What to do when you’ve lost your leadership mojo and can’t seem to get it back
Have you as a leader experienced a time when things were unfolding with ease, and life at work seemed to be humming along, when suddenly your good fortune came to a screeching halt, and you found yourself feeling stuck?
It’s effortless to be positive when things are going your way, but it’s another thing entirely to find joy when you’re caught in a cycle of frustration. During these times, it’s easy to sink deeper into self-blame, which leaves you agitated and overwhelmed.
So, what can you do when you realize you’ve lost your mojo, and how do you get it back?
Years ago, I found myself struggling with this very question. I hated to admit it to myself, but I couldn’t deny it — for whatever reason, I was energetically and emotionally stuck. My life had been moving steadily, and I was experiencing dramatic leaps in my business. But all of a sudden, the flow seemed to stop.
Money wasn’t coming in, and I found myself struggling to recreate the excitement and anticipation that I had felt. This affected other areas of my life. I wasn’t inspired to exercise as much, nor did I feel as loving or close to my family and friends. Try as I might, I just couldn’t seem to shake the feeling, but with time, I moved through this phase and leaped into a new level of growth.
I’d like to share what I learned so you can apply this when you find yourself stuck.
Tip No. 1
One of the main reasons we get stuck is because we are trapped in an internal conversation about our circumstances that we believe accurately describes reality, but it’s just interpretations. We’re unable to discern what actually happened and what’s real. We then spiral downward as we buy into our perceptions. This is ironically how we experience the exact circumstance that we wanted to avoid in the first place.
I recall a time when I had an injury to what I thought was my hamstring. I couldn’t walk a quarter of a mile without experiencing pain, and everyone I talked to told me how difficult it was to heal from hamstring injuries.
I got caught up in an internal conversation about my injury that sounded something like, “I’m never going to be able to run again or go hiking. I’ll never be able to heal from this injury. Everyone says it’s really difficult, so I’ll probably be injured for the rest of my life.” This cycle of thoughts made me feel hopeless and didn’t motivate me to get help.
But then I realized this was just an internal conversation, and that it wasn’t really true. So, I asked myself what step I felt inspired to take — I called my chiropractor, made an appointment and the next day, I was able to easily walk a mile. Within a week, I was running again.
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Tip No. 2
Difficult situations often require that you surrender to the full range of the feelings and experiences you’re having from your stuck place. There are times when no number of self-help books, advice from loving friends and well-meaning spouses, tools, tips and tricks will work.
During these times, you are being called to surrender and embrace the experience that you’re going through instead of trying to change it.
Consider this as an opportunity for you to go through your situation, without resisting your feelings and emotions, trusting that they will eventually shift as a result of fully experiencing them. You’re probably familiar with the saying, “What you resist persists.” If you’re resisting your feelings, that’s when you usually get stuck with them.
When this happens to me, I give myself permission not to have a perfect day, a perfect week or month (if needed). During these times, I declare — sometimes out loud if I’m by myself — “It’s OK for this day to be imperfect. Today is going to be a perfectly, imperfect day!”
It immediately lessens my resistance to the experience that I’m having and allows my judgments about it to drop. The funk that I was in seems to magically lift; and before I know it, my mood feels lighter, and I find myself back in the flow again.
Tip No. 3
Remember, every situation is an opportunity to hold an internal conversation of possibilities regardless of the current circumstance. The key is to keep your attitude from being shaped by your circumstances and instead to be determined by you.
James Allen, the author of “As a Man Thinketh,” has a wonderful quote in his book: “Circumstances do not make the man; it reveals him to himself.”
On the opposite side of every challenge lies the opportunity for huge breakthroughs and even greater growth for everyone, leaders in particular.
When we hold a grim future, it often follows that we become resigned, unmotivated and stuck in thinking that nothing will make a difference. But when we hold a future of possibility that excites us and we allow our feelings and emotions to flow, we naturally realign back to motivated action. This is true power.