Has your career mojo upped and taken an extended vacation without you? You are absolutely not alone. It’s the phrase of the moment, which leads into the question of “purpose” that is popping up everything, including here at Ahead Together. It’s been a long 18 months; we’ve been cooped up at home with varying ideas of “the end” in sight, which then keeps changing and no one really seems to know what’s going on, as the regulations chop and change on a weekly basis.
Because things feel uncertain on a global scale, it is completely normal to feel uncertain in other areas too, maybe it even feels overwhelming, as if it is taking over every aspect of your life, especially your career and when Monday rolls around in its usual big rush, you groan as realise you have to get out of bed and get back to work and you just don’t enjoy it anymore – you don’t like the routine, your work environment, your leadership team or the actual work anymore.
What’s causing this lack of mojo?
We can blame it on the pandemic, but it’s likely that you’ve felt this way for a little while, but you had colleagues, water cooler chats, after work drinks and other environments to distract yourself with. Now that you’ve had so much time to reflect, without the camaraderie of colleagues, you realise that you just can’t re-engage the enthusiasm you once had for your job.
Losing your mojo for your job, or your whole career, feels terrible, it can feel dull and heavy and leave you feeling burnt out and bored. It could even leave you feeling as though you have a whole weather forecast in your head, foggy and dull with little signs of lifting or brightening. It certainly doesn’t inspire you to be creative and proactive and that was probably the hardest part for me, a career-long creative problem-solver.
Then, when you look around, especially social media, everyone else seems to be doing really well so you pile the pressure on yourself and your inner perfectionist keeps coming to visit to remind you of all the things you are doing wrong, or at least not perfectly, so you pile on more pressure and double-down on the work.
It’s really hard to feel motivated about very much when nothing has felt particularly motivational or comfortable for the last 18 months. Even though we in the UK have been allowed out again, things are still very different, and the city streets are still largely deserted compared to what we grew accustomed to. It’s normal to feel despondent with that uncertainty alone but when you add in the “comparisonistis” and perfectionism – you can’t just snap out of it.
Know that you aren’t alone, many people are in the same situation. This isn’t meant diminish how you are feeling, it is a warning that it is in fact time to acknowledge how you are feeling and take the steps required to get your mojo back on track.
Ways to get your mojo back on track
Before we jump in to the steps you can take to get your mojo back, the first consideration when it comes to any kind of introspection is the reminder to give yourself some grace. This means giving yourself the permission you need to feel what you do and to forgive yourself for staying in the situation longer than you should have. It may sound strange, or very “woowoo” to you on first reading but how often do you beat yourself up for the way you feel, the things you do or the things you think? Giving yourself grace is about reminding yourself that you too are human, and humans have ups and downs and change their minds, even about their careers. Giving yourself grace will open you up to the steps that follow.
Second consideration, your health matters. It’s easy to overlook your health when you are wrapped up in a negative situation or feeling, but this is an important time to look after yourself from head to toe. Different feel-good hormones endorphins, dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin) are stimulated by different activities and that means looking after your whole being to create healthy hormone reactions in your body.
Don’t work harder, take a break. If you are feeling exhausted (not just tired from a hectic weekend), forcing yourself to work through it won’t make anything better, you’re likely to make more mistakes and lapses of judgement.
Move your body
Move your body however you like, just get some daily exercise. This will give you an endorphin boost and if you exercise outdoors, you will also get a serotonin and Vitamin D boost. Endorphins relieve stress, while serotonin stabilises our mood and gives a feeling of wellbeing and happiness and vitamin D protects our bodies from infection, it is also a natural mood enhancer.
Your mindset is a crucial element of salvaging your mojo, because if you set yourself in a negative spiral it becomes very difficult to turn it around. Try to reconnect with hobbies and all the things that light you up, whether that’s reading or painting or windsurfing, find and do the things that bring you joy, it is easier to find solutions to life’s problems when you are feeling upbeat and your mood is lighter. Doing the things that you love releases dopamine, which is the hormone responsible for keeping us motivated and helping us to strive, focus and plan.
Do a Brain Dump
This exercise is very powerful, if you are honest with yourself and commit to it fully. You will no doubt uncover many insights you hadn’t previously considered, and possibly solutions.
Get a sheet of paper and write down all the things you can think of when it comes to your career:
- What did your job/ career look like when you had your mojo?
- What do/ did you love about it?
- What’s missing?
- What’s gone wrong?
- Why don’t you like it anymore?
- What’s changed?
- What would the ideal solution look like (winning the lottery is not an answer)?
- Are you ready for something completely new?
- What else would you like to do?
Get in control of your inner critic
Your inner critic is a liar basically. It criticises you to keep you small, so that you don’t get hurt in making the changes or decisions you want to make. But your inner critic is not there to change your current situation, it uses your misery against you as evidence for why you can’t do something, but it’s lying to you. You are absolutely capable of changing your situation and life.
Don’t be afraid to make big changes
Honestly, if you already feel like you’ve lost your career mojo, you probably know that big changes are needed anyway. Remember that a big change could completely turn your situation around.
Reconnect with your purpose
Reconnect with what you want to do rather than what you feel you must do. Many people I have worked with in the past have landed in their current career because their parents wanted them to be a doctor/ lawyer/ accountant/ economist but now that the reality is staring at them down the barrel of 40 years of misery, they know what they were meant for something else and the wait of that reality is devastating for them.
Put anger aside
Don’t be angry with yourself. Things happen and people change, maybe this once was the thing you loved, but as you’ve gained more knowledge and insight, you’ve changed, and you want something else. This is YOUR LIFE; you get to change your mind. About absolutely anything.
Hug someone (or a dog)
Touch is an integral part of human interaction and hugs are a known to release oxytocin, which is responsible for relaxation and decreasing stress and anxiety. For those on their own, hugging a dog also releases this helpful hormone.
Ask for help
Don’t be afraid to ask for or seek out help, whether that is from a boss, colleague, friend, mentor, therapist or coach, the answers are out there and there is plenty of help available to you.
I’m here to help
If you can’t move beyond a slump in your enthusiasm on your own, perhaps there’s something deeper at play. I can help you get back on track and turn your potential into progress, click here to book a discovery session. If you’re not quite ready for a discovery session, then check out the career evaluator workbook here.