Well, hi there, mojo. God, did I miss you. I’m so glad you came home again. Here. Have a French pastry. Sit down; stay awhile.
So, this winter I spent a lot of time chasing happiness and actively attempting to de-stress. Why? Because I was feeling overwhelmed and anxious…so much so, in fact, that I started grinding my teeth in my sleep.
I mean, I have a small business that I’ve managed to run for two-ish years. And I spent last summer hiking in freaking-amazing places like the Alps. And I found a way to have a flexible life that allows me to work, play, hang out with my awesome dog, and also see the world.
I should be the happiest person in the universe.
But that’s the big secret: happiness really isn’t about the checklist of stuff you want. It’s about your emotional well-being.
And emotional well-being is the kind of thing that spirals in one direction or another. Once you start feeling unhappy, it’s really easy to tack on unconfident, unimportant, uninteresting, and all manner of other uns. And they’re pretty much untrue.
But you can’t see that when you are living in them.
Anyway, so somewhere along the way, my Mojo decided it was fed up with this unhappiness and un-good attitude, and it moved out.
Packed up its little Mojo bags and moved right on out of my life.
I started apologizing more. I worried about what everyone was thinking. I had a hard time making real decisions. My anxiety peaked.
Obviously, that was not an ideal state of being. I wanted to be sexy, confident, and passionate again. I wanted to move that kooky little Mojo right back into my life. I wanted joy and love.
So, yeah. I made Confidence-Getting one of my new year goals.
I knew the first step was to get the hell outta dodge. You see, I was hanging out back in Colorado and California when things started going downhill. And there’s just something about America that plucks the dusty strings of my anxiety, especially around election time.
The U.S. has a certain frenetic energy. It’s go-go-go. Work-work-work. There’s always someone honking for me to get out of their way. Always somewhere we all need to be right-this-instant-omg-now!
For a type A entrepreneur who already operates at a high anxiety level, it’s downright overwhelming (OMG, YOU’RE RIGHT, HONKING BUSY GUY…I NEED TO DO ALL OF THE THINGS RIGHT NOW).
So there was that. Which is a stark contrast after you’ve spent four months hanging out in I’m-taking-a-two-hour-lunch-to-drink-wine-and-take-a-nap Europe.
So the moment my 90 days outside the schengen zone were done, I boarded a plane and flew back to Europe. Even though I had two weeks left on my California lease.
The quieter pace of Europe was just what the doctor ordered. But location wasn’t the only issue (obviously). I also had to work through some of my emotional crap. I had to start focusing on the positive rather than the unknown. Instead of wondering why a new client hadn’t called yet, I should focus on last week when that same new client said I was a dream to work with. Instead of feeling insecure when things outside my control went wrong with a project, I needed to focus on all the things within my control, which were vastly more important than tech hiccups and client time mix-ups.
In other words, I needed to take a deep breath and remind myself that I am really excellent at what I do. And no silly technical malfunction was going to change that.
My therapist dug even deeper into it than I did (which is why she’s awesome), identifying that one of the real problems here is that I had an All or Nothing mindset. I was feeling like one small mishap would make or break my life (which simply isn’t true) and so I was micro-managing everything, watching for those mishaps, feeling totally overwhelmed.
She asked me to write down an authentic, positive response to reframe the all-or-nothing craziness (my word, not hers) going on in my head. And I took a step back, thought about what I’d say to my little sister if she came to me with this problem, and had a lovely epiphany.
Life isn’t pass-fail, I said.
Perhaps it sounds elementary to you, but it was revolutionary for me. Sometimes I feel like I’m the one holding the whole world together and I’m not allowed to get tired, to take a break, to relax. Because if I do, then I’ll fail at life.
Which is silly. Because you can’t fail at life. (Well, except maybe if you’re Hitler. Then you probably can.)
But that’s how All-or-Nothing feels. Like one tiny detail could knock you over the edge into full-on failure.
Anyhow, after that little epiphany, I started reminding myself daily, making it my mantra. And wouldn’t you know it, slowly, ever so slowly…kind of like a deer tentatively making its way toward a stream, my Mojo crept back into my life.
First, I started to forgive myself for being tired or for not having 10 contingency plans for technical mishaps. I started to remind myself of the value I bring to the table. I’ve worked on projects that created jobs, investment, amazing business success stories. I get emails from people telling me they’re inspired to go after their dreams. Against all of the starving artist odds, I became a writer. One who makes a living doing what she loves.
Boy, do I have a lot to be grateful for. And boy do I have a lot to pat myself on the back for.
Far too often, I am too modest to say Hey, I did that! And it was fucking awesome!
So I stopped being so modest. At least with myself. Because if you can’t toot your own horn to yourself, who can you toot it to? (Try saying that ten times fast.)
Then, I shifted my focus.
Usually it’s on love, but somewhere along the way, what with the insecurity and all, it had shifted onto me. So I shifted that sucker back. Because this isn’t about me. Sure, I want to love and forgive and trust and promote myself. But really it’s about people. And when you’re laser focused on loving everyone around you—clients and colleagues and friends and new acquaintances and the guy who serves your morning pastry—there’s not a whole lot of time to spend worried about whether your client is annoyed with you because your phone cut out.
In other words: I’ve got bigger, higher things to think about.
And so Mojo moved back in. Because who wouldn’t want to move back into a place full of love and joy and self-forgiveness?
And that’s the point: looking to get your own Mojo back? It’s a process. It’s hard. It takes a lot of re-framing. But the bottom line is that it all starts with and ends with and is full of love.
Like we suspected.