What’s the difference between healthy and unhealthy drive?

When (and why) do you go into overdrive?

Susan Doerksen Castro
4 min readMar 8, 2023
Photo by Julian Hochgesang on Unsplash

People say you’re driven.

“Where do you get your drive?” they ask as if it’s something you bought off amazon.

You don’t know, it’s always been a part of you.

It’s a compass of sorts; part of the operating system of you.

Many of the women I work with, can attribute much, if not all of their success to this drive.

But sometimes the drive waxes and wanes.

It’s unreliable, making getting shit done harder.

And it all feels like bit of a grind.

You hate pushing through this feeling, but you’ll do it. It’s the only way if you’re going to get anything done.

The joys and woes of being driven

When our drive is active and healthy, working with this energy is like nothing else.

There is ease, and we get a shit ton done.

You’re on top of the world, feeling invincible. You fall into bed, deeply satisfied, proud and eager to get up in the morning and keep on keeping on.

Yet all driven women know their drive also has a shadow; a willingness to push through no matter the personal (and it’s usually personal) cost.

Do you know where you own pattern of pushing through takes you?

And do you know why you push through?

What if you could let go of the pushing?

Somehow we’ve come to believe that pushing through is necessary. Part of the contract we hold as a part of possessing this drive.

Does this feel true for you?

And maybe, all cozy with this belief is a deep seated fear that if you don’t push through that your drive will vanish forever, leaving you in a fetal position on the carpet, doomed to do nothing more for the Rest Of Your Life. (Truth — this my own imagined fear!)

It makes it hard to imagine having drive and not pushing?

What if it was possible to release the pattern of Pushing Through?

If this question peaks your interest, I invite you to do some self-observation.

Self observations holds discovery as her aim — we don’t assume anything is wrong, we just get curious!

In my coaching world self-observation is akin to taking some daily (metaphorical) selfies. Meaning you take a wee “snapshot” or watch what you’ve been up to.

There is no perfect posing with self-observation, no lippy required, it’s more like being a stealth ninja where you sneak up on yourself to see what you’ve been up to.

And so, with a self-observation practice you don’t want to change anything. Just do what you usually do.

Still with me?

Then bring your lovely ninja self over to the practice below.

The (Self Observation) Daily Practice

Aim to do this practice for 5–7 work days to start becoming curious.

At the end of the day, scan back and identify a time when your drive eagerly drew you in.

In particular notice:

  • What task drew you in?
  • What felt juicy or interesting about this task?
  • What did your eager energy feel like inside you?
  • What do you like about this sensation? What might make you uncomfortable about it?
  • What did this eager energy propel you to do? Not do?

Make some light notes about this and you’re done for the day!

NOTE: With self observation there won’t be any right nor wrong answers. This only about you being curious about you minus any judgment.

After gathering 5–7 self observations…

The observations above are like data. Meaningless on their own, yet valuable when we look for patterns.

So take a gentle glance through through your notes and then reflect on the following Q’s — this is your chance to go a bit deeper and learn more about your drive.

  1. What kind of tasks tend to activate your doing energy?
  2. How do you experience drive in your body?
  3. What kind of tasks or activities are you more prone to neglect when you’re in drive mode? Why?
  4. What are you discovering about when your drive is healthy? Unhealthy? And when are you more likely to push through?
  5. Any suprises?

Hold your drive with reverence!

Self observation always reveals interesting feedback. Hopefully you’ve got a slightly new view into your own so you can see when it’s operating “well” and when you move into or towards pushing through.

If you like, feel free to email me with your insights and I’d be happy to share some thoughts or ideas.

All to say, your drive will always be with you, and in the times when our drive is less available it’s helpful feedback to step back versus push through.

What do you think a step back might reveal?

If you’re looking for a perspective that reminds you there is nothing wrong with you, and yet feel curious about how to grow your edges, then sign up The Tuesday Letter, and receive a weekly letter that’s all about you defining success on your terms: www.womenredefiningsuccess.com/the-tuesday-letter



Susan Doerksen Castro

Entrepreneur & Integral Master Coach™ helping accomplished women redefine success so they can realize a new, more fulfilling agenda for their lives.