We told you guys last year that we’d be settling down for 6 months to write and earn some cash for our continuing journey around the world (and we let you pick the location). We are now halfway through our first dedicated work stint of the journey, and the hyperconcentration on a single goal is taking its toll. It reminds me of our 2-year savings and downsizing plan to get ready for the trip, where we occasionally lost our mojo or got frustrated.
It even happened long before the trip in large and small ways, which is why I know some of you suffer from this, too:
- One year I gave up caffeine entirely, which was hard on me and worse on those who used to love me. (Have your scars healed? Please come back – I’m on the sauce again.)
- Another time I was training for a half-marathon, getting up early to run every morning in the breaking dawn in the freezing rain and cold. I turned down most evening plans to be ready for my early-morning runs, and my social life suffered as a result (though honestly, it could have been the continuing fallout from the no-caffeine thing.)
- Then there was the time that we wanted to paint our entire home interior in a medley of 3 colors – green, orange, and yellow – and we would not stop until it was done, painting every night after work and every weekend. We were so exhausted by the time we finished that we moved before we ever got the energy to paint the outside.
In the old days I thought this loss of mojo was due to the weather since it often happened in the winter. But here we are in sunny Thailand, where the winter is the most pleasant I’ve ever known, and I’m doing it again.
I’m consumed by writing this book (strippers, monsters, and ass kicking – what more could you want in your self-help?). When I’m not writing I’m thinking about what I will write, or how to promote the book, or what other great stories to add to it. When I read another book, I’m curious as to how the writer has set up the story or promoted it or solved a problem for readers. I’m not getting much in the way of exercise, but I fall into bed mentally exhausted every night.
Warren is likewise preoccupied with the promotion and selling of it, revamping our website, and completing website projects for clients so we can continue our dream of long-term travel. All of our conversations center around the work we are doing – work we want to do, for sure, but still work. We have been talking about and doing this one thing that we have almost forgotten why we’re doing it in the first place.
We lost our mojo.
I don’t believe you can live your life in perfect balance, but I do think trying to balance everything out in the long run is the goal. Our latest visa run to the Burmese border put it all into perspective and reminded us just why we are doing this work (and when we need to sit back and enjoy the fruits of our labors). It all started with leaving the laptop behind.
After doing the necessary border cross and return, we spent the remainder of our time away in the small mountain town of Chiang Rai, Thailand, renting a motorbike to see the sights and just take in the fragrant beauty of winding mountain roads. We felt the wind in our hair, talked to locals at the marketplace, and discovered beautiful architecture, delicious foods, and a stunning display of Mother Nature’s finest assets.
We went to the bus station and headed back to Chiang Mai the next day, a little bit pink from the sun and happy for our short adventure. We both remarked that we had recaptured our mojo, the real reason we were doing all this hard work to begin with. Our dream life is one of discovery and adventure, and even though we feel very passionate about the work we are doing now, it is not an end in and of itself. It is a means to an end, and we had forgotten that for a while.
Maybe you are doing the same thing right now, focusing so much on a project that you have forgotten the reason you started it:
- The home improvement project that takes you away from your family when it is supposed to eventually give you a better space to spend time together
- The work project that takes up all your free time when it is supposed to get you a raise/bonus/promotion to further fund your free pursuits
- The gung-ho exercise program that leaves you too exhausted to move when it is meant to restore your energy for other things.
How to recapture your mojo
- Come up for air. Step back from what you’re doing, if only for a night or a weekend. Sleep in, watch a movie, take a walk, call a friend. I promise, the work will still be there when you return.
- Set yourself a deadline. So many people work without an end in sight, and you have to know when you are making headway or need to admit failure and move on to something new. Avoid the slog and know where your efforts are leading you.
- Reconnect with your long-term vision, the reason you are doing it in the first place. Spend time with friends and family or enjoy a leisure activity. Read the top 5 regrets of people who are dying from a hospice nurse if you don’t think this matters.
Get your mojo back so you can continue to do great things with your life.