How I Got My Mojo Back

Feb 25, 2013    /    my location-independent career, philosophy


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.

Ridiculous, right?

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.


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  • Montecristo Travels (Sonja)
    February 25, 2013

    Oh love love love this post and EVER so timely. If ever you get in that headspace again Skype me woman!

    I hear you. I do. Ever word resonated. Been there… and sadly still do from time to time. What I can tell you is that this awareness you now have will serve. It will allow you to stay there less for shorter spats and return to you happy place quicker.

    You are incredible young lady. Don’t ever let that Mojo – or yourself – forget it.

    Montecristo Travels (Sonja) recently posted…Travel and the Perfect Canine HarnessMy Profile

    • gigigriffis
      February 25, 2013

      Thank you!

  • Deb
    February 25, 2013

    Oh Yes! You are back on target. Whenever I lose myself I say to myself, “Keep your eye on the ball.” and that’s exactly what you’re doing! Congrats on the reconnect of those sparking synapses. This was a wonderful post!

    • gigigriffis
      February 25, 2013

      Thanks, Deb!

  • Ali
    February 25, 2013

    Gigi, I can so totally relate to this! I tend to have that all or nothing attitude about things too, and it can be exhausting. I spend way too much time and energy focusing on the negative instead of the positive. You’re right, it’s way too easy to slip up and lose your confidence and everything is downhill from there. Thanks for sharing this, it helps to know it happens to other people.
    Ali recently posted…Simple Australia ItineraryMy Profile

    • gigigriffis
      February 25, 2013

      It is exhausting! And it is nice to know we’re not alone. Hear, hear.

  • Marina Reede
    February 25, 2013

    this is such a fabulous concept! thanks for sharing this :) (i’m enjoying your posts since i learned about you from WanderingEarl)

    • gigigriffis
      February 25, 2013

      Thanks and you’re welcome! (Awesome – welcome!)

  • Catherine Jennings
    February 25, 2013

    Thank you SO MUCH for sharing this. These last several months my mojo has left for vacation and my anxiety levels or depression (depending on the day) has taken its place. I totally get what you said about the good ole USofA. Things are out of control and to make matters worse, I live in Philadelphia (major urban city) where lifestyle is fast, competitive and expensive. I opened up a resale store a few months ago and I am being soooo hard on myself, expecting things to take off immediately in a smooth and perfect way (HA!)

    So, let’s move onto the good news. First, I am TOTALLY aware that things are off-kilter, so denial is not in the picture. I am wrapping my head around the fact that I cannot control everything and, at the end of the day, probably don’t even care to. I also am understanding that – even though it’s not my goal – failures are ok … they need to be turned into learning and growth opportunities.

    So, sorry to bend your (and everybody else’s ear), but your post could not have come at a better time and thank you, again :)

    • gigigriffis
      February 25, 2013

      So glad that the timing was so perfect! :) It sounds like you’re on the right track toward getting that mojo back. And I totally know what you mean. Starting a business is darn hard stuff and it takes a while to find that balance between pursuing perfection and forgiving yourself for imperfection.

  • Rebeca
    February 25, 2013

    Thanks I really needed this post as well….I am currently a stay at home mom and was and have been feeling like I have not made a contribution to the world at large and still feeling like a failure etc (ah parents). It sort of helps to know that I have not been the only one out there in the world who struggles with just letting go of being perfect etc.
    Rebeca recently posted…Weekend plansMy Profile

    • gigigriffis
      February 25, 2013

      You’re definitely not alone.

      And don’t forget that being a mom is a massive contribution to society. Making a kid feel loved, helping them understand how to love and dream and live? Huge.

      • Rebeca
        February 26, 2013

        Thaks a bunch I needed that. I am glad you got your mojo back maybe add a few mojitos as well lol.
        Rebeca recently posted…Vegan SweetenersMy Profile

      • gigigriffis
        February 26, 2013

        Mmm, I could use a good mojito.

  • Kathryn
    February 25, 2013

    I wake up in the mornings (I live in New Zealand) and read your posts for an inspirational way to start the day. And you don’t disappoint!

    I too, got excited at the timeliness of this post, as it’s essential that my mojo is present and accounted for today. I have a stance that I have to take with one of my clients which requires me believing in myself and my value – like really, really believing.

    So if I feel all trembly and a little scared, I’ll think of you going through the same thoughts and solution actions on your side of the world. As you say, it’s good to know we’re not alone. Thanks Gigi.

    • gigigriffis
      February 25, 2013

      Thank you, Kathryn. This comment totally made my day.

  • Bev Genevish
    February 25, 2013

    Wow! Gosh, I love epiphanies! I could touch on so many things you’ve addressed, but really, in a nut shell,….YAY YOU! YAY! YAY! YAY!!

    • gigigriffis
      February 26, 2013

      Haha – yes!

  • Maria
    February 26, 2013

    Check out the book, the Art of Happiness. Addresses exactly what you’ve been experiencing.
    Maria recently posted…Catch and ReleaseMy Profile

    • gigigriffis
      February 26, 2013


  • Craig
    February 26, 2013

    “Life isn’t pass-fail”, I love that. What a great post!


    • gigigriffis
      February 26, 2013


  • Rob
    February 27, 2013

    Life isn’t pass/fail. Nor a dress rehearsal!

    Glad it’s all come back together. One additional observation that someone else made might be of interest. “Never worry what other people think of you – because they probably aren’t”.

    Hang on to that mojo! And don’t forget – the more you have the stronger it gets.

    • gigigriffis
      March 2, 2013

      Very true.

  • Gary
    March 8, 2013

    I have just read this post on what is International Women’s Day so I think it pretty fitting.

    Much of what you write applies directly to most of us and certainly to me…and I think my mojo has been fluctuating almost as much as yours!!

    Many parallels to our current lives so I look forward to following your progress through the year and perhaps bump into you and the guard dog! :)

    • gigigriffis
      March 8, 2013

      Yeah. I think it’s a pretty universal struggle. And I didn’t realize it was International Women’s Day – perfect!

  • Vanessa
    March 13, 2013

    So true! I’ve been pessimistic most of my life and have recently started to actively be happy and optimistic. Sounds weird but I found that by making that decision I’ve actually been more happy!
    Vanessa recently posted…Turning 30: Week 14 – My Public Coming OutMy Profile

    • gigigriffis
      March 13, 2013

      It’s amazing how powerful our minds and hearts are. :)

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