Reflections on the MojoLife launch

Like everyone who attended, I’ve had time to reflect on last Monday’s launch night for MojoLife and take stock of what we’ve started – and where it might go.

It will be fascinating to see what people make of it, because at the end of the day that’s what it’s about.  It’s not what we tell people to do – it’s what they decide to do for themselves.  We simply help with the right environment, tools, knowledge and skills for them to move their lives forward.

But I’d like to reinforce the message we conveyed the other night by emphasising some of the key themes and principles behind MojoLife, as I see them.

A ray of light amid the gloom

The press do seem to love a bad news story – “Council to axe 2,000 jobs” “Front-line services in jeopardy” “Unions threaten strike action”.  But there’s precious little written about what happens to people once they are made redundant, or the pressures on those who remain (same amount of work, fewer people to do it).

The problem with all this is it reinforces a sense of powerlessness and pessimism.  “It’s the banks’ fault…the government’s to blame…when are they going to do something about it?”  The assumption is that our destiny lies in the hands of others.  It’s down to external forces and we’ve just got to keep our heads down, ride out the storm and wait for better times ahead.  Of course the problem is we’re waiting for things to change over which we have no control.

MojoLife offers a welcome alternative, and in a sense it’s an invitation to LEAD.

At its heart is the belief that we have a lot more power than we think; that we have at our disposal the means to engineer a better future for ourselves – a future of our choosing.

Let me give you an example: I made reference the other night to something Seth Godin talks about (see his 7 Ways to Reinvent Yourself).  He reminds us that Marxist theory held that the capitalists dominated the proletariat by owning the means of production.  But these days WE own the means of production!  With a computer, an internet connection, a good idea/story and the ability to communicate it we’re in an excellent position to lead and influence others.

The same Mr G also points out that traditional ‘push’ marketing no longer works like it used to.  I’m sure we’ve all adopted such a strategy – cold calling, leafleting, e-shots or firing off endless CV’s into the cyber-sphere.  The problem is that nowadays there’s so much noise out there that we switch off and ignore stuff.

Indeed it could be argued that CVs are really an apparatus for enabling employers to reject people.  Wouldn’t it be better to have something that’s a celebration of who someone is? That’s why we encourage people to write their manifesto instead of a CV.  It’s a more holistic and meaningful summary of who you are – your beliefs, values, skills, knowledge, capabilities and ambitions.  The problem is people think they ARE their job title.  And when that title is removed, their sense of identity and self-worth is lost.

MojoLife starts by getting people to reconnect with who they really are – at their core.

Having established that, you’re in a position to move forward.  I mentioned the limitations of push marketing.  What about developing a bit of PULL instead?  Let’s say that through a bit of Mojo-thinking you’ve discovered who are and what you’re really good at and what fires you up.  Now you’ve got an opportunity to LEAD.

Do you want to open up the best independent cafe in the North West?  Why not?  The question is how are you going to get noticed and seen in that way?  This is the essence of personal branding and storytelling.  Are you going to be like all the other cafes?  Or is there something about you that’s different? Perhaps you’ll encourage discussion groups or invite writers and poets to share their work?

Do you want to be the best customer service manager in the region?  Why not?  Why not do a mystery shopping survey of how various establishments treat customers in your town or city, and what lessons we can learn.  Be seen as an expert in this field – you’ll probably end up training/providing high quality employees throughout your region!

The point is you have an opportunity to be seen as a leader and an influencer in whatever field you want to dominate.  You’re doing and saying things that are worth paying attention to.  It’s the way you get noticed – not by mass-marketing an unremarkable message but by telling a compelling story about who you are and what value you create for people.

It’s all a question of how you see yourself.  You might read the above and say, “Oh, I could never do that!”  But the truth is you could.  That’s the starting point.  Before others value you, you’ve got to value yourself first.

And here’s the problem.  The CV/job search system (and the business world) is geared towards rejecting you.  That’s what happens if you push market.  You’re lucky if 5% of the people you target show any interest in you.  That means 95% of the time you’re being rejected and that has an impact on your self-confidence.

Pull marketing focuses on what you’ve got to offer – what’s at your core.  It’s about valuing it yourself, packaging it, telling the story really well and attracting interest.  Only the right people come to you; people who by definition validate you and what you offer.  Those are the people you focus on.  And they bring you others like them (watch this fantastic video on leadership and how people join your tribe!)

