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The Drives Within

In Dream III, you talked with the voice about whether you might be a Striver, Sprinter, Worker, Carer or Rock. These metaphorical roles are based on the concept of Drivers from Transactional Analysis. Here’s a little background:


The Five Drivers 

In 1975, Taibi Kahler identified five internal drivers that motivate us to act, and which can also be found at the root of a range of common dysfunctional behaviours such as perfectionism, overworking and people-pleasing. 


Drivers are learned during our formative years, and can be understood as unconscious beliefs that tend to fire up during times of stress. The belief, for all variations, starts like this:

“I’m only okay when I …”

And that sentence is then completed in a different way for each of the five drivers:

The “Be Perfect” Driver (Striver):
“I’m only okay when I get things right”


The “Hurry Up” Driver (Sprinter):
“I’m only okay when I’m doing things quickly”

The “Be Strong” Driver (Rock):
“I’m only okay when I don’t show my emotions”

The “Try Hard” Driver (Worker):
“I’m only okay when I’m working hard”

The “Please Others” Driver (Carer):
“I’m only okay when everyone else is happy”

Knowing Your Patterns


It's possible to recognise all five Drivers at work in your life, but most people identify with two or three, and many have a single front-runner (or, at least, one that causes the most problems).


To help you determine which drivers play the biggest role for you, and where that's likely to happen, here are the five descriptions in a little more detail. 


Note: if you would like to change your selected driver for the remainder of the Betwixt story, you can do so by replaying Dream III before moving on.


The Striver

“I’m only okay when I get things right”

Strivers like everything just so. They put effort into detail, set themselves high standards and struggle to tolerate any kind of imperfection. This can mean that they create excellent work, keep an immaculate home, or excel in their careers and hobbies, but they pay in both anxiety and time to achieve those results. To make matters worse, Strivers often struggle to see their own success regardless of how obvious it can appear to others.


As with all the drivers, there are a number of ways in which the “Be Perfect” driver can be learned. Perhaps you were praised for achieving high grades at school or keeping a tidy bedroom. Or, perhaps you were punished for failure, errors or sloppiness.

Striver counter: "Good enough"

The Rock

“I’m only okay when I don't show my emotions”

This driver tells us that it is not okay to show our feelings. Instead, with a “Be Strong” driver, we opt to push our emotions away and tough it out. While this pattern can make you good in a crisis, in the long term it can cause an emotional disconnection or numbness that hinders relationships and can sap the joy out of life.


People with a “Be Strong” driver may, during their formative years, have been punished for overt displays of emotion and/or praised for emotional stoicism and keeping their cool (perhaps coming from a family who chose the "stiff upper lip" attitude).

Rock counter: "It's okay"

The Sprinter

“I’m only okay when I get things done quickly”

Sprinters are all about speed and efficiency. Their strengths lie in the ability to multitask, thrive under pressure and simply get a lot done. When this driver fires up, however, the need to hurry can overwhelm everything else, leading to mistakes and missed details. Sprinting through life can also make it hard to settle, relax or enjoy what you are doing.


During their formative years, people with a strong “Hurry Up” driver may have been punished for dawdling and/or praised for speed and efficiency.

Sprinter counter: "Slow down"

The Worker

“I’m only okay when I'm working hard”

Workers put in enormous amounts of effort and, as a result, can get a lot done. However, they may be prone to overcomplicate tasks due to their belief that great results must always involve large amounts of work. Overwhelm and overload are the biggest risks for Workers, along with the sense of failure that follows a perpetually incomplete to-do list. 

During their formative years, people with a strong “Try Hard” driver may have been punished for laziness or inactivity and/or praised for effort and "going the extra mile".

Worker counter: "Do enough"


The Carer

“I’m only okay when everyone else is happy”

Carers feel the need to keep everyone around them comfortable, and they'll strive to achieve this at their own expense. Beneath their desire to help is the unconscious belief that if they can just save everyone else, then someone will eventually save them. Unfortunately, this isn’t how needs-fulfilment works, and the lack of reciprocation can lead to bitter resentment. Carers have to learn to put themselves first in order to feel satisfied and content. 

People with a strong “Please Others” driver are likely to have assumed the role of carer/mediator in their family while growing up. Perhaps they were praised for their ability to appease or calm others, and they might have only felt safe when they managed to keep family conflict at bay. 

Carer counter: "I need care, too"

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