What would it mean to you if I said that Mamta Borgoyary, 48, the CEO of FXB India Suraksha, an NGO that works across nine states in the areas of livelihood, quality education, health and child rights, had lost her mojo? Just a word borrowed from early blues musicians or something else? Etymologically, the word mojo belongs to the Black American Hoodoo spiritual lexicon and is a bagful of charms that turns tricks to keep you going.
Borgoyary, in this story, has turned tricks in her organization, pulling it up from a deep slide to go on to create significant social impact across the country. Clearly she had kept the organizational mojo working. But what about herself?
Mother to two high schoolers, Borgoyary lives in Delhi while her husband John Borgoyary, also a development sector professional, is currently based in Guwahati and spends weekends in Delhi. As a leader, Borgoyary is inspiring, empathetic and purposeful. As a mother she is available, committed and a good friend. Like most professionals, Borgoyary believes that office is office and home is home and that life carries on with this separation firmly in place.
But apparently not. At a time when she was working with her leadership team to draw up plans for the future, something seemed amiss. On the surface all looked fine, but Borgoyary seemed to be lacking the spark and the enthusiasm. It was then that she realized that it had been like that for some time, she figured that the task of leading an organization and managing home as a single parent was beginning to overwhelm her.
The loss of mojo is something that maybe all of us have experienced. Often we believe it is limited in its impact to either our work or personal life.
In my work with organization leaders, founders and young entrepreneurs, I have been struck by how the loss of mojo and its confusion with the popular narrative of “this is work" or “this is personal" prevents people from finding it back.
Mojo in the urban dictionary is the quality that fills us with energy, makes us more attractive to people and creates a virtuous cycle that makes us successful. It’s a bagful of invisible charms that one dips into to rejuvenate. However, where does one find that bag and how?
Over the past few years Borgoyary had experienced a lot of success. Turnarounds are difficult and makes for heroes. They require inspirational leadership, planning and a lot of hard work. She had immersed herself in the task and her team had rallied around her. Time flew by and FXB India turned the corner. Around the same time, a great opportunity also came her husband’s way and he had to move out of the city.
Borgoyary thought she had two separate issues—leading the organization through a process of change and growth; and managing as a single parent while holding the job.
As we spent time talking through her challenges and unpacking them, she realized that she really made no time for herself. In both her professional and personal spaces, she was always the “giver" and “provider". She delved deep into her psyche, thinking back to the time when she had enrolled for Kathak classes, a dance form she loved and had then given up, using the time instead for her family or work. Dancing had made her happy and feel fulfilled from deep within. But lack of time had meant she had to let go of this activity that brought her joy.
She realized that taking a few hours out each weekend was the “thing" that she needed to recover her mojo. And she decided to make time for weekend Kathak classes with her guru.
Now, her family makes sure that she does not miss her rehearsals because when Borgoyary comes back from dancing, she is so alive and happy that they all feel good. Today, FXB is chasing an ambitious goal and Borgoyary has just finished her third Kathak show on stage. She has found her bagful of personal passion to turn tricks in her own life.
Find Your Mojo is a series that maps the journey of people who seek out a new purpose in their lives.
Sanjeev Roy is the founder of Bullzi Inc and runs Reflections—a programme for leaders to reinvent and recharge themselves.