How is your work-life mojo?
This short series of blogs addresses your mojo and more specifically how to reignite your mojo. This current phenomenon of feeling the "low rumble of desire" and lack of verve and charm in our work-life is affecting more people beyond my audience of women returning to work during and after cancer treatment and women continuing to find joy in working after 60. Both these audiences understand the phenomenon very well.
Now we see the long-term effect of working at home and taking caring ourselves or others during the pandemic is affecting our mojo and our confidence in returning to work. Whenever the return-to-work happens and whatever that will look like, we may not feel totally prepared or inspired.
Navigating a return to work after a long absence can be daunting, especially if a new position or a modified position is pursued or presented. Typically, my clients and colleagues rely on networking as a preferred strategy for finding new opportunities. However, with so many furloughs and layoffs, openings and restrictions, competition can be fierce. Add the bias around long-term unemployment and even the most robust and secure mojo can take a hit.
The stigma about long-term unemployment remains whether due to the availability of employment or personal circumstances such as illness, caregiving, a trial period of retirement, or any other personal choice. This is especially true for the more mature knowledge workers. I see this stigma playing out for many people in my coaching practice and more articles exposing the prejudice and discrimination. Bright, highly skilled, and WISE professionals share their experiences and feelings around the stereotypes related to age. Self-doubt and sometimes self-blame crop up in our conversations. Left unchecked, long-term unemployment and the perception of being underemployed (and underrepresented) can suck the air out of our spirit. When this happens our mojo becomes a no go, or as Marshall Goldsmith coined it, “nojo.”
According to Marshall Goldsmith, nojo occurs when we become dispirited and confused. I see this happening right now with two common mistakes:
- waiting for the facts to change or worse, pining for the return to “normal”
- looking for logic in all the wrong places
As a result of these mistakes, we get stuck, stay stuck, or worse, fall behind. These mistakes are mojo traps. Fortunately, we can take healthy action to navigate a successful return to work whether our absence has been due to cancer treatment, the pandemic, caregiving, a trial period of retirement, or any other personal choice.
Watch out for the Mojo Traps
Waiting for the facts to change. When we experience a setback, such as a loss of a job, security, or status, we are prone to wait for the facts to change into something more to our liking. Similarly, when we are given the choice between two undesirable options, we’ll often choose neither. Pining and yearning for ‘what was’ or obsessing about a return to ‘normal’ in this rapidly changing world keeps us in the dark and out of touch with realistic hope and self-responsibility for action. The effects are akin to moving backward.
Instead, consider what action you would take if you knew the situation would not change. Ask yourself, “Which path do I choose?” Or, "What role do I play in changing direction?"
Developing your emotional intelligence in the realm of Decision Making is powerful for being actively engaged in reality testing, impulse control, and problem solving. Make the decision that is best for you and don't jeopardize what you have built for yourself.
Looking for logic in all the wrong places. Have you noticed how much time and energy you spend on finding logic in situations where none exists? We are trained to value logic and therefore, we can fall into this trap quite naturally. However, we need to recognize and accept that sometimes decisions that affect us will be unreasonable, unfair, or unjust.
Check your “reality-testing” skills. Recognize and accept that human beings are profoundly illogical. I, personally, do not believe the platitude "everything happens for a reason". However, I do believe that we have the ability to find renewed purpose in or from what happens. Renewed purpose has a way of igniting our mojo.
We can accept the things we absolutely cannot change, find the courage to change the things we can, and develop the wisdom to know the difference.
- Learn more about the realm of Decision Making in the model of emotional intelligence and the power of reality testing, impulse control, and problem solving.
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- Check out the THRIVE in Work and LifeTM programs. Check out the online mini-course Your Building Blocks to Emotional Well-Being and Resilience.
Here is a list of a few blogs on this topic before and during the pandemic.
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