Ever had a mojo meltdown?
By mojo meltdown I refer to those times in your career when you feel like you have lost your passion, that the bounce in your step is more of a dull thudding drag, and the enthusiasm for jumping out of bed each morning has become something akin to a sloth reluctantly shifting from one branch to another!
Well, you are not alone.
Being a school principal/headteacher is an all consuming, sometimes soul sapping and oftentimes emotionally draining job, that involves navigating the intricacies of humanity. It is also very rewarding, but the challenges that you juggle can suck all the energy out of your mojo tank, leaving your tank close to empty, and about to conk out. When your mojo tank gets low, your resiliency to every day challenges drops.
However, there are ways to reinvigorate your mojo.
1. Reframe your thinking:
They say you are what you think, so have a go at refraining from talking yourself in the negative (that is, telling yourself that you are useless, no one likes you, listens to you or cares what you think etc) and reframe it to something positive. Try some positive affirmations and tell yourself you can do it, you are good at it and you are successful. Try some of these for additional inspiration. 5 Affirmations for a rough day, or affirmations for change and new beginnings.
2. Switch up your routine:If you go to the gym in the morning, try going after work (if you have just been taking your gym gear for a drive each day, try wearing it and actually going to the gym!), if you normally check emails after lunch, do it first thing in the morning. Try something new for lunch. Sometimes, breaking up the pattern of your day allows your brain to recreate some new realities and they do say (who is this mysterious 'they') that change is as good as a holiday!!
3. Diarise your goals:What are your priorities? Do you diarise them? If you say family is important, or the sport you play or the interest you have, are super important to you, how would one know? Do you actually block time in your diary so that they are prominent and important? The things you emphasis and prioritise are the things you make time for. So check what is important in your life and give it prominence - who knows what part of your mojo will be invigorated by this!
4. Have an adventure:By adventure, obviously I mean something realistic and actually manageable by you. By all means, go and climb a mountain, or traverse a ravine, or run a marathon if this is what spins your top, but what I really refer to is going out and doing something interesting, or different or exciting for you - in whatever form that is. As a family we are debating if we will go and visit the Zoo tomorrow - on the scale of adventures it is pretty small and it won't make any headlines or set the world on light, but for us, it will be a mini adventure and a spot of fun. We haven't been for ages so who knows what we will see (I personally like the hippos and the meerkats). Whatever your adventure looks like, try something different and shake up your life a bit.
5. Try the 5% challenge:Give your working life a bit of a switch up. For 5% of your working week - which on a paltry 40 hour week (yes I know, thats unrealistic, and somewhat wishful thinking - I wonder what a 40 hour week looks like and I wonder how would you get anything done in such a short time...I digress...) is only 2 hours. For that 5% go and work somewhere different. Take your laptop into the classrooms and use the classrooms as a portable office. This is different from an observation or a walkthrough. This is you sitting in a spot, out of the way, getting on with your paperwork, its just that the view is different. Not only do the kids love it, but you get a different perspective. Note to self, I need to do this more, its been a habit that has slipped in recent times!! What about having your meetings somewhere different? I often have my critical friend meeting at the local cafe - believe it or not but we are more productive, there are no interruptions and the coffee is an added bonus. Switching it up is not that hard - you just need to think a bit out of the box.
6. Look after yourself:When our mojo goes walkabout, it is very easy to slip into self destructive behaviours. Make sure you avoid the bad food, too much 'adult lemonade', cigarettes and couch surfing. If you love your body and treat it with respect, not only does it respond positively, but your whole self esteem and mental wellbeing has a massive boost. This in turn gives your mojo tank a natural refill.
7. Be inspired by others:
Who are your mentors? Who do you admire and are inspired by? Who challenges you? Find them, read about them, talk to them, and share your successes with them. If you can, get yourself a critical professional friend. Mine is a person with whom I have a great deal of respect for, but more importantly, is someone who will challenge my thinking, and help me capitalise on my successes.
8. Find the fun:Life is short. All of us have a limited time with which to make the most of our lives and none of us know when that time will run out. Do what gives you joy, and go and have some fun. Laugh, smile, do something silly. I find when the demands of the day are weighing heavily on my shoulders, I go and find some kids. Children are my sanity savers, and they know how to find the pleasure out of the mundane.
Finally, don't despair if your mojo had gone on a holiday without you. You can get it back. It may be hard, but it is doable! If it takes too long, go and see your doctor. But remember, mojo meltdowns are normal, not forever, and sometimes the process of rejuvenating you mojo is just as rewarding as having your mojo tank full!!