Even if you don’t want to become self-employed or start a movement or change the world, pull marketing can work for you.  There are so many means at your disposal now, things which YOU can control, that can make you marketable.

  • You can blog.
  • You can establish a strong profile via social media like LinkedIn and Facebook.
  • You can start talking to strangers.
  • You can have your own radio or TV show, and interview people.
  • You can organise meetings and be a connector.
  • You can better understand yourself and what you have to offer.
  • You can improve the way you communicate that.
  • You can improve your knowledge and understanding of your area of expertise.
  • You can prepare the ground for your dream future while earning a living in some other way.

At the MojoLife launch we introduced you to some people who’d done extraordinary things with very few resources.

Lauren Luke

The makeup queen who discovered what she had to offer, packaged it, shipped it out via free social media (YouTube) and built a following (and an income).

William Kamkwamba

The young man in Malawi who taught himself how to build a working windmill from rubbish.  It powered his family home.

  • It attracted people wanting to charge their mobile phones.
  • It attracted the interest of journalists and bloggers.
  • It came to the attention of the TED community.
  • William told his story and he’s now part of the worldwide climate change lobby.

The Grace Living Centre

An impromptu reading programme between kindergarten children and old folks in a retirement home.

  • Led to improved reading age for the kids.
  • Better understanding of pre-technology age and the cycle of life.
  • Old folks came off their medication!

All 3 stories have a similar theme: all these people came alive through finding their purpose.  This is what Sir Ken Robinson talks about in The Element.  When you find the thing you have a facility (and a passion) for, that’s IT!  You find your mojo and suddenly work doesn’t seem like work anymore.

Being at a cross-roads represents both a challenge and an opportunity.  My own trauma about 3 years ago was the worst and the best thing that ever happened to me.  It’s not the trauma that’s the challenge though – it’s the way we respond to it.

By changing my routines, mixing with new people, being open-minded to new perspectives, improving my knowledge and skills and re-training my mind, I was able to discover my purpose and move forward.  I’ve never looked back or doubted myself since.

Joe and Graham (the 2 gents who shared their stories) have similarly found their calling, after a hugely traumatic development in their lives.  But let no one doubt how challenging it is to do this.  You need support and guidance to engineer your own future, and that’s what MojoLife provides.  It’s a very personal thing for all 4 of its co-founders because we’ve all had quite a journey ourselves.

It’s less to do with money than determination and self-belief.  I had no money whatsoever but still managed to reinvent myself.  Along the way I:

  • Started a blog
  • Published a book
  • Created a business skills club
  • Started a personal development reading group
  • Got asked to sit on 3 advisory panels in higher education establishments
  • hosted the Pecha Kucha concept in Manchester
  • Developed a reputation as a speaker & trainer
  • Built up an extraordinary network
  • Started a communication skills club for business people (it’s now running in Australia too)
  • Co-founded MojoLife

But of all of the above probably the most important was the network.  I couldn’t have done it without their support (and I include my ex-wife in that by the way!).

The CV writing and the interview techniques and the job search navigation is all very well, but what moves mountains is attitude combined with effort – and when that’s channeled in a specific direction (a direction of your choosing), some extraordinary things begin to occur.

MojoLife is for Success

One final point: as Lily pointed out on the night, MojoLife isn’t for the b-m-w brigade (that’s bitch, moan, whinge!).  MojoLife is attracting some highly skilled, talented people who are capable of leading and influencing others in their field.  They’ve just lost a bit of belief – rather like an athlete who’s on a bad run of results (some may be trying the 200 metres when they should be doing the 100…or playing football!).  Our task is to help them come alive again.

What’s interesting is that the skills and attitudes at the heart of MojoLife are precisely the things that businesses really need in the current climate:

  • A more motivated and productive workforce.
  • A better understanding of their own story.
  • The ability to communicate that story, both F2F and via social media.
  • The ability to build and nurture authentic relationships.

For me, MojoLife is really about unleashing leadership potential, and supporting you on your journey.  I hope you’ll find some way to get involved in this new movement.  See the list of dates and venues for meetings by clicking here.

PS: A HUGE thanks to my fellow MojoLife founders Sara, Lily and Kwai, our wonderful ambassadors, to Dave Bradburn and Mark Dicker, to Cobbetts for supporting us by hosting a fabulous evening and to all the others who’ve attended our events and endorsed our endeavours.

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