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How to get out of a funk? A girl boss’ view of pandemic-induced panic

With unemployment rampant even as the lockdowns around the world are lifted, is there a hope for new female entrepreneurs? Or any entrepreneur? A girl boss answers this question.

Millions of people are unemployed today, and coronavirus is the culprit. It’s devastating to lose your job, especially through no mistake or fault of your own. Yet still, we find ourselves facing a collective downward spiral.

How can we pull ourselves out of this international funk?

I have a little story to tell you here. The story of Kalika Yap, author of Little Brand Book. 

Kalika was 24 with a degree in journalism from New York University. She had already worked with some success with CNBC and Bloomberg News. It was during this period that she realized that it just wasn’t for her. 

When you dissect her seemingly successful life, you would identify the same steps (not mistakes) that we all take when we are young. In the case of Kalika, many of her decisions were prompted by circumstances. Her college boyfriend had moved to LA to work at his dream job with Frank Gehry Architects a year before.

So after doing the long-distance thing, Kalika quit her job and moved from New York to Los Angeles to be with him. Maybe adding having a great relationship to her checklist of accomplishments would make her feel better.

When life throws lemons

Within three weeks, her four-year boyfriend dumped her for the receptionist at his job. 

So within a month of moving out to LA, Kalika had no boyfriend, no place to live, no job, no money, no career. She did have one thing:  hefty school loans. 

The best thing that happened prior to that was he introduced her to Cyber Java, the first internet cafe in Southern California. That became not only a saving grace but her path to finding her happiness. She taught Internet at the cafe (internet was new back then), made lattes and zucchini bread for $6 an hour, slept first on the ground floor of friends and then inside a boat. 

But here’s what happened. Despite some crazy living conditions, two or three jobs at a time, Kalika was happy. One thing she sensed in those early days was that she needed to understand her weaknesses and strengths to get through that difficult time. 

She faced some tough questions like – 

  • What was it about my personality that kept me from being satisfied as a journalist? 
  • What would make me happy? 

To get these answers, she took every personality test under the sun. 

Meyers-Briggs, Enneagram, DISC, Human Design, Strength Finders, True Color Code, Astrology, Numerology, Jovian, and Gene Keys―and likely others along the way.

Kalika Yap, author of Little Brand Book. 

Who are we is a vital question

People have a secret desire to understand the hidden aspects of their personalities. Kalika had to struggle through a very challenging time to figure her out, but if she hadn’t worked through it and come out more knowledgeable about herself on the other side, she wouldn’t be where she is today. 

Since then, Kalika has started several companies  Orange & Bergamot, Citrus Studios, Luxe Link, Tangerine Co, The Waxing Co. She also hosts a podcast for girl bosses EO Wonder Podcast, and she has written a book. The key to her success is that she figured out how to play to her strengths.

Her book Little Brand Book, published by Harper Collins can help you pinpoint your strengths. There are a total of 12 personality archetypes. Discovering which one you are can help you pinpoint your strengths and talents. Are you a brilliant intellectual or a world-changer? An explorer or a heroine? A BFF or an idealist? A rebel or a charismatic? Knowledge is power when it comes to understanding your hidden personality strengths.

So How to Get Out of a Funk? 

Kalika answers it below – 

One unfortunate aspect of being an entrepreneur is that we get told “NO!” with varying degrees of rudeness on a regular basis. Because of that, I’m fairly used to getting punched in the face (proverbially, not literally!). I’ve learned a few ways to get out of a funk when I feel one coming on. And the teacher in me wants to share them with you:

  • Stay busy. Keep occupied, so you don’t go down that spiral. When I’m in an unproductive funk, I do one thing that makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something. For example, I’ll clean one shelf of a set of bookshelves. Just one. I take everything off, dust it, rearrange, purge and then put everything back. It’s a small thing, but accomplishing one win—organizing a shelf or drawer, or changing the bed sheets or cleaning off a crowded workspace—can change your perspective. See? You can make things happen. 
  • Cleanse and purify. After a rough day, I’ll take a long, hot shower with sea salt in-hand. I use it symbolically, to scrub off all of the bad energy I brought in with me. I also like to burn an aromatic candle or a sage stick to cleanse and purify your space symbolically. 
  • Help others. Even if I can’t solve my own problem, I can probably help someone else with one of theirs. Go grocery shopping for a neighbor, help them with a task around the house, or run an errand for them. The surest way to transform a “woe is me” attitude is by shifting your focus to someone else. It works every time.
  • Music that uplifts. If you don’t yet have a go-to playlist that cheers you up, now’s the time to curate one. Mine includes feel-good positive vibes such as Andra Day’s “Rise Up,” Alicia Keys, Lizzo and some old-school Queen songs. What songs make you feel head-nodding, hip-swaying, hell-yeah good? Choose those. And play them every chance you get.
  • Focus on what you have. When life punches you in the face, it’s easy to focus on what you don’t have, but how about all the things you do have? Write down 100 things you have. I did this recently, and it felt great to list the abundance of what I have, including things we often take for granted: I have electricity, clean water. I have the internet, a cell phone, a keyboard, a mouse, a pen, scissors. I have a friend I can call who supports me no matter what. I have frozen pizza for dinner. I have a working toilet—and enough toilet paper–which feels like a win this month! Focusing on what you do have can transform a dangerous downward spiral to an upward spiral of gratitude—and that’s the goal.

If you wish to read more about her life, do check out kalika.com

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