Out of control driver

In the last blog, we talked about feedback and how to support people with a be perfect or please others driver.  But what if the person who needs help is you?  Here are a few ideas for calming those compulsions that we can all feel when we are stressed and out of sorts.

Since there are five well-accepted drivers that can get the better of us, we discuss the other three as well.  Grab a cup of tea, take a moment and reflect.

The driver and its triggers

What we say to ourselves

What we can do

Be perfect

Own and others’ perceived carelessness, mistakes;

loss of control, certainty or structure; ambiguity and change

Everything must be exactly right first time, every time

  • Check what good enough really means
  • Keep clear about what your goal is and stick to the goal
  • Prioritise!
  • Learn to use mistakes as a source of learning
  • Take a risk – it doesn’t have to be perfect before you start

Please people

Being ignored, criticised or blamed

I have to please others (often without asking or being asked)

  • Learn to confront constructively
  • Learn to say “No”
  • Give others the responsibility for their own feelings
  • Learn to accept feedback that is constructive

Try hard

Fear of failure; being criticised for not caring or trying hard enough

It’s the effort that counts

  • Clarify goals and direction and prioritise
  • Learn to finish and to recognise and celebrate your successes – before starting something else
  • Stop volunteering
  • Stop trying and just do it!

Be strong

Feeling vulnerable or forced to talk about feelings

Showing any form of weakness means I’m not OK

  • Accept that it’s OK to ask for help
  • Check your work/life balance.
  • Consider if your work levels are realistic
  • New task? Check you’ve asked for enough resource and set realistic targets
  • Recognise the importance to others of their feelings

Hurry up

Slow processes, perceived inefficiency, being time-starved, queues

Everything must be done as quickly as possible

  • Plan sufficient time
  • Plan work in stages
  • Learn and practise good listening skills
  • Learn to relax and be alone


The dangerous thing about hurry up is that it doesn’t just exist on its own.  It can combine with any of the other four.  Imagine hurry up and be perfect!  How stressful is that?

Want to know more?

Self-awareness goes a long way here but maybe some coaching could help?  In the meantime, have a look at the great material that we have collected and put on sane.works or browse our flagship book – Staying Sane in Business

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