to rehab but when he had the evidence in front of him of five times in rehab, and a serial relapse and the fact that my accused to the person I was caught with was also on escape for a number of years from another prison. The sentence was pretty harsh because we stood trial together so the sentence kind of hit us both and the sentence was three years. Now I would have got out pretty quickly in fact the paperwork was already in the pipeline They showed me when they brought me back from from my escape that I first time offender no previous record, you know, I was going to be out and go on on kind of house arrest and having to report but the escape made it three years it’s called done datum. datum is Afrikaans for day and date means you do it to the very end. There’s no chance of parole, there’s no chance of getting a job. There’s no chance of getting time off for good behaviour. You escape. It’s the biggest crime you can commit in prison is to escape. Their job is to keep you when you escape. You know, you’ve you’ve they failed at their job. It’s bad news. And so there was there was no motivation for me and you know what I couldn’t anyway, I was a an addict and an addict just pushes the destruct button. Time and time again. I was trying to get away from me. You know, if I was taking if I was sniffing glue if I was drinking, the hoops that we made in the sales from brown bread and sugar and yeast that was brought in by the guards, then I wasn’t there. I wasn’t I didn’t have to face who I was. And that was what I was running away from. I was running away from from myself.
David Ralph [34:36]
Are you totally I know, you say that you’re in the happiest place possible. But are you? Did you still look around at sort of wasted opportunities or do you just as that part of your life being totally erased?
Kenneth Kelly [34:49]
Yeah, it’s a great question. You know, I’m, I’ve I have the peace, the tranquillity and the happiness that I have. I love that word happiness in it. truest form today, because of the road I walked. I’m so grateful for the road that I walked because it made me the man I am today and without going through what I needed to go through, I wouldn’t have found myself I found myself I found myself. That’s what I found through all of this. And I had to go a long way round to find myself I broke broke a cycle of addiction. That was in my family. My dad died of alcoholism in his early 40s and his mother died from alcoholism, I broke that cycle of addiction, you know, I don’t have to pass that on to my children. It’s they don’t have to my daughter doesn’t have to sit there outside of a pub waiting for daddy to come out or ask Mommy, when is daddy coming home? or Why did daddy leave? broke all of that and it’s made me when you lose everything including yourself. Just having basic things. is just a blessing it really is. So I’m just grateful for what I have. So I look at the world now through a frame of gratitude and through a frame of gratitude, everything looks good.
David Ralph [36:13]
It’s funny, he there is a simplicity in life. When I started Join Up Dots, I literally was going for, you know, 200,000 a month income, whatever, you know, and it became quite profitable. Looking back, it was quite quick at the time, it didn’t seem quick and I was, you know, slugging me guts off every single day. But somebody said to me the other day because I’ve literally broken it down again, and I’m changing the structure and the income to to make it different. And a guy in my coaching group said, you know, when you’re not happy, what was was it not good enough for you? And I said to him, it’s not about the money. It’s not about anything, but when I go off on holiday, I want to have freedom of mind as much as freedom of body. And for years, I was working towards the fact that location independent was the key thing, earn the income. But I realised last year when I went away, I was constantly thinking about the show and thinking about the businesses I constructed. And I realised that my brain needed time to just not think about anything and almost just look at clouds and look at the beach and just kind of recharge. So there is a simplicity in your life, but you can’t see at the beginning, can you you kind of find the real goal by going on that journey of discovery
Kenneth Kelly [37:34]
100% and, and it’s where I do my work now, you know, I I work as a psychotherapist and I see so many people with more money than God is a term that that are so incredibly well off from from what they may have built financially within their lives, yet they desperately unhappy. I’m happy enough to go and speak to another fellow human being and say, you know what I’m so on. happening. For me, it’s not about when you get that next thing it’s not about when your business goes on autopilot and you’ve outsourced everything or when you hit that certain amount of income, or it’s none of those things. It’s so much bigger than that, as human beings, we need certain things in our life we need, we need balance. And I don’t truly believe that there is balance. I believe it’s like a seesaw that you go a little bit too far one way and it goes up too far. And then you go the other way, go cook up too far. And that’s what life is, I don’t believe you stand there in the middle game. balance in that voice. Of course. For me, it’s about so much more than that. And it’s about the richness of life being happy, is different for every single person and it’ll be different for you than it will be for me being content with what you have. And that’s where I do my work. Now. That’s that’s that’s my new, I guess goal and focus is to work with people who want to find happiness, no matter where they are, no matter what their interest. It is.
