Do You Work with a Credit Hog?

You know, someone who withholds recognition of your contribution to the team or organization’s success? Even worse do you work with or for someone who steals your ideas or takes credit for the performance of your products/projects? If you do, you probably feel unjustly treated and deprived, as this person claims credit they do not deserve. It’s theft!

When someone you work with steals the credit for a success that you created, they’re committing the most rage-inducing interpersonal “crime” in the workplace. (This is the interpersonal flaw that produces more negative emotion than any other in my feedback interviews with the stakeholders of my coaching clients.) And, it creates a bitterness that’s hard to forget. You might be able to forgive someone for not recognizing your stellar performance. But it’s really hard to forgive someone for recognizing it and brazenly claiming it as his or her own!

Let’s turn the tables. Imagine you’re the perpetrator rather than the victim. Have you ever claimed credit that you didn’t deserve? Most of us have to at least a slight degree. When it comes to determining exactly who came up with a winning phrase in a meeting or exactly who on the team was responsible for holding an important client relationship together during a rocky phase, the evidence gets fuzzy. It’s hard to say exactly who deserves the credit.

Given the choice between grasping the credit for ourselves or leaving it for someone else to claim, many of us will claim more credit than we have earned, and slowly begin to believe it! All the while, the victims of our injustice are seething. You know how you feel as a victim, and you should know how people feel about you for doing the same.

There’s no telling what a group can achieve when no one cares who gets the credit. We know this in our bones. We know it because we remember how good we felt about our colleagues when they accorded us the credit we deserved.

So, why don’t some people reciprocate when someone else deserves the credit? I’m not sure. It could be their upbringing, their need to win, their need to be right. It doesn’t really matter. In life, the best thing to do is be the person that you want to be in the world. If you feel the urge to retaliate with hogging the credit, do the opposite. Share the wealth.

Not sure if you have the credit hogging bug? Start with this simple drill. For one day, make a mental note of every time you privately congratulate yourself on an achievement, large or small. Then write it down. If you’re like me, you’ll find that you pat yourself on the back quite a lot! For me, I celebrate for everything from coming up with a big idea for a client to showing up on time for a meeting to dashing off a clever note to a colleague. There’s nothing wrong with these private thoughts. This pleasure in our own performance is what keeps us motivated, especially on long, arduous days.

You’ve made your list. Now, take apart each episode and ask yourself if it’s in any way possible that someone else might deserve the credit for “your” achievement. If you showed up on time for a meeting across town, is it because you are heroically punctual and thoughtful? Or is it because someone or something reminded you about the meeting? If you came up with a good idea in a meeting, did it spring unbidden from your imagination? Or was it inspired by an insightful comment from someone else in the room. And so on…

As you go through your list, consider this make-or-break question: If any of the other people involved in your episodes were looking at the situation, would they accord you as much credit as you are claiming for yourself? Or would they hand it out to someone else, perhaps even themselves?

Every one of us has a strong bias to remember events in a light that is most favorable to us. This drill exposes that bias and makes us consider the possibility that someone else’s perspective is closer to the truth.

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The Most Important Thing You Can Do If You Really Want to Change

Isn’t what you might think.

It’s not deciding what to change or apologizing to those you’ve wronged for past grievous errors. And, it’s not listening to ideas or thanking those who suggest changes you can make to become better.

What is the most important thing you can do if you really want to change? It’s follow-up. Follow-up is the #1 difference maker in the whole change process. Here’s why.

1) Follow-up is how you measure your progress.

2) Follow-up is how you remind people that you’re making an effort to change, and that they are helping you.

3) Follow-up is how your efforts eventually get imprinted on your colleagues’ minds.

4) Follow-up is how you erase your coworkers’ skepticism that you can change.

5) Follow-up is how you acknowledge to yourself and to others that getting better is an ongoing process, not a temporary religious conversion.

6) And, more than anything else, follow-up makes you change. It gives you the momentum, even the courage, to go beyond understanding what you need to do to change and actually do it, because in engaging in the follow-up process, we are changing.

That’s all great you say, but why does follow-up work?

