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Got Mojo? Why Work-Life Balance Is NOT the Answer

If you’re a business owner, striving for work/life balance can actually sabotage your mojo. Learn what to do instead.


Mojo. You’re probably familiar with the term, but can you actually define it?

Put simply, mojo is the creative power behind success. It is an intangible, elusive asset that many people confuse with luck. For those of you who know how to reliably tap into your mojo, opportunities and “coincidences” appear regularly to support your growth and help you meet your goals. For those of you who don’t know how to tap in, you may feel frustrated from working harder than others to achieve the same quality results, or exhausted from working so hard with only mediocre outcomes.

When you’re in your mojo, your life has a natural, easy flow to it. You instinctively know the right timing for your endeavors, and which puzzle pieces go where. When you’ve lost your mojo, everything takes extra effort, your timing is off, and you find yourself trying to force everything to go your way. You have lots of little nagging doubts that undermine your confidence and your performance. Bottom line? It’s no fun.

If you’re chronically out of your mojo, your work and personal life both suffer. Many people talk about work-life balance, but for most small-business owners and executives, that’s not a realistic option. Balance implies we have two separate forces to contend with, but anyone who’s started a business knows that you don’t get to detach from your business any more than you could a newborn babe. Starting and running a successful business requires a level of determination, dedication, and focus that most employees will never understand.

Even if you’re one of those rare business owners who know how to juggle the myriad of personal and professional responsibilities, the idea of work-life balance is laughable.

If you’re an employee, you can (theoretically) detach from work when you’re off the clock. You can even choose a job based on its promise of work-life balance! Obviously, there are bosses with boundary issues and on-call positions where your “off” time isn’t truly your own, but as a small business owner, you probably feel guilty whenever you try to disconnect (if you ever do). That’s because the traits that make you a successful entrepreneur do not lend themselves to having a split focus. For business owners, mojo is about work-life integration–not balance.

Being in your mojo requires you to honestly assess who and where you are in your life. Attempting to achieve a balance that assumes you will disengage from work is a recipe for disaster. By striving for an unattainable goal, you are setting yourself up for failure. If you know you will be thinking of work from the time you wake up until the time you go to sleep, why not simply accept it? It’s certainly more honest.

“But,” you may ask, “what about my personal life?”

It IS possible to have a successful business and a satisfying personal life–you just have to learn how. Part of the process is learning to tap into your mojo and lead from a place of flow rather than force. If your best ideas come to you when you’re in the car or the shower, use the voice recorder on your smartphone. If the first few hours of your day are inefficient and unproductive because you’re a night owl, change your work hours and spend more time with your loved ones in the morning. We hold ourselves back by blindly following convention.

When you’re in your mojo, you see through the “shoulds” and the “musts” that could sabotage your success; instead, you find creative alternatives. Therefore, if you’ve lost your mojo, a great way to get it back is to examine the rules you believe you need to follow. Where did they come from? Mom? Dad? “The Man?”

Assess what works for you and what drains your energy. If you have personal standards you always fall short of, they’re probably not realistic. The concept of work-life balance is a huge problem for entrepreneurs; so if it’s something you can’t achieve, adjust your sights. Look for ways to integrate instead of balancing or juggling and you will be much calmer.

Being in your mojo requires you to be calm, focused, and flexible; it grows out of self-understanding, self-acceptance, and self-mastery. Being in your mojo brings you joy, excitement, ease, and a sense of purpose that is profound and playful at the same time. To get there, let go of the expectations and beliefs that are unachievable, and replace them with ones that serve your whole self.

This article was originally published on on July 18, 2014
Ariana Ayu is the author of the Business Mojo column on (a website and magazine geared toward entrepreneurs) which was published between 2014-2016. Ariana is the CEO and founder of several companies, including Ayutopia International, LLC, which develops profitable collaborative corporate cultures, personal celebrity brands, and custom branded websites. Her press and media appearances include USA Today, International Business Times, ABC, CBS, CBS Money Watch, the CW, Eyewitness News, FOX, NBC, Newsday,Virtual-Strategy Magazine, World’s Luxury Guide,, Miami Herald, BlogTalkRadio, and Hollywood Industry, among others.

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