A ‘Driver’ is a basic strong Parent Tape (or message), which, having been well established in our life, tends to act as an energiser or driving force within us for life. It gets our Child going, and we compulsively react to our internal parent.

We’ve identified five main Drivers:-

  1. “Be Perfect’
  2. “Try Hard”
  3. “Be Strong”
  4. “Hurry Up”
  5. “Please People”


If we allow one (or more) of these drivers to govern our behaviours, they may cause stress, and prevent us from working at our best.

Have a look through the ‘Driver Signs’, and see if you can identify which one is your primary driver.  Afterwards we’ll look briefly at a few ways you can re-frame these to achieve more in your workplace.


Be Strong

  • With a primary ‘Be Strong’ Driver you may:
  • Find it hard to talk about feelings
  • Find it hard to admit to anything that might be seen as a weakness (fear, pain, worries)
  • Find it hard to ask for help
  • Need to show you can cope
  • Use distancing words like “one” or “people” when talking about yourself
  • Use few gestures


Be Perfect

With a primary ‘Be Perfect’ Driver you may:

  • Set high standards for yourself and others
  • Be dissatisfied with your own work, even when it  is ok
  • Want to do things yourself
  • Find it hard to delegate
  • Find it hard to take criticism
  • Be picky
  • Use “when … then” phrases such as “When I have more time I’ll get fit”


Hurry Up

With a primary Hurry Up Driver you may:

  • Be impatient
  • Rush to get to the next job
  • Be concerned about time
  • Get agitated
  • Fidget
  • Pressure others to ‘get on’
  • Be thinking about the destination and not enjoy the journey
  • Find your gaze changes direction frequently/rapidly
  • Use words like “quick”, “get going”, “hurry” etc

Please People

With a primary Please People Driver you may:

  • Find you are always aware of other’s moods
  • Find conflict difficult
  • Take steps to avoid conflict
  • Find it hard to upset others
  • Put up with things so as not to ‘rock the boat’
  • Smile when you are uncertain about your relationship to    other people
  • Use a laugh to soften statements
  • Find that your tone of voice rises at the end of  sentences to check – “hmmm?, ok?” etc


Try Hard

With a primary Try Hard Driver you may:-

  • Give the impression you have a lot to do
  • Commit a lot of energy to showing you are trying hard
  • Exaggerate your movements
  • Talk about how hard things are
  • Use words like “difficult”, “can’t”, ‘I don’t get you”, etc


Managing Your Backseat Driver


So, do you know your primary Driver yet?  (If not, don’t worry – we’ll cover this over in our training programmes!)

If you have begun to be aware of your primary Driver, the important thing is to manage it, instead of letting it do the managing.  (To use a vehicular example, if your Driver is doing all the directing and guiding, it may take you places you don’t want to go.)

One way to do this is to deliberately create a personal internal message that will mollify the “Not OK” feeling we get – in other words, we can give ourselves “Allowers” to match each Driver.




Be Perfect    
  • Perfect only means good enough for the purpose
  • It is ok to make mistakes sometimes
  • It doesn’t have to be perfect first time


Try Hard
  • I can relax and let it happen
  • I can make/do it
Be Strong
  • It is ok to have feelings
  • It is ok to ask for help


Hurry Up
  • It is ok to take time to think
  • It is ok to relax


Please People
  • It is ok for me to be myself
  • It is ok for me to say “no”
  • There are times when it is ok to say “I wont”