A thought for May from Your Critical Friend

It is May. What a gorgeous month, especially this year. The gardens may be short of water but the plants are looking wonderful; the flowers are fantastic. Sometimes the sun is shining and people are happier – except maybe those students facing exams. We are planning barbeques and getting out into the fresh air. Holidays beckon. Life feels good.

Except I have recently started work with a couple of clients for whom life does not feel good. They have come to me asking whether I can help them find their mojos. For some reason, they do not understand, they have misplaced their motivation and life is dreary – same old, same old.

If you work for someone else one of their leadership tasks is to keep you motivated. If you have employees, colleagues, associates then it may be your job to keep them motivated. However, whichever way we look at it we are each responsible for our own motivation; for getting ourselves out from under the duvet each morning and for giving our work and our lives one hundred per cent of what we are. When we feel good about what we are doing the world is a great place. Each day is a new and wonderful gift. Without your mojo life is not such fun, more of a chore.

Why do mojos sometimes go missing?

It seems to me there are three principal reasons:

  1. We are not doing the things that we are passionate about
  2. We have let the balance slip so there is too much SMOG (Should, Must, Ought, Got to) and not enough “I love it” on our To Do lists.
  3. There is just too much to do and too many other people who are demanding things from us – life feels out of our control.
What are you passionate about?
  • Is it the work itself? The hands-on stuff. Using your creativity and skills to produce something of which you are proud.
  • Is it the result of the work? What it does for others? Making life or work easier or more fun.

It is usually one or the other. What is it that excites you? Go back to when you started. What took you in the direction you now follow? Look for that passion again. Once you have found it then nurture it, blow on the embers. Nothing can survive without food and care. You are a plant that needs good soil, sunshine, water and food. Your mojo needs attention.

Then be honest, what is getting between you and doing that thing? One of my mantras is do what you enjoy and are good at, delegate the rest.  Focus on whatever it is that gives you joy. Or is it because you have got stale? Could it be you are no longer challenging yourself? Your skills are good and you are resting on your laurels rather than stretching yourself and seeing how far you can go. Should you be setting yourself new targets and venturing into less familiar territory? Staying in your comfort zone all the time can become boring. Once bored we start to feel miserable.

Sometimes we need to remember what we do that is unusual and great. We take our own skills and abilities for granted. We need to remind ourselves how exceptional we are. I am passionate about people keeping affirmation diaries. We overlook our triumphs and successes because we focus on what we did poorly, not at all or could do better. We run ourselves down by not catching ourselves doing something right. We do not hear people telling us what a good job we did or how talented we are. Take five minutes at the end of every day to think of three things you did well and capture them for ever by writing them down. Find something every day that brought pleasure into your life and congratulate yourself. Remember how to look for something good rather than something that could be improved. This is where we brag!

Sometimes we need to go right back to basics and look at what would deliver something new and different to our clients; things they do not even know they need until we do it. And this something will challenge us and remind us how special we are.

Sometimes we also need to do things for other people. Just recently I have been around businesses who are taking their social responsibility very seriously and adopting charities where they want to help make a real difference to people disadvantaged by horrible circumstances. The sponsoring business has people excited by doing something different and not just for profit and the charity is excited by a sponsor that has great ideas and makes doing stuff look easy.

Sometimes we need to discover our own inner voice again and listen to it rather than cave in to all the other demands that those around us try to put on us.

Sometimes we need to re-orientate ourselves and make sure we are around people from whom we can catch excitement; people who love life and radiate lots of positive vibrations. If there are miserable people in our lives do we really need them?

So, if your mojo has gone missing go looking for it. Find your passion again and give it time to re-excite you. Or develop it to relight your fire. Or find an enthusiast to enthuse you. Or try working with other people to share what you find easy to do to help them on their way. Look at the balance in your life and see whether you are too much at other people’s beck and call rather than pursuing those activities that refresh and nurture you.

None of this is original.  Yes, people use the term work/life balance to describe this. I do not. It is much more important than that. This is about nurturing your essence and always growing, becoming superlative in those areas where you have very special talents and enjoying the buzz that this gives you. And if your mojo refuses to be found come to me and let me help.

If this has been interesting, please share it. If you are thinking of working with a mentor, please chat with me about what you are hoping to achieve. I might be the right person for you or I can help you find someone who is. In the meantime, life is good; let’s live it to the full and be the best we can be.