Being an entrepreneur is the hardest work I've ever known. My corporate career was easy in comparison! But, having just recently celebrated the ninth anniversary of our company, SkyeTeam, I can’t help but reflect back on all those years. And while a large part of that reflection encompasses the highs and the excitement along the way, it also includes those moments when I’ve been in the doldrums, when my energy has flagged, when I've (briefly) considered doing something different.
Today, as I pause and reflect on how far the company has come since Day 1, I recognize that it’s no wonder my energy has occasionally fizzled, given my -- and our -- many accomplishments.
- Solopreneur to entrepreneur: When I started my human resources and leadership consulting company, it was just me, myself and I, building content, meeting customers and prospective clients and facilitating workshops. I wore multiple hats, and everything needed my attention all the time. Now, there are six of us in the company -- a team to share the workload, and the successes!
- Local to global: Initially, my clients were small, local businesses in the Colorado area. As word spread about our work, and graduates from our leadership programs were promoted and moved to new organizations, we found ourselves being invited to work with organizations across the globe. As of our last count, we’ve worked with more than 3,000 leaders from 20 countries and on four continents.
- Facilitator to professional speaker: With the publication my book, Cultivate: The Power of Winning Relationships, my focus has changed. I’ve moved from concentrating solely on facilitating workshops to being keynote speaker for conferences and corporate events. I love these opportunities to meet and impact a broad range of people. And, as a result, the “follow” on requests for leadership and management development support have enabled my team to travel and work with companies around the world.
- From speaker to writer: My book has prompted invitations to contribute to major publications, and build a broader platform. The discipline of writing monthly articles has resulted in outlines for two new books that will be published in 2017. The list continues to grow.
It would be easy to look at the SkyeTeam’s successes and assume that it was smooth sailing all the way -- but it hasn’t been. I’ve lost and regained my mojo on a number of occasions. Thankfully, the good days have far outweighed the bad.
I know from the countless conversations I’ve had with other entrepreneurs that I am not alone in losing my mojo. I'm not the only one who's found myself fluttering between excitement about my business and feelings that I'm overwhelmed -- and, sometimes, underwhelmed -- by the very idea that the business presents.
So, what can you do if you too find yourself in the dumps? If you’ve (temporarily) lost your mojo?
Marshall Goldsmith, author of Mojo: How to Get It, How to Keep It, How to Get It Back if You Lose It, recommends not waiting for things to change. Instead, he suggests that, “When the facts are not to your liking, ask yourself, ‘What path would I take if I knew that the situation would not get better?’ Then, get ready to do that.'”
So, don’t wait for your mojo to miraculously reappear. Recapture your vim and verve. And recognize that you must take action.
How to do that? No single prescription will work for everyone. However, here are four suggestions that work for me -- and have worked for those around me -- to get you back on track and return a spring to your step:
1. Get 'a shot' of YOU!
Okay, this is not a literal invitation to imbibe, just a metaphorical one. I lose count of the number of phone calls or emails I receive from contacts and colleagues looking for “a shot of Morag.” Normally, I have a very glass-half-full and optimistic outlook on life. When others are feeling down, they call me, and I provide perspective, suggestions and maybe a little humor to help them get back on track.
Unfortunately, “a shot of Morag” doesn’t work for me, personally. It’s like trying to tickle myself -- a futile action. Instead, I’ve discovered and cultivated relationships with my own go-to people whom I can turn to when I’m experiencing self-doubt, or my energy is flagging.
Who are your go-to people that can bring the smile back to your face and your enthusiasm back for business? Give them a call and set up a lunch date!
2. Take a break.
This may sound counter-intuitive, but I’ve found that when the going gets tough, most entrepreneurs tend to work harder, add things to their to-do lists and over-extend to get through a down period. While this may prove a successful strategy on occasion, ultimately it may exhaust us further.
Instead of working harder, then, try taking a break. Play hooky from work, go sit in the park, hang out on the swings, eat some ice cream, go to the movies, drive into the country and have lunch away from the hubbub of your work. Chances are, a short break and distraction will provide you with the opportunity to think, put things into perspective and identify new opportunities or tactics that will get you back on track.
Where’s your go-to place where you can relax and recharge your batteries? It doesn’t have to be a long break! Thirty minutes in a new place can make all the difference.
3. Check your priorities.
When I lose my mojo, the reason may be that I’m working on the wrong things, and my stated priorities are being overlooked. My company is a huge priority for me -- but so are my family and friends and two other passions: ballroom dancing and playing bassoon for a local orchestra. However, the to-do list at work never seems to end, and can quickly become all-consuming.
As a result, it’s these last two “me-first” items -- music and dancing -- that tend to take a hit when things get especially busy at work or on the family front. When I adjust my priorities and make sure that my other passions get care and attention, I find that my mojo and enthusiasm for my work returns.
Where are you spending your time? Take a moment to reflect on your priorities, and then compare these to your calendar. Where might you need to make adjustments to ensure you are working on all your priorities and passions?
4. Let go!
I know budgets can be tight, but trying to do everything yourself may be a significant reason why you feel overwhelmed. I tried to do and be everything for SkyeTeam for a long time -- and in hindsight, for too long. Just because I could do something didn’t mean I should. Letting go of the tasks that I didn’t enjoy or wasn’t as proficient at meant that I could devote my focus and energy to the things I do well, where my mojo is fired up and not chewed up!
Where should you be leaning on professional help instead of doing everything yourself? What is one thing you need to focus on -- and will focus on -- once you choose to let go?
If you find yourself losing your mojo and want to reignite your passion for your business, take charge and change. Don’t just hope things will turn around or wait for the clouds to part. Take action, and make sure that you recapture your sparkle!