The benefits and drawbacks of having great drive

At a business2business event this week we were asked to consider a key word that expressed how we felt now. One person came up with “drive” and this got us thinking about what that actually means…. Do you feel you have drive? and if so how does it affect your life? Do you want more or less?

Is having it a permanent or transient thing? Do we have a high level consistently or in bursts in order to achieve a goal and if we can decide when to increase it – can we harness this to help us achieve our aims in both work and personal life.

Often it can be defined as internal motivation and if this is so then surely we are more or less motivated depending on the outcomes we are hoping to achieve. This also raises the question – Is it essential for good leaders to have drive?

It’s useful to look at a motivation matrix to think about what influences us individually – This one by Lisbeth Calandrino illustrates how internal and external factors influence our motivation levels and hence our drive to achieve our goals.

In case you don’t recognise her – this is Elise Christie, a short track speed skater currently competing for team GB at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. At the Olympics in Sochi in 2014 she was disqualified in all three of her heats for an infringement and then also received death threats and social media abuse accusing her of costing a Korean skater the gold medal. To come back to compete in this years Olympics takes dedication and drive to put setbacks behind you and to stay focussed on what you want to achieve and she has certainly come back with a great positive mental attitude and drive to achieve this – Go for Gold!

We can all learn from this – athletes repeatedly have to put celebrations and commiserations behind them almost immediately and focus on the next task at hand – whether that’s competing in the next event or a focussed training schedule to achieve their goal – we too can celebrate our achievements (maybe even the small milestones) but be ready to move on to realise our dream and focus o what we need to do next.

How to increase drive:-

  • Use the motivation matrix to really consider what motivates you and use this to work toward your goals
  • celebrate milestones
  • Regularly reappraise where you want to get to and remind yourself why
  • Involve others if you can

Too much drive:-

  • Try to ensure you are not too critical of yourself and your progress
  • Share your feelings with others
  • Limit time spent on some individual goals so that it does not feel as if it is taking over your life