Yeah, it’s a passion for me. Everyone deserves it.
David Ralph [39:05]
But isn’t that I’m just getting back to your your seesaw isn’t the balance bit right in the middle. Isn’t that about what I’m doing now what you’re doing when you actually managed to create something you love and earn from it at the same time? Isn’t that your balance? Or, you know, you used to go to work and you’d come home and you do a hobby. But once that hobby becomes your work, isn’t that the balance? Do you not have to be cranking? either end? Can’t you stay in the middle?
Kenneth Kelly [39:34]
I haven’t yet met someone that can and maybe you can. I haven’t met anyone who can. It’s always about reevaluating. You know you can do I thought to myself, you know if I become a professional magician, when I said to my parents, I want to be a professional magician and I was seven years old. They’re going Oh, isn’t he lovely? Oh, he wants to be fishing magician. When I said
Unknown Speaker [39:56]
to you. I know
Kenneth Kelly [39:57]
when I said to my parents In my last year of high school when they said, so what you can do with it, like I said, I’m going to leave and become a professional magician doesn’t know you’re bloody not, you get a real job. And you know, and I thought when I am a professional magician, that’s it, I will be so happy. I’m following my heart and following my passion. And of course, there was there was great freedom in that and there was great happiness in that. But there were also hard days where we can do that now. And that’s the balance. Yes, I was doing what I wanted to do. So the spotlight was in the right place. Okay, that that that’s a bad example, because that was a difficult time now, I guess the spotlights in the right place. But I still find that I have tough days. And that’s part of who I am. And it’s part of accepting that it’s not all this perfect life it life isn’t that way. So I believe that the pain that we experience many of us experienced in life is from a perception that life should be different. It shouldn’t be like this. It should be some other way. I’ve worked so hard to do this. I’ve now created that self generating income. business I should be happy now but I’m not there’s still something missing What is it? And you know that that perception of when I get this or it should be this and now I’m now I’ve left the job and I’m doing what I’m truly passionate about but oh man I still have hard days. Yeah of course you do. Of course you do. We all do. That’s part of the deal. It’s about accepting that and being able to work with that a guess and redress it and follow your moral compass as long as you’re going in the right direction that you’ve set and it feels right for you. And that may change from time to time as as you go down that road.
David Ralph [41:30]
But just before we play the words of Steve Jobs you know the thing that kind of nibbles away at me Kenneth Kelly that I create something that literally runs on automatic pilot and then on board I think to myself Do it Do I need to be involved in it all the time? Is that the the true enjoyment or is it the creating something? Am I gonna ultimately create Frankenstein’s monster actually runs on its own does everything that I wanted it to do, but doesn’t make me happy.
Kenneth Kelly [42:00]
Oh, I love that I love what you’ve just said there. And, and again, I go back to my psychotherapy practice where I might work with somebody who has just retired from their job. And they’ve had maybe nine months a year where they’ve gone and they’ve done the cruise and they’ve done the garden and they’ve now painted the shed. And they’ve done the things that they said, Oh, I’m going to do that when I retire. And now they’re suddenly left without meaning without purpose within their life. And I believe that if our lives are purely defined by what we do, then we’re going to have those times where we struggle and where we need to reevaluate that. So I am not what I do. I am, who I am, and who I am as many parts including what I do. And once you know who you are and you’re happy with, with who you are, then the what you do is less important. Of course, it’s still important. And of course, it’s still exciting and of course has to do with passion. But it’s about not only working on what I do But also spending time working on who I am.
