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Failure and Self-Confidence: 4 Ways to Protect Your Mojo

Posted by Robert Accomando on Mon, Jul 27, 2015 @ 04:42 PM

Mojo is everything. When you’ve got it, any challenge thrown at you is an opportunity to underscore just how good you are. You pounce. You accelerate to “danger.” You’re smooth and polished when others crumble. You’re right even when you’re wrong. Or at least everyone thinks you are (and that’s worth the price of admission right there). The problem is no matter how good we are, we all sometimes fail – especially high-fliers who tend to push the limits. The problem is failure can do a number on one’s mojo. When our personal confidence is low, our body language, word choices, clarity of thought, ability to inspire others – it all suffers. When a big strike-out leads to a personal slump, life can get down right difficult. No doubt, mojo is some valuable “stuff.”

So unless you can guarantee that you’ll never fail again, consider developing mojo resiliency using the secrets of human biology.

1. Be Kind. Said another way, oxytocin. Being kind and compassionate to others is scientifically proven to make you feel great. But there is a biological reason for that wonderful feeling. The human species has evolved using a cooperative structure, and to keep us cooperating and, therefore, surviving (especially in difficult situations like child rearing, mutual defense, hunting, etc.) Mother Nature devised an ingenious way to rewards us; a shot of oxytocin, which is responsible for creating the feelings of love, friendship and connection. The person helping, the person being helped and other people watching the act of kindness all receive shots of oxytocin. Love and kindness are actually contagious. 

2. Be about Team. Said another way, serotonin. Regardless of your role in life, anyone can find a way to encourage those around them. Whether you are a coach, parent, student, boss or some combination of these roles, chances are you motivate people on a daily basis. As humans, we like to receive praise and recognition for our accomplishments. When we are encouraged, especially by people we respect, we are motivated to keep working hard. Thanks to a release of serotonin, we receive positive feelings of confidence and pride after both recognizing and being recognized for our good deeds and hard work. Seeing people complete these tasks and carry out their accomplishments also releases serotonin. In order to keep your mojo intact, be a team player by positively encouraging the people around you.

3. Be Active. Said another way, endorphins. It’s tricky to always find time in your day to exercise. I’ll be the first to admit that every once in a while I can’t bring myself to exercise (especially after a long day). But if we want to protect our mojo, we need to make the time to get that work out in – no matter what. Endorphins are chemicals that are responsible for “runner’s high,” and otherwise useful for masking pain. Our bodies constantly crave these endorphins, seeing as they are essential for our survival (i.e., keep hunting, keep working on protective shelter, keep looking for water, etc.) and give us a relaxed feeling as a reward. Exercising and completing other physical activities are the most common ways our bodies produce endorphins. Just get out there and do something physical every day. Your body and your mojo will thank you for the effort. Looking like a million bucks doesn’t hurt either, let’s be honest.

4. Be Goal Oriented. Said another way, dopamine. The goals you make on a daily basis do not always have to be formally formatted or eloquently written. Setting goals can be as simple as making a to-do list for your workday or even jotting down a quick grocery list of dinner ingredients. Personally, like a good financial portfolio, I believe in “goal diversification.” Set some easy ones that you know you can attain but also some more challenging ones that are within your abilities but more longer term in nature (i.e., a month or two). Of course, there are the big ones that are just going to be hard to achieve and will likely take more time. Consider further breaking down harder goals into their component parts or “mile stones” so that you can better regulate your dopamine dose and its regularity, so to speak. Accomplishing goals on a regular basis will reward you with that special “yes!” feeling that is just so satisfying. Do celebrate your successes and embrace yourself for a job well done. When others recognize your hard work and accomplishments, you may get a little serotonin and oxytocin for your accomplishements to boot!

Mother Nature has instilled in each of us all the mood altering drugs we’ll ever need. All we have to do is be mindful of our lives and disciplined in how we live them. Simply by being kind, generous, physically active and disciplined we can both protect our mojo and live rich and meaningful lives. Life really is beautiful.

Topics: candidate preparation, C-Suite Advice, HR Thought Leadership; Transformational Leadership, interviewing tips