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  A Note from Linda ...

Historically, the word "mojo" has been associated with witchcraft and voodoo — specifically, the ability to cast spells. Over the years, it has become urban slang for personal power, magnetism and charisma.

In business, mojo refers to the moment we do something purposeful and powerful — an act lauded by others. For some, it represents personal advancement: moving forward, making progress, achieving goals, clearing hurdles, passing the competition — and doing so with increasing ease. Star athletes call this being "in the zone."

Today's ezine, based on Marshall Goldsmith's Mojo: How to Get It, How to Keep It, How to Get It Back If You Lose It, Goldsmith introduces the term "nojo"—the opposite of mojo.

Nojo happens when we have a malfunction in our career and don't get past it. Rather than taking an honest look at ourselves and the role we play when something negative happens, we point the finger elsewhere. This causes us to get stuck - and stay stuck. Our mojo is now gone.

After reading Marshall's 7 mistakes that can cause Nojo, see how well you measure up.

Best regards,

Linda Yaffe
Certified Executive Coach

"Unless you change how you are, you will always have what you've got."

-- Jim Rohan


Nojo sufferers approach their work negatively. They're bored, frustrated, dispirited and confused, and they aren't shy about sharing their dissatisfaction with others.

Goldsmith lists seven professional mistakes that contribute to nojo in otherwise competent, successful and smart people:

1. Over-committing

The old adage, "If you want something done, just ask a busy person," may apply to you. And if you're ambitious, the last thing you want to admit to your boss or coworkers is that you can't handle everything.

If you believe you have superpowers, you will box yourself into a corner by taking on too many tasks. At that point, the quality of work and good humor will begin to fail, and you'll lose your mojo (and possibly much more).

2. Waiting for the Facts to Change

When we experience a setback, it's not uncommon for us to wait for the facts to change into something more to our liking. Such wishful thinking is the opposite of over-committing, as it leads to under-acting. Instead of doing something, you freeze and do nothing.

When the facts are hard to swallow, ask yourself: "What path would I take if I knew the situation won't get any better?" Then get ready to pursue that path.

3. Looking for Logic in All the Wrong Places

We devote many professional hours to finding logic in situations where none exists.

Human beings are profoundly logical. Our minds crave order, fairness and justice, and we're trained to value logic. But much of life, work and decisions that affect us are unreasonable, unfair or unjust, which sets us up for disappointment and can kill mojo.

We sometimes hope logic will prevail against all odds and that it will prove we're in the right. If we stick to our guns until the bitter end, everyone will see how right we are. In the meantime, we seriously damage important relationships.

4. Bashing the Boss

Talent-management firm DDI found that the average American spends 15 hours a month criticizing or complaining about his or her boss. Indeed, boss-bashing is a popular diversion.

But while it may relieve tension and get a few laughs, denigrating your boss is not particularly attractive. Other people will wonder what you'll say about them when they're not around.

Bashing doesn't build a better boss. It only serves to tarnish your reputation and lower your mojo.

5. Refusing to Change Because of "Sunk Cost"

Once incurred, a sunk cost cannot be recovered. Unfortunately, it's also the basis for many irrational decisions that go against our best interest. When we throw more money at a problem and hope for different results, we compound the error — all because we cannot admit our error.

Are your decisions based on what you might lose or what you have to gain? If it's the former, your devotion to sunk costs may be costing you more than you know: your mojo.

6. Confusing the Mode You're in

We have two modes of behavior: professional and relaxed. Our professional selves are image-conscious. We pay attention to how we look, dress, speak and behave. We can't afford to be sloppy.

In relaxed mode, some of us go to opposite extremes. We're less guarded about everything, including our speech, language and use of humor.

So, what happens when we're in relaxed mode, but still in the company of work colleagues and friends? Are we sarcastic and cynical in ways inappropriate to the office setting?

The more you close the gap between who you are as a professional and who you are when relaxed, the greater the trust and confidence you'll generate.

Maintaining Pointless Arguments

Arguing can put our mojo at risk by needlessly creating enemies instead of allies. Many arguments are traps in which we fight to improve our status among the tribe, rather than to solve a problem for the greater good.

Learn to avoid the following argument traps that do nothing more than zap your spirit:

  1. Let me keep talking: Everyone has opinions and enjoys expressing them. Sometimes, however, we just can't stop; we have to have the last word. It can be very hard for smart people to "just let it go."

  2. I had it rougher than you: When we revel in how poor we were and how much we had to overcome to achieve our current station in life, all we're doing is trying to elicit other people's admiration. What's the point?

  3. Why did you do that? We'll never know people's true motivations. We can speculate with generosity or paranoia, but we never may get a completely frank answer. Why waste hours trying to get to the bottom of why people do things?

  4. It's not fair: You disagree with a decision that has been made. Worse, you believe you haven't been given a legitimate explanation. Arguing won't change the outcome and makes you look childish. Deal with it. Save your precious mojo.

We need to recognize our errors early to help prevent our blips from getting out of control. Getting our mojo back and being "in the zone" is more challenging than we realize. Even when we're ready to take a good look at ourselves and our blind spots, change is very difficult to do alone. Creating positive change requires ongoing follow-up, feedback and assistance from a friend, mentor or an executive coach.

If we want to compete in today's corporate environment, having mojo is not an option, but rather a necessity.

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WorkingMatters' principal, Linda Yaffe, a Leadership Development and Certified Executive Coach, uses her senior and executive level management experience to help you achieve your business and career goals.

Whether you are jump-starting a business, advancing your career, an executive or president, Linda’s coaching expertise will provide you with the essential focus, skills and behaviors needed to perform, advance and lead in today’s business environment.

As well, Linda works closely with companies like yours focused on "high potential grooming and leadership performance enhancement" geared toward your top talent and next generation of leaders.

Linda delivers bottom-line benefits to individuals and organizations focused on moving to the highest levels of learning, performance and achievement.

In addition to coaching, Linda delivers Leadership Workshops to small and large businesses.

Linda abides by the strict code of confidentiality and adheres to the highest standard of ethics in accordance with the International Coach Federation.

For more information, please contact Linda by email at


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