Professional fulfillment: Why can't I do it?

by Anne Cornelis - Futur Soi Coaching - March 11, 2022

Professional fulfillment: Why can't I do it?

"... Like the film "Groundhog Day", we can feel as if we are constantly confronted with the same failures and disillusions in certain spheres of our lives."

Those little voices in our heads

"- Why isn't my project taking off?"

Why is it that, despite our best efforts, we are always faced with the same problems?

Like the film "Groundhog Day", in which the main character is condemned to relive the same day over and over again, we can feel as if we're constantly confronted with the same failures and disappointments in certain areas of our lives.

"I always choose the wrong men in my life".

"I never manage to keep a job for more than 1 year".

"I've done a lot of training, I've studied my project carefully, and yet my business isn't taking off".

Our mind works all day long, sending us a constant stream of thoughts (over 60,000 a day). This internal dialogue is part of conscious and unconscious thought patterns, some of which are deeply rooted within us and operate repetitively and automatically, despite ourselves.

As we saw in the blog post "Our true power, the one that lies in the present moment", our well-being depends on our thoughts, on this internal dialogue that we have deep down, consciously or unconsciously.

It's by being aware of all these thought mechanisms, and by having a thorough knowledge of ourselves, that we can thwart our inner workings and change our behavior to see new things happen in our lives.

Identifying our unconscious thought patterns

There's a particular type of message that we send ourselves unconsciously, and which we can quickly influence to remove many blockages: these are called "drivers".

I like to work on these messages early on with my coachees, because it helps them to get to know themselves, to detect how they function and to set up personalized exercises to change their way of thinking.

It was Taibei Khaled, an American psychologist, who, by studying the behavior of people in stressful situations, enriched Transactional Analysis with the concept of drivers. 

He listed five of them:

  • Be Perfect
  • Be strong
  • Please others
  • Try hard
  • Hurry up.

Let's not forget that these messages have a positive side, because they help us to structure and surpass ourselves, to be a driving force to do better.

For example, in the pursuit of quality, to make sure you hand in excellent work, to be reliable or good company, to please and be considerate of others, etc. ... 

But when we're under the influence of stress (however minimal), or when there's a bit at stake, these "drivers" can quickly become tyrannical as they overwhelm us with injunctions that will make us exceed our limits, ignore our needs, or even self-sabotage!

Unconscious messages from our childhood ...

These "drivers" are deeply embedded in our unconscious, and operate automatically when we are faced with a certain type of situation. 

Their effects increase in the face of pressure or stress from outside or from within. 

These thought patterns come from our upbringing. 

As children, it's all those injunctions or expressions (even implicit ones) that our parents repeated to us. All those words we heard from our educators or teachers, or from anyone who raised us and on whom we were totally dependent.

We've learned to respond quickly and at all costs to these injunctions to make sure we're recognized and considered. To avoid rejection and exclusion, and to receive attention and be loved.

It's all those phrases like :

"- Be nice to your sister"

"- Stop dawdling, we'll be late again"

"- Yes, that's good. But with your abilities, I expected more from you."

"You don't get something for nothing".

"Stop crying. Be strong, life won't do you any favors".

Another pernicious effect of these messages (apart from disrespecting us), is that if we don't stop them, they push us to behave towards an ideal that by definition is impossible to reach.

This has the following consequences:

  • feelings of great frustration or anger
  • the devaluation of our know-how and skills, self-sabotage.
  • poor self-esteem and personal skills. 

And this can become a real problem if we impose the same expectations or demands on those around us.

"Be perfect"

Are you one of those people who are never satisfied with their work? 

  • you always have a little criticism to say, about what you've done or even what others are doing.
  • you may find yourself redoing something over and over again, dwelling on the smallest detail and taking up a lot of your time.
  • you always do too much, much more than is required or necessary. 

Maybe you weren't recognized for your good points when you "only" got an 8 or 9/10. That you never did enough or could always do better?

"Be strong"

Are you hiding your emotions and carrying on despite your sadness, fatigue or weariness?

  • You find it hard to ask for help and often bring work home with you.
  • You need to be busy all the time, doing something.
  • you have a strong work ethic and are able to manage several projects at the same time.

You're afraid that this will be seen as weakness, because you've been told to be brave, not to cry.

"Please others"

Are you one of those people who find it hard to say no?

  • you always feel obliged to accept requests, even if you don't feel like it or are tired inside
  • you're afraid of being a nuisance and can't stand conflictual relationships
  • you enjoy pleasing others, much more than doing something just for yourself.

You're afraid of displeasing someone or losing the relationship. Your parents told you to be kind, not selfish.

"Try hard"

Are you one of those people who think that the harder a job is, the better it is?

  • you tend to tire more than you need to
  • you find it hard to see a project through to the end, you spread yourself too thin
  • you are persevering and enthusiastic. You like new things

As a child, you were criticized for being too slow, or for not being able to do nothing. You find it hard to ask for help.

"Hurry up"

Are you one of those people who like to get things done quickly, even when they're on vacation?

  • you are dynamic and punctual, reacting quickly to any situation
  • you are able to produce a lot in a short time, you prefer to work in a hurry
  • you get impatient easily, can't stand still and are often dissatisfied

Perhaps it was considered disrespectful if you kept others or your parents waiting.

How can we get out of these repeated scenarios?

You may be responding to one or more drivers that would be nice to work on.

This will help you to become aware of them and free yourself from them when you feel they are too impetuous.

Because you can choose to follow them or not!

You can choose to take back the power over your life, to see your projects emerge and make your dreams come true. 

For true personal fulfillment!

"- So, what messages do you recognize yourself in or think you're sensitive to?"

"- What messages did you receive or hear yourself repeat as a child?"

To find out about your drivers and make the most of them, take the test.

Share this article with a friend ...

Who is Anne Cornelis?

As a professional development coach, I'm convinced that, even if life has
taken us down a different path than we would have liked at the outset, this has made us the
we are today.

We all have enriching life experiences, innate potentialities to be
brought to light, a way of working that is unique to us and which the world needs
.

My favorite tools:
' motivational neuroscience,
' visualization, meditation,
' heart energy, Ikigai (my own version, ...)

Together, let's discover who you really are!

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4 comments

    1. Very interesting question, thank you! To me, it is a combination of both, intrinsically our character and personality function with some core values, and they can be influenced by our parents, people we meet, experiences we lived. The of course the socio-educational and cultural conditioning impose you some values, that you will integrate or may opposing which can then lead to misalignment and unhappiness. What do you think?

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