7 Career Mistakes That Turn Your Mojo into Nojo (Part 2)

Defining Mojo

Historically and culturally, 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 speak today, mojo refers to the moment we do something purposeful and powerful — an act lauded by others. In sports, business and politics, the term has evolved to describe a sense of positive direction.

For some, mojo represents personal advancement: moving forward, making progress, achieving goals, clearing hurdles, passing the competition — and doing so with increasing ease. What you’re doing matters, and you enjoy it. Star athletes call this being “in the zone.” Others describe it as “flow.”

Mojo plays a vital role in our pursuit of happiness and meaning, as it involves achieving two simple goals: loving what you do and showing it.

Lost Mojo

In Mojo: How to Get It, How to Keep It, How to Get It Back If You Lose It, leadership expert Marshall Goldsmith introduces the term “nojo” — the opposite of mojo.

Nojo sufferers approach their work negatively. They’re bored, frustrated, dispirited and confused about the dark tunnel that envelops their career — and they aren’t shy about sharing their dissatisfaction with others.

Nojo happens when we experience a career failure and don’t get over it. Individuals who are incapable of looking inward to identify their role in a negative event get stuck — and stay stuck. As their spirit sours, they’re never able to recapture their mojo.

In some cases, people seem to have mojo one day and nojo the next. This volatility is often caused by a series of ongoing, hard-to-spot mistakes that in time lead to a crisis. If we can recognize our errors early, we can prevent events from spiraling out of control.

Tomorrow Part 3: Common Career Mistakes


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