David Ralph [43:03]
Brilliant stuff, let’s hear the words of Steve Jobs.
Steve Jobs [43:06]
Of course, it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards 10 years later. Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something, your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well worn path. And that will make all the difference.
David Ralph [43:42]
When I found those words, a different thinking of your backstory and I was thinking Did you believe that the dots would join up or did you just hope that the dots would join up because he was in a pretty bad place when you huh?
Kenneth Kelly [43:53]
Yeah, well, first of all, amen to that to Steve Jobs and and that talk and I love what you’ve done, and how that That has inspired you. And I think what he says there, which resonates with me is you can see how the dots connect up when you look back when you’re there, and you’re looking forward. All I saw was darkness, but I’ll share something with you. Here’s some dots connecting for you. So I meet Captain Marnie Thomas, I’m in prison, it gives me a job to start behaving myself. I stopped shaving, standing under that freezing cold shower and actually washing getting the glue out of my beard. And I start changing and I start working with people who appreciate what I’m doing. I’m teaching illiterate people how to do magic tricks. So they got some kind of a skill when they go out maybe to entertain people. As a result of this what I was called the tech waste of taxpayers money by by the guards they started saying, Hey, you know, and greeting me by name. I found myself in solitary confinement a lot less and my life started becoming a little bit better, which was great. Then, the prison was doing an outreach, it was coming up to Christmas and they decided that I should go out and do some shows for children in the local orphanages. I was happy to Do it so I’ve got to go home and pick up my props and say hi to mum got went back and then went out and I went to a number of orphanages doing for underprivileged children doing the shows, and I got to one. And the local newspaper was there, their national press had found out that I was in prison. This guy that was on television is now in prison, and he’s going to be here, and they wanted to interview me. And I sat down and I did a really honest interview, and I told them how it was. And I said, You know, I screwed up and I’m trying to put my life back together and they wrote a really positive piece and the headline of the piece was eight selves a truncate. lightner demands Allah. Now that is a translation from Africans. It says, even from inside the prison, the funny man is making the children laugh, and it was a really positive piece. Now, many hundreds of kilometres because we’re sweeping in South Africa that are working miles away. There was a school teacher who decided to set a project for the class where the school teacher took in a big pile in newspaper papers and put all the different newspapers on all the different desks of the children that she’d collected over December. So this is now January, early January, put the newspaper and said go through the newspapers find an article that inspires you and write a formal letter as if you were writing it to the person in this article. And a young lady in in a school in a place called heart to be a sport, which is just near Pretoria in South Africa, open the newspaper found this article about me and thought, Hey, I’m gonna This is inspiring. It’s something different. It’s not about death and, and destruction of people getting robbed. I’m going to write to this guy. And she wrote it and handed it in, she got a marks. And then she thought, I wonder if I should send this to this guy. She made a phone call, find out where I was. And there was just going into my last year, I received this this letter from somebody I didn’t know reaching out to me. And I read this letter. And I wrote back and she wrote to me and we wrote to each other for over a year and when we came out. We met up. And we’ve been married now for what is it? 18 years. You know, she is now my rock. This is Colette. And together we have our daughter, Kristen. And looking back. Now I can see how those dots match up. I can see that in my darkest time. And when I was at my most difficult that the universe was kind of guiding me towards where I am today, because oh man, she’s just been my rock. So looking back, yes, I can see it.
David Ralph [47:37]
I don’t even have to ask the question that I asked every day. What is your big.in life? I think you’ve answered that brilliant story. I love that. And that’s that’s the reason why we have a show like Join Up Dots that doesn’t have any questions because the real gold comes out naturally. You know if if you listen to a lot of shows, and I think we touched on this before we started recording Kenny The questions only lead towards what the guest expects to share. But by having no questions you literally do find out the real gems don’t yet
Kenneth Kelly [48:10]
Swire contacted us while wanting to be on your show. I love it. I love the Congress and the realness of it. So we this is real, this is a real track. And if somebody gets something out of it booney for them, but it’s real, it’s not contrived. It’s not made up. It’s just as it is, it’s the truth.
