Ever Lost Your Mojo?


Ever lost your mojo? I have, and let me tell you, getting it back can be a real bitch!

Four years, 11 months and 3 days ago we lost our middle child, 11-year old, Kelli. But who's counting? That was the day I lost my mojo. Not kind of, not sort of, but utterly and completely.

Mojo. What is it exactly?

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, it means, "a power that may seem magical and that allows someone to be very effective, successful, etc."

And, the Urban Dictionary describes it as, "Self-confidence, Self-assuredness. As in basis for belief in one's self in a situation."

I think the latter best describes my understanding of mojo and the daily applications of it. But, when I lost it and had trouble regaining it, the magically elusive power of it became my reality.

Now, as far as I can see, there is no "magic bullet", so to speak, that helps you regain it once lost. In fact, the death of someone very close to you seems to impact the mojo of many people and many of them never seem to be able to regain it. In my experience, those that do regain it, find it to be a completely different animal that changes how they approach everything!

I can honestly say, that after Kelli died my foundation was seriously rocked. Up to that point in time, there wasn't anything I couldn't handle. Seriously, I'm not daunted by much and failure I wear as a badge of honor since that is where I learned all about what I know does work. But her death was a game changer. All of a sudden I was directionless. My inner compass was in irons.

By all accounts I way okay. I went back to work and got back into the swing of things. You know, making dinner, cleaning, drinking less, socializing more - all the things that allowed me to seem "normal" to everyone else. But I wasn't. I was a shell of my former self, but "performing" rote behaviors as was expected.

So how did I get my compass pointing in the right direction again and get my mojo back? Well, it certainly was not magical. I guess it was a combination of things. Great friends and family who would not leave me alone, people willing to say my dead daughter's name in conversation and within earshot of me (that was huge), learning to cry (since it was a luxury I had never allowed myself to have before), time and learning to listen again. To myself and others.

It was through all this listening that I developed a new understanding of myself. Grant you, as I tell my clients and anyone else who will listen, the understanding was already there, (we already have and know the answers to our own questions) I just needed to clear the clutter so they could become obvious to me once again (clear the clutter in your brain so you hear what is being said).

So here is what my listening told me, and mind you, it did not fit into the "performing" version of me. I took my first two-week vacation and spent the holiday with my boys. During that time, my husband and I laughed and cried over a million things. We ate, we baked, we played games, we slept, we walked, we watched the fire, and sometimes we did nothing at all. Through all of this, one resounding statement came unwittingly from our sons. "This holiday you seem so much more like your old self, mom. Not always on edge." And sadly, it was true. While I thought I was performing well, the stage show only worked for the people who did not really know me!

With that one statement, my mojo started to show itself again. It was baby mojo but it was still mojo!

So, when we got home, I gave my two-month notice with no new job to go to (a real no no for me!). First, no one thought it would really happen and when it did, they actually made bets that I would be onto a new career in a few months. But it did not happen. I did not get another job. Many thought I was cracking up! But, I got into organizing at home - everything. My desk, work baskets, computers, cupboards, kids' rooms, etc. Everything was a mess just like I had been.

Now, here is the hard part. I have worked my entire life. I like money. I need money to live and I would like to indulge my DIY and HGTV desires every so often. But I was not working and could not make myself find another loveless job. Even worse, my husband endulged me by saying, take your time, what you want and need to do will come to you if you just let it (who's he been listening to?). He told me that I needed to trust my gut. But my troubles were weighed down even further by the fact that we are used to a second income and things were tight. Very tight.

For our entire lives, we have done all the right things, but our lives have been far from perfect and certainly did not follow "my plan." We both have worked hard and saved hard. Our rainy day came the day our daughter was born with a rare genetic disorder that no one in the world new about. What did they say, 1 in 1/800,000,000 of a chance of her being born with it - a real fluke? At three months old she received a double-lung transplant in St. Louis (we live in Arizona). At 11 years old she died from complications of something. But in reality she died of starvation because her doctor was a moron. Shit, sorry - that's a completely different story!

So here is the deal. Between medical costs, medically-related travel, time off from my career, and funeral costs, we blew through our 401k's, savings, checking and credit card. It did not help that I went from a lucrative paying career to a laugh of a paycheck to work at a local non-profit that we totally believed in. (A great heart decision, a terrible financial decision!) Those things coupled with the fact that our oldest just entered college, makes us flat ass broke! Me not working and stressing about that sent my mojo backward a couple steps.

So with that cluttering up the brain, I tried "working" on what I wanted to be when I grew up. During that period of time, I had three friends and a former co-worker going through some issues of their own. I had guided each of them through the exercises I am notorious for making people go through, which were, "Where do you think you are going with this?" or "Where do you think this is taking you?" "What's holding you back?" "Let's back up and figure out what's clogging up your decision making process."

A couple days later, I was helping my sister with a similar situation in her own life. Her response gave me back my work mojo. Simply put, she said, "you are so good at helping people through things. It's like you always know what to say and do, like you just "know" what's going on. Actually, you have been like that since you were an itty bitty little girl."

Right then and there my "self" told me what I needed to do to fill the void that I had been carrying around inside me. I felt the need to do something more than just work in an office again. Helping people is what I am good at naturally. I think throughout the years, I have been a great listener, a great boss, a great motivator and a pretty decent mentor. It has always been sincere and natural. So I decided to pursue a career in helping people, not knowing that Life Coaching already existed. Yes, I know, I lived in a bubble!

Mojo. It's a complicated thing. I think it is built with bits and pieces of our life experiences, and that, united with how our skills and personality allows us to use it, creates confidence that only adds and enhances our personality. In a way it is magical.

What steps do you have to take to get your mojo back? Good question. Ask yourself, quiet your mind and listen. Your answer is there waiting for you to reach up and grab it!

Ursula Neal

Ursula is a grief coach for mothers who have lost children helping them to move from crappy to happy again. She is also a personal growth strategist helping individuals reach their goals. She may be reached at 602-400-4423 or ursula@CompassReset.com. Facebook Google+

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