How to Discover What Drives You

Look to your past to find what drives you today

January 3, 2023

Daniel J Bockman

Since I was very young I was driven by certain things. I always had a drive for things that were exciting and adventurous like downhill skiing and other extreme forms of fun. However, as I began to grow up, got married, and started a family those extreme activities could no longer be a form of income. I had to resign as a professional ski patroller to make a better living for my family.

While responsibility and being grown up had to replace the impracticality and impunity of my youth, my love for excitement and extreme sports never went away. I still get to go skiing with my kids but I no longer huck huge gaps and make turns in tight rock walled couliers.

While going skiing with my son one day, he plugged in his phone to my truck sound system and began playing his hype music. He said hip-hop music got him pumped up to go skiing. I said, “Maybe I should listen to it before I do a big business deal to get me pumped up.” He just rolled his eyes and asked how would hip-hop get you pumped up for a business deal? I said, “Because business is the ultimate extreme sport.” My son looked at me with a questioning grin and said, “Really?” I said “Yeah, just look at how many people are afraid to do it!”

One of the ways I have discovered what drives me is not by following my passion or looking for my “inner drive” or even finding what motivates me. I’m already motivated, I don’t need someone teaching me to be motivated. The way that I have discovered what really drives me was by reconnecting to the dopamine and adrenaline laced bloodstream I had in my 20s as I ski raced and extreme free skied. The only thing that I could find with that much excitement was starting my own business.

I am totally hooked on the rush of the big business deal, the resourceful feeling of coming back from failure, and the enterprising feeling of winning! Not all that different than pushing yourself to your limits on the face of a snowy mountain no one else dares to ski. Winning in business is just like pulling off a dangerous jump and landing perfectly or the exhilarating feeling of pushing your speed with trees whipping by you at 60 mph.

All my life I’ve drowned in adrenalin looking for anything that would give me the edge above my competition. When my friends would come skiing with me I would leave them in my dust. I do the same thing in the theater of business. The uncertainty of negotiations knowing that I have to bring my best game to win the deal. As an independent entrepreneur, I have no one to fall back on and I have to look my family in the eye every day and tell myself to bring home the win.

Here’s what I want you to get from my experience of discovering what drives me. I want you to see if you do as I did and reach back into your past, you just might find the “you” that has always been there. You may also find a way to contrast what drove you as a kid to what you could be doing today.

We spend so much of our adult life accepting life and what’s available and making the best of it to fit in this world. We parish our childhood indiscretions as nothing more than youthful fleeting thoughts. However, there is a reason your childhood was so pie-in-the-sky. You were working off of the natural impulses of your instincts. You were not tainted or jade by the harshness of adulthood. Everything in the world looked possible to you because you saw no limits and when you were faced with restrictions, you had the confidence that you would figure it out.

Look back to the things that made you feel limitless when you were a kid. Those things that you did not learn from your parents, but the things you discovered on your own. Remember back then, danger was only dangerous if you got caught or got hurt. But you lived and walked away unscathed.

Find that part of you again and do something today that will help you relive that exciting time in your past. Find a way to reconnect with that side of you that your adult self would shake their head at. I guarantee you that what drove you then was an instinct you were born with, not something that was taught to you by school or your parents. Go with what you were born to do and I promise you, you will be driven to do it far more than what you are doing today.

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