Having a healthy and solution focused mindset is really important if we want to make the most of our lives and careers.
Nevertheless, throughout our life experiences. education, we develop some behaviors and unconscious thoughts we think we SHOULD stick to. It may have a tremendous impact on our lives … and not always for the best!
Coaching, mentoring women for almost five years, I identified 5 main drivers that can make our lives miserable. These are instructions women and men consciously or unconsciously, continue to obey.
These behaviors are strong and stem from the unconscious beliefs of how we should behave to be loved or simply survive.
”Be strong”: I can manage everything by myself and I don’t need anyone. I cut myself off from my emotions so I don’t get hurt. I’m not complaining….. Never!
”Be perfect”: I have to achieve everything I do and everything must be done perfectly. Even from others (colleagues, friends, children), i am expecting a lot to live up to my standards. So, I am often dissatisfied, disappointed or I don’t try new things because I am scared to death of failure.
”Hurry up”: I’ll be able to do a lot of things, even if I am overwhelmed, I just have to hurry. I run most of the time and I am often late. I am exhausted!
”Be nice”: I must please people to be loved, to be recognized. Thus, their needs are more important than mine. it is what matters the most and make me feel valuable. And by the way, i don’t even know what ”my needs” are.
”Try hard”: The harder it looks, the more I feel important. You need to work hard. Result is NOT compatible with fun. ”Reward is in the pain”.
Pros & Cons
On one side, these five drivers can play a positive role in our lives and bring us a lot. They can support us in achieving our goals, being persistent and resilient.
But in general, we have two main instructions we believe even more than the others, which wake up when we are under pressure. Thus, in case of intense stress or great fatigue, we believe our way out is by activating these instructions as if they were the single exit door.
For example, when I am under stress, mine is ”Hurry up”. I think I must do things faster …… causing greater stress. I love this Zen proverb i try to make my own:
“You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day – unless you‘re too busy; then you should sit for an hour.”
Strategies to lessen your driver
1. ”Be Strong”
“Be strong” is a way of working to address problems, when dealing with a crisis, to reassure people around you. You are extremely reliable and trust your abilities most of the time. Sometimes you may feel invulnerable. And it is true : you’re doing an amazing job without complaining.
If this driver is dominant at home and work, when you are in a situation of stress or fatigue, your only way to react (often unconsciously), is to force yourself to be even stronger: You don’t think about asking for support. You’re exhausting yourself! In fact, this driver ”Be strong” and burn out are closely related.
To get out of this schema: express your emotions!
Accept your vulnerability and do not hesitate to say “Things are not that great”. Stop being the firefighter and seek support: Dare to ask “can you help me? ” Transform “Be Strong” in “I can show my emotions” and you’ll come out difficult situations easier. Most of people love helping.
Watch some Tedtalks about vulnerability and especially the one from Brene Brown ”The power of vulnerability”: a master piece.
2. “Be perfect”
“Be perfect” helps you to place the bar very high. You want to be very successful, be at the top, Your work is ”high quality”. You prepare your files thoroughly, are punctual to your meetings, you wear The perfect outfit. Your motto could be ”More, better, faster”. You are in need of constant success to feel good. Of course you are disillusioned and confused. yet, the thought of being ordinary is terrifying.
But if your ‘Be perfect” is too strong, when you get anxious, the only strategy you can implement is to do even more “perfectly” your work. However, as there is no such a thing as perfection, you can be more and more frustrated.
To get out of this pattern: tolerate mistakes!
To escape from the vicious circle of desire for perfection, agree to do the “well enough”. Grant you the right to deceive yourself, because it is also from mistakes that we learn. Nobody is perfect right from the start. How many times does a child fall before he can walk?
Agree to “good enough” and delegate whenever possible, even if the work is less well executed that you would want to. Also, lean on your perception of perfection: what quality of work would you like to get? Be very specific in defining your requirements.
3. “Hurry up”
This driver enables you to move forward, to be effective, finalize a draft in time, in all circumstances. You are rather enthusiastic, you do like managing several projects at once and you have no trouble taking action.
Problems occur when you are stressed… and at this rate , it’s quite often! Going too fast, you are likely to make mistakes. You may complain because of the workload, or get angry because there’s too much on your plate. You also tend to push other people to set more ambitious targets or to blame them because they are SO slow!!
To get out of this pattern: turn “Hurry up” into “I am going at my own pace”
If you’re under stress, it is often because you feel that everything is urgent. It is about learning to distinguish between what is urgent and what is not really and to accept not being able to handle everything at once … some files will wait… Also try to do nothing at all: just live the present moment…
I suggest you become aware of the unconscious behaviors guiding you when you’re under pressure. Developing emotional awareness will help you to decide how you want to respond to your stress trigger ”hurry up”.
Practice meditation: It will not work at first but indulge in meditation or at least a ”Body scan” ( it is 2 minutes. It should be ok) just to free your mind from all your thoughts and tasks and …., yes I know the list is endless.
4. ‘’Be nice’’
This injunction is rooted in the hearts of people who aspire to be loved. You like to please others and expect from them recognition for your work: if they are happy, you are also. But if they are not, you are not neither. You rather smiling and have lots of friends. You are comfortable in working with others and you are a very friendly colleague, because you are interested into people.
An excessive desire to please others may drag you to no longer listening to your own needs. You can ruin your life or at least lose self-confidence, waiting from other people validation or recognition.
To get out of this pattern: Please yourself”
It is not selfish to think of ourselves first. As in the plane, in case of depressurization, if the oxygen masks fall, you need to set up the mask on your face before taking care of your children. Taking care of yourself enables you to take care of other people.
5. ”Try hard”
You are a real persistent person. You help others effectively. You always give the best of yourself and you know how to work for important causes. But you think that success is painful, that it is really demanding and requires a lot of self-sacrifice.
But if you don’t dare to set boundaries. If you think that pain is normal to achieve your goals, the vicious circle is in place. The more you make efforts, the less you flourish and the less you find pleasure in your work. When you start complaining, be aware that it is too much for you.
To get out of this pattern: turn “Try hard” into “I can also succeed effortless and with pleasure”
It is most often associated to our childhood and probably your parents told you ‘’no pain, no gain’’.
There are a lot of people out there for whom pleasure is associated to ”not serious” ” lack of consistence”. But if you give second thoughts to it, the most successful people are passionate by what they are doing.
You don’t have to stick to a mental pattern that is not satisfying to you and make your life a hardship.
Identifying limiting beliefs
is part of Foundation 2 ”Developing a positive and solution-focused mindset”. Working for several years in the banking industry and coaching, mentoring professional women for almost 5 years helped me to identify what is needed to gain clarity, confidence and courage for a fulfilling career.
If you want to know more about it, visit
Enjoy life and the week!