Leaders lose their mojo too

Staying ‘positive’ is hard. Staying ‘up’ is harder. And staying ‘happy’ all the time is nearly impossible. As a leader, when you are on… you are on. And when you aren’t… life is tough. A leader asked me about this in a coaching session yesterday, and the question was ‘how do I get my motivation back?’ 

For me, motivation is linked to mojo. The definition of mojo is around influence, it is about a magical power that allows you to be your best, and to get into a flow state. Mojo and motivation go hand in hand with each other. Because when you are motivated, you find your superpower as a leader, and you feel like you can change the world. And you find your flow. 

But without either of these two elements of your psyche, leadership is lonely. Leadership is long and drawn out, and leadership is thankless.  

My answer to this question, when I was asked it, was too long winded. Having mojo is like the thing that I pride myself on. Staying ‘pumped’ and positive is my thang. Although over that last 18 months, I have had to work harder on it, here is the bullet pointed version of my answer, and then I will follow that up with some ideas on how you can get your mojo back as a leader, if you have lost it. 

  • I was nearly killed at work, so I know that life is precious – each day is not guaranteed (you could have this mindset, too – you don’t need to be blown up in a switchboard to be positive each day) 
  • Triathlon is a big part of my life, and there is always an event coming up – having an event to train for has been the game (life) changer for me (this is the one thing that has turned me from fatigued to focused) – triathlon is part of my identity now
  • I exercise 6 days per week, some days twice, to keep my body moving, and to increase my VO2 max (this is one marker of longevity it has now been shown) – mine is 48 (my fitness age is 20) 
  • Finishing showers with cold water is also a daily activity, as is jumping into our pool after training, for the cold shock 
  • I meditate most days (quiet time is crucial) 
  • I use red light therapy most days (infrared rays help my thinking, circulation, and inflammation) 
  • I measure my sleep, religiously, and aim for 8 hours of sleep per night 
  • I do yoga at least once per week 
  • My resting heart rate is in the 40s (today it is 49) – which I also review regularly 
  • I aim for a two and five diet (2 serves of fruit and five of vegetables) per day – I have always struggled with my weight, so this is a big deal keeping it in check 

And there is probably more.  

When I looked at the above list, and as we were having the coaching conversation, I had to pull myself up, because I was doing all the talking. Which isn’t a great thing for a coach. What I realised what that all the above things are not even work related… 

Of the things that I would say helps me stay pumped, I had listed a heap of things, and my work hadn’t come into it. That is symbolic, as what we do outside of work can have a huge impact on what we do at work. And as leaders. 

I am lucky that I have a mission, not a job, so mojo and motivation is not a huge challenge for me personally. I exist to help leaders to Upgrade their mindset, Upskill their leadership, and Uplift their teams to create high performing and psychologically safe teams! That is enough to keep me totally focused. 

So, what can leaders do to get their mojo or their motivation back? 

1. Get your life in order before you even think about your leadership 

There is no such thing as work life balance. There is only life, and leadership. You are at home, or you are at work leading others. Hoomanz only have between three and four items of working memory available to them in their frontal lobes, so anything going on in your life will take up working memory. And affect your ability to lead. 

I could say do self-care, but that is too broad. Most leaders dismiss this as a waste of time, so let’s make this paragraph more meaty… do what it takes to sort out (with control or with conversations) anything outside your leadership that is taking up your working memory and affecting your ability to lead. 

The control piece is about controlling your sleep, your diet, your exercise, your breathing, your routines. If you struggle to exercise, sleep in your gym gear. Put it in your schedule. Control your routine. The conversations piece is about having those discussion that will clear your mind, and free up emotional and mental space.  

The space that you need during your workday to be the leader that your team needs. 

2. Do a leadership stocktake to understand what is demotivating you 

Sometimes getting motivating doesn’t actually mean adding something or finding something (presuming you did point 1 properly). Getting your mojo back might mean removing something from your leadership activities. Like allocating a task to someone. Like understanding what takes up your non-productive time.  

Are you scrolling? Are you surfing (the interweb)? Are you sulking (at least some of the time). 

And remember you need to do this with an open mind. Don’t dismiss this one and say that there is nothing you could let go of or change. There always is. If you are committed to more motivation and mojo, get this exercise done! 

It is only when you can be clear on what is affecting your attitude that you can address it. 

3. Know that you need to check yourself at the gate  

Leadership is the second most important job on planet earth (after parenting), so it is important that you bring your best self to work as much as hoomanly possible. That won’t be every day, but it does need to be most days. 

The big trick that I learnt about leadership (and work in general, really) is that the front gate or the building entrance isn’t there to keep you in, it is to keep others out.  

We are lucky that we get to lead others. It is a responsibility. It is a privilege.  

And we need to remember that every morning or afternoon, or whenever we go to the office or the site. And we need to choose our attitude on a daily basis. Choose how you feel and choose to show up in service.  

In summary, life first, then leadership, do a leadership stocktake, and check yourself at the gate!  

And please click the image below if you’d like to chat about what leadership means to you.

If you would like to learn more about Anton or The Guinea Group, please click hereto book into Anton’s calendar, to:

UPGRADE your Mindset
UPSKILL your Leadership
UPLIFT your Teams

About Anton

Anton has dedicated his working life to helping leaders to upgrade their mindset, upskill their leadership, and uplift their teams! With a focus on helps leaders to better lead under pressure. Anton is an entrepreneur, speaker, consultant, bestselling author and founder of The Guinea Group. Over the past 19 years, Anton has worked with over 175+ global organisations, he has inspired workplace leadership, safety, and cultural change. He’s achieved this by combining his corporate expertise, education (Bachelor of HR and Psychology), and infectious energy levels.
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