First a confession: I didn’t start out knowing the importance of follow-up. Many years ago, a VP participant of a training session I facilitated asked me the perfectly reasonable question, “Does anyone who goes to one of these leadership development programs ever really change?”

I thought about it. Then answered sheepishly, “I don’t know.” I had worked with some of the best companies in the world and no one had ever asked me this question. Worse still, until that moment, this question had never crossed my mind!

From that moment, I set out to discover the answer to the question: “Does anyone ever really change?” I’m excited to report that many years later I outlined the complete methodology, statistical results, companies involved, and my conclusions about follow-up in an article entitled, “Leadership Is a Contact Sport” written with Howard Morgan and published in Strategy+Business, Fall 2004. Ten years later, we’ve expanded this study to 248,000 respondents from 31 different companies from around the world. And the conclusion is the same: follow-up is the key to successful behavioral change.

From this study, its participants and their teams, I’ve drawn three important conclusions:

1) Not everyone responds to executive development, at least not in the way the organization desires or intends. In other words, some people are trainable, some people are not. I ask participants at the end of each session if they intend to go back to their jobs and apply what they’ve learned. Almost 100 percent say yes! A year later, when I ask their direct reports if their bosses have applied the lessons learned on the job, about 70% say yes and 30% say no. Why would people go through a training, promise to implement what he/she had learned, and then not do it? Simply because they were too busy! This realization led to my second conclusion.

2) There is an enormous disconnect between understanding and doing. Most leadership development revolves around the false assumption that if people understand they will do. In truth, most of us understand, we just don’t do. But this didn’t really answer my question. So, I rewired my objectives and began measuring people to see not only if they got better but why. My hunch about follow-up being the difference maker paid off. The results were astonishingly consistent. Those who do little or no follow-up with people have little or no perceived change in effectiveness. The perception of the effectiveness of those who do follow-up jumps dramatically. This led to a swift and unequivocal third conclusion.

3) People don’t get better without follow-up! If nothing else, this study shows that leaders who ask for input on a regular basis are seen as increasing in effectiveness. Leaders who don’t follow up are not necessarily bad leaders. They are just not perceived as getting better. The reasons for this are: follow-up shows that you care about getting better, that you value people’s opinions, that you are taking the change process seriously, and that you are not ignoring your coworkers’ input. That’s an important part of follow-up. After all, a leader who sought input from her coworkers but ignored it or did not follow up on it would be perceived as someone who did not care very much about becoming a better leader.

All of this led me to a fourth and final conclusion. Becoming a better leader (or a better person) is a process, not an event. Nobody ever changed just by going to a training session. They got better by doing what they learned in the program. And that “doing,” by definition, involves follow-up. Follow-up turns changing for the better into an ongoing process—not only for you but for everyone involved. When you involve others in your continuing progress, you are virtually guaranteeing your continued success!

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Be part of the world’s first Coaching movie movement

The crowdfunding campaign of the world’s first Coaching documentary just went live.

You can support this amazing movement here: http://igg.me/at/coaching/x/9616033

The crowdfunding campaign offers a lot of possibilities for you to get the film as the first one, to be part of the behind-the-scenes and/or to be featured in the film.

The mission is to change 1,000,000 lives through coaching.

The ‘Coaching’ Foundation will also assist low-income individuals with coaching assistance, started with profits from the ‘Coaching’ Movie.

Let’s share the movement and benefit the whole coaching community!

Share the ‘Coaching’ Movement & Foundation link http://igg.me/at/coaching/x/9616033 with everybody you know.

Let’s inspire 1 million lives together!

Life is good.
Marshall

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What Really Matters in Life?

Most people don’t want to “do nothing’ all day. We have hopes and dreams, goals and ambitions. We want to contribute to the world, make it a better place, not “retire” from it to a life of “leisure”. For most of us, the prospects of sleeping in late, lounging on the beach, improving our golf scores, living on cruise ships, and lazing about all day may sound good for a short time, but they hold little allure for us in the long-term.

So, what really matters in life? I can boil the answer to this question down to six major themes:
1) Wealth
2) Health
3) Relationships
4) Contribution/Achievement
5) Meaning
6) Happiness

First a little discussion on the themes.

