Let me be real for a second: I’m really tired of the Kardashians. They’re famous for being famous… and, it’s creating a living nightmare. However, every cloud has a silver lining—their lives are a great case study for nerds like me. The true credit for their fame is due to the matriarch of the family, believe it or not. 10 points if you already knew that. We won’t be talking about anyone except Kris Jenner, luckily for you.
A brief history:
Kris Jenner, objectively, is one of the most brilliant people to ever enter marketing or communications.
Kris Jenner was born in San Diego, California in 1955. In 1978, she married successful lawyer Robert Kardashian and, at the time, was a stay-at-home mom. In 1991, Kris and Robert got divorced. That same year, Kris remarried US Olympic athlete Bruce Jenner (now Caitlyn Jenner).
Here’s where things get interesting.
Kris, wanting to get out back into the world circa 1992, became Bruce’s publicist—organizing his press tours and public appearances.
In 2007, at the birth of the modern-day Kardashian nightmare, Kris had a brilliant idea to highlight the atypical lives of her celebrity family. Reality TV in 2007 wasn’t a new concept, but no shows existed to this caliber. Kris launched the show, which was wildly successful among viewers and led to several other spin-off shows.
Seeing this short bio seems very cut and dry, but we have to realize the Kris Jenner joined the entrepreneurship hustle and elevated her family’s celebrity from a solid D status to an A+. Did anyone actually care about the Kardashian/Jenner brand before 2007? Not really. Since the launch of the show, the family has actual contributions to society, but it wouldn’t be half as successful if it wasn’t for the matriarch of the family.
After researching Jenner’s life more closely, I compiled a list of the things we can learn from her.
1) Know your strengths
Kris had a seemingly average life before she joined the hustle, but she knew her strengths. Being around mediocre fame in her early years, Kris had exposure to celebrity operation and what people actually wanted. She didn’t fight for the spotlight herself, and in a lot of ways, she still doesn’t. She knows her strength comes from being the publicist… that’s what she’s good at. From there, she developed more skillsets, but it all developed from her core abilities.
What can we learn from her? We all have skills that we’ve acquired over the years of just living. Assess in yourself what those skills are and figure out how those apply to whatever you’re doing. If you’re a great writer, figure out how you want to execute that skill and grow other abilities as you mature. This is especially important if you have a specific goal in mind. If you want to start your own business, for example, you need to start getting exposure to how that works. Sometimes the best way to do that is by using the strengths you have to give you exposure to the ones you want to learn/grow.
2) Always seek opportunity
The opportunity for “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” was pretty organic. Back in 2007, Kris Jenner met with America’s sweetheart Ryan Seacrest to discuss the idea for the show. The show then grew from there. Two things took place. One, Jenner had an idea and found the appropriate opportunity to share that idea. Two, Kris took her experience and found a way to monetize it.
What can we learn here? A lot of times, opportunities need to be chased. Very seldom to things fall into our laps—of course, if they do, you need to be prepared. In order to create opportunity, you need to establish goals. Humans, instinctively, are lazy. To combat that, we need to make conscious efforts to seek opportunity and have an intent to actually achieve them.
3) Try and fail
Kris is another great example of trying and failing. Around 2013, Kris had a talk show on Fox called “Kris.” Around a year later, it got canceled. Talk about failing hard, right?
Being a part of the hustle is the first step in succeeding, but it’s important to note that sometimes your market doesn’t want what you’re offering. Entrepreneurship, in a lot of ways, is like being a scientist. You develop a hypothesis or business idea, and you test your hypothesis to see if you were right. Kris teaches us this in a unique way. Failing isn’t always an indicator of doing something wrong. Sometimes, it just shows that your idea wasn’t right for the market. And, from that, you’re able to learn and refine.
4) Have a drive to pursue your passion
This goes without saying. If you’ve made it this far in the article, you can clearly see that Kris has a drive to succeed. Time will tell what her true purpose in life is, but by opening herself up to experiences, she can move closer to her passion.
For the average person, it’s hard to identify what we’re truly passionate about. We all have curiosities and interests, and pursuing those is critical because they will eventually lead you to your purpose. Have a drive to achieve that, and you will get there—no matter the tactical successes or failures.
5) Be authentic
Money is a great motivation for a lot of people, but it dilutes authenticity in a lot of cases. I can’t speak to Kris’ motivations in the duration of the Kardashian saga, but I can point out a critical point in her development that we can learn from. Back in 1992, Kris began using her strengths to start her own company and get back into the workforce after being a stay-at-home mother. We can question the authenticity of the Kardashian television personality in 2017, but I would argue Kris’ intent to get her family to that point is authentically her.
Authenticity can mean a lot of things for a lot of people. Marketers and communicators use authenticity as a buzzword to describe their brands in a way that makes them sound human. I want to clarify my definition of “authentic” for this article so we’re all on the same page. Authentic, adj.: representing one’s true nature or beliefs; true to oneself. Kris is a hustler, and it doesn’t appear that she will change. For me, that’s a powerful lesson.