Finding your Mojo

find work you love, career coaching, career change

When is the last time your mojo was really working?

That beautiful moment when everything aligns and feel in harmony.  When everything makes sense and the world makes perfect sense.

I know for me, it was last week – the first time for a fair while I felt healthy, happy and together.  Finally recovered from the drain of my car crash, I felt my energy had come back.

It’s an amazing feeling when everything seems to fall naturally into place and the people you meet definitely get infected by your Mojo.

It also made me realize that Mojo is a pretty elusive concept – it can come and go like a willow the wisp.  It’s hard to define what Mojo is all about.

Pinning down Mojo

All this pondering led me to the book Mojo by Marshall Goldsmith.  Goldsmith is one of the world’s most sought-after executive coaches.  He’s worked with business leaders the world over to improve their performance.

Although I’m only half-way through I’ve already found two great observations that really helped me to understand Mojo.

The first is his working definition of Mojo:

Mojo is that positive spirit toward what we are doing now that starts from the inside and radiates to the outside.”

This definition makes it clear that mojo starts from the inside.  When our actions feel good and rewarding, we feel an inner glow.  We need to feel positive about what we’re doing ourself first to find our Mojo.

Three simple steps to get that inner glow might be:

1. Taking care of ourself physically and mentally to build the positive energy we need for Mojo – when I was physically and mentally shattered my Mojo went awol.

2. Making choices around what we are doing that align with our values –  taking opportunities to help others be the best they can be boosts my Mojo.

3. Creating a positive view on our circumstances – when I see the world from a positive viewpoint and pour positive energy into every situation, my Mojo rises.

The second thing I’ve loved so far is the distinction Goldsmith makes between Mojo and Nojo (the opposite state to Mojo where all is stuck and lost).  The items come in pairs:

Mojo – Take responsibility               Nojo – Play the victim

Mojo – Move forward                         Nojo – March in place

Mojo – Run the extra mile                Nojo – Satisfied with bare minimum

Mojo – Love doing it                          Nojo – Feel obliged to do it

Mojo – Appreciate opportunities    Nojo – Tolerate requirements

Mojo – Inspirational                         Nojo – Painful to be around

Mojo – Grateful                                   Nojo – Resentful

Mojo - Curious                                   Nojo – Uninterested

Mojo – Caring                                     Nojo – Indifferent

Mojo - Zest for life                            Nojo – Zombie-like

The difference between Mojo and Nojo is enormous.

Using these ideas, I can ask myself how I’m feeling and acting today.  If I’m falling into the Nojo column, it’s time to change my energy and approach.

The beautiful thing is that the more I act in the Mojo column, the more that radiates to the world.

And those Mojo vibes change the way the world responds.

Over to You

What happens when you are in your Mojo?

How do you find your Mojo?

What happens when you are gripped by Nojo?

Please leave a comment and share your thoughts with the Less Ordinary community.  And if you enjoyed this article, click here to get regular free posts from Less Ordinary Living.

Photo Credit: Roland (Flickr Creative Commons)

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  1. October 26, 2010 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

    Ha ha… I love the Mojo / Nojo idea. You better believe that “Mojo” is real… we all know when our attitude and mood is soaring and when we are stuck in the mud. We all get stuck in Nojo from time to time… but Mojo is readily available when we learn to govern our emotional stream so it flows in the direction we want our life to go. I remind myself that it is ME and only ME that is the sovereign ruler of my life

  2. October 26, 2010 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

    good book Phil. I bought it a few months ago.

    I find my mojo when i’m doing what comes naturally to me – speaking up and out, investigating things via my inner nancy drew. Life’s a dream in that mode.

    These days I try to stay in it as much as possible.

    thx, G.
    Giulietta Nardone recently posted..Yes- land is an endangered species

  3. October 26, 2010 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

    To maintain and develop my mojo I like to get resources and connected to a community. Check out They’re also on facebook too!

  4. Suzy Groves
    October 27, 2010 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    Mojo…..great time to be helping people consider this, given the present state of the country. Thank you for sharing the Mojo – Nojo concept, I love it!

    I find my Mojo every morning during my daily meditation practice. Learned Primordial Sound Meditation from Robben Salyers, Chopra Center Certified Meditation Instructor, and my life has never been the same!

    I find my true self, my calm and set my day up for success through my meditation practice. If you haven’t tried this, I recommend you give it a whirl! I have many of my clients, top-level C-Suite executives, meditating on a daily basis and they love it. They think more clearly, make better decisions and are more prone to responding to situations rather than react.

    You can find Robben on the Chopra Center website, under find a teacher. Truly a unique and wonderful experience!

  5. October 27, 2010 at 6:01 pm | Permalink


    I had the expression Mojo and I knew there was a book but I had never been inspired to read it – until now.

    Thank you
    Marion recently posted..Have you turned into a Frog

  6. October 28, 2010 at 3:44 am | Permalink

    I enjoyed the distinction that you’ve wisely made between Mojo/Nojo. My mojo happens when I do not allow the thought of time constraints to hold me back. I just allow myself to be fully in the moment.

    It’s great that you’re gaining your energy back. Wishing you a speedy recovery,
    Evelyn Lim recently posted..Recipe for Success: Help Me to Cook

  7. Phil
    October 28, 2010 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    @Rob – too right. Only we control our mood and how we perceive the world. What we feel inside flows out to the world. When we’re in Mojo the vibes are powerful.

    @Giulietta – a regular Nancy Drew. I love your curiosity, persistence and determination and it sets you apart. That is your Mojo and the world feels it.

    @Mojo Maven – I’m so delighted there is a project about Mojo. It is such an elusive and powerful thing that the more we understand it and make it happen the better. Thanks so much for stopping by!

    @Suzy – thanks so much for your comment. I agree we need Mojo more than ever right now. As Rob said, no-one can affect what is going on inside us, regardless of the world around. I’m a huge fan of meditation and have a daily practice – what a great way to start the day and find focus and center. With that peaceful middle, the Mojo flows outwards.

    @Marion – I’m glad it inspired you to get the book – it is a good read and has some excellent practices at the end. Stay with your Mojo!

    @Evelyn – Great to hear from you! Time is such a distractor from Mojo – when our head is reliving the past, or fast-forwarding to an unknown future we get distracted and the energy stuck. Thanks for the good wishes – I am pretty much recovered I hope and loving life even more.

  8. October 29, 2010 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

    Hi Phil – So great to see you back in fine form. I didn’t know there was a book about Mojo! My husband and I have had a little secret joke about Mojo for years, so I can’t really say the word without laughing. For me, I suppose, Mojo is about giving myself over to life, all of it.
    Patty – Why Not Start Now? recently posted..Whose Life Could You Improve With A Sabbatical

  9. October 31, 2010 at 12:13 am | Permalink

    I really like the Mojo and Nojo contrast. Life really is a spectrum and it’s full of slider scales. I think sometimes the key to doing something well, means knowing it’s opposite.
    J.D. Meier recently posted..Top 7 Lessons Learned on Dealing with Bad Emotions

  10. November 26, 2010 at 2:44 am | Permalink

    I’m so glad I came across this post! This is a great perspective on empowerment. Keeping in the mojo zone makes such a difference to the way we live our lives, and noticing the symptoms of slipping in ‘nojo’ land can help to regain positive balance. I will look forward to reading more of your blog.

    Blessings and joy,
    Amanda recently posted..Words of Spiritual Encouragement

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