Falling Leader: How To Get Your Mojo Back

Life is full of patterns. Recognising them before they punch your lights out can save you a world of painful learning. One of the great joys of business coaching is we get to see (objectively) patterns amongst leader groups and within individuals.

Lately, the pattern has been a painful one:

Losing your mojo as a leader. That means motivation, purpose, self value and willingness to endure all decline. It’s not a unique problem, but it still feels like hell when you’re going through it. So what can you do to boost your mojo and get back on the path?

Falling fast

Leaders (that’s you if you’re reading this) are held to impossible standards. The modern leadership models have changed, but expectations of leaders have only increased. You’re meant to ooze motivation and inspiration, never missing a beat. You’re asked to hold it all together when the ship is sinking and everyone wants to get the hell off of it. Great…

Unlike many other jobs, the leadership hell that infects your mojo is physical, psychological and environmental. This hell can manifest itself in the form of:

  1. Active saboteurs trying to destroy the organisation from within
  2. Disengaged staff who want to live in their silos while everything else is on fire
  3. Widespread panic (ah, that old chestnut), both internally and externally

As these tensions mount, it’s easy to say ‘f*ck it, I just don’t care anymore’.

But is that how you REALLY feel? Is this the end, or have you simply fallen into a mojo lull?

If you’re not sure, the symptoms can look like:

  1. Not caring about things you used to care about
  2. Letting standards drop just to avoid the fight
  3. Avoiding difficult conversations
  4. High levels of agitation, resulting in assault on the wrong people
  5. Doing what your good at, rather than what is going to grow your business
  6. Staring blankly at the wall

No one can blame you for slipping into these patterns, but one of the things that makes an amazing leader is their ability to pull themselves out of it. No one else can do that but you.

Here’s how.

Getting your mojo back

Whether it was coaching a leader through an onslaught of staff sabotage (I’ve had this conversation with dozens of leaders) or recovering from stalled growth engines, if feels the same: like $hit.

Changing jobs, companies or even selling your own business would be easier. It would solve the problem, TODAY. But what about tomorrow? How will you feel six months from now?

When you’re teetering on the edge and the spark is gone, you have to look at what matters. I put together these simple questions to help you reset and make the best decision for you:

  1. Why did I start? Ask yourself why you started. Is that reason still part of what you do and if it is, how do you get back there?
  2. When is it time to quit? It’s easy to feel like it’s time to throw in the towel if you haven’t set your upper and lower bounds. Your upper bound is when have you achieved enough to be happy (feel accomplished) and your lower bound is where you call it quits (because it’s the right thing to do). These should be somewhat measurable and revisited often.
  3. What are your feelings and what are the facts? Leadership is getting the $hit kicked out of you on a daily basis. Not because you’re some martyr, but because the job simply has so many friction points that it’s inevitable. Important to knowing if what you’re doing is worth it is to separate HOW you are feeling from WHAT the facts really are. Don’t let a sour mood ruin things just as you’re about to turn the tide.
  4. Is dawn on the horizon? I love the quoteThe night is always darkest just before the dawn. Leading change can feel a lot like that. You’re on the precipice of greatness and you give up because everything feels too hard. Don’t. You need to assess where things are at to understand if your just about to turn the corner.
  5. What is my rally point? If the whole world is against you, where you can dig in and create a small group of people around you to lead the charge and endure the pain? Stop trying to go solo. It’s a myth and a painful way to run your life. Like Robin Hood, get your band of merry (wo)men and create a movement. People need to be reminded of the cause (as do you).

Now, having taken stock, where’s your mojo at?

You’ve got this, now make it happen.

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