Wealth – some have more than others, some have less, but most of the people I run across agree that while it can be used to pay for nice homes, fast cars, and fine dining, it can’t purchase meaning. Beyond a middle-income level, the amount of money you have bears little correlation to how happy you are.

Health – is critically important to enjoying life. Good health is a combination of luck, a healthy lifestyle, and medical care.

Relationships – are very important. Everyone I meet clearly values their relationships with friends and family members and sees that these relationships are key to their emotional wellbeing.

Contribution/Achievement – for most of us reading this blog we are fortunate in life and seek to give back, make a positive contribution, even leave a legacy. Helping others as we’ve been helped is important to us.

Meaning – work that has meaning is important to our sense of well being. We want to feel that we are making a real difference in the world.

Happiness – everyone I’ve ever met wants to be happy. True happiness can’t be bought – it has to be lived!

As you contemplate these themes and set your goals for 2015, you might choose to volunteer or work on projects that make the world a better place. You might choose to change to a job or a career where you have more opportunity to serve. For me, I still teach and give classes, but I focus more on advising people how they can have a great rest of their lives rather than just work harder and “make more money.”

Reflecting on life’s purpose should start when you’re young—and never stop. I served on the board of the Peter Drucker Foundation for 10 years, so I had a chance to observe Peter personally. He worked until his death at age 95! He was never interested in retiring. He was interested in working to make the world a better place. Through his example, I learned that making a difference means more than, and is very different from, making a living.

Think about your life. Now’s a great time to start planning the rest of it. How can you make a contribution? How can you find meaning? What will make you happy? How can you make this time count—for yourself, the people around you, and the world?

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Is It Time to Retire Yet?

Whatever you call it — leaving, retiring, or moving on — it’s a really hard thing to leave your organization, especially if you love your job! It can be scary to step from the familiar and comfortable into the uncertain and unknown and this stress can make departing your job a difficult and emotional transition. In fact, it can be a significant factor in why you (or your boss) hold back from making changes.

Life transitions such as retirement are usually far harder than we imagine. It’s easy to talk about letting go, but when the time comes, it’s hard to do. The emotional aspect of departing is difficult to fathom, but at a recent meeting I attended, a health care system CEO put the dilemma in succinct terms to a group of us.

She said, “I finally realized that my job had become my best friend. It’s very hard to leave your best friend,” I watched the expressive face of this fantastic leader as she shared her personal feelings about leaving her job and her organization. The other people in the room hung on her every word. “It seemed like I was getting promoted every few years. I loved the company, my co-workers, and our customers. Going to work was a joy for me,” she said, sighing. “The time just flew by and then one day, it was time to leave. It hurt,” she said.

Preparing for Departure

One way to make this big step more manageable is to prepare, though most of us, even the most successful, don’t do this well. One of my executive friends knows that he is going to have to retire in about a year. He has done nothing to prepare for it! I asked him, “If you knew that your business was going to radically change in one year, would you plan for this eventuality?” He laughed and replied, “Of course!” I went on, “Your life is more important than your business. Maybe you should start planning the rest of your life.”

No matter where you are in your career, it is good to think about how leaving is going to feel and what you might want to do if you did leave. Time passes very quickly. Every executive I have ever met is amazed at how fast the years fly by.

Today people live a lot longer than they used to, and they are a lot healthier at 65. And, if you have the drive and energy to become a successful leader, it is unlikely that these traits will immediately stop when you leave your company, so you better plan for an active retirement!

The happiest “transitioned” executives I have met are still making a contribution to the world, they are finding meaning and contentment in what they do today—not just reflecting on the past.

Think about “life after work.” How can you make a contribution? How can you find meaning? What will make you happy? You might have 20 or more years to live after your primary work is finished. How can you make this time count for yourself and the people around you?

Now is a good time to start planning.

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My Name Is Marshall Goldsmith…

And I’m excited to ring in the New Year together! If you don’t already know who I am, or you’re wondering about my career as a speaker, executive coach, and best-selling author, this week’s video and written blog (my bio!) will tell you everything you need to know. Enjoy!

