Is This The Most Important Blog Post I’ve Ever Published?

Here - take the prize for being the best and the happiest

Here – take the prize for being the best and the happiest

I think it might be.

You might not agree but I feel that the next few minutes could have a profound effect upon your life.

Why are you successful sometimes and not at others? Why do you have periods when you are you happy with your lot and at other times not? Why do you feel like everything is on track  and at other times you feel your life is off the rails?

Welcome to the world of personal drivers.

If your drivers are being met you will be more successful and happier because your internal needs are being satisfied. It’s about what you need as a person but at a very deep level – it’s not about the next pay rise or holiday abroad or 10 minute mile.

So what use are they in the real world?

When you need to make a decision simply assess which of the available options best feeds your drivers and then choose that one. It’s more likely to be the right choice for you.

We enjoy doing those things that meet our drivers so we do them longer, harder and better leading to even more success.

When things aren’t going well for you or you just feel a bit cheesed off with your lot check which are of your drivers are not being fed and it will give you some idea of how to fix your situation.

Here’s the bad news though: that’s pretty much all I can give you because it’s not my field. However, I do have a couple of suggestions which should help you to at least begin discovering your drivers. Before that though here are mine (he said laying himself bare before his readers).

These caused me to like squash more than water polo; become obsessed with programming (won a nationwide prize for it!); take up bricklaying as a hobby but preferred using recycled bricks; built a successful recruitment business in the 90’s but failed to do the same again in the naughties and finally to end up as a business development consultant.

  1. I need to be in a place of discovery:  I like new things: challenges; people; places and experiences. I can’t stand the status quo for any length of time.
  2. I need to be on a journey: I like it when I know where I’ve been, where I am now and where I’m going. I need to be on a mission; a man-with-a-plan.
  3. I need to make things that work: building something that, when it’s complete, actually does something really hits the spot for me.
  4. I need to renovate and improveI like to take something that doesn’t work very well and reinvigorate it so that it does.
  5. I need recognition and to be valued: I’m not proud of this but I need external validation such as being paid for what I do, having my achievements recognised and affirmation that I am good at what I do. I see this a weakness in myself.
  6. I need to be good at what I doIf I can’t be good, or better yet great, at something I’m not interested in doing it.
  7. I need to leave a legacy: it’s like “Mike Ames was here”. Leaving my mark on whatever I am involved with.

Underpinning these drivers is my Foundation driver that has to be in place all the time: –

  • I need familiarity and security: I absolutely have to have my back to the wall. Mrs Ames says that’s why we’re still married after 30 years when my drivers would suggest that I should have been a flighty piece. I think she’s right.

So all I can offer you is chapter 5 on needs, passions and talents in Stephen Covey’s otherwise less than inspiring book The 8th Habit of Highly Effective People. Not worth buying it for that though – borrow a copy if you can.

Alternatively, you could make a list of everything that you were successful at and enjoyed  (the two usually go hand-in-hand) and another that you were terrible at and hated. Start from your earliest recollections (our drivers don’t really change) and come to the present time.

Then look for common needs being met/ignored in each list; it takes time (about 9 months in my case) but you will find them. Then you can test them out by taking situations and seeing whether your drivers were being met or not. Keep reiterating this cycle of observation and testing and eventually you will arrive at an accurate definition of what drives you. Well worth the investment of time and effort if you ask me.

Find your drivers and it will change how you make decisions and ultimately how happy and successful you’ll be.

So was it the most important post I’ve ever published I wonder?

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici /

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Posted in Blog, Mike's Take On, Personal Development
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