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Personas: A Deeper Dive

The Personas you learned about in Dream Three of Betwixt are based on the concept of “Drivers” from Transactional Analysis. Because knowing your drivers can be such an empowering thing, we've created this page to give you a little more detail.


The Message Within 

Drivers are unconscious beliefs, learned early in life, which fire up during times of stress and trigger certain patterns of behaviour. 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 entirely possible to recognise all five Personas/Drivers at work in your life, but most people have two or three front-runners.

As these patterns tend to show up as coping mechanisms during times of stress, it's common to see different Personas/Drivers coming to the fore in different areas of your life. Perhaps you're a Striver at work but a Carer at home, for example.


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


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, and they struggle to see their own success regardless of how obvious it can appear to others.


People with a strong Striver persona may, during their formative years, have been punished for making errors and/or praised for achieving high grades at school or keeping a tidy bedroom, etc. 

Striver counter: "Good enough"

The Rock

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

This Persona tells you that it is not okay to show emotion. Instead, Rocks push their feelings 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 strong Rock persona 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. When this Persona fires up, 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.


People with a strong Sprinter persona, during their formative years, 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 tend 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. 

People with a strong Worker persona may, during their formative years, 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 happy, 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 Carer persona 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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