The Whole Person - Your Drivers
............When I finally understood how my behaviours were being influenced I felt I could begin to change self sabotaging behaviours that had plagued me my whole life. I was 44 years old and suddenly I realised that the reason I had avoided doing my homework at school, or had ducked out of a lucrative promotion wasn’t because I was a lazy person, afraid of hard work but that my Be Perfect driver baulks at making a mistake or being laughed at (that’s a biggie for me). I am in no way a perfectionist, it’s something deeper that that.
The concept of The Drivers comes from Transactional Analysis where understanding our interpersonal relationships and the games people play can change our lives and the lives of others. Eric Berne created the theory of transactional analysis in the 1950s as a way of explaining human behaviour. He believed that by studying human interactions we can gain deeper insight into people.
(How to discover your Drivers is in the book).
The Drivers aren’t mutually exclusive and you may find more than one influencing your behaviour. I find that in those moments of upset, discomfort and downright failure, considering my drivers helps me understand and come to terms with a situation. As an example, I can think of an antenatal course I recently facilitated.
There were nine couples in this particular group. As an NCT practitioner our group sizes are usually limited to eight couples (or 16 people depending on the type of course) but occasionally when another local course isn’t available we take a ninth couple. it’s amazing the difference two people make on timings and group work. But as an experienced facilitator I have learnt how to manage this so I didn’t consider it too daunting a prospect. In this group there were a couple who already had a 13 year old son - this meant there was an element of debriefing and checking in with them, validating their experiences and knowledge etc. There were also two couples who were expecting twins - one set of identical twins with one placenta and one set of fraternal twins
with two placentas.
As I was driving home one night about six weeks into the eight week course I was cross and irritated with myself because I wasn’t keeping to time as I usually did, I’d had to drop a couple of activities and each week felt rushed. Annoyed I thought about how I was doing it all wrong with this particular group.
Then I dropped into reflective mode and started to consider why that might be - the group had six couples expecting a singleton baby, one couple expecting their second baby and two couples expecting twins and different types of twins at that.
This meant that every group activity and facilitated discussion had four points of reference to consider:
“for singleton babies…….”
“you may have noticed last time……”
“with one placenta………”
“two placentas changes things a little…….”
Okay, I thought, everything is going to take longer, we are not going to be able to get through everything in the same way as we do with eight couples all expecting singletons.
I was still cross and disappointed in myself though.
I got home, made myself a cup of tea and tidied away my things. And then came the next part of my reflective realisation - I was cross because of my Be Perfect driver. I was comparing this course to my course plan and the other 136 courses I had facilitated and because I wasn’t matching up perfectly I was cross, disappointed and considering giving it all up and going to work in a office (the place I am least suited to working).
Finally my reflective process reached the point where I could reframe my thoughts and realise that I was finishing on time, the group were bonding well, questions were being asked and answered and we were covering all the key things. For this group, with their wonderful mix of people and babies it was perfect, well, as near perfect as it’s possible to be under the circumstances.
Take a moment now to consider your drivers……….…
Were you surprised by what you found out? I was flabbergasted to realise I had a Be Perfect driver but on reflection it makes a lot of sense.
Think of a example related to your Birthwork and reflect on it considering your drivers. What new understanding can you glean? How might this help you going forward?
It is this same Be Perfect driver that stops me from writing my book because getting it exactly as I want it to be seems such a huge task I'd rather not try at all than risk getting it wrong. And with perfect timing I've just noticed the book at my side.
*Excerpt from Inspiring Childbirth: 21st century approaches to antenatal preparation - coming soon(ish) when I can get over my Be Perfect driver!