Dr. Marshall Goldsmith has been recognized again as one of the top ten Most-Influential Business Thinkers in the World and the top-ranked executive coach at the 2013 biennial Thinkers50 ceremony in London!

 Dr. Goldsmith is the author or editor of 34 books, which have sold over two million copies, been translated into 30 languages and become bestsellers in 12 countries. He has written two New York Times bestsellers, MOJO and What Got You Here Won’t Get You There – a Wall Street Journal #1 business book and winner of the Harold Longman Award for Business Book of the Year.

Marshall’s global professional acknowledgments include: Harvard Business Review – World’s #1 Leadership Thinker, Institute for Management Studies – Lifetime Achievement Award (one of only two ever awarded), American Management Association – 50 great thinkers and leaders who have influenced the field of management over the past 80 years, BusinessWeek – 50 great leaders in America, Wall Street Journal – top ten executive educators, Forbes – five most-respected executive coaches, Leadership Excellence – top ten thinkers on leadership, Economic Times (India) – top CEO coaches, Harvard Business Review (Poland) – Leadership Thinker of the Decade, CEO Global (Canada) – World’s #1 Leadership Speaker, Economist (UK) – most credible executive advisors in the new era of business, National Academy of Human Resources – Fellow of the Academy (America’s top HR award), World HRD Congress – global leader in HR thinking, Tata Award (India) for Global HR Excellence, Fast Company – America’s preeminent executive coach and Leader to Leader Institute – Leader of the Future Award. His work has been recognized by nearly every professional organization in his field.

Dr. Goldsmith’s Ph.D. is from UCLA’s Anderson School of Management where he was recognized as the Distinguished Alumnus of the Year. He teaches executive education at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business. He is one of a select few executive advisors who have been asked to work with over 150 major CEOs and their management teams. He served on the Board of the Peter Drucker Foundation for ten years. He has been a volunteer teacher for US Army Generals, Navy Admirals, Girl Scout executives, International and American Red Cross leaders – where he was a National Volunteer of the Year.

Marshall’s books include: Succession: Are You Ready? – a WSJ bestseller, The Leader of the Future – a BusinessWeek bestseller. The AMA Handbook of Leadership, The Organization of the Future 2, and The Leadership Investment – all three are American Library Association – Choice award winners for academic business books of the year. Over three hundred of his articles, interviews, columns, and videos are available online at www.MarshallGoldsmith.com for viewing and sharing. Visitors to this site have come from 197 countries and have viewed, read, listened to, downloaded, or shared resources over 20 million times.

To reach Marshall:

P.O. Box 9710 • 16770 Via de los Rosales • Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92067-9710

Marshall@MarshallGoldsmith.com • www.MarshallGoldsmith.com

Phone: (858) 759-0950 • Fax: (858) 759-0550

 

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The Best of Marshall Goldsmith 2014

MG-Inc5000-2014

2014 has been a fun year for me!

Since early this year, I have posted the Marshall Goldsmith Thinkers50 Blog every week. This blog will run through Spring 2015 (50 written and video blogs for 50 weeks). The last two weeks of 2014, we’re taking a “holiday break” from the regular blog to run two special blogs to cap off the year.

As we end the year, I thought it would be interesting to review your favorite blogs (and mine). I would love to hear your thoughts on these articles and videos and any others. If you liked one or two, why? If not, why not? What did you learn? Do you have questions? Ask me! I’ll do my best to answer you.

Viewer’s Choice

So, let’s get started with your top 5 favorites (the most viewed videos).

1. Are You Living in New Age Professional Hell? December 9, 2014.

Do you love what you do or are you living in new-age professional hell? This may be the seminal question of our age.

2. Why Didn’t You Get Better? You Didn’t Follow Up? August 12, 2014.

More than anything, follow-up makes us change. It gives us the momentum, even the courage, to go beyond understanding what we need to do to change and actually doing what we need to do to change,because in engaging in the follow-up process, we are changing!