David Ralph [48:26]
Well, this is the end of the show now and this is the part when your younger self is going to get a hug because we’re going to send you back in time to have a one on one with your younger self. And if you could go back in time and speak to the uncanny what age would you choose and what advice would you give? Well, we’re gonna find out because I’m going to play the theme, and when it fades, you’re up. This is the Sermon on the mic
Unknown Speaker [48:53]
with the best bit of the show,
Kenneth Kelly [49:09]
So right back to when I was 12 years old and the reason I’m going to visit Kenneth Kelly for 12 is because that’s the age that my daughter is right now. So it’s a great anchor point for me. But it’s also the age 12 was when I started realising that other people’s lives were different to mine. It was when I started having friends where I would go to their house and their parents didn’t get drunk and fight all the time. And it was where I started where life started getting particularly difficult where I guess I started noticing girls and being truly shy of them. So I would sit myself down after the biggest of hugs, most of my time with myself would be spent having the hug and here’s where I would go with that. It’s Kenneth. The road that you’ve got ahead of you, is going to be tough at times really, really tough. There’s going to be times on this road where you just don’t feel that you’ve got any juice left in the tank where you feel that you can’t go on, there’s going to be times where you’re going to want to end it, where you actually going to want to take your own life. That’s how tough this is going to be for you. You’re going to feel alone, you’re going to lie to people, you’re going to cheat, you’re going to steal, you’re going to go to prison, you’re going to get bullied, you’re going to get beaten up, you’re going to beat people up, you’re going to cheat, you’re going to make immense regrets, regrets that you will carry for the rest of your life. And here’s the message that I want you to take as you go through that. The clouds are going to clear. One day those dark heavy clouds are going to clear and there’s going to be sunshine and that sunshine is going to shine down on you and you’re going to become the man that you will admire. You’re going to be Come the man that you want to be. Sadly, I have no advice for you that I can give that will help you avoid what you need to walk through because you’ve got to go through that to be that man. That’s the advice that I would give to me. Great stuff.
David Ralph [51:16]
What’s the number one best way that our audience can connect with you? Mr. Kelly?
Kenneth Kelly [51:20]
Didn’t go to my website. It is person centred business.com. It tells all about who I am. And what I do. And I guess today I focus my time on helping business people professionals find balance happiness in their lives.
David Ralph [51:36]
We’ll have over links on the show notes. Kenny, thank you so much for spending time with us today. joining up those dots. Please come back again when you have more dots to join up because I do believe that by joining up the dots and connecting our pasts. It’s the best way to build our futures. Mr. KENNETH Kelly, thank you so much.
Kenneth Kelly [51:52]
David Ralph [51:56]
wasn’t that brilliant story that was such a fantastic story. Kenneth Kelly was a communicator. He was open. He was honest. That was one of those episodes. I was thinking God, I’d love to be in a pub just sort of doing this live because there was darkness there was darkness, but it ultimately led to light. And as I said to him afterwards, I said, it’s one of those stories where your light shines brighter because of the darkness you’ve been through. Love that one. Hopefully you love that as well. If you did, send us a message and tell us what you thought about it, because I love receiving all your messages. And especially if you pinpoint certain episodes, that meant something to you. That was a good one for me. Thank you so much. And I’ll see you again soon. Cheers. Bye bye.
David doesn’t want you to become a faded version of the brilliant self you or wants to become. So he’s put together an amazing guide for you called the eight pieces of advice that every successful entrepreneur practices, including the two that changed his life. Head over to Join Up dots.com to download this amazing guide for free and we’ll see you tomorrow on Join Up Dots.