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How driven are you?

Are successful people driven?
Are successful people driven?

I just love the word “driven.” It says so much with only a few simple letters. When someone tells you that he or she is driven doesn’t it conjure up pictures of a competitive “take no prisoners” person? Moreover, doesn’t it make you want to know more about them?

I have been told that I am a driven person. I like to accomplish things; big or small it does not matter. I am constantly setting goals and competing against myself. Always striving to be better, stronger, and well-informed and I am one of the lucky to be working in a field that I love.

I credit this drive to achieve to my beautiful mother, Dorothy, who passed away a few months ago. Growing up, I could not remember a time when she slept pass 7:00 am. No, my mother was not an industry titan trying to “lean in”; her sixteen-hour days were jammed-packed caring for six children and running a home, and she did it all with oomph and a smile. Regardless of her work schedule, she found time in her busy day to open her doors to all kinds of interesting folks: the mayor of our city, neighborhood moms and their kids. She even fundraised to help those who were less fortunate. Yes, she was a whirlwind of activity; one of the most successful persons I had the privilege to know. It is from her, I inherited a grit and determination to achieve. A very nice trait to pass along –thanks Mom!

I recently watched the Tom Cruise movie Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. Truth be told, in the past, I did not fully appreciate the action movies until I started watching them with my brothers and learned the real joy of witnessing the central character working hard to accomplish something, facing impossible obstacles and never giving up until he (or she) is the victor. In this particular movie, the Tom Cruise character is faced with difficulty after difficulty yet he never waivers. He just keeps on battling against unbelievable odds. This is my kind of movie; Cruse hanging off a gazillion-story building, battling difficulties and succeeding – with the backdrop of terrific action-packed segments and spectacular special effects!

Being “driven” is a lot like the “Tom Cruise” character; the ability to achieve despite enormous difficulty. Basketball great, Michael Jordan, in his autobiography also mentions the enormous amount of effort he put into training. He relates that getting up at dawn each day to practice free throws was hardly a difficulty; to a winner like Michael, he view this practice as fun. However, we know that despite his talent for his sport, there must have been some difficult days –days where he had to push through and practice his craft to become the great champion he would ultimately become.

The one central factor which separates most driven people is difficulty. As with Michael Jordan and many other superstars there is a question of talent versus skill; a sharpening of your skill until you’re the best. If you work is something that you enjoy; that is wonderful, but there will always be those times you don’t want to practice, perform, or work so hard. There will be days where you’ve reached a limited and it is hard for you to push through. Consequently, this is where true grit, persistence, and hard work kicks in to help you succeed even beyond inherent drive. As advantageous as it may be, don’t make the mistake of thinking that being a motivated person is necessarily synonymous with “high” achievement. I write for many reasons and most of the time I enjoy it, but I don’t always want to write. So, when I have a deadline and must produce; my drive and determination to accomplish my goal kicks in and I am able to write my article, report, and so on.

So how do you know if you are driven person? If you are a successful person, consistently going after your goals (even in the face of tremendous odds), you are most likely an overachiever. However, truly exceptional folks are tenacious only at their own expense; they strive for their goals respecting others.

And I will leave you with one final thought:

“Those who follow the crowd usually get lost in it.”
― Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here for?

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