It wasn’t always like this. When you were younger and just starting out, you couldn’t wait to get into the shop to start your day. You went to sleep at night, exhausted and happy after a hard day’s work, your mind racing with new ideas. You were going to rule the world – or at least rule the tire business in your corner of the universe. You were on overdrive toward making your dream, your vision of real success, a reality. And it was fun!
But so many years later, you find yourself going through the motions. Maybe you’re working on the same block, in the same building where you started working so many years ago. Perhaps you’re weighted down by the stress of debt, expenses and unmet expectations. What began as a welcomed challenge has devolved into the same-old-same-old.
In other words, you’ve lost your mojo.
According to the Cambridge Dictionary, mojo is defined as “a quality that attracts people to you and makes you successful and full of energy.” It’s that spark of enthusiasm and excitement that you bring into each day.
So how do people lose their mojo to begin with?
Obviously, the reasons vary, but here are my most recent observations.
Lately, I’ve talked with tire dealers who are increasingly hesitant about the future, especially keeping up with the sweeping complexity of vehicle technology to come. Many quietly express a fear of change – feeling uncertain about what’s next for their business and taking a “wait and see” approach instead of embracing the uncertainty and investing or innovating around it.
I’ve also heard dealers express frustration over challenges common to small businesses, over market forces that seem to be conspiring against them in some way – be it car dealers, large chains, big box stores and/or Amazon stealing their business.
Still others are simply living with negativity – with bad apples, cranky employees, fussy customers and daily drama that makes each day a challenge.
I’m sure none of this sounds familiar….
My grandmother loved her job. After World War II, she spent 25 years working in an Akron rubber factory – not a glamorous life but a good one. One of her favorite expressions was: “You get the life you settle for.” In my opinion, you also get what you’re willing to tolerate.
But even if you love what you do, the passion can fade. In my experience, the flipside of love isn’t hate; it’s fear. Fear of change or fear of failure or embarrassment can poison a once-optimistic mindset. And the day-to-day stress of operations… and customers… and payroll… and employees… can eventually suck the joy out of business ownership if you allow it.
If you’re unhappy with where you are in life, you might be tempted to blame all sorts of things for the situation you’re in (the economy, the competition, your employees, your ex-wife, and more). The fact is that the only way to change your situation – and your business – is by changing your actions. And the only way you can change your actions is to stop thinking (or blaming or worrying) and start doing.
Of course, this is harder than it sounds. I’ve been there. As a business owner, you’ve made a significant investment in building your business. You’ve also spent the better portion of your adult life working hard to get your business to where it is today. You finally feel like you’ve “made it,” so maybe you can finally relax a little. It’s then that you find yourself resisting the same changes to your business that your twenty-something self would be eager to make. Instead of constantly reinventing your business, you rebuke any talk of sweeping changes or innovation with the usual: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
What you may not realize is that the more we try to stay comfortable today, the more likely we will be to experience discomfort tomorrow.
In other words, the more we protect the status quo, the more likely we are to miss out on the opportunities that come with change.
And the more irreplaceable we think we are, the more harm we ultimately may be doing to our business – and to ourselves. That’s what this issue’s cover story, “Chained to the Business,” is all about – finding a way to escape your sense of “business bondage.” It starts on page 24.
Whether you’re chained to your business or not, getting your mojo back starts with taking responsibility for the situations that surround us, then regaining control through action. Instead of wishing things were different, try releasing those expectations, then get busy and squeezing the pulp out of each day you’re blessed with.
I travel quite a bit. The airport bookstores are lined with business and motivational books offering a single cure to all problems – just think positive thoughts. Nice, but this is is a real challenge when your “Mojo Tank” is on E. While books and affirmations may help some, it’s not enough to replenish your soul.
One must stop thinking and start doing. Movement creates momentum. And momentum restores mojo.
Define your game, take action on those things that will move you forward, then get busy.
To your success,
Patti Renner, Editor