October is a big month at FPG for a number of reasons. But the one thread tying everything together for us over these 31 days is the concept of drive. It’s our theme of the month, and for me it comes from a personal place.
When I was 18, I had my heart set on attending college at TCU. When I didn’t get in, I was crushed. I’d been told I was a dumb jock all throughout my high school years, but I was determined to drive through that narrative and write my own story. So I convinced TCU to let me in on academic probation and set to work. Three and a half years later, I graduated with honors and eventually went on to get my MBA.
The reason we go into a certain career field, or chase certain dreams, is because our deepest fear is wrapped up in our passion. My company FPG’s slogan is “I am enough,” which comes out of my shadow self telling me I wasn’t enough, that the college I dreamed of attending was beyond me. My internal purpose today is not allowing people to feel the way I did, to help them feel they’re “enough” and facilitate their drive toward success.
This lesson was branded on my past to such a degree that it defined my passion. Today, as a result, the internal drive of my company as a whole is to coach thousands of people to believe they can achieve great things.
Our shadow selves don’t determine who we are, but they do help us hone in on the voices challenging us that we need to run towards, not away from. This is something we call running towards the roar, which means taking on your biggest challenges head on and running past them. Needless to say, this requires the kind of drive that can change companies and careers forever. While logic often tells us to run away from the roar of our shadow selves, if we run at it and address our leashes, we’ll break them faster and engage our drive more meaningfully.
We define drive through six behaviors observed from an employee operating in this state on a daily basis. This month, I encourage you to be in drive by looking out for these six and trying to live into them in the most productive way possible.
1. The first is passion driven from an internal purpose. The fire burning in us that drives us to do bigger and better things emanates from a passion that never lets the fire die. If your internal purpose is to perform and make people happy, then it’s natural that your outflowing passion might be singing or dancing. Find that internal purpose and your passion will naturally follow. And once you find your passion, your drive will be charged for life.
2. Next is the ability to be self-directed and managed. I travel to speaking engagements and conferences roughly 100 times per year, so it’s not feasible to micromanage my team and expect that to be the norm. The greatest praise a leader can receive is that the standard doesn’t drop an inch when they’re not around. A team able to operate this way can weather any storm.
3. Another key behavior observed from drive is bringing positive energy to every situation. Dr. Wayne Dyer says that once we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change. Negative energy is both mentally and physically draining, and if we can tilt our behavior toward the positive side of the spectrum, we’ll be naturally driven to fill our mental basket with more drive-producing positivity.
4. The fourth is recovering from setbacks with renewed energy. One constant in life is the winter that follows the fall. If we know those challenges and setbacks are coming, then the only thing we can physically control is our own reaction to the stimulus. Once we take ownership of that, we’re able to drive through whatever problems arise with our tanks full.
5. Drive also manifests itself through creatively turning problems into opportunities. There isn’t always an easy way around a career roadblock, but all of us have at one time or another been forced to navigate one. One thing the most successful people have in common? They’ve found creative out-of-the-box ways to jump clear of those hurdles and kick on to bigger and better things.
6. Finally, the sixth is our X-Factor behavior, the moments of distinction that help you rise above and beyond your own personal leashes: actively supporting the achievements of others. So often our society asks us to point our career compass inward and simply look out for ourselves, but true X-Factor employees are constantly seeking out moments to bolster, help and promote their teammates. The strength of the bundle is always exponentially greater than the strength of a single stick.