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You can be the driver of your life or you can be the driven. And if you are not the driver, who is?

If you were to ask, most executives would proudly report that they are driven to achieve. But in their hearts many of them have fears of failure, being found out to be a fraud, or something similar. These fundamental fears—these deep insecurities— are the volcanic source of their endless and unrelenting drive to achieve.

When You Are Driven

Fears like these reside in your sub-conscious programming, the “autopilot.” When your autopilot takes charge, you are driven—you are no longer in charge even when you think you are. You know that’s true because you can’t stop being driven.

Consider the metaphor of a Roman chariot race. When you are driven, you are the horse. Your fears and insecurities in the form of your autopilot are driving the chariot (your life). They whip you to go faster and faster until there’s no time for anything but running. No matter how exhausted you are, you run on, your tongue hanging out and lather coating your flanks.

Fear Can Motivate, BUT…

As the horse in this scenario, you don’t have the time or regard for anything but the race. With this single-minded focus, you accomplish many goals but you are likely to run over whatever is in your way to achieve them. You also ignore the journey, bypass the scenery without a glance, and look up at the end of your life and all you have done is run from your fears… and there’s no where else to run.

Many driven people will say that their fears are how they motivate themselves. And that’s true. But as a strategy, it is a poor one. The negative consequences of this strategy include:

  • Sacrificing your health, relationships, and enjoyment of life,
  • Developing addictions,
  • Cutting corners and potentially resorting to shady ethics, and
  • Damaging anyone or anything that gets in the way.

Shifting Into the Driver’s Seat

There’s a better way—a better strategy that preserves the energy and desire to achieve but without the negative consequences.

When you decide to stop running and to turn and face your inner demons you can shift from the Driven to the Driver of your life. As you develop Inner Mastery, you:

  • Develop a deep sense of self-worth independent of external circumstances and opinion,
  • Realize that failure is natural and unavoidable and that it doesn’t define you,
  • Come to terms with a realistic assessment of your capabilities, and
  • Cease to make your income and achievements the currency of your worth.

Leading Through Purpose and Passion

When you become the driver of your life’s chariot, the horse that pulls you forward is your purpose and passion. These are far more powerful and sustainable sources of energy, enthusiasm, adaptability, and conviction. They also invite others on the journey with you, rather than running them over or dragging them behind you.

As the driver you can stop whenever you want. You can enjoy the journey and celebrate the milestones and successes. You can have a meaningful life outside of the race and still be an extraordinary leader and achieve great things in the race.

I hope you found this useful! Please scroll down and share your thoughts below. Thank you!

All the best, Mark