I have felt rather uninspired about my job as of late. My work has always been a rather large part of ‘who’ I considered myself to be, perhaps too much so. Twenty-two years with the same company, I had risen through the ranks and taken on some remarkable positions that I am quite proud of. I had shown vision and independence and was rewarded for such.
For some significant personal reasons and some other budgetary writings-on-the-wall in the future of that company I chose to make a change. I went to work for another entity entirely on a related project. The shell shock was immediate and something I am still recovering from.
I did not flitter off to conquer the world again like I had envisioned. Instead I brooded, stewed and regretted what I had done. Instead of diving in and trying to see my way through a new puzzle with a can-do attitude I looked for, and easily found, endless reasons why this new culture and circumstance was ill fitting for me. I had lost my Mojo.
Recently while returning from a business trip I brooded and walked through a book store waiting for a flight and happened on the book by Marshall Goldsmith called Mojo, How to Get It, How to Keep It, How to Get It Back If You Lose It. I typically shy away from inspirationals because I find them anecdotal and over simplified but after thumbing through it I decided I was feeling low enough to settle at the moment.
On the flight home I got half way through and felt some sparks coming back. I could suddenly see how my own attitude was reinforcing itself and making the self-defeating situation worse. In one chapter he coins the phrase Nojo. We all have seen it. The clerk that makes it obvious they hate their job, never smiles, barely looks at you as they hand your change back and is basically glad to get you out of their hair. Conversely there is the clerk that is friendly and seems to actually acknowledge you are human, offering other purchase opportunities that you actually consider simply for being asked. The Prior has Nojo, the latter Mojo.
The Author lists the basic qualities of both “Jo’s as follows:
Take responsibility Play the victim
Move Forward March in place
Run the extra mile Satisfied with the bare minimum
Love doing it Feel obligated to do it
Appreciate opportunities Tolerate requirements
Make the best of it Endure it
Zest for Life Zombie-like
I determined I had Nojo.
In one antidote he talked about a Greek businessman that blamed his gruff manner on his heritage and no longer made any attempt to soften the edges that kept him form promotion.
In another example the author talked about the time he met Bono, of the band U2, and how he was someone that when offered a chance to help raise money for a humanitarian effort did so while avoiding opportunities to blame others.
“In his after dinner speech, Bono did not take cheap shots at politicians, government, or anyone else – even when several politically charged questions from the audience made the opportunity very temping. He was clearly there to raise money, not to appease one side’s political views over another. His desire to help others far exceeded his need to be smart or fashionable… He isn’t pretending to be a humanitarian. He is a humanitarian, and he is incredibly disciplined about how he presents this newfound identity to the world.”
I will take his word about Bono. Being selfless to an idea is certainly obvious to others as opposed to simply trying to puff up ones identity.
A question posed in the book was about intelligence in the form of the Brain Pill Question:
“You are offered a Brain Pill. If you swallow this pill, you will become 10 percent more intelligent than you currently are; you will be more apt at reading comprehension, logic and critical thinking. However, to all other people you know (and to all future people you meet), you will seem 20 percent less intelligent. In other words, you will immediately become smarter. But the rest of the world will perceive you as dumber (and there is no way you can ever alter the universality of that perception). Do you take the pill?”
There was no right answer. In fact the point ended up being that the right answer might be dependant on the situation at hand. What is more important? Being right with dimished reputation, or making a choice that may not be the best, but because of increased reputation succeeds. How important is your reputation to the decision?
These were all interesting points and I managed to skim half way through the book on my trip. Perhaps I will finish it next time. However I did begin to realize that I had treated more than just my job with Nojo. It had invaded my personal life too. Did I want to wallow in all the things that are wrong, or move forward? Do I want to spring out of bed and bring others along with me on the joyous trip that is life, or leave them uninspired?
I had let down people I loved by not moving and doing what needed to be done. I see this and want to break the cycle. Changing is hard and will not happen overnight. It will take time and effort. I want to start with doing little things. Make a sketch of something in my future that inspires me. Avoid lamenting and wondering why I made the mistakes I have. The effort is constant and not easy and something I have to learn to correct myself on continually.
I am trying to get my Mojo back. It comes and goes depending on the hour of the day. But I have confidence that I will find it, and the spark that caused that skip in my step that really makes me who I am, and regardless of outcome, is my measure of success.