Do you control your business or does it control you?

Do you feel in control of your business?

Or does your business control you?

I’m willing to bet that at one time or another ALL of us have had moments when we have questioned why we ever wanted to leave that ‘comfortable’ corporate career.

When your own deadlines are the ones that are now driving you to despair and you are running yourself ragged just to please everyone else, it’s all too easy to lose sight of what drove you to take control of your life in the first place.

When I set up my own business I wanted autonomy, freedom and to do something that genuinely inspired me.

I wanted to get away from all those excessive demands, the lack of recognition and stress. I wanted to get away from that depressing feeling of having gone as far as I could in ‘that’ direction.

Sound familiar?

Yet here you are again, now living the dream of running your own business but still feeling tired, still running from one meeting to the next and feeling guilty that you’re not working when you’re ‘relaxing’ with family and friends?

If that’s not you I salute you. If it is you then…

Let’s look at what we can do to positively change things

When we were employed it was easy to see stress as being produced outside of our self: other people set deadlines, targets, and work day times. This is often what prompts us to leave to do things our way. However we may leave the organisation, but we don’t leave the internal psychology we have been trained into.

We were looking for happiness in the wrong place; outside.

Happiness is an inside job, happiness is how we think, feel and behave.

So what can you do to take charge again and to get you and your business back in the driver’s seat?

Well ironically ‘Drivers’ is actually the simple word that could be standing between you and your happiness.

The route to success – your own personal Sat Nav

We all have Driver Behaviours. The Driver Behaviours are neither good nor bad, it just depends on how we decide to use them.

I like to think about a speedometer on a car. We know the car works best when it is running at optimum revs per minute. When we push into the red zone, not only do we risk damaging the car, we also put our own safety and those of others at risk.

So it is with Driver Behaviours. The more stressed we become, the more we flip into unhelpful behaviours which in turn cause more stress.

Have a look at the 5 Driver Behaviours below now and see which you recognise in yourself:-

Be Perfect Driver

Can be helpful when – doing accounts or getting dressed for important meetings, when a room needs to look ‘just so’ for an event or when a publication needs proof reading.

Can be unhelpful when – you can never finish anything because it’s ‘not good enough’ or when you don’t compete because you might not ‘win’. Also when managing people and building relationships at home or at work.

Try Hard Driver

Can be helpful when – it keeps you going through thick and thin and/or it makes you a team player, keeping people motivated.

Can be unhelpful when – you don’t know when to quit, delegate or change tack. You self-sabotage because you’re used to being a ‘tryer’ and not a ‘succeeder’ and as soon as you’ve hit one target you’re off after the next without pausing to celebrate success.

Be Strong Driver

Can be helpful when – you’re in a crisis, when you need to set boundaries or hold people to account.

Can be unhelpful when – you don’t ask for help, you think you have to do it all by yourself and when you think taking time off or being ill is a sign of weakness.

Please Others Driver

Can be helpful when – you’re meeting clients, building rapport. Fantastic in a service industry.

Can be unhelpful when – you are so wrapped up in keeping everyone else happy that you forget to ask yourself what you like, what you want and what you need. You put other people first and then feel resentful no one looks after you in the same way.

Hurry Up Driver

Can be helpful when – you’ve got deadlines to meet, lots to do, lots to juggle.

Can be unhelpful when – you need to get things just right. When you are so busy you get stressed. When you are just keeping busy compulsively. When you rush other people so they are stressed.

Did you spot some you recognise? We are all a mixture of them to a greater or lesser degree.

But now you know, what do you do about them?

Here are 3 simple actions that you can take today

The First Step – So now you know about ‘Driver Behaviours’ it’s time to get a clear understanding of your profile and how this changes in different scenarios.

It’s easy to create a pie chart like the one below, so have a go now and see how much of each of these drivers you have:

You might want to do one for yourself at work and another for yourself at home and be curious about the similarities and differences.


You have taken the first big step, which is to recognise how you drive and how your Drivers are helpful and unhelpful.

The Second Step – You need to become aware of when you are letting your Drivers drive you rather than the other way around.

You can do this by tuning into your body and noticing when you are feeling stressed.

The Third Step – Is to take control when you are feeling stressed and to ask yourself:

  • Be Perfect – Does it need to be perfect? Says who? What would happen if it wasn’t perfect?
  • Hurry Up – Do I need to hurry up? What would happen if I slowed down and asked for more time?
  • Be Strong – Do I need to tough this out on my own? Who could I ask for help? What do I need?
  • Try Hard – Does it need to be such hard work? Is there anyone else to do it? Does it need doing at all? How can I celebrate success?
  • Please others – What do I want right now? What do I need?

The final and most forgiving thing I have found to work with my own Drivers are just to laugh when I spot them.

I catch myself rushing when there is no need, or asking people for their opinion before I have asked myself – and I just notice, laugh and adjust.

So how do you keep everyone happy including You?

The simple answer is by understanding your Drivers in business and learning the self-awareness to adjust your approach as necessary to achieve your outcomes.

You can decide the culture of your own business now and take control with these easy to use skills.

You can give yourself back the autonomy and freedom to decide which approach works best for you in different situations. This can give you incredible empowerment and clarity when the going gets tough.

You can also identify Driver gaps which are holding you back in your business and simply work around these gaps by partnering with or employing people with opposite profiles. If you hate detailed proof reading then work with someone who loves to ‘Be Perfect’, if you are a people pleaser then find someone who has a ‘Be Strong’ Driver and is happy to kick butt when necessary!

So commit today to giving your business what it needs most to succeed – a happy and driven You!


Julie Leoni

Dr Julie Leoni runs her own coaching and training companies: is focused on supporting women in their personal and professional life and offers training, mentoring, lecturing and coaching support for educational professionals and students. Julie has also written an amazing book called Love Being Me which you can find on Amazon.

Be the change that you want to see. Step into your leadership.


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