Without even knowing it, we let thieves into our lives.
They rob us of our inner peace, our effectiveness, our happiness, and even our health.
The stinkers are stealth-like. They sneak in and take root, and before you know it, they’re part of the landscape.
The culprits are the repeating thought patterns that motivate our habits and behaviors.
Consider them our “drivers”.
They push-push-push us from our subconscious mind.
They drive how we act, but when they get out of hand, they rob us of the joy and happiness of life.
They make us ineffective and lead us to frustration.
It all started innocently.
When we were young, we explored ways to navigate the people and the situations around us, and these drivers seemed to help at the time.
We unintentionally exercised them and made them stronger by repeating them over the years.
Over time, they became so familiar, now we think they’re part of who we are.
Then they began to cause us pain.
These drivers got so big and so loud that we began to lose sight of what’s important.
The driver took priority over the moment. But no more.
Easing pain is what motivates me.
So I want to share what I know about the 4 personality traits that can rob us of happiness and effectiveness when we let them get out of control.
There’s no judgment here. We all have at least some of these 4 drivers.
When we can see what’s driving us, we take back our control.
What are these Drivers?
“It’s not quite right, so I better fix it…”
You want to make a good impression, so you spend extra time on a project.
Then you spend even more time on the next project. Editing, reworking, making it “just right”.
Or maybe you are obsessing over your own appearance or the upkeep of your house.
Not wanting to go to the beach because of your figure. Ignoring your kids to clean the bathroom floor.
Then you start applying these unreasonable standards to your friends, your family, and your co-workers.
Getting pissed at your neighbor because they let their grass get too long. Demanding to know why your kid got a 95 instead of 100.
Next thing you know, perfection is driving you in a way that doesn’t benefit anyone.
You feel frustrated by other people’s “low” standards, and ouch, you are hurting the people you love.
I’ll never forget meeting a woman at a conference. She self described herself as a perfectionist. I thought, “wow her hair is a mess!”
I know I was being judgy by thinking that, but it was a great lesson for me.
Trying to be perfect is a waste of time because everyone’s idea of perfection is different!
You think you’re doing it to impress others or to get accolades, but chances are, no one else cares!
Plus, everyone’s idea of perfect is different, so people don’t even notice.
Trying to be perfect is a game you can never win. Something will always need improving, and no one really cares anyway.
Attention to detail is good. A decent standard is good. But drop perfection, it’s controlling you, robbing you of happiness and hurting the people you care about the most.
✔️Try this instead:
Force yourself to let some small things go, even if it makes you uncomfortable.
Make it a game to shock someone by intentionally letting something slide or being sloppy.
Trust that the people around you love and accept you just the way you are, faults and all.
Heck they might even like you more when you ease back a bit.
Rushing Rushing Rushing
Always formulating the next step and thinking about the future, you forget to have fun in the moment!
Add in the constant distractions from phones and emails, and you feel like you need to respond to everything immediately.
There’s always a fire to put out before you can relax.
“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” Lao Tzu
You can’t see the beauty around you when you’re in this state of rushing.
The rushing and doing makes the people around you stressed and unhappy too.
You rush your kids off the phone because you need to get back to some inane task.
You put off booking a vacation because there never seems to be a break in the work.
You skip the lunch party to keep working at your desk.
So much of what you think you need to do is just useless made up stuff.
You do-do-do to live up to a man-made standard or expectation.
If you have food in your stomach and safe shelter, and it’s likely you’ll have them again tomorrow, you’ve done enough.
✔️Try this instead:
Force yourself to slooooowwwww down. Keep bringing your thought back to what’s happening at the moment.
Take a slow walk and observe what’s around you instead of paying attention to your target heart rate.
Sit down for 10 minutes with no noise around you and just let your thoughts be still.
Next time you hear your favorite song, put down everything and just listen to it. Or grab your honey for a dance.
Show up early to your next appointment — I’ve recently been challenging myself to do this.
Actually listen to the person talking to you instead of jumping ahead to your response.
Focus on the path not the destination (my apologies for the cliche motivational phrase 😉).
At some point you crossed the line from being considerate to worrying about what other people think of you… all the time.
You worry that if you don’t please other people they won’t like you.
The more you try to satisfy this need, the more you make it stronger.
Even when you’re taking care of people you wonder if you should be doing more. Are they really happy??
Everyone else’s needs take priority over your own.
Suddenly, you can’t find your voice anymore to express your own needs. Or maybe you don’t even know what they are!
You’ve sacrificed your own happiness, and you think you’re making other people happy.
But guess what. You’re likely annoying them.
Leave other people’s happiness to them. You aren’t responsible for any other person’s happiness.
Of course you aren’t going to be abusive to people or take advantage of anyone, but you have to leave their happiness up to them.
Sure there’s a time to occasionally self sacrifice, and I’m a believer in giving more than what’s expected, but you’ll never please everyone all the time.
✔️Try this instead:
Starting now, be a bit more selfish.
Spend some time on what you want to do. Take up a hobby, go to the movie you want to see, get a massage.
Tell people what you want, even if they don’t ask!
Give people the space to take care of themselves in the way they see best.
A Stiff Upper Lip
Are you suppressing your emotions to look strong? Or to appear in control?
You really want to let loose and be the life of the party, but it’s just too scary?
Or maybe you have a set of internal rules that tells you it’s not acceptable to show your emotions?
Bottling up your emotions leads to physical and mental breakdown.
You know that annoying back pain? The pain that’s still there even though all your tests are normal? That’s what I’m talking about.
Hey, those emotions have to come out one way or another.
I’d rather use my big girl words and express them than develop chronic headaches or high blood pressure (to name a few).
I also don’t want to completely lose my cool and blow up from those bottled up emotions, so better to express them in a healthy way.
I Was Angry all the Time
I read a great post here last week by Jason Berek-Lewis. It talks about being able to recognize (and name) the things…
Your happiness increases, and you get another bonus. You’re finally authentic to others, and other people respect and like you more when you’re authentic.
Now, I’m not talking about major meltdowns of emotion that are out of proportion to the situation, but it’s ok to have some expressions.
I never wanted my kids to see me cry. One day I got a Christmas card from my mom’s best friend. The note simply said, “Christine, you look just like your mother.” The tears just poured out. Everyone stopped to look at me! It made me human. We all need that. (It made me cry to type that.)
✔️Try this instead:
Let your hair down. Reveal a little more about yourself to the people around you.
Share something that makes you feel vulnerable. Tell people you love and appreciate them.
Sing in the car even if you have a passenger (this terrifies me).
Next thing you know, you’ll be the first person to get everyone skinny dipping! 😍
How many of the drivers do you have?
I have a solid 3 out of the 4. But as time goes by I’m much less concerned with jumping through hoops, and I much prefer to be happy.
Unless you’re an agility pup, jumping through hoops is not fun!
Being an Overachiever was a Bad Habit, and I Kicked it
I spent most of my adult life as an over achiever, but I kicked that habit.
Take back your power.
These drivers all took root when we were very young. They got stronger and stronger as we practiced them.
They started with good intentions. At the beginning they were trying to help us figure out this crazy world.
Then they took on a life of their own.
Not any more.
Now you’re in charge. We’ve shined some light, so you can change them.
Change them and reclaim your happiness.
That’s what I want for you.
As always, I wish you all the best!
I made a 5-day Guide to Mastering Happiness, and it’s yours for free! Click here to get the guide for free!
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