Deep work to address unhealthy drivers

Deep work to address unhealthy drivers

Motherhood seems to magnify all those insecurities and issues that lie buried within. They seem to be easier to mask when you aren’t responsible for this little person and facing the stressors that come with that. Add to that the deep desire not to pass on issues to my daughter. Then add the responsibility of teaching this child how to deal with her emotions and function as a whole human being. I am grateful for the incentive to do the deep work in myself that will in turn benefit her.

That deep work started when I tried to figure out who I really was and why I behaved as I did. Changing from being a full-time worker to a stay-at-home mum shifted how I saw myself. But really there were deeper identity issues that I had glossed over and never dealt with previously. Maybe you can relate to that feeling.


One of the most helpful discoveries I made was the drivers that are common to all of us as human beings. All of a sudden I could see the impact on my day-to-day decisions and interactions. The more I became aware of them, the more I could change my response in the moment. I am far from perfect at this but it has been such a helpful tool for my relationships and personal growth.

Curious about what the drivers are? These are the four main ones:

  • The desire to look good
  • The desire to feel good
  • The desire to be right
  • The desire to be in control

It is rarely only one driver at work at a time. They team up to influence how we communicate and the decisions we make. Each of us will have a common default one or two that are strongest for us and that may change in different seasons of life. For me, the desire to be in control has dominated at different times, although it is followed closely by wanting to ‘look good’. We need these drivers to help our society not descend into chaos and for us to stay safe at times. However, the extent that these drivers take over is not healthy.

Have a think about your interactions and choices over the past 24 hours. Can you see any situations where one or more of these drivers have been active?

What’s behind the drivers

Now have a closer look at those drivers. There is a common element behind all of them- fear.

  • Fear of rejection.
  • Fear of discomfort.
  • Fear of failure.
  • Fear of the unknown.

When we know that it is fear at play, we can draw from our toolbox to address it. One of the most helpful tools I have found in dealing with fear is facing it head-on with experiments. Each of these drivers has a particular way of experimenting to counteract their effects. They change from being a desire to being a ‘will’.

  • The desire to look good – willing to look foolish
  • The desire to feel good—willing to be uncomfortable
  • The desire to be right—willing to be wrong
  • The desire to be in control—willing to let go of control

Think back to those situations where you saw the drivers at play. Think about how that counteracting ‘will’ would have changed that interaction or choice.

We can dip our toes into making changes by applying those four ‘wills’ in small situations. Watch what happens as you do. See how the fear releases a little of its grip as you do the deep work. Small changes add up over time. We will never be perfect but we can learn how to live a little more free of the unhealthy drivers that hold us captive. You were made to live in freedom, dear mum. Furthermore, you can teach your children these skills too.


Jodi Koepke
MOPS Australia Managing Director

Jodi spends her days sharing words of encouragement for women in leadership, finding her way through the beautiful mess of parenting and relationships, and geeking out on technology. She is the author of the book ‘Stepping Up In Leadership’, a speaker and the Managing Director for MOPS Australia. Find more inspiration at

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