(This post has not been edited for errors)
To understand what mojo is and why it’s so important you must first watch this 51 second video on YouTube.
Did you see it? If so, then you now know that mojo is one of the very things that allows good to combat evil :-)
Real talk though – mojo is required for leaders and when you lose it you can find yourself being easily defeated and disappointed by challenges that you used to barrel through.
President Obama had MAJOR MOJO in 2007-2008. He ran what may have been the best campaign in modern history (it was highly organized, extremely effective, very tech-savvy, dealt with major obstacles, inspired tens of millions of people all around the world, etc.). Now, some people are saying that he is a terrible leader and was full of hot air all along. I don’t think so.
I think that he lost his mojo. Washington DC has a way of zapping all mojo powers out of every effective leader that steps foot into the district. It honestly did much of the same for President Bush and this is one of the reasons he tried to work from Texas so often.
Over the past year, I’ve lost my mojo. Before I recognized it, 3 different people came to me (in addition to my wife) and told me that I just wasn’t myself, seemed deflated, lacked confidence, seemed depressed, etc. All of that was true for me WAY BEFORE I KNEW IT or accepted it myself and by the time I did recognize that I was drifting to an unhealthy place it was nearly too late.
Leadership is so hard and when you attempt to veer off of a predictable, well-traveled path a fog can appear that can honestly make it hard to see a few inches in front of your own face. The road less traveled is rightfully romanticized, but I’m here to tell you that that road is amazing, but also dangerous. Here’s a real life lesson I learned earlier this week…
Last Friday night I was driving my family from Atlanta to Kentucky. We left Atlanta very late and I was driving until 3am. The whole way there I could hardly see. Several times I had the thought I must be getting old because my night vision was TERRIBLE and typically I can see very well at night. Literally I couldn’t see curves and turns and at times it was actually quite dangerous. Eventually, I had to turn my bright lights on and leave them on for the rest of the drive. It made other drivers angry, but it was the only way I could see.
Then, the next night, parked in the driveway, I turned the lights to the car on and saw that only one headlight was working. It wasn’t my eyes that were tripping, it was a malfunction. Instead of getting it fixed the next day, I decided that when we drove back home to Atlanta that I would simply drive with my brights on the whole way home and get it fixed the next day. It had worked before, it would work again. Wrong.
For 2 hours it worked perfectly. I was rolling. Then it got very dark. Then it started to rain. Then, as we got deep into the Smoky Mountains, the worst fog that I have ever experienced set in (I later learned that’s why they call them the “Smoky” Mountains). With my bright lights on, I couldn’t see at all. They aren’t designed to work well in the fog and rain. So, I tried to drive with my one headlight. It was even worse. In addition to the fog and rain, now I couldn’t see the lines for lanes. The nearest exists were 20-30 miles away. Each time a car passed me the rain from their tires blanketed the windows with water so badly that for a few seconds I could see nothing at all.
I am never nervous, but this shook me up. Having been in a brutal car accident before the idea of being in another one, this time with my wife and babies, on top of the Smoky Mountains, had me terrified. I had read years ago that it was not a good idea to pull the car over on the highway in intense fog because the chance of being hit by a semi-truck goes up drastically.
All I could do was carefully keep driving and praying. From time to time I could follow the tail lights of car in front of me, but that would only last for a few seconds. It was pretty scary stuff. Nearly 45 minutes later we found an exit with a hotel and stayed the night. I’ve never done that. I always drive through, but this time the risks were far too high. Roads were flooding, the fog was severe, the headlight was out. Pulling over was the right decision.
When you lose your mojo, it’s like driving in that fog. Seriously, even as I was in the fog and rain, I had the thought that the drive was a metaphor for my life. Dangerously on the edge, high up on the mountains, crossing over lines meant to contain me, zero visibility, anxiety, stress…you get the picture. Toughing it out is what we normally do, but I’m glad I pulled over. It was best for me, best for my family, best for those on the road. This decision was mine to make.
I am pretty sure that my old mojo will not be enough for where I’m going. In the past I’ve relied too much on my own strength and not enough on the strengths of others and the sustaining powers of God. I have pledged to break this habit in the past but leaned back on what was familiar instead of making some key shifts in my life. I’m done with that.
Some of you have lost your mojo. You are in a fog. You can’t see clearly. You are nervous. Just know that I understand. Don’t mourn the idea of not getting back to where you used to be, but begin to believe in the possibility of a new and improved you. Embrace the journey.