The ‘Funk’

How to recognize it, and how to get out! 

I recently got out of my funk. It feels weird because I didn’t really realize I was in one until I got out. And man, being out, feels AMAZING!! I am positive, energized, and full of productivity, and what’s more important I am enjoying almost every waking minute.  

Funks can hit all of us. It could be caused by some big event in our lives, could be a rejection, could be the season changing, could be a state of ‘give-up’ due to illness. Ultimately, it is common enough to make an impact. An impact on us at work, at home, on the ones we surround ourselves with. And I am sad to report the impact is not really a great one. Funks are full of hopelessness, lack of energy, and minimal enjoyment – what about that sounds great???  

Are you in a Funk?  

How to recognize: 

  1. You are not happy when you wake up in the morning, and no, not because you are NOT a morning person (I am one of those), but because you dread having to face the day. You cannot think of anything great to get up for, nothing that brings a smile to your face, instead you may feel forced to get up due to obligations (kids, meetings, appointments) but you are definitely not excited about any of it. Instead, the day feels like an annoyance you wish could leave you alone. 
  2. If given the choice you would stay in bed for a good portion of your day (even with 5+ hours of sleep already). Mostly because you are feeling so low on energy. It actually feels like moving your arms take all your strength in the world.  
  3. Your energy levels are so low you feel like there must be something physically wrong with you. So you get checked out, but guess what – everything is fine. And you actually feel disappointed. Because now you are faced with the hard reality that it is your mind, your stress, your choices that are making you feel this way. It is you.  
  4. You are irritable. You are a stormy cloud walking around. You may not offend anyone in your travels because you are still polite and respectful, but you sure do not brighten anyone’s day.  
  5. You don’t find the same enjoyment in your favorite things. Do you have plans with your bestie or a fun colleague but can’t find excitement to get you pumped to get ready and go out to it? Lack of enjoyment in things is a big sign of a funk.  

So what can we do about it? 

  • Talk to your doctor (if you haven’t already) and ensure it is nothing else physical, he/she might have some new great methods to help too.  
  • Start a gratitude journal or start noticing the things in life you are grateful for, and do it often. Being thankful and grateful are positive emotions and make you realize what you have (not what you don’t have) 
  • Start a new hobby and the more joy it sparks the better! 
  • Get enough rest. I didn’t think I needed much rest but what a difference going to bed earlier has done for my whole well-being. I am now typically in bed for 10pm or earlier and rest by reading before going to sleep.  
  • Be silly! Find the silly, find all of it. Laughter is hard to come by when you are in a funk, so the more you can find the better it will be for you. Dance! Jiggle your wiggles! Oogie your boogies! Just let go and have fun with it.  
  • Limit your intake of garbage. This includes junk food, processed food, sugary foods/drinks and alcohol. If it doesn’t contribute to your well-being it should be a treat every once in a while, not a daily/nightly/weekly habit.  
  • Talk to others about it. Sometimes it is nice to know you are not alone, so many people are in funks right now. Tell your friends so they can be there for you, and listen to them explain their techniques as maybe it is something that resonates with you more than this list.  
  • Forgive yourself. This is not a forever thing, this is a right now, temporary situation. Be strong and brave and get through it – be a survivor, not a victim.  
  • Exercise with your whole body, mind and spirit. There is a whole science behind how exercise releases these great endorphins that increase happiness, immunity, strength and general well-being. Trust it and do a Pilates work out in the living room.  
  • Don’t give up. If any of these suggestions don’t work for you, keep trying others. You will know when you have found something that makes you smile from the inside out, and when you do, you know the whole journey was worth it.  

Funks are a way our body can tell us we are not aligning with our desired selves. Maybe that means we are not doing enough to fill all our cups, maybe that means we are misaligned with our core values somewhere in our life. The first step is to recognize we are in a funk, do steps to get out to a non-emotional state and then assess. Assess where we could make some changes to positively impact our next chapter.  

When to Enhance a Process

You are a company that is established, you are in the black, and you feel good. Congrats! You have made it, you have successfully been a part of creating a company that is currently thriving. Now what?  

Let me tell you, while you are in an upswing, now it a perfect time to start perfecting. This could be the fine tweaking of your sales strategy, the buy in for the new vision, or simply reviewing your processes for further efficiency and improvement.  

Ideally, you are updating your process on the regular with that great continuous mindset. But let’s be real, you and your team worked hard to get where you are, there has been limited time to really think about HOW you do things, the things needed to get done. So now what?  

If you are in an upswing, have a little extra cash to reinvest in your company, hiring a consultant to review your processes with you could be a great investment to your company, your employees, and your customers.  

Reviewing your processes:  

  1. Do you have your processes mapped? How quickly could someone step in and repeat the same process consistently and successfully? If you don’t have processes mapped, start here! Your business is worth more if you have processes in place that can be followed. This is a turn key solution – what investor isn’t interested in proven repeatable success?  
  2. You have your processes mapped, but they haven’t been looked at or reviewed by anyone in FOREVER. An out of date process is just as useful as no process map altogether. Review them! It is easiest to have someone own this task who understands how to interpret process and put it on paper, understands your software capabilities and can see the big picture to share opportunities.  
  3. Update your processes to match what really happens, start the investigative questions. Identify your waste. There can be so many small wins when an outsider reviews a process. Some easy change or software training that impacts the process minorly, but it really adds up in time, or ease, money, or even enjoyment.  
  4. See the big picture. Align it with the direction you are going. Update your processes to align with your direction, where you are going, ensure there is capacity built into your processes to have each step add value.  
  5. Communicate it. Ensure each stakeholder in a process should be fully aware of their responsibilities (old and new) and be fully on board to own them. Your process maps should have a published home for all to be able to refer to if there are missteps happening in a process or job duties change, or some new is on-boarded.  
  6. Set up a schedule. Now you have shiny new processes, but you want to ensure they are reviewed again in a meaningful and consistent manner. Set up a time of year for each one to be able reviewed and considered for improvement. This could be a time where they all get reviewed, or each department owns their own schedule and reviews their processes throughout the year so it is less of a task to do all at once. Method is your preference at this point.  

Stop dreaming small

The world is your oyster. You can have it all. So many things we say to each other to inspire to shoot for the stars. I may not think we can have it all, but I do think we can have a very large piece of our imaginative pie. I think in order to obtain said delicious pie, you need to stop dreaming small. Instead of dreaming about being your own boss, dream about being THE BOSS leading your successful business and your own team. Level up your dream by thinking a bit bigger.

Your dreams are yours and yours alone, and because of that you make them whatever you choose. I want to inspire you today to take it up a notch, and to look yourself in the mirror and say “why not?”. At the end of our dreams we eventually wake up, and we have the choice to wake up fully with the dream as an inspiration, or a far off fairly tale waiting for some picture perfect actor/actress to play. This could be you right now! Real life person, flaws and all (no need for picture perfect), right NOW. 

Take your dream and start making an action plan to carry it out. A trick I use is to draw a timeline with a start date and end date. I choose today as my start and an end date that has something big I want to achieve. Then I fill in what has to happen and by when to achieve the end goal. It is a visual way to build a plan and also allows you to see if it is achievable, or if you have to outsource some of the action items or move out your end date. Be real with yourself, but also make sure it challenges you. Also, I think most importantly, make sure it excites you. Makes you get a little tingly looking at it, like “Yes! This is what I am going to do, and it is going to be awesome!”

Follow me for more inspiration on joining this new force of Next Leap. Inspiring one good soul at a time to expand themselves to make the next leap in development, in their business, or even simply in self-love. 

Devil’s Advocate – A BA’s Best Friend

A fine dancer has the ability to capture a great audience from the first scene, and holds them through the duration of the show, leaving them feeling sad it is over and has them immediately craving more. She entices them, and wows them with her elegant gestures and movements, all while appearing calm, collected, and completely void of physical and/or emotional pain. 

The same could be argued for a great business analyst (BA). They show up, they gracefully dig for information, asking just the right questions to get a better understanding, all while you thought they were just asking what you were doing this weekend. A great BA knows how to dig, a great BA knows their true best friend is the devil’s advocate. Their role is to find out the heart of a problem, to see all the systems in place that join together to create what is. To see the bigger picture from an external point of view. To constantly ask “Why?”

The devil’s advocate is a noun to describe a person who expresses a contentious opinion in order to provoke debate or test the strength of the opposing arguments. So for the lonely BA making friends can be hard. They are this person who just keeps pushing, they are this person who challenges every idea or whim or process. But that is them doing what they do best. Challenging the norm to ensure the why behind the process or the thought is good enough of a foundation to start building the optimal path forward. 

So next time you find someone who challenges you, asks you why a lot (like that adorable toddler, or the kind BA the boss hired) remember, being challenged solidifies your thinking (to stay the same or otherwise), it gets to the root of an problem or an idea, it is a good thing. It truly helps you grow! And if you ever find yourself with a BA who is not being best friends with the devil’s advocate…get a new one. We should be challenging your status quo, that is our job, or role to serve you, to help you become the better version of yourself you hired us for. 

Your BA, like a fine dancer should leave you feeling fascinated by what has been accomplished, and leave you wanting more. Maybe not today, but more one day. They will be the one you think of when you want to solve a quick problem, or one you think of to help you work through a really complex one. A great BA gains your trust, that trust is built on their good friendship with the devil’s advocate.