Getting Your Mojo Back
Q: I’m finding myself a bit burned out in my current job and I’m afraid my performance is starting veer off target. What do you suggest I do to get myself back in the groove?
A: We’ve all been there – a slump in our motivation, a distraction in our lives, something that is impacting in a less than positive way how we do our job. And when our drifting mojo starts to show – to others, to our boss – we can quickly find ourselves in trouble. If we like our job and where we work, we need to get our mojo issue fixed- and quickly!
The GOOD NEWS is that RESILIENCY, that ability to bounce back from adversity or to put the mojo back in our lives is not a personality trait, but a learned skill. Yes, some people do it better than others, but that’s because they’ve made bouncing back, keeping themselves in a positive plan, a habit. You can do the same!
Here are some specific behaviors that work for me when I know I’m in a funk and want to get back on track…
- Forgive myself for drifting. The ups and downs of life and work and how we react to them is part of the human condition. It isn’t good or bad, it just is. When I find my motivation waning, I don’t let the condition define who I am. I remind myself that the greatest successes in life are created by people who know how to make adjustments in situations where the less than successful won’t or don’t.
- Take some baby steps. I try to pick one small but doable task, one problem to solve or one area of my performance that needs to improve, and take the first steps to get it done. Changing course is often as easy as starting small and using the momentum of small successes to get the ball going again.
- Make a list. Writing down those things you need to do (i.e. tasks that need get done, problems you need to solve, projects you need to start, etc.), relieves the stress of the unknown and sets the stage for you to think more clearly about what you need to do. A great habit is to end each day by jotting down the list of things to get done tomorrow, and use your time outside of work to let your mind figure out ways to get stuff done. Your mind can often find a solution to tough problems if it knows where it needs to go.
- Visualize positive (not negative) outcomes. Think about the outcomes you are trying to achieve, and visualize yourself achieving them – what it will look like in terms of tangible results; what it will feel like to you. Let your picture of success inspire you to do those things that are part of that vision.
- Control your self talk. Our minds our hard wired to only think one thing at a time. Most of us simply can’t think of something positive and negative at the same time. By focusing on what’s positive about what you’re doing, the negative automatically is put in the back seat. Make sure your “self talk” is all about opportunity, not fear of failure.
- Engage with others. Sometimes just telling someone about a challenge or problem, or asking them for help, will elicit the renewed energy you need to tackle a problem or issue that has you stuck. If you are on a team, find out if others on the team have the same problem and ask them how they have solved it. Don’t be afraid to ask your boss or supervisor for their perspective on what you are doing. Some people are reluctant to reach out to others for help because they don’t want to look weak or unable to get work done on their own. In reality, keeping your challenges to yourself may be creating just the opposite impression. Bosses are often too busy to reach out to you unless you are asking for their help, but will have time to notice when you are stuck and in their minds choosing to stay there.
- Take care of yourself. Eat healthy foods. Make sure you exercise daily. Get the sleep you need every night. Make sure your body has the physical energy it needs to tackle the mental challenges you are working through.
- Revisit your goals – the “whys” behind what you are doing. Think into the future. Remind yourself of why you’ve taken on this particular job or particular challenge. Most times the actual goal is far more important than the finished task. By focusing your energy on the outcome, you can motivate yourself to keep going even when the going is tough.
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