At least that’s how Austin Powers referred to his “magic” in the movie trilogy, and it’s the term I use for my inspiration or motivation toward my work. How do you maintain your mojo?
Many of us find it difficult to maintain a high level of motivation on a consistent basis and, as the years progress, we find it difficult to get back in touch with the true meaning of it all, making it that much harder to feel motivated. In this week’s blog, I thought I’d make a random list of methods for getting back in touch with our inspiration and motivation:
• Regain your vision and purpose. This time of year is the perfect time to do it, with the promise of a fresh start ahead in 2009! To gain some clarity, schedule time away from your day-to-day activities and answer these questions on a blank piece of paper. If you’re in a partnership, include your partners or other key leaders in the exercise:
o What is the central purpose of my work? What difference do I make for my clients, fellow leaders and team members?
o Why am I uniquely suited to do this work?
o What do I love about my work? What do I wish were different?
o If retirement is on my horizon, what is possible in my life when I get there? What is the most powerful and positive way that I could leave my work place?
o What do I want to accomplish in the next year?
• Regularly unclutter your head. Write down your work to do for this week in detail and prioritize it by day. Identify all of the deliverables or other tasks that you can commit to handle this week and then reset expectations on any other commitments you have pending that just can’t happen this week. Then, let it all go from your mental reminder bank. It’s hard to feel motivated when you keep being interrupted by mental reminders of all of the stuff that you owe others.
• Exercise. At some point, I’ll write an entire post about how to maintain your exercise mojo, but for now, suffice it to say that it is so much easier to tackle difficult projects or conversations when your energy is up and your endorphins are flowing. If you lack motivation, tie on a pair of tennis shoes and go for a walk (or run, if you’re crazy about it like I am!). Nothing can re-center you on your work like exercise can and not much matches it for making you feel better about yourself, either.
• Plan to work when you’re flowing. There’s a time management concept called “flow,” which is the period when your creative and problem-solving energies run highest and you’re able to really produce. For me, my ideal flow period is between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. – not “normal” working hours for most, but it is the time that I am able to produce my best work. Figure out when your flow period is and schedule your biggest blocks of uninterrupted work and toughest projects to occur then.
• Take a break. Inspiration isn’t easily forced. If you’re not feeling it, move away from the project, problem or person and give yourself a real break to re-energize (by exercising, working on something else, running an errand, etc.). Usually, your mind will appreciate the opportunity to let go for a while and you’ll find that you’re more motivated to address the issue when you return.
• Remember your good fortune. Then share it. For most of us, our work is a privilege. We’ve been given unique gifts that enable us to make a difference for others and we’re blessed to do the work that we do and get paid for it. But somehow, we allow our internal dialogue and complaints about commitments, deadlines and challenges to talk over the gratitude and grace that make up such a large part of our motivation.
So, those are my ideas for maintaining your mojo. Please share some of your mojo-maintenance ideas with us, and let us know where your inspiration and motivation stand by taking this simple poll:
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