3. How to Get Ahead When Life Isn’t Fair. December 16, 2014.

Arguing that “It’s not fair!” doesn’t change the outcome. It doesn’t help our organizations or our families or ourselves. It only lowers our passion. By recognizing this classic trap, we can better determine which battles to fight—and which ones to avoid. At work, and even more so at home, even if we succeed at winning with this whine, it’s not worth the cost.

4. You May Not Be in Charge, But You Can Influence the People Who Are. November 4, 2014.

You can make a positive difference, even when you do not have direct line authority. Here are 11 guidelines that will help you do a better job of influencing decision-makers, whether these decision-makers are immediate or upper managers, peers or cross-organizational colleagues.

5. So You’ve Got Negative Feedback. Here’s How You Should Respond. July 29, 2014.

Don’t spend hours and hours on it. You want your response to be positive, simple, focused, and fast. Here’s how.

My Favorites

My top 5 favorites are a little different. But of course I love all these videos. That’s why I created them!

1. If You Want to Adjust Your Habits, Ask Yourself: “What Am I Willing to Change Now?”

A great blog for the New Year – this blog describes what holds us back, what might keep us from following through on our commitment to change. And how we can overcome it now.

2. You’ve Changed! Why Didn’t Anyone Notice? September 16, 2014.

I love this blog because it reveals the catch of behavioral change – other people have to see a change in us or nothing changes! How do we get them to see that we’ve changed? It’s all outlined here.

3. What Does Uncoachable (and Unchangeable) Look Like? September 2, 2014.

This blog has great advice about selecting clients for coaches and want-to-be coaches. Because even if you are the best coach in the world, if the person you are coaching shouldn’t be coached, the coaching isn’t going to work. The good news is that the “uncoachables” are easier than you think to spot.

4. Why You Should Always Think Before You Speak. July 15, 2014.

Another great blog for this special time of year when so many of us are stressed finishing year-end projects, shopping for the holidays, preparing for festivities, traveling to distant places, and visiting family and friends. It’s always a good idea to think before you speak, and at this time of year, it’s critical!

5. Playing Favorites (BTW, Your Dog Is a Suck Up!). May 20, 2014.

Probably one of my all-time favorites not only because I love the content, but I love dogs! They are my favorite suck ups. However, if we aren’t careful we can wind up treating people at work like our dogs: rewarding those who heap unthinking, unconditional admiration on us. What behavior do we get in return? A whole lot of people who know how to suck up.

Series Playlists

Each of my videos and accompanying articles belongs to a series (playlist). I encourage you to watch all of these videos in their playlists on YouTube. For easy access and playability, I’ve listed them in order below and provided the link to the series.

1. Teaching Leaders What to Stop

2. Leadership Is a Contact Sport

3. Coaching for Behavioral Change

4. Coaching for Leaders

5. Personal Advice

Thank you for spending time with me this year! It has been a treat and an honor for me to read your comments and learn from your insights. And, I am very excited for 2015 as my new book Triggers will be published in May/June 2015 by Crown. Beginning early 2015, for a few months prior to its publication, I’ll share bits and highlights from the book in my blog. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do, and I look forward to getting to know more of you in 2015!

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How to Get Ahead When Life’s not “Fair”

Have you ever worked with someone who incessantly whined about how unfair things are, how bad, how wrong or how irrational? When people constantly whine and complain, they inhibit any chance they have for impacting the future. Their managers view them as annoying, and their direct reports and co-workers view them as inept.

Nobody wins.

In the words of the late Peter Drucker, “Every decision that impacts our lives will be made by the person who has the power to make that decision – not the ‘right’ person, or the ‘smartest’ person, or the ‘best’ person – make peace with this fact.”

As simple and obvious as this statement may seem, I am amazed at how few (otherwise intelligent) people ever deeply ‘get’ this point. When your child comes home from school and complains, “It’s not fair! The teacher gave me a ‘C’ and I really deserved an ‘A’! We, as parents, should say, “Welcome to the real world, kid! In life you have to accept the fact that decision-makers make decisions – and that you are not always the decision maker.” We will always have bosses, teaches, analysts or Boards who give us ‘grades’ that we disagree with.

What can you change, and what is beyond your control?

On the surface, acceptance—that is, changing what we can change and being realistic about what we cannot change in our lives—should be the easiest thing to do. After all, how hard is it to resign yourself to the reality of a situation?

You assess it, take a deep breath (perhaps releasing a tiny sigh of regret), and accept it. And yet acceptance is often one of our greatest challenges. Rather than accept that their manager has authority over their work, some employees constantly fight with their bosses (a strategy that rarely ends well).

Rather than deal with the disappointment of getting passed over for a promotion, they’ll whine that “It’s not fair!” to anyone who’ll listen (a strategy that rarely enhances their image among their peers or gets them that promotion).

Rather than take a business setback in stride, they’ll hunt for scapegoats, laying blame on everyone but themselves (a strategy that rarely teaches them how to avoid future setbacks).

When enthusiasm fades, the initial cause is often failure to accept what is and get on with life.

A few years ago, a reporter at the Chicago Tribune asked me if managers today are more abusive than any time in history (a logical question in a discussion of executive behavior).

“Are you kidding me?” I said. “We still have many inequities and bad bosses, but life is much better than it was two hundred years ago. We used to have Kings, minimal worker rights, and human beings who were ‘owned’ and had no rights at all. In the developed world it can be bad today, but human beings are making some progress.”

We’ve come a long way. Most major companies now believe in certain “inalienable rights” at work. We have the right to be treated with respect. We have the right to be judged by our performance and character rather than by a fluke of lucky birth. If we’re women, we have the right to be paid as much as a man for doing the same job. When inequities such as these arise, they’re worth arguing over. These are the battles that we should be fighting.

But a lot of small stuff remains. A colleague gets a promotion we thought we deserved. The boss showers a rival division with money, ignoring our area. We’re given a hiring freeze while others get every new person they ask for. This is the stuff that still makes us howl, “It’s not fair!”

Such “equity” moments resemble one another in one clear way: A decision has been made that we disagree with. What’s worse, we believe that we are not getting a good explanation—although that doesn’t stop us from re-asking, which is the same as arguing over it. And when we do get another explanation, it’s not good enough for us.

Arguing that “It’s not fair!” doesn’t change the outcome. It doesn’t help our organizations or our families or ourselves. It only lowers our passion. By recognizing this classic trap, we can better determine which battles to fight—and which ones to avoid. At work, and even more so at home, even if we succeed at winning with this whine, it’s not worth the cost.

Once we make peace with the fact that the people who have the power to make the decisions always make the decisions – and we get over whining because ‘life isn’t fair’ – we can become more effective at influencing others, making a positive difference, and even become the person who makes the decisions!

We can fight the battles that are really worth fighting, and quit bugging the world because, “The teacher gave me a C!”

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Do You Love What You Do or Are You Living in New-Age Professional Hell?

Do you love what you do or are you living in new-age professional hell? This may be the seminal question of our age.

In yesterday’s world, people worked 40 hours a week and took four weeks of vacation. This question was practically moot. If you didn’t like your job it was practically part-time anyway, the benefits were glorious, and it just wasn’t that bad.

I remember visiting the corporate headquarters of one of the world’s most successful companies at 5 p.m. sometime in the early 80s. There was almost no one there! You could fire a cannonball down the hall and not hit anyone. Those days are gone. It was much easier to find meaning and satisfaction in activities outside of work when we were under a lot less pressure and worked far fewer hours. Not only did people have more time, they weren’t as tired.

Today’s professional has much different experience. Almost all of the professionals I work with are busier today than they ever have been in their lives, working 60 to 80 hours a week. They feel under more pressure than ever. Cell phones, tablets, and laptops tether us to our work wherever we are whether we like it or not. Put it all together and you quickly realize – if you don’t love what you do, you are in the new-age of professional hell where you spend your days waiting for a pause in the steady flow of work so that you can take a break. Let me tell you, that day never comes!

Making the Move to Loving What You Do

Life is too short. It’s not worth it. In the new world, we don’t have to love everything that we do, but we need to find happiness and meaning in most of our professional work. One of my coaching clients, Vicky, has a mind that races at about 1,000 miles an hour. She’s extremely creative and entrepreneurial. Vicky was working as a division president in a large, somewhat conservative company. The people who hired her believed that they wanted someone who would “rock the boat” and “make waves.” Once they began to experience “waves” and “boat rocking,” though, they decided that this might not be such a great idea after all!

Although I was hired to help her fit in with the existing culture, it was just a bad match. She was becoming frustrated with her life and was frustrating many of the executives who were running the firm. Summing it up in one sentence, she groaned, “I feel like a racy Ferrari that’s being asked to act like a Ford pickup!”

As her coach, my advice was simple: “Leave.” She had beaten me to the punch, replying, “I just did!”

There was nothing wrong with Vicky. There was nothing wrong with her company. She just didn’t belong there. When she asked herself, “Do I love what I do?” her answer was a clear, “No, I am living in new-age professional hell!”

Vicky’s time off for reflection after leaving her job didn’t last long. She’s playing a key role in an entrepreneurial startup, she’s on two boards of nonprofits doing a lot of good things for her community, and most important, she’s having a lot of fun. She has successfully made the move from new-age professional hell to loving what she does. And, you can too!

 

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Are You Full of Mojo or Nojo?

Last week, I shared with you how to get a handle on your identity. You should now have the answer to the question: “Who do you think you are?” If you don’t, take a few minutes now to go back and review “Why You Should Get a Handle on Your Identity”.

Why is understanding your identity so important? Because your Mojo depends on it. To understand how you are relating to any activity, person, place, or thing, you need to understand your identity—who you are. To change your Mojo, you may need to either create a new identity for yourself or rediscover an identity you have lost.

What Is Mojo?

Your Mojo is “that positive spirit toward what you are doing now that starts from the inside and radiates to the outside.” The most striking evidence of Mojo is to compare it to its opposite, what I call Nojo, which is “that negative spirit towards what you are doing now that starts from the inside and radiates to the outside.”

The contrasts between Mojo and Nojo are so daunting that I wrote them down on a cheat sheet:

MOJO-NOJO-attributes

How’s Your Mojo?

How can we recognize Mojo or Nojo in ourselves and in others? Start by evaluating yourself and the people you meet on their Mojo or Nojo qualities, using the table above. What is your attitude toward what you do? Is it positive or negative? What do you radiate to others? Think about this a bit.

When I think about the truly successful human beings that I have met in my journey through life—the people who are succeeding at both what they do and how they feel about themselves—I realize they all have MOJO. We see people with MOJO in every occupation and at every level of an organization. I was recently working at a health-care organization. I watched as their CEO gave awards to employees who best demonstrated their organization’s values. I was amazed at the great attitude—the Mojo—shown by award-winners in such diverse occupations as cafeteria workers, technicians, nurses, and administrators. These people were all demonstrating Mojo.

While I enjoyed observing these exuberant and motivated people get their awards, I thought about the thousands of people in similar jobs around the world who don’t demonstrate Mojo, the people who had a negative spirit toward what they were doing. That, too, starts from the inside and is apparent on the outside.

When There’s No Mojo

When you get the chance, observe two different employees doing exactly the same job at the same time. One could be the embodiment of Mojo while the other is the poster child for Nojo. Case in point: flight attendants. For 32 years, my work has taken me around the world. On American Airlines alone, I just passed the dubious milestone of more than 10 million frequent flyer miles! All this flying has given me the chance to interact with thousands of flight attendants.

Most are dedicated, professional, and service-oriented. They demonstrate mojo. A few are grumpy and act like they would rather be anywhere else than on the plane. They demonstrate Nojo. I’ve seen two groups of attendants doing exactly the same activity, at the same time, for the same company, probably at around the same salary, yet the messages that each is sending to the world about their experience is completely different.

Mojo Living!

By increasing our understanding of our identity, we can increase our Mojo. We can learn how to get Mojo, how to keep it, and how we get it back if we lose it. We can let go of what does not create happiness and meaning in our lives, and strive for what really matters to us—we can live a life full of Mojo, meaning, and purpose!

 

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