3 Ways to Bring Back Your Business Mojo
Authored by Jon Duschinsky, January 2023
Are you an entrepreneur or a business owner? Does it feel sometimes like the passion you once had for your business has gone a bit flat? Maybe you’re losing your Business Mojo.
It’s not surprising….
Inflation, the labour crisis, an upcoming recession, markets in turmoil, supply chain issues that are still lingering from the pandemic. Not to mention political chaos and climate change.
The list goes on and on…
I talk daily to entrepreneurs and small business owners who are simply exhausted by the constant pressure of leading and managing people while trying to keep the wheels of their businesses turning. They tell me about feeling stuck and how it’s impacting other areas of their lives.
And yet, when I ask them to talk to me why they started their business in the first place, to reconnect with the problem they initially set out to solve, their eyes always light up.
If any of this sounds familiar, then I really want you to pay close attention to what comes next.
The truth is that most entrepreneurs start their companies because they really care about something and want to move the needle or solve a big problem. Sure, some just want to make a lot of money, but in my experience, most care passionately about something and choose to use the medium of enterprise to make a difference.
And this energy, this Purpose, often carries them (and their first employees) through the start-up phase. But as the company grows, it becomes more and more difficult to retain that Purpose-driven focus. As they bring in investors or take on debt, as they grow their staff, the day-to-day effort of just keeping the wheels of the business turning takes over. And the founders, at the heart of the business start to wonder where the joy and fun went.
I say enough is enough!
People who choose to take these kinds of risks and who dedicate their lives to making a difference to others deserve better. SMEs are the biggest employers in all western countries. The people behind them are the lifeblood of our economies– and our best hope of making a difference on the huge social and environmental challenges that face us all.
It’s time to get your Business Mojo back! And here are 3 steps to do just that:
1 – Say Goodbye to your Predictable Future
When you fly somewhere, most of the actual flying is being done not by the pilots but by the autopilot. This complex series of algorithms and other things I don’t claim to understand means that planes go where they are supposed to (most of
the time) without hitting each other (again, most of the time) and get there when they are supposed to (well, some of the time). An autopilot is “a machine that keeps things moving in a particular direction, without human involvement”. And when you’re on a plane, that can be a helpful thing. In general, you don’t want to get on a plane in New York to fly to San Francisco and land in Minsk. Most flights happen almost entirely on autopilot for a good reason – they create Predictable Futures. But you also have an autopilot. And chances are, if you are like most human beings, most of your life is happening almost entirely on autopilot as well.
That’s not a judgment, it’s just the truth.
You can tell when you’re on autopilot. There are the obvious pointers, like not remembering anything about your drive to work, or the more subtle ones, like the patterns that keep playing out again and again… the relationships that keep ending up the same way, the partnerships that keep breaking down, the continual sense of overwhelm… I could go on but I know that you get the point and that you’re already starting to list out the patterns that show up in your life.
Those patterns are your Predictable Future. And if you’re honest with yourself, they’re not pretty, are they? Project forwards 10, 20 or 30 years and think about what’s going to happen if you keep playing out those patterns. Told you, it’s not
pretty. The first step to getting your Business Mojo back is to say goodbye to that Predictable Future. And to do that, you need to start paying attention to the emotional triggers that cause you to slip into autopilot.
Let me illustrate this with an example from a business leader I coached recently. Andrew (not his real name) had felt bullied and sidelined by his business partner in a recent meeting with a client. The experience left him feeling hurt, angry and overwhelmed. But instead of sitting down with his business partner to talk it out, Andrew withdrew and started avoiding him. With the two partners in the company no longer talking to each other, their management team started to suffer -decisions weren’t being made because they couldn’t get Andrew and his partner to communicate. Andrew was familiar with this pattern – he usually chose to hide out from emotionally challenging things rather than deal with them. And it would create a Predictable Future where others suffer. For whatever reason, Andrew would slip into an autopilot behaviour of retreating into this shell whenever he experienced uncomfortable emotions around feeling bullied. He wasn’t even aware that he was doing it. It was just what he did. Now, while no-one likes to feel bullied, the emotional triggers are what cause the autopilot behaviour. But, by learning to spot those emotional triggers, you can bring an awareness to your behaviour before the autopilot kicks in. And then, you can make a choice. If you are aware that the triggers are going to send you off in a particular direction, you can ask yourself if that direction is going
to serve you and the people that you serve.
Which leads us neatly to Step 2!
2 – Surrender to Your Purpose
Let’s imagine for a moment that you are Andrew and you’ve just caught those emotional triggers and realized that you are about to disappear into your shell.
What do you do now?
Well, you now have a choice. Are you going to let the autopilot take over and drift inexorably towards your Predictable Future or are you going to choose another path?
And if so, which other path?
The answer to this lies in your Purpose.
Your Purpose is your reason for being, combined with your commitment to do something about it. It’s the thing that calls you, that drives you, that is bigger than you. It’s your cause. And it offers you the keys to your Highest Value Path, which is the opposite of your Predictable Future. Most people mistakenly think that their Purpose is something they have to go
searching for or read a whole bunch of self-help books to find. Actually, it’s a lot easier than that. Your Purpose is the thing that keeps calling to you and which truly lights you up.
And so when you find yourself in that moment, before the autopilot switches on, you get to ask yourself just one question:
“How can I best serve my Purpose in this moment?”
And then listen to the answer. It won’t come from your head. It will come from your heart or your gut.
And then you need to surrender to it. Yes, I know that’s a strange word, but it’s the right word. You need to just give in and follow whatever answer reveals itself. At the heart of all this is one simple idea. Your autopilot is all about you. Your anxieties, doubts, fears, ego and more. Your Purpose is, de facto, bigger than you. Which means it’s all about others. And when you make decisions based on what benefits other people, you make better decisions.
These two steps, simple as they seem, will change your life if you practice them every day. They gave Andrew the tools to face up to difficult conversations and show up as a more powerful leader. They get you part of the way to recapturing your Mojo!
3 – Beat the Purpose Paradox
The next Step is about getting clear on what your company stands for. What is its Purpose? What is its reason for being? What problem does it seek to solve? What legacy does it seek to generate? What impact in the world does it
want to see? Questions like these will help you in gaining that clarity. Bring others into the conversation – particularly your frontline employees. Every time I work with a company to define and bring to life its corporate Purpose, the C-suite is shocked at how on-point their frontline teams are in nailing what the
company really stands for.
And once you have the Purpose figured out, then figure out a new Vision that projects forward at least a decade and which you can rally everyone around. The more you engage your people in this, the more energizing it will be. And hopefully, as you go through it, you’ll figure out the Purpose Paradox. Because while you may be the owner and founder of your company, you are not
your company. You have your Purpose. And your company has its Purpose. And while there will be areas where they overlap, they will not be the same.
The Paradox of entrepreneurship is that founders tend to think that they Are their company, while this couldn’t be further from the truth. When you set up a company, you create a new entity. And as the founder you are no more that entity than you are your own children. In fact, children are a great metaphor because as a parent, it is your job to serve them and to help them realize their full potential.
Likewise, as a founder. It is your job to serve your company and help it realize its full potential. You have a Purpose and your company has a Purpose. Imagine them as two distinct circles. Now find where they overlap. Find that place where you can be both in service to your Purpose and your company’s Purpose. That place where you be serving the thing that truly lights you up, while at the same time contributing meaningfully to the problem that your company was set up to solve and the reason it exists.
That overlap is where the magic happens.
And it is where your Mojo lives.
I take entrepreneurs on this journey every day through the Purpose-Driven Leadership Journey. And the comment I hear the most often is that they fall back in love with their business again. They recapture their Business Mojo. I’ve seen a whole host of leaders who were ready to just walk away from the companies that they had toiled for years to build discover a new lease of life. Not just in their work but in all areas of their lives.
So, if you are feeling like your Business Mojo has been ebbing away, remember:
1. Say Goodbye to your Predictable Future
– Catch the emotional triggers that turn on your autopilot
2. Surrender to your Purpose
– Then ask yourself the question “How can I best serve my Purpose in this moment?”
3. Beat the Purpose Paradox
– Get clear on what your company stands for
– Then overlap your Purpose and your company’s Purpose to find the magic space where you can be in service and lit up at the same time.
Entrepreneurs are the lifeblood of our economies but it’s hard out there right now. If it’s time to get your blood flowing faster, then click here to learn more about the Purpose-Driven Leadership Journey for Entrepreneurs.
Jon Duschinsky is a global thought leader, social innovator and champion of the Business
for Good movement.
Data proves that Good Businesses are 30% more innovative and have 40% higher
levels of workforce retention than their competition, while their stock values grow twice
He inspires organizations to Make More Money by Doing More Good. Working with
future-thinking leaders, he accelerates innovation, social and environmental impact and
their ability to retain talent (particularly GenZ and Millennials).
Jon has provided expert advice to clients in over 60 countries, including Airbus, Accor,
Pernod-Ricard, Sodexo, NASCAR, Prudential and Maybank as well as the
Governments of Germany, the US, France and the UAE. In addition, he has coached
hundreds of leaders and future leaders, written two books and lectures regularly at
universities around the world.