noun. a magic charm, talisman, or spell; influence, especially magic power.
I hear this phrase a lot: “I’ve lost my mojo”.
When we lose our mojo we can often lack energy, lack enthusiasm, lack self-belief, lack self-confidence or lack direction. We could say that losing our mojo is when we feel less successful. I would say it is also when we feel less in control.
We then make a concerted effort to hunt for our mojo. We track it down, we find it (again) and we grab it with both hands so that we do not lose it again.
But we know the cycle will be repeated at a later stage…
I have lost my mojo several times over the years. I have lost my mojo for a number of different reasons. But when I reflect on the conditions and variables that have led to me losing my mojo there are some trends that begin to appear…
I lost my mojo in 2004, when I had just finished my NQT year. I had come into the sector full of hope and optimism, but had taken a role in a school that was not the right fit for me. I had also lived in Kent for longer than I had planned and needed a change in scene. So I resigned.
I lost my mojo in 2007, when I realised the school I was working at was complacent. I was slogging my guts out to raise standards in my subject areas, but the leadership was not strong enough across the school and the school was not improving. I cruised on TES one day and applied for a sideways move just before the deadline closed. Less than 7 days later I had a new role and was resigning.
I lost my mojo in 2010, when male leaders without moral compasses, kept getting promoted around me. I could not get my head around the fact that they were cheating on their partners but being rewarded with pay rises and bigger roles. I became frustrated and lost my sense of belonging. So I resigned. The Headteacher talked me around and made me an offer to stay, which I did. I was promoted quite soon after this and joined SLT for the first time.
I lost my mojo in 2013, when I went through a nasty break up with an ex. I survived by throwing myself into my new role/ promotion. My personal failure became my professional success. But a few years in to the role I came up for air and resented how much time I was spending working. I had healed and was ready to find personal success again. As my focus swung back to my love life, I started dating again, and I began to scrutinise my professional sphere.
I lost my mojo in 2016, as cracks began to appear in my professional sphere. More accurately, I could see the cracks that had been there, but as I had been so head down for so long I had not seen them appear. I realised it was no longer a good fit. So I resigned. I also broke up with the guy I had been seeing, so I applied for a promotion out of region and planned to relocate.
I lost my mojo in 2019, when I had poured my heart and my soul into my headship. My sense of belonging was not stable in the trust I had moved to. My values were not being mirrored in the wider culture. I had given more than I had left in my reserves and did not feel supported… so I resigned.
Looking for patterns and connections, I can see that my mojo comes and goes in surges, in 3 year cycles. I can also see that my mojo is linked to my sense of personal and professional self. I seem to swing from having personal mojo to professional mojo, and back again.
I have had a successful career and I have a happy life. I rarely lack energy, enthusiasm, self-belief, self-confidence or direction but my mojo coming and going seems to be a regular ebb and flow of my life. My mojo is also very much wrapped up in my sense of belonging, my sense of identity and my sense of worth.
How do I feel when I lose my mojo?
I can feel depleted, overwhelmed, stressed-out, tired, bored or lethargic at times. Once I lose my mojo, it can be hard to find the motivation to reclaim it. But I can’t remain in that mojo-less place for too long, because that is when my mental health and wellbeing will begin to suffer.
Losing my mojo is a bit like treading water, I need to do it for a while to rebalance, but I then need to push on and through. I need to keep my head above the water and keep momentum going in the direction of travel.
How do I regain my mojo?
When I lose my mojo I need to decompress by recalibrating, rebalancing and reframing. I then need to anchor what I can control and make values-based decisions to take action.
I need to turn the volume up on my internal voice and the volume down on the external ones to drown them out so that my intuition guides me.
Do I lose my mojo or do I let it go as I know it will come back to me?
As someone who likes to control things, as someone who throws themselves into things wholeheartedly, as someone who can manage change well, my mojo appears to be a boomerang that returns to me quite quickly when I make the right decisions.
My mojo is ultimately fuelled by the choices I make. My mojo is reset and reenergised when I ask for what I need or when I walk away from things that do not serve me.
How do I help others regain their mojos?
I have been coached and have coached others for several years now and a series of themes always come up in these conversations which I will use the RLE language to explain:
Clarity of direction – individuals who have lost their map so they are lost on their journeys and they need to reminded about who they are, the values that guide them and the impact they are having/ have had. We work on encouraging them to be a bit bolder in their goal setting.
Awareness – individuals who are allowing others to define them, or who are feeling trapped in an environment which is not enabling them to flourish. We work on their self-awareness to rediscover their motivations, to realign their passion and their purpose.
Presence – individuals who are feeling invisible, who are not being listened to or who are feel like they puppets and that someone else is pulling their strings. We work on their sense of self and remove the blockers that are compromising their authenticity.
Resilient decision-making – individuals who are feeling disempowered, who are lacking the courage and the confidence to make the choices that will change their situations. We work on their ability to think outside of the box and review their options by creating solutions to the problems we have identified.
I also often encourage others to reflect on their Ikigai, as I have done a lot in the last few years, as a means of returning to that sense of passion and purpose which fuels them.
When our Ikigai is in alignment, we are successful. When we are successful we are energetic and enthusiastic. When we have mojo we reap the benefits of staying true to our values and of making good choices.
Earlier this year I was accredited as a RLE consultant and I use this framework in my coaching to help people peel back the layers and rediscover who they are. I have become a RLE evangelist and I have shared this coaching accreditation opportunity with my network for others to train to use.
Mandy and I have just completed the train the trainer together for the RLE ‘Regaining Your Mojo’ programme which we are piloting as co-facilitators in January.
You can find out more/ book to join us on this 5 week programme with a bonus taster session here.