MOJO: How to Get it, How to Keep It How to Get It Back If You Lose It

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by Marshall Goldsmith with Mark Reiter

When I first started reading this book, I failed to recall that I’d actually attended a workshop lead by Mr. Goldsmith. Several years ago, I attended one of his workshops at the Union League in Philadelphia. It was an awesome workshop. First, I love his presentation style. He is very approachable and has a great sense of humor. Second, the main point of his presentation was about connecting our daily habits with our goals. It sounds really simple, and, in fact, it is! My AHA moment came from the fact that I am like you: I hear the message, but I don’t always implement it. I felt really compelled to put together a list of daily habits that I needed to maintain in order to get to where I wanted to be. No, I’m not perfect; however, I am a lot closer to aligning the majority of my regular expenditures of my time with outcomes that really matter to me. Once I realized who the author was, I read the book as if it was written by an old friend.

The common sense approach to the book made it an easy read and its effectiveness is found in how it compels you to be introspective. Below are some the key take-aways that abide with me. One of the overarching points of that each individual is responsible for doing her own Mojo work; thus, I recommend reading this book with a stack of index cards nearby because it poses thought-provoking questions that you should answer about yourself along the way.

1) Four ingredients make up mojo: your identity (who do you think you are?), achievement (what have you done lately?), reputation (who do other people think you are?) and acceptance (what can you change and what is beyond your control?). You have to be willing to assess yourself and where you stand on these factors; thus, humility is required, particularly if you’re having problems. People with high Mojo at work tend to have it at home (the opposite is likely true as well).

2) Mojo has a counterweight called NOJO. While Mojo is that positive spirit toward what we are doing now that starts from the inside and radiates to the outside, NOJO is that negative spirit toward what we are doing that radiates. If you have Mojo about what you’re doing, it shows.

3) Mojo has both a personal and professional face. Professional Mojo consists of the skills and attitude you bring to an activity. Personal Mojo comprises the personal benefit you derive from an activity. There are five qualities that you need to fully deliver with Mojo: motivation, knowledge, ability, confidence and authenticity. You must fire on all five cylinders to be effective. In order to achieve these qualities, you have to do the work to identify what really matters to you. Your Mojo changes with your role and task.

4) Very few people achieve positive, lasting change without on-going follow up. You need somebody to help you be accountable. You can increase your own accountability by sharing your goals with other people. It puts them on notice to expect change. For example, if you recognize that you are chronically late, share with someone that you’re working to change that habit. From that point forward, they’ll be watching, and you need a little pressure!

5) You must balance short term satisfaction with long term benefits relative to how you spend your time and the work/projects you assume. If you go too far in either direction, you’re going to have problems. You need short term satisfaction for motivation; however, some things in life require sacrifice. You can’t live too much in either box.

6) Be aware of the Mojo Killers: overcommitting, waiting for the facts to change, looking for logic in all the wrong places (my personal short-coming), bashing the boss, refusing to change because of “sunk costs” and confusing the mode you’re in.

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