Coffee Meets Bagel CEO Dawoon Kang On The Importance Of Being Vulnerable At Work

Dawoon Kang is the co-founder and co-CEO of Coffee Meets Bagel, a dating app designed to curb swipe fatigue and give users a more curated online dating experience, which she started with her sisters in 2012. In 2015, Kang and her sisters appeared on Shark Tank, where they famously declined Mark Cuban's $30 million offer for their company in the hopes of growing their business to one day rival the size of Match. Here's how she feels powerful...

I feel most powerful when...

I am able to preserve my inner peace (or at least get back to it quickly) in times when multiple problems arise. I do this by starting my day with a ritual called the Morning Miracle, which consists of six things: meditation, exercise, affirmation, visualization, reading, and writing. At night, I wind down by stretching and sharing my daily gratitude with my sister Arum.

Power to me means...

Allowing yourself to be vulnerable, even when it’s hard. I love this quote by Brené Brown: “Our ability to be daring leaders will never be greater than our capacity for vulnerability.” You can allow yourself to be vulnerable by doing things like raising issues, setting boundaries, saying no, asking for help, and not shying away from uncomfortable conversations. It’s not about over-sharing — vulnerability is an emotion that we experience during a time of uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure.

What do you do when you feel powerless?

I seek help. I speak to my therapist. I speak to my coach. I listen to podcasts of people I admire (yes, Oprah!). I turn to self-care (sleeping, eating right, massages, facials, solo travel) because it usually means I haven’t been taking care of myself.

What's your power anthem?

The Impact Theory podcast. Tom Bilyeu is one of my heroes and I love what he is trying to achieve through his company. The next Elon Musk can come out of anywhere in the world, regardless of where you were born or how you were raised. I come out all pumped up whenever I listen to one of his episodes. He has taught me to not dwell on thoughts that don’t move me forward.

Who's your power icon?

Brené Brown. Having the courage to be seen as who we are, the gifts and imperfections and all, that’s power. I love her call to embrace the duality within us — that we can feel brave and scared at the same time, be a masterpiece and work in progress at the same time — it's okay and very human.

What do you wear when you want to feel powerful?

When I want to feel powerful, I make sure to wear clothes that are a) classic, and b) comfortable. That way I never feel self-conscious that what I’m wearing isn’t “on-trend,” and I’m not distracted by too-tight pants, itchy tags, or a shirt I keep having to adjust. I can just focus on what really matters (which definitely isn’t my outfit). One of my go-to brands is ADAY because their clothing is seasonless, simple yet stylish, and